Organizations served in: Co. A. 328th. M. G. Bn. 85th. Div. from date of enlistment to August 27, 1918 at Camp Custer, Michigan, and A.E.F. France.

Co. D. 151st. M. G. Bn. 42nd. Div. from August 27, 1918 to May 10, 1919 in A.E.F. France and A. of O. Germany.

Discharged May 10, 1919 with rank of Bugler at Camp Custer, Michigan (near Battle Creek).

Served 11 month and 14 days, 69 days Home Service and 279 days Foreign Service.

April 6, 1917 war declared against Germany by the United States.

June 5, 1917 registered in Selective Draft at South Boardman, Michigan.

December, 1917 classified in draft as Class 1-A.

January, 1918 passed physical examination at Kalkaska, Michigan.

May 10, 1918 called as alternate to Kalkaska, Michigan.

TUESDAY, MAY 28, 1918

Reported to draft board at Kalkaska, Michigan in the afternoon, who made out the necessary paper accepting me into military service along with 6 other men which formed the Contingent from this county. I was placed in charge to handle the papers and see that all arrived in Camp Custer and reported to the proper officials.

Was allowed to come back home to spend the night.

Members of contingent: Ed Simon, Kalkaska; Earl Goss, Rapids City; Thornburg and Smith of Excelsior Township. Richer of Rapids City and a Russian from Sigma.


Entrained on special troop train at Kalkaska at 10:30 A. M. stopping in Cadillac for dinner at Matheney's Restaurant. At Grand Rapids the Red Cross ladies gave us boxes containing lunches.

Arrived at Camp Custer at 7:00 P.M. where we were met by Non-Commission officers who took charge of us in groups and conducted us to several offices and boards where paper work and inspections were made.

About 10:00 P.M. we were taken to a mess hall in the Depot.

Brigade and served supper. To my surprise Lucius Fuller was one of the cooks. Lucius relieved me of the necessity of washing the mess kit given me to eat supper on by doing it himself. Then came a couple mile hike nearly to other end of camp to barracks where we were to be in quarantine two weeks. Sergeant in charge of us gave us 10 minutes with lights on to get into bed. No lights were allowed in camp after 9:00 P.M. only on special occasions like this.

Goss of Kalkaska had a cot on one side of mine and on the other side came Floyd Parks of Lake City and Earl Hutchins of Muskegon, then Mortenson of near Frankfort. The rest of the Kalkaska boys were in same barrack also. Each man had a badge of ribbon with the name of his county on it.

THURSDAY, MAY 30 - JUNE 11, 1918

Although we were in quarantine officers in charge of us could take us all around camp. A fellow from Lake City who brought his best clothes to camp with him would "dude" up and go over to the canteen and get us candy, writing paper, etc. He'd pass as a camp visitor. He used to go with Carrie Goff a little.

Had physical examination and was sent to special medical board on account of my heart. Special board O.K.'d me. Lots of inspections, paper work and red tape during this time. Busy most of time.

Sergeant in charge drilled us a little each day and read General Orders to us. Also each morning had setting up exercises before mess in the morning. (During quarantine in Depot Brigade was the only time in my experience this was done.) This was rather hard on us recruits making us feel sick and weak.

Retreat at night was also another hard ordeal for rookies. Standing at attention a few minutes made things swim and swirl. Some of the fellows fainted most every night. I felt rather weak in my knees a few times but that was all. Possibly the two shots and vaccination during these two weeks helped to make us shaky. They didn't make me sick but many they did. Recruits came in for lots of good natured digging from the soldiers in camp especially about these awful shots and the guard house, etc.

We were set to work caring for artillery horses each night and morning for an hour or more, such as watering, cleaning hoofs, currying, stabling and picketing. How we hated that job, mostly wild West horses, never had the same horse twice. Hoofs had to be cleaned each day whether they were kicky or not. When we had to tend them when tied to the picket line was the worst, horses biting, shoving and kicking, we imagined it was worse than war itself. One horse named Dynamite, even the regular artillery men couldn't even tie in the stable. This cured most of the fellows that wanted to join the artillery. Some of the artillery men were always getting hurt.

About the end of the first week after all had passed their physical exam, ones that didn't pass were sent home. They began to issue us our Army clothing a piece or two at a time which we began to wear as fast as they were issued. One night about bedtime we received our breeches and blouses, of course we had to put them right on even if it was dark. We were some proud then I'll say. Our fatigue clothes, blue denim (overalls, jacket and hat) were issued regardless of our or their size. Hopkins of Benzonia received a pair big enough for a 400 pound man so he and another fellow both got into the overalls at once. Some high time! The Corporal who was detailed with the Sergeant to look after us couldn't see any fun in that or in any of our other pranks. He would get awful mad, bawl us out but it didn't do any good. Sure made him rave at night after the lights were out and we were supposed to be quiet in bed, some one would say something funny and the rest would keep tittering. He didn't know us well enough to tell our voices so he couldn't catch us.

Goss was appointed barber of the barrack and all had to get their hair cut short pompadour, two finger width long. We could have visitors on the outside of the barrack. Lucius Fuller, Wilbur Aldridge and Albert Cunningham were here. Linkletter of Manton a 6 ft., 200 lb. man had never wore a hat in years he said. Some head of hair I'll say. But he changed his mind when he tried to stand retreat without it once. Some stubborn individual. (During July I met him one day repairing streets with a guard on him.)


Transferred bag and baggage and bedtick also to A co. 328th. M. G. Bn. 85th. Div. (Former address 4th Co. 2nd Reg.160 Depot Brigade Bldg. 1516.)

Parks, Hutchins, and Mortenson were in the group from our barracks transferred. We had to carry all our belongings in one trip, would go only a little way and then rest. An awful hot day too and the distance to go was couple miles which took us from 11:30 A.M. until 2:00 P.M. Started just before dinner (mess) but the mess sergeant had some cold beans and bread for us to eat. Most of the conversation coming up was the load, hot weather, and the prospects of belonging to the "suicide gang" as machine gunners were known by. (I never had cause to wish I was in another part of the service unless as us boys used to say we were "Commanding General" of this here "Man's Army") None seemed to feel badly about it.

A couple 1st. Class privates took us out to the drill field with rifles (machine gunners didn't carry rifles unless connected with infantry regiment) and showed us manual of arms drill and how to handle and carry rifle. When we returned at mess time the Company was just returning from a three day hike into the country all dust laden and tired out. Hutchins, Bale, Rice, Felt and myself were taken over to the Headquarters Co. barrack because our company barrack was filled. This was across the street and a couple barracks down. (This made it very inconvenient for us and caused more than one bawling out for being late at formations and for not knowing how and when the company was going to assemble or fall in. We missed one hike on that account, but no roll call was taken, so they didn't miss us.)

THURSDAY, JUNE 13-14, 1918

Started drilling regularly with company out on rifle range 2 miles from camp. Us new men being drilled separately by squads while the rest fired guns on range at edge of drill field.


At reveille Capt. Caldwell announced that the Division would soon be going across and each man would get a Saturday afternoon and Sunday pass to go home if he wanted to the next two or three Saturdays. Drilled in forenoon. Received my pass at noon. Boarded interurban car at edge of camp which took me to Grand Rapids.

SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 1918

Arrived home on early morning train, by getting a permit from the road-master at Grand Rapids I got the train to stop at Housman Siding. Returned on the 4:00 train at Housman Siding.

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 1918

Arrived in Camp Custer about 3:30 A.M. by inter urban. Usual drill on range. In afternoon was brought back to camp and given third and final "shot". Then back to the drill field. Army regulations forbid drill or fatigue duty within 48 hours after a shot but in the rush to get us ready to go across that was ignored.


The first week of this period was a hard one. I had missed nearly two nights sleep going home and returning to camp, my vaccination was working, the shot didn't help my feelings any.

On top of this we began having breakfast before reveille which was at 6:00 A.M., clean our barrack, make up our bunks and be on the way to the range by 6:30 A.M. The cooks used the field kitchen and served dinner (mess) on the range. Would return at night just in time for retreat at 6:00 P.M. After mess us new men drilled with gas masks in trench warfare until 10:30 or more. Many a time I caught myself going to sleep standing during a minutes rest or so. On one of these nights the 1st. Sgt. was telling us about "Overthere", if we made a mistake in delivering an oral message we would be shot. I thought here is where I won't live long after I get across. (A lot of the stuff the officers told us was mere bunk about "Overthere" although I think they thought they were repeating the truth and facts. Probably as much a victim of "old man rumor" as the men they commanded. The Army especially the A.E.F. consumed rumors three times a day regularly and then some.) Sgt. Malley drilled us new men one day or rather part of a day in manual of arms. He was an old army man strong and athletic, also the most harsh and severe officer I ever had, who thought we ought to learn in a few fours what he had learned in 15 years of Army, like using the rifle. He finally got so mad, he made us do the rifle thrust, as you would in stabbing with the bayonet, until every last man wilted in his tracks then as each man gave out would threaten and abuse him. (This was the last of rifle drilling we did.) But officers like him were the exception not the rule. They were mostly human and considerate, and didn't bare down any harder than the conditions of war time discipline called far.

It was common talk by troops in training camps to say "I'll get such and such an officer when I get over there". (I don't believe any such case ever happened at the front. Things like that were readily forgotten and your only enemy was the Hun, first, last, and all the time. Officers were liable to get theirs at the front same as the men. So just because he did was no sign he got it in the back, because he wasn't liked by some.) Finally the new men received their quota of transversal, searching and rapid firing on the range along with machine gun drill. The company went through the gas house, first without the masks on with just a faint touch of gas smell so we could know what gas smelled like. Then with the gas mask on and room filled with gas. A lot of gas mask drilling was done to get speed in putting them on in 5 seconds allowed. Generally the company was lined up in two long files then raced to see which file could get their masks on first starting at one end and going through to the other.

On several occasions the company went on half day hikes in the country with packs and then pitch pup tents in some farmer's field. These hikes were always at route step, enjoyed more or less and accompanied by lots of singing of camp songs. One day an automobile passed along a road, must of not' seen sign on road which forbids travel on it, 3/4 miles away between our machine gun and the targets. It was seen in time and officers commanded cease firing. Lucky for the driver! On another occasion an airplane the first one I had ever seen, passed over the range while we were at company drill. Of course, we had to look up which drew quite a bawling out from Lt. Ball who was in charge. It lit in camp. The next day one could hear all kinds of rumors about that mysterious plane and pilot. But I reckon it wasn't such a mystery to the commanding officers.

In the rush to get ready for overseas, quite unexpected, inspections was ordered. I had shaved the day before so thought I could get by with it. But I didn't! The next Monday evening I hit a detail of taking caps out of empty cartridges until dark. Several others in the same fix. (Never got caught again on Inspection during whole time in service.)

Every man was given a chance to give his reasons if he didn't want to go across. Ones who claimed their religion prevented them from wanting to fight were transferred to Depot Brigade. Only a very few, 5 or 6 but what wanted to go and were anxious to be on the way. The older men in the company were especially tired of drill, there was a lot of kidding about it (drill). Why drill so much when they were in the army to fight and fight we all wanted. As day after day passed, activities of the division pointed that the time was getting nearer, yet no order was given setting the day that the men knew of. The time seemed to drag a long slower.

Served on kitchen police a couple times, each time on a Sunday when most of the company were home on leave. Also was table waiter once or twice.

One night Lucius Fuller and myself went to the Tabernacle to hear Evangelist Meyers who several years ago conducted meetings at Fife Lake. Another night Carl and Clate Campbell and myself went to the Liberty Theater. Another time the company was taken to the Liberty Theater to hear lecture on sex hygiene.


No drill. Lot of company on pass. Hutchins went to Battle Creek to visit an uncle. I went down to the Base Hospital for a walk.

TUESDAY, JULY 5 - July 10, 1918

Not much drilling. Inspections of all kinds were the order of the day. The favorite pastime of the officers seemed to be to have us arrange all our clothing out of doors, stand around waiting for them to inspect and check them up, the wind was blowing all of them full of sand, which was always swirling around the barracks, then after about half were checked up the officers would quit on account it was mess time, then the next day it would be the same thing over again.

Some hiking and tent (pup) pitching was done. Each one numbered all his belongings with a company number. Mine was 101. Even knife, fork and spoon had the number. Company equipment packed and marked.

  F   Via New York

A list of the articles we had to have in our packs when we entrained at Camp Custer was given out as follows:

2 Blankets
1 Raincoat
1 Complete mess kit
1 Bacon can
1 Bar of toilet soap
2 Suits underwear
1 Pair shoes
1 Pair overalls (denim)
1 Condiment can
1 Shelter half
1 Tent pole
5 Tent pins
1 Bar laundry soap
1 Red Cross kit
1 O.D. shirt
1 Jacket (denim)
1 Trench mirror
1 Comb
1 Tooth brush
1 Tube tooth paste
1 Pair shoe laces
1 Stick shaving soap
1 Razor kit
1 Fatigue hat
2 Pair socks

The rest of our belongings are to go into the barrack bag. Quite a lot of practice of rolling packs was done. For the last couple weeks no washing was allowed sent to the laundry. Also to save water one was not allowed to wash clothing in the latrines and still we were supposed to keep clean. Guards on the latrines had orders not to let any one do any washing, but we would slip in get our clothes wet before they would see what we were doing then they would always tell us we couldn't wash any more after we had finished what we had started. Visitors to camp were forbidden July 7, and mail going out stopped also. Getting to have sure signs of our leaving soon. Everyone anxious to go. Are tired of drill and want to see the real stuff.


Announced one morning that we would entrain next day at 9:00 A.M. First train left today at 1:00 P.M. with a train following each hour during day time until Division would be all entrained. Was to take about 2 1/2 days. Most of day spent in cleaning barracks, taking barrack bag to train, rolling pack, and having it inspected, all had to look just alike. Some pack I'll say and some load too. Must of weighed 80 or 90 lbs. It was all one could do to get it on alone. If there had been another article in them the pack carrier would not of reached around the roll. Guess the officers don't think much of our ability to roll pack in a hurry, so we have to leave them rolled and sleep on bare springs tonight.

These six weeks in camp have been very busy and pleasant ones for me. Drills and other army discipline has been strict and exacting, but if one entered it to do his best, he would find it agreeable and the officers reasonable and just. The ones that were always trying to get away from doing things was the fellows that generally had to do the fatigue and detail duties. Duties that were not liked. Generally after retreat one could do as he pleased with his time. The 10 or 12 YMCA's in camp every evening always had movies and other enjoyable activities, so did the 2 or 3 K of C huts also. Each one conducted singing periods, reading and writing rooms and athletics activities. Army life without these YMCA and K of C huts would be very lonesome and disagreeable. They are a necessity. A dollar invested in them is money well spent. (Later on a large community building for housing relatives and friends visiting camp was erected by money from the War Chest Fund of Michigan.)

FRIDAY, JULY 12, 1918

I couldn't keep warm last night even with all my clothing on, on the bare springs. So cold I didn't sleep very much, all the rest of the fellows in same fix. But there wasn't any kicking, we were going across. Got up at 4:00 A.M. after breakfast visited Lucius Fuller across the alley in his kitchen. He filled me up on cake and oranges. (This was the last cake I tasted until I returned home.) Eats in camp have been good although none too plentiful.

Entrain at 9:00 A.M. with orders not to lean or wave out of the windows, not to go from car to car, not to get off train when stopped or throw anything out of the windows. As train pulls out thru camp I see Lucius Fuller's waving hand from back door of his kitchen. Pass thru Jackson, Albion and Ann Arbor, arrive at Detroit 12:00 P.M. Shearer of our squad, son of a railroad Supt. of Detroit, gets permit to get off in depot to see relatives who give him big box of eats. Shearer had first been in Division Hdg. troop but does not know any too much so was transferred. Is a very poor soldier. From the looks of the suburbs of Detroit, it must be made up of 9/10th kids.

Pass under St. Clair River thru M. C. R.R. tunnel mile long into Canada. Arriving at St. Thomas, Canada at 3:30 P.M. we are paraded around town for exercise for 15 or 20 minutes. They are having an Irish holiday celebration. They don't seem very enthusiastic to celebrate. One can feel and see that a war cloud is hanging over them. It cannot be noticed in the U.S. at this time at least. Reached Niagara Falls at 6:00 P.M. Canadian side and are allowed 5 minutes to get off and view Falls a mile or more in the distance. For several miles around the spray is in the air which causes many rainbows and colors to be seen at this time of day. Passed over large suspension bridge to American side, reach Buffalo 7:30 and follow Erie Canal for a ways. This is a great fruit country. Pass Rochester at 9:00 and Syracuse 10:45 P.M. Hutchins and myself set together. Each two men have two double seats. Meals are cooked and served on the train. Weather fair.


Train is detained at Ravena, N.Y. about midnight. Breakfast was served and then Battalion is taken on hike thru town to a hillside field where we have setting up exercises. Hdg. Co. men do not stand it very well, some nearly faint, because they have not been drilling for a long time. Ravena is small old fashioned town or small city built in a valley with narrow winding streets, buildings are brick built narrow and tall with lots of gables and steep sloped roofs. Taken in all quite different then I had ever seen or even imagined existed in this country. At 9:00 A.M. leave Ravena, pass thru edge of Catskill Mts., shaved during this time, come to Hudson River, which is followed all the way to New York City. While coming down the Hudson suddenly the brakes were put on while going 60 miles per hour and train comes to quick stop. A motor section car was run over but the operator jumped to safety. We were eating watermelon bought with money out of the company fund at the time.

See Sing Sing Prison and girls college (Vassar I think) across river, pass thru West Point, also see old sailing vessel moored in a bayou claimed to be the one Henry Hudson sailed up the river with when he explored it. Reach New York City proper by long tunnels at 1:30 P.M. and get directly onto a ferry boat, but wait until 5:30 P.M. for more troops. Meanwhile we watch harbor traffic and a lot of the fellows exchange names and addresses with girls on other ferry boats by towing them across tied to some weight or other. Ferry boat trip to Long Island City, L.I. takes an hour where we are served lunches and wait 3 hours for train.

Finally after boarding train pandemonium broke loose. Each four men in two double seats formed a quartet and tried to out do the rest, in noise if not in real music. Some happy, care free, singing bunch! It didn't stop until Camp Mills station was reached 22 miles away. Passed thru Garden City, Belmont Park and Floral City on way. Hike two miles to camp which we reach at midnight. Camp is in complete darkness and is composed of squad tents, except kitchens and canteens. (When the Armistice was signed the camp had all been built up into barracks.) The camp was large enough to accommodate 2 division, nearly 60,000 men at a time. A squad was assigned to each tent. Spring cots were furnished, but some tents didn't contain their quota so we had to prowl around in the dark in unoccupied tents nearby to get us a cot a piece.

SUNDAY, JULY 14, 1918

So sleepy this morning half of the company didn't hear first call and were only half dressed when time for reveille. Our whole squad missed it. Captain Caldwell sent the whole bunch that were late after a kitchen table and a broom under Sgt. Morely about 30 rods distance on the run. Guess he wasn't very angry probably pretty sleepy himself and besides the bugler had stood in the door of his tent when he blew first call. Cooks didn't get breakfast ready until 10:30 A.M. Wrote a couple letters. Dinner at 2:00 P.M. Clothing checked up and inspected. Personal Inspection. This afternoon all of a sudden the wind began to blow hard, then pretty soon it just poured down then ended as quickly. Rockwell Aviation Field is near by. Saw seven planes today.

MONDAY, JULY 15, 1918

Inspection of person and clothing in forenoon. Five of squad on guard but not myself. Went over to the Y and got a couple diary books for myself and Corp. Moore. Did some washing. Capt. Caldwell made Major and First Lt. Spalanger made captain. Rice sent to hospital, he is in our squad.

Saw 15 airplanes today.

Jack our dog mascot tore the trousers off a man peddling newspapers today. He does not like civilians, will go after them every time if it is a man. While in Camp Custer one of the fellows of the company was discharge (physical disability) and put his civilian clothes on to go home. When he stepped out of the barracks Jack went right after him, but we called him off in time. I was routed out of bed at nearly midnight to turn in some of my equipment and clothing. All cotton goods are being turned in and woolen issued in its place.

