William Sidney Graves
Graves in 1918
|Born||March 27, 1865|
Mount Calm, Texas
|Died||February 27, 1940 (aged 74)|
Shrewsbury, New Jersey
|Place of Burial|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1889-1928|
|Commands held|| 1st Infantry Division|
8th Infantry Division
World War I
Russian Civil War
|Awards||Distinguished Service Medal|
Philippine Campaign Medal
World War I Victory Medal
Order of the Rising Sun (Japan)
Order of Wen-Hu
Order of the Crown of Italy
Czechoslovak War Cross
Major General William Sidney Graves (27 March 1865 - 27 February 1940), United States Army, commanded American forces in Siberia during the Siberian Expedition, part of the Allied Intervention in Russia.
He was born on 27 March 1865 in Mount Calm, Texas to the Reverend Andrew Carrol, a Southern Baptist minister and Evelyn Bennett. Graves attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated on 12 June 1889.
Graves married Katherine Pauline "Kate" Boyd, daughter of William Lang and Augusta Josephine (née Merriam) Boyd, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on 9 February 1891. Katherine was the niece of his commanding officer, Henry C. Merriam.
He served in the Spanish-American War in the Philippines until 1902. He fought at the Battle of Caloocan as a company commander during the insurrection. He was the assistant chief of the Army General Staff.
In 1918, he was given command of the 8th Infantry Division and sent to Siberia under direct orders from President Woodrow Wilson. He landed on September 1, 1918. His orders were to remain strictly apolitical amidst a politically turbulent situation, as a result, he found himself constantly at odds with his Allied peers, the State Department, and various Russian groups.
Given some 7,000 soldiers in what was called the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.), he settled on the idea of making sure the Trans-Siberian railroad stayed operational and brought in a number of railroad experts to run the railway. His troops did not intervene in the Russian Civil War despite strong pressure brought on him to help the White army of Admiral Kolchak. Early on, Graves developed a strong distaste for Kolchak and his government.
Graves thought that the British, French, and Japanese forces in Siberia were all following self-serving political ambitions beyond the stated goals of the Allies, which were to protect supplies provided by the powers to their erstwhile Tsarist allies and to provide for the safe conduct of foreign allied troops, primarily Czechs, who were to exit Russia via Vladivostok. Graves believed, correctly, that the British and French were trying to suppress Bolshevik forces (thought by some to be the result of German provocateurs). He also believed (again correctly) that the Japanese had plans to annex parts of Eastern Siberia (the Amur region, east of Lake Baikal). The Japanese deployed an estimated 72,000 soldiers--some 6 times the authorized troop level of 12,000 set by the Allies.
U.S. forces operated the Trans-Siberian railroad for almost two years, while bandits roamed the Siberian countryside and the political situation turned chaotic. The U.S. military did accomplish its main objective and the entire Czech Legion was evacuated out of Russia via Vladivostok. The last U.S. soldiers left Siberia April 1, 1920. Historian Benson Bobrick wrote of Graves: "In the whole sad debacle, he may have been the only honorable man."
General Graves was promoted to the rank of major general on 11 July 1925, and retired from the army in 1928. He then wrote a book about his time in Siberia, entitled America's Siberian Adventure 1918-20.
William and Kate would have four children, "infant Graves" (who died as a newborn on October 27, 1891, and is buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado-), Marjorie (19 November 1892 - 24 February 1894; also buried at Ft. Logan NC.), Sidney Carroll (1893-1974, USMA 1915) and Dorothy (Mrs. William R. Orton). Major Sidney C. Graves would receive a Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) in World War I, and then a second DSC in the Russia campaign, and in 1921 married Olga Roosevelt (Bayne), a relative of President Theodore Roosevelt, both descendants of Cornelius van Schaick Roosevelt (her grandfather, Robert Barnwell Roosevelt, and the president's father, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., were brothers).
His awards included: