Military Records

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Refer to Caption

Photograph No. DASC8606488; Artwork: Argonne-Meuse 1918, World War I. Artist: Lester G. Hornby. US Army Art Collection. (National Archives Identifier 6398325)

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was a part of the final Allied offensive of World War I. It was one of the attacks that brought an end to the War and was fought from September 26 – November 11, 1918, when the Armistice was signed.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest operations of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I, with over a million American soldiers participating. It was also the deadliest campaign in American history, resulting in over 26,000 soldiers being killed in action (KIA) and over 120,000 total casualties.  Indeed, the number of graves in the American military cemetery at Romagne is far larger than those in the more commonly known site at Omaha Beach in Normandy.

The holdings of the National Archives (NARA)  related to the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and surrounding events are extensive. Several units of the Archives hold relevant records in a variety of media. This page identifies many of those records and provides access information, including to records described in the National Archives Catalog.

Selected list of textual records at NARA relating to the Meuse-Argonne Offensive:

Records Relating to the Meuse-Argonne Operation:

The following two series contain information related to reports, memorandums, communications, correspondence, lectures, maps, intelligence summaries and studies at various levels of command related to the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Records Relating to the Meuse-Argonne Operation, ca. 1918 - 1918
War Department; Army War College; Historical Section; World War I Branch
Record Group 120, Entry UD 4
41 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 7933979

Stewart, George Scott, Jr.
Reports, Summaries, and Lectures Relating to Saint-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Operations, 9/1/1918 - 2/3/1919

Collection: George Scott Stewart, Jr., Papers, 1917 - 1921;
Collection Identifier: STWRT; Entry NM-10 29; 
3 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 25464100

Note: The series with the National Archives Identifier 25464100 contains information related to the 29th Infantry Division (United States).

 

American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) Operational Files (First Army & Second Army) 1918-1919:

The following series contain information related to reports, communications, and correspondence at various command levels.

Reports, Studies, Monographs and Other Records Relating to the Activities of the First Army in France During World War I, 08/19/1918 – 04/20/1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; Office of the Commander in Chief; Office of the Secretary to the General Staff.
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 24
96 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 649635

Reports, Studies, Monographs and Other Records Relating to Activities of the First Army, 08/10/1918 – 04/20/1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; First Army; Office of the Commander
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 765
120 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 650007

Reports, Studies, Monographs and Other Records Relating to Activities of the Second Army, 10/12/1918 – 04/15/1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; Second Army
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 880
National Archives Identifier 650024

Journals of Operations, 03/01/1918 – 08/31/1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; Operations Section
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 271
21 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 649851

Reports, Studies, Monographs, and Other Records of the Office of the Corps Commander, 1918 – 1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; I Army Corps.
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 990
41 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 6857032

Reports, Studies, Monographs, and Other Historical Records, 1918 - 1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; III Army Corps.
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 1043
41 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 6857837

Historical Reports, 07/07/1918 – 03/05/1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; V Corps.
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 1118
43 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 650203

Note: These series cover a wider range of time and events than just the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Also Note: Record Group 120 Entry NM-91 1241 ( National Archives Identifier 301641) "Records of Divisions, 1917 – 1920" has information related to the various divisions that participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

 

Significant Correspondence:

The following series contain information related to correspondence, reports, memorandums, maps, after action reports & post war analysis on a variety of subjects related to the AEF's participation in World War I, including the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

In particular National Archives Identifier 16905157 (Correspondence with Former Division Officers of the American Expeditionary Forces, 1923 – 1930) consists of post-war responses from officers to requests by the U.S. Army War College Historical Section for information about their units’ front-line positions & activities on specific days. Maps were often attached to the correspondence and the information provided is verified with other officers of the unit. This information was used for compiling summaries of the American operations in the war.

Secret General Correspondence, 1917 – 1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff Third Section (G-3).
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 268
National Archives Identifier 6638498

General Correspondence, 1917 - 1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff Third Section (G-3).
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 267
60 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 6638223

Subject Card Index to General Correspondence and Secret General Correspondence, 1917 – 1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff Third Section (G-3).
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 263
1 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 6637854

Note: Digital scans of the index are available in the above catalog entry for this series.

Correspondence with Former Division Officers of the American Expeditionary Forces, 1923 – 1930
American Battle Monuments Commission.
Record Group 117, Entry A1 31
76 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 16905157

Index to Correspondence with Former Division Officers of the American Expeditionary Forces, 1923 – 1930
American Battle Monuments Commission.
Record Group 117, Entry A1 30
8 Index Card Boxes
National Archives Identifier 16906319

Note: Both series have indexes listed above that correspond to the records themselves. Also, these series cover a wider range of time and events than just the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

 

The Lost Battalion:

The following series contains a detailed narrative report regarding elements of the 77th Division (New York National Guard) that for several days were surrounded by German troops inside the Argonne Forest, "Operation of the So-Called ‘Lost Battalion’, October 2 to 8, 1918" in digital Form - National Archives Identifier: 301662

Historical Files, 1918 – 1948
War Department; Army War College; Historical Section; World War I Branch.
Record Group 165, Entry A1 310C
90 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 301661

 

Town Files:

The following three series contain information related to the location in European towns and cities American units were located, lists of specific battles that American units were involved in and reports, photographs, maps and sketches of various European towns and cities of concern to American military planners.

