Rumsey E. Dodson was a native of Madison County, Va., born in 1894 to Joseph and Elizabeth Dodson. He was the fourth of eight children. His father was a farmer, and in the early years of the 20th century, young Rumsey had followed in his footsteps.
By 1916, the Culpeper Exponent newspaper listed Dodson as a member of Company B, 2nd Virginia Infantry of the Virginia National Guard. He served along the Mexican border in 1917, tracing Pancho Villa and the Punitive Expedition. Shortly thereafter, his unit was re-designated as Company I, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division.
Dodson went with the unit for training at Camp McClellan, Ala., and the subsequent induction of the 29th into the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I. In June 1918, Dodson and his compatriots were sent to the Western Front.
The 29th participated in the largest American effort of World War I, the Meuse-Argonne Campaign. The meat grinder of the Argonne would turn out to be the largest offensive in American history, with over 1.2 million soldiers participating and over 26,000 killed in action.
Dodson managed to fight his way to the end of the campaign unscathed only to fall ill after the Armistice went into effect. When the 29th Division was ready to set sail for home in 1919, Dodson became so sick with tuberculosis that he was forced to stay behind. He died on June 13, 1919. His remains were repatriated in 1922 and he was re-interred of the Culpeper National Cemetery in Virginia.
We honor his service.