FRANCIS AUGUSTUS WOOLFLEY
Francis Augustus Woolfley was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on April 30, 1893. In 1901, the family moved to Lake Charles Louisiana. Woolfley enlisted in Company "K", 1st Louisiana Infantry, serving as enlisted man and commissioned officer in the Louisiana National Guard until he entered in the regular army in 1917. His time in the National Guard included active Federal service during the Mexican border mobilization in 1916. In 1917, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army. In the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, he was a captain and company commander of Company "M", 56th Infantry, 7th Division, serving in Alsace Lorraine and during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. For his actions in these campaigns, he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action.
As a major, Woolfley was Commandant of Cadets and Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Louisiana State University from 1921 to 1925. Correspondence and photographs for these years are filed with the University Archives. He was assigned to National Guard duty with the Puerto Rican National Guard from 1926 to 1929. From 1929 to 1938, he was either a student or an instructor at various army training commands. In 1938, Woolfley was assigned to the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He received his star as Brigadier General in 1943 and became Assistant Division Commander, 76th Infantry Division, serving at various posts in the U.S. and in England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. For his actions in the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central European campaigns during World War II, General Woolfley was awarded the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, an Oak Leaf Cluster for the Silver Star and the Air Medal. He was also decorated by the French, Belgian, Luxembourg, and Russian Governments. In 1949, Woolfley was appointed to the Joint Military Mission for Aid to Turkey and accompanied Turkish troops to Korea in 1952. He retired from active duty on April 30, 1953 at the age of 60.
Governor Robert Kennon appointed Woolfley Director of Civil Defense for Louisiana in 1953. He served in this position until 1958 and was reappointed by Governor Jimmie Davis in 1960. At this time, he was also named as Assistant State Adjutant General . Woolfley served in these positions until 1964. General Woolfley was active in several military and civic organizations including the 76th Infantry Division Association, the American Legion, the Military Order of World Wars, The Civil War Round Table of New Orleans and the New Orleans Opera Club.
In 1920, General Woolfley married Rosalie Elizabeth Dufour, daughter of Judge and Mrs. Horace L. Dufour of New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the father of three children: Francis A., Jr., born 1921; Rosalie Elizabeth, born 1926, and H. L. Dufour, born 1932. General Woolfley died September 16, 1993 at the age of 100.
Scope and Content Note
Military papers include general and special orders covering General Woolfley's army career from 1913 to 1953, lectures and training manuals, rosters and telephone directories, maps, photographs and printed materials. A significant portion of the military papers relate to the general's tour of duty with the 76th Infantry Division. Material covering his tenure as Commandant of Cadets at Louisiana State University is filed with the University Archives.
Printed materials, official and personal correspondence, photographs, and newspaper clippings document General Woolfley's service as Louisiana Director of Civil Defense and Assistant Adjutant General from 1953 to 1958 and again from 1960 to 1964. Also included in the collection are typescripts of the general's autobiography (6 volumes), two copies of an autobiography of W. C. Flanders, a biographical sketch of Francis Augustus Woolfley (Auguste Wolfle', the original Swiss spelling of the family name) and a privately printed genealogy of the Woolfley family.
I. Military Papers, 1913-1953
correspondence and photographs covering General Woolfley's military career
from his enlistment in the Louisiana National Guard as a private in 1913
to his retirement as Brigadier General in 1953. Special and general orders
and official correspondence relate to duty with the Louisiana National
Guard, as company commander of a rifle squad in World War I; a tour of
duty with the Puerto Rican National Guard as an infantry instructor;
Battalion Commander, 10th U. S. Infantry, Ft. Thomas, Kentucky; instructor
and Chief of the Tactical Section, Ft. Benning, Georgia, 1938-1942;
Commander of the 377th Infantry Regiment, 95th Infantry Division at Camp
Swift, Texas and as Assistant Division Commander of the 76th Infantry
Division from 1943 to 1945.
