Bowie, Major, Corps of Engineers,
in July and early in August, 1918, William Bowie, Chief of the Division
of Geodesy of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, was consulted by
officials of the Division of Military Mapping of the Corps of Engineers,
U.S. Army, in regard to field methods for carrying on certain large
scale surveys for defense purposes along our coasts and it was soon
found by those officials that it was desirable that Mr. Bowie be commissioned
and attached to the Division of Military Mapping.
offered a commission as Major of Engineers but as this was a lower
rank than he would have been entitled to had he been transferred by
executive order, it was necessary for him to be granted a furlough
while serving with the army. R.L. Faris, Acting Superintendent of
the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, and Honorable William C. Redfield,
Secretary of Commerce, were willing that Bowie should accept a commission
in the army but the Secretary asked that the Chief of Engineers, Major
General William M. Black, make a formal request for his services with
the army. This was done by General Black in a letter addressed to
the Secretary of Commerce, dated August 10, 1918, which read in part
William Bowie, hydrographic and geodetic engineer of the United States
Coast and Geodetic Survey has special qualifications which eminently
fit him for duty in charge of the land defense map project under the
Division of Fortifications and Mapping of the Office of the Chief
of Engineers. If consistent with your policy, and provided his services
can be spared, it is requested that Mr. Bowie be granted permission
to accept a commission as major in the Engineer Reserve Corps.
is understood that the Act covering transfer of United States Coast
and Geodetic Survey personnel to the War Department by executive order
prescribes the rank they shall have upon transfer. As such transfer
would give Mr. Bowie the rank of Colonel, and as the head of the mapping
division in this office is only a Major, Mr. Bowie’s services
could not be utilized in the grade of Colonel. The highest grade in
the Engineer Reserve Corps is that of Major, and the position in this
organization of this office to which it is proposed to assign Mr.
Bowie carries the rank of Major.”
13, 1918, Secretary Redfield sent General Black a letter in reply
which read, in part, as follows:
to your favor of the 10th instant, I am very glad to consent that
Mr. Wm.Bowie, Chief of the Division of Geodesy of the Coast and Geodetic
Survey, be granted a furlough for the period of the national emergency
and that he be given permission to accept a commission as Major in
the Engineer Reserve Corps.
Bowie is willing as a matter of public duty to waive the lawful rank
to which he is entitled and to accept the financial sacrifice involved
and we are very glad to have him of service in connection with the
matter for which you are good enough to say that he has ‘special
Bowie was granted a furlough from the Coast and Geodetic Survey for
such time as he might be needed in the army. On August 17, 1918, he
was commissioned a major of engineers and on the same date he reported
for duty at the office of the Chief of Engineers, Washington, D.C.
On August 23, 1918, he was assigned to duty in the Division of Military
Mapping, under Col. E.H. Marks, Chief of the Division of Military
particular work assigned to Major Bowie was the surveying and mapping
at certain military camps where the training of troops was being carried
on and special defense maps in certain areas along the coast of the
United States. In addition to this work he prepared detailed specifications
for the special defense surveys and maps and also prepared the manuscript
(except tables) for special publication No. 59 of the U.S. Coast and
Geodetic Survey which describes the grid system which is now used
by the army in the United States for military maps.
to his other duties, he acted as liaison officer between the U.S.
Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Division of Military Mapping of
the Corps of Engineers , with the result that very valuable assistance
was rendered the army by the Division of Geodesy of the Coast and
completed the duties for which he was needed in the army and having
systematized the specifications for the special defense maps, and
the war having ended, he was honorably discharged form the army on
February 28, 1919, and on the following day he resumed his duties
as Chief of the Division of Geodesy of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic
the beginning of the war until he entered the army as a major of engineers,
Major Bowie was in constant consultation with officers of the Division
of Military Mapping of the Corps of Engineers in regard to carrying
on of control surveys in the southeastern states of our country for
use in making military surveys and maps and also in regard to projection
tables to be used by the army in this country and in France. All of
the efforts of the Division of Geodesy were placed at the disposal
of the army in furthering its military surveys and maps in critical
parts of the country and preparing the necessary mapping projection
before he entered the army, he devised the grid system for military
maps in the United States which was adopted by the army. A description
of this grid system and the necessary tables for its use are contained
in special publication No. 59 of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey,
of which Mr. William Bowie and Mr. O.S. Adams, Mathematician of the
Coast and Geodetic Survey, are co-authors. The tables were prepared
under Mr. Adams’ immediate direction.
