Log Cabin Memorial - Veterans 314th Infantry Regiment A.E.F.


History of Company G 314th Infanty

Being an intimate account of one of the many units that composed the United States Army: its birth, its men and their sacrifices.
 
By Joseph T. Labrum
Philadelphia, Pa. (1925)
 
Formerly Sergeant
Co. G, 314th Infantry, U. S. A.
 
Table of Contents

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Page 1

History of Company G
314th Infantry

CHAPTER I
The Birth of a Fighting Outfit

From the date of its birth, August 29, 1917,
Company "G" was a big success. Rising from the
depths of an infancy in the sandy wilderness of
Camp Meade, Maryland, it became one of the
best fighting companies in this man's army. That
isn't boasting either, it is an established fact borne
out by the reputation earned by the boys of the
company, during their time on the front. Also
Company "G," we must add, is part of the Second
Battalion, Three Hundred and Fourteenth infantry, 
One Hundred and Fifty-seventh Brigade,
Seventy-ninth Division.

As was stated before, Camp Meade was a sandy
wilderness when the company was born. At that
time it had accommodations for approximately
five hundred men, exclusive of workmen, many
of whom did not live on the newly established cantonment. 
The nearest railroad station was more
than a mile from where the camp was at that time
located, while the other accommodations were akin
to the rail facilities. The word accommodation is
not used advisedly, for there wasn't any such thing
when the camp opened. However, it wasn't long
before the land boomed and Uncle Sam made it
- look more like a camp where future fighters were
to do their training than a home for sand lizards.

Page 2

At the inception of the company the following
were its officers: Captain Harry J. Lawrence,
First Lieutenant James W. Acklin, Second Lieutenants 
Robert H. Brigham, John H. Hollinger,
Joseph R. A. Cushing and Daniel K. Chase. To
these officers was given the task of welding together 
a fighting machine from a mass of men who
had little or no knowledge of what the word
soldier meant, and who did not know whether
"squads" was a command or army slang. In addition, 
the officers had but few men with any training
at all to assist them. But the first men showed a
willingness and desire to learn that made the task
of the officers easier, and gave them a nucleus from
which to pick their non-commissioned officers and
establish the company.

The officers received their first taste of work
with the new army men when on the twentieth
(lay of September fifty-three men from Bradford
County came into Camp Meade all ready for the
first act of their part in the big drama. - They
were a happy bunch, too, many of them being
happier than usual as a result of free imbibing on
the way down. They can't be blamed for that,
for were they not giving up everything to serve
their uncle? And they had to do something to
lessen the pain of the giving. Those fifty-three
men were the vanguard of some nine hundred and
fifty that came to the company to be trained in
the rudiments of a soldier's career. Of that number, 
seven hundred and fifty were from time to
time transferred to some other division or outfit
destined for overseas.

Of the fifty-three men who came to camp that

Page 3

day, twenty-one went over to France and participated 
actively in the fighting, the remainder
of the men were either transferred to other divisions, 
sent home because of physical disability
of some sort, or volunteered for the tank service.
It is as advisable to give the names of these first
members of the old company as it would be to
place the name of the builder in the cornerstone
of a new building, for it was these men who
really started the company on its successful career,
drilling many of us who went over and many who
did not.

The list follows: George Fairchild, Bernard
McCabe, Sherman Vanderpool Vincent A. Vineski,
Wilfred Brewer, Harry L. Hawkins, Harry May.
nard, Albert Hemenway, Daniel O'Sullivan, Lee
Brooks, Grant Cole, Charles G. Kapp, Elwyn
Foster, Harland Van Loon, Charles Boland, Harry
West, Brewster Dibble, Harry Estelle, Charles L.
Spencer, Charles De Voe, Harold L. Peters, the
twenty-one who came across with us; Ernest Vanderpool, 
Ernest Williams, Leonard Sullivan, John
Scott, Walter Scott, Edward Stanton, Floyd Ellsbrey, 
Leonard Campbell, Charles Seebich, Lawrence 
O'Donnell, Paul Freeman, George Neuber
(transferred and died in France), James Mason,
Clyde Tebo, Daniel Carman, Patrick Morrisey,
Claire Secor, Ross Weyman, Cameron Campbell,
Leo Mills, Howard McCutcheon, Lloyd Eddy,
Harry B. Ackley, Raymond White, Orin Bennett,
Harry J; Fletcher and Samuel Cook, who received
a commission as a second lieutenant in the infantry
after attending the training school at Camp Meade.

John W. E. Phillips was the top sergeant in

Page 4

these early days of the company and was the only
member of the company to become a member of
the regimental football team, which gained an enviable 
reputation for the Three Fourteenth. In
November Phillips was succeeded by W. W. Lambert, 
a former training school man.

Those who were present with the company on
October thirty-first, Hallowe'en night, cannot for.
get the wonderful time we had that night, and
those who were present the same night one year
later cannot forget the time we had that night,
either. The contrast between the two nights~ is
interesting. But in 1917 every one enjoyed him-
self, some of the boys getting dressed up in
peculiar looking garbs that caused considerable
mirth, while others sang and told stories and jokes
during the big feed. Cider was served to the
boys, which no doubt shocked some of them. This
little party gave us the opinion that the army was
not so cold-hearted after all. The officers of the
company were all present, as was the commanding
officer of the battalion, Maj or Allen.

Then again on Thanksgiving Day we had
another party that will long be remembered by
the boys who were left behind when the passes
were given out. About two hundred men 
composed the company at that time, and almost the
entire number were present to enjoy a real home
feed of turkey, pie, fruit and all the accessory
dishes that go to make up a real Thanksgiving Day
dinner. Nothing was too good for the boys that
night, and joy was unconfined on all sides.

From Thanksgiving Day on we began looking
forward to Christmas and the five-day passes that

Page 5

were to be given out, according to the rumors
that were current. Drilling was more or less
a pleasure during those days, for was there not an
opportunity to get home for five days staring us
in the face? The cold and the sand had no terrors.
And then came the time for the selection of the
fortunate ones. With the exception of the equivalent 
of a platoon, the whole company enjoyed the
holidays at home.

The day after the boys started on their passes
the company was quarantined for the measles, and
the men left in the barracks were forced to do
guard duty continuously for five days. Few of the
men were able even to take their shoes off during
that time. The cold and the snow gave us our
first taste of real hardship in the army as we
walked our posts.

Thanks to Lieutenant Cushing, Christmas Day
for those who did. not go on pass was a most
pleasant one. The mess hall was covered with
holly and evergreen, while a big Christmas tree,
gaily decorated and containing a gift for each
man present, stood in the center of the hall.
Speeches were made by the officers and the boys.
Judging by the comments made to those fortunate
enough to get away on pass when they returned,
a great time was had by all.

Those who returned flushed with the good time
at home were more than surprised to find the
company under rigid quarantine restrictions for
the first time. The quarantine was placed on
the company for seven days, but before the seventh
day had passed one of our number returning from

Page 6

pass contracted the measles and an additional seven
days was levied.

On the fourteenth of January the entire regiment 
was quarantined because of an epidemic of
all sorts of diseases, and from that day until the
seventh of February, at one in the morning,
when the quarantine was lifted, a guard walked
in the front and rear of the building. During
the period of the quarantine all bunks were taken
outside in the morning and remained there until
the afternoon for airing, while the most rigid
restrictions imaginable made those days anything
but joyous ones. You could not get away from the
barracks at all during the quarantine except to
do detail work or drill, had guards on at all times,
were permitted no passes and could receive no
visitors. They were the darkest days in our soldier 
life at that time.

On the fifth of January, during the quarantine,
First Sergeant Lambert and Sergeants Kapp,
Phillips and Cook were sent to the officers training 
school in the camp. I. H. Boyer was selected
as the new first sergeant of the company.

The twentieth of January saw the departure of
Captain Lawrence, who had been with the company 
since its infancy. The Captain had always
leaned toward aviation as his favorite branch of
the fighting game, but it was with considerable
surprise that we received the announcement of
his transferring to naval aviation. So it was with
mingled feelings that we bade good-by to the Captain 
when he left the company, feelings of regret
that he was leaving us, and feelings of pleasure

Page 7

that he had succeeded in securing what he
cherished most. 

Captain Frederick M. Muhlenberg, for twelve
days after the twentieth, was our company commander, 
Captain Henry M. Smith, formerly First
Lieutenant Company F, who had been an 
"instructor at the officers. training school, succeeded
Captain Muhlenberg as our company commander,
which post he has held ever since, with the
exception of three months, during which time he
was in a hospital recovering from wounds. In
the interim Lieutenant Brigham acted as company 
commander. The company was under the
latter's command from the twenty-sixth of September 
during the remainder of the first drive and
all of the second drive, when the company saw
its hardest fighting.

In the meantime several of the officers of the
company had been elevated in rank. Lieutenants
Cushing and Brigham were advanced from Second
Lieutenants to Firsts, so that the line-up of our
company officers about the first of February was
as follows: Captain, Henry M. Smith; First Lieu.
tenants, James-W. Acklin, Joseph R. A. Cushing,
Robert H. Brigham; Second Lieutenants, John H.
Hollinger and Joseph A. Haney. Lieutenant
Chase in the meantime had become a member of
the First Battalion.

On the eighteenth of February, the first opportunity 
to shoot our rifles since becoming soldiers
arrived. It was quite a sensation on the first
shot to receive a little kick in the shoulder and
find that there really wasn't anything to shooting
a rifle after all. Just hold it good and tight, get

Page 8

a good aim, and squeeze the trigger. The shooting
was done on the obstacle course, as the big range
had not been completed. That same obstacle
course took a good deal of our time, for we built
it, getting a taste of making bosches, facines and
doing police work galore, in addition to once and
a while getting into a few snowball fights.

In March a call was sent out through the division
for men who desired to volunteer for the tank
service. Company "G," not to be outdone by any
of the other companies, sent a strong representation
to the tankers, including First Sergeant Boyer
and several other non-coms of no mean ability.

Sergeant Vincent A. Vineski was chosen for
the place vacated by reason of Boyer's change of
allegiance. Sergeant Joseph Barnett, supply sergeant, 
also left for the tankers, and our old friend
Bill' Brewer was promoted from company clerk
to supply sergeant, while Harry Seitzer, a member
of the old third platoon, was given the rank of
corporal and made company clerk. Private Isham
A. Gillette, in Dibble's twenty-eighth squad, was
made mess sergeant, succeeding Doyle Clarke.

On St. Patrick's Day the company received an
overseas examination and rumors flew thick and
fast that the division would sail for overseas. We
had heard the first step in making preparations
for overseas duty was a physical examination.
The company at that time, however, was exceedingly 
small, due to the large number of transfers
that occurred almost daily. In the meantime the
various divisional and regimental schools had been
taking many of the men during the day. There
were all sorts of schools, gas, automatic arms, field

Page 9

fortifications, French, topography and various
others, all of which proved interesting to those
who attended them.

Page 10

CHAPTER II.
The Baltimore Hike

In April came the never-to-be-forgotten Balti-
more hike, when the division displayed its wares
before the President, other official dignitaries
and more than two hundred thousand people. It
was on the morning of April Fourth that with full
packs we started on the first leg of our hike to
Baltimore. The first day, fourteen miles, to the
town of Shipley was our objective. Pup tents
were put up and preparations made for the night.
Tired from the hike on the macadamized road, it
wasn't long before we crawled into our tents to
sleep. However, few slept, for the night was
bitter cold, so cold that it was warmer to dance
around on the outside of the tent than to attempt
to sleep on the inside.

Few were sorry the next morning when we
struck tents, rolled our packs and started out for
Baltimore. Shortly after ten the morning of the
fifth we landed in Druid Hill Park, Baltimore,
pitched tents and established the camp. Passes
were given for the night to town to many of the
boys, while the remainder contented themselves
with meeting their many friends who had journeyed 
out to the park to see Uncle Sam's new
soldiers.

At eleven forty-five the following day, Saturday, 
we fell in and fifteen minutes later moved out
on a nine-and-one-half-mile march at attention
with bayonets fixed. That Enfield never felt
heavier than it did that day. It seemed to weigh

Page 11

a ton. It had to be carried at the right shoulder
and could not be moved even for a minute's relief
to the left. And that right elbow had to be against
the hip and the forearm had to be straight. The
spirit of the occasion and the fact that we were
being reviewed by the Commander-in-Chief of
the Army and Navy made us forget our troubles
and the leg and arm weariness we were suffering.
As we passed the reviewing stand and "Eyes
Right" was given, a more perfect line could hardly
be seen.

When route step was given, the relief of being
able to transfer that gun from one shoulder to
the other tasted sweeter than all the sweets in
existence. After a good night's sleep in the old pup
tent, we packed up at seven in the morning, and
at eight five started on our journey back to camp.
We carried light packs on the way back, and as
a result did some excellent hiking, arriving in
camp at three thirty-five without the loss of a
single man by falling out. A great record when
compared with what other companies suffered.

It wouldn't be a complete history if we did not
make mention of Ken Clarke and his song rehearsals 
at camp. Who can forget the familiar "All
together, let's go," in that baritone voice of Ken's?
Rehearsals were held in the "Y," and when the
weather was good, on the drill field. In between
acts at the theatre we used to sing with Ken. He
had more to do with the development of our vocal
powers than any one we ever met, but he ruined
many a good evening in the barracks, for men
who never sang before in their lives took to singing
with sad results.

Page 12

And did you ever get your name taken for a.
dirty gun from October till May, or were you
one of the fortunate ones never to accumulate dust
on that old piece? There were a few, we will
admit. Or were you ever late for reveille and
had to do extra detail for the same? Or did you
enjoy a Sunday in the kitchen because it wasn't
your fault? Or did you do- a half dozen other
things that made you do considerable swearing or
gnashing of teeth? But it was all in a soldier's
life, and when all was said and done, we took our,
dose with a smile. 

The dawn of morning on the thirteenth of May
saw the first day of the battalion war strength
problems, and they were problems, too, in every
sense of the word. From that day on for two
weeks, with the exception of Sunday, we were up
every morning at four-thirty or five making up
our full pack. Then a hasty breakfast and off at
six. The first week we were under command of
the first battalion officers, while the third battalion
officers were our commanders the succeeding week.

That was when we had our first real taste of
hard work and at that time we thought we would
never have any harder work to do as long as we
were soldiers. The hours were long, the packs
heavy, the drill stiff, the problems many and the
.downs. frequent. The constant drilling in the
new French combat formations was a source of
considerable annoyance to the then small company, 
but like everything else we did before and
after, we went to it with a will that made good.
It was with little regret that we received the news
of the calling off of the contemplated third week

Page 13

of the problems, for we had had enough.

Shortly after the battalion problems had concluded 
the company started filling up. On May
twenty-eighth a big batch of men came in from
Pennsylvania, were drilled for about two weeks,
and part of the number transferred to Camp Lee
to fill up the Thirty-seventh Division, which was
about ready to go overseas. Previous to the coming 
of these men, the company had about eighty
men for all purposes. The new men were raw
and had to be drilled more intensively than was
anticipated. The drills were even continued on
the range between shots so necessary was it to
get the men into condition.

