Joseph Theodore Dickman
Major General, United States Army
Joseph Theodore Dickman was born on October 6, 1857, in Dayton, Ohio. He
was commissioned in the 3rd Cavalry upon graduation from West Point in
1881. He served in the Geronimo campaign and on the Mexican border patrol
against the Garza revolutionists and in the capture of the outlaws, Benavides and Gonzales.
While at Fort Riley, Kansas (1893-94) as an instructor at the Cavalry and Light Artillery School, his command was on duty in the Chicago railroad strike in 1894 before he was transferred to Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont.
During the Spanish-American War, Captain Dickman served in the Santiago campaign on the staff of General Joseph Wheeler.
He saw action against insurgents during the Philippine Insurrection in the Island of Panay in 1899-1900 and was promoted to major and lieutenant colonel in a volunteer infantry regiment.
He served as Chief of Staff to General Adna R. Chaffee during the Peking Relief Expedition which followed the Boxer Uprising in China in 1900. While there he saw action in the engagement at Pa-ta-Chao temples, near Peking, on Sept. 26, 1900.
In 1902 he was named to the first General Staff. He graduated from the Army War College in 1905.
He was promoted to Major in March 1906, Lieutenant Colonel in February 1912, and Colonel in December 1914. In May 1917 he was promoted to Brigadier General and in August he became a temporary Major General in command of the 85th Infantry Division, Camp Custer, Michigan.
In November 1917 he commanded the 3rd Infantry Division and took them to France in March 1918. The 3rd Infantry Division saw combat at Chateau-Thierry on May 31 and held the Marne crossings against tremendous offensives while French lines on either side fell back. For this, the 3rd became known as the "Rock of the Marne."
In August 1918 he took over the IV Corps, participating in the St. Mihiel offensive. In October he commanded the I Corps during the Meuse-Argonne offensive.
In November he became the first commander of the Third Army, formed by General Pershing to hold the Coblenz bridgehead and to serve after the war as the Army of Occupation.
After the war, Major General Dickman turned over command of the Third Army to Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett and, as president of a board, prepared and submitted a lessons learned report before returning to the United States to take command of the Southern Department and the VIII Corps Area.
Major General Dickman retired October 6, 1921, but was recalled in 1922 to serve as president of the board charged with the removal of officers from active duty in conjunction with legislation enacted to downsize the force.
Major General Dickman died in Washington, D.C., October 23, 1927, at age 70. He was well-regarded as one of the ablest of officers of the World War, a military scholar, and a natural leader of men.
He was a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, the Society of Indian Wars, the Society of Santiago de Cuba and the Military Order of the World War.
Included among his awards and decorations are:
the Distinguished Service Medal; Croix de Guerre, France; Order of Leopold,
Belgium; Grand Officer of the Crown of Italy; Commander of the Legion of
Honor, France; Knight of the Bath, England; and La Solidaridad, Panama.
The honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by the University of
Cavalry School, 1883
Apache War, 1885-86
Mexican border patrol
operations against Garza revolutionists and the bandits,
Benavides and Gonzales.
Instructor, Cavalry and Light Artillery School, Fort Riley, 1893-94.
Deployed to Chicago railroad strike in 1894.
Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, 1894
Spanish-American War, 1898
Battle of San Juan Hill-El Caney, Santiago de Cuba
Service on staff of General Joseph Wheeler
Philippine Insurrection, 1899-1902
Battles on Island of Panay, 1899-1900
Boxer Rebellion, 1900
Chief of Staff to General Adna R. Chaffee, Peking Relief Expedition
Battle at Pa-ta-Chao, Peking, 26 September 1900
Army General Staff, Washington, D.C., 1902
Army War College, 1905
Inspector General, U.S. Army, 1912
Commander, 2nd Calvary, 1915-17
Brigadier General, May 1917
Commanding General, 85th Infantry Division, Camp Custer, Michigan, August 1917
Commanding General, 3rd Inf. Div., Nov. 1917
Deployed 3rd Div. to France aboard the Leviathan at noon, 4 March 1918
Chateau-Thierry, May 1918
Marne II Offensive, July 1918. While allied forces on both flanks retreated, the 3rd Div. stood fast in the face of fantastic enemy offensives, thus becoming known as, "The Rock of the Marne."
Commanding General, IV Corps, Aug.-Sep. 1918
Saint-Mihiel Offensive, Sep. 1918
Commanding General, I Corps, Oct.-Nov. 1918
Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Sep.-Nov. 1918
Commanding General, Third Army, Nov. 1918-Apr. 1919
Established by General Pershing in France to advance to the Rhein and hold the Coblenz bridgehead, then prepare to serve after the war as the Army of Occupation. The Third Army would have become the Army of Occupation whether or not the enemy signed the peace agreement. American fighting units not sent home were consolidated under Third Army and prepared to attack if Germany did not accept the terms of peace. The United States itself was not to sign the agreement but remained technically at war with Germany for two more years.
President, Tactics and Organization Board, which reported on lessons learned during the war, April-July 1919.
Commanding General, Southern Dept. and VIII Corps Area, 1919-21
Retired 6 October 1921
Recalled to preside over postwar-Army downsizing board, 1922.
GENERAL DICKMAN’S FUNERAL
He Will be Buried in Arlington Tomorrow With Military Honors
WASHINGTON, October 24, 1927 – Major General Joseph T. Dickman will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery tomorrow with full military honors. Chaplain John T. Axton, Jr. will officiate at the grave, in the southern section, near the tomb of General Nelson A. Miles. The escort will consist of the United States Army Band, Headquarters Troop of the Third Cavalry, Battalion C of the Sixteenth Field Artillery and the Thirteenth Regiment of Engineers.
The pallbearers will be Major General Merritte W. Ireland, Surgeon General of the Army; Brigadier Generals William J. Nicholson, Thomas H. Stevens and Joseph A. Gaston, all retired; Colonels Albert E. Saxton and William Shrunk, both retired; Colonel M. R. Hilgard of the Quartermaster Corps and Lieutenant Colonel A. B. Coxe of the Cavalry.
Regret of the Army over the death of General Dickman was official voiced today by F. Trubee Davison as Acting Secretary of War.
“The death of General Dickman,” he said, “must
occasion regret to all who have knowledge of his eminent career.
Not only is he the first to pass from the small group of our Army commanders
in the World War, but his military service typified the highest degree
of personal attainments. During his active duty in the Army for a
period of over forty-five years he participated in every war to which his
country was a party. By diligent application to study and by constant
devotion to duty he demonstrated the highest attributes of the military
DICKMAN, MARY RECTOR WIDOW OF JOSEPH T
Photo By Michael Robert Patterson, 1999
Posted: 23 December 2001 Updated: 4 March 2003 Updated: 21 August 2003 Updated: 4 September 2004 Updated: 20 April 2007
Updated: 3 January 2008
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003