Chesterfield doughboys

If Germany had been just a bit more persuasive, it’s possible that the Final Four games would not have been played in Houston. During February and March of 1917, Germany was trying hard to convince Mexico to enter World War I, promising the Mexicans that an allegiance would result in bringing Texas, Arizona and New Mexico back into the land of Pancho Villa.

Many Chesterfieldians had served the previous year in President Woodrow Wilson’s unsuccessful campaign to capture Villa. After Congress obliged Wilson’s declaration of war with Germany on April 6, 1917, many youth of the county were enrolled in Richmond and Petersburg military units because Chesterfield didn’t have a standing unit. The men who enlisted became part of Seventh Company, Coast Artillery Corps. They were sent to Fort Monroe but never saw overseas duty.

According to Chesterfield: An Old Virginia County, by Francis Lutz, there was also, at this time, a home guard company of 40 men. The Adjutant General of Virginia said that these men”worked hard and faithfully and developed into an astonishingly efficient military unity.” Most of the men, according to Lutz, were in the regular armed forces.

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