President's Son In Danville

President's Son In Danville

In March of 1919, Archibald Roosevelt, son of former president Theodore Roosevelt, found himself in Danville, and thought, perhaps, he might look up a fellow comrade who had arrived home on leave.

In 1917, shortly after enlisting, Captain Roosevelt was discharged from the Army due to the seriousness of wounds suffered while conducting a raid north of the Toul front in France. He remembered little of the encounter and only knew the facts insofar as he had been told them. He had been caught in an ambush, he had been wounded, and he had been found and taken to safety. But he remembered nothing of the events themselves. It was his hope that a Danville local, a former Army medic, might be able to fill him on the details.

Kenneth Crumpton, son of William and Lena Crumpton of Green Street and later Broad Street, remembered it well. Crumpton and a team of five others (including a nurse from Danville, Angele Millner) found Captain Roosevelt in a disused dugout. He was severely wounded, having been shot in the arm and leg, bleeding profusely, and suffering from shell shock and poison gas. Captain A.W. Kenner (of Richmond) performed First Aid and then Captain Roosevelt was strapped to a litter. Crumpton and others had managed to carry him only a few yards before the Germans attacked again. They quickly made for an abandoned trench system, falling to their bellies and crawling on hands and knees while they pushed Captain Roosevelt along ahead of them. Once concealed in the trench, they were able to wind their way toward the American emergency dressing station.

Crumpton’s recollection of the events was so truly told that Captain Roosevelt, upon hearing it, was instantly reminded of the whole of the event including some conversation he had exchanged with Crumpton at the time.

Years later, during World War II, Captain Roosevelt petitioned his cousin, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to allow him to support the war effort by putting his leadership skills back into use. The president granted his request and Archie rejoined the Army as a lieutenant colonel.

Coincidentally, his service ended once again (and just as early) with an injury that shattered the same knee that had been injured in World War I. He was discharged having been the only American ever to be classified 100% disabled twice for the same wound occurring in two different wars.

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