It was on the tenth day of June that with full
equipment the company left the barracks for a
ten-day stay on the range. Living in pup tents
with little water available for washing and with
a thousand and one discomforts, or, rather, what
seemed like discomforts at that time, made life at
the range seem almost unbearable.

The weather was extremely hot during those
days and that, along with the sand and mosquitoes
and others of the annoyance family, added considerable 
to the apparent hardships of the place.
The company as a whole made excellent scores on
the range, many of the new men after shooting the
course over after their first use of the rifle making
scores that were fifty per cent. better than on their
first attempt. Many of the boys were given the
privilege of going to camp on Sunday to feel the
luxury of a good bath and a change of clothing,
and also to greet their friends of the opposite sex
who had journeyed into the camp to see them,

Page 14

for passes were ex-communicado out at the range
that particular week-end.

The hardships of those ten days on the range
were often spoken of at that time as being the
worst ever, but it was paradise there in a good
pup tent, with sufficient covering to make one
comfortable at night, with three regular meals
every day, with the canteen nearby and many
other conveniences unseen, to what we experienced
a few short months later.

Three days after our return from the range it
began to appear as though the company were going
to be filled up and equipped for a long journey.
On June twenty-third one hundred and three men
came into the company from Camp Upton, New
York. The boys were all from New England,
principally from Rhode Island and Massachusetts,
and had practically no training at all. They did
principally detail work in the camp they came
from. Shortly after the arrival of these men, the
company was brought up to war strength by the
addition of a few from the divisional artillery.

It was not long before we began to realize that
we were slated for a long journey in the near
future, for on every side was more activity than
we had ever witnessed in the camp. Then the
new equipment began coming in and all we did
for ten days Was line up to receive two pairs of
this, two pairs of that and two pairs of the other
thing. Finally our names were sewed on our
barracks bags, and as far as equipment went we
were ready. As is usual during such times, rumors
were rife and rampant day and night about where
we were going, when and on What boat, and what

Page 15

everything. Inspections of our new equipment
were held daily, sometimes on our bunks carried
outside the barracks.

At last one hot, July afternoon, the third, we
were inspected by the Inspector General's Department, 
and from then on we knew that it was only
the matter of a very few days until we would be
on our way somewhere. The Sunday previous
many of us had an opportunity to visit our homes
for the last time before going over. The following 
day we turned in our old clothes and paraded
around in blue denims from that day until the
day we departed.

The fourth was a quiet day in camp, for there
were many partings to be made by the boys with
mothers, wives and sweethearts. The camp was
crowded from early morning until after taps, and
many were the tears shed at the old W. B. and A.
Station that night.

When the order was given Friday morning
shortly after reveille to empty our bedsacks in
the rear of the canteen and a little later to fill up
our barracks bags and tie them tight and place
them outside the barracks, we knew then that it
was only the matter of a few hours until we would
be started on our great adventure.

Page 16

CHAPTER III.
We Are Ready

And so the following day, July sixth, shortly
after four o'clock, We fell in a column of squads,
and reported all present with the exception of a
headquarters squad corporal, who reported Cook
Kehoe absent. Old Carl came into place a few
minutes later with the explanation that he had to
go back to the kitchen for something or another.
It Was but a few minutes later that Captain Smith
commanded "Forward, March," and two hundred
and fifty men of Company "G" passed down the
back road to the waiting train.

At five twenty that afternoon with a cheer and
a fleeting glance at Camp Meade, where some of
us had spent ten months in training, and which
.we had seen grow from a population of five hundred 
to a veritable city of forty-.ve thousand with
unexpected conveniences, with representations
from each of the four major war activities societies, 
each with one or several huts and with a
theatre that was unexcelled in its accommodations
and in its quality of plays, the train moved off.

Until dark we were greeted enthusiastically by
people all along the railroad. At Philadelphia a
fifteen-minute stop was made and there the Red
Cross gave us cigarettes, fruit and matches, in 
addition to wishing us well. The old B. and O. 
Station, at Twenty-fourth and Chestnut streets,
was thronged with friends of boys in the division,
and many of us saw old friends there.

Page 17

After leaving Philadelphia the train moved very
slowly, making numerous stops along the way,
with the result that it was almost five o'clock the
following morning before we reached Jersey City.
It was almost seven when we detrained and in a
column of squads marched to the ferry, which we
boarded shortly before 8 o'clock. For almost two
hours while the ferry lay in her slip we had the
privilege of seeing the harbor of New York and
the spires of lofty skyscrapers, and the merry
picnickers on their way up the river on a Sunday
excursion boat. However, we were not going on
any picnic and could only look off in the distance
and envy the carefree pleasure-seekers.

At ten the ferry churned the waters and started
up the river to the pier of the American Trans-
port Service. An hour later we were marching
up the gangplank of the Leviathan, answering to
our names as the embarkation officer called them
out, after which we dropped our arrived safe cards
in the mail bag and started downstairs.

We were assigned to "E" deck, the first on
which troops were quartered, with the result that
we had much better accommodations than did the
other troops on board. We had no sooner unslung
our packs on our bunks than we started out to see
what the ship contained, and from then on until
after dark we examined with the usual landlubber's
curiosity everything we were permitted to see and
much that we were not.

Contrary to expectations, the ship did not leave
that night, so that we had all the next day in the
harbor getting better acquainted with the big ship.
Also we had our first opportunity to see what a

Page 18

big proposition it was to feed thirteen thousand
men twice daily with good, wholesome food and
plenty of it. For two hours our company was
usually in line before we were fed, but when we
did get our feed it was well worth the waiting.

Page 19

CHAPTER IV. 
Goodbye Broadway

.Abandon ship drill call was sounded for the first
time on the evening of the eighth at six-thirty,
and in accordance with the advice given to us
previously we donned our life belts and started
for the deck. A few minutes after our arrival on
deck the huge steamer slowly started moving out
of her dock amid the screeches of the whistles
and sirens of the river craft, which seemed to be

all wishing us "Bon Voyage." 

As we reached midstream the regimental band
struck up "Good-by Broadway, Hello France,"
'but strange to say there was no singing. We
weren't exactly sad, nor were we happy, but some.
how or another the gravity of the mission on
which we were then starting held us silent. We
steamed slowly downstream past the Battery, and
in the golden sunset saw the Statue of Liberty,
many of us with a peculiar feeling of sadness. As
the dusk was rapidly turning into the night we
could faintly make out the lines of Coney Island..

That was the last time we saw land for seven
days.

The first and second days of our trip across
found us on a course that seemed to be southeast
and in the Gulf Stream. It was excessively warm
on the boat those days, especially below decks.
The first day out we enjoyed the luxury of a block
of ice cream and the next day a big piece of mince
pie, and those luxuries, along with the excellent
food that was being served, made us forget the

Page 20

two-hour wait in the line. The first and Second
days found what appeared to be little attention
paid to the subs, but on the third day every man
had to be out of his bunk and dressed at four-
thirty, ready for any emergency. This continued
for the remainder of the journey, as from the
third day on we Were in the so-called danger zone,
liable to attack at any time.

From the second day out to the last we saw
whales, porpoises, sharks and flying fish sporting
around in the deep blue. On the morning of the
thirteenth the gigantic ship entered the real danger
,zone, and from that day until our arrival in port
the strictest watch was kept at all times by the
crew, especially in the matter of any lights on4
board showing. 

At dawn the morning of the fourteenth we
met our convoy, six American destroyers, plowing
their way through the deep, alongside of and
completely around the ship with its human cargo.
The arrival of the destroyers was a most welcome 
sight to all of us, for it gave, in addition to
the speed of the vessel, more convincing feeling
of our safety on the seas. All the way over we
took our much-needed salt water baths, which
seemed to make fun of soap.

At two-thirty the afternoon of the fifteenth the
Leviathan steamed into the harbor of Brest and
dropped anchor with its sixth load of fighters.
The voyage had been made without a single mishap,
not one incident marring the pleasure of
the trip on a sea as tranquil as a lake. With the'
exception of our battalion, which remained on board
as the unloading detail, the troops disembarked.

Page 21

The second battalion remained on board from
the fifteenth to the eighteenth, assisting in the un.
loading of what was not human cargo. During
those three days rumors had been flying thick
and fast that when we landed we would be taken
to a rest camp where for about a week we would
have the privilege of doing nothing; However, the
rumor proved to be as mythical as all rumors
eventually are, for instead of having a rest we
had just the reverse.

Conversations with men who went over on other
ships make us believe that we were particularly
favored in being selected to go over on the Leviathan
because of the excellent food and accommodations 
we enjoyed that they were unfortunate
enough to be unable to secure.

Page 22

CHAPTER V.
Brest and the Rest Camp

On the morning of the eighteenth, with \ full
packs strapped to our backs, we touched foot on
French soil. Then we started out on a five-mile
hike that just about tried the patience and grit
of every one of us, for we had become sort of
soft on board ship with hardly any walking or
exercise.

We had just finished mess after pitching our'
tents when the call came to get ready with light
packs for a parade that we were to participate
in that afternoon. Now there are times when
parades fire a soldier with enthusiasm and make
him do his best in spite of himself, but here
was a time when a parade brought down on
whoever suggested it a newer and warmer home,
and in addition to the well-wishing of the boys it
did anything but fire them with enthusiasm. At,
any rate, we started out, and after a five-mile hike
to the city, passed in review before General Nicholson, 
of our brigade, and a French dignitary.
We passed in platoon front and then on out
through the city streets, getting our first glimpse
of life in a French city. However, there was
really nothing impressive about the scenery except
their trolley car, which was no larger than a flivver.

So along the streets we tramped and out of the
city to the "rest" camp along a dusty road that made
the hot, sultry day all the more trying. Many of
the boys had blisters when they removed their
shoes and socks after our arrival in the pup tent

Page 23

village. But why worry, for were we not in a rest
camp where there would be lots of time to get
rested up and get wearied feet into some sort of
shape? Alas! the word rest was not used with
discretion,/ for we had hardly pulled the blankets
over our heads that night when the call came to
strike tents and roll packs.

It was 2 o'clock and raining in torrents. For
the life of us we could not understand why it was
so necessary to have packs rolled when it was
raining so hard. It had never been done before, y
so why now? War gave us its first cruel blow
then and there. Apparently time was exceedingly
valuable that morning, for the usual time allotted
to make a pack in the dark without a light was
lacking. However, most of us got our packs into
some sort of shape for the march down to the
railroad, but others in their haste had to throw
their belongings into their shelter halves and carry
their load much after the way of a plunderer.

There was many a good laugh on the boxcars
about that famous hike to the train, as they called
it. However, we failed to find a waiting train, but
some boxcars along the siding. Being American
through and through, we certainly expected to
see the boxcars roll out and if not a good
string of coaches, at least some sort of present-
able cars roll in to take us on. But those
boxcars were obstinate and accordingly, a la' horse,
we entrained. The first sight that greeted our
eyes when we got to the station had forebodings,
for we saw on the palatial cars on the siding the
following legend, "40 hommes, 8 chevaux." The
few that knew. the meaning even then did not expect

Page 24

that the side-door Pullmans were the best
that could be provided for us in the line of travel
accommodations.

At 8 o'clock we were packed in tight in our Pull-
mans, and a few minutes later the train pulled
out with an eager bunch of Yanks looking for
shell holes right away, but it was quite some time
before we did see those shell holes we were so
eager to see on that first day's journey. What we
did see during our three days on the boxcars was
the part of France that remained undevastated by
the Huns.

In all, according to the village expert of the
company, George Hentschel, we passed through
eighty-two villages in the course of our ride from
Brest to Laignes. The most important of the
towns we passed through follow: Morlaix, Rennes,
Vitre, Laval, LeMans, Tours, Nevers, Allerey and V
Dijon. It was 2 o'clock in the morning of the
twenty-third that we detrained at Laignes and
bivouacked there for the night. Shortly after 5 we
were out again getting mess and rolling packs for
the journey to what was expected to be our home
for a long time, but for some unknown reason
was not.

A little after 8 we started out on a fifteen-mile
hike from Laignes to Puits, a very small village.
It was a good long hike over hilly roads, covered
with dust; that along with the heat of the day
made the march an almost unbearable one. It
was the first long hike most of the men had ever
experienced, but every man was game to the core,
and those who unfortunately had to drop out only
did so through sheer exhaustion. It was a hike

Page 25

that tested the sand of every man and showed that
the old company had the stuff. It was almost 4
o'clock when we arrived in the village of Puits to
receive a touching welcome from the natives, who
were seeing American soldiers for the first time.

It was in Puits that the first Vin Rouge and Vin
Blane gave the boys a start. It was also in Puits
that we received our first lessons in spending
French money and how valueless it was, and our
first time to know that the arrival of American
soldiers in any place presaged an immediate 
increase in the price of everything.

It was in Puits that many of the boys learned
to their sorrow that they would have to be more
than soldiers in name only and that their personal
appearance must be in keeping with what the
word soldier meant. Many of the boys had the
hard task of taking three-hour disciplinary hikes
for having a button unbuttoned, or failing to salute,
or doing anything that tended to make them appear
as poor soldiers in the eyes of any one who chanced
to pass by. Our stay in Puits lasted for three
days, although we all felt that we were fairly
comfortable with straw in our ticks and a place to
wash and shave. But many of us wished more
than once that we were back in our old bunks in
Camp Meade, which we had tired of so often.

At the end of three days we packed up every.
thing we owned, and with barracks bags slung
over our shoulders started for the outskirts of the
town to. wait there for an automobile train that
was to take us to our training area. For three
.days and the same number of nights we remained
bivouacked along the side of the road waiting for

Page 26

the trucks. All seemed to have one desire in
mind while we were waiting along that road, with
nothing at all to do but keep ourselves out of
trouble, a desire to celebrate the first day of freedom, 
and we did. The first day on the road the
old man of Puits invited to dinner, in addition to
a host of the officers of the battalion, Sergeants
Cole, Fairchild, Kapp and Labrum, and Vaguener
and Forcier. Probably every one in the company
heard of the dinner the old man served that day
to the boys, for it sure was some dinner, with its
four courses.

Celebrating was all finished the night of the
twenty-sixth. At five-thirty the trucks arrived,
and an hour later we were on our way to Fretts,
where we disembarked at five-thirty in the after.
noon. That day was a characteristic French day,
for it rained constantly from the night before
until we were billeted, when, to our surprise, it
stopped. Many of the boys rode the entire day
in trucks that had no covering, with the result
that they were drenched through when we hopped
off the camions in Fretts. Before nightfall we
were all comfortably billeted and prepared for a
long stay and hard work.

Page 27

CHAPTER VI.
Fretts and the Cognac Barrage

It only took us until the next morning to discover
that there were beaucoup eggs, milk, chicken and
pommes des terres frite in the village, while it is
said that McMillion knew the night we arrived
that chickens could be secured for a rip in one's
leggings or trousers. McMillion did take the prize
for the copious amount of the feathered flock that
he could secure at any time he wanted. He and
Homer Hayes, both representative West Virginians, 
were there when it came to food.

