American Expeditionary Forces Identity Card, Frederick C. Stilson, 23rd Engineer Battalion


Frederick Clarence Stilson (1889‒1974) was an Illinois native who served with the Army Corps of Engineers in the United States Army during World War I. A trained engineer employed by the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission before the war, Stilson was commissioned as a first lieutenant and ordered to report to Fort Sheridan, Illinois, in May 1917. After further training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Stilson’s unit, Company B, 23rd Engineer Battalion, departed for France from Hoboken, New Jersey, in January 1918. He spent a total of 19 months in Europe, before returning to the United States in June 1919. The 23d Engineers were mainly engaged in building highways used by the army to transport men and equipment to the front and in repairing highways destroyed by shell fire and rehabilitating areas contaminated by chemical warfare. The engineers were often at or very close to the front, and Stilson was credited by the army with participating in Saint-Mihiel Offensive and the Toul section of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. On November 11, 1968, Stilson completed a memoir, That Other War, which is as much travelogue as war history, offering detailed descriptions of the French countryside and cities Stilson saw during his leave time. Stilson’s son Malcolm completed editing the memoir in 1993. Another member of the Stilson family later donated the text to the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, which collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans. The Stilson Collection also includes Stilson’s American Expeditionary Forces identity card and numerous photographs that he took of both his training in the United States and his service in Europe.

Last updated: November 14, 2017