TUESDAY, JULY 16, 1918

Person Inspection.

Furled tents this morning so as to air out our cots and ground floor. Has to be done every nice day. The company took up collection to buy newsman new trousers. Wrote a letter and sent a card to Gladys.

Received all our new clothing, including an extra uniform, and wrapped leggings. Everyone busied themselves the rest of the day learning to wrap them and discussing their looks and the possibility of getting them on in time for reveille next morn. Turned in infantry belts and received new belts without the cartridge pockets.


Corp. Moore, my corporal, in charge of quarters today. One non-com officer each day is put in charge of quarters, that is to see that barrack or tents are clean, bunks made up and etc.

Huber, myself and several others sent on detail to Hdg. for some barrack bags belonging to some casual. Casuals are soldiers who have been detained in hospital at Camp Custer when we left and have been released since.

Living high on ice cream these days. When any of us go over to the canteen we always bring a cartoon of brick ice cream back, don't get to our own tent before the company street will be filled with men all wanting a brick.

Had another one of those wind and rain storms pounce on us again today, they are regular afternoon occurrence. This was the worse yet. Blew lots of tents over. Ground covered with water. Inside of our tent water was 3 in. deep some tents worse in spite of all having trenches dug around them. Water and mud all over everywhere, some hard job to keep our equipment and things clean and dry.

Received first mail in camp today. I received a box of candy from Gladys and a letter from Aunt Eliza. Huber and myself went down to the Post Exchange and bought a lot of Hersey Chocolate bars to put in our barrack bags, to have when we reached France. This evening after the water had soaked out of our tents we covered the floor with gravel so it would not be so muddy.


No reveille this morning. Reason, everyone were down at the latrine! Seats were at a premium. The attack began about midnight. About that time I was awakened by Corp. Moore prowling around my bunk trying to find his way out of the tent. We had changed the cots around yesterday trying to make more room so he got turned around in the dark, my cot was in far corner from flap of tent. Shortly after that I began charging towards the latrine at frequent intervals. One could see white figures clad only in underwear and shoes gliding back and forth, like goblins, the rest of the night.

Capt. Spalanger, so the guards said, lost his boots in a mud hole outside his tent. Maybe that was the reason he set me filling that hole and others along the company streets, after breakfast with dirt dug out of the trenches around tents. I was the only one on the detail, didn't seem to have any boss so I quit after an hour or so and wrote a couple letters. B company were in the same fix as us.

Our battalion, being the divisional machine gun battalion, had only two companies (172 officers and men each). The other two machine gun battalion had four companies each. They were equipped with mule drawn gun and ammunition carts, while we had used hand draw carts in Camp Custer, but will be equipped with motor trucks in France. The divisional M. G. Bn's are equipped in France for quick transfer from one place to another place on divisional from which need support the worst. Huber has been appointed to be our driver when we get our truck. A truck to every squad.

Huber and myself went to Hempstead without a pass this afternoon. On our way back nearly got caught by a M. P. (Military Police) but it was too late to dodge him, so we bluffed him out from asking to see our passes by keeping right on towards him all the while keeping up a steady run of talk between us. Huber was telling me an experience he had selling a suit of clothes to an Italian in Grand Rapids. Huber used to be a mechanic for Barney Oldsfield, auto racer.

Bought a knife and two pillow tops in Hempstead and we stopped at the Y in camp and sent them home. Hempstead is an old fashioned place with narrow streets. Went over this evening and visited Albert Cunningham on other side of camp. (Albert was the last person I met that I had known before going to camp until I returned home.) Had personal inspection twice today.

FRIDAY, JULY 19, 1918

Furled tents this A.M. and wrote a letter to Aunt Eliza and a card to Lucius Fuller. Company received mail today but I didn't get any. Went over to the Y with Parks. Personal inspection. Rice returned from hospital, but is put in another squad.


Company carried barrack bags to train this morning. Some of company are on guard so Huber and myself have to carry three between us, some load believe me and it was about two miles too. Water in camp turned off today. Some rumor has it that poison was found in it. The bath houses in camp are not roofed. Have sides and do not have hot water as we did in Camp Custer. Huber and myself have great sport every night just before bedtime taking cold shower baths. They are all right after one gets wet once, but have to grit our teeth, jump under and dance a good jig before we get used to the cold water. Don't very many take baths often on that account. But we sure do feel fine after we get out.

Furled tents and had personal inspection. (None were allowed to go across with venereal disease, but had to serve without pay in camp on this side.) Everyone is getting anxious to go Over and are hoping no order detaining us a few days will be received. No visitors are allowed here in Camp Mills at any time. The papers are full of the American advance at Chateau Thierry. Received orders at 5:15 P.M. to fall in. Announced that we would go aboard boat tomorrow and are drilled on how to go aboard. Cords are given us to tie our campaign hat on so they won't blow overboard. After retreat write a couple letters, as did most everyone else. This has been an enjoyable week, everyone happy and raring to go. Have had no drilling or exercises while here in camp.

SUNDAY, JULY 21, 1918

Reveille at usual time this morning. After mess each was given a large sandwich to place in the mess kit for noon lunch.

Company street and tents thoroughly policed and cleaned before departing from camp at 8:45. Entrain for Long Island City at 9:50 which we reach at 10:30 over the same route we came on.

Garden City, Floral City and Belmont Park are sure some beautiful places. All wealthy people living here. 11:00 A.M. board ferry which by the way is nearly as old as New York City itself, by its looks. No top on it for shade. One hour later reach dock 59 New York harbor, but do not get off ferry until 1:50 P.M. It has been simply melting out in the harbor today, the hottest I have ever experienced. The ferry was packed, no place to sit down or move around, but just stand there and absorb the heat thru our woolen uniforms. There was no breeze. While lying around inside dock warehouse for an hour the Red Cross ladies gave us ice cream and cookies. Cards, to be mailed at top of gang plank, were distributed for us to sign and address home. These cards read: "I have arrived safely overseas" and will be mailed when we arrive across. A couple chocolate bars melted in my blouse pocket and made a large greasy spot on my blouse. Some hot I'll say! We gave our dog Jack to the Red Cross ladies. Dogs are not allowed to go over there by the War Department, "spect" they don't want dogs to risk their lives being submarined. Wonder if Jack will try his civilian stunt on them. As we file up the gang plank in payroll (alphabetic) order an embarkation officer calls our given name and we answer with our surname and drop our card in bag at top of gang plank, where a ticket is given each one assigning him to a certain state room, bunk and dining room and table.

Huber, Hutchins, Bert Snyder and myself draw same stateroom 136 Sec. 5. It has two lower and two upper bunks and is so small only two could stand up in it at once, between the two bunks, but we like it even if it is small and hot. A couple hours later a tug pushes our transport out into the stream where it proceeds under its own power down the harbor past lots of loaded ferry boats, each crowded full of New Yorkers on pleasure bent, some have bands playing and always the same piece, "Over There" very appropriate it seems. No other song could of quite filled the bill as it, to give such a hearty and gladsome farewell. The ferries are all a waving and cheering mass of humanity and we answer in kind although the cheering does not come up to theirs by quite a bit, more thoughtful and serious but not sad. The shore line of the harbor is a wonderful sight with its Woolworths, Flatirons and other skyscrapers, great electric advertising signs, rows and rows of decks and activity everywhere. But the Statue of Liberty draws more attention than the rest combined. The transport passes close to it, as it gradually gets smaller in the distance each man's gaze and thoughts are on it, and what it represented. Will we ever see the "Old Girl", as she so fondly is called, again and if we do, when? None dare hope it will be sooner than a year. Out between Sandy Hook and Long Island, the transport (Canopic) drops anchor to wait for others to come to make out the convoy. Ferry boat after ferry boat ply to and fro by us. This is the only means of reaching Long Island, Coney Island and other places around New York. It looks an endless scramble of ferries to me, but I suppose they all know where they are going. Guess they operate on regular schedules. After dark they make a pretty sight all lite up together with thousands of other lights in New York City, Long Island and Coney Island. On Sandy Hook, N. J. we can see a ferris wheel and merry-go-round going. Search lights from Fort Hancock near by Sandy Hook, N. J. are also playing across the sky.

At 9:00 P.M. a bugler on another transport plays taps. Shortly after I went below to bed. This has been a long hot day, and has not seemed much like a Sunday in the least. But everybody is in good spirits and happy to be on our way over, come what may!

MONDAY, JULY 22, 1918

Had a good sleep even if it was awful hot below deck. Rolled out at 5:45 A.M. Reveille at 6:15. Breakfast at 6:30. Stand muster 7:30 (muster is sailor's word for assembly) with life belts and are assigned to life boats and rowers picked for each. Huber is selected for a rower. We will have to wear or carry our life belts with us all the time from now on. At 10:30 A.M. after anchoring all night off Fort Hancock, Sand Hook, N.J. anchor is weighed and the long trip across is began, along with 12 other transports and freighters. As the open sea is reached they form in convoy system. This is four abreast and three or four deep, each boat about a mile apart. Here eight destroyers and dirigible balloon joined us for escort. Probably the large escort is because a couple days ago a couple German subs were discovered and sunk just outside harbor, (according to War Department records). This is an English transport and has around 1300 men on board including a squadron of Canadian airmen. These flyers are assigned to do submarine lookout guard duty on the way over. We are to do the other guard duty around on the boat. We are disappointed that our ship is British. Does not seem any too clean for it smells like flurry and the eats so far are the same. This is its first trip in the American transport service being used before this in African and Australian transport service.

I can't understand half what the English sailors say, talk so fast and so much brogue. Always using "blood" and "blemin" slang phrase. Most are either wounded men (disabled) or old men and mere boys. All the lighter work as table waiting is done by boys 15 or 16 years old. As a whole not a very healthy and rugged crew. They have a pet monkey which drinks pop.

The following is to be the regular routine on board ship:

6:00 A.M. - Reveille
6:30 - 7:30 A.M. - Mess
8:00 - 11:30 A.M. - All on Deck
9:00 -10:00 A.M. - Drill
10:00 A.M. - Physical Inspection
11:00 A.M. - Ship Inspection
11:30 - 12:30 - P.M. Mess
2:00 - 3:00 P.M. Gr. Mount and Drill
3:00 - P.M. Life Boat Drill
4:40 - 6:00 P.M. - Mess
7:30 P.M. - Retreat
9:15 P.M. - Below Deck

Set our watches back 1 hour to account for difference of time. We had to change this afternoon from our 2nd class state room into the steerage. And I think that the fellow that named it wasn't far wrong in its name. It wasn't good enough for these Ohio mutts (a bunch of Non-com) we had to exchange with, so they made complaint to officer in charge. Made us mad and discouraged, that we almost wished a sub would get us before we got across. (As I look back onto it now with many more trying and difficult war experiences behind than this one, yet this one probably was the most disheartening at the time than any of the rest because we were not hardened to them yet.) Anyway we hoped that if we did get torpedoed that they would get it first.

We have saltwater fish just half cooked, steamed I guess. If it is as hot in the kitchen as here in the dining room I think probably the cooks just let them lie around a while to get good and hot. If the English girls are as poor a cook as these cooks on board, why I pity the men! Maybe that is why the men look so puky. If we were anything but American soldiers we would surely croak before we got over. The waiters say that all we Americans think of is our bellies. Rumor of two subs sank at noon. (Only a rumor as army life was full of them.) It has been a fine, clear still day without hardly a ripple. I had always heard that the ocean was never still or calm. If we were allowed on deck at night some of us in steerage would sleep there tonight rather than in this hole in the stern of the boat two decks below. It is a great open space filled with bunks, two high and is near the rudder and propellers. You can hear them grinding all the while. If a torpedo hits here we'll drown like rats.

TUESDAY, JULY 23, 1918

Sleep good in the rat hole as we call it. The balloons and destroyers had left us before I came on deck this morning. The Cruiser will stay with us the rest of the way. We are taking the most Northern course to Liverpool. Going about due Northeast. I don't see how the boats can tell each others positions at night because they have no lights. They take a zigzag course in the daytime a few miles one way then all will shift their course a few degrees.

From now on we will have to wear our fatigue clothes (overall jacket) all the time except when on guard duty. We washed the decks which I don't think have been cleaned since the start of the war. Maybe they transferred it to American Service to get it cleaned once. Wish we could turn these hose on the dining rooms. Makes me nearly sick to the stomach to think of the eats.

Our officers have ordered us to change our underwear every other day so that means we'll have to do some washing and the boat officers have forbidden any clothing hung out to dry, so to satisfy them both I took a bath, there's a bath room on board, washed my underwear and put it on to dry. Some system to that, but it has been awful hot the past two days so my underwear was soon dry. We don't have much to do so we sure are enjoying ourselves lying around on deck without any troubles in the world save the eats and the rat hole. But I guess we will soon get used to the rat hole, sort of getting over the agony of it already.

Saw some large fish today. At 4:00 P.M. the ship crew buried the baker. He died today of the heat they said, but I think he died of his own cooking. Guess he died when he had the bread for supper half cooked, for it tasted that way. Bread, butter, tea and two eggs for supper is a good sample of the meals. Today noon one of the waiters got stubborn and wouldn't give one of the tables any marmalade (jam we call it) said he had given them some and would not give them anymore. He thought they had hid it I guess but they hadn't. It has been another hot day although a trifle cooler this afternoon with a few white caps.


Another rotten breakfast, half cooked fish (salt water) bread porridge and tea. A Lt. Col. and Major Caldwell inspect dinner in dining room but we have by luck a fairly good meal. Complaints had been made to them by some of the men. Everyone has to be on deck for life boat drill but the Major caught Madden below and called him to a finish. We have to shave every day while on board ship, in cold water at that. Ouch!

See a sailing vessel in distance at noon. I didn't suppose there were such a thing on the oceans now a days. This afternoon a large school of big fish follow along our side for sometime. We claimed they are in squad formation. When they jump out of the water all do it at once and in the same direction. Another calm day and just a little cooler, just right for comfort. The Y secretary conducts singing, boxing and other sports during spare time, especially in the evenings. The big guy in another outfit has been out boxing everyone else but this evening the fellows got Sgt. Malley to box with him and Malley nearly knocked him out.


Start reading book "The Long Roll" a Y book. Sight three ships in distance going west at 5:30 P.M. One thing we have to hand it to these English sailors is that they can box and out box our men every time. This evening Burdick, a lightweight, the best boxer of the soldiers on board, boxes a heavy weight sailor, who is an old man about 50 years old and in his day was up among the best in England. Burdick is not a match for him, every time Heavy hit Burdick, Burdick laughs and makes lots of fun of it as much as us boys do. None of the big fellows would box Heavy, so Burdick was game even though he knew he would get licked.

Weather cooler, cloudy, sprinkled a little, with some breeze.

FRIDAY, JULY 26, 1918

At reveille a ship could be seen in the distance going home (U.S.A.). Ships returning home travel mostly alone or in small groups without any escort or convoy. There is not much wind this forenoon but the sea is gradually getting rougher. Great big swells each covered with small waves. Some grand sight, something that holds you spellbound with its vastness, its greatness and its relentlessness. Makes you realize as never before the largeness of this world. I can stand for hours and watch these waves and swells, each one nearly alike yet new and different. The Canopic does not mind them, goes steadily on as if they were not there. One moment I can look over the edge of the boat there will be a big hollow nearly half as large as the boat, 40 ft. down to the water, in a few moments along comes the swell and the water will be within 15 or 20 ft. It is magnetic, majestic and sublime.

A rotten dinner, spoiled rabbit, spoiled soup made of rabbit, half cooked peas and some fairly good English pudding. A Sergeant of another company (not of the 85th Div.) broke his arm wrestling this A.M.

At 2:00 I went on guard for the first time since being on fire guard while in quarantine at Camp Custer. The Guard Mount was held up on the top deck (small top deck). The guard is always divided into three reliefs, one relief being on guard 2 hours and off the next 4 hours for 24 hours when a new guard will go on. When the reliefs are not on post they have to live and sleep at the guard house. The 36 privates along with these are a Corporal and Sergeant to each relief, another Sergeant in command of whole guard was also an officer of the guard. My post is at head of a stairway and latrine in bow of boat. None can pass without their life belts. This afternoon has been awful rough, the first sea sickness is hitting us. The supper tonight is fairly good but everyone is too seasick for it to taste good. Boat drill alarm given at 9:00 P.M. while I was on post. Met a Co. B. Lieut. on my way back to my post and he wants to know what I'm doing off my post. Soon the ship's Sgt. Major comes around and wants to know if I left my post for boat drill. Guards on posts have to report on deck for boat drills same as the rest. One of the Sergeants jollies up one of the table waiters to bring us a 10:00 lunch but he does not show up. This afternoon and first part of night have been hard on the guards, standing still and being below out of the fresh air has caused all of them to get relieved of their posts before time was up, but myself. Had a hard time keeping my stomach down, there is more toss to the bow of the boat too, but by facing side ways to the boat and leaning against the wall kept from getting very sick. Just as soon as I'd face the other way just seemed as if my insides would start to come up but by gritting my teeth and making up me mind I wasn't going to let "em come", I kept them down. Weather is getting cooler.


One of the other transports (an Italian) is loaded with Red Cross nurses, and soldiers too. We wish we were on that boat. Still poor meals, meat at breakfast and dinner simply rotten. Officers inspect meals again. Everyone is spending lots of money at ship canteen for candy and cookies. Some never go down to eat at dining room, others have to because they are out of money. I always make it a practice to go down and try to eat but that is mainly all, just try. I have seen details bringing up beef out of storage that is simply rotten on the outside with mold. The meat is always spoiled. (In all my time in the A.E.F. I never seen or tasted any spoiled beef, and we lived mostly on beef) that was really spoiled. Sometimes it was a little old or tainted, but at that it was better then the best served of the Canopic. I don't believe the rations for the transport were issued in the U.S. but some that they didn't want to feed their own troops. Besides fish, tea and spinach were never American rations. Some of the fish hasn't been spoiled but were so salty and only half cooked. They cook spinach in everything but the bread and tea. They must do this to help take off the spoiled taste. It is so strong and bitter none of us like it. I believe the boiled eggs we had once or twice were cooked in it to, for they were rather green in side. Went off of guard at 2:00 P.M. A long and a short fellow get in a fight this evening after supper while boxing. Orders issued to sleep in our clothing from now on.

SUNDAY, JULY 28, 1918

Quite rough and awful cold today. Gulls could be seen all this afternoon. They come from the coast of Ireland, so the boat crew say. They will travel 300 or 400 miles from land.

The first piano is being used for entertainment on deck today. Some looker!

We had the best meal yet for dinner.

The prevailing sport in which all indulge in is life belt battles. Most of the life belts are made like a sort of a vest filled with a soft material like cotton only water non-absorbent. A few have some of the old cork kind but they are to heavy and hard to have a good natured battle with. These battles frequently become quite general among the company, hitting each other over the head and etc.

We are told that we can write letters and mail them and they will be sent back as soon as we land. They will have to be censored which is done by the commissioned officers of the company. I wrote a couple letters.

MONDAY, JULY 29, 1918

See two vessels at noon, one of which was quite near us. The meals were better today. Probably feeding us up a little so we can walk ashore under our own steam. The feed has always been fairly plentiful enough but the quality was lacking. Finish reading "The Man of the Mountains". The company signed the payroll today. This is always done several days before we get the pay. It has been a cold and misty day.

We had a life belt battle royal after supper on the main deck. Hutchens and myself were sitting on a deck seat, waiting for retreat as the rest were too, when it started. Us two stood up on the seat so as not to get it and we could pelt the rest that were close to us. B. Co. men who were quartered a sort ways up deck thought they would join in and made a rush at the company. Of course, we weren't going to let them run us off deck so we centered our attack on them. We beat them back on the first rush and they retreated a little to get ready for another rush. The seat us two were standing on was near the foot of the stairway leading up to the officer quarters. About this time Hutchens and myself see the Captain up there trying to make himself heard below so we (us two) ceased firing. The Captain unable to make himself heard comes down the stairway and

was caught between the two companies just as they come together for the next rush. No one knew he was there but us two. He is right in the center of it getting pelted with life belts as much as any. Finally he is discovered and of course the battling stops. He forbids any more life belts battles. After retreat the Captain gives the Non-coms a talk in which he said he would hold them responsible for any more battles.

