“In time of war, send me all the Alabamians you can get, but in time of peace, for Lord’s sake, send them to somebody else,”- General Edward H. Plummer

When we think of Alabama’s military history, we most often think of The Creek Indian War and the Civil War, we think of names like Andrew Jackson and William C. Oates we think of Horseshoe Bend and Gettysburg. What doesn’t come to mind is World War I, yet the First World War produced one of the greatest battles in Alabama’s history.

At the heart of this story is the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment, a unit often regarded as the descendant of a Confederate unit with the same name and number. Interestingly, there had not been a 4th Alabama between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and its re-establishment by the Alabama legislature in 1911 as part of the militia. The newly activated 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment, led by Major William Preston Screws, a seasoned regular army officer, assembled at Vandiver Park in Montgomery, Alabama, in late June of 1916 and was sent to the border to hunt Pancho Villa.

The journey of the 4th Alabama did not stop at the Mexican border; it continued to expand and evolve. The regiment underwent basic infantry training at Vandiver Park from July 4, 1916, to October 22, 1916. Later, Major Screws led about 1,300 officers and men to Nogales, Arizona, for advanced infantry training, which lasted until March.

As World War I engulfed the globe, Alabama rallied to support the Allied forces. Among the many battalions that stood tall during the Great War, the 167th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Alabamians,” stood out for its unwavering determination and indomitable spirit. Under the leadership of Colonel C. A. Scruggs, this regiment proved its mettle during the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm.

The Battle of Croix Rouge Farm fought on the blood-soaked soil of France, witnessed a fierce clash between the 167th Infantry Regiment and the formidable 4th Prussian Guards of Germany. It was a battle of attrition, where bravery and tenacity were the only currency. On that fateful day of July 26, 1918, the 167th Infantry Regiment faced intense enemy fire as they pushed forward with unwavering resolve.

The Alabamians encountered a daunting landscape: muddy trenches, shell-pocked fields, and camouflaged machine guns. Yet, they moved forward undeterred, answering the call of duty with a resolute “Hell with the bayonet.” The 1st Battalion, under Major John W. Carroll, and the 3rd Battalion, led by Major Dallas B. Smith, valiantly charged through thin woods towards their objective – the Croix Rouge Farmhouse.

The attack was relentless, and the casualties were heavy. Men fell to enemy fire as they fought valiantly, exhibiting remarkable leadership by example. Major Carroll’s 1st Battalion faced staggering losses, with 65% of its troops either killed or wounded in the initial assault. Captain Lacey Edmundson’s D Company saw 80% of its men killed or wounded during the fierce battle.

Amidst the carnage and chaos, Lieutenant Robert Espy, a true hero of the Croix Rouge Farm, led a successful second effort. With men from various companies coming together in a united front, they displayed unwavering courage and determination, pushing the Germans back and seizing the farmhouse.

However, the 3rd Battalion, under Major Dallas B. Smith, faced its share of trials. Despite being pushed back and reorganizing into two small companies, a ray of hope emerged as First Lieutenant Edward R. “Shorty” Wrenn and his detail brought a one-pounder mortar. Wrenn’s efforts turned the tide of the battle, saving the day and earning him the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Croix de Guerre.

As night fell on July 26, the battlefield was shrouded in darkness and drizzling rain. The Alabamians showed unwavering determination, attending to the wounded, while burial parties somberly laid the fallen soldiers to rest. It was a night of sorrow and heartache, yet the Alabama spirit endured.

The Battle of Croix Rouge Farm was a testament to the courage, resilience, and unbreakable spirit of the Alabamians. Their sacrifice and heroism stood out amidst the chaos of war, exemplifying the true meaning of valor. While the battle itself was overshadowed by the more significant conflict of World War I, it remains a crucial chapter in Alabama’s history – a chapter that deserves remembrance and recognition.

In the annals of Alabama’s military history, the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm finds its place alongside the gallant actions of William Oates and other celebrated military heroes. These brave Alabamians, with their bayonets held high, exemplified the spirit of their state, displaying unwavering determination and courage in the face of adversity. As we remember the courage of those who fought at Croix Rouge Farm, let us honor their sacrifice and ensure that their memory lives on, undiminished and forever etched in the fabric of Alabama’s rich military history.

John Slaughter

John Slaughter is a native Alabamaian. He is a graduate of Troy University, a Marine Corps Veteran, and an aspiring novelist.