Lectures, maps and photographs record training exercises as both a student and an instructor at the Army War College, Command and General Staff College, the Infantry School and as preparation for battle in both World Wars I and II. Of particular interest are photographs of the meeting between soldiers of the 76th Infantry and Russian troops in Germany at the end of World War II.
II. Personal Papers, 1927-1980
General Woolfley's personal papers record his relationships with officers and enlisted men during his forty years in the National Guard and United States Army. Also included are letters relating to the Generals continued interest in conservative causes and to his membership in various military and civic organizations after his retirement. These organizations include the 76th Infantry Association, the General Society of the War of 1812, the Civil War Roundtable, Sons of the American Revolution, the New Orleans Opera Club, and the Military Order of the World Wars. Letters to Louisiana Senators and Representatives such as F. Edward Hebert, Russell Long, and Lindy Boggs document his continued interest in state and national issues.
III. Civil Defense Papers, 1953-1958, 1960-1964
Civil Defense papers of General Woolfley relate to his tenures as State Director of Civil Defense for Louisiana from 1953 to 1958 when he was appointed by Governor Robert Kennon and then again from 1960 to 1964 when appointed by Governor Jimmie Davis. Official correspondence between General Woolfley and Gen Raymond Fleming, State Adjutant General; Gen. Robert Maraist, New Orleans Civil Defense Director; Col. Frank Speis, Deputy Director of State Civil Defense and other state and national Civil Defense agency heads document the concerns of the states during the Cold War. Printed materials include pamphlets, preparation plans for nuclear war and numerous meeting and conference agenda. Of particular interest are plans and newspaper clippings for "Operation Chlorine," the raising of a chlorine-filled barge which had sunk in the Mississippi River near Natchez, and photographs of "Operation Cue," an above ground test of a nuclear weapon the Nevada desert. Photographs from various meetings and conferences across the state are also included in the collection.
Included in the collection is the typescript of General Woolfley's autobiography in six volumes which documents his life until 1975. Two different copies of the autobiography of
W. C. Flanders, General Woolfley's great grandfather are also included as is a biographical sketch of Francis Augustus Woolfley, I, the general's grandfather. This sketch dates the anglicization of the Swiss name Wolfle' to Woolfley.
A bound monograph,
privately printed and titled The Genealogy of the Woolfley Family in
America, traces the general's family from the arrival of Stephen
Woolfley in New Orleans in 1841 through the birth of General Woolfley's
first great grandchild, Francis Augustus Woolfley V, in 1972. The Dufours,
Mrs. Woolfley's family, are represented by an additional volume titled
attended The 1947 convention in Indianapolis will long remember the
stirring session at which each of the 106th's General Officers spoke on
The history of the Division. Brigadier General Francis A. Woolfey, CG
from 16 Aug to 2 Oct '45, was unable to attend the convention, but in
response to our request, has submitted a resume of the highlights during
his period of command.
At Hof, Germany, on 6 August 1946, orders were received relieving me from duty as Assistant Division Commander, 76th Infantry Division, and transferring me to the 106th Infantry Division, then located at Karlsruhe, Germany. Having received several days warning of my new assignment, I was able to depart without delay and on the evening of 7 August reported to General Stroh at his quarters in the former Swedish Consulate at Karlsruhe.
Neither the 106th Infantry Division nor its commander were new to me, for I was even then well acquainted with the glorious sacrifices made by the Golden Lions in the Battle of the Bulge, and Don Stroh and I had entered the service together and had served together on the faculty of the Infantry School.
Upon joining I found the 106th Division performing occupational duties in the BRUCHSAL-KARLSRUHE area and preparing for redeployment to the United States. The 159th Infantry, a Class II unit, was attached to the Division and undergoing training at Camp Alan W. Jones. Low point men were scheduled for transfer to Class I and II units and further combat service against the Japanese. However. the week that followed brought a great change in the situation.