Then one sergeant, if you will all remember,
made considerable love to a telephone girl, which,
however serious it seemed at the time, didn't really
amount to much. Then there was Bill Brewer
bonjouring the fair ones day in and day out, and
proving to the other member of the telephone outfit
that saucerhead snakes were far more presentable
to the eye than were rattlers. And you all remember 
Joe Petkus and his mademoiselle who lived
left oblique of the kitchen. It wasn't long after
Petkus made his home there that Harry West was
inveigled into going across the street to help Petkus
make love. And the peculiarity of the whole
thing was that the fellows all discovered these
things the first day in the village, whereas it is
generally understood that more time is necessary
to secure such results.

It only took us a couple of days to police up the
village and get it into shape fit for men to live in.
But the place was sure a mean mess at first, odors

Page 28

and the yellow bees to add to the discomfort of us
all. However, once established, we were a happy
lot. After the police work out came the orders
for intensive drilling, and from then on until the
time of our departure we were busy as bees every
day learning the newest wrinkles in warfare, and
many of us learning over again the bayonet and
grenade drills. It was mighty hot those days on
the drill field, but there was an absolute lack of
shirkers.

Our battalion commanding officer in Fretts was
Lieutenant-Colonel Meyers. He was filling the
place of Major Caldwell, who had been attending
school. The old colonel was a prince most of
the boys thought after they had learned to like
him, and the popularity of every man in the army
is measured by what he does for the men under
him. The afternoons were almost as hot as they
were in the sand back at Camp Meade, but that
didn't bother us much, for we had our Vin Rouge
and Vin Blane in the evening just the same. We
could never account for the reason why the enterprising 
cafe keepers of the village could not get
beer in, as an excessive use of the Vin caused
many an upset stomach, and many an unhappy
morning after, but what is that to a happy evening
already spent? We weren't in Fretts long before
Lieutenant Hollinger returned from school, the
first time we had seen him since the week before
we left Meade. Lieutenant Brigham and Pop
Vineski left for the same school, the infantry school
at Chattillon Sur Seine.

It was in Fretts that we discovered the simplicities 
of our old friend and barber, Tick Van

Page 29

Loon. When Tick was wealthy, haircutting was
one of his pastimes, but when the Vin wasn't
.owing at just the proper rate for want of cash,
that was the time when haircutting became an
applied art for Tick, one of Towanda's best boosters. 
If there is one place on the map of the
good old States we all want to visit, it is that
village in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, called
Towanda. I understand the name is an Indian
one and means the city of two battles, in that
one time when Van Loon was a boy two very famous 
Indian battles were fought there. Neither
Van Loon nor Squash Fairchild could remember
the winner of the battle or the exact details of
the famous episode, but without questioning the
veracity of their statements, we shall have to
visit the famous City.

Of course it is different With Pop Vineski. He
is such a learned philosopher that he has the
history of Troy on his lips ever ready for a
questioner. When Brookes was with us back at
Fretts, Troy, Pa., and the original Troy, which
made the name Helen ever famous, were practically 
synonymous, for deeds were daily taking
place in Troy, Pa., that outshone any the Greeks
ever performed. Harold Peters, who learned that
profanity was born in a man and not learned
over night, was one of Troy's most famous citizens.

It was in Fretts that we all learned to appreciate
Harold and his many kindnesses to every one.
There was nothing in the game too hard for Harold
to do if it would help one of his soldier buddies.
He did more sewing on of buttons-and patches
than any man in the outfit, and always for some

Page 30

one else. There are many of us who will ever
recall to memory when we are reminiscing over
our first days in France what an excellent and
upstanding man and soldier Harold was. Unselfish 
in his motives, big-hearted and a friend of
all, he was a real pal.


At Fretts the sergeants had a table in the
kitchen, and it was there that Nipple received
the nom de guerre of "Candy" because of his
excessive use of molasses at every meal. The
first thing that Nipple asked for at every meal
was the candy. Phillips ran a close second to
Nipple there. Many the heated arguments were
held every meal, especially after Labrum, Jacobs,
Nipple and Mapes, new-made sergeants, took their
places with the wise sages of soldierdom. But
through it all Charlie Kapp and Pop Vineski never
lost their smiles or good nature.

It was voted more than once that the one-armed
genius of Fretts, otherwise known as the cowgirl,
was the most popular. At least it was said that
she had a greater following than any one else in
the town, especially in the evenings. Fairchild's
girl down the hill was popular with the Towanda
boys, especially Charlie Boland.

In Fretts we had the famous guard duty that
took all the privates in the company every fourth
night. Many of the men did guard duty for the
first time in their life in Fretts, and it was a hard
proposition to get them used to the formalities
to be used on guard. As a result, many were the
peculiar answers to the "Halt! Who goes there ?"
and to the officers when questioning the guard,
but none was funnier than the time Lieutenant

Page 31

Brigham tried to get Mutch Lukuc to salute him
as he came up to speak to him one dark night.

Lukuc halted the officer of the day correctly, but
he failed to salute, and Lieutenant Brigham tried
with all sorts of persuasive acts to get Mutch
to salute him, but somehow or another he couldn't
get him to compree. As a last resort, Lieutenant
Brigham whistled "The Star-Spangled Banner,"
and Lukuc, recognizing the national anthem,
promptly came down to present arms.

One night when Sergeant Labrum was sergeant-
of the guard Cacciconte was on the third relief.
The corporals were in the habit of going around
to awaken the men a half hour previous to their
time to go on duty. The corporal of the relief
Cacciconte was a member of reported to the guard
house that all efforts to find the sentinel had been
in vain, so it was up to the sergeant of the guard
to provide a substitute, or find the missing man.
Sure enough, Cacciconte was not in his regular
place in the billet when the sergeant went there
to look for him, but upon issuing from the billet
peculiar noises were heard coming from the direction 
of the pig pen just outside the billet, and
upon investigation it was found that the lost
sentinel, in his efforts to escape walking guard,
had carried. his bedsack, blankets and everything
he owned to the pig pen, where he expected to
pass the night in comfort. He was promptly
pulled out of 'his hiding place 'and told to make
himself ready for duty in ten minutes.

About twenty minutes later Sergeant Hemenway, 
then corporal of the old relief, came into
the guard house with Cacciconte and the information

Page 32

that he had been halted and told to follow
him to the guard house under arrest. Cacciconte
was in a remarkable state of soldierly appearance
when he came into the guard house that time, for
he was without socks or leggings, had his shoes
untied, wore nothing but his undershirt, no belt
or sidearms, nor overseas cap to cover his head,
but his helmet as a top piece. A more humorous
spectacle could hardly be found anywhere in the
A. E. F. It was impossible to put him on guard,
so he was carted, off to the billet to sleep o.' his
happiness.

We wouldn't be saying much about Frettes if
we left out the cooks and the parties they had
there, especially little Carl Kehoe and Maynard,
whose happiness often overflowed the kitchen area.

But it wasn't all joy unconfined in Fretts, for
the drilling was harder and more intensive than
we had ever had, especially the new men who had
had practically no drilling at all in the States.
The humor and the fun, however, helped to pass
away the moments of idleness and helped soothe
our tired bodies after the daily grind. We learned
to look upon Fretts as one of our homes, and it
was with considerable dismay that we received the
rumors of our probable moving from there.

At last one rainy Saturday the word came that
we would leave the following morning at 8 o'clock.
According to orders, we packed up and made
ready. On Sunday morning, September eighth,
we left Fretts with the fullest of packs strapped
to our backs. Along the way we had much to
say of our late home, where we had learned our
first ideas of French life and customs and the

Page 33

intricacies of the language.

Few will forget that twelve-mile hike along the
white road that day with those packs, the heat of
the middle of the day and the rain as it came
down several times along the way. Our objective
was Laferte, a railhead, which we reached late in
the afternoon, only to be met by a downpour of
rain that lasted for hours, drenching us through
and wetting our packs so that they seemed to
weigh a ton.

After the cars had been loaded we entrained
in our side-door Pullmans for an overnight ride. In
the morning we detrained at Mussey, and with full
packs once more started out hiking, arriving in
the village of Fains some time in the afternoon,
where we were billetted comfortably if a little
crowded. From the ninth to the thirteenth we
enjoyed the chicken, omelettes, rabbit and French
fried potatoes that could be secured in abundance
at the private homes in the. town. We also enjoyed 
French beer for the first time, while some
few enjoyed the sights of Bar le Duc, the first
large-sized town we were near since coming to
France. Then the name of Murphy became famous in the outfit.

Page 34

CHAPTER VII.
So This is the Front

It was the night of Friday, the thirteenth, a
great day for the superstitious, that we left Fains
in trucks driven by Chinese coolies, whose 
adaptability as drivers was criticized more than once,
for they led us a crazy existence while they were
with us. It was 2 in the morning of the fourteenth
when we hopped out of the trucks and started on
a three-hour hike that was almost entirely uphill
and that brought us to, the Brocourt woods. During 
the hike that night we had our first idea of
what war at night was with the varicolored flares
that made the heavens seem daylike, and the roar
of the guns in the not-too-far distance.

We remained in dirty, rat-infested billets until
the night of the fifteenth, when shortly after night.
fall we set out on a hike that brought us to the
Recicourt woods and the famous bomb-proof dug.
outs where George Druding nightly went on rat
hunts. The' following night Jerry did some of his
famous night stra.ng with the aid of a bombing
plane that did considerable damage to the already
wrecked town of Recicourt just below us, but which
did absolutely no damage in our immediate area.
All the time the bombs were dropping in the
beautiful moonlight, some of the boys in the company 
were having a poker game undisturbed by
even the hum of the motor of the avion overhead.

From the sixteenth to the twentieth we received
first sight intimation of what a gigantic thing war
was when we saw the big guns being brought up

Page 35

the road by the tractors during the night to be
placed for the big offensive about which we knew
little or, nothing, though the rumors were flying
thick and fast that the American Army was going
"to strike for the first time without being aided
by the Allies. We all knew that something very
big was brewing, but how big or how small apart
we were to play in the big offensive did not give
us any immediate concern. ,

At 8 on the night of the twentieth we left on
a four hours. hike that brought us much closer
to the front. The twentieth of September will
always be inscribed indelibly on the mind of Bill
Brewer. Bill died that particular night, giving up
his life like the heroes in romance. Out of the
still of the night when we went over the top in
our first gas alarm the voice of bill could be heard
heard above the klaxons, the guns and the sirens.

"Good-by, boys, I'm going to die," said Bill,
and he meant it. "Good-by Seitz and George..
I'm resigned to die," continued Bill in awe-inspiring tones. 
Then the shrill voice of a lieutenant
out of the night, "Climb a tree, the gas always
hangs on the ground." And the last we saw of Bill
before our sides split from laughter brings to
mind the picture of our supply sergeant double.
timing gamely for a thirty-five foot tree. The
funny part of it all is the fact that there was
absolutely no gas at all.

From the following day until the night of the
twenty-fifth we remained in pup tents in the Hesse
woods, doing absolutely nothing but keeping out
of sight and receiving a copious amount of mail.
It was then that we saw the gigantic preparations

Page 36

that were being made for the offensive, the placing
of the big guns along the road just in front of us,
the amount of ammunition of all calibres that was
being brought up and placed alongside the guns,
the 180 tanks that wended their way laboriously
along the road on the way to take up their positions, 
the large number of trucks with supplies
and what-not going up and down the road, and the
prevalence of so many cars of the staff officers
and generals, and every conceivable thing being
concentrated for the avowed purpose of pushing
the Hun back.

The afternoon of the twenty-fifth the ofiicers
and company and platoon scouts and platoon 
sergeants went up on the lines to see where we would
be placed that night preparatory to our going over
in the morning. The party received its baptism
of shell fire that afternoon, though the shells
dropped some distance from them. When they
returned we all knew that the stage had been set
for our first act in the big drama, "War." The
sergeants were called together, the maps gone over
and the situation in general explained. With the
return of the officers our, preparations started for
duty. Light packs with reserve rations were made
up, while the remainder of our equipment was
placed in a roll with our names inscribed on it
and placed on a salvage pile that had been selected
for the outfit.

At 8 o'clock the night of the twenty-fifth, and
the night will long live in our memory, we started
out to take our position preparatory to jumping
off. We were cautioned that all talking was to
be done at a whisper, and that all care was to

Page 37

be taken in everything we did. Shortly after
midnight we were in our places in support of "E"
Company, ready for the word that would send us
over. In the meantime the greatest barrage in
the history of the world started. To our untrained
ears it seemed that all the noises in the universe
had been collected together and released simultaneously. 
The sky was lighted up as far as the
eye could see from the flares of the big guns, while
off to the front the Germans were sending up their
signal flares in copious amounts. The first act
surely had a wonderful setting.

Page 38

CHAPTER VIII.
Up and Over at Sunrise

At five-forty, the zero hour, just as the sun
was rising in the East and spreading its rays over
a troubled world, we went over the top. Hardly
ten minutes had elapsed before we were engulfed
in the deepest kind of a gloom, made more dense
by the smoke barrage that was sent over to veil
our early movements from enemy observers. The
fog Was so dense that a man ten feet away was
barely distinguishable. The result of the fog was
the disconnection of the company, two platoons
bearing OH to the left under Captain Smith and
Lieutenants Cushing and Haney, while the other
two, under Lieutenants Brigham and Hollinger,
went off to the right.

The leaders of the two sections of the company
in the meantime were making all sorts of efforts
to get in connection with each other, but no matter
how many runners and scouts went out, they in.
variably returned, if they weren't lost, with the
information that they could see no one. The section 
under Lieutenants Brigham and Hollinger
continued going forward, while that under 
Captain Smith and Lieutenant Cushing had to fight
for every inch of their advance. This part of the
company saw its first prisoners going back when
"E" company was met.

From that point on resistance was met on all
sides. Part of the first platoon under Lieutenant
Cushing split from the remainder of the section
and started out to a clear a trench that seemed

Page 39

to be causing trouble. They met with resistance
all around, the machine gun bullets whistling over
the trench for almost half an hour. After making
a personal reconnaisance, Lieutenant Cushing
beckoned for the remainder of the platoon to follow
him.

In the meantime Sergeant Kapp, with part of
the first platoon had gone off to the right to see
what was holding up the other part of the company. 
Seeing a sniper working with deadly ac-
curacy on a body of troops lying in shallow shell
holes, Kapp crept up behind the Hun and shot him
dead, thereby permitting the advance to continue
once again. The moppers-up attended to an avenue 
of dugouts over which we had passed before
going up a slight elevation at about 9 o'clock.
We hadn't reached the top of this elevation before
we were fired upon by several machine guns. When
they were located Captain Smith, leading about
ten men in the face of heavy fire, with grenade
and rifle fire finished the obstacle.

In the meantime Lieutenant Cushing veered off
to the left along with Platoon Sergeant Brookes
and several men to flank a nest of five guns that
.red on us from all directions simultaneously. Up
to this time We had suffered no casualties, but it
was but a short time after that we lost heavily.

Captain Smith, discovering the position of the
guns, disdaining all danger, led the company
through some thick brush, then to a trench and out
to the top of a knoll from which the guns appeared
to be firing. Here the Hun snipers got in some
deadly work while their brethren were suffering
the loss of their machine guns through the intuition

Page 40

and quick action of the captain.