Card File of European Cities and Towns in Which American Military Units Were Stationed and Offices Were Located, ca. 1917 – ca. 1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; Adjutant General's Department; Miscellaneous Division; Troop Movement Section
Record Group 120, Entry NM-91 522
21 Boxes (Photographs Contained Within)
National Archives Identifier 6706567

Records Relating to European Towns and Cities, 1917 – 1919
War Department; American Expeditionary Forces; Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff Second Section (G-2); Information Division; Enemy Works Section
RRecord Group 120, Entry NM-91 95
66 Boxes (Photographs, Maps and Charts Contained Within)
National Archives Identifier 6489494

Card File of Major Battles in Which American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) Units Participated, 1918 – 1918
War Department; Army War College; Historical Section; World War I Branch
Record Group 120, Entry NM-84 328
1 Box
National Archives Identifier 5144040

Note: These series cover a much wider range of sites than just the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

 

Military Records Relating to the Central Powers:

The following two series contain information authored by and about German and Austro-Hungarian forces in World War I. Documents include topics such as daily reports, communications, correspondence, operations information, war diaries, situation maps and some biographies and unit histories. Most of the information is in German, with some English translations, transcriptions and commentary provided by the U. S. Army War College Historical Section.

German Military Records Relating to World War I, 1918 - 1938
War Department; Army War College; Historical Section; World War I Branch
Record Group 165, Entry NM-84 320
205 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 4928349

Austro-Hungarian Military Records Relating to World War I, 1918 – 5/12/1947
War Department; Army War College; Historical Section; World War I Branch
Record Group 165, Entry NM-84 313
3 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 2544443

Note: These series cover a wider range of time and events than just the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

 

French Military Records:

The following two series contains information from French military sources relating to World War I, especially about the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). Documents include topics such as reports, correspondence, operations information, intelligence reports, maps, and organizational charts. In particular the records are about military operations of the AEF from the French perspective, including the participation of African-American regiments & some records on the American ambulance service. Also included are evaluations of German weapons, tactics and information related to enemy formations and unit identification. A significant amount of the information is in French, with some English translations, transcriptions and commentary provided by the U.S. Army War College’s Historical Section. NAID 4693988 contains name and subject indexes, as well as other finding aids for these records.

French Military Records Relating to World War I, ca. 1918 – 4/1/1940
War Department; Army War College; Historical Section; World War I Branch.
Record Group 165, Entry NM-84 318
139 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 4510248

Name and Subject Indexes and Other Finding Aids to French Military Records Relating to World War I, ca. 1918 – ca. 1940
War Department; Army War College; Historical Section; World War I Branch.
Record Group 165, Entry NM-84 317
37 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 4693988

Note: These series cover a wider range of time and events than just the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

 

Anniversary Commemoration:

The following series contains information related to the commemoration of the Battle of Argonne.

Administration Files
Department of Defense; Department of the Army; U.S. Continental Army Command; First U.S. Army; Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff G-1
Record Group 338, Entry A-1 701
1 Box
National Archives Identifier 627796

Note: This series covers a wide range of time and events. Decimal 220/8 "Trees (Argonne Forest) 1958" contains information relating the commemoration of the Battle of Argonne, including the planting of trees in the Argonne forest.

 

Disinterment and Burials:

The following series contains information related to the unconfirmed disinterment and reburial casualties. Reburials were primarily in the Argonne American Cemetery and the American Concentration Cemetery at Belleau.

Card Register of Unconfirmed Disinterments and Burials, 1919 - 1919
War Department; Purchase and Storage Service; General Administrative Division; Cemeterial Branch
Record Group 92, Entry NM-81 1968
3 Boxes
National Archives Identifier 7347209

Note: This series covers more than just Meuse-Argonne related records. It is also part of a larger collection of series related to World War I Cemeterial operations.  (see RG 92, NM-81 1945 through NM-81 1970).

Requesting Records

If you find records of interest in the National Archives Catalog and wish to order copies, please send your request to inquire@nara.gov and include the following information:

  • Record Group number or Collection information
  • Series title
  • National Archives Identifier (NAID) and title for the file unit or item
  • Container number (if available)
  • Name of NARA facility that has custody of the records
  • Your email address
  • Your mailing/postal address

If you only wish to have information about the records, please indicate that in your request. Otherwise, NARA will send you a price quote based on a page count for the selected item(s) or file unit(s). Please limit your request to 3 items or file units at a time.

Please Note: That although most records in NARA's custody are described at the series level in the National Archives Catalog, very few records have been digitized and accessible online.

The National Archives at St. Louis also maintains the Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF) and World War I Burial Files of those veterans that served in World War I. Many of these records were not affected by the 1973 fire. More information on our facility as well as a detailed account of Finding Your World War I Veteran using records at our facility may be found at: https://www.archives.gov/st-louis/

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