The Stars and Stripes headlines on 8 August featured the first use of the atomic bomb against Japan at Hiroshima. On succeeding days this paper bore equally startling headlines: on 9 August, "Russia Declares War on Japan"; on 10 August, "Nagasaki 2d Atomic Bomb Victim"; and on 11 August, "Japan Sues For Peace", and on 15 August, news was received by the Division in Karlsruhe that the Japanese had accepted the surrender terms. The whole picture had changed. The grim prospects of fighting in the Pacific faded for the Golden Lions.
On 16 August, Major General Donald A. Stroh, who had commanded the 106th Infantry Division since 7 February 1945, left for reassignment in the United States, and I became the fourth and last commander of the Division.
On this same date, warning instructions were received by telephone from the Seventh U. S. Army to begin preparations for movement to an assembly area and for ultimate redeployment to the States. This was followed by written orders received 24 August to move the 106th Division, less the Band, to Camp Oklahoma City, arriving there I1 September 1945. On 25 August, the 159th Infantry relieved the 106th Division of occupational duties in the BRUCHSAL-KARLSRUHE area, and was relieved of attachment to the 106th Infantry Division, and was attached to the 100th Division. On 27 August, the 106th Reconnaissance Troop which had been operating the Division Recreation Center at EUPEN, BELGIUM, closed in the KARLSRUHE area.
During the month of August, the transfer of Personnel to and from the division continued and constituted a major problem. 209 Officers and 7,238 enlisted men were transferred from the division during this period and 239 officers and 10,344 enlisted reinforcements received. Thus the division received almost a complete turnover in personnel in a single month and it became the task of commanders and staffs to make these combat veterans feel at home in their new outfit and to inculcate in them in a very short time.
Division, dated 7 September 1945. The Division Command Post closed at Karlsruhe and opened at Camp Lucky Strike 110800 September 1945, at which time the 106th Division was relieved from assignment to Seventh Army and attachment to XXI Corps and passed to the control of Chanor Base Section. The motor movement consumed three days, and included many places of historical interest in both World War I and World War 1I, on its route: Karlsruhe, Zweibrucken, Saarbrucken, Metz (first bivouac), Verdun, Ste. Menchould, Chalons, Reims, Soissons (second bivouac), Compiegne, Clermont, Beauvais, Gournay, St. Saens, Yerville, St. Valery, Camp Lucky Strike.
The stay of the Division at Camp Lucky Strike was brief. Here was held its last formal ceremony during which it was my honor and privilege to decorate the colors of the 81st Engineer Combat Battalion with the Presidential Unit Citation for their courageous action in the Battle of The Ardennes in the vicinity of St. Vith, and to pin the unit citation badge on all original members of the battalion still present.
The Division commenced its embarkation on 20 September with the loading of the U. S. Victory at Le Havre. The complete story of the embarkation and journey home cannot be told. Loading plans were out of Division's hands and troops were loaded as ships became available. The second ship out carried Division Headquarters and we never knew on what ships the remainder embarked or where they landed. Division Headquarters and 3,700 troops of the division loaded on the "Marechal Joffre" during the afternoon of the 21st of September and sailed from Le Havre, France, Saturday, 22 September 1945.
The sighting of mines during the first morning out caused a flurry of excitement and the firing of the ship's guns in an effort to detonate these mines brought to many of those aboard memories of more exciting channel crossings.
The remainder of the voyage of the Marechal Joffre was uneventful. At 1030, 1 October, land was sighted and at 1300 the Marcdial Joffre entered New York harbor with a huge Golden Lion proudly displayed on her side. We received a noisy welcome as we proceeded past the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson. As the troops of the Marechal Joffre debarked at Camp Shanks, General Stroh was on hand to meet old friends and to extend the official welcome of the War Department.
The last order of the Division, its deactivation order, was issued 2 October 1945. Within less than twenty-four hours all troops arriving on the Marechal Joffre had cleared Camp Shanks for separation centers. The Golden Lion Division with a great record of courageous achievement passed into history.
Page last revised
James D. West