Sergeant Brookes, platoon sergeant of the first
platoon since the company was formed for over.
seas duty, was killed instantly by a sniper. 
Corporals Peters, Shinko and Sipler and Privates Calveresse 
and Castro were all mortally wounded in
this vicinity.

Off to the left Lieutenant Cushing was shot
through the left lung by a machine gunner and
was severely wounded. He was carried off the
field by a group of Hun prisoners that Corporal
Marquis and Private Paterson had captured. Corporal 
Tom Dunbar, while leading his squad, was
shot through the hand, while Private Faust was
wounded in the left side during the attack on the
nest.

The nest was finally cleared out and several
prisoners sent to the rear. Once more collecting
his scattered forces, the captain started forward,
not to be daunted by the heavy resistance
we were meeting. Hardly a few minutes had.
elapsed before once more we met resistance, the
Huns this time waiting until we were almost on
top of them before opening up their fire. 
Fortunately they were bad shots and no casualties
were suffered by our company, though a company
from the three fifteenth lost a first lieutenant and
several men at this spot. 

However, a little later the company lost its
leader, Captain Smith, and also one private, Louis
Izzi, who was wounded by an exploding hand
grenade. The Captain received his injury which
put him out of action while leading a handful of
men in an effort to dislodge a machine gun. It

Page 41

all happened this way: After the machine guns
had opened up on us, the section was compelled
to take cover because of the excessive fire. The
Captain here took inventory of his surroundings,
finally locating one of the guns. While going
forward along with Sergeant Kapp and Private
Hayes, the Captain received his wound. He 
immediately sought cover in a shell hole, where he
was forced to lay until the Huns left the district,"
when the captain, though he wanted to go forward,
was forced to the rear when the Colonel came up.
Up until the time of his wound the Captain had
led two platoons fearlessly in the face of severe
machine gun fire and fire from snipers. His leadership, 
disdaining all personal danger, inspired the
men to renewed activity when the situation seemed
darkest. Before he left for the rear the Captain
exhorted us to continue forward, which we did in
spite of severe resistance.

The path was once more cleared of opposition,
and without an officer this part of the company
continued forward under the leadership of First
Sergeant Cole and Sergeant Kapp. The section
under Sergeant Cole remained for the night in a
trench, after continuing forward until darkness,
while that under Sergeant Kapp attached itself
to the third battalion for the night.

When daylight broke Sergeant Kapp's section
started out and met that commanded by Sergeant
Cole, and together the two sections started forward
in the cold and heavy rain. However, they were
unable to advance far, for the part of the company
under Lieutenants Brigham and Hollinger, seen
for the first time since the previous day, had met

Page 42

severe machine gun resistance up ahead._ Several
of the members of the second and fourth platoons
were wounded here and could be seen walking down
the road toward the first aid station. Corporal
Harry Estelle and Dietrich, walking side by side
down the road, made light of their wounds, Estelle
being shot through both arms, while Dietrich 
received a bullet through his heel and another
through his arm.

From Estelle and Dietrich the first and third
platoons learned what had happened to the other
two platoons on the previous day. It appears as
though the second and fourth platoons got off a
little to the right of their sector, getting their first
taste of machine gun fire about two hours after
going over the top. This obstacle was overcome
without the loss of a single man. Heavy machine
gun fire from a wood directly in front a little

later kept the two platoons in a trench most of
the day and part of the afternoon. The position
was such an untenable one that it was well nigh
impossible to even attempt to clear the obstacle,
for the cover was poor and the Huns had a direct
fire on the position held by the platoons! "E"
company off to the left managed to clear out the
obstacle by flanking the guns.

The way cleared, the two platoons joined up
with the rest of the battalion, which reorganized
and started forward. Resistance was met a little
further on and though it was easily overcome, the
battalion a few minutes later on was forced to
Withdraw to a better position a little to the rear,
because of darkness and a desire to have a good
position in case of a counter-attack. Long before

Page 43

daylight the battalion started forward again and
continued their advance for about two and a half
kilos before they met resistance along the main
road that runs through Montfaucon. Cover was
quickly taken and because of the darkness no
effort was made to overcome the obstacle. The
company on the left flank cleaned out two nests
of guns and, supported in the rear, the second
and fourth platoons cleared their resistance.

The impeded advance was once more renewed
and continued for a short distance when they
were fired on from all sides. The two platoons
had been marching up the road in platoon columns
when fired upon. They immediately dropped to
the shell holes and narrow trenches on the right
side of the road. It was late in the morning before
this obstacle was overcome, and then it was necessary 
to do mopping-up work, one-half of Lieutenant 
Hollinger's platoon going through a woods and
bombing dugouts. When they returned the platoons 
once more re-formed and started forward.
It was during the heavy machine gun fire from
all directions that Estelle and Dietrich were
wounded. A sniper hiding in a camouflaged trench
instantly killed Harry D. Miller, the bullet
passing through his helmet and skull. Pete Di
Prinzio received a wound in the thigh and another
in the calf of the leg by a sniper as he lifted
his automatic rifle to his shoulder on discovering
the position of the sniper. 

It was on this day, the twenty-seventh, that,
George Druding was so badly wounded that shortly
afterwards he died, while Demetrius Dionne, 
orderly to Captain Brieux, and attached to

Page 44

regimental headquarters, was also wounded so severely
by shrapnel that he too died of wounds. After
meeting up with the second and fourth platoons,
the first and third platoons were told of the loss
Of Jeffries Higgins on the previous day by a
sniper, while Reds Kelly had his left arm 
shattered by shrapnel, and Feick was wounded by
machine gun bullets. Higgins loss was a severe
one to his family for the day before we went
Over the top he received word that his brother, a
doughboy in the twenty-eighth division, had been
killed. Privates Hogberg, Imondi, Zampino and
Sjoblam were all wounded on the twenty-seventh
in front of Montfaucon.

Page 45

CHAPTER IX.
Montfaucon and Resistance

The resistance was finally overcome and the
company started forward toward the woods to
the right of the city of Montfaucon. Here we
expected to find hard fighting, for the wood was
powerfully fortified with trenches and dugouts,
formidable enough to hold us off for a long time.
But fortunately the wood was not as infested
with machine guns and snipers as was anticipated,
though there was a sprinkling of the latter who
made considerable trouble for us. The companies
had hardly reached the outer edge of the woods
before they were met by a terrific barrage of over-
head shrapnel which made things unbearable in
that Vicinity for some time, with the result that
the entire battalion was forced to withdraw and
take up a position in the field just before the city.
Lieutenant Brigham's leadership and coolness
brought us safely out of the woods without the
loss of a single man.

Corporal Hawkins dropped unconscious at the
edge of the woods, making most of us think that
he had been seriously wounded, but upon going to
his aid it was found that he was suffering from
a severe hernia. At the dressing station Bud was
ticketed for the hospital but he returned to the
company and said that he would not go, as there
was nothing the matter with him. It took an
order to get Hawkins to the hospital that day.
Back in the field we had so recently taken we
dug in and made preparations to repel a

Page 46

counter-attack that was expected that night, but which
never materialized. Late that night an order came
in that we would have to move forward to take up
a more advantageous position to repel the expected
counter-attack.

We remained in position until almost daylight,
when we withdrew and returned to the trenches
to the right of the woods at Montfaucon, where
we rested for some time that morning until Major
Caldwell came up and told us that there was
something to eat for us about half a kilometer
back. That meant a short respite and that the
battalion was placed in support for the morning.
The half kilometer vanished toot sweet, for we
had had nothing but hard tack and corn bill for
two days, and that had been exhausted the first
day out. To say that the meal was appreciated
would be putting it mildly, though the quantity
was anything but sufficient to satisfy our appetites.
That was one time the mess sergeants were given
a good word, for they had braved the heavy
shelling of the back area to get up and feed us.

After the meal, the battalion was reorganized
under command of Major Shoge, then captain,
while Lieutenant Brigham reorganized our company. 
A short time later we started forward until
we had reached a position on the left and in front
of Nantillois, where, because of excessive enemy
shell fire, we remained on the reverse slope of a
hill comparatively safe in our funk holes. It was
at this juncture that the Huns fired minnies and
three-inch shells almost point blank at us. The
shelling was the worst we had ever been under,
Fritzie most of the night keeping us in a box

Page 47

barrage that for its intensity of fire could hardly
be equalled. The right and left and our front and
rear was a ,halo of steel from four o'clock in the
afternoon until the next morning, but fortunately
our position was almost impregnable for artillery
fire.

It rained consistently all night, with the result
that our holes became pools of water that we were
forced to lay in, for it was almost suicidal to stand
up. The next morning we started forward and
had hardly gotten over the top of the hill before
we received a terrific shelling that added further
to our growing casualty list. Clarence Surprise
was killed by a shell that killed two other men
from another company and wounded severely
Private Sloat of our company: Harry S. Miller
and Anthony Mitsko were wounded during this
shelling, along with Privates Murphy, Pickering
and Swanson. This, however, did not deter our
advance at first, but the shelling became so severe
that we were forced to hold up for some considerable 
time. Corporal Charles L. Guthrie was killed
just in front of Nantillois by a fragment of a shell
that went through his skull. Elmer Krause
received a severe shrapnel wound a few feet from
Guthrie. Corporals Reutter and Marshall were
both wounded by machine gun bullets in front of
the woods, while a little later Private Weyrick
was wounded by shrapnel.

Page 48

CHAPTER X.
Relief and Back for a Rest

In the meantime there had been all sorts of
rumors about relief, but we began to think that
we never would be relieved. At last, however, at
two-thirty on the afternoon of, the thirtieth, we
could see the infantry of another division coming
up across the rises in the ground. A little later
the Third Division relieved us and we started for
the rear, having proved that the National Army
man was as good a fighter as anyone of the other
armies, and after accomplishing all that we had
set out to do the morning of the twenty-sixth, and
a little more.

On the way to the rear we were shelled incessantly 
by the Hun, but fortunately suffered no
casualties. We were also told on our way out of
the bombing of the Red Cross hospital by the Hun,
an aeroplane directing the artillery that did the
firing. Major Allen, Lieutenant Lynch, our battalion 
medical officer, and a large number of men
were killed when the hospital was blown up. 'At
eight that night in the rain we arrived on the
reverse» slope of a hill, where we bivouacked for
the night. Tired and hungry, we were denied the
pleasure of eating a good meal that Sergeant
Gillette had prepared for us by the inability of
the kitchen to get up to us because of the congestion 
on the road. The meal that was prepared for
us was commandeered by the major of another
battalion for his men, and we went hungry. A few

Page 49

loaves of bread and the same number of cans of
beans were distributed in the morning, but that
was like a drop of water to a thirsty man.

At nine in the morning we started hiking to
the rear, and at four-thirty arrived back in the
same woods we left the night of the twenty-fifth.
Here we received our second meal in seven days.
The menu consisted of corn willie, tomatoes, gold-
fish, bread, coffee and molasses, and we all ate
ravenously. After eating and securing our 
salvaged rolls, the company re-formed and started
out on a half hours' hike that carried us to an open
field, where we pitched tents for the night.

It seemed like the first night of quiet sleep, un-
disturbed by the bursting of shells all around, that
we had enjoyed in months, though in reality it
was only eight days. Shoes Were removed for the
first time in what seemed like ages and our bodies
given an opportunity to relax, that was sorely?
needed. Taps were not needed that night to call
the men to bed, for long before the usual hour of
taps the camp was silent. All slept the sleep of
the weary.

The next morning we all started out for water to
get a nine days' beard off our mud-encrusted faces,
and that, by the way, was one of the toughest jobs
we had for a long time. Many of the men would
have much rather remained on the front a few
hours longer to have the pleasure of feeling a good
sharp razor in the hands of their hometown barber
on their beard that morning. Before the morning
was out we moved from the open field into the
woods to screen ourselves from enemy aeroplanes

Page 50

that hovered around a good portion of the morning.
Shortly after pitching our tents in the woods,
Nowell, who had done excellent work on the front,
teamed with Yelle, stretcher bearing, was forced
to leave for the hospital because of an infected
hand, the result of a barbed wire cut. That night
the mail came in and we were a happy lot, for we
were getting letters from home for the first time in
two weeks.

The following afternoon at five-thirty we struck
tents and packed up for the longest and hardest
hike we had ever taken. It was eight o'clock
when we started out on the first leg of the journey.
At three-thirty the following morning we pitched
tents in the Sonnecourt woods. We passed through
the villages of Dombasle and Ancremont on the
way. It was a hard night's hike, but more was
to come, for that afternoon at four o'clock We
left the woods for a five hours. hike that brought
up to a field just outside the village of Recicourt,
Where we bivouacked for the night. In the course
of our hike we passed through Souilly, which many
months later was to be our division headquarters.
Coming through the village and on its outskirts
we saw American aeroplanes on land in hangars
for the first time.

Meals had been exceedingly scarce in the course
of the hike and considering the fact that we had
had but two meals in eight days previous to the
start, the boys were in anything but good shape.
We never thought that seven-thirty the next morning 
would find us starting out on the longest hike
of the series on empty stomachs, but it did. We

Page 51

hiked until well on past noon, when the kitchen
came up and gave each man a half cup of un.
sweetened coffee, and, with a couple of hardtack
biscuits that could be borrowed from some one
fortunate enough to have them, we made a meal.
And all the time we were hiking with full packs
that seemed to weigh a ton more each step we took.
That was the hike that tried the sand in every man
and it is no disgrace to say that quite a few of our
men fell out from fatigue and sickness, for the
deadly dysentery had taken hold soon after coming 
off the front. It was about six-thirty as the
sun was sinking behind the distant hills that we
arrived at the village of Rupt, after going out;
the wrong road a kilometer or so. We were then
fairly comfortably billeted.

From the fifth until the eleventh of October we
remained in the village of Rupt, paying an 
exhorbitant price for everything we bought, from
nuts and onions to preserves and champagne, but
that mattered but the least to us, for we hadn't
been able to spend any money for such a long time
that we wouldn't have been satisfied if the
profiteers hadn't burned us a little. Many of the
boys suffered from dysentery, With the result that
the company was very fortunate to have six skeleton 
squads to drill in the morning. But there was
little drill, fortunately, most of the day being
spent in resting and scrubbing up equipment and
clothes. It was in Rupt that Sergeant Fairchild
left the company for the officers. training school,
and it was also in Rupt that guides and scouts
were started for the St. Mihiel front one fine day

Page 52

to see the positions the battalion was to take on
that front. Sergeants Vineski and Labrum and
Lieutenant Haney, the company representatives,
had hardly reached the town above Rupt, when
they were overtaken by the colonel's car and told
that they were to return to their companies, as the
orders had been changed. Bien!

It was in Rupt that the losses of the company in
the first drive were summed up and it was found
that we had lost in killed, one sergeant, four 
corporals and twelve privates, while the captain, first
lieutenant, three corporals and thirty-four privates
had been wounded and three privates missing in
action. Privates Hayes and McMillon, at first
reported missing in action, were afterwards found
to have been wounded and in base hospitals, while
Achille Angelucia, also reported missing in action,
was so severely wounded that he was evacuated
to a base hospital and shortly afterwards to the
States. Corporal Steve Dolan was gassed and
sent to a base hospital along with Privates Gharity,
Lukuc and Lastowsky. Chester Riley and Jerry
Shultz, of the first platoon, and Fred Schucker, of
the fourth, were the mystery men of the first
drive. We had fifty-nine casualties in the company 
or losses of approximately twenty-five per
cent. for our first time in action.