TUESDAY, JULY 30, 1918

2nd Lt. Jackson gives us third platoon men a talk and instructions in dining room. It consists mainly of transmitting and receiving orders. Cold and misty with some few flakes of snow today. This evening is foggy. Have boat drill at 8:00 P.M. Tonight we have a victrola in our sleeping quarters. It is the only one on board and tonight is our turn to having it in our quarters here in the stern. We have gotten used to our rat hole and are not minding it a bit now.


Still cold today. I went on guard again this afternoon. Started reading "Philip Steele". Spend all of the time while off guard in the guard house reading. There isn't room to sleep with any comfort.


Along about midnight one of the guards on post near the gallery swiped a loaf of fresh baked bread while they were baking, as he was coming off his relief. After that the corporal of the next relief made inspection of the galley quite often, each time bringing back hot bread and marmalade which we ate in the guard house. Some feast I'll say! Lucky we didn't get caught.

Shortly after this my turn at guard came. My post is at the head of the stairway leading down into our rat hole. We had been told that six long blasts of the boat whistle meant that we were torpedoed and we must man the lifeboats. Suddenly the whistle blows one, two, three, four, five long blasts. I was holding my breath for the next one and then a short one. I knew we weren't subed because there had been no explosion. The men below had heard it too. Soon the same signal is repeated. The shaky ones below make a rush up the stairs led by a big fellow 6 ft. 3 in. of B. Co. I stepped into the doorway and wouldn't let him up. He was going to lick me if I didn't let him through because he knew we were torpedoed. He was completely scared and wasn't going to let any guard keep him down below to drown. After quite a lot of argument he finally went back below. He had been telling what he would do to those Germans when he got across. (This man was later transferred to the 151st. M. G. Bn., another company than mine. Members of his company told me he was never seen on the front with his company but always lost himself going up. I've known several big men who were bullies that were such brave fellows, by their own admission, who were going to simply clean up on the Huns when they got the chance, but everytime failed when the real test came. They were gun shy so to speak. I never seen it happen to a small man, probably because being physical smaller they developed their other resources such as character, spirit, determination and etc., to make up the handicap in size, while the bullies big man depending on his size would weaken because he lacked the character, spirit, determination to carry him thru.) The signals were repeated every few minutes after that, the other boats in the convoy also began whistling too. When I came off of guard at the end of my relief they told me in the guard house that another boat of the convoy had nearly run into us in the dense fog outside. (Later on when I was transferred to the 151st, M. G. Bn. they said that when they came across their boat was run into by another, without much damage but it threw a guard on deck of the other boat across onto theirs. The man was located next day (A.M.). That was why the boats were whistling to tell their location. The ship crew say that this place in the Atlantic is known as "Dead Man Hole" because more ships have gone down here than any other place. I think they meant by storms and not by subs because we have not reached the sub zone proper yet. But we must be getting near.

At 9:30 A.M. us in the guard room hear a commotion out on the deck so we go out to see what is going on, and in the distance can be seen swiftly approaching (10) ten destroyers (later we hear they are British) who are to act as our escort the rest of the way. When yet a sort distance away our faithful cruiser suddenly turned square around at under full speed, it was only play to keep pace with us because we couldn't go any faster than the slowest freighter in the convey, started for home probably to escort another convoy across. It didn't seem to have a moments time to loose. These 10 destroyers are sure a welcome sight for we know that we are nearing the sub zone, but that fact isn't effecting anybody's spirits any. The past 2 or 3 days have been only reasonable rough. Today is trifle warmer and we are traveling more direct east. Return our Y books today.


This morning 8:30 most of us men were on deck when we have our first glimpse of the war. Suddenly a shot was fired, all the transports have a 3 in. long range rifle in the bow and stern, from one of the destroyers or transports I don't know which, on our right, we are in the 2nd file from the right. Four or five more shots ring out meanwhile half of the destroyers rush towards the rear right corner of the convoy and begin circling around and dropping depth bombs. When these bombs exploded they couldn't be heard above the water, but would make the boat ring like as if it were being hit underneath with a mighty hammer. Several bombs are dropped. The ship crew most all come on deck and we all cheer and have a great time. No one was scared that I knew of, just happy to have some real live excitement. The report has it that two subs were sunk. The only way they can tell is by oil coming to the surface. The fun lasted about 15 minutes the convoy did not stop or alter its course. The orders are that if a transport is torpedoed the rest must not stop to help them only some of the destroyers if they can be spared. This afternoon a report was received from one of the other boats that a soldier had jumped over board. Beating the Hun to it I guess.

Warmer and foggy all day so foggy that we can only make out a dim outline of Scotland which we sight first at 9:45 A.M. At 6:30 P.M. the coast of Ireland could be faintly seen. Are traveling southeast now. Rumor current that we will be in port by morning. Issued reserve rations.


Outside the eats this has been a real enjoyable trip for me, most of the fellows have enjoyed it too, most like a vacation although some don't like the water and the subs and claim they would rather be in the trenches, (These same fellows when they did get to the trenches were always somewhat gun shy same as they were afraid of being submarined) then they would be alright. Of course being 12 days on the water we were getting anxious to land. A great deal of interest was shown when shores of Scotland and Ireland were sighted. Even the sailors always are happy and interested to sight good old solid earth. So this morning when I awoke (5:00 A.M.) the boat was still under headway by the sound of the propellers, I was a trifle disappointed. But on coming up on deck land was near on each side and I knew we were close to Liverpool. From the looks it is sort of a bay or mouth of a river and keeps getting narrower and shallower. Soon many buoys, rows of them forming a lane in which the vessels must follow because the rest is to shallow.

At 6:00 a pilot, a man to guide the ship, is taken on board from a launch to guide us through this complicated system of buoys, and into the harbors proper which is even more confusing. The harbor (reach it at 7:30 A.M.) is a huge net work of narrow lanes and docks, the largest harbor in the world. Liverpool harbor is very unlike New York harbor which has a great open channel with a row of decks on each side. At 9:30 A.M. after wandering thru a multitude of lanes the Canopic comes to anchor to wait until a dock is empty so we can tie up. This is done at 1:30 P.M. Meanwhile we get our packs and carry our barrack bags out of the hole. While waiting to unload several boys around 10 years old loiter around the dock begging cigarette butts and pennies. They are dressed in long pants, coats and vests and look like little men. Some of the fellows write cards and throw them to the boys to mail but some miss the dock and fall in the water. Mailing letters like this is against regulations. Must by mailed with company officers to censor.

Unload at 3:30 P.M. At 4:30 the battalion starts its hike thru the streets of Liverpool to camp a few miles out. Traffic keeps to the left in England. (Traffic also keeps to left in whole of Europe. This was observed by the Americans but when the Americans took over a section of the front all to themselves our own drove on the right while there.) The streets are narrower than our own, are winding and paved with cobble stone and brick. Buildings all built of red brick and have steep roofs. The hike out to the rest camp, Notty Ash isn't only about 5 miles but the packs are heavy and we are sort of soft so the officer give us lots of rest. Arrive at Notty Ash at 7:00 A.M. which is a rest camp for troops in transit. (We never figured them very restful on account of the cramped quarters, short time spent in them and the amount of work required while there.) We are quartered in small tents a squad to a tent, and we sleep on the ground with our feet towards the tent pole (center) and heads to the outside. Just room enough for all to lay down.

After supper Huber and myself and I guess everyone else, took a walk over to the edge of camp only a few rod to see the crowd. Many people are out for their Saturday evening stroll around edge of camp. They can't come into camp and we can't go out of it. The camp has a low stone wall around it which guards patrol. We have a dandy chat with a couple of girls. They, the crowd are dressed like an American crowd would be. The camp I judge will hold about 5 thousand men. The dining halls, kitchens and latrines are built of wood. Permanent cooks and camp guards are kept in camp.


After mess the company is taken into the country for a hike. Have sitting up exercises beside of the road. Roads are good, some are covered with tar. While resting we sit down in the edge of the grass side the road and when we get up most of us have tar on our pants which will make some sweet time cleaning I bet. There are lots of people out walking this morning, many with wounded soldiers, some in wheel chairs, along with them. The wounded soldiers wear a loose blue pajamas like uniforms (hospital garb) I don't know if they are home on leave or if a hospital is near here. It is getting to look and feel more like war. War has stamped its scars everywhere here, especially on their souls and spirits. They always ask "Have you finished your training"?. Of course we don't know but certainly hope we won't have very much more.

The English are great lovers of walking and bicycle riding. Also many have their two wheeled shays in which they sit very dignified and stately, the gentlemen if he is elderly will be wearing a tall stiff hat. Saw a two seated bicycle. Very few automobiles. Have my first taste of the famous corn beef (corn willie) today noon. Gee! it's salty! Another hike this afternoon and very hot too. Did my washing this afternoon because we will leave here probably tomorrow. Wrote a couple letters. Huber and myself attend Y meeting after mess tonight which is held out of doors because it is such a nice evening. One can buy candy, cookies and eat at the Y, that's if you have the money.


Roll packs, wash dishes in kitchen and police company street this A.M. Have an early dinner 10:45 but for some reason we don't get started on hike to railroad station until 1:00 P.M. We go to a suburb outside of Liverpool. In going thru town I see my first tram car (street car). It is a double decker. I don't know what the name of this place is. Board train. The cars are divided into 6 compartments, holding 8 men each with two seats the width of the car. One can't pass from compartment to compartment on the inside of car but on the outside on each side is a running board the length of the car. You get into the compartment from side by stepping on this running board.

Each is given a greeting car from King George to mail home. Pull out at 2:25 P.M. Reach Birmingham a great textile manufacturing city at 5:10 where coffee and lunch is served. Pass thru Oxford the great University city at 7:00 Also Basing Stokes where Cromwell fought a decisive battle. At Reading 32 miles from London we turn towards that old city once the capitol of England, Winchester at which we detrain at 9:15 P.M. Immediately start on hike thru city down grade for a half an hour meanwhile it starts a stead hard rain and we fall out to put our raincoats on. The next hour is up hill and raining every inch of the way and dark as a black cat.

The camp is composed of wooden barracks, one story instead of our customary two story, packed close together with only room for narrow, 4 ft. wide, foot walks built a foot or more off the ground, of boards between them. How the officers found the way thru this maze of buildings to the barracks assigned us in this pitch darkness is a mystery to me. But I suppose there was a guide directing them. The barracks have low saw horses a foot high on which boards are placed for bunks. (This was hard laying but one gets used to it after a time. At first we would be stiff and sore each morning.)


No one allowed to go on pass while in England. So one of the Lts. took a bunch of us that wanted to go down to Winchester this P.M. to see the sights. The road to town is paved with cobble stone and was built 1000 years ago. A wagon sure makes some noise on it. Streets are winding and much narrower than Liverpool, so narrow in places I don't believe two cars can pass. In some places there are sidewalks and these are only 4 or 5 feet wide and run tight up against the buildings. Taken to see ruins of an old castle destroyed by Cromwell. The old Town Hall with the names and dates of the thousands of former members of Parliament carved in the stone walls. Many of those several hundred years old. In one chamber is the table top of King Arthur's famous Round Table suspended on the wall. It must be all of 15 feet in diameter. The Cathedral of Winchester with old tombs galore of notables who died several hundred years ago.


American cooks, mess sergeants and guard control the camp same as in Notty Ash. This camp is divided into two parts one called Windall Down, the one where we are and the other is Morn Hill both together will hold around 50,000 men. Earlier in the war the British used this as a training camp but only a few are here now. The Americans here and in Morn Hill, there are many thousands, in transit only. No training done here. Our mess hall has a regular slave driver as a mess sergeant. He won't allow us to make a bit of noise, if we do he will make us wait for the grub a half an hour or more. He paces back and forth simply looking for trouble. If it wasn't for getting put into the guard house and being left here in England some, our sergeant would lick him to a finish. The meals are A #1 although none too bountiful. Lots of mutton is served.


Company went on hike into the country for exercise. Two wheeled carts are used instead of wagons. A load of wheat or hay look funny on them. Saw a place today where they were cutting hay with a steam engine at each end of the field and the mower drawn back and forth by a cable. The land is very rich, in small fields usually fenced in with hedges. Farm buildings small and mostly built of brick. In the cities a whole block of houses can be seen built solid together in front and all the same shape and size. There are no wood buildings not even the shingles. There seem to be many orphanages here in England. The country roads are always graded up over the railroad crossings in a sort of bridge. Freight cars are mostly of 4-10 ton capacity. This evening I went to a band concert in the Y given by a coast Art. Reg. Band (55th. Reg. I think).


Heard a bunch of Scottish bagpipers play this morning in the distance. Nights are always rather chilly, dam and foggy. The fog will last until 9 or 10 A.M. then it will clear up and be awful hot the rest of the day. Co. takes hike in P.M. Wrote a couple letters and at retreat Co. is instructed on how to address and sign our letters, must be:

Pvt. Edward Inman
A. Co. 328 M.G. Bn.
A.E.F. via New York,

Receive orders that we will cross channel tomorrow evening from Southampton. This is good news to us. We have all been enjoying ourselves, not much to do, and some great sights to see. We're having all kinds of experiences using English money.


A few of the men came down with mumps this morning and have to be left behind at the hospital. Several of us including Huber and myself are placed on detail in kitchen and supply house to help prepare a lunch to take along for our dinner. We figured on taking a little extra along but the slave driver mess Sgt. watched us like a hawk. He thinks he owns the grub and we are just so many dumb animals. (A good stiff turn on the front would have brought him around.) Leave camp at 10:00 A.M. for train at Winchester. Many people line streets to see us go but there is no cheering. It is about 25 miles to Southampton where we arrive at 12:30 P.M. Lie around in the wharf warehouse where we are served lunch. See a ship in dock with a large hole in its side caused by a torpedo. At 7:00 P.M. board transport which pulls off up the harbor just at dusk. Many other boats are going across too. No convoy system is used. It is full speed ahead and each boat for its self. Given lunch of coffee, bologna and an English hardtack. (The English and French hard tacks were about an inch think, brown in color and hard as a board. German hard tacks were small and round like oyster crackers. Ours were like square crackers and not very hard.) This is my first introduction to hard tack. So hard one couldn't hardly eat it and it would not soak up in the coffee. The boat is crowded full, each trying to find a warm and dry place to lay down. Soldiers are lying everywhere all over the boat. I try to find a warm place to lie down in out of the cold wind but every place I try to flop on, water is seeping over the deck. Finally down by the engine room I find a dry place but it is awful cold and breezy in which I finally succeed in falling to sleep around midnight I guess. No one seemed afraid of crossing the channel. We learned from the boat crew that we are bound for Cherborg 70 mile away which will be reached about midnight. Sea was only a trifle choppy.


When I awoke in the morning the boat was stopped so I went on deck to look around. We were anchored just inside the breakwater awaiting for the tide to come in, before we could get up to the dock. The city is only a couple miles away. On the cliffs around the city big quarrys can be seen. From the whiteness of these I think they must be chalk cliffs. In the shallow water of the harbor can be seen a big vessel lying on its side. Been there some time from the looks. At 9:30 we dock and a half hour later we leave the boat for the hike out to another rest camp. It is a very hot sultry day. The absence of any shade such as trees or awning make it appear more so. The city seems deserted and shut up, of course being Sunday things would be closed anyway. All the windows are equipped with shutters, buildings are of stone and brick with slate roofs. Streets are crooked and winding, and more narrow than the average in England. There are no side walks I can see and the pavements are mostly paved with cobble stone. On the out skirts of the city a few corrugated iron barracks, ( the French used this type of barrack most entirely. They were the shape of half of a cylinder divided length wise.) with a few French Colonial troops (black) around them. These troops did guard duty and labor around about the city.) Out into the country, the roads are lined with trees and numerous small groves dot here and there. Reach the small camp, about the size of the one at Notty Ash and built up the cause way, at 11:15 A.M. This camp is maintained by English guards, cooks, etc. Shortly after dinner the company is given a bath by what we call the numbers. We undress in our tents then march down to the bath house only with our shoes on, are marched in, ordered to place our shoes and towels on the benches, the water (shower bath) is turned on for one minute, dry ourselves and back to our company street we go. Water is precious and scarce here I guess. Twelve men were assigned to each tent and there is only room for 8 to lay in them so when the 1st Sgt. asked for volunteers for kitchen and dining room detail with the privilege of sleeping where we worked Huber and I jumped at the chance. We got on the dining room detail. We figured we could get all we wanted to eat and have more room to sleep in which would make up for the work. The meals turned out to be good, but the flies, just simply millions of them in the dining rooms and kitchens. They take measures to conquer them but for some reason they haven't succeeded.


We have lots to eat on Dining Room Police. Have an early dinner so we can leave camp by noon. All us fellows on kitchen and dining room police have some reserve rations in our packs when we leave. These Englishmen weren't so pesky stingy and mean as the American slave drivers mess sgt in Windall Down camp. On the way back to Cherborg many women are on the road selling fruit and candy, some of them are hauling them in baby carriages. They don't sell much to us because we are most all dead broke and besides we haven't any French money yet. Haven't been paid for the month of July yet. Many little kids follow us begging cigarettes butts and American penny. It is hard to tell the boys from the girls from the way they dress. The boys wear a sort of skirt until 10 years or so. They fight and scramble after the cigarette butts. I have seen little fellows two years old pounce on a butt and smoke it like a regular fellow. At 1:00 P.M. scramble aboard box car (soldiers pullmans) train. Each car has printed on it "40 homes - 8 Cheveaux" which means it will hold 40 men or 8 horses. Cars are only about half as long as our American freight cars (30' or less I should judge) but some bigger than the ones in England. Only 36 men are put in this time because, I think of the long distance we have a head of us and the size of our packs. I don't see how 40 men can get in one with their packs. To make room we hang all our packs to the ceiling. Besides there are trap doors in each of the four corners of the car (on the sides) which are for ventilators and to feed the horses their hay thru, which let down on the inside making a shelf and a man lays on each of these. Some class to these bunks. They are within about two feet of the top of the car. Most of the country this afternoon is rolling. Fields are small and fenced with tall hedges. I think it is a dairying country from the looks. Farmers live on the farms instead of in villages. Buildings mostly of thatched sides and roofs. Served supper by side of train in a good sized city, but I don't know its name. We sleep alternately head and foot cross ways of the car packed like sardines and that 3 or 4 had to lay cross ways on top of us.


For a long time today we travel thru a fairly level country, large fields, mostly grain in this part. Corn doesn't grow in France. This morning we are given a hike around several blocks in a good sized place, don't know the name. During the afternoon reach LaMans which is the center of the S.O.S. meaning Service of Supplies of the A.E.F. The train is delayed for an hour or more here. Orleans is reached towards evening and we stay here half of the night, expecting any minute to pull out of the depot. Officers wouldn't let us go to the latrine, on that account so we use the space on track at the end of the cars. People going back and forth all the while but I guess they are used to such things. Finally the officers got permission to take us over to a latrine but had to bring us back before all were ready. Then we didn't go for a long time. This is the city that figured in making Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) famous.


Stop at Cosne this forenoon and take another short hike. As we pull out about noon a hospital train is just pulling in. Don't know whether it is French or American. This whole trip has been a series of stops and waits. Not very many eats either. Most of us have a sort of stomach ache caused by the continual jolting and jarring of these "box car Pullmans". Hale had a mishap today while we were going. The French engines are as large as the American ones but they have the funniest little whistle for such a big engine. The trains are not equipped with air brakes but every 5 or 6 cars has little copula on in which a man sits to operate a brake on his car which takes some of the strain off of the engine doing it all. Neither do they have our coupling between cars but are fastened together by large chains at each corner of the car also on each corner is a sort of bumper with a large coil spring, this keeps the car from bumping each other. These allows about a foot or more slack to each car so when the engine stops say if there are 30 cars on the train the hind car will go for 30 feet more and the others corresponding less of course. Then it will recoil back and forth several times before it comes to a stop. Cars are not switched like we do in the states but each car separately on a little turntable. A horse is hitched to one corner of the car to turn it, then it is pulled over to the track desired then turn onto that track on another turn table. Railroads are mostly double tracks. Instead of the bridge like crossing in England here there are gates with a gatekeeper and his family living in a house by the crossing. Generally several gates will be operated by one gatekeeper by means of wires running along beside the track mounted on little pulleys fastened to posts ever little ways apart. Seems like every Frenchman has a small round place something like our band stands only big enough for 4 or 6 persons and usually surrounded by trees and shrubs in one corner of the garden. This is where they drink their beer. I think it is called a beer garden. The garden is always behind the house, there is no yard or lawn in front but house borders tight up against the street. There is no wasted land here, soil is very rich mostly and taken good care of. Most farming is done by hand labor instead of machinery. After leaving Cosne we follow the famous Lorie River for sometime. It is a mile wide I believe and awful slow, sluggish, and shallow, some places the bottom shows in many places. Of course this is several hundred miles from it's mouth (St. Naziere)on west coast of France.

