William Battle was born May 04, 1891 in Sparrow Point, Maryland to Annie and Richard Battle. He grew up Baptist and went to a public preparatory school. William later moved to Berkley, Virginia, where he lived with his wife Laura Battle (her maiden name was Woodhurst, born 1897). Together William and Laura did not have any children before his time in the war. Outside his home life, William Battle was a laborer before the war, and he worked for the US Preserving Company.
Private First Class Battle enlisted October 27, 1917 in the Virginia National Guard as an Infantryman. He was assigned to Company G, 15th Regiment, 93rd Division, and conducted his basic training at Camp Lee in Virginia. He said that his time spent in training improved his overall health greatly. He was later transferred to Camp Merrit, NJ under the 39th Training Battalion. He was then promoted to Private First Class before he embarked from New York City on the troop transport USS Pocahontas. He landed at Santa Diego and was sent to the Champagne Front, where on April 4, 1918 he saw his first action. William said of his overseas experience that it “did not bother me at all.” Furthermore, he said the conflict he was faced with improved his religious beliefs, and that at the end of his of whole experience in the military he came out as a better man.
William Returned home from his overseas deployment to Camp Lee February 12, 1919. He was discharged February 27, 1919. Upon his return to Norfolk, he and his wife rented a room from Martha Kerney on Martin Street. After the war he continued to live in Virginia and work as a laborer at the shipyard.
“William Battle,” World War I History Commission Questionnaires, Library of Virginia.
United States Census, 1920.
Sean Carmody is an ROTC cadet at Old Dominion University.