Battle Malone Barksdale was the youngest of seven children. He was born in February 1916 in Mississippi [Annotator's Note: Vaiden, Mississippi]. His family moved to Jackson [Annotator's Note: Jackson, Mississippi] in 1923. His father was a surgeon. Barksdale was the president of his class in high school. When he was in the first grade he came home, and the house was on fire. He went to Vicksburg [Annotator's Note: Vicksburg, Mississippi] in the YPSL [Annotator's Note: Young People's Service League]. He could have gone to West Point [Annotator's Note: United States Military Academy in West Point, New York] that year or waited until the next year and gone into the Naval Academy [Annotator's Note: United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland]. He decided to go to West Point [Annotator's Note: 1 July 1933]. His father went with him from Vicksburg to New Orleans [Annotator's Note: New Orleans, Louisiana] to take the exam. The exam was hard. He was a second alternate.
Battle Malone Barksdale was in H Company [Annotator's Note: Company H - unable to further identify - at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York]. Most of his classmates are dead now. He had a good left hook [Annotator's Note: he is referring to boxing]. His roommate was operated on for appendicitis [Annotator's Note: inflammation of the appendix]. Barksdale's brother came up for his graduation. Most of his classmates were battalion commanders. He was at West Point for two years before he got to go home [Annotator's Note: in 1937]. It was a severe place. Omar Bradley [Annotator's Note: US Army General Omar Nelson Bradley] was a battalion commander. One man was reported for shivering in ranks. They were supposed to smell like men if they worked like men. No shaving lotion. Next, he went to Fort Benning, Georgia. They had horses and they had them shined up. His battalion was horse-drawn. The general asked who the stable officer was. He wanted to know all the horses' names. Barksdale had been there for two weeks, and he did not know all their names. He eventually learned the names.
Battle Malone Barksdale was married to his wife Grace for 66 years. They were married on 29 August 1939. After they married, he went to Hawaii. He was a battle commander [Annotator's Note: of the 13th Field Artillery Regiment, which became the 13th Field Artillery Battalion on 1 October 1941]. He had to turn in some paperwork. When the Japanese attacked a Sunday morning he was shaving. He told Grace she needed to wake up. They went on the front porch and the neighbors came over. It was the 7th of December [Annotator's Note: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941]. The planes were flying low, and they were bombing the field. Five of his soldiers were killed. They had been practicing their battle positions, so they all knew where they needed to go. Grace got under the table for protection. When she turned on the radio there was a Japanese album playing, "I don't want to make history, I want to make love," and this made her laugh. Barksdale had to report to duty. There were stationed out in the field in case of an invasion. Grace went home from Hawaii. He wrote to Grace. He was going to send her money. The amount of money was a secret code. It meant the number of days before he would go home. He went home in August 1942. The Japanese were treetop high when they were attacking. The attack was a surprise. When he got home, he went to work for the commanding officer at Fort Sill [Annotator's Note: in Lawton, Oklahoma].
Battle Malone Barksdale was the operations officer for his group [Annotator's Note: the 635th Field Artillery Battalion]. They had eight-inch howitzers [Annotator's Note: 8-inch gun M1; 203-millimeter towed heavy gun]. They had a nice long range. Grace's father wrote him a letter when he was in Korea [Annotator's Note: Korean War, 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953]. In Korea, he had a great commanding officer. In World War 2, Barksdale participated in the Battle of the Bulge [Annotator's Note: Battle of the Bulge or German Ardennes Counter-Offensive, 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945]. He had two different jobs when they were in Cologne [Annotator's Note: Cologne (Köln), Germany]. They pulled his unit back. The Germans were not doing anything. They did a lot of firing at the Germans. After the war, when he was in Korea, he was the artillery advisor for a Korean division. They would attack at night. His main mission was to supply the ammunition. In World War 2, he got to England on 15 November 1944. When the Germans attacked, he had a lot of men who were ill in his battalion. They were living in close quarters. In Cologne, he dealt with the artillery.
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