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Dear Mr. Hoffman,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
The Lost Battalion is the name given to eight American units of the 77th Division, roughly 550 men, isolated by German forces during World War I after an American attack in the Argonne Forest in October 1918. Roughly 197 were killed in action and approximately 150 missing or taken prisoner before 194 remaining men were rescued. They were led by Major Charles White Whittlesey. Units involved were Companies A, B, C, E, G, and H of the 308th Infantry Regiment; Company K of the 307th Infantry Regiment; and Companies C and D of the 306th Machine Gun Battalion.
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Historical Files, 1918 - 1948 in the Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (Record Group 165) that includes The Operation of the So-Called "Lost Battalion", October 2 to 8, 1918. This document has been digitized and is available online.
We also located Records of Divisions, ca. 1918 - 1942 in the Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I) (Record Group 120) that includes records of the 77th Division and its component regiments. The majority of these records are not digitized except the file unit Field Messages - 32.16, ca. 1918 - 1942 includes a digitized copy of the Pigeon Message from Major Whittlesey to the Commanding Officer of the 308th Infantry.
Additionally, we located Records of the 1st Through 338th and the 559th Infantry Regiment, 1916-1921 in the Records of U.S. Regular Army Mobile Units (Record Group 391) that includes records of the 307th and 306th Infantry Regiments; Records of Machine Gun Battalions, 1917 - 1920 in Record Group 120 that includes records of the 306th Machine Gun Battalion; and Records of Infantry Brigade, 1917 - 1919 in Record Group 120 that includes records of the 154th Infantry Brigade to which the 306th and 308th Infantry Regiments and the 306th Machine Gun Battalion were assigned. These records have not been digitized and are not available online.
Next, we located Correspondence with Former Division Officers of the American Expeditionary Forces, 1923 - 1930 in the Records of the American Battle Monuments Commission (Record Group 117) that includes the file [77th Division] [Operations of the Force Known as "The Lost Battalion," From October 2nd to October 7th, 1818, Northeast of Binarville in the Forest of Argonne, France]. These records have not been digitized and are not available online.
For more information about the non-digitized records listed above, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at Archives2reference@nara.gov.
Due to the continued impact of COVID-19, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience as we balance mission-critical work and the safety of our staff during the pandemic. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information.
We also searched online and located the following sources:
Finally, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, the National Museum of the American Army, the US Army Center of Military History, and the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center may have relevant holdings.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
There is considerable information about the history of the 77th Division during WWI (and its specific units) in the Longwood Central School District website. This school is located near the old site of the 77th Division basic training camp -- Camp Upton at Yaphank, Long Island, NY. See http://longwood.k12.ny.us/cms/one.aspx?portalId=2549374&pageId=7244759