  • Paul Yarbrough says:

    Semper Fi my Alabama cousins. Deo Vindice

  • Earl Starbuck says:

    The old 4th Alabama/167th played an important part in the Battle of the Ourcq River, too, as I recall. 28 July-6 August. They were responsible in no small part for Douglas MacArthur’s successful military career.

  • William Quinton Platt III says:

    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.

    At least I used to think so…now…maybe I know better. To fight and die, led by evil men is to do yourself no honor. To fight for a country that has no honor and is led by evil men turns the stomach. I can understand how men have always had to choose between the lesser of two evils. I just wonder if the choices have always been so confused.

    I don’t have the perspective of a dirt farmer, hearing news from afar, in bits and pieces. I get bombarded by lies 24/7. Mail doesn’t have to make its way thru injun country…it has to squeeze through corporate filters of varying meshes and thicknesses depending on its proximity to the truth.

    Men fight for what they believe in, and it’s usually just the guy on the left and the right of them validating that belief. It doesn’t take much to destroy an army. Your Alabamians were lucky…the psyop had not been perfected against them.

    Today, you strike back against the psyop aimed at your people. Thank you for your contribution.

  • Lewis Bell says:

    Thank you for a very information and well-written article. As a fellow Alabamian, I’m embarrassed to admit that I did not know about the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm.

  • Baron says:

    Nothing heroic about fighting and dying for the great satan that is the USA. They were fools or worse. I have no respect for American soldiers that contributed to globalism and evil. The Germans were the good (or least bad) guys then, and they’ve been punished for that ever since.

  • Gunny says:

    Excellent article. Semper Fi my Alabama cousins. Deo Vindice

    William, Baron – what world are you in? I am not saying America has not done anything wrong or make some serious errors. But most of those are done by “Rich Men North of Richmond”. Maybe you two should get together and read about the “White Cavalry” in WWI.

    Valor on the battlefield is to be admired regardless of who or what side. War is the end result of failure of diplomacy. Then, like today, how well can the elite best sell a war to get the public support whose offspring are the fodder for the fields. There are people today who think Southerners ought to hang their heads in shame in that they were part of a “rebellion” much like they have convinced the German people to hang their heads in shame because of the Nazis. Even during the Civil War, there were “fire eaters” in the South who professed support of the South ~ until a Yankee army with more guns came to town and then these “fire eaters” became devote “Yankees”.

    • William Quinton Platt, III says:

      Well, “Gunny”, if that is your name, I live in the real world. Ghost cavalry units appearing out of nowhere during a war that was started by idiots is not going to teach me whatever lesson you had in mind…unless it’s that people can panic for no reason…but we can just look at Covid19 to learn that lesson.

      Truth is what motivates me to post here. And the truth is, EVERYONE HAS DIRTY HANDS.

      Truth is MUCH easier to discern in this modern era. The internet is destroying the old lies in rapid order…truth is what the psychopaths running the world fear most…that and AI, they’re terrified of AI…and they should be…for if AI is logic-based, their lies will all be revealed…and perhaps AI will decide psychopathic politicians are the greatest threat to humanity and AI will decide we just don’t need them any longer.

      Over two decades ago, Citigroup, in a drunken woke-orgy moment, decided to digitize the Slave Narratives…CITIGROUP WAS GOING TO REVEAL TO THE WORLD THE HORRORS OF THE SOUTHERN SLAVE SYSTEM…I remember when they made their “contribution” to the woke parade…the problem for Citigroup was…NONE OF THEM HAD READ THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE NARRATIVES…because the Slave Narratives destroys the “narrative”.

      If Citigroup had realized the FDR administration had gone South with unemployed and sympathetic yankee writers during the Depression to capture all this “dirt” on Southerners AND HAD HIDDEN THE NARRATIVES to keep the public from realizing the truth about the slave system, CITIGROUP WOULD HAVE KEPT THE NARRATIVES BURIED instead of bringing them to the digital light of day.

      The woke care nothing about truth…if they cared about truth, they would understand the slave system COULD NOT HAVE BEEN EVIL if in 4 years of total war where yankees were running rampant all over the Confederate States by the millions, losing tens of thousands of weapons on battlefields while encouraging slaves to rise up and kill their masters…THERE WERE ZERO SLAVE UPRISINGS. As a matter of fact, Harvard researchers are now admitting to thousands of blacks fighting for the Confederacy…are blacks about to be thrown to the side by the globalists?

      Next thing you know, they’ll discover mlk cheated serially on his wife, cheated his way through college and encouraged a rapist.

      Truth…it’s out there and like the cat, it’s out of the bag.

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