Captain Alexander Dickson (Dixon) Wilson
- Unit: 4th Division, 59th Infantry Regiment, Company A
- Date of Birth: February 15, 1892
- Entered the Military: May 12, 1917
- Date of Death: September 30, 1918
- Hometown: Binghamton, New York
- Place of Death: Meuse, France
- Cemetery: Block C, Row 38, Grave 39. Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne-Sous-Montfaucon, France
On February 15, 1892, Alexander D. Wilson was born in Binghamton, New York. As a child and young adult, Wilson attended Exeter and Princeton Preparatory School.
Wilson then attended Yale University where he played on the freshman football team, and later the varsity football team. In his senior year, he served as team captain and was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. He planned to go into business after graduating.
Wilson enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 1917 and was sent to Camp Green, North Carolina, where he underwent military training with thousands of other enlisted and drafted citizen soldiers. There is not much information to be found about Wilson’s experience at Camp Green, as the Wilson family no longer has any of his letters.
In May 1918, Wilson landed in Liverpool, England. From there, he traveled across the country to Dover, where he boarded a ship bound for Calais, France. Wilson and Company A trekked across France and ended up in the Aisne area, near the front lines.
Towards the end of September, Company A saw fighting in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. U.S. Army infantry records detailed poor visibility with cold and rainy weather conditions and near-constant heavy German artillery fire.
On the morning of September 30, Wilson was shot in the elbow while trying to get his men towards the front trenches. Wilson refused medical attention and kept moving his men forward. Shortly thereafter, Wilson was shot in the head and died instantly in a foxhole near the front lines of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
Captain Alexander D. Wilson was buried in a temporary grave in Cuisy, Meuse, France. It was not until after 1921 that the permanent Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery opened and began reinterring American soldiers. Captain Wilson’s family decided to inter his remains in the new cemetery.
In the 1930s, the American government established the Gold Star Mothers Program, which paid for the mothers of deceased American service members to visit their loved one’s graves abroad. In 1933, Wilson’s mother, Mrs. Nelleor Wilson, was invited to join the pilgrimage and she participated in 1934. Captain Wilson’s grave can still be found in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, France.
4th Division; Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), Records of Combat Divisions, 1917-1919, Record Group 120 (Box 10); National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.
4th Division; Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), Records of Combat Divisions, 1917-1919, Record Group 120 (Boxes 40-41); National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.
Alexander D. Wilson Veteran Claim File; Correspondence, Reports, Telegrams, Applications and Other Papers relating to Burials of Service Personnel, Records of the Quartermaster General’s Office, 1915-1935, Record Group 92; National Archives and Records Administration – St. Louis.
Alexander D. Wilson World War I Burial Case File; Correspondence, Reports, Telegrams, Applications and Other Papers relating to Burials of Service Personnel, Records of the Quartermaster General’s Office, 1915-1935, Record Group 92; National Archives and Records Administration – St. Louis.
Dunn, Sergeant First Class C. E. View showing the 4th Division radio outfit working among the ruins of Cuisy… Photograph. October 1, 1918. National Archives and Records Administration (111-SC-30077). Image.
Hanson, Colonel A. H. Men of the 32nd, 28th, and 4th Div. receiving warm food…..Mont-St.-Martin, France. Photograph. August 6, 1918. National Archives and Records Administration (111-SC-21860). Image.
Jackson, Lieutenant. Ruins of [Cuisy], Meuse, France... Photograph. September 28, 1918. National Archives and Records Administration (111-SC-38312). Image.
Wilson Family Photographs. 1916-1934. Courtesy of the Wilson Family.