Eli J. Bouley was the son of Alexander “Alex” & Nancy (Martel) Bouley, born 9 June 1883 in Nashua, New Hampshire. His family lived at 16 Buck Street, and he grew up and attended school in Nashua. Eli’s father had married twice, and Eli’s full siblings included Elizabeth, Marie Albina (1885-1887), Arthur George, Aline (who m. Telesphore Pelletier), Emma (who m. Adjutor Roy), and Henry Joseph.
Eli J. Bouley does not appear in the 1910 US census with his family in Nashua because he had enlisted in the United States Army where he served for 14 years, before being honorably discharged 13 September 1915. His official army papers of Co. B, 8th Infantry describe him as having dark blue eyes, dark brown hair a dark complexion, and of 5 ft 6 inches in height. His occupation prior to enlistment was a shoemaker.
When World War I broke out, he returned to the army, and was sent to Europe as part of the 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. Various records show him as a Private, a Corporal, and as a Mechanic. The 28th Infantry was the attacking regiment at Cantigny, the first important engagement of our Army in that war. The regiment was cited twice in Army Orders by the French for distinguished services rendered at Cantigny and Soissons, and was awarded the Fourragère.
Eli J. Bouley would have been among those fighting at Cantigny, and he probably was killed at the Battle of the Soissonnais and of the Ourcq that was waged from 18-22 July 1918. Eli J. Bouley was killed in action on 21 July 1918 in France, and he was buried in the Oise-Aisne American Military Cemetery in Fere-en-Tardenois, France, in Plot C, Row 8, Grave 9.
See New Hampshire WWI Military: The Heroes of Nashua for a listing of all military who died from the city of Nashua.
[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I. Look here for the entire listing].