Reach Les Aix e Angellon at 5:00 P.M. where we detrain. This is 150 miles south of Paris in a sort of grain growing country. It sure is good to get off the box car express after more than two days traveling, of course there has been lots of halt and stops meanwhile. The depot looks like the only building here as we lay on the grass beside the track waiting for the train to pull out. But we soon found there was quite a town (1500) just up and over the hill which was covered with tree and scrubs, a sort of park and gardens of some big homes which hide the view of the town. The Bat. is billeted around town, 10 or 12 men in a place, mostly in barns. Billet is the French word for quarters, or housing. Huber and myself are together but the rest of the squad are in another place. There are 12 of us in this billeting place which is the bay of a barn filled with unthreshed wheat. There is a dirt floor, (in all the old country, each town mayor {bergoismaster} has a list of all the buildings showing how many men and horses can be billeted in each.) Each doorway in all the old country, places are numbered so as billeting officers can assign so many men to each barn and house in the same building mostly. We are the first Americans billeted in this area of France so of course we are quite a curiosity and novelty to the people. They are friendly and glad to see us. Have super at 9:00 P.M. Our cooks using the field kitchen, and it is the first cooking they have done since leaving Camp Mills, N.Y.


Company given a hike this A.M. to east of town. Saw a man plowing with a tractor which seems rather unusual considering most of the primitive way we have been seeing them do things. Have two meals today. Water is awful scarce, nearly choked for water. There are lots of open wells (old open buckets) around town but water is no good to drink. It is brown as your old hat. The French here never think of drinking water but use wine entirely.


Part of the company are on detail trying to fix a place, in a creek out of town some place, where we can get drinking water by treating it with chemicals This afternoon the corporals in charge of each billet were ordered to take their men out to the creek for a bath. Corp. Shannon, he sort of gotten the swell head since we have gotten over here thinks he knows were the place is but when we get out there he couldn't locate it. Finally we tire of chasing around after him, so we leave him. We soon return to town but Huber and one of the others, they finally locate a dandy swimming hole about three miles from camp to the west.


For the first time since leaving Camp Custer we have the regular Saturday morning inspection. After inspection we're taken out to the edge of town to a stubble field of about four acres for drill. This is to be our regular drill field. (Use of fields like this were paid for by the War Dept. As also was the use of billets, transportation and damages done, etc. This is the first drill since leaving Camp Custer. This afternoon we have off so Rice, Huber and myself go out to the swimming hole found by Huber. On the way we pass thru a small village where part of the 329th. M.G.Bn. we find are billeted. After leaving this village we strike across fields following the bed of a dried up creek. It is about a rod wide and 4 or 5 feet deep, quite a creek in seasons of rain fall, I judge. It is very dry here at present. Trees and brush line each bank. Finally we come to the place on the same creek we have been following, there is a strip of water about 10 rod long. We make a scramble to get undressed first to be the first in, I won, so I stepped off in and to my surprise landed in clear up to my chin. Huber had a good laugh, he hadn't told us it was so deep. Huber is a good swimmer and of course I can't swim any. This evening we went down to the market place to hear the 33rd. Inf. 85th. Div. Band play. Part of their regiment are billeted in town here now. Had a grand dinner today. More than we could eat, ate till I nearly bust. Each mess is issued so much per day, per man, and on account of moving so much since being here in France our rations haven't been keeping up with us so today the cooks received a whole lot. Eats have been pretty slim since leaving England.


Its my birthday but I didn't tell anyone you can bet. Huber and myself went to church held in the park in the A.M. People here are mostly all Catholics. Last night at retreat the Capt. requested none of us to attend Mass unless we were Catholics, because he didn't want a lot of sight seeing soldiers there because the French have rather sensitive feelings. Wrote a couple letters this P.M. and the company received it's first mail since leaving New York, a whole month ago. I received a letter from home. There was quite a scramble by all to see if they had received any believe me. Have another band concert this afternoon at 4:00 P.M. After this there is one each evening after mess in the market square. (Many of the French always gathered around to hear these concerts. Some French soldiers on leave also. We were taught to salute when the French National Anthem was played, but they never for there own or ours.)

MONDAY and TUESDAY, AUGUST 19 & 20, 1918

Begin regular drill. Water awful scarce yet. The weather is hot and dry. The ground here is mostly clay and it is baked hard.


Drill in A.M. At noon the company received lots of mail. I received six letters including one each from Aunt Eliza and home. This afternoon company is taken on a hike north of town and after we get back the officers detail the 1st Sgt. Jackson to take the whole Co. to a creek just out of town for a bath. But when we get there, there is so much scum and dirt on the water didn't very many go in. It looked to me just as clean as what comes out of their wells so I went in. The bottom was slimy mud 6 inches deep. After we had killed enough time for the whole Co. to have taken a bath the Sgt. took us back. What the officers don't know won't hurt them any.


Regular drill Huber has bought a French-American grammar and is trying to learn to "parley vou" French. Looks too hard work to me, I can't get the right twist to my tongue. The big Frenchman that owns the barn and several other near by and he does not live in any of these places, is learning a little English from Huber. He sure can make gestures and lots of motions when he talks. He laughs at me trying to repeat French words after him and goes thru a lot of funny motions. It is said, and I believe it is so, that if you tie a Frenchman's hands and feet he can't talk. He has a son about twenty y/o awful white and frail, I don't believe he is well. If he was he would be in the army. They are always dressed up probably wealthy. There is not another young man or middle age one either in the whole town. At that they don't seen so sad and down hearted as the English, probably because they are naturally a more care free people. On account of some of the company hanging around the cafes too late at night, one of the officers of the company makes inspection of each billet at 9:00 P.M. We have to turn out in front of the billet at that time.


This morning the Batalion had an early breakfast and started on a hike by 5:00 A.M. to avoid the heat of the day. The officers requested us not to carry any water with us to get used to going without water. They say that at the front we won't be able to get very much. We have our own company water supply bag now. Up to this time the only water to be had was over on the other side of town from another outfits supply. We could drink all we wanted while over there but couldn't carry any away in our canteens. Wouldn't let you in to get any if you carried a canteen so Huber and I used to work them by taking our cups to drink out of, then carry the cup away half full with it placed under our arm pit. This we would put into our canteens for future use. On the hike this morning each squad took turns acting as advance guard 400 yards ahead of main body of troops with another squad spaced in pairs between to keep in touch with the main column of troops. This squad is known as the laesione squad. This form of marching is new to us and interesting. It is the form of marching thru enemy territory. (We never used this form of marching while in France in actual service, but was used some the first few days hiking to the Rhine after reaching Germany. It was discontinued when it was seen the Germans were peaceful.) It is a swell day. Reeds are grown up on each side with shrubbery and black berry bushes. Huber and I make up our minds to come out and pick some when we get a chance. There are a few fields of grapes along the road also. Passed a shrine or two along the road. (These shrines are numerous along the roads all over France, Belgium and Germany. They are generally of the Virgin Mary or of Christ on the Cross made of stone or cement.) Return to Les Aix Angellon at 11:00 and are given the rest of the day off. So Anderson, Huber, Williams, Karzewick and myself went over to the swimming hole for a swim and to wash our clothes. A little after we get over some of the rest followed us over to see what our swimming hole we had been talking so much about is like. This water is a whole lot cleaner than what comes out of the open wells to do our washing in, besides we have kept most of the wells dry, so we can only get a little in the morning which has seeped in over night. I have a habit of loosing all their buckets in the wells anyway. There is a hardware shop across the street from our billet. We would call it a junk shop or a second-hand machinery shop. It is an enclosed court yard in which a Frenchman keeps farm tools stored, which he rents out to the villagers (farmer). The farmers all live in the villages in this section of France. A little ways down the street they are threshing wheat with a little machine about 3 times as big as a farming mill, and running it with a little old traction steam engine. A little ways farther down just out side of town just inside of a field behind a hedge we have a sort of latrine surrounded on the other three sides with shelter halves. This seems to be a favorite place in the road for the women to come and gaze off towards the hedge.


At reveille this morning the Capt. ordered us not to wear our new extra uniforms but to clean up the ones we are wearing for the regular Saturday morning inspection at 9:00 A.M. He said we would save the new suits to go home in. Are we to get only this far and no farther, would the war be over so soon, had the Allies been winning more than we had heard of? Of course we sort of doubted it, but aren't sure because we have been seeing no newspapers lately. We are not ready for the war to end yet after getting this far. Corp. Shannon missed one of his blankets today. He looked through all of us other follows belongings here in our billet on the barns floor (dirt floor) but didn't find it. We can't imagine where it has gone. A frenchman probably walked off with it while we were away, they were great on that stuff. We American soldiers were so much better equipped with clothing than their own. We don't pity him any. It takes Shorty Anderson to tell him what he thinks of him. Shannon is sweet on a little French girl just up the street a little way about 50 yards, and he makes us sweep the street clear up past her door. That isn't setting good with us for we are only supposed to keep the street clean just in front of our billet. He spends all his spare time up there. Papa and Mama are swell on him too. All their brooms are made of twigs tied together, it does not take much sweeping to wear one out, we wear out two or three every day. Most of the homes have dirt floors, a few brick, but not many. Each Corp. in charge of a billet is responsible for getting his men down to the Co. parade ground for each formation such as retreat, reveille, etc. But Shannon is always behind time especially in the morning, we will wake him up for reveille and he will roll over take another snooze when finally he does get up it is too late to wait on him, so we go with out him, that makes him mad. We aren't going to be late just on his account. He claims he has reported us, but we haven't heard anything of it. If he does we will report him. This afternoon we have off, so Huber and myself went out after blackberries. The French think it funny that we should like them. They are sort of funny in some ways. If anything wants to grow they believe in letting it grow. When we came here weeds and catnip was growing in every neck and corner around the streets and court yards, so the places where we were billeted the officers told us to cut this stuff down in the streets beside the buildings. We made things look a lot better, but the French didn't like it and protested to the Major, so he told us not to cut or kill anything that was growing. The Mess Sgt. told us if we would bring him a cup full of catnip back, he would give us enough sugar to sweeten ours, and we did. Returned in time for retreat. After retreat, but before we fall out Capt. Spalanger says he has an important announcement to make. The 85th. Div. has been made a replacement division, a division to train men who will be transferred to divisions on the front to make up for their loses or casualties. This Co. has received orders to send 60 of its best trained men, excluding the non-coms. to a famous division we have all heard of at once. Of course, we think he means the Rainbow 42nd. Div. or our own 32nd. Div. because these two are the only ones we had really heard of. He goes on about "I have carefully picked the men which I think are the best qualified to go at this time. In all probability you will not reach the front lines before Christmas, because you will have one month training with the new outfit, another month in reserve, a month each in the second and third lines of defense before the front is reached." Christmas seems a long ways off. Nearly every man I believe is hoping he will be one of those 60 men. I certainly do. Then came the list alphabetically, Anderson, is the first one down thru to the H's which include Hutchens, but not Huber (Huber was a fine soldier and at the time we wondered why he wasn't included, but later learned he had earned the right to attend the Officers Training School.) The I's were next I know and my name is called, it was a great moment, my wish that I might get to the front was coming nearly true, Parks and Luke are the others out of our squad to be transferred. (At this time Capt. Moore of Battle Creek, Parks of Lake City, Shearer of Detroit, Huber of Grand Rapids, Luke of Nile, Coolgrove of Manton and another I can't remember the name were in the squad")

Seeing France wouldn't be enough, we had taken war, trained for war and now we wanted to see it, wanted do our share. We are dismissed. There being no cheering, the ones to be transferred were too proud and happy on the inside for that and the rest too disappointed. Of course, being transferred meant breaking up of the Co. and Div. loyalty and spirit which are always encouraged. It meant to these left behind the less of these especially, the less of pride in the Div. because new men would come in and to be trained and then sent on.


At reveille this morning the ones transferred are given instructions to turn in some of our clothing, as two blankets, extra uniform,( guess I won't wear it home by the looks now), shelter half, overcoat, etc. After turning in this equipment, the rest was rolled in the pack and Lt Ball took us down to the public stable near the public market place and here we had our equipment checked and inspected to see if we have enough and the right equipment.

Wrote a couple letters this P.M. Just before supper the Co. receives it first pay since the 2nd. of July at Camp Custer. Shannon misses pay and retreat both. He is out riding with his Madam Lasalle in Papa's two wheeled carriage this afternoon. He has it bad.


The gang ran rather wild last night, too much money and wine don't go good together. Officers this morning ordered Cafes closed at 5:00 P.M. after this. The officers have rights to make such regulations to protect their men. The cafe over here are a combination of our restaurant, and saloon, wine and meals are inseparable here. Drill as usual today. We haven't our machine guns yet, so our drilling so far has been mostly a review of the past, beginning with school of the soldiers, squad east and west, Plat. and Co. drill, guard challenging, semiphone signaling, and lots of message repeating. The new stuff has been Bat. drill and skirmish drill.

One of the most interesting sights here is to see the market square on the market day. They have a day or two a week when this is held. When any one has anything to sell they bring it to the market place, when anyone wants to buy anything at the market place they go. Cackling chickens, quacking ducks, bawling sheep, bellowing calves or cows, loads of hay, grunting pigs, small lots of vegetables and fruits, all mixed together on the square. I have seen the old lady bring in a large sheep leading it only by the ear, or wheel in some fruit and vegetables in the baby carriage, or in a basket on top of her head, or drive to town with a large fat hog with its feet tied together laying in the rear of the two wheeled cart or have a couple of fat roosters tied to a tree by side of the market, tied with a string to their feet so they could walk around and show off their wears.


Drill an hour or so with the Co. this morning then the ones to be transferred are brought up to headquarters (Hdg.) where we turn in our campaign hats, (these are made in to felt hospital slippers) and receive our helmets. Well now it is some trick to juggle one on your head about as comfortable as a wash dish only heavier. The rest of the forenoon is spent in physical inspection and necessary paper work, as our service records and insurance allowances, etc. We learn we are to entrain for sure this after-noon. 2nd Lt. Ball and Sgt. Johnson are to have charge of us enroute, then they will return. This afternoon the rest of the Co. are put on detail down at the depot getting rations for us while we are enroute. When our column nears the station many other groups of Inf. are seen entraining, have come here from other villages nearby which are not on a rail road. The column is halted in the shade by the side of the road waiting for our turn to get aboard. Our thoughts are to the future, we are happy at the prospect of seeing action even glad our training days are drawing to a close. Of course, some have enjoyed the training more than others. It has not all been pleasure nor all disagreeable, depending mostly on what attitude you took. To the men who have been in the service a whole year drilling, it has gotten tiresome and monotonous. Us new men have been so busy learning new things we haven't had time to stop and think about it yet. The average American is too Liberty loving to enjoy and like, army discipline for a great length of time. Since leaving Camp Custer we haven't had much drilling, and everyone has enjoyed themselves a great deal with the sights, etc. It has been more like a vacation time spent roughen it. Leaving many good and lasting friends behind, the Co. and Div. with the pride and loyalty we have had in them is not dampening our spirits any. We are ready, and raring to go, to see what this war is all about and nothing short of that will be satisfying. Upon 1st. Sgt. Jackson, an old army man, very quiet, cold and stern we sometimes though felt ,the responsibility or maybe privilege of bidding us goodbye. Starting at the head of the column, passing down between the two center files, he shook hands with us all. If we had ever entertained any dislike for him we forgot it now and probably forever. We were his men he was loosing us, but he was too much an old time army man to show it on the surface. (Later we learned he was sent to an Officers Training School)I don't know if he got a commission or not before the Armistice intervened. I have seen the Capt and Major got stuck on some military tactic, and ask him what to do. He could tell them.) Our train is made up of 3rd class passenger coaches which are very similar to the ones we rode in in England. Eight men to a compartment including the packs. At 4:00 P.M. we are on our way retracing our trip in as far as Cosne, then switch off into a north eastern direction. About 9:00 tonight we are served coffee by side of the track in a fair sized place. Also were issued gas masks here too. We sit up to sleep tonight, the cushions are well padded and ride a lot better than the box cars.


Each compartment is served its rations separately, mostly canned goods and bread, eat on train. Some parts we have been going thru are all grapes, grapes as far as you can see. This is a hilly country. Have great sport with the German prisoners of war we see working at different places where we stop. Some of the fellows can talk German and we have them ask the prisoners all sorts of things. We always ask them who is going to win the war and they always say they are going to, we ask when and they say by Christmas time. That is what the French always say too "they will win the war by Christmas" (the French). These prisoners of war have guards over them usually a soldier too old for active service and prisoners are dressed in overalls and jacket with the initials P.C. painted on back in large letters meaning same as our P.W. prisoner of war. Towards evening we arrive at a large American concentration camp and supply depot. Here we are served supper in the mess hall. It is a bleak place, not a sign of a tree or blade of grass growing anywhere. We are not allowed to leave the train. All night long we stand in the freight yards once in a while they would walk us around a little and threaten to pull out. This is near Dijon.


This morning we were still here in the yards. Last night we piled our packs in the isle between the two seats which face each other and laid down cross ways across these, alternating head and feet. By each one laying on this same side we could all wedge in but couldn't turn over unless all did at once. It finally gets too crowded for me, I couldn't stand it any longer so I got up and laid cross ways on top the rest. Guess they didn't mind anyway none kicked about it. Most of us shaved this morning. At 9:00 A.M. we pull out leaving Madden who had gone over to a Y behind. The Capt. told us to keep good track of him as he would get left behind some place. (He finally reached the 151st. M.G. Bn. some time after we did) He had been the Co. barber. Detrain at 4:00 P.M. at Bourment about 75 miles south of Toul they say. Many other troops are being detrained here also. We learn we are to be assigned to the 151st. M.G. Bn. 42nd. Div., the Div. having detrained here several days ago and is now marching towards Toul. A train stopped a while which had a lot of men on that are getting back from passes. One of the fellows has been on the front. He says we won't keep our large packs long after we reach the Rainbow and go into action. He tells us lots of his experiences and we listen most afraid we'll miss a single word of what he said. It is something wonderful to see and talk to a man who has seen action. We are issued reserve rations, a can of corn willie a piece and loaded into trucks at 7:00 P.M. and start out to catch our outfit. 20 men are placed in each truck together with our packs, which of course, are not so large as usual. Up a steep long winding hill, most a mountain the truck climbs into the town of Bourment. Then for several miles it is a series of the steep climbs and seems like steeper down grade, in fact so steep that it seems as if the truck is running wild. At dark we begin to pass long columns of troops, artillery, and wagon trains all going our way, all towards the front. It is a mystery to me how the truck driver keeps from hitting the columns beside the road and sees the curves and turns. We weary of standing up and slink down to the floor of the truck. I don't know if I'm on top of any one but seems like everyone is also on top of me. At midnight we are aroused by the driver telling us to get out of the truck, Our legs and bodies are so numb and cramped we can hardly get out. It is dark, only the sky shows a little light. Once in a while a lone bray of a mule can be heard not far away. The driver tells us to go out in the field beside the road and sleep, that we are at our destination. One place is as good as a other so there is no use hunting for a place. We have only our raincoat and a blanket apiece and the night is cold, nearly frosty.