Page 53

Tilly and the Troyon Front
CHAPTER XI.

The company really seemed small when on the
night of October 11th we started another series
of hikes, the first of which carried us to a thick
woods in the morning at six-thirty. Pup tents
were immediately pitched and the boys, after 
getting a good breakfast, spent the remainder of the
day wrapped in their blankets. That night was 
spent in the woods while billeting officers were
out searching for suitable quarters for us. The
evening of the twelfth at five o'clock tents were
torn down and an hour later the company started
out for Tilly, where at eight-thirty we were housed
in the best billets we had had since coming to
France, with big open fireplaces in every room of
every billet the company made the chilly fall days
more than comfortable and wet shoes and socks
could be dried nightly by the blazing fire. Good
bunks of straw aplenty made our beds almost
homelike after the way we had been used to sleeping 
for a month. The Meuse River ran through
the village and gave us an opportunity to do some
washing and cleaning up after the long hikes and
lack of water everywhere.

It was in Tilly that the boys returned to some
of their civilized methods of washing and combing
their hair every morning, something that had
been more Or less neglected during the past month.
Tilly boasted of a flour mill, and as a result, we
enjoyed good old-fashioned homemade flap jacks

Page 54

with every meal, and twice after evening mess.
Ofttimes baking powder was especially scarce,
but What the cakes lacked of that ingredient they
more than made up with the others. Three good
meals a day and seconds and thirds for those who
desired them helped to build us all up to our old
physical state again, with the result that we left
Tilly feeling fit to go through another campaign
of hikes and fighting.

Bob Maddox, who had been made a sergeant
in Rupt and assigned to the first platoon, 
received papers in Tilly telling him that he was a
second lieutenant in the Philippine Scouts as a
result of successfully passing examinations back
in Camp Meade previous to our going over. It
seemed funny to the boys to see Bob promenading-
around with gold bars on his shoulder straps.
However, it made little difference to Bob, Who was
the same old man to all of us.

Sergeant Cole in Tilly also received notification
that he was to receive the coveted gold bars for
conspicuous bravery in action. He took the physical 
examinations and then awaited his commission.
Corporal Rice was taken very seriously sick in.
Tilly and had to be evacuated to a base hospital.

At six o'clock on the night of the twenty-first
we packed up hurriedly and an hour later started
on a forced Hike to the front as the result of an
emergency call sent to the. regiment to re-enforce
a line on the Troyon front which the Three-Sixteenth 
Regiment of our division was holding. It
was two-fifteen the following morning when we
reached the appointed place in rear of the line

Page 55

there to wait for the orders to take our places on
the line.

It was a hard uphill hike all the way that taxed
the strength of every one, for we had everything
we owned on our backs. The officers and the
platoon sergeants shortly after our arrival were
guided up to the lines and shown the positions to
take up should the Hun begin his attack in the
morning. However, the expected attack failed to
materialize, as was expected, as the battalion of
Huns that did come over were slaughtered in the
pass by machine gun fire.

That afternoon the company packed up and
started back for Tilly, arriving shortly after seven
from a hike that will never be forgotten by those
who took it. The warmth of the fireplaces never
felt better than they' did on that night. Coming
in tired, hungry and wet with perspiration, 
something was needed to do some cheer giving and the
fireplaces provided the solace for sore feet and
wet bodies. Our stay in Tilly this time was short-lived. 
Two days later we packed up again and
started for we knew not where at that time, though
it was rumored that we were going on the Verdun
front.

Rumors had also been flying around that Austria-
Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria had capitulated
and that armistices would shortly be signed by all
three countries, thereby weakening the power of
the Huns. This was the best news we had heard
since coming into the army with the possible exception 
of the successes of the allied armies on all
fronts in pushing back the enemy. It was at Tilly

Page 56

the day before we left for the front that we 
received our first replacements, Tittle and Tally.

We left Tilly at six-thirty in the evening, and,
after a long, hard hike, arrived in Sommedieu,
being billeted in the woods on the outskirts of the
town in old French barracks. It was at Sommedieu 
that we were paid and also at the same
place that we received fourteen replacements from
the casual camps. The company did nothing at
Sommedieu but rest, while a few played wild
poker with the money that it was impossible to
spend.

At nine-thirty the night of the twenty-seventh
we left Sommedieu for the front, making our first
stop in the village of Lempire, where we all 
received quite a bundle of mail. It was early in the
morning when we arrived in the village and early
the same evening when we left, hiking for five
hours until we reached the deep, rat-infested, cold
and uncomfortable dugouts outside the village of
Fromerville. That was one of the most uncomfortable 
and cheerless nights the most of us had
ever spent. There was no sleeping, for warmth
could come only by walking up and down the
road. It was on the next day, October twenty-ninth, 
that Bob Maddox bade farewell to the boys
and started on his long journey to the Philippines.

At five-thirty that evening, just at nightfall, we
left the dugouts and hiked until two-thirty in the
morning along a road that was the worst we had
ever traveled on. Many of the boys badly sprained
their legs and ankles on the march, but none as
seriously as Ray Crompton, who had to be evacuated.

Page 57

We bivouacked for the night in the Des
Forges Woods, just in rear of the line. During
the day guides were sent out to secure our positions 
on the lines and guide us in when we arrived
the following night. It was in these woods that
Pete DiPrinzio and Corporal Egolf, who returned
from hospitals, joined us.

Page 58

CHAPTER XII
A Glorious Hallowe'en in Death Valley

At five-thirty the evening of the thirty-first,
Hallow'een, we started for the front along another
badly torn and twisted road, which, along with
the almost running speed made by the head of
the column, made our full packs feel like tons of
metal. We passed through the Village of Somagneux, 
of old stones, so badly ruined was it. We could
hardly have recognized the place for a town but
for a Sign that stood in its center which simply
stated that the pile of stones was Somagneux.

Every one remembers the pontoon bridge over
the Meuse on which we rested just before going
on the last leg of our journey, They say the bridge
was constructed faster than any bridge ever made
by the Americans under fire. When we reached
the narrow road toward the front line, some of the

Twenty-sixth and the Twenty-Ninth Divisions
were already coming out, and, as usual, we tried
to elicit information from them as to the conditions
of things up there, but either through fright or
that we might prove to be boche, they would tell
us nothing. Once in a while a whispered "It is
hell," could be heard.

All along the road cut in the valley gas in large 
quantities that had been lying stagnant as a result
of the rain, making the air almost unbearable.
We had our first casualty of our second trip on the
front going in that night, when George Robinson,

Page 59

our blond-haired bugler, was struck down by
shrapnel from the only shell that dropped near the
company. Most of the men at the head of the
single file column heard the shell whistle, but
figured that it would pass on out of danger. How-
ever, it dropped about five feet from the moving
column, killing Robinson almost instantly, while
Borden received a fragment in his neck and 
Sergeant George Stolz a minute piece in his ear. 
Sergeant Joseph Labrum had the muzzle of his gun
shot off clean while he was walking along With
the weapon slung on his left shoulder.

At midnight we arrived on the lines in the Belleau 
Woods and started to relieve Company C of
the Hundred and Fourth Regiment of the Twenty-
Sixth Division, holding the front line of our sector.
It was the matter of but a few minutes to displace
the wornout New England boys, the first and
second platoons doing the relieving and the other
two remaining in support in the dugouts just in
rear of the lines. This was our first opportunity
to see what holding the lines was like, and we
found it to be quite 'a different task than we had
during the first drive.

While fairly safe from artillery fire, our funk
holes being dug in the bushes that formed a natural
cover from enemy observation, on the reverse slope
of the hill, we were nevertheless constantly subjected 
to a harassing artillery fire that came from
several directions and which did some damage to
the men on the lines, killing on the morning of
the first John McKenna and wounding Privates
Blanchette and Cericola. On the morning of the

Page 60

second, about daylight, Dowd Crawford was instantly 
killed by shrapnel as he was standing in
the funk hole so lately vacated by Sergeant Labrum, 
of the first platoon, whom Dowd had relieved.
Dowd had been an acting sergeant previous to his
coming up on the lines, he having asked to return
to his company from battalion headquarters. Two
days later one of the machine gun crew from the
Three-Eleventh had his scalp torn off by shrapnel.
Privates Shillock and Rush were wounded by
shrapnel on the left flank the same day and by the
same shell that killed Crawford. Private Favreau
a little later was wounded in the arm on the right
flank of the line. Crawford and McKenna were
decently buried but a few feet from where they
were killed by Sergeants Clark and Vineski.

It was while holding the lines that First Sergeant 
Cole received his commission as second lieu-
tenant in infantry. Cole's commission was the
result of his excellent work throughout the first
drive, especially on the first day of the drive when
he aided Captain Smith in all the attacks the company 
made on machine guns. Cole disdained all
personal risk, leading the men on to several enemy
positions which he took after a hard fight. After
the captain had been wounded, Cole re-formed the
section and started forward once again. His 
leadership and bravery under fire drew warm 
commendation from Colonel Oury. Sergeant Jacobs
succeeded Cole as first sergeant of the company.

A change was made by Lieutenant Brigham in
the method of relieving platoons on 'the line, with
the result that the fourth platoon was chosen as

Page 61

the detail platoon to bring up the rations, and
look after the feeding on the line. Were it not for
the excellent work of Sergeant Clark and his men
during those trying days, going through gas and
shell fire constantly to accomplish their mission,
we would have gone hungry more than once. John
O'Connell, one of the old men of the company and
one of the lightest, did yeoman work feeding the
lines, often working during heavy shelling without
regard for the personal danger involved.

We almost forgot to inscribe in this little history
that Lieutenant Hollinger, because of his excellent
work on the front in the first drive, received a first
lieutenancy. The coveted silver bar came to
"Holly" at Sommedieu and we were all more than
happy at his increase in rank. He was up there
all the time ready for anything and proved to us
all that he was a real leader.

On the afternoon of the seventh an order came
from regimental headquarters to send out a day.
light patrol to ascertain the front line of the enemy
and their possible strength. Under Lieutenants
Brigham and Cole the patrol crept cautiously
around and down through the narrow path between
two hills and started out in the open. They had
hardly been out a half hour before Jerry opened
tip along the whole line, sending over the worst
barrage we had ever been under, considering the
time it lasted. It seemed that everything but the
guns themselves were being hurled our way.

The men on the patrol were fired on from all
angles by machine guns, trench mortars and hand
and rifle grenades, with the result that the patrol

Page 62

was forced to withdraw hurriedly, but not without
severe losses. Private Jones was the last man to
Withdraw, and only after emptying his automatic
rifle; Privates Mike O'Connell, who but a few
days before had received a letter telling him of the
death of his mother; Fred McLaughlin, Christos
Stavris and Orbie Ore were killed' outright, while
Arthur Sortet brought in wounded in several places,
died shortly after in a hospital. Privates Joseph
Gibbs and Sidney Tuttle were wounded and evacuated 
to the hospital as was Wesley Williams as the
result of a badly torn knee..

The first members of the patrol to return stated
that the boche was coming over in large numbers.
The order was immediately sent by runner to the
platoons resting in the dugouts to reinforce the line
and they did without the loss of a single man,
though they passed up through terrific halo of lead
and steel. The miracle of every man arriving on
the line that afternoon has been a topic of conversation 
at more than one sitting around the stove.
When we arrived on the line it was thought by all
that Jerry Was coming over, and the expectancy
was that we would get our first chance to use our
in, out, on guard, that we had been practicing for
such a long time. But the Hun did not come over.

Sergeant Nipple, returning from gas school,
joined the company in the heighth of the excitement. 
In addition to those already mentioned, the
following men were members of the patrol: Corporals 
Foose and Cunningham, Privates Yeager,
Nehf, Wilson, Rompolski and Simmons, and
Stretcherbearer Yelle. The following day, the

Page 63

eighth, we received word that Austria-Hungary,
Turkey and Bulgaria had capitulated completely
and had accepted very rigid armistice terms. How.
ever, we received no word at all that the allies
had proposed terms to the Germans for their consideration 
or that such plans were even being considered 
by the allies.

Shortly after noon firing ceased altogether all
along the line, making what seemed before like
hell let loose a deathly still place. We could not
understand the reason, for we had been shelled
so constantly during the time on the lines that
many thought something radical was wrong. At
five-thirty that evening, as we were eating our daily
meal, the order came that an hour later we were to
go over the top. We finished our meal and made
preparations to start. The company assembled on
the line with the first platoon on the left flank
shortly after six o'clock. A half hour later we
moved up and over. Corporal Bostwick, of the
first-platoon, had suffered severely from the gas
of the previous night and had to be evacuated.

There was absolutely no connection at all on the
left with the First Battalion, with the result that
patrols were sent out by each platoon in an effort
to locate them, but they all returned without having
gained any information at all. In the inky, rainy
darkness of the night we went slowly forward with 
our shoes caked with mud and with a fall here
and there into imperceptible shell holes. At mid-
night the advance was halted and the order given
to dig in for the night. It was raining in volumes
then and it continued the same during the

Page 64
   
remainder of the night; making the cold all the more
uncomfortable.

Page 65

CHAPTER XIII,
The Beginning of the End

At five-thirty in the morning the advance was
continued, but still no resistance was met. The
village of Moirey wholly destroyed, was taken
without any fighting. Moving by the left flank
along the road leading out of Moirey, the battalion
continued for about two hundred yards into an
open field, where a rest was taken. In the mean.
time the Hun opened up for the first time with
light field pieces, which, fortunately, fell ten to
twenty-.ve yards from their target. The order
was then given to go forward, and, bearing off to
the right and under machine gun and artillery fire,
the battalion started up Hill 328. Before reaching
the base of the hill, the enemy machine guns opened
up savagely While we were crossing the swamp
that wetted every man to his waist and added considerable 
to the misery of a heavy pack, the rain
and the cold.

Corporal Charles Leon Spencer, the old sleuth,
was the first to fall with a flesh wound in his right
side. At the base of the hill Private Kirby Burkert
was wounded by a machine gun bullet, but would
not leave the field until he received permission from
his sergeant, despite the fact that he was suffering
intensely. When we reached the trench about
three-quarters way up the hill, safe from artillery
fire, reconnoitering patrols were sent out by each
company. All came back with the report that the
hill was infested with machine guns. It was

Page 66

shortly after the return of the patrols that we
received our first aeroplane strafing. A Hun aviator
circled over our heads not over two hundred
yards, dropped a few signals and scurried off.
Hardly fifteen minutes elapsed before once more
off in the distance we could see the Maltese cross
on the boche plane as it sailed directly toward us
not more than a hundred feet in the air.

