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Kentucky National Guard Memorial

Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Bingham, Louis louis bingham headstone web(P1, C3, L4)

Private Louis Bingham, 22, of Sturgis, Union County was killed in action on 2 October 1918.  Memorial services were held at the First Baptist Church in Sturgis on 15 December 1918.

Bingham had been sentenced to three years in the Greendale Reform School in Lexington for “housebreaking”. He was later pardoned with 35 others so that he could join the Kentucky Guard for the Mexican Punitive Expedition. At the time of his enlistment in the Company I, Lexington, of the First Kentucky Infantry Regiment, Kentucky National Guard, 28 June 1916, he listed his civilian occupation as clerk. He was not mustered on 8 July 1916 when his unit went on federal active duty for the Punitive Expedition. He and all the Greendale boys were rejected because of their past brushes with the law.

The Kentucky Brigade was mobilized for the Mexican Punitive Expedition in June of 1916 and trained at Fort Thomas, Kentucky.  In August 1916 the Brigade moved to Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas.  They were stationed at Camp Owen Bierne, some two miles from Fort Bliss.  They were attached to the 10th U.S. Provisional Division under command of Brigadier General Charles G. Morton.  Their mission was to conduct patrols along a sixty-mile-stretch of the Rio Grande River to Fort Hancock, Texas.   In February 1917 they were ordered back to Fort Thomas and mustered out.

The Kentucky Guard remained on high alert following the border duty as they prepared for United States involvement in World War One. The Kentucky Guard was busy recruiting to its increased strength levels. With Governor A. O. Stanley's pardon for the Greendale boys in hand — Bingham reenlisted on 5 June 1917 with Company E, Madisonville, of the 3rd Kentucky Infantry Regiment. At this time he listed his birthplace as Hopkins County and occupation as a farmer and his residence as Sturgis.

Unfortunately, from this point, his paper trail disappears until notice of his death is reported in the Kentucky Courier-Journal on 18 December 1918 as having died on the battlefield. He is again mentioned in a 2 Jun 1919 article in the Courier-Journal listing all the Kentuckians who died in World War One from Kentucky.

He likely mobilized with his unit and went to Camp Shelby and later to England and then landing in France. Based on the date of his death, he could have been part of battles in northern France and southern Belgium from late September through October 1918 on the Western Front but there is really no hint as to what unit he was serving in at the time of his death or the location.

Bingham was laid to rest in the Pythian Ridge Cemetery, Sturgis, Union County.


The Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund, Inc., is a recognized 501(c)(3). EIN 26-3705273

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