I was so cold I couldn't sleep much. (I didn't know or realize at this time how much warmer it was sleeping two together, to help keep each other warm.) I would dose off only to awaken because my legs were so cold and numb where they touched the hard, rough ground, seemed to paralyzed them. After what seemed ages many mules began to bray and bray, they brayed some more and just keep on braying, day light came at last bringing with it no let up on the braying stuff, in fact it increased, but a chance to get up and walk about to get warm. A couple hundred yards, to our left are many picket lines of mules and one of horses, just beyond these is a railroad track. In the fore ground is a fair sized village about 300 yards away. No one seems to be in charge of us, 2nd. Lt. Ball and Sgt. Johnson only came as far as Bourment, so we stick around for fear if we should leave someone would come and take the bunch in charge and we would be left behind. About 8:00 A.M. Major Winn and the Sgt. Major of the 151st. M.G. Bn. together with the several officers of the Companies (A. B. C. and D.) of the Battalion appear on the scene and we are divided, the 120 of us A. and B. Co. of the 328th. had both transferred 60 each, among the four companies (Originally the three M.G. Bn. of the 42nd. Div. had contained 4 Companies each, 149th. from Pennsylvania, 150th. from Wisconsin, and 150st. from Georgia. But the 149th. had been made into the Div. M.G. Bn. of two companies and the two other companies more transferred one each to the 150th. and 151st. while their 4th. Company was made into three Co. D. being the Penn. Co. in the 151st.)

Parks, Bale, Luke, Carpenter and myself draw D. Company, while Hutchins and Mortenson are assigned in the other company. Our new officers Capt. Means, 1st. Lt. Geisel, 1st. Lt. Andres, 2nd. Lt. Parkenson take us up into the village where we are to join the rest of the company and be assigned to squads. They had given us instructions and regulations on what we could write home in our letters before coming up to the village. Boiled down I guess that all we can write to get by the censorship is to write Hello! feeling fine, having a fine time. Goodbye, will write soon.

The farming villages in France are of two types. The better class have narrow streets with the manure piles in the alley or rather a sort of court yard behind. The other class have wider streets with the manure piles in front on the street. Literally it is a street running between two rows of manure piles. This village is of this latter type. The 1st. Sgt. blows his whistle for Company to fall in. Soldiers begin sauntering out of their billets up and down the street as if they had all the time in the world, saunter up to where they are to fall in, shuffle around and finally get in a sort of a company front. Officers make little effort to speed them up. Clothing ill fitting, wrinkled, and unkept. But most are clean shaved. Shaving was one of the habits acquired while in training that wasn't neglected any longer than necessary even at the front. These are the men of the famous Rainbow Div. who have met and defeated the Kaiser's crack Prussians. (The Prussian guards were supposed to be the best of the whole German Army. They were from Prussia only.) Many are wearing wound stripes (chevron) and most have earned and wear the service stripe also. I am assigned to the 5th. squad along with Bale, Smith, W_____ and a couple other men who had been in Co. B. 328th. Corp. Wright, Gunner, Keenen and Tripod man, Frederick are the old men in the squad. The regular machine gun squads have 8 men and a Corp. instead of 7 men and Corp. as in our former outfit. Dinner the first meal in 24 hours tasted mighty good even if it was mostly cooked corn willie.


Parks and I slept beside a hedge between the mules and the railroad track last night and slept fairly warm too. This morning have Co. machine gun drill with machine gun carts, mules and all. We are also taught how to take apart and put together the machine gun which is very different than our Brownings. These, the Hotchkiss have fewer parts, around a hundred while the Browning has several hundred. The Browning shot 450 shots a minute and was water cooled, and also much lighter in weight than these which shoot 290 a minute and are air cooled. One cannot help but notice the great contrast in these men's drilling and what we have been used to, which was required to be snappy, alert, and always military. The men don't salute the officers, or rather very seldom do, and the officers talk and joke with the men, which is far different than we have known before. This afternoon we are taken out a few kilometers, "kilo" is 5/8th of a mile, to an old gravel pit, the guns are set up on the top edge in a row and we are taught how to lead and fire them. Metal clips holding 24 cartridges, same caliber as the French rifles, each are used instead of the Browning, cloth belt holding 240 cartridges. (The German maxim guns used cloth belts with a piece of metal riveted between each cartridge pocket. These guns were water cooled and much faster than the French.) It is quite a knack to load them without having to make the gunner recock the gun each time a clip is jammed in. There is much more kick to these than the Browning, the tripod legs have to be weighted down if possible. The man leading has his head along side of the barrel it simply makes you nearly deaf, also an extra man has to lay on the other side of the gun to extract empty shells that now and then stick in. This man carried the spare parts to the gun, the loader carries the tripod and the gunner the gun. We sure made the dust fly in the gravel pit. There were 12 guns in this Co.


Yesterday us new men were billeted up town in an old barracks furnished with spring cots. Having only a blanket and a raincoat to cover us with, we can not keep the cold out from underneath. It is a case of sleeping in all your clothing you have and wishing you had more. This morning the Co. is set to cleaning and refilling all our extra cartridge clips. This means, so the older men of the outfit say, that we will soon be on our way to the front. Seems different to have to work on Sunday This afternoon the Gas Sgt. gave us new men instruction in how to put on our gas mask without dropping our helmet to the ground. See a few Allied bombing planes returning from the front this afternoon. We are too far (30 miles) from the front to hear the guns or see the flash of them. (This was probably because none of the large guns were doing any firing but waiting under camouflage for the opening of the St. Mihiel drive.) We have a sort of hankering to get our first glimpse. Wrote a couple letters.


This afternoon the company is taken out to maneuver and capture a hill learn how to advance and keep down out of sight. At end of maneuvers fire guns for several minutes continually at a row of targets placed against a hill side.


This forenoon again maneuver out around the hill with a Reg. of Inf. Buy an overseas cap French style this afternoon. It feels a lot more comfortable on my head. We are supposed to have them issued to us but I guess the Supply Sgt. (Draughbau) hasn't any. We all keep close tab on the official comminigues each day when they're posted. We would call them bulletins. Gironcourt is name of this village.


Hutchens and I slept outside the barrack under a tree last night. It was a lot more comfortable and warmer. Our whole brigade, the 84th. Inf. Brid. were assembling this morning out several kilo in the flats near a very large hill in preparation of maneuvering and capturing it when orders are received ordering us back to our billets to get ready to move tonight. It means we are to start for the front. Of course this sounds better to us new men than to the older ones. Parks and I buy a cheese made of goats milk from a Madame peddling them for a franc (20 cents). This French money is hard to maneuver in fact I just about got to give them a piece which I know is large enough and trust they will give back me share. Several train loads of French soldiers have been seen going south thru here. They are withdrawing to let us Americans have this section all to ourselves. By mutual consent everyone I believe of us new men went thru his personal belongings this afternoon and threw away everything save the bare necessities. Among the things thrown away were cloth brushes, talcum, foot case and his best girls letters and letters from home save the very last one of each. The men who have been up before aren't burdened with any excess baggage. Just before leaving at 7:00 P.M. Capt. Means called the Non-coms front and center that means to gather around him for instructions and told them there was going to be a big drive (offensive) up beyond Toul in the St. Mihiel salient in about a week and the 42nd. Div. would be in it. Towards midnight now and then the tracer machine gun bullet could be seen in the distance. (We used these some at night to shoot at enemy airplanes. About every third cartridge was coated with a red substance which drew red hot from the friction with the air. Those told you where you were shooting so as to get right range.)


Bivouac, (French word to sleep) out in open or pup tent, on edge of a village called Battinay at 2:00 A.M. Parks and I flop beside a hedge and soon after it commenced to rain. We have no pup tent and don't very many that do, so we spread our raincoats on top of our blanket and go to sleep. It rains all day long until most evening when it breaks away. It has been a long dreary day after having mess about the middle of the forenoon. We wander from here to there looking for a place out of the rain where we could lay down or at least sit down. Finding none we wandered around thru some plum orchard near by, looking for wormy plums to eat. Wormy ones are the only ones not gathered. A French canteen in the village has canned sardines, etc. to sell. They are 3/4th salt water but to help pass the time away we buy and eat them any way. A Y building is also near by. It's contents consists only of benches and a few magazines which everyone that is lucky enough to get inside looks at, but no one reads. We are to restless to put our minds to reading. An Algerian who does guard duty in the village sits around the kitchen all day. Their rations which is of a special variety imported by the French especially for them is very unlike ours. They don't like our grub but I notice he eats it. Probably hungry enough alright. Hike again at dusk. We are getting some very valuable training on these hikes. The old timers are telling us all about the front and their experiences. They do the talking and we the listening.


Arriving at Flivilly at 3:00 P.M. we swing off the road, cross a field, and climb a steep high hill on which are located a couple wooden barracks. Long wooden platforms the length of the building served as the bunks. These bunks or platforms are too high and the head is 6 inch higher than the foot. Of course all we have to sleep on is our blanket but we are getting use to it. Sleep until 10:30 A.M. when chow is ready. We have two meals a day only. This was a bright morning but this afternoon it rained so most of us spent our time writing letters. We were told we could mail letters today because we are not going to move tonight. I wrote a couple of letters. The mail orderly Corp. Red Cramer (This proved to be Reds last mailing detail. The Huns tended to that) collected the mail and turned it over to the officers to censor.


Parks, Carpenter, and I went to the village this afternoon washed our towels and socks at the public washing trough. While up town we try to buy something to eat at a store but there is nothing to buy only herbs. Usually these village stores are in a small corner room in a villager's home.

Carpenter is from Copemish, Mich. and he was formerly in A Co. 328th. M.G.Bn. but we never really got acquainted with him until lately.

Some of the boys walked over a few kilometers to an aviation field this afternoon. Hike this evening. Generally there is quite a bit of singing done in the first part of the hike before it gets very dark, but towards midnight all of it has ceased. 1. There's a Long Long Trail, Etc, 2. Overthere, 3. Parley Vou Francais, 4. Goodbye Broadway, Hello France, 5. Mandelon, 6. Mageline, 7. Tipperrary, 8. Pack up your Troubles, are the most popular in order named. I never heard "Keep the Home Fires Burning" or the "Rose of No Man's Land" though we did sing them on this side.


Got on the wrong road about 1:00 A.M. and column had to turn around. It is about 3:00 A.M. when we bivouac behind a hedge. When we crawl out long after daybreak we find we are not located near a village this time. Cloudy and cool all day long. We have lots of fun with an old Frenchman today. There is a potato field about 40 rods away which has a patch of brush on each side of it. Of course, we are hungry (always are) and baked potatoes are so good so we keep the Frenchman chasing back and forth across the field chasing us out. When he is on the other side chasing some of the fellows back into the brush, the ones on this side will pop out to get some and back again he will come. Military orders forbid taking anything like this, but our officers pretend not to see us, for they know we are hungry. 48 cents (32 cents in camps in USA) a day rations per man isn't very plentiful in these days of high prices. But then I don't suppose we should kick for at that we are by far the best fed and clothed soldiers in the whole war.

Hike in the evening. About 10:00 P.M. reach the river (a tributary of the Moselle) which flows thru Toul. This we follow for three or four "kilo's" before reaching the city. It has started a steady down pour of rain making the cobble stone pavement slippery and making only a faint out line of the buildings visible. This city is about 20 miles from the front by the way the crow flies which means about 30 miles by these crooked winding roads which always follow the way of the least resistance. Not a sign of a light or any movements of human beings can be seen, save our own click of many hob nails on the stone pavement. In the rear the rumble of our machine gun carts and wagon train can be heard. Even way back in Les Aux, France the windows were always closely shuttered at night, I don't know if it was a war measure there or just customary because all windows are equipped with shutters.


Shortly after leaving Toul we pass what the older men call a supply depot but all I can see is the faint outline of a few box cars. It has stopped raining now but, silently on we plod, save when someone say, "wonder how many kilo-walk we have got yet?" As the day begins to break at 6:00 A.M. we bivouac in a woods beside the road. When these bivouacs are reached no time is lost in flopping inside 5 minutes all will be still and silent save the braying of the mules. Poor starved, hungry mules, yes and gassed and lousy too.

Sleep most of the forenoon. These woods have a narrow gage railroad running into them on which are hauled the shell for the heavy artillery. Piles of these shells corded in long ricks like stove wood are camouflaged so they can not be seen from an airplane. This has been a nice clear day. Hike in the evening. Every little while we stop for a while then move up a little then another long wait. There is too much traffic on the road which is all through woods. I don't know reason for all the delay. We must be getting close up now although very seldom can a rumble of a gun be heard. There is no more singing, no one in the mood for it, very little talking, but I would judge a whole lot of thinking.


Shortly after midnight the Battalion bivouacs in a woods (near Bourmont). We have come only a very few kilo from where we started. Starts in just a steady drizzle shortly after bivouacking and I am unable to keep dry, the weeds and bushes a couple feet high are soaking wet. At daylight I wander around and locate a tumbled down shelter made of poles which I succeed in raising one corner high enough to crawl under. This proves a lot better than laying in the open even if it does leak badly. After mess in the middle of the forenoon Parks and I go for a walk to see the sights and help pass the time away. Many big guns (heavy artillery the ones larger than those connected with the division) of larger than 6 inches or 155 mm size are concealed every where none of them are firing in fact none can be heard anywhere. We locate a big Y" building in which there is not even standing room left in side, everybody trying to get in out of the steady rain. The Y secretary lets it be known that he is going to give candy away after a while and says for us to form in line for it. We want some candy to help satisfy the naming we have on the insides, so we might as well stand here in the rain as somewhere else. After four hours waiting, looking and longing for at least a bit, the Y man announces he hasn't any candy to give away today. Beaten and disgusted is putting it mild. Why couldn't he have told us he didn't have any, but create a desire in us for some then give us a blow like this after waiting four hours in the rain. We are not moving tonight, we learn, only one hike brings us into the front lines. Us fellows recall what our old Capt of A Co. 328th M.G.Bn. had told us about reaching the front lines by Christmas and wish he knew where we are now.


Today is cloudy but the rain has ceased. Parks and I locate a small K of C hut where they are giving away chocolate bars so we fall in line and get a bar a piece. Shortly before mess this P.M. Capt. Means calls the Non-coms front and center for a few minutes talk. We know what that means. Tonight is the night. The time that we have hoped for, looked forward to and have trained for. After the Non-coms are dismissed they tell us we leave about an hour before dark and are to be in our places in the trench by 10:30 P.M. At 1:00 A.M. is "H hour", the time when the bombardment starts at 5:00 A.M. is Zero Hour. Three days are the allotted time to reduce the salient. Metz and Strasburg the two most strongly fortified cities in the world are behind this salient, the former only about 30 miles. Are we going to take Metz or halt just before we reach it. We will advance we are sure of that but if we have to take Metz the losses will be terrific. The Germans will fight to the last ditch to hold Metz. This is to be General Pershing's first offensive, before this American divisions have acted under French orders and command and assisted by other French division. This offensive is completely all Americans even down to the battle plans. Our confidence in Gen. Pershing and the rest of the officers on down couldn't be better. We are more satisfied under their commands than we would be under French.

Mess is over by 4:00, a last look at our equipment to see if it was all in its places, stretcher bearers are selected and issued their stretchers, the packs rolled so only our extra clothing was in the blanket roll and the rest fastened above the blanket roll in the ration pack and by 6:00 P.M. we are off. The first couple kilos run thru the woods yet, woods that conceal heavy artillery everywhere one looks, tanks here, tanks every- where, here and there an observation balloon resting on the ground can be seen. The roads over which these are to advance are posted "balloon road" which means no telephone wires can be strung over the road because they are advanced while in the air by means of a cable attached to a truck. Multitudes of insulated telephone wires are strung everywhere. Red covered wire belongs to the artillery, blue to the infantry, yellow to signal cargo, etc. Everything is painted in camouflage and then camouflaged with screens or branches of trees besides. Every nick and corner hold some implement of war, something interesting to one seeing it for the first time. Everything is waiting, is ready for tomorrow. Out into a level nearby country we swing heading nearly directly for the front, the sides of the road are camouflaged with screens a sort of wire netting with stuff woven in it. About three miles of open country can be seen, also the ruins of a village in the distance on our road.

The most valuable training us new men have received since being in service has been from stories of actual happenings told by the veterans of the outfit. They have given us a good idea of what it will be like and what to do. The Capt. has said that he was well pleased with us, the way we have taken hold and the veterans appear to be satisfied with us too. They have been thru it (the Div. first went in last Feb 22) they know what to do, we are depending on them and shall try to do as they do. We are more enthusiastic about going in than they are, they have seen enough. How glad I am that this is not the 328th going in, all untried men, not knowing what to do or expect. Only one month ago today, I landed in France, two months tomorrow since leaving camp Custer and only 3 1/2 months in service and here I am. Getting lost from ones company seem to be one of the greatest difficulties when advancing. Some three or four from each company always slink out while going in and don't show up until the outfit is relieved, while many actually get lost in the excitement, confusion and the rapid advance, these usually locate their company as soon as it is possible. This weakens the squads considerably and the one sticking it thru have to do what should be done by the once falling behind.

Mainly all the talking is being done by the Non-coms who are giving a last few words of friendly instructions and advice on how not to get lost from the company in the advance. I firmly make up my mind I will be with the company when it halts tomorrow night wherever it is, or I'll be lying out there in the fields beyond, or I'll be on my way to the hospital. No one is going to question whether I fell out on purpose or whether I couldn't keep up my end. Come what may I am ready. This is the day I have looked forward to with a desire to do my part, my share. I wouldn't trade positions with any one, not even with President Wilson or Henry Ford with all his money, tonight. There is no bragging, or telling what one is going to do with the Hun. Each man is following his own train of thoughts which are of the morrow and of home, home which is so far away so dear. Each know there is a 5 hour time difference between here and New York. Six hours between here and home, I wonder what they are doing now it is only a little after noon there. They won't be thinking I am here, but some where back training I wish they might know and yet am glad they don't, there will be time later for that. God comes in for a share in most of our thoughts I think. Wonder what He will have in store for us on the morrow. Some will fall never to rise there is no double of that. Which ones will it be? For come reason I don't plan or think strongly that I will be one of those. But will it be Corp Wright, what will we do with out him : or will it be Gunner Keenan or Frederick the tripod man and loader and will I be equal to the occasion to step in and take their place?

A column of infantry appears on the road ahead coming towards us. It is of the outfit we are relieving (the 89th. Div.), We meet them, they are pleased from the looks on their faces, with the thoughts of being relieved. (Sometimes only one of the brigades would be in the line, with other back in reserve. Whether these same men went back into line that same night I don't know, but the 9th Div. held the sector and advanced along side of us the next morning on our right.) Though their faces are a trifle haggard and some what paler than natural. This has been their first hitch in the line. Silently the two column meet and pass. We reach the little ruined village (Manitres) only a few of the walls are still standing.

A guard stands on the cross roads directing traffic, and sees that other military regulations and precautions which have to be taken this near the trenches are observed. A sign on the cross roads reads "Gas masks at alert position". We bring our masks up from its position at our hips as it hangs over one shoulder and fasten it in front close up to our chins and unfasten the cover so as to have it in a position to jerk out without any delay. The road swings to the left making an angle of about 45 degrees with the front or to where we believe the front runs. It is still quite light, a woods directly ahead can be seen a couple kilos away. The intervening space is clear and level with here and there batteries of field artillery camouflaged over head with screens. The crews are mostly all out of sight somewhere. Once in a while one of our batteries (4 gun to a battery) will fire a round in quick succession and a German batter (3 guns) will answer back. This is called dueling. Other wise all is still and peaceable. A calm before the storm so to speak. This has always been a quiet sector especially before it became the American training sector. The French and Germans both used it to train their troops in, having sort of mutual agreement not to fire at one another unless the other did first so they say. But things picks up when the Americans began arriving and took over the control of No Mans Land. This is the French part of Lorraine, the Lorraine which has been the bone of contention since 1871. But Paris is the Throat of France so that is where Germany is doing its biting. The battalion halts at the edge of the woods, this is as far as the carts can go so we unload our carts, each squad has a gun cart and an ammunition cart, and pile the boxes of ammunition we can't carry this trip under a clump of bushes. Each box contains 12 clips or 288 rounds. The ammunition carriers of which I am one have to carry two boxes each. Capt. Means tells us carriers to take a good look at where the boxes are placed for we will have to come back after it in the dark. It is getting very dark already. Beginning at the edge of the road a narrow board foot path leads thru the woods to the trenches which Capt. Means says are about 40 rods away. Each of the Lt. are in command of a platoon along with the Platoon Sgt. The platoons are in two sections, two squads to a section which has a section sgt. over it. Capt Means leads the way followed by the squads in the order of their numbers, the Corp. first, then the gunner, tripod man, spare parts man, and the ammunition carriers.