The battalion at that time was withdrawing
from the hill, preparatory to an artillery barrage
on the hill in an effort to dislodge the enemy ma.
chine guns as the Hun came over. When directly
over the battalion, the avion opened up with his
machine gun, sweeping the open spaces devoid of
cover, unmercifully, doing considerable damage to
the entire battalion. We suffered one casualty,
Billy Yelle, one of the finest and bravest boys in
the company, living but five minutes after the
bullet entered his lung. Yelle, as a stretcherbearer 
in the first drive, worked day and night
bringing in the wounded, going for two days in
the rain without his overcoat and slicker, both 
having been turned into improvised stretchers.

As soon as the aeroplane was out of range, the
battalion continued its interrupted move down the
hill to the dugouts in rear of Moirey, so recently
occupied by the Huns that the fresh cut kindling
wood lay beside the stoves. We remained in the
dugouts until after the artillery sent over its 
barrage, when we were re-formed and once more
started up the hill through the swamp. In rear
of the town Privates Joseph Dionne and William
Priddy, while bearing an empty stretcher, were

Page 67

instantly killed by shrapnel, the shell bursting but
a few feet from them. The Dionne family suffered
the loss of two of its boys in the company, 
Demetrius in the first and Joseph in the second drive. 
Privates Yeager and Astol. were wounded by the
same shell that killed Dionne and Priddy.

The object in going up the hill was to forestall
any possible counter-attack that might have been
contemplated by the Hun that night, rather than
to attack, for the resistance we would have met
would have made it impossible to advance as was
evidenced the next day. The line was established
almost on the crest of the hill and outposts sent out
to warn of any possible attacks. The Hun was
active most of the night with trench mortar shells,
which, however fell further down the hill from
our positions.

At five o'clock the next morning the order came
to once more withdraw from the hill in another
effort to see whether our artillery could break down
the machine gun resistance ahead of us. We re.
turned to the road to the left of the town, fairly

» safe from enemy artillery which pounded away
all around us. After an hour's barrage of seventy:
fives, we started forward again, this time in combat
groups. While going through the swamp previous
to forming in combat groups from the end of the
first platoon to the end of the fourth, heavy casual.
ties were suffered from shrapnel, the Hun opening
up a terrific barrage of six-inch shells which did
more than the usual damage due to the length of
our line.

Ovilla Robidaux, John Dowling and William

Page 68

Kleshinsky on the end of the first platoon fell
wounded first when a shell burst not far from
them. A few seconds later Sergeant Claude
Mapes, one of Laquin's famous boosters, fell with
a wound in the leg, followed by Stanny Kraukakas,
the latter, one of the oldest men of the company.
A gas shell incapacitated Oleshefsky and Sam
Johnson a few minutes later, while Harold Shippee
fell wounded. Ray Rowan, one of the best liked
men in the company, a gentleman and a good
soldier, who, despite his size, went through every
day of our gruelling fighting and hiking, lost one
of his arms the night of the ninth near Crepions,
from which the following day he died.. Corporal
Frank Annand, who vied with Henry Borden as
the tallest man in the company, was also severely
wounded at the same time as Rowan.

The part of the company ahead did not realize
that so many men had been lost until later in the
day when a check was taken. It was shortly after
six o'clock when we started moving, but hardly
an hour had elapsed before we were met by a
veritable machine gun barrage that forced us to
seek cover in a trench, at one time a strong point
of resistance for the enemy. The fourth platoon,
however, was not as fortunate as the other three
platoons of the company, for, under the leadership
of Lieutenant Hollinger, it had gone to the aid of
H Company which was suffering heavy casualties
from machine gun and snipers' fire. There was
little or no cover where the platoon stopped, so
it was decided by Lieutenant Hollinger that the
men would have to go back one at a time to the

Page 69

safety of a trench, where the remainder of the
company was under cover.

Sergeant Adams, of H Company, lay wounded I
and calling for first aid near where the fourth
platoon was under cover. Corporal Charlie De-
Voe volunteered to assist in carrying the stretcher
to the rear, and he had hardly taken three steps
before he fell seriously wounded from a sniper's.
bullet, dying a short time later in the field hospital:
DeVoe was one of the old men of the company, at
Camp Meade gracing the kitchen as an instructor
cook. Corporal McBride was the first to leave for
the trench and he arrived safely. Private Tally
then followed McBride, but he had barely gone
five yards before he was shot in the stomach.
Private McGee; the third to start out, had hardly
gone ten yards before he fell mortally wounded by
the sniper's fire. Several others followed, making
the safety of the trench by quick dashes and halts.

One of the last to leave for the trench, Sergeant
J. Delbert Nipple, raising his body for a quick
dash to cover, was killed instantly by a bullet
from the same sniper. The death of Nipple was
a keen shock to all of us that day while we lay in
the trench with death so near. It was Nipple's
desire to get back to the fighting front with
his company that really resulted in his death.
He had been attending gas school and had on the
. completion of his course, an opportunity to visit
Paris. This, however, did not appeal to Nipple,
who was anxious to get back with his outfit. The
night of November 7th found him on duty on
the front lines ready for action. His unwavering

Page 70

good habits in spite of good-natured criticism
earned for Nipple the admiration of all his fellow
soldiers, while his ability made him a valued asset
to the company.

Sergeant Clarke, Hemenway and Lieutenant
Hollinger, the, last three to leave the precarious
position, made their way safely back to the trench,
but not before Sergeant Clarke had first left the
safety of cover and, crawling along the ground,
had dragged the wounded Tally to the rear of a
dugout where he was safe from the snipers' fire.
Costello and Vandruff, acting in a pinch as
stretcher bearers, did good work bringing back the
wounded during heavy machine gun fire.

The company was forced to remain in the trench
until after four-thirty in the evening because of
the harassing machine gun fire the Huns played
on the trench and surrounding territory. A head
bobbing up above the parapet of the trench would
draw immediate fire, so that it was finally decided
to hold our positions and await the coming of one-
pounders and trench mortars from the rear.

In the meantime it had been found extremely
difficult to get messages from one company to an-
other or to locate the positions of the other 
companies of the battalion due to excessive machine
gun fire. Wesley Meeks distinguished himself by
offering to carry messages to H Company, off to
our right, though the carrying meant that the 
runner had to cross machine gun-swept ground. This
did not deter Meeks, who went to the task, getting
the messages to and from the other companies as
though there was no such thing as danger in

Page 71

bullets. As a result of this extraordinary work,
Meeks was recommended for a D. S. C.

Shortly before four o'clock the trench mortars
and one-pounders came up and did considerable
damage to the Hun emplacements, after which a
reputed half hour's barrage of eight minutes of
seventy-fives was sent over, many of the shells,
however, dropping short of their target and 
narrowly missing our trench. After the seventy-fives
had finished their work, the order came to go over,
and the company started forward from the left side
of the trench, only to be met by a hail of lead from
the machine guns. Cover was taken in the trench
for about five minutes, where it was found that we
had suffered but a single casualty, Mechanic Bor. ,
den, the tallest man in the company, having been
shot through the back. A few minutes later the
company was up and over again, this time on the
right side of the trench.

Veering off to the right with but a trifling 
resistance, we crashed through the bushes and barbed
wire, climbing over the later without, any effort
being made to cut a path through it. Down
through the valley we swept and up the hill at
almost a double time gait without the slightest
semblance of resistance from the Huns, who had
apparently made a hasty getaway. It was more
like the charges we had read of in history in the
old method of fighting, where everything was swept
aside by the victorious chargers, than modern war.
fare.

It was decided to dig in for the night in a lateral
trench that afforded but little shelter.

Page 72

Good work with shovels, bayonets and anything
that was handy made it fairly safe from artillery
fire. Outposts were sent out and the men kept
constantly on the alert for counter-attacks, for
there seemed to be something wrong in the manner
in which the Huns had made such; a quick rear
movement. All night long shells of all calibres
whistled and whined over our heads to fall in the,
valley in our rear. Evidently we had fooled the
Huns in taking the position on the crest of the hill,
for not once during the night did a shell drop near
our trench.

At eight-thirty in the morning, with a dense fog
overhanging the earth, the order was received that
at an hour later we would start over once more.
All sorts of rumors had come to us that we were to
be relieved that morning, but at the zero hour we
started forward with our mythical relief out of
sight. The companies of the battalion had just'
formed in combat groups when the enemy opened
up with terrific fire from small calibre guns. Cover
was sought for a few minutes and once more we
re-formed and started forward in the height of the
enemy shell fire.

The company had hardly gone three hundred
yards when the third and the fourth platoons on
the right flank of the company received the worst
of the shell fire that had been harrassing us for
over an hour. One shell dropped in a group of
third platoon men, killing instantly Sergeant
Dibble and Austin O'Hare, wounding Corporal
Charles Boland, Anthony Fauer, Raleigh Osborne
slightly, and Francis J. Oakes, severely. A little

Page 73

further on Sergeant Red Clarke was severely
wounded by shrapnel and carried from the field by
comrades to the dressing station. Clark lost a
leg, but smiled through it all. That is the kind of
spirit Clark showed all through the action of the
company on the front. Always ready to do any
mission, no matter how hazardous, he proved him.
self a born leader under fire.

The company continued moving forward until
met by severe machine gun fire, when a short halt
was made in the advance to clean out several enemy
machine gun emplacements. These obstacles over.
come, the company and battalion continued for-
ward until they had reached a patch of brush to
the right of a deep cut in the valley, where they
were met by such a halo of 'machine gun fire that
they were forced to withdraw a short distance to
the cover of a trench.

Page 74

CHAPTER XIV
Going Strong at the Armistice

At the ten-forty-five Lieutenant Brigham received 
the order that at eleven o'clock all firing on
the battle front would cease, as an armistice had
been agreed upon by the Allies and the Huns.
That was the first intimation we had received that
such a thing as an armistice was even being 
considered, for we had been without any news what.
ever of what was going on in the outside world
for almost two weeks, with the exception of one
or two papers brought up on the lines.

At eleven o'clock Lieutenant Brigham gave the
order that we were to cease firing, and what before
had been a hell let loose now seemed like a quiet
Sunday in the country. For several minutes after
eleven we could hear the distant boom of cannon,
but it only lasted those few minutes and then
everything was deathly still. It did not seem
natural to our ears used to the crack of machine
gun bullets and the bursting of shrapnel for eleven
consecutive days, but it was true, for a few minutes
later the Germans started celebrating and continued 
to do so for two days.

While inwardly we were happy mortals that the
fighting was over, outwardly we made no
demonstration whatever, simply going around shaking
hands with one another as a congratulation on our
mutual good luck to be there at the finish. But not
so with the Huns. They came down from their
machine gun and snipers. nests to talk with us

Page 75

about the end and offering us anything they had,
cigarettes, tobacco, buttons off their coats, their
hats, helmets and, in fact, everything.

Many were the stories told by the Huns of what
they intended to do if the war had lasted another
day, that they were going to desert in a body and
turn themselves over to the Americans, how
strongly fortified was the hill we were scheduled
to take that day, of the fabulous number of ma-
chine guns that were on the hill, of the amount of
artillery that was posted behind it and of the large
body of fresh infantry that would have met us had
we taken the hill.

As proof that we were completely surrounded by
Huns, we had only to see the places from which
they emerged when the armistice ceased all firing.
They came from our right and left and from in
front of us. This was due to the inability
of our flanks to keep up with us, with the result
that we pushed forward without practically any
support at all, giving us the right to say that we
were the farthest advanced of the division, 
a division hastily thrown together and welded into a
fighting machine second to none in sacrifice and
ability to fight. We made a huge sacrifice for
every strip of ground we had taken from the first
day out in September to the final hour of the war.
A case of individual sacrifice, several of Which
could be noted, was that of Private Arthur Gang.
were, who, though suffering badly from trench
feet, continued forward with the company and re.
fused to be evacuated to a hospital until after the
armistice. 

Page 76

The chumming of the Yanks and the Huns was
short-lived, however, for an order came out stating
that there was to be no fraternizing with the
enemy.

Quite a few of our Pennsylvania Dutch boys lost
the opportunity to practice up a bit with the Germans. 
Bob Wetzler even had some schnapps ordered 
from a German officer, but unfortunately,
because of the order, the schnapps had to go 
begging as far as Bob went.

A little later our front line was established and
guards posted to prevent the crossing of the line by
either Americans or Germans. Up went our pup
tents and a little later, for the first time since we
had started on our fighting career, we could build
fires on the front line. If anything felt 
comfortable that day, it was those fires, as our feet
were soaking wet and our clothes, too.

Some time in the afternoon Sergeant Stolz took
a detail down to the town in our rear to bring up
food for us and about two hours later we were
enjoying our first hot meal in three days; It was
then that the cooks had their first glimpse of the
front line, but they could see nothing out of the
ordinary about it though.

The night of the eleventh will be one that every
one of us on that line will remember till his dying
day. Darkness had hardly descended over the war.
ridden land until the Germans started sending out
their signal lights, and what a beautiful display it
was. A Fourth of July celebration in a big city
would seem tame as compared with the display that
night which came from every conceivable corner. 

Page 77

The vari-colored lights and signal flares that once
told us to beware now brought us right back home
on a Fourth of July. It Was the most beautiful
pyrotechnic display we had ever seen, the heavens
looking as though another sun had suddenly started
whirling around the universe as a rival to Old Sol.

Up on the big hill, our objective that morning,
the Huns celebrated at length, singing, playing on
their musical instruments and otherwise making
merry. One quartet of Germans far up on the hill
sang "Holy Night," and sang it so well and loud
that we could plainly hear it down in the valley.
In spite of the fact that it was our enemies doing
the singing, we could not help but say that it was
the finest we had heard for a long time. On the
other hand, we did very little celebrating, as a 
matter of fact, none at all, for we were tired out by
the long grind with full packs, were cold and
sleepy and contented ourselves with building fires,
drying our shoes and socks and making our beds as
comfortable as it was possible under the circum.
stances, An abundance of straw discovered in a
dugout added something to our comfort.

The next day was spent doing little, most of us
exploring some and resting more, in addition to
getting our two squares brought up from the
kitchen. The following morning, the thirteenth, we
rolled packs and started to move back to the old
'German' camp huts between Wavrille and Moirey.
Here Bill Brewer helped to make the cold nights
more comfortable by giving us additional blankets.

The billets were fairly comfortable, for there
was an abundance of stoves and wood around to

Page 78

make fires; It was in this camp that we stood
reveille and retreat again and doing a little squads
right and left, just enough to keep in some sort of
condition. There we remained until the eighteenth,
when we packed up and hiked to the dugouts just
outside the village of Ville, where we relieved a
company in the Sixth Division, the famous "Seeing
France" division, which did more hiking to get
into battle and yet didn't get into the fuss, than
any division in France.

The work at Ville consisted in doing outpost
duty where the lines had been established. The
first platoon was given the job with the option of
relief the following day, if desired. However,
Sergeant Kapp decided that the outpost duty was
much better than detail work in the valley below
Where the remainder of the company was situated
and the dugouts were warm and comfortable.

As a rule, all the dugouts were warm and comfortable 
and with no drill schedule until the last
two days, all that a man had to do was to keep
himself clean and rest. Bun McCabe, with his
bunch of orderlies, had quite a time in Ville making
flap jacks and washing clothes with the tireless Ed
McElroy on the job.