L. Bowman, Private, U.S. Army:
as a clerk in the office of the Coast and Geodetic Survey until October
31, 1918, when he was drafted for service in the U.S. Army. No further
information is available.
Braden, Private, U.S. Army:
as a hand with one of the field parties operated under the Division
of Geodesy until July 24, 1918, when he separated from the party and
entered the U.S. Army as a private.
Brittingham, Wireless Operator, Second Class, U.S.N.R.F.:
Transferred to the service and jurisdiction of the Navy Department
with the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer ISIS, by Executive Order,
No. 2707, on September 24, 1918. He was enrolled in the U.S. Naval
Reserve Force and served on the U.S.S. ISIS, the length of his service
is not known at this office, as he did not return to the Coast and
S. Brookbank, Private, U.S. Army:
as an apprentice engraver in the office of the Coast and Geodetic
Survey until February 26, 1918, when he resigned and entered the U.S.
Army as a private.
Brown, Private, U.S. Army:
as a hand with one of the field parties operated by the Division of
Geodesy until June 18, 1918, when he separated from the party and
entered the U.S. Army as a private.
S. Brown, Officers’ Cook, U.S.N.R.F.:
with the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer SURVEYOR, by Executive
Order No. 2707, on September 24, 1917. He was enrolled in the U.S.
Naval Reserve Force and served on the U.S.S. SURVEYOR until March
31, when the vessel was returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey.
M. Brown, Private First Class, U.S. Army:
13, 1917, soon after the declaration of war with Germany, Ralph M.
Brown, who from December 19, 1906, had been Chief of the Library and
Archives Section of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, tendered his resignation
for the purpose of offering his services to the U.S. Army. His resignation
was accepted, effective May 21, 1917, with expressions of appreciation
from the Superintendent of the Coast and Geodetic Survey for the worthy
motive that prompted him to take up new duties in defense of his country.
20, 1917, at Washington, D.C., he volunteered his services and was
enlisted as a private in the Washington unit of the U.S. Army Ambulance
December 25, 1917, he was in training camps in the State of Pennsylvania.
On December 26, 1917, he sailed for France and arrived at Brest on
January 10, 1918.
being in camp for about two weeks in St. Nazaire, France, on January
28, 1918, the corps to which he was attached proceeded for the Champagne
front, passing through Nantes, Angers, Chartres, Versailles, Meaux,
Montmirail and Epernay, arriving at the front on February 9, 1918.
February 9 to August 18, 1918, he was on the Champagne front, engaged
as an ambulance driver with the 2nd Colonial Division of the 5th French
Army, with Base at Ludes, 11 Kilometers South of Reims. He was attached
to the French Section Sanitaire 515, Etats unis d’Amerique,
operating at Sillery, Verzy, Verzenay, Paisieulx, Ville Dommauge,
Eceml, Courmes, Guenx, Bouloure, Bezannes, and Reims.
August 6 to 20, 1918, he was in the rest area at Tours-sur-Marne,
and then returned to the Champagne front with the 5th French Army,
which remained at this front until October 5 and then advanced to
the vicinity of Mezieres where it arrived on November 11, 1918, the
day of the Armistice.
4, 1918, the Army to which he was attached was en route to the Rhine
and from January 6 to March 23, 1919, was in Germany, working posts
in Ludwigshaven, Speyer and Landau.
26, 1919, the army returned to Versailles and on April 12, 1919, sailed
from Brest for the United States on the U.S. Transport GREAT NORTHERN.
Mr. Brown landed at New York on April 20, and on April 22, 1919, he
was honorably discharged as First Class Private at Camp Dix, New Jersey.
He served during nearly the entire period of the war, was on defensive
battles and campaigns at Rheims, Sillery, Aisne and Champagne-Marne
and offensive battles at Aisne-Marne and Oise-Aisne.
under the commands of Lieutenants Lowe, Hulbert and Barrett.
worthy of note that Mr. Brown was on constant duty at the front from
January 28,1918, when he left St. Nazarine until March 23, 1919, when
the unit to which he was attached started back from Germany, a period
of fifteen months with only two weeks rest.