We keep about 6 feet apart. It is so dark we dare not get any farther here in the woods as we cannot follow each other. Rain has began to fall. On the right side of the walk are several telephone wires fastened to stakes and trees which form the communication to the immediate trenches. We must not make any noise but our hob nailed shoes are just bound to clatter each time they touch the board walk, the clips in the ammunition boxes just simply must rattle each time they are jarred. May halts are made, each time the command from up ahead must be relayed back from one man to the next by whispers so the one behind will know when to stop and start. Finally the order comes back to cut loose our blanket roll, saving only the ration pack at the top which contains our reserve rations, mess kit, Red Cross kit, razor outfit and such like. That means we will be without any blanket to keep us warm tonight while we are waiting and probably for sometime to come until others can be issued again.

We are moving again more slowly this time, after a little a guide takes me by the arm whispers to take a few steps down stairs, another guides me to the right and down again then another to the left and down then to the right and I am in the trench and am told to follow it until I catch up with the man ahead. A board walk runs along the bottom of the trench. The squad comes to a halt about 100 yard down the trench, the Corp and the gun crew crawl over the back side of the trench after a while and set up the gun while the rest of the squad wait down in the trench. By the faint outline on the sky I can see we are out in the open, the woods is behind us. All is quiet and still, even the dueling has stopped.


The Germans up to March 1918 had been having the best of the argument so to speak. They and their Allies had the most man power, most artillery , most airplanes and had been the first to invent and use the liquid fire and the gases. The only thing of much consequences sprung by the Allied Powers had been the tank. The Hun had always believed that the American soldiers wouldn't be much of a factor in the War. First they didn't want to fight, couldn't train and convoy over enough to be any good and lastly they wouldn't be any account as fighters with only a few months training. But by making peace with the Bolshevik Government in the for part of March 1918, she was able to withdraw her troops from Russia and place them on the Western Front in readiness for her Big March Drive to defeat the Allies. She would never have a better chance to win than now so the offensive was begun on a 50 kilo front, advances of as high as 40 miles were made, but with awful loss. April and May witnessed other big gain inflecting heavy casualties as they retreated. The French had pleaded to America to send more men, so convoy shipments had been doubled. Gen John J. Pershing, American commander-in-chief of all the Allied armies offered all his troops to the allies which were accepted and pleased for them to appoint a Commander in Chief of the Allied armies so as to have a concerted action against the Hun. Finally on May 29, 1918, Foch was placed in command. The advance of the Germans was halted. An American engineer regiment with the British in the March retreat had dropped their shovels, took up their rifles and won themselves untold praise. The 1st American Divisions were training in the trenches in Lorraine and Alsace. The Kaiser was getting anxious, so the champaign offensive East of Paris near Rheims was planned for the 15 of July 1918. The French learned of the plan and prepared to meet it and counter attack up the line to the West at Chateau Thierry on the 18th, three days later.

One American division the 42nd was placed in the third line of defense to support the French in holding the lines at Champaign. The bombardment had been terrific with the Hun having the best of it. The Hun Infantry broke thru the first and second lines, the French began to retreat, on the Hun came towards the third and last line of trenches, they were good with the bayonet in massed attack on trenches when they were the upper dog but the 42nd. didn't wait for them to reach their trenches, but to the Huns dismay and surprise rushed out to meet them. The Hun hadn't seen anything like this, It wasn't their conventional way of fighting, their slow pig minds couldn't understand it, they couldn't meet an emergency they weren't trained for they were beaten. The French rallied and when night came the Hun was back in his own trenches. (The French accounts of this event never mention that any part of the line retreated at all. But men of my own outfit were there and witnessed it, they ought to know. I have heard them talk by the hour of it. The Divisional Reunion each year is held on that date, the date of their most severe trial of the whole service for the division. A British account says that the Germans advanced in places but the advance was short lived and General Pershing adds that the American held their ground unflinchingly. The French are temperamental and sensitive about such things.)

In preparing to meet the Champaign offensive Foch had wisely planned a counter blow on the west end of the Champaign sector at Chateau Thierry. So on the 18th, the Battle of Chateau Thierry began with mostly French Div. and the 1st. and 2nd. American Div. Then as time went on the 3rd, 4th., 26th., 32nd., 28th. and 42nd. Div. went in. The Hun was forced to retreat back of the Marns River, relieving Paris from danger. For the first time the Allies had the most man power and artillery in line. The Germans still held the air supremacy, the very eyes of the army.

The American Divisions had proven their worth although the Huns wouldn't admit it. They sent over propaganda saying there were only three American Divisions worth anything namely the Rainbow, the 42nd. and the Alabamas. The funny part of it was they were all the same division for the Alabamas are an infantry regiment, the 167th., from the state of Alabama which is in the 42nd. Div. This regiment of infantry is noted for its dash in attacking and its harsh treatment of the Hun for they don't figure giving anymore quarter to the Hun than necessary. The Hun don't like their own stuff tried on themselves.

In the beginning the French command had insisted that the Americans be used only as replacements for their companies. This Gen. Pershing and the War Dept. refused to do, realizing that American moral and spirit both in the troops and the people at home would be destroyed. Shortly after the successes at Chateau Thierry Gen Pershing insisted that the American Divisions be taken out of the French Army Corps they were in and placed or formed in the First American Army, with a section of the Front all their own with him commander. Of course, Foch would be in command over him.

The French objected to this but Pershing won out and immediately set himself to the task of reducing the St. Mihiel Salient. (Gen. Pershing later revealed how the offensive of St. Mihiel had been planned. Using Yankee wit he had set up an Army Staff Headquarters down the line to the East from St. Mihiel aways, a group of staff officers were set to work drawing plans for an offensive down there. They didn't use much precaution on purpose and left their plans laying around the Hdq. while they were out. One day the plans came up missing, just what they wanted. Many spies were known to be in this territory, being close to Switzerland and border of Germany.)

But Gen. Pershing wasn't sure he had completely fooled them, so much raiding was done all along the sector to capture prisoners to see if they knew. None seemed to know. Even up to the time for the bombardment to start he wasn't sure that the drive would take place. Intelligent Officers and listeners in the trenches were kept busy to see if the Hun was still busy in the trenches opposite or had he gotten wind of it and withdrawn. Gen. Pershing didn't intend to make himself ridiculous before the French by attacking an empty system of trenches. But up to the last minute before 1:00 A.M., H hour reports kept coming in that the Huns could be heard in their trenches.

The salient was a large bulge in the line, this was to be reduced. On the west the 26th. Div. was to be the driving wedge with the 4th. Div. as a hinge. On the south the 1st. Div. and 42nd. Div. were to be the wedge to go up thru to meet the 26th. Div. coming from the west. The 89th., 2nd., 5th. and 90th. Divisions also were to advance using 82nd. Div. as their hinge. The three French Divisions acting as a mopper up and capture the prisoners.

All these are not in line, some in reserveand many in transportation Corps. For every 8 men in the trenches it takes 5 men in the rear to keep them supplied. After the machine gun had been set up in its pit and the range figures out and the ammunition placed around it by the crew, us carriers are started back to bring up the extra ammunition and place it in a pile at the entrance of the trench but two boxes a piece which we are to take back into the trench with us when we are finished. On my second trip with a load of ammunition our artillery cut loose. Near at hand to our rear the field artillery with its quick sharp crack and its trifle lower and more drawn out recoil following close on the heels of the crack, in the distance the deep throated roar of the heavies with their deep grumble and drawn out recoil, each belching flames which lit up the skyline like the whole world was on fire. Overhead whistle the shells on their way to their targets, so many they seem to be crowding each other for room.

Most immediately the Germans start sending up their flares, flares which are so bright that one could see the print on a newspaper if he had one. )The Germans were always great on sending up flares. At every sound or disturbance in No-Mans-Land up went multitudes of all kinds of them. We always said that the Germans paid the cost of lighting No-Mans-Land.

I recall a certain good time I had one time back home and here I am out here in all this din helping to make war carrying ammunition every now and then stumbling off the board walk, when blinded by the bright flares that keep flashing and the contrast brings a laugh. There is no need of being quiet now, one would have to shout to make himself heard a few feet. The Huns are beginning to reply now, using overhead shrapnel here in the woods, shells that burst in the air sending fragments of the shell flying with an awful whistle and shine. (For some reason I wasn't afraid or worried, not near as much as the same conditions did later. Guess I didn't know enough of real war yet.)

Each of us carried ammunition separately so as not be bunched up. On my third trip out the ammunition was nearly gone so I went back into the trench down opposite to where our gun is placed, set my ammunition boxes down on the duck boards (name of the board walk in the bottom of trenches) and sit down on them. No infantry were anywhere to be seen, the only ones in the trench was our own machine gun outfit. Where is the infantry? Certainly ought to be here by now.

The rain has stopped leaving us damp and cold. I have a raincoat but most of the boys haven't. Soon Corp. Wright takes W____ and myself over the backside of the trench to the gun pit for our turn of 2 hour guard duty. The pit is only deep enough to hide ourselves by laying down flat. I don't believe it is a regular gun pit (pill box) from the looks, but merely a depression dug out by our gun crew in the stones and clay thrown out of the trench, mostly stones by the way it feels under me. By raising my head I can see where a line of shells are bursting down grade about half mile away. It probably is the German front lines. Every now and then a sort of crackling and snapping sound noises can be heard above our heads. At first I can't imagine what it can be then it occurs to me it must be machine gun bullets coming from the Huns. I had heard lots of them leaving but this was the first time of being on the other end of them. I expected more of a singing sound, like lead bullets make.

We are awful cold, the stones underneath paralyze our legs, drowsiness came over us finally, by the sound of his breathing W____ has gone to sleep, I must keep awake. If I relax for one moment I will be asleep too, so by turns I start opening and shutting my fingers or wriggling my feet. Overhead shells pass to and fro each on the same mission yet those going over sound like music compared with the ones coming over. While at the beginning the German Artillery had replied strong, although not as strong as our own, it is getting gradually weaker. Now it seems to be playing heaviest on the woods just to our rear. I can hear men out there at times. Some are getting hit I guess. After what seems hours Corp. Wright came up with our relief. We crawl back into the trench and I try to find room to crawl in beside a couple other. Soon a corp. came along and took me to an entry way down into a dugout and told me to go down and get warm. I crawl down the steps there is no light and I don't know what the inside is like so I sit on the bottom step and wait. Some other fellows are in the dugout but no one has a candle or know where to find any. After getting warm I crawling out, day is breaking, the infantry is already in their positions along the trench waiting for the command which must be only a few minutes away. (The infantry probably had been back in the woods in the second line of trench. This was quite often done in active sectors. Of course guards were kept on the lookout in the first line to notify the infantry in case of an attack, then the infantry would rush thru the communition trenches to the front line trench.) Already our machine guns are rattling sending their sheet of steel across the enemy trenches.

Soon as if by magic, the infantry quickly and silently crawl up and over the parapet. They are off! Small tanks which had probably come up under cover of the heavy noise of the bombardment, begin coming out of the woods to the rear and cross over our trench on a bridge and head for the enemy trenches. This was war I want to see it.

I have a hankering to see what is going on so finally I crawl up and edge my helmet over the parapet. There about half way to the Germans trenches the long wave of the infantry skirmish line advancing behind the rolling barrage could be seen. By now the morning is so far advanced that the bursting shells are not spitting much flame, but spurts of dust and smoke where each shell explodes. In among the infantry humming their way steady forward run the tanks bobbing up and down as they run over shall holes. Beyond the barrage everywhere shells can be seen bursting, forming a smoky haze. To our right down by the German trenches is a thicket, directly infront of open rolling terrain to the left about a kilo is a partly ruined village (St. Baussant) its nearest edge lying on the German line of trenches with the rest creeping away up a gentle slope which forms part of the base of Mont Sec. Mont Sec, the near mountain, the French have lost as many men trying to capture because it commands a view of the entire surrounding country side. (The left flank of the 42nd. Div. skirted the right side of Mont. Sec. our M.G.Bn. always supported the right side, the 84th. Inf. Brig. composed of the 167th. and 168th. Inf. leaving the taking of Mont Sec proper to the 1st. Div. They found on Mont Sec or rather all over Mont Sec a mass of under ground dugouts fixed up for the duration of the war. In one of the officers dugouts a milch cow was found, many had modern lightning systems installed, pictures and cartoons adorned the wall. Across from Mont Sec on the American front line was Seichprey, the place where the first American units entered the trenches at the beginning of the American trench training and where the first American causalities were suffered. The first Big German raid on the Americans 1st. Div. took place here and was repulsed without a single American loss. Mont Sec itself rises a huge mass of battered barren, shell pocketed earth just to the left of the village (St Baussant).

The Germans artillery is silent now, either silenced by our own artillery or is preparing to retreat, probable both. We machine gunner get our equipment ready, for we know we are to a advance as soon as our infantry pass the Germans trenches. A signal corp officer arrives and begins setting up his movie machine in the trench close by. Soon after the machine gun cease their barrage, the crew dismount the guns and we are off in machine gun file. That is the Corp., then gunner, tripod man etc. The other platoon are farther down the line, Lt. Geisel is in charge of the platoon. The movie man is turning his crank as we file out a couple rods a part in front of him (While in Germany the 42nd. Div,. official signal corps pictures were shown at Kripp one evening and this picture was among them) picking our way between shell holes down across what had been so recently No Man's Land. Soon we pass a few men lying here and here, some propped up in shell holes, this is war, where I had been thrilled and bouyed-up to now, suddenly gave way to a weakness and a sort of sickness on my insides and I nearly drop my ammunition. But this won't do, I'll have to get used to this or I won't be of any use. With an effort I force myself to get over it and I succeed. (This was the first and last time I felt like that). Down to the Huns trenches, trenches fixed up to keep and hold, even to the extent of cementing the sides part way up near the lower trenches that are three times as wide and twice as deep as our own. By using every effort and ounce I could muster I finally land my boxes safely up on the other side. The Germans must be great diggers.

As we top the ridge just beyond the trench a machine gun opened up on us In getting down Smith jams the spare gun barrel full of clay and crawls over to me and wants to know what to do about it. He is in favor of shooting it out if we have to put it on, but I don't like the idea of that. While we are trying to figure out how to get it cleaned out the Germans quit firing and we take up the advance again. Soon "beau coup" (French for lots of) and every one uses it. Prisoners begin to pass going to the rear each group having a doughboy or two in charge of them. They are being made to carry and help both wounded Americans and Germans back with them. (16,000 German prisoners were taken, that's half of all taken by the Americans on all the fronts also half of the artillery and etc. of all the drives. The American casualties were comparatively light. It is quite often heard that the Germans up and quit the St. Mihiel salient when they heard the bombardment start. But this is untrue in the face of these facts. They were simply beaten so badly they couldn't get a chance to fight back.) see the infantry about a kilo in advance as they pass over a knoll. Much winding around to take advantage of the lay of the ground is being done all along also, frequent halts and waits which we need on account the ammunition is awful heavy.

A small woods lies in our path the second line of German defense passes thru the woods. They are not near so elaborate and large as their first line of defense. Many devices of all kinds are strewn around especially "potato masher"and hand grenades. Just beyond the woods the third line of defense crossed the open fields. For several kilos ahead no woods can be seen but the terrain is quite rolling

After covering a couple more kilos the platoon passes over the brow of a hill and comes in view of the village (Essay) about a kilo distance. As we are descending the slope toward the village, suddenly machine gun bullets begin hitting the dirt all around us and coming from the direction of the village. There is no time to look for shell holes, but just hit the ground as quickly as possible. A sharp stone pierced thru my trouser cutting my knee, spying a small shell hole near I wriggled over and in it. By curling up I can just keep below the surface. For a while bullets snapped outside then ceased. Hungry and tired, it must be the middle of the afternoon so drawing out my watch to see the exact time. Wow! Only 10:00 A.M. Would the day ever end? The day had partly cleared and was warming up. The next thing I knew I was just waking up, no sound outside, so sticking my head out I see the platoon is already half way to the village, so gathering up the boxes, hurry to catch them up (The infantry were already in the village when the Hun had opened fire on us. He was quickly put out of commission. No quarter was ever given to rear guard machine gunners on either side. They had to pay the price. They were expected to fire to the last to protect their own retreating comrades.

To avoid the main road thru the village Lt. Geisel had the platoon around the left side of the village across a little stream spanned by a temporary bridge, halting beside a hedge a few yards from it to take a look at his map. The Lt. seems to think we are too far to the right nearly even to the 89th. Div. left flank. After resting a short while we begin falling into our positions when suddenly from over the hill ahead a whistling sound comes making right for us. No one lost any time thinking or looking where to hit the ground, but down we go, hugging the old earth with all our might. Bang! close by! Right on its heals come more swiftly descending whistles, a rod or so to my right I spy a large shell hole at which I make a dive head first. Bang! Bang! go the other two as I fly thru the air, lighting in a heap with Sgt. Dudley my section sergeant and Top 1st Sgt. Lawrence. A moment later Lt Geisel comes creeping in with his hand on the back of his neck. I just naturally keep my head down in the shell hole while the Sgts. bandage up the Lt and start him to the rear. I don't believe he will reach there he is bleeding so badly. Corp. Taylor also is wounded. This leaves Top Sgt. Lawrence in command of the platoon and he decides to send two men out together in advance to try and get the infantry battalion we are following up located. He selects Spangler a veteran of the company, as one but doesn't want to send any of the gun crews, so he asks me if feel able to go. He probably thought I was rather pale and I guess I was too but I felt all right not the least bit wobbly so I said I would go. We were told to return inside of an hour at the most, the platoon would wait that long for us.

Up and down the advance we went finally locating the right outfit and returned to the company. Beyond Essay a ways we meet up with some German stiffs and the Corp finds some reserve rations on one which we eat. Later we come upon a lot of German huts built in the side of a large hill. To the left is another village (Pannes) in the valley below some of the infantry men are cornering a couple cows so as to milk them, this they finally succeed in. At about 5:00 P.M. we reach the line where the second days advance had been scheduled to halt under the original battle plans, but the first days objectives had been taken so quickly that the advance was continued to here. The Platoon halts in an open meadow field and we start to dig in along an old dead furrow. Talk of sticky mud this is the real thing, after digging an hour three of us have only dug a foot deep. Every time the shovel is taken out it has to be scrapped clean with a stick or we can't force it back in. So the six of us in the squad decide to sleep three together and leave the machine gun mount on the surface. About 40 rods to our left and in advance about the same distance in a woods, between is a line of barbed wire entanglements, to the front and right is a small village (Beney).

The infantry are up in the woods so I decide to go down there and find some thing to put on the bottom of our hole to keep us dry. Many German barrack are concealed in the woods and I find some boards which I bring back to cover the bottom of the hole.

For the first time during the war the Allied planes have ruled the air and they have ruled it completely, the Hun planes have not even showed themselves. Huns are circling close over us locating our lines just before dark. We don't like the idea of this! The Huns are shelling the village near by. Ammunition dumps fired by the Huns as they retreated have been burning all day, sending up dense black smoke. Now several small village fires can be seen in each direction some fired by the Huns in retreating and others by inflammable shells. Our own artillery has long since ceased firing we have advanced too far for most of them. They will move up tonight, so as to support us tomorrow.