Incidentally, it has almost been overlooked that
McElroy was one of the hardest worked men on
the lines those last eleven days. He was company
runner, platoon runner and in fact a runner for
any one who needed him. He went after water for
the men on the lines more than once during heavy
shell fire and always returned with his can filled.

The outpost lasted for a week, during which time

Page 79

it was the duty of the first platoon to receive all
allied prisoners of war, take them to the battalion
P. C. from where they were sent to Verdun. Ger.
mans and Americans were forbidden to cross the
line at any time without written orders until the
third army started on its march to the Rhineland.
At Ville the famous order came that the battalion
would start on a hike of a hundred and twenty
miles in short time. The order continued that
all men unable to make the hike were to report to
the infirmary for examination. About~ thirty men
of our company left to be examined at that time,
and all Were sent to the rear for treatment.

At Ville the second and final check on the total'
losses of the company in the last drive and the first
also was taken. In the last eleven days of the war
the company suffered the loss of two sergeants,
two corporals, one bugler and fourteen privates
killed and two sergeants, two corporals, twenty-four 
privates and one mechanic wounded. Four
men were first reported missing in action, but it
was found later that "Talk in His Sleep" Jimmie
Cunningham, one of Bun McCabe's best corporals,
had been wounded in the leg with shrapnel. Our
total losses in killed, wounded and missing in the
two drives were thirty-six killed, sixty-six wounded
and six missing, a total of 108, which added to
thirty men sent to hospitals as a result of sickness,
gives the company a casualty list of 138, or about
sixty per cent.

The night of the twenty-fifth of November six-
teen men of the company were selected to be the
first to go on pass as a result of four months'

Page 80

service in France. Such celebrities as the
following enjoyed the great privilege: Sergeants 
Charlie Kapp, Bun McCabe, Bob Wetzler,
Bill Brewer, Pop Vineski and George Fitzgerald;
Corporals Meeks and McBride; Private Perry
Vandruff and Cook Harry Maynard. At four the
next morning they started on a hike to Verdun,
under the guiding wing of Lieutenant Hollinger,
there to entrain for Aix Les Bains and numero
huit.

Page 81

CHAPTER XVI
The Battle of Mud

That same morning the battalion started out in
a downpour of rain from Ville on a four-hour hike
that carried it to Cote de Morimont Hill, a sea of
mud just outside the village of Romagne. It was
a sea of mud from the time we arrived there until
'we left. About two of the thirty days we spent
there were clear, it either raining or snowing most
of the time. The problems were almost as thick
as the rain, two or three weekly, no matter what
the weather conditions. 

The billets were as good as could be Secured at
that time and wood was plentiful, even if there
was an Order to the effect that no more of the old
billets could be broken down and the wood used
as fuel. Once every week practice hikes were
held out through that part of the country over
which there had been no infantry fighting, but
where shell holes and demolished buildings were
common.

On one of our hikes we ran across a huge Hun
ammunition dump that contained shells varying
from three-inch to big sixteen-inch ones. The
woods in which the dump was situated was full
of dugouts and buildings loaded, down to capacity
with shells, powder and high explosives. On another
day the company was taken out on a scouting
trip, by Lieutenant Brigham, and hardware of all
»kinds ranging from nails down to railroad 
equipment was scattered over a wide area in buildings

Page 82

made for the purpose.

It was here that Mechanic Dan O'Sullivan filled
up his carpenter's chest with all sorts of tools,
While the billets were strengthened by the addition
of several axes and hammers and new additions to
their stoves. 

For over two weeks at Morimont Corporal Harvey 
Egolf, one of the best known of Philadelphia's
nickle boosters, was sergeant in charge of the
second platoon. The responsibilities that Harvey
had during those days were enormous, but in true
Philadelphia style, Egolf surmounted all difficulties
and came through an acknowledged platoon leader.

Every one remembers the famous inspection held
by the brigade commander on the muddy, rain-soaked 
field one morning and how the rain becoming 
more or less unbearable forced the inspection
for our company to be held indoors. It was the
morning after the boys had arrived back from pass
and they were certainly initiated into "the order
of mud" in fitting style.

In the meantime the divisional headquarters
had moved to; Souilly and rumor had it that we
would shortly move to that vicinity. The rumor
of moving to Souilly was not the only one we had
on that hill during the month we spent there.
Almost daily we heard that we would shortly start
for the rear and thence to the States, or else we
heard that the division was placed in the Army of
Occupation, or that such and such and such a
soldier had heard from such and such another
soldier that we would be in the States at such and
such a time. They were all rumors, but at times

Page 83

they sounded good to all of us, although at other
times they made us feel sort of numb in the
stomach.

It was in Morimont that Labrum ran his famous
battalion shows and where we met Slim and Kenneth 
Clarke for the first time since coming overseas. 
The same old Ken of Camp Meade days
with his "All Together, Let's Go!" in his strong
bass voice. Once in a while we did have a smile in
Morimont, especially when old Doc Lawrence
would bring in some supplies and spend three-fourths 
of the day trying to figure out how he could
best sell them to the boys. Then he would figure
out how many each man could have so that every _
man in the battalion received an equal share. All
very well for the good old doctor, but lots of the
boys never did receive their share.

Christmas Day on "Mud Hill" was a happy one
in spite of the weather. Sergeant Gillette spent
three days previously in search of food for the 
outfit, and came back loaded down with pork and
other goodies, along with cigars, candy, cigarettes
and nuts. The meal itself was a treat to our famished 
stomachs, after so much corn bill during the
previous four weeks. The dessert was tres bon.
Nearly every one made a speech that day, even
Jimmie Patterson and Tick VanLoon, the former
having lots to say, while Tick, with his true
reticence, just thanked the gang.

Barney Cinco sang along with the company's old
Warbler, Steve Dolan, who pulled his "Doughboy's
Dream" on us for the first time. All in all we had
the time of our life in France that day. The next

Page 84

morning sixteen men left for Aix Les Bains and a
seven-day pass, while the remainder of the company 
packed up and started off on the first leg of a
three-day hike with an almost full pack.

The first night was spent in Verdun, after seeing 
the trucks of the boys on pass whizz by, and
the second. just outside of Souilly. The hike on
the third day was started in the rain and ended in
the rain at Rosnes, about forty-.ve kilos from
Verdun, There were no stoves in the billets when
we landed in the village, and wet through
from the heavy rain, the most of us spent a weird
cold night. The next day stoves were secured for
as many billets as they could be found for, with
the result that our homes for the most part in hay
lofts were made more tenable.

Shortly after our arrival in Rosnes, the boys
wounded in the first drive started wending their
way back to the company, and by the end of the
month, with the addition of twenty-eight men as-
signed to the company from headquarters company,
the outfit had a strength of well over one hundred
and seventy. The first of January. the company
had one hundred and four men. In addition to
the return of the wounded men, Lieutenant Cushing 
came back to the company and was immediately
placed in charge. He brought word that Captain
Smith was on his way. A few days later the 
captain returned and once more took charge of his
company, that he had been absent from for four
months.

When First Sergeant Jacobs, Sergeants Stolz,
Seitzer, Seifred, Hemenway and Labrum, and 

Page 85

Corporals Lubusky, Spencer, Foster and Marquis, 
Mechanic Hentschel, the famous souvenir hunter and
the hardest worked man in the outfit; Cooks West
and Petkus and Privates Costello, Callahan and
Cavanaugh, returned from pass they were placed in
a mock quarantine which lasted for three days and
gave them that many days of rest.

Shortly before the return of Sergeant Jacobs
and his party, Steve Dolan took quite a number
of the boys to Lavabo. It was some twenty-five
days before they returned with tales of what a
wonderful trip they had, but still they did not
have much on the former party who were the first
of the outfit to set foot on the sacred soil of Paris

and Lyons. Sam Reutter took the next joy party.
out that included Tick Van Loon and Dan O'Sullivan, 
of Overshot. Apparently they had the worst
time of all the pass men, for they had little to say
about their trip, the place they were in or the time
they had while there.

Detail work and problems were the specialty
While at Rosnes. The road was scraped when
muddy and chopped up when icy, while a new
rifle range was built about two kilos outside the
town. The pick and shovel men were numerous
at Rosnes. Bob Wetzler was the engineer in
charge of operations on the rifle range.

While out on a problem one day we had a miniature 
blizzard that gave us our first taste of winter
and presaged a cold spell that lasted for over ten
days and made the billets colder than the ice chest
on a cold winter's day back home. The warmest
place in town was around the stove, if you were

Page 86

fortunate enough to have one and skillful enough
to get a place near it. Most of us had to get in
bed or freeze.

Page 87

CHAPTER XVI.
The Night of the Big Feed

In an effort to spend some of the mess fund and
to provide a little entertainment for the boys,
the company banquet was held on the night of
February first. Twenty-three officers and the company 
were present and all had a fairly good time,
considering that the oysters in the oyster soup
could not be found.

The menu was quite a lavish one, and in addition 
to our mess kits being filled up, we
also had the peculiar sensation *of eating from a
clean china plate. Roast pork, mashed potatoes,
brown gravy, celery, jelly, candy, nuts and cheese,
hot chocolate, cigars, cigarettes appearing on the
menu card. About twelve acts of vaudeville were
staged by the entertainment securer, Labrum.

About this time the sergeants began making
their weekly pilgrimages to Bar le Duc, Vineski,
Brewer, Kapp and Labrum starting the ball a-rolling 
and later on all the sergeant going down to
enjoy the sights of the city. One time Labrum
and Vineski had to walk all the way back, about
fifteen kilometers, but that did not dampen the
spirits of the excursionists any.

A few days later, before leaving Rosnes, Kapp,
Wetzler, Marquis Krause, Minehan and three privates 
left the company and joined the military
police.

It was in Rosnes that word came to us that three
of our boys had been wounded in the accident that

Page 88

occurred in the divisional educational school at
Souilly When a trench mortar shell exploded.
"Happy" Charleston, gassed in the first drive, was
the most seriously wounded. It was found necessary 
to amputate one of Happy's legs to save his
life. He was also wounded in two other parts of
his body by shrapnel.

Ray Crompton, who had spent almost eight
weeks in a hospital as a result of badly spraining
his ankle on his way up to the front in the latter
part of October, was wounded in the arm, but
not seriously, while Adelard Bergeron received a
piece of shrapnel in one of his toes.

On the morning of the seventh, after bidding
good-by to Kapp's old man, and with everything
we owned strapped to our backs, giving us the
appearance of Christmas trees, we left Rosnes,
where rumors were thicker than flies around a
molasses can and where the problems made the
doughboy hearts in us weary, we started for 
Seigneulles, about three and one-half kilos away.

Though the town was extremely dirty one when
we entered it, the billets more than compensated
for this, for they were fifty per cent. better than
the ones we had just left, with a stove for each
one and much better bunks. The sergeants were
given a billet to themselves at the end of town.

After two or three days. of road scraping and
picking up cans and rubbish and carting it away
the town began to take on the appearance of
cleanliness, with the result that by the middle of
March it was almost fit to live in. Two days after
our arrival we were paid. It was such a long time

Page 89

between pays that the boys knew no restraint.
That was one wild night. However, no one landed
in the guard house.

On the twenty-first the famous brigade review
was held. We had to hike some kilometers there
and back to make our showing, which proved to
be a good straight line when we passed the reviewing 
stand. On the twenty-fourth we had a regimental 
review which just about taxed the strength
of us all. We had to pass in review no less than
than five times with its attendant double times.

The next day Lieutenant Connors became part,
of the company and his first day among us proved
him to be an excellent officer, with an uncanny
ability to ask questions about guard duty and infantry 
drill. On the twenty-seventh we received
our first holiday since joining the army in France.
. Of course it rained, but still it gave us a day of
rest. The holiday was decreed to honor our great
assistant in the fighting game, the horse, who
unbeknownst to himself was on parade that day.

It was in Seigneulles that we learned of orders
to the effect that our division was the last to leave
in June, and we resigned ourselves to making the
best of the four remaining months until we sailed
for the good old States. It was thought that this
order would stop all rumors, but it did not, for
a few days later rumors came out to the effect
that our division had gained some eighteen days
on the schedule due to additional shipping and the
fact that it was due to a non-desire to be too 
optimistic that the schedule was made out with but a
certain number of divisions to go home at a time.

Page 90

At Seigneulles we received our second anti-typhoid 
inoculation, or "shot in the arm," as known
to the boys, an intimation that at no terribly 
distant time we were scheduled for a journey across
the seas. 

The last week in March came the welcome news
that the 79th Division would leave the shell-torn
and battle-scarred Souilly area, with its villages
of mud and manure, and move down Chaumont
way, where billets and conditions were much better.
Finally the definite order came, and sure enough
we were scheduled to leave on Friday, our favorite
moving day, for a five-day hike of approximately
104 kilometers. Even though the distance was
considerable, the news of this hike was not received
with the accustomed gloom of former long hikes,
and for once the motor end of the A. E. F. escaped
its wonted criticism, for were we not started on
our way home, even ready to hike to Brest and
swim the Atlantic if necessary?

Friday morning, March 28th, found the company 
lined up with full packs ready to start on
the long hike, and as usual the 79th Division hiking
weather prevailed, but this time it snowed and
rained both. Our objective that day was Louisy,
which we reached at 12.30, resting the balance
of the day. Next morning we started out and had
gone but a short distance before it began to pour.
We continued marching in the drenching rain until
we reached Ligny, a small city. Here tired and
'wet we tried to dry ourselves as well as possible,
hoping that we would have Sunday, the next day,
to complete the process, but we were disappointed

Page 91

in this, and Sunday morning, at 7 o'clock, started
on the longest and most wearisome hike of the
series, covering some thirty-two kilometers, arriving
at Eschaney at 2.30 in the afternoon, tired and
weary, and as the day was cold 'the hot cocoa
served by our Y. M. C. A. during our hike was
more than appreciated.

Page 92

CHAPTER XVII.
The Battle of Francs

After rather a cold and uncomfortable night we
started out at 7.30 in the morning, reaching 
Chambroncourt at noon, and it being April Fools. Day,
we were fooled in the usual French weather.
Strange to say, the sun shone and it did not rain.
After a comfortable night in good billets we left
for St. Blin, our final objective, which we reached
about noon. Here we found good billets awaiting
us and this together with an easy drill schedule
made our twenty-one days' stay in the town a
pleasant one.

It was in St. Blin that the nervy wild boar,
letting his curiosity get the better of him, tried to
inspect the company while at platoon drill and
received two shots for his pains which sent him
scurrying up the hill.

Almost the entire regiment was quartered here,
giving us. a chance to renew old acquaintances
and spend many a happy hour in the evenings in
the numerous cafes, and if our tastes didn't run
that way, could attend a show at the "Y" each
evening, provided you went early enough to get
a seat. We can also carry recollections of St. Blin
as being a place where beaucoup francs were 
necessary, as the shopkeepers, of a mild, Jesse James
type, believed in making hay while the sun shines,
though the hay in this case was francs.

