How Twenty Marines Took Bouresches- Wheat Field Charge
FES Title: “Wheat Field” charge of 6th Marines – around Belleau Wood – to town of Bouresches = 250 started – – 19 or 16 finished taking town.
Alternate Titles: How Twenty Marines Took Bouresches – June 6 1918.
[1927]; How Twenty Marines Took Bouresches (1931, 1934, 1979, 2001, 2002); Twenty Men Take Bouresches [1969]
Date: 05/22/1919
Size: 24″H x 40″W
Medium: oil_single-prime-canvas
Type: subject painting
Published: “Souvenir Pictures of the Great War.” The Ladies Home Journal, September 1919: 24.
caption: How Twenty Marines Took Bouresches

“Sketch Book…featuring the work of outstanding Delaware artists.” Dateline Delaware, September-October 1960: 26.
caption: “How Twenty Marines Took Bouresches”, from a series of paintings commissioned by the War Department in World War I. Nine of the originals are in the State House, Dover.

Holme, Bryan. The Journal of the Century. New York: The Viking Press, 1976: 79.
caption: How twenty marines took Bouresches

Schoonover, Cortlandt. Frank Schoonover, Illustrator of the North American Frontier. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1976: 187.
caption: In Flanders Fields

Brandywine River Museum. Frank E. Schoonover, Illustrator. Chadds Ford, PA: Brandywine River Museum, 1979: 34, 49.
caption: How Twenty Marines Took The Bouorsches, 1919

Ianni, Francis A. World War One Remembered. Wilmington: Delaware Heritage Commission 1993: cover.
no caption

Harrington, Peter. “Images of the Great War.” American History, December 1996: 34.
caption: Figure 6-How twenty marines took Bouresches, F. E. Schoonover

Homsher, David C. “Securing the Flanks at Belleau Wood.” Military History, June 1997: 54-55.
caption: In the late afternoon of June 6, 1918, Lieutenant James F. Roberson and the survivors of two decimated U.S. marine platoons press on toward their objective, in How Twenty Marines Took Bouresches by Frank E. Schoonover.

Harrington, Peter. “The Great War Paintings of Frank E. Schoonover.” Military Heritage, August 1999: 67.
caption: In How Twenty Marines Took Bouresches Schoonover evokes both the bravery and the sacrifice of the U.S. Marines.

Boyd, Thomas. Through the Wheat: A Novel of the World War One Marines. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000: cover.
no caption

“Frank Schoonover (1877-1972).” The Vadeboncoeur Collection of Images, March 2002: 16-17.
caption: “How twenty marines took Bouresches” from The Ladies Home Journal September 1919

Smith, Louise Schoonover. “The Art of Frank E. Schoonover.” Illustration, July 2003: 37.
caption: “Marines Took Bour[sic],” 1919. Oil on canvas, 34″ x 40″. Daybook #915. Collection of Delaware National Guard.

Inscription: lr: Frank E. Schoonover
Exhibitions: 1927 Oshkosh; 1931 FES; 1934 Wesleyan; 1969 FES; 1977 FES (title unverified); 1979 FES (catalog); 2001 FES; 2002 HSD
Comments: TP 8/28/01; NT 4×5 [2]; index; edit
Commentary: On June 6, 1918, Marine companies of the Marine Brigade of the 2nd Division, planned a counterattack against the German troups whom they thought were in a corner of Belleau Wood. “In May 1919 the artist began work on a scene set in the small village of Bouresches showing its capture by 20 Marines. As the soldiers wade through waist-high wheat, still green and dotted with bright red poppies, one mortally wounded Marine stands eerily with head hung down before collapsing.” (Harrington, 67-68)

Well-positioned Germans had opened fire on them with machine guns. The Marines suffered severe casualties, but regrouped and went on to defeat the Germans in Belleau Wood. “In ‘How Twenty Marines Took Boursesches’, Schoonover evokes both the bravery and the sacrifice of U. S. Marines” (Harrington, 66)
The accuracy of the position of the troops, their uniforms and weapons make this painting an invaluable historical document.
This image was used in a non-interlocking jigsaw puzzle circa 1919.
For further commentary, see #886.

Provenance: Sold by the artist to the Delaware National Guard (March 9, 1959)