Who's Who - Robert Lee Bullard

Robert Lee Bullard Robert Lee Bullard (1861-1947) served as a successful U.S. field commander during World War One and led the first major U.S. offensive of the war at Cantigny.

Born on 5 January 1861 in Lee County Bullard graduated from West Point in 1885 having as a precocious child of six persuaded his father to rename him from William Robert Bullard to Robert Lee Bullard in honour of the U.S. Civil War Confederate leader.  Establishing a reputation as a fighting general he served with distinction in the Spanish-American War on the Mexican border and in the Philippines.

With U.S. entry into the First World War in April 1917 Bullard, a one-time protégé of General Wood and close to Commander-in-Chief John Pershing, was given command of the 1st Infantry Division (known as the "Big Red One") from December 1917.  By the close of the war Bullard rose to command the U.S. Second Army.  As commander of 1st Division Bullard led his forces in what was the U.S. army's first major offensive of the war at Cantigny in April 1918.

In July 1918 while commanding III Corps Bullard played a role in the Aisne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne offensives (earning a reputation as 'Counter-attack Bullard' in the wake of the Second Battle of the Marne).  Bullard, who often served in joint U.S.-French operations, demonstrated admirable diplomatic skills in his dealings with his French counterparts (assisted by his fluency in the language).

After the armistice Bullard - along with many senior officers - suffered a reduction in rank to corps command in a smaller U.S. army.  He retired in 1925 and thereafter served as president of the National Security League (a body dedicated to U.S. war preparedness).  He published in numerous magazines and wrote several books.

Robert Lee Bullard died on 11 September 1947 at the age of 86.

An "incendiary shell" is an artillery shell packed with highly flammable material, such as magnesium and phosphorous, intended to start and spread fire when detonated.

- Did you know?

Who's Who