Detail work and athletics took up most of our
hours there, and nothing of unusual interest marked

Page 93

our stay except the divisional review by General
Pershing. Great preparations were made for this
both in drill and dress, and every one took a keen
interest in the proceedings for all wanted to appear
at their best before their commander-in-chief.
Shoes were cleaned as never before, and the town
scoured for irons to press the clothes. Many were
the sighs when a particularly obstinate wrinkled
coat or trousers failed to yield to the persuasions
of the light French flatirons heated mildly warm
at the hands of an inexperienced doughboy.
Finally Saturday, April 12th, the morning of
the review came and with it the usual 79th weather,
rain} Reveille that morning was at 4.15, and after
- a hurried breakfast we started out for the parade
grounds at 5.50, which we reached at 8.30. After
getting into position there was nothing to do but
1 wait for the General, who was to commence the
inspection at 10 o'clock. Hardly had the inspection 
started before it began to pour and continued
until after the review. The men presented an
inspiring sight as they passed the reviewing stand
with fixed bayonets and wearing helmets and in
straight platoon lines.

A matter of special interest and pleasure to the
company was the awarding of the Distinguished
Service Cross to our company commander, Captain
Smith, for exceptional bravery in the battle of
Montfaucon. The whole company felt a keen
pride in having its commander decorated.

The entire division was lined up in a column of
platoons and in so compact a form that its nineteen
thousand-odd men occupied a comparatively small

Page 94

space, and the commands of the divisional commander, 
General Kuhn, could easily be heard.

After passing the reviewing stand and double-timing 
for a considerable distance, a half-hour's
halt was made and then we started through the
much-cursed French mud back to our billets, tired
and wet, but happy, as the general was more than
pleased with the appearance and condition of our
division, and was not slow in letting it be known
to the men. This was also the first time the division
had been assembled since our arrival in
France, and while the units fought side by side,
the billeting area was always so large we never
had an opportunity to assemble for parade.

After our review our interesting army creation,
rumor, began to work again, this time regarding
our probable moving date and seaport, as a review
was generally a forerunner of an early move homeward 
bound.  Finally we began to turn in various
articles of equipment, and then we knew that the
time was only a little ways off.

Page 95

CHAPTER XVIII.
Getting Nearer

Finally the definite date and area for our battalion 
to leave was given and preparations for
this made. The Nantes area was to be our final
billeting area and Saint Nazaire our sailing port.

Accordingly on Tuesday, April 22, a perfect
sunshiny day, which must be noted, as we were
accustomed to sunshine only in homeopathic doses,
at one o'clock in the afternoon we lined up with
full packs. The villagers were all out, the band
was playing and with joyful hearts and the best
of spirits we started out, leaving St. Blin a pleasant
memory. The hike was a short one, taking us
to Remaucourt, where we entrained.

At Remaucourt we found American boxcars
awaiting us, sixty hommes and no chevaux, and
plenty of straw to lie on, an unaccustomed luxury
to the doughboy in his side-door Pullman travels,
also plenty of space, as we were allowed four cars
to the company or about forty men to the car, a
welcome contrast to the forty hommes capacity no
straw French car with forty-two or forty-three
tired doughboys packed in. One car also was
assigned as cook car, from which hot coffee was
served to us.

The main items on our bill of fare for this trip
were our famous iron rations (hard tack and corn
Willie) with a microscopical amount of jam, which
we thought our friends in the S. O. S., through
mistake, had let slip by. Just before we started

Page 96

an unguarded bread truck was raided and the way
the battalion of doughboys carried it away 
reminded one all the world of a colony of disturbed
ants carrying away their eggs to a secure place,
though the secure place in this case was under the
straw in the boxcar, safe from the prying eyes of
our time-sworn enemies, the military police.

Our trip took us through some beautiful parts
of France, also through the freshly inundated Loire
River section, where we were made acquainted with
the fact that a French river can get ambition
enough to travel over its banks. The weather was
ideal, every one was happy and seemingly at peace
with the whole world, for we were leaving the
extreme boundaries of the battle-scarred France
and lessening time to our final objective, home.

While we expected to reach our destination at
8 A. M. April 24, the usual railway delays pre-
vented. Consequently it was 9 P. M. before we
detrained at Cholet, where we found trucks awaiting 
us, and for once thought that motorized infantry 
had at last become a reality and our hiking
days were over (we were partially mistaken in this,
however). After a considerable delay we were taken
to our new home for the next fourteen days, Andreze, 
arriving there about one in the morning of
April 25th.

The following day was spent in cleaning up and
getting acquainted with our new French neighbors,
and being the first troops that had been quartered
there since the war, we were objects of great 
curiosity and any drill or formation would soon
attract a crowd. Our company only was quartered

Page 97

in this town, and we soon were acquainted with
all the inhabitants and found the people here 
contrary to all types that we had met before, and
many ideas were changed in regard to our fighting
partners. The people here were a kindly benevolent 
lot, and seemed as though they could not do
enough to make our stay more pleasant. A franc
there went much farther in purchasing luxuries
than any other place we had been, and ample
time for recreation made our days seem short.

Changing and boiling clothes was one of our
main occupations there, for we were thoroughly
determined to get rid of the great pest of our
army existence, the cootie, nothing more or less
than the civilian greyback with a thorough military 
training. Each platoon had its boiling pot,
and it was kept busy day and night, and many
were the good-natured scraps caused by a careless
soldier thrusting in his 0. D. shirt with a color
that would run, giving the whole batch a coffee.
colored appearance and a sight to behold.

This place will recall memories of the great
tobacco shortage where a cigarette was worth its
weight in gold and as scarce as the proverbial
hen's teeth, and where one cigarette would pass
the rounds of a dozen men and the remnants hoarded 
and made into its successor and then pass the
rounds again. Even the strong and at all other
times unpopular French tobacco was a most welcome
addition to our almost exhausted supply, and
Lady Nicotine's worshippers welcomed her,
Whether she came from Camels, Bull Durham, or
the strong ill-smelling French variety.

Page 98

Cootie and physical inspections were very numerous 
there, but the great inspection was the
one held to determine our fitness to go on 
divisional priority list for early overseas sailing,
and many were the individual misgivings of the
soldier when the inspection day drew near and
he found that he was short small but necessary
articles, the shortage of which would bring censure 
from the inspecting officer and a black mark
against his company, too many of which might
hinder the bright prospects for an early departure.
Nothing floored him now, though with his knowledge
of camouflage, and many a box of shaving
powder contained nothing more or less than kitchen
baking powder, and what passed for tooth paste
nothing more than the anti-dim compound for use
only on the eye piece of a gas mask.

Finally the day came and passed and when
the returns were in it was found that the 314th
Regiment had taken the honor and would be the
first to leave for our seaport, St. Nazaire. 
Passenger lists which had been gotten out some time
previous were brought out and practice in going
up the gangplank was given and never were 
instructions more thoroughly obeyed or more interest
shown in drill.

Definite instructions were received the ninth for
us to prepare to move the following day, and so
our last day in Andreze was an exceedingly busy
one. Reville was scheduled for 4 o'clock the
morning of the tenth, and at the first sound of
the bugle the tired doughboys rolled over, yawned,
rubbed their eyes and hopped out of their none too

Page 99

comfortable bunks, and after a hurried breakfast
rolled packs, policed the area, and at 7 A. M.
started on the hike to Cholet, meeting the different
units of the regiment on the way (motorized 
infantry dreams were again shattered).

We arrived there at 10.30, and at 2.30 entrained
for St. Nazaire, which was reached at 9 P. M.
Detraining, we hiked to Camp No. 1, although a
short hour and a half hike, was one of the most
exhausting ones we had had for many a day on
account of the speed with which it was conducted.
However, after a rest and a feed of corn willie
and trimmings, our friend and acquaintance for
many a day, we felt refreshed and ready for our
hike to Camp No. 2, which we reached shortly
after midnight.

The next morning orders came that all French
money was to be changed into the only currency
that was ever worth anything. It was then that
some of us learned what wealthy fellow-soldiers
we had. Francs of paper, of silver and even
money of higher denominations of gold came forth
from pockets jealously guarded during our long
stay in the land of the poilus.

The day was a cloudy one, but our spirits were
not to be dampened by any fitful display of French
weather. The stage was set, We were going home,
date unknown, but going, that was certain. That
day we were taken to a building where the keenest
medical inspection imaginable was held. Some of
the boys had little ills that were soon dissipated,
and the. company Was ready as soon as the 
authorities decided to send us.

Page 100

We moved up to the section known as the
ready to leave area, where we were treated to one
of those famous cootie inspections, and where we
discarded all our clothing that had been used as a
hiding place for the vermin and were given clean
garments. Weyrick, it will be remembered, was
decked out in a new suit of Uncle Sam's when he
felt a sudden gnaw at his knee. Hasty examination 
revealed the fact that the cootie was not to
be downed so easily. And another casualty was
added to the millions credited to the doughboys
on the sacred soil of France.

After eating three squares a day and enjoying
the bunk fatigue that made our waiting hours a
little easier, we were ordered on the afternoon
of the sixteenth to get ready. Packs which had
been rolled every morning for three days were
rolled again. As the sun ~was slowly sinking in
the West, and a beautiful sun it was, bidding us
farewell to the land we had learned to honor and
respect, we started for the drill grounds, where
we met up with the remainder of the regiment.

Page 101

CHAPTER XIX.
When a Feller Needed a Friend

"Forward march," the sweetest command we
had ever heard, and we were off for the dock. The
hike through the town was a most enjoyable one.
The packs, heavy as they were, seemed as light
as the proverbial feather. There was joy in our
hearts and with some of us just a trifle of sorrow.
It was not long before we were standing at the
foot of the gangplank getting ready to mount to
American soil, for the old Princess Matoika, with
the Stars and Stripes flying aft, meant everything
American to us, and why not the soil?

Final orders were given about answering to our
names and the column moved forward and up the
gangplank. Down we went a couple of decks and
with the terse orders of the gobs found the bunks
that were to be our resting places for ten days. It
was hot, frightfully so, down in that hold, but it
mattered little. Smiles played all over the features
of each and every one of us. We were technically
home. We were denied the privilege of going on
deck and hence gained our last View of France, the
land of beaucoup madamoiselles, cooties, francs,
vin rouge and vin blanc, cognac, manure, stables,
the home of Paris, the great city, and of the sweet-
hearts and good friends some of us left behind
going up the gangplank.

Some time after midnight the old sea wagon
bestirred its engines and started down the bay to
the stormy, weather-beaten and wind-tossed Bay of

Page 102

Biscay. To the landlubbers there was little 
sleeping that night. A funny feeling akin to a ride on
a roller coaster on a full stomach seemed to make
some of us a little timid. No, we weren't seasick --
not yet -- but what was it, anyhow?

We found out in the morning. "All up on the
decks. Come on, soldier, you can't stay here, place
must be cleaned; get up" How easy to give
orders and how difficult some times to carry them
out. Most of the boys, be it said, had strong
stomachs and mounted the stairs with the agility
and grace of a ship-trained man. Not so with
others. The walk up the stairs with the ship tossing
and rolling like a rubber ball in a lake during
a storm was a perilous one and fraught with danger
every minute; Once on deck, faces white, there
was nothing else to do but get rid of it. And
they did. That feeling of emptiness in one's lower
region, with a peculiar tossing of the head, proved
the necessary impetus, and up it came.

There wasn't much to laugh about for those
affected, but for those who retained the products
of Mother Earth there was many a good smile. It
was a bad day at sea for hundreds, the ship tossing
and swaying and apparently hitting the bottom of
the ocean every time it got into a trough of water.

The food was anything but like what we had
enjoyed coming over on the Leviathan, and had
it not been for the canteen and its goodies, 
happiness would have been at a low ebb. Many never
visited the mess hall, but it wasn't because they
disliked it, they simply were unable to hold any
of its products in the receptacle for man's food.

Page 103

There was little to mar the perfect tranquility
Of our passage home. Boxing contests between
the members of the regiment and the sailors 
provided entertainment one day. Any one fortunate
enough to get up on the officers' deck could see
their many forms of enjoyment with cards. This
was denied the enlisted men, who had to be
contented with a surreptitious crap game or a little
stud here and there.

Boats were sighted, all kinds of fish misnamed,
and storms added a little excitement on the way
across, but not much. The old liner plunged
along in the sea making its way to the land of
the free and the home of the brave. One night
the poor tired ship stopped dead for about ten
minutes to rest, affording considerable amusement
to those on guard.

Page 104

CHAPTER XX.
There is no Place Like------

Early on the morning of the twenty-sixth, land
was sighted, with the accompaniment of thousands
of voices. Up the harbor we steamed, past the
Battery, up to quarantine, where we were met by
the police boat, every man now on deck perched
in some perilous place anxious to see and cheer
everything that was sighted. The Statue of Liberty
we had passed on our way across seemed to have
a much more radiant smile for her returning sons.
The world seemed cleaner, happier and better as
we each and every one of us realized that we were
at last at home, that place we had talked 
incessantly of from the first day in Brest.

Tugs, small in comparison to the ship, Soon
maneuvred us alongside the dock. We were ready.
Packs were placed- in readiness for the word to
disembark. It came and we went in single file to
step on real American soil and to breathe the air
we had missed for eleven months.

Great! We'll all say so. Nothing like it.
Smile! I'll say we did. Happy, say quit yer kiddin'. 
Oh, boy, what a grand and glorious feelin'.

The Red Cross was on the job and just to show
us that we were still in the army gave us a meal
that included corn willie. It was good and it
went down with a relish. Reformed, we started
off for the ferries that were to carry us to Jersey
City and the trains.

Ever forget that sort of feelin' like nervousness

Page 105

that came over you as you marched along through
that lane of Americans who greeted us in the train
shed? And the smiles! Say, we were as happy
as kids on a picnic. It wasn't long before we
were on the trains ready for the last leg of the
journey that was to send us out into the world,
better and finer men. The Red Cross, K. of C.,
Y. M. C. A., Salvation Army and Y. M.. H. A.
were on hand with oranges, apples, candy, chewing
gum and what not.

With a cheer that could be heard back in Fretts
we were off for Camp Dix. How the folks did
cheer us on the way, every village and hamlet 
having its committee of honor out to greet us with a
welcome that was genuine.

The sun was beginning to set in the West when
we arrived in Camp Dix on the afternoon of the
twenty-sixth. In short order we were billeted and
ready for the last days of our soldier life. Detail
work of cleaning up kept us busy for two days,
and then we moved down close to the last point of
contact of our army careers. The entire company
successfully passed the final medical examination
and now all that was necessary was to get our
papers in order to get paid.

On Memorial Day the company started. in for
its tour of the "Mad House." By 6 o'clock in
the evening most of the company had been paid in
full, with the old discharge tucked securely away.
Hands of buddies who were closer than brothers
during the great experience were clasped in fond
farewell as eyes dimmed with tears looked away.

Our work was finished. We were soldiers no

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more. The great experience faded into memory
and was no longer a living thing. We were back
in the world again where we had to continue the
fight to exist. We all felt that we were the better
for our experience and could meet any emergency
in the life of a citizen that we met when in the
khaki we learned to love so much.

All we have left is the memory of terrible days
and the memory of others that were happy. We
will never forget our experiences. They will ever
remain vivid on our memories and remind us that
we were the fortunate ones, and that back in the
hallowed ground of France we left our sacrifice
that democracy might live and tyranny be forever
suppressed.

(THE END)


 
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