None of us new men have any side arms, some of the older men of the company have. The machine gunners are supposed to have 45 cal. automatic Celts (or rather they are semi automatic) issued to us. I am on the midnight relief of guard duty for the section 5 and 6 squads). Tonight I have a little German pistol Sgt. Dudley has taken off a Hun which he has lent to us ones as we go on guard. My relief is an hour long. When I rolled my pack before starting for the trenches I had put my sweater and muffler up in my ration pack, so tonight I put them on when we rolled in tonight and I'm cold at that, for all we have to cover up with is a German shelter half I found down in the woods when I went after the boards. I also found a new German Corp. dress hat and over sea cap done up in a package which I brought back with me. I'm going to keep the over sea cap as a souvenir. Us Americans are known as great souvenir hounds and French and English say we have won that right away from the Canadians, that we have them beat. It seems almost a relief to crawl out of the hole, the boards on the bottom lie so uneven and hard to go on guard.

We will advance in the morning again. Hope the artillery will be able to come up close during tonight so as to give us support when the Huns make their stand. They will do that before they reach Metz. Will Gen. Pershing spurred on by our rapid and easy advance wants to keep it up and take Metz before we stop. (This was the one big topic of conversation during the drive. When Gen. Pershing heard of it later he said it gave him a good laugh. But to us it wasn't no laughing matter). We have advanced a dozen kilos today by the way Mont Sec looks in the distance by straight line but many more than that by the winding way we have come. A dozen kilos of lugging 80 lb. or more of ammunition around shell holes thru woods and fields and up and over hill tops. Lugging till I could hardly go another step without resting. Of course there had been rests and waits behind this hill or that hedge so as not to get to close up, but when we did advance it would be swiftly and for quite a distance. By the time I carried the boxes 40 rods it just seemed as if my arms would break, then I would set my eyes on something ahead and make up my mind to carry them that far, another 40 rods, before setting them down. One by one all the other men had dropped one of their boxes, but I wouldn't do it. When the Huns stop I was going to have some ammunition, we would need it then. I don't care now how soon the war stops, wish it would end this night. I have seen enough to satisfy me. I can understand now why the veterans of the company hated going up so, and their frankness of being willing to give an arm or a leg to be out of it for good, provide they could do it honorably. I wonder where the other platoons are tonight, we haven't seen them since going in, have they been as lucky as we, a half dozen of the boys are missing, don't know what has happened to them. Wonder if Parks and Carpenter are with the third platoon yet? Wonder what they are doing at home at this time, it is supper time there.


Morning came at last slightly foggy but with the sky cleared of clouds. We crawl out stiff, sore, cold, tired and hungry with no immediate prospect of eating soon. We are not allowed to eat our reserve rations without having orders from the officers and that must be after we have gone without food for 4 hours at least. Each one of us have a can of canned willie. No hard tack was given us this time.

The smoke has cleared away our observation balloons have advance within a couple kilo of us these are the only signs of war otherwise one would think the whole world at peace, save the sight of our own men in uniform. Advancing to the left of Beney, crossing the highway leading northwest out of the village by which are several combat wagons of the enemy in one of which a rabbit is perched . Thru open fields for three or four kilos we meet up with the 1st. Plat. in charge of Capt. Means and Lt. Andres. They are shorter of men and ammunition than we are so Capt. Means transfers me to the 2nd. squad in command of Corp Houck of Lancaster, Pa. (The day Jan 6, 1919 that I was appointed bugler Kennan then a corp. told me that when the Capt. had transferred me to the 2nd. squad, Sgt. Dudley Corps. Wright, Frederick and himself had protested to Capt. Means about it and offering any other man of the section instead.) Other members are Gunner Ward of Mississippi, Tripod man Kirsch of Lancaster, Jones and Humphrie of Paris, Ky. and Holland of Royal Oak, Michigan. Soon another little village (St. Benoit) with a mammoth Chateau came in view ahead just to the left of our course of advance. Halting opposite the village on the highway leading out of the east the officers inform us that a half kilo in advance the drive stops and the line is to be consolidated, that is to be made a fixture for the time being at least.

Leaving the 2nd. Platoon to dig in along the road, the lst. Platoon advances up to the infantry who are already digging in, not their regular trench but "fox holes" in which one man lays down in, on a gentle slope. The platoon is taken up to the summit in advance a few rods the squads spread out five rods apart and we proceed to dig ourselves in. Thus at 9:30 A.M. we have reached our last objective, what had been planned to do in three days, have been done in a little over a days time of comparatively easy fighting because we had the Hun beat so badly he simply couldn't hardly get a chance to fight back.

A sacrifice post, Corp. Houck informed us and only five boxes of ammunition. Maybe these two boxes will come in handy yet (I learned later that I was the only man in the company to bring both boxes thru) if the Huns take a notion to come out of those woods 30 rods in front of us. A sacrifice post we know very well means that we will have to hold our post even if the infantry is forced to fall back, hold it to the last man till we beat them back or they get us. Some side arms would feel rather comfortable hanging on my hip.

After getting the gun pit dug we take turns using the shovel to dig fox holes around back of the gun for ourselves making them big enough for two to lay in together, Ward and Kirsch, Jones and Humpries, Houck selects me to bunk with him and Holland by himself. I don't know why Houck selected me unless he thought I didn't have any cooties yet, and I haven't. The company had been deloused about a week before we joined them so on the whole none were very lousy yet. After finishing digging our holes, camouflaging the gun emplacement with grass and branches of trees, and also the dirt thrown out of our holes we crawl in and wonder when the mule skinners will bring the ammunition carts up with more ammunition and if the cooks will get the chow up to us today. (When I first arrived at Camp Custer I heard fellows talking about certain ones being mule skinners and I wondered what that meant, was the government so economical that they had men just for the purpose of skinning mules that died. But I kept still and learned it meant drivers of mules or horses.)

A great deal of wondering and speculating is going on about what the daily newspapers headlines for today are. Oh! how we would like to see one of them to see what they are saying. (Some few weeks later Corp Houck when he seen the news of the American victory, he rushed out doors into the street shouting and waving his hands. The lady next door heard him and said "Where is the fire Mr?" Houck answered, " Fire, woman, Fire? H__l woman its victory, victory!" and down the street he went shouting.) Airplanes are becoming active This afternoon. Many Allied planes (French and American) are in the air. Each nation have their colors painted on the under side of the wings in circles around each other. The red, white and blue of the American, French and British arrived in different order so as to distinguish them. The American have the white in the center, the French the blue, the British the red. At times 25-30 Allied planes can be seen in groups of 3 to 8 to 10 here and there over the black iron cross underneath, will dart over, swoop down on a group and usually get one of them before retreating back. One come over and brought down two within a minute of each other. They usually come down in flames but not always. Anti-aircraft guns both our own and the Huns keep pecking away at the planes when ever this gets close enough it makes them get back or up out of range. (I never seen an anti-aircraft gun bring down a plane and I have watched them fire by the hour. It made them keep higher up mostly.) No report of the exploding shells can be heard from the ground here but puffs of smoke mark the explosion and also serves to help the gunners get shells while black smoke indicates the Huns, which also indicates they are turning out of materials being unable to make the so called smokeless powder anymore.

Chow comes at last (4:00) it is being served back by the road where the 2nd. Plat. is dug in. One from each squad are allowed to go after their chow at a time and must return before eating it so the next one can go. On my trip back saw Parks and Carpenter, the 3rd. Plat. is dug in along the road too. On my way back with my chow I find a Y man selling gum and candy behind a hedge that runs parallel with the front line between our positions and the road. He has drove his car to St. Benoit, carrying the stuff the rest way out here. I bought a package of gum, it will last longer than a bar of chocolate. It is a case of if you buy gum you can't buy candy and vice versa. (This was the only time I ever saw a Y man, or a K of C man either, on or very near the front or had the chance to buy anything from either.) It is not neccessary to have a guard on here in the daytime because we will all be here anyway but at night one of us from each squad will have to be on guard in two hour shifts while the rest are asleep. Will have to stand still on account of being seen from the woods. An infantry patrol is going to protect us from a surprise attack by patrolling out in front in the woods at night.

wondering and speculating is going on about what the daily newspapers headlines for today are. Oh! how we would like to see one of them to see what they are saying. (Saying few weeks later Carp. Houck received a letter from home telling of an old Civil War veteran next door, when he seen the news of the American victory he rushed out doors into the street shouting and waving his hands. The lady next door heard him and said "Where is the first Mr.___" "Fire, woman, fire, H__L woman its Victory, Victory" and down the street he went shouting.) Airplanes are becoming active this afternoon. Many Allied planes (French and American) are in the air. Each nation have their colors painted on the under side of the wings in circles around each other.

The red, white and blue of the American, French and British are arranged in different order so as to distinguish them, the American have the white center, the French blue, and the British red. At times 25-30 Allied planes can be seen in groups of 3 to 8 or 10 here and there over the sky. Towards evening ever now and then a Hun plane distinguished by its black iron cross underneath, will dart over swoop down on a group and usually get one of them before retreating back. One came over and brought down two within a minute of each other. They usually come down in flames but not always. Anti-aircraft guns both our own and the Huns keep pecking away at the planes when ever this get close enough it makes them get and I have watched them fire y the hour. It made them keep higher up mostly.) No report of the exploding shells can be heard from the ground here but puffs of smoke mark the explosion and also serves to help the gunners get the range on the plane. The blue smoke tells us of the explosion of Allied shells while black smoke indicates the Huns, which also indicates they are running out of materials being unable to make the so called smokeless powder anymore.

Chow comes at last (4:00) it is being served back by the road where the 2nd. platoon is dug in. One from each squad are allowed to go after their chow at a time and must return before eating it so the next one can go. On my trip back saw Parks and Carpenter, the 3rd. platoon is dug in along the road too. On my way back with my chow I find a Y man selling gum and candy behind a hedge that runs parallel with the front line between our positions and the road. He has drove his car to St. Benoit carrying the stuff the rest of the way out here. I bought a package of gum, it will last longer than a bar of chocolate. It is a case of "if you buy gum you can't candy" and vice versa. (This was the only time I ever saw a Y man or a K.of C. man either on or very near the front or had the chance to bug anything from a y or a K of C. man.) It is not necessary to have a guard on here in the daytime because we will all be here anyway but at night one of us from each squad will have to be on guard in two hour shifts while the rest are asleep. Will have to stand still on account of being seen from the woods. An Infantry patrol is going to protect us from a surprise attack by patrolling out in front in the woods all night.


I went to St. Benoit a half kilo away this forenoon to get the squads canteens filled with water. All the watering places and wells in the village have German signs stuck up reading "Nich drinken wasser" meaning not drinking water, but we had to drink it or go without. (The Huns seemed to label all their wells with the same forbidden sigh. I don't remember ever finding one that was labeled indicating it was fit for drinking. They were issued beer for drinking as were also the English troops. The French were issused wine they do not take to beer like the Germans. Very seldom did any of these troops carry water in their canteens as did the Americans. They might of been better off if they had of used less liquor and more food in their rations. Of course they probably never had enough to be drunk but I do think it cut down on their efficiency somewhat. And also creating a longing, a desire for more when the supply was short.)

Brig. Gen. Douglas McArthur commander of our brigade (84th. Inf. Brig.) is setting up his Brigade Headquarters in the big chateau. Hundreds of telephone wires are already running into the building. He is very popular with us men probably on account of his daring stunts. This is very much closer than headquarters of this kind are set up to the front. On returning back to the post us fellows busy ourselves washing and shaving up both did in less than a cup full apiece. (Yes it can be done. Shaving served to help pass the time away and was never put off any longer than necessary if the weather was warm. Had enough water to do it with and the Hun wasn't too active. The weather is warm and sun shiny in the day time but rather cool at night and we haven't anything to cover over with.)

Holland is spending most of his time digging his hole deeper, is making a regular cave in under. Corp. Houck says we have to dig him out someday if a shell hits close by. The Hun is beginning to shell to our right and left and to our rear by spells. When going after our daily meal this afternoon he kept sending some of his "I want you" and "Won't you be mine" after us. It kind of dulls the appetite some for the time being. This evening the Huns planes and our own engage in a sort of a free for all, another of our planes getting it again.


A fight between one of our planes and a couple Huns results in our plane making a forced landing out there in front between us and the woods. A detail of infantry went out, the pilot was wounded they carried him back. One of the infantry men shot himself in the foot this morning while cleaning his rifle, guess it was accidentally on purpose. War was getting on his nerves, he sure set up a lot of howling.

Spent most our time reading Houck's Stars and Stripes, a weekly paper published by the A.E.F. It is a very unique and unusual paper of 8 pages containing mostly soldier news of the A.E.F. of course no secret military movements but songs, poems, jokes, comics, blarney, cootie stories etc fun and frolic and what not, all written and edited by soldiers. (There never will be another paper published like it again, unless there is another war which I hope will never come. The American Legion Weekly approached it a little but not much. It couldn't. The main thing against it was it came very irregular, lots of copies never came.) To us the end of the war looks along ways away. True we are winning and will continue to do so but there is a lot of fight in the Hun yet if they want to use it. But they are slowly weakening. Their materials are running low mostly indicated by their shell fire so many are duds. I believe one out of ever 5 or 6 fail to explode and their trucks are being equipped with steel tires one tire over another with block of hard rubber placed in between at intervals of a foot

This evening the 83d. Inf. Brig. is being taken out to lay back in reserve while our brigade is spreading out to take in the whole divisional sector. The 1st. Plat. is moved over on the other side of St. Benoit about the same distance as it was in the original position The move being made shortly after dark. Lt. Andres assigns a large shell hole for our gun pit and Corp. Houck leaves me in charge of placing the gun and equipment while he goes hunting for a shell hole or a fox hole in the dark for us two to sleep in. (After this always particular where he had our hole so I took his place and he would locate our hole.)


A wood lies near at hand to our left here but directly in front a half kilo of rolling fields are seen before encountering a woods. We are still out in front of the infantry but infantry out posts have been established in the different patches of woods. This relieves us machine gunners of a whole lot of anxiety. The Hun lines are a kilo and a half in advance of here. This is very near the border of France and Germany as fixed by the Treaty of 1871 when Germany took part of Lorraine including Metz from France. The engineers are putting up barbed wire entanglements all along the front line and digging a shallow trench behind them. We wonder if they are just doing this to make the Hun airmen believe we don't figure on advancing anymore this fall or does Gen. Pershing really plan on digging trenches and dugouts to spend the winter here in. Winter! Won't that be long! The 1st. Plat. is building a P.C. dugout in the edge of the woods for Capt. Means. (P.C. means post commander.) We work only in the daytime because we can't be seen in the daytime anyway in the woods. Each squad over one day for our shift and we found Red Lamon had the whole squad, the one we were relieving standing off in the brush while he threatened to throw a hand grenade at any one who went in the hole to dig. He had the key to the lever pulled and they didn't dare try to take it away from him. They hadn't did a bit of work the whole two hours. Red had red hair, was mad about something and his hot temper had gotten the best of him. He is a fellow that worries a lot I think. Houck told him to get out with that hand grenade or he would bust a shovel over his head. He went! After the hole was about 6 feet deep, 6 feet of hard clay and stone, we drew sections of corrugated iron roofing over from St. Benoit after dark on a large hand wagon we borrowed from the engineers. They had found it in the village and used it in hauling their stakes and wire. These wagons are used a lot by both the French and German villagers to haul stuff on either by hand, Dog team or goats.

The planes have not been very active and not very much shelling near by this week but St. Benoit comes in for it's share. We always go there for our water and just as sure as I go over there to get the canteens filled the Huns will open up, send their greetings so to speak. We expect any time to see the Chateau go up in flames and see the General vacate in a rush on orders from the Huns at that.

A Y has been established on our edge of town beside our dressing station (first aid) but the door is always locked and the Y man is never seen around so all there is to it is the sign above the door. But ever couple days or more the Y does send up a few copies of the A.E.F. editions of the New York Herald and the Chicago Tribune with the ambulance drivers who place them out in front on a seat where we go over and get them. That Y sign there is an aggravation because we expect something but never get it.

The weather has been mostly fair, no rain, the night rather chilly but we have each been issued a blanket a piece, mostly salvaged German blankets, so it is a whole lot warmer sleeping now. I'll soon have the cooties now getting them from the blanket.

While I'm guard at night I listen to the shells go over, mostly the heavies which are keeping up a steady hammering at Metz every night. The skyline a few kilo to our rear is a flickering mass of flames belched from the heavy artillery while the skyline towards Metz is the same way only is in caused by mostly exploding of the shells. Both the firing of the artillery and the exploding shells can be distinctly heard. A times when the firing slackens I can see the flash of a gun and follow he shells course over head by it's whistle and finally see the flash of it when it explodes. The shells travel at the rate of 6 seconds to a mile. The Jerries or Huns of course are replying but it is weak beside our own. Watching and studying the artillery firing helps to pass the time away. Time that is a heavy thing on ones hands now adays when one lies around in one place day in and day out with nothing to do much but think and look forward to the next meal, which only comes once a day and wonder how long it will be before the division gets relieved. New divisions have gone in on each side of us, we are being kept in line until they get broke in. The first night the 77th. Div. went in the trenches last spring relieving the 42nd. Div., the Germans launched a big attack on them, drove them back and the 42nd. Div. Inf. had to go back in and retake the trenches.

One of the comedies of "This Mans War" is furnished at night by the Claxans (horns). Many times I have heard a claxan way down the lines somewhere give the alarm, there probably was gas at that point and each succeeding claxan would sound the alarm until it would travel clear up here and finally pass out of hearing way down the line on when he heard one and so on. I believe that some of these alarms sounded here pass clear to the English channel before stopping.


Several raids have been carried out up and down the line on each side of us at different times to capture prisoners to get information from them. These raids are executed just at the break of day and are accompanied by a barrage of artillery and machine guns, but with no bombardment preceding. Tomorrow morning two companies of the 151st. M. G. Bn. including D.Co. have been selected to throw over a barrage while a company of infantry raid the village of Haamont. We are to go up one and one half kilos to our farthest outposts to throw the barrage. So we are spending some time cleaning our guns and ammunition so everything will work smooth without clogging. At 8:00 P.M. we start out carrying our ammunition clips in gunny sacks instead of in the boxes so as not to make so much noise and so we won't be hampered with the boxes when we finish the raid. Taking the road out of St. Benoit to the north which runs a trifle angling to the front lines we follow it for about a kilo, coming to a fork in the rod on which a roadhouse stands. Here we halt for sometime. It is a starlight night and I can see the sign post on the corner which says 33 D Verdun 35 K Metz. We finally take the road towards Metz, following it for about 4 rods. Woods line both side of it, then turning to our left following the edge of the side of the field which is about 30 rods away. The Huns probably occupy the other woods, the edge of the woods we are following marks our last outposts. After covering about 40 rods along the edge of the woods the company comes to a halt. We are in single file while the officers proceed to select positions in the edge of the woods for our guns. The woods on the other side of the clearing has stopped and in its place over the brow of a hill we can see a church steeple about a half kilo away. This steeple is to be our reference point for getting our range each gun crew firing so many degrees to the right or left of it. The guns are placed about a rod apart, we do not dig in because of making noise and the clips are stacked in a neat pile so as to be handy to jam in.


By 1:00 A.M. all is in readiness so we lay down around back of the guns and wait for 5:30 A.M. It is too cool to do much sleeping but finally the time is about up. To our surprise we see coming up along side of us in the edge of the clearing a battery of 75th. Art. (They had their artillery wheels wrapped in gunny sack so as not to make any noise.) They wheel around in position, the horses are unhooked and lead away and a moment later the raid is on. The 24 machine guns set up a lot of rattling and the battery of 75's barking to beat everything. (Prisoners use to ask where we got our machine gun 75's because our gunners fired so fast. Some crews got so they could fire 12 shots a minute, that's one every five seconds. That was some speed.) The artillery of the division back in their positions are also firing, they are boxing in the town to the rear so the Jerries can't retreat out. The infantry, to avoid our path of firing are blanketing the village from each side After firing for about fifteen minutes the infantry men send up a rocket telling us to lift our barrage higher so they can enter the town. The barrage is raised now to help keep the Huns from retreating. The enemies artillery is returning the fire but it is not being very effective because they do not know just where we are located, so it is scattering. In another fifteen minutes the infantry men begin to return with prisoners and we are ordered to cease firing grab our gun and tripods, leave the unused ammunition and run for it before the Huns artillery gets us located. The 75th Bat. lost no time either in limbering up and getting out with the horses on a good stiff trot. (It would have made a good movie and I think we did move too about as fast as we could.) The rest of the artillery are still continuing to fire so as to protect us while we are getting out.

