Chaplain Buswell

September 15, 1918 – Full diary entry:

“Still in the woods.

Went to church today. Our new Protestant chaplain seems very nice.”


Well, for perspective on a chaplain in the 140th Infantry, we of course must consult Chaplain Evan Edwards, author of From Doniphan to Verdun: The Official History of the 140th Infantry:

Two Chaplains joined us in the Vosges. Chaplain Oliver P. Buswell, Jr., a Presbyterian, was assigned to the second Battalion. Chaplain Buswell, a young man of twenty-three, was gifted with a magnificent physique, a splendid musical voice, brains and common sense. He won the hearts of the men at once, and his work was of the greatest value to the regiment. There was no more popular chaplain in the A. E. F. 

He was wounded in the Argonne, and cited in orders for bravery. He did not know the meaning of fear, and thought only of his men. From the 17th of August, when he joined the regiment, his presence and influence was of the greatest value. His genuine and simple Christian spirit won the respect and admiration of all who knew him.

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It turns out Chaplain Edwards did not have his name exactly correct. J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., earned a Purple Heart and Silver Star in the war and went on to serve as the president of Wheaton College from 1926 to 1940. He was a noted speaker and writer and died in 1977. As luck would have it, Chaplain Buswell’s legacy lives on in an extensive online collection.

Where was Robert today? See the timeline.

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