Texas GLO and Texas Military Forces Museum collaborate on digitization of World War I maps

April 6th marked 100 years since U.S. entered World War I | Maps now online for all to view and reproductions available for purchase

Contact: Brittany Eck
(512) 463-5708
PDF Version
PRESS RELEASE — Apr 18, 2017

AUSTIN — Today Commissioner George P. Bush announced a digitization project between the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Military Forces Museum providing digital access to several unique maps documenting the movements of the 36th Infantry Division in France during World War I. The digitized maps are now available, for the first time, on the Texas General Land Office (GLO) map database, along with more than 45,000 other maps, sketches and drawings.

"The Texas General Land Office has been a leading institution in digitizing archival records," said Commissioner Bush. "As the great grandson of a U.S. Army field artillery captain who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I, I am fascinated by the detailed story of military strategy and troop movement told through these maps. By collaborating with the Texas Military Forces Museum, we are helping researchers and military history buffs better understand World War I, and it is another way the GLO is working to save Texas history."

April 6th marked the centennial of the United States Armed Forces' entry into World War I in 1917. With this digitization project, the Texas General Land Office is helping to remember the Great War, and Texas' involvement in one of humanity's deadliest conflicts. In September, the GLO Save Texas History Program will host its 8th Annual Save Texas History Symposium in Austin, featuring more than a dozen speakers on various aspects of Texas and the Great War. Learn more about the symposium at SaveTexasHistory.org/Symposium.

"TXGLO.com is a premier presence online for researchers, including surveyors, oil and gas professionals, genealogists, historians and everyone interested in our state's great history," said Commissioner Bush. "The addition of these maps will provide insight for scholars and WWI enthusiasts interested in the movements of the 36th Infantry Division."

The digitized maps in this collection were used by Brigadier General John A. Hulen, commander of the 36th Infantry Division's 72nd Infantry Brigade in the battle of St. Etienne. General Hulen's hand written notes can be easily seen on the maps as well as the brightly colored red and blue lines drawn in pencil to indicate unit boundaries, objectives and assembly areas. In addition to these priceless combat-related artifacts are maps created by the headquarters of the 36th Infantry Division after it was pulled off the line. These maps detail the scope of operations between St. Etienne and the Aisne River.

Shortly after the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the mobilization of the National Guard. Troops from the Texas National Guard were combined with soldiers from the Oklahoma National Guard to create the 36th Infantry Division in July 1917. Under the command of Major General Edwin St. John Grebble, the 36th Infantry Division sailed to France in the summer of 1918. After a month of additional training, the division (minus its artillery) was assigned as a reserve to the French 4th Army.

During the U.S. Army's Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the 4th Army was stationed on the left flank of the American force. In early October 1918, the 36th Infantry Division went into the front lines to assist the U.S. 2nd Division in the battle for Mont Blanc. On Oct. 8 and 9, the men of the 36th launched an attack on German lines near the village of St. Etienne. After two days of hard fighting, the Germans retreated back to the Aisne River. The 36th Division pursued aggressively and on Oct. 27, 1918, the 71st Brigade overran a strongly fortified German bridgehead on the south bank of the river at Forest Farm. After twenty-four days of constant combat and movement, the division was pulled off the line on Oct. 28, and transferred to the U.S. 1st Army. Following the armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, the 36th participated in the occupation of Germany before returning to the United States in the spring of 1919.

During the war, the 36th Infantry Division suffered total combat casualties of 2,024 men (874 killed; 506 gassed; 644 wounded). The 36th Division is credited with freeing the city of Rheims from German occupation. During 24 days of combat, the division advanced 13.8 miles and captured 813 prisoners, three pieces of heavy artillery, six pieces of light artillery, 17 trench mortars, and 277 machine guns. Members of the 36th Division received 30 Distinguished Service Crosses and 128 French Croix de Guerre. Two men in the 36th earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.

About the Texas Military Forces Museum
The Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry has an extensive collection of artifacts related to the 36th Infantry Division's service in World War I. The Texas Military Forces Museum is located in Building 6 on Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. The street address of Camp Mabry is 2200 West 35th Street. The 45,000-square foot Texas Military Forces Museum explores the history of the Lone Star State's militia and volunteer forces from 1823 (date of the first militia muster in Stephen F. Austin's colony) to 1903 when the Congress created the National Guard. From 1903 to the present the museum tells the story of the Texas Army and Air National Guard, as well as the Texas State Guard, in both peacetime and wartime. Admission to the museum is always free. Please visit http://texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org/to learn more.

About the Texas General Land Office's Save Texas History program
The GLO is a leader in archival digitization, and has been since 2000. More than 3 million documents and 45,000 maps, sketches and drawing have been digitized as full-color, high resolution images, which are available on the GLO web site. On average, the GLO adds approximately 10,000 archival images to its web page each month. The GLO has helped digitize several external collections for other institutions, including the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Sophienburg Library and Museum, and others.

Created in 2004, the Save Texas History program is a statewide initiative to rally public support and private funding for the preservation and promotion of the historic maps and documents housed in the GLO Archives and serves as a resource for teaching and digitizing Texas history. To donate to the Save Texas History program or to adopt a document or collection, assist with archival acquisitions, develop educational programs or support digital projects, please visit SaveTexasHistory.org. Follow Save Texas History on Facebook at Facebook.com/SaveTXHistory and Twitter at @SaveTXHistory.

About the Texas General Land Office's Veterans Land Board
For more than half a century, the VLB has been keeping the promise to serve Texas veterans. The VLB provides the best benefits package in the nation exclusively for Texas veterans, military members and their families. For additional information on Texas State Veterans Homes, Texas State Veterans Cemeteries and special home, land and home improvement loans through the VLB, call 1-800-252-VETS (1-800-252-8387), or visit the VLB website at TexasVeterans.com. Follow the VLB at Facebook.com/TXVLB, and Twitter at Twitter.com/TexasVLB, and YouTube at Youtube.com/user/TexasVLB. Read the VLB Blog at TexasVeteransBlog.com.

More Press Releases