Legge, Barnwell, BG

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Last Rank
Brigadier General
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1918-1918, 1st Division (Big Red One)
Service Years
1916 - 1949
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
1st Infantry Division Certificate


Brigadier General

Six Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
South Carolina
South Carolina
Year of Birth
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Contact Info
Home Town
Charleston South Carolina
Last Address
Washington DC

Date of Passing
Jun 07, 1949
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

1st Infantry Division

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Birth:  July 9, 1891 Charleston Charleston County South Carolina, USA Death:  Jun. 7, 1949 Washington District of Columbia District Of Columbia, USA

US Army Brigadier General. Legge's early education was in the Charleston City Schools. Afterwards he was awarded a scholarship to the "Citadel" where he graduated in 1911. He distinguished himself in athletics and earned the reputation of being the Citadel's most durable athlete.

In 1916 after studying law at the University of South Carolina, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the regular army. He served with the First Division 26th Infantry during World War I, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguised Service Medal, the French Croix de Guerre with palm, four Silver Stars and the Purple Heart. His Silver Stars were for conspicuous gallantry in the "Soissons" Campaign where during the last two days the casualties had been so heavy as to take off many of the field officers and most of the company commanders. Many of the battalions had shrunk from eight hundred men to one hundred.

Theodore Roosevelt would write in "Average Americans" that he served with Legge during his entire service in Europe, and during the latter part he was his second in command. He continued that he had seen him under all circumstances and he was always cool and decided. No mission was too difficult for him to undertake and his ability as a troop leader was of the highest order. Roosevelt concluded that in his opinion no man of his age had a better war record.

In 1939 he was named military attache to Switzerland where he served until 1947. While on duty there he was promoted to Brigadier general and decorated with the Legion of Merit. He died while still in the service of his country while living in Washington, DC.

Distinguished Service Cross - Awarded for actions during the World War I

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major (Infantry) Barnwell R. Legge, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division, A.E.F., near Verdun, France, 5 October 1918. Personally leading an attack against a strong enemy position, Major Legge inspired his men by his courage, cutting his way through entanglements and directing the attacks against three different strong points.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders 87 (1919)
Action Date: 5-Oct-18
Service: Army
Rank: Major
Regiment: 26th Infantry Regiment
Division: 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces
Army Distinguished Service Medal - Awarded for actions during the World War I

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Barnwell R. Legge, United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during World War I. As Company, Battalion, and Regimental Commander of the 26th Infantry throughout hostilities, Lieutenant Colonel Legge successfully led his command through each of the offensives of the 1st Division. By his superior tactical judgment, manifest ability, and tireless energy, coupled with unusual leadership, he contributed in a brilliant manner to the success of the 1st Division. Later, as a Division Adjutant, he gave further proof of the highest qualities of military character, again demonstrating conspicuous service in a position of great esponsibility.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 56 (1922) - Action Date: World War I
Service: Army - Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Company: Commanding Officer
Regiment: 26th Infantry Regiment
Division: 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces

Other Comments:
The 1st Division took part in the first offensive by an American Army in the war, and helped to clear the Saint-Mihiel salient by fighting continuously from 11 to 13 September 1918. The last major World War 1 battle was fought in the Meuse-Argonne Forest.


See June 1947 Photo - Listed under "Other News, Events and Photographs"

Constance Ray Harvey, after receiving the Medal of Freedom in 1947 for meritorious service with the French Underground during World War II. At left is General Barnwell R. Legge, the U.S. military attaché in Switzerland with whom she worked.
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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
1st Division (Big Red One)First Army (1st Army)State DepartmentDepartment of the Army (DA)
  1916-1917, 1st Division (Big Red One)
  1917-1917, 1st Division (Big Red One)
  1917-1918, 1st Division (Big Red One)
  1918-1918, 1st Division (Big Red One)
  1918-1918, 1st Division (Big Red One)
  1919-1921, 1st Division (Big Red One)
  1922-1939, 820, HQ, First Army (1st Army)
  1939-1947, 00G1, U.S. Embassy, Bern, Switzerland, State Department
  1947-1949, 00G1, HHC, Department of the Army (DA)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1918-1918 World War I
  1918-1918 World War I/World War I/Somme Defensive Campaign
  1918-1918 World War I/World War I/Meuse-Argonne Campaign
  1942-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
 Colleges Attended 
CitadelUniversity of South Carolina
  1907-1911, Citadel
  1912-1916, University of South Carolina
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