Abel Davis

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Brigadier General Abel Davis was an officer in the Illinois National Guard. He was regarded as "the second highest ranking Jewish officer in the Illinois National Guard, and one of the highest ranking Jewish officers in the United States Army." He served in the 66th infantry [1]

Early life[edit]

At a young age, Abel Davis moved from Lithuania to Chicago.

Spanish-American War[edit]

As a teenager, he fought in the Spanish-American War.[2]

World War I[edit]

In World War I, Davis commanded the 132nd U.S. Infantry of Illinois, which was most notable for its engagement in the Battle of Verdun. He became a highly decorated officer for his bravery in battle.[2] The group under Davis' command consisted of a single battalion of 8-inch howitzers of the 44th Regiment Colonial Army Corps and the 2nd Battalion of the 123rd Field Artillery (155-millimeter howitzers). [3]On May 16, 1918, the 132nd U.S. Infantry regiment had sailed on the "Mount Vernon" troop transport from Hoboken, New Jersey. They arrived at Brest, France between May 23 and May 30 under Davis' command. While in France they served alongside the British 173rd and 174th brigades as well as the British 4th army. They trained with both British and Australian forces before receiving their "baptism of fire" in the battle of Hamel.[4] While in France, the 132nd Infantry under Davis' command had a mission to break through the enemy positions in front of and in the Bois De Forges and organize the Verdun-Sedan road 400 meters north of the Bois de Forges. [5] The 131st was assembled in the northern part of the Bois de Forges and placed under Davis' command along with the 132nd Infantry. They had to cross the River Consenvoye the next day. [6]

Charitable work & post-military career[edit]

In 1906, Davis helped in the organization of the Young Men’s Jewish Charities of Chicago. In 1912, he became a director for the Chicago Jewish Charities.

After World War I ended, he became involved in "Chicago Jewish charitable affairs" and oversaw many war relief drives.[2] At 52, he became the vice-president of the Chicago Title and Trust Company. By 1919, "he served as general chairman of the nonsectarian Joint Distribution Committee’s War Relief Drive." [1] He was the "chairman of the 1926 and 1927 Chicago conferences of the United Jewish Campaign." [1]

Awards and Medals[edit]

Davis' World War I record earned him a number of prestigious medals such as the Distinguished Service Cross,[7] the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Cross of the French Legion of Honor.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Gen. Abel Davis Resigns from Illinois National Guard Post". Global Jewish News Source. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Jewish Lists". Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ Illinois in the World War. 1921. p. 238. 
  4. ^ Semper Paratus: A short history of the 132nd Infantry Regiment. 2013. p. 7. 
  5. ^ Illinois in the World War. 1921. p. 76-77. 
  6. ^ Illinois in the World War. 1921. p. 99-100. 
  7. ^ Awarded for actions during the World War I. Military Times Hall of Valor. Retrieved November 19, 2013