Vaughn, Harry Briggs


Vaughn, Harry Briggs

Last Name


First and Middle Name

Harry Briggs

Biographical Text

“My breathing apparatus was shut completely. It was just as if someone was strangling me."
-Captain Vaughan describing a gas attack

Captain Harry Briggs Vaughan, from Norfolk, Virginia, graduated from VPI in 1910 with a degree in Civil Engineering. While at VPI, Vaughan was a member of the VPI football team, the GERMAN Club, and was in the Corps of Cadets regimental band (today known was the Highty Tighties).

During World War I, Captain Vaughan served in the American Expeditionary Force with the 306th Engineers in the 81st “Wild Cat” Division. During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive from September 26 to November 11, 1918, Captain Vaughan was cited for “gallant and meritorious conduct” during the offensive.

During the Meuse-Argonne his unit suffered heavy causalities, and Vaughan was among the 40 in his unit who were wounded during a gas attack. Vaughn described the experience in a letter, writing that "I will never forget that experience. I have gotten into gas but never in any as dense as this. My breathing apparatus was shut completely. It was just as if someone was strangling me."

Vaughn spent five days in recovery until he rejoined his unit, fighting until the armistice on November 11, 1918.

Nicknames or Other Names



Norfolk, Virginia

VPI Graduating Class


Undergraduate Major

Civil Engineering



Service Branch



306th Engineers, 81st "Wild Cat" Division



Military Events

Gassed during the Meusse-Argonne Offensive

Battles or Engagements

Meusse-Argonne Offensive


  • "Definite Information in Regard to the Experiences of Captain Harry B. Vaughn, Jr., '11 of the 81st ("Wild Cat") Division", The Virginia Tech, 10 April 1919, Blacksburg, Virginia.
  • Virginia Tech, 1910 Bugle yearbook, Virginia Tech Special Collections, pg. 84.


Harry Briggs Vaughan senior portrait from the 1910 Bugle.jpg
Harry Briggs Vaughan picture from the 1910 VPI Bugle.jpg
Harry Briggs Vaughan from the 1910 VPI Bugle.jpg
Letter from Harry B. Vaughn published in The Virginia Tech, 10 April 1919.jpg



“Vaughn, Harry Briggs,” VPI in World War I, accessed May 21, 2018,

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