On 26 July 1917 Virginia’s troops joined guardsmen from New Jersey, Maryland and the District of Columbia in the 29th Division which activated on 25 August 1917. The 29th Division adopted the nickname “Blue and Gray,” which reflected the coming together of Civil War adversaries in a single organization.
The Blue and Gray finally started overseas in 1918. Its advance detachment reached Brest, France, on 8 June. In late September the 29th received orders to join the First Army’s Meuse-Argonne offensive as part of the French XVII Corps. During its 21 days in combat, the 29th Division advanced seven kilometers, captured 2,148 prisoners, and knocked out over 250 machine guns or artillery pieces. It paid a high price for this success. One-third of its members became casualties-170 officers and 5,691 men.