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James Andrew Shannon, of Virginia, Minnesota, was born on 25 May 1879 and had a distinguished military career. He was the son of the late C. E. Shannon, of Duluth, Minnesota, and brother of Mrs. Harry Sleepack, of 2419 East Fourth Street, and had passed through West Point, having been appointed to the United States Military Academy by Judge Page Morris, then Congressman from this district.
Colonel Shannon was killed-in-action in World War I on 8 October 1918, having attained the grade of Lieutenant Colonel and a place on the staff of General John J. Pershing, in France.
SHANNON, JAMES A., Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: October 5 - 6, 1918
General Orders No. No. 130, W.D., 1918
Home Town: Duluth, Minnesota
Citation: The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to James A. Shannon, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Chatel-Chehery, France, October 5 - 6, 1918.
Lieutenant Colonel Shannon voluntarily led an officer's patrol to a depth of three kilometers within the enemy lines. As a result of his exceptional bravery and skill in leading this patrol in its contact with the enemy, vital information was obtained at a critical period of the battle, to which much of the success of the next few days was due. The information thus secured was followed up by an attack the next morning, which this officer personally led and wherein he was fatally wounded. His superb leadership and personal courage furnished the necessary inspiration to an exhausted command.
Lieutenant Colonel James A. Shannon, a son-in-law of Brigadier General Eli D. Hoyle, U.S.A., until recently in command at Governors Island, has been killed in action. Colonel Shannon was on the staff of General Pershng, and was a West Pointer in the Class if 1902. When Congress declared war he was on duty as a military instructor at Harvard. He was born in Minnesota thirty-nine years ago and leaves a wife and three children.
Colonel Shannon was subsequently buried with full military honors in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery.
SHANNON, JAMES A
LIEUT COL U S A
DATE OF DEATH: 10/08/1918
BURIED AT: SECTION SW SITE 4438
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
From The Harvard Graduates' Magazine, December 1919
James Andew Shannon (Appoined Minnesota). He was a Cadet at the Military Academy June 20, 1898 to June 11, 1902 when he was graduated (number 37 of 93 Cadets) and promoted to Second Lieutenant in the 7th Cavalry.
He served at Chicamauga Park, Georgia September 13, 1903 to September 1904; at Fort Myer, Virginia September 1904 to May 20, 1905; at Batangas, Luzan, Philippine Islands (P.I.) from June 28, 1905 to July 15, 1905; at Calamba, Luzon, P.I. July 15 to December 15, 1905; at Zamboanga, P.I. April 1906 to May 1908; Aide-de-Camp to Brigadier General Bliss January 15, 1906 to May 15, 1908; at Fort Riley, Kansas June 24, 1908 to
James Andrew Shannon was born at Granite Falls, Minnesota, May 25, 1879. He entered the Academy at West Point in June, 1898, and throughout his course there was prominent in athletics. He was the best boxer of his weight, the winner of the 440-yard run, and quaterback on the football team.
He served in the Philippines from 1905 to 1908, and again from 1911 to 1915. In 1916 he went into Mexico in pursuit of Villa.
Returning from the Mexican border in the spring of 1917, he was assigned to duty with the Harvard Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Admirably suited by training, temperament, and character for the important task of training young men for war, he soon inspired the members of his command with his own high conception of the standards that an officer should attain. He won their affectionate admination; and when he was about to leave Harvard for more active service, the members of the R.O.T.C. marched in a body to his house to say good-by.
Upon leaving Harvard, he was assigned to the 42d or Rainbow Division, as Assistant Commander of trains and Military Police. He served with this division at Camp Mills and in France. A short time after arriving in France, he was detached and ordered to General Headquarters to organize the personnel bureau. His important work in this connection can scarcely be estimated. In this position where recommendations were made as to assignments, promotions, awards of decorations, it was essential to have a man of well-poised judgmnet and absolute fairness. Because he possessed these qualifications to a superlative degree, he was chosen for the place, and so well did he administer this difficult and perplexing task that although essentially a fighting man and pining for a fighting command, it was deemed inadvisable to release him. At last he was given the command of the 109th Infantry, and later he commanded the 112th Infantry.
His service is thus described by his Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Dennis E. Nolan: "I am writing to you as the commanding officer, 55th Brigade, in which he served for several days during the battle as commander of the 109th regiment and also as his commander in the action at Chatel-Chehery, in which he was mortally wounded, the 112th regiment having been attached to my brigade for that attack. As commander of the 109th regiment for several days during the battle under my immediate command, he rendered very distinguished service, being an inspiration to the officers and men of that regiment. Similarly, while commanding the 112th regiment in the reconnaissance preceding the action and during the action when at the head of his regiment, he was motally wounded, he displayed extraordinary heroism. I conversed with him shortly after he was wounded and gave him the information that his regiment had just completed taking its assigned objective, Hill 244, in a splendid attack. Though mortally wounded he had me tell him the details of the attack that had occurred after he was wounded, and he interrupted me frequently to say, 'That's fine,' "That's fine' - speaking of the conduct of his officers and men which I was describing to him."
The citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in action near Chatel-Chebery is as follows:
"Lieutenant Colonel Shannon voluntarily led an officers' patrol to a depth of three kilometers with in the enemy's lines. As a result of his exceptional bravery and skill in leading this patrol in its contact with the enemy, vital information was obtained at a critical period of the battle, to which much of the success of the next few days was due."
Among the letters written by Harvard men in tribue to his memory the following passages are typical:
"The death of colonel Shannon wounds the very heart of Harvard, for he had made himself one of the great characters of our College."
"Some one said a new colonel had joined the regiment that evening. Well, lead me to him, and who do you think I found. Colonel Jim Shannon. I asked if he knew me and he said, 'Certainly,' so we walked down the street together. He had the same indomintable smile and on the way stopped to fix his boot or something, just as though nothing was the matter. As soon as he took hold, everything straightened out. What had been the nearest thing to a panic became a victory in a manner seemingly most easy. It was four days after that he was killed, but in that time his whole regiment came to love him just as we all did at Harvard. I believe Colonel Shannon the finest man I ever kenw and I believe all others who really knew him feel the same way."