I got an email from Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Mastriano, whose discovery of the site in France where Sgt. Alvin York and his men captured four German officers and 128 men and marched them back across the lines was reported around the world. The Colonel writes:
“I am pleased to formally announce that 21 of the 21 .45 Colt ACPs that SGT York fired were found in October 2006. The spot matches the 1919 post war photo and is congruent with both American and German testimony/records. The find was where the German archival data led us. There is no doubt that we found the “York spot.” It was an honor to stand on this hollowed ground – where York earned his Medal of Honor. It was quite a moving experience to actually hold the cartridges that were once in his hands. I am humbled that God has blessed us so. It was incredibly hard work – but it was well worth it.
“The discovery does not end the work. The group is working closely with the mayor of Châtel Chéhéry, Roland Destenay, to create a Sergeant York historic trail to ensure everyone has a chance to walk in the steps of Alvin York to ensure that his legacy is honored. As to the artifacts, the group will donate portions to the mayor of Châtel Chéhéry, the York family and various American museums.”
I hope that some of the 21 casings will go to the York museum at the Sergeant Alvin York Gristmill And Park in Pall Mall Tennessee and to the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.
The Colonel further writes: “In addition to the Colt ACPs, we also found four of the .45 slugs he fired. They were in a row along the exact area where German LT Endriss led the bayonet attack against him. I am pleased to confirm that the archeological evidence is consistent with the York story and puts to an end recent second guessing and revisionist theories to the contrary.
“The mayor of Châtel Chéhéry walked through the area and was shown the artifacts – and he is in agreement with us that the spot was found and that the search is over. He has already agreed to our plan to build a historic trail retracing York’s steps. I have a tentative agreement from three Boy Scout troops to help in this endeavor to start work in the spring.
“It is a great day for the York legacy.” Indeed.
More photos after the break.
Photo credits: Kory O’Keefe
The place where York’s heroics took place.
Photo credits Kory O’Keefe