We learn later after getting back that the infantry captured 21 prisoners, one of which is a guy that formerly lived in New York City but went back to Germany at the beginning of the war. (I did have a picture of this group of prisoners taken standing before the Chateau but it burnt up in the house fire.) We, both machine gunners and infantry men had only light casualties. About 9:00 this morning Capt. Means orders the corps. to send two men from each of their squads up after the ammunition we left behind because the company has no other ammunition until the carts can bring up some more. Corp Houck selects Humphries and myself and gave me his 45 automatic to carry because we might need it. Hump has one, one that had been issued several months before. Some job and it is just about time for the chow to come up too. We were given orders for only two men to stay in a group, to follow the same route we went up and back for the raid until we come nearly to the field along the woods then follow well inside the woods the rest of the way. But the brush and under growth is so thick we have too crawl thru on hands and knees some places. None of our own outposts are encountered anywhere nor any signs of them. On reaching the far corner of the woods we have no trouble finding our ammunition out thru the edge of the brush. we can see that the church tower is gone, blew off by the 75th., so that prevents a look out from the village seeing these positions now but some of their outposts might have returned to the woods across the field by this time. So rather than try getting back with the ammunition bags thru the woods we decide to try the route along the edge of the field where we came in last night on and out this morning on. Being rather skeptical about the plan working we proceed out in the open, keeping an eye on a place to jam back into the woods if any shooting starts, as the Huns don't do any firing we kept right on gaining as much speed as our ammunition will let us until we are safely around the corner of the woods on the road. On the way out some of the other boys trying to make their way back thru the edge of the woods, see us and come out and follow suit. On reaching the roadhouse Hump and I decide to take a short cut back to our positions so striking across the fields we come up to our barbed wire entanglements, three rows of them but we can't crawl thru or crawl over the top on our hands and feet to keep from tearing our clothing off. It is some stunt, I'll say. Climbing barbed wire entanglements. Chow hasn't come up yet when we finally get back.


This afternoon the 1st. Plat. is moved back a kilo on the line of secondary defense, the 3rd. Plat. taking our place. To keep the enemy observation officers from mistrusting, we are changing positions only one man is going at a time across the open fields that lie between. This time we are located on the brow of a low ridge surrounded on all sides y open fields and about 25 rods to the left of a group of farm buildings. Farm buildings outside of villages are very rare in this part of France. After getting located I am put on guard (airplane guard) watching for enemy airplanes which if they come within range (3 miles) I am to shoot at them. I have Lt. Andres field glasses so I busy myself looking at our planes and the surrounding landscape. No Hun planes show up so I don't do any shooting.


On account of no protection up around our gun emplacement we spend most of our time around the farm buildings. Once in a while an enemy battery will drop a few shells close by and we beat it for our holes out by the bun. The barn is nearly full of rye straw, some not yet threshed. A threshing outfit stands in the barn, they were threshing when forced to retreat, a couple hundred bushels of rye stand around in bags which our wagon train is hauling away today for horse feed. Some artillery observation officers have an observation post up in the peak of the barn. They use a room upstairs in the house to sleep in. We keep away from the barn because we are afraid if the Huns find out it is being used for an observation post they will drop a few shells in it. Our balloon corps are using a captured German Balloon back of us couple kilos, the Hun air men are making a determined effort to burn it up by shooting at it with machine gun bullets. They have made the observer jump out half a dozen times today in his parachute but each time the balloon has been hauled down to safety while antiaircraft guns drive the airman back. The balloon observer communicates with those on the ground by telephone.

The company is paid today, us new men were not in the company when the pay roll was signed by this month a A.E.F. starts giving casual pay to those who were unable to sign the payroll with their own company so I received 33 francs ( 5.00 dollars). This will be deducted from my next 2 months pay.


Caldwell found some real coffee this morning up in the observation officers billet and we made enough for a cup full a piece for the whole platoon. It was good, we are served chicory instead of coffee, I guess for it don't taste the least bit like coffee. When chow came up today noon they brought up a couple sheets of writing paper and envelopes Y material a piece so we are busy writing letters on the sunny side of the buildings this afternoon. We have had lots of time the past week to write but have had nothing to write on since September 6th. The company has been receiving mail but us men newly transferred have not received any yet. A day or two after we were assigned to D Co. 151st. M.G.Bn. we sent back our addresses to A Co. 328th. so they could forward our mail on. Bale set the list back.

The Germans have been sending us some "I want you" messages. The enemy birdmen finally burnt the observation balloon this afternoon, the observer jumped. Our men soon had another one up in its place. The Huns have been dropping shells around so close at night that Houck and I have been sleeping with our helmets over our faces, instead of using it as a pillow, it seem more comfortable when something sort of shell proof is over our faces.

Tonight a couple hours after dark a couple runner (Later I learned that one of the runners was Parks. The three platoons were in different position and each fed separately so we didn't see each other very often.) came with orders from the captain, they had to do a lot of hollering to locate us, to sleep with our packs rolled and other equipment ready to move at dawn, because the whole Allied front was going to attack in the morning in an offensive that they hoped would end the war. To end the war! A sweet dream, a little encouragement, but the end looks a long, long ways off yet. Most to a man, the combat troops of Blackjack Pershings Army would give a leg or an arm to be out of all this and what looks to be a head, if it could be done honorably.


Morning brought no orders to advance, we are not sorry. Way in the distance to our left can be head the faint rumble of the bombardment that reaches to the English Channel. To end the war? Oh we hope so. This afternoon the Hun gave us some scare we were laying around in the sun by the buildings when of a sudden a battery opened up on us, but they must have known our habit of running for our holes over by the gun 30 rods a way for as we ran the shells kept following just behind. When one would get close, down we would go, after it exploded up we ran again until the next one and so on. Run for all I was worth but my feet seemed like lead they just wouldn't go as fast as I wanted them to. But at that, if anyone beat me, I didn't stop to see, it was because I hugged the ground longer than they. We beat the Hun, they hadn't figured we could run so fast on foot I guess or they would have raised their range faster to keep up. No one has any desire to go back to the buildings this afternoon. So while laying around I decide to look to see if I have any cooties yet. Holy Smoke! There they are a whole row of them along the seam of my undershirt tail. A creepy, chilly feeling ran up and down my spine, to see dirty, nasty little things on me. I'll kill every one of you. (But they only increased in number and so seam squirrel hunting became a daily pass time, serving to keep us busy, something to help pass the time away doing.) So I proceed to squash the little rebels. Oh! the dirty things.

What had been expected from the very first, happened late this P.M. a Hun heavy artillery shell came over fell just out to the side of the big Chateau, a couple minutes later two more shell in rapid succession hitting square on the roof (inflammable shells) causing it to burst immediately flames. From here we can see soldiers jumping out of second story windows, wonder if the General is one of them. (Learn later Parks was in the Chateau at the time. Not a single soldier was killed or wounded.)


Orders received about noon that the 83rd Inf. Brig. will relieve us this evening. Good news. Sixteen day of it already, days that have been long ones, hungry ones, days with not much action not very hard ones as war goes probably, but enough to cure anyone of any hankering for more, days with nothing to look forward to, only the single daily and none to plentiful meal, days of wondering what the outside world is doing, what are they doing at home, are the other Allies advancing any, days full of a lot of experiences which will come in handy the next time up, the next time up probably won't be so easy as this time, days that have made veterans of us with the veterans hatred of this all, "This Man's War" and his desire for peace yet willingness to stick it out to the last. But the days have been mostly warm and fair no rain, which has helped to keep up our spirits somewhat. And now with the immediate prospect of going back to the rear brightens things, spirits arose, getting relief at last, the largest of the few joys that come to a combat company. At 3:00 P.M. chow comes to our platoon. Hungry, always hungry! While up here the bread has been issued to the platoon in the loaf, and mostly some what moldy. (While on the St. Mihiel front was the only time we had moldy bread maybe because the weather soon got cooler. Some time we received French bread, somewhat darker than the American bread and more saw dust on it.) Today being no exception but being hungry I ate mine pretty close anyway. The bread has sawdust sprinkled on the outside before it is baked. I don't know what for unless to help to keep it clean because it is haled in trucks like one would cabbage or potatoes. From the taste, kerosene and soap are always hauled with the bread too, for some times it tastes pretty strong of one or both. 6:00 P.M. finds the company assembled on the road leading west out of St.Benoit, the first time some of us have seen each other and the company assembled since being up here. The carts have come up so we load our equipment on them. The route angles to the southwest away from the front and entirely thru woods, woods in which are some artillery and narrow gage railroads. Before going many kilos I being getting cramps caused by the moldy breads. About 10:00 the column turns off to the left in a small field and halts for a long time. It seem that Trimbull, the captains mounted orderly, had been out here to get the location of the billet in the day time, German billets here in the woods, so Capt. Means could lead the company to them in the dark but now a lot of tall cussing by the company I'll say. But finally after an hours wait we move out in the field a little farther turn around a corner of the woods to the right and learn the billets are just inside the woods. (This ends Trimbull's reign as the Captains mounted orderly.) Twelve men are assigned to each billet which are German barracks recently abandoned by them in their retreat. Houck and myself clean the straw out of our corner or the billet so we won't get a lot of German cooties. The straw had been used by he Germans to lay on. (The French cooties were slower a foot than some of the German ones, in fact the French cooties never crawled around much, but some of the German ones hopped around like grasshoppers do, they were hard to catch.)


I was so cramped in the stomach that I could hardly sleep last night but this morning am quite a bit better. A short way out in the field from the woods here is a Hun plane brought down undamaged. Most of the company I guess have found out and climbing in and tried the controls for the fun of it. Some of the Company report there is a Salvation Army hut in the little village (Nosard) a short way across the fields so some of us went over there this afternoon. They had a sign up that they were going to give away hot chocolate so we lined up with the rest but they ran out of chocolate before reaching us. But we did get an envelope apiece no paper. So jumping a truck we went on to Pannes and then Essey (these were previously mentioned as in our sector in St. Mihiel offensive) but in each we found a Y but the buildings were both locked up and we could see nothing inside. Disappointed we hopped a truck going back to Nonsard.


A chilly rainy day, we keep the little dugout stove in the billet going full bast. How good it seems to have a roof over ones head and enough heat to get warm by. A couple fellows are doing barber work here in the billet, everyone is taking advantage of the chance and are getting a hair cut Some of us took a bath in an empty billet in a pail of cold water and then washed out our underwear and socks in it. I mended my breeches knee where it was torn when getting away from machine gun fire near Essey. My mess kit got a much needed washing too. Had to throw away the rag I've been wiping it out with each time because it got so filthy it soured and stunk. Guess I'll have to use a sock to wipe it out clean now. Enough Y writing material was received today to write a couple letters apiece. Everyone mostly is writing.

The Supply Sgt. Draughbau is issuing a few articles of clothing the company has received today. I was able to get an over sea cap, some socks and a shelter half. This woods is chuck full of German barracks, set helter skelter, little narrow slat board walk lead to each. When I start anywhere I don't just know if I'm going the shortest path there or not for the walks seem to be a tangled mess to me. We are receiving two meals a day now. What puzzles us is that there is not any rations accumulated up a head after only getting one meal a day for two weeks or more. Forty eight cents of rations is allowed to feed each man a day but I guess when we miss a meal it must be deducted out. The Huns believe in fixing things up fine I ran across a nifty bandstand made of saplings and poles with a parade ground in front of it.


Sign the pay roll today. This evening the Bn. moves to the rear going towards St. Mihiel. The whole Division is moving out. Most of the way is thru woods once in a while a ruined village is passed. Some of the fellows are getting bawled out for getting careless about letting the light from their cigarettes show. Bivouac about midnight beside the road in a small field.


Nearly freeze last night. The grass was covered with frost to begin with. Houck and I pulled our overseas cap down over our ears and neck and cover our heads up under the blanket so our breath would help to keep us warm. (This was the way we always slept when it was cold, it helped considerably to keep warm.) But to get warm we couldn't, seemed as if morning would never come. Near by the poor hungry mules brayed and brayed, brayed for something to eat which is less plentiful than our rations. Oh, if we only had enough to eat and keep warm with. When do we eat, when do we eat is the main thought and talk each day. There is not much wondering what do we eat today for we know it will by either warmed up canned willie or slum some times called slum gullion. Slum is beef cut up in small chunks stewed with a little flour in for thickening. Sometimes for a change a can of tomatoes or a little rice is added to them. Now and then the beef is rather old but never spoiled like it was on the Canopic coming over. Mostly we get a slice of bread, but not always, along with this.

Some of the old trench system (third line of defense I think) before the St Mihiel drive are just inside the edge of the woods here. We are down close to St Mihiel now. Many of the old dugouts inside of the hills can be seen about a kilo away. Capt. Means orders all the mule skinners and cooks who have 45's to turn them over to ones in the company who haven't any. They set up an awful howl about it. I don't know what they need them for, they never get up where there is any danger of being captured prisoners. But I am not lucky enough to get one. Orders are issued that the company will move late this afternoon by cameon to the Mense-Argonne front. About 4:30 P.M. the company marches down to the crossroads a kilo distance where already hundreds of cameons with Chinese chauffeurs are lined up along the road. The mule skinners will have to drive the carts there on foot. Twelve men are placed in each cameo which is a sort of speed wagon, covered over and with a seat running the length of it on each side. We sure are packed in there, would be ample room if it were not for our packs. Soon the long column of cameos are on their way, thru villages in which we see French men, women and children, the first civilians we have seen in a month. It sure is good to see them, to see villages not destroyed, to see sights other than the marks of war, to see green fields and growing crops.


About midnight we reach a village (Geraucourt), most of the company are billeted in a large barn on the hay. Houck and I sleep in a vacant stall. This place was, so the villagers say, just out of range of the artillery before the beginning of the advance in the Argonne. They say that the Americans have advanced a whole lot. We have not seen any papers lately so don't know how things are going.

The rest of the Bn. are in the village too. Meet Hutchins for the first time since starting for the front. Spent most of the time today sleeping in the warm hay. About 10:00 P.M. tonight after we were all to sleep the mail came in and was distributed at once even if it was dark. I heard my name called and out of bed I jumped, 14 letters and a post card, more mail than anyone else in the company, the first mail for me in six weeks. Mail, one of the few joys that come to us here, Blessed! Blessed! mail. Houck received several letters too, he is quite a sheik with the girls I guess, we have a piece of candle which we light and stick on the top of one of our helmets and read them all before laying down again to sleep.


A little stream a rod wide runs thru the valley beside the village so Parks and I go down and shaved and took a good wash for once. Later we went down to the public wash house a pool formed in the edge of the stream with the sides cemented up and a roof over it, and washed our clothes. Several women and girls were down also doing their washing. This is the way most all the washing in the villages all over France is done. This morning Houck took an A.W.O.L. to Toul catching a passing truck.

Replacements for our casualties on the St. Mihiel were received this morning and the company given an hour gas mask drill up on the hill beside the town. Late this afternoon the mule skinners arrive. Buy writing material in store across the street.


Orders arrive that we are moving up starting this forenoon. This is a new one on us, before we have always move at night, must be the Allied planes have the Hun planes driven out of the air. The store or rather a room the store is kept in across the street from our barn is selling chocolate bars thru the open window and believe me we're buying all they will let each one have. We are going up maybe won't get a chance to get anymore. Oh if I could only have a chocolate bar each day like this. Houck arrives just as the column is ready to go. Soon ricks of shells are passed piled along the road. A little farther on we pass some engineers bivouacked along the road who tell us that the 32nd. Div. have been making large gains the past few mornings.

The middle of the afternoon we reach a village (Barabant) partly destroyed by shell fire. The company is bivouacked up on a hillside above the village we pitch our pup tents for the first time, reason we have enough shelter halves.


Slept awful cold last night, move early (8:00 A.M.) this morning there were no civilians in this town. Just outside of town the third line of defense trenches pass, that is the lines before the advance September 26. Soon we are out on the bleak shell potted fields. By the side of the road a lone guard stands by a truck load of bread dumped on a large canvas. The company halts opposite it, we try to get the guard interested enough to forget his bread so some could tuck a loaf under our arm but Caldwell is the only one able to get one. The column passes thru small patches of woods here and there, halts are frequent. Shortly after noon we meet up with a bunch of German prisoners under guard coming back. The guard halts them by us and we have lots of fun asking questions and teasing them about the Kaiser. They say the Kaiser is "nich gut" which means not any good but I guess they say it because they are afraid of us. They are not so sure about their winning the war like they were a couple weeks ago. So many are mere boys 16-17 years old and men in their 40's.

By the middle of the afternoon we enter a large woods, traffic is getting congested and many halts are necessary, now and then little plots of wooden crosses lie close by the road, the banks beside the road are pitted with the little round shrapnel balls. 5:00 P.M. brings us into a village in which not one stone wall is left standing in the building walls, from the village we pass onto a plank road, plank because the former road bed underneath it literally blew away by H.E. (High Explosives) making it necessary to build one of planks. On each side most as far as one can see is a solid mass of mammoth shell holes 10 ft. deep and only room enough to walk between them. They are having a war here, the St. Mihiel was nothing besides this from the way the ground is torn up.

Darkness comes soon and with it more frequent and longer halts, in fact we move only once in a while, traffic, congested traffic going both ways now, woods on both sides. A few mammoth French tanks are moving up, trucks are in the ditch being unable to follow the road and slide off, artillery horses (all in) being killed by 45's because they couldn't go any farther, starved mainly. We are not going a kilo an hour now, no place to sit and rest but must be ready to go a rod or so when the traffic ahead move up. Nearly midnight nothing to eat since early morning, on our feet ever since. No one had any reserve ration or they would have ate them now. Finally I notice some of the fellows with boxes of hard tack, I know they haven't any so I watch, up ahead of the 1st. squad is a bag and get myself a box too. Hard tack is tasteless but when hungry it fills you even if it doesn't satisfy. 1:00 A.M. we finally bivouac beside the road among shell holes, bleak jagged stubs that a few days previous had been green trees. Seventeen long weary hours and we have came only about twenty kilos today.


Getting up late this morning I find the company kitchen is not with the wagon train near by, so taking my mess kit I start out to find it. Up and down the road both ways but no kitchen. Many infantry companies along the road are lining up for chow so I try several of they, lining up with the rest thinking the mess sergeant might think me a new replacement and let me by, but I get kicked out each time. Many of the men of the company try the same stunt but not very many succeed. So I take the road back we came in on and a couple kilos away find the kitchen in the ditch beside the road. The cooks had leveled it up and had mess nearly cooked so they sent me back to notify the rest of the company. It is nearly noon now. After mess the kitchen is pulled out and down to the company. Near by a couple infantrymen explode a hand grenade in a fire they had in front of their pup tent, while they were lying down inside with their feet out by the fire. Wounded both in the feet, they set up an awful howl. We think they did it on purpose so as to go to the hospital.

The band belonging to the Reg. of Infantry nearest us gave a concert this afternoon, wish it would never stop playing. Next to the ""Long, Long, Trail" the song "Homeward Bound" is one of the most popular with us. Everyone clamors for the band to play it and they do. "Homeward Bound, Oh, What A Wonderful, Wonderful Sound" it goes. Sets everyone to dreaming beautiful dreams but it doesn't look like it is coming true very soon if ever. Home is a long, long way off. I wonder if they suspect at home yet that I have been up to the front on account of not getting my letters regular now.

The Chaplin of the 168th. Infantry held communion services near by this afternoon. He stood on a trunk of a fallen tree while us boys stood around in front of him among the shell holes. "Dog robbers" and officers, privates and Non-comms infantrymen and engineers, machine gunners and artillerymen medical corps men and signal cop men, one and all religious sects, knelt side by side all for a common purpose and cause.


We are held here in reserve for a few days. One day while waiting for mess, units of the 79th. Div. passed going to the rear after their turn on the front, they were in a good natured mood, if that is possible here, one fellow hollered to another up the column a way and said "How did you come to get in the Army Mac" "Oh I slept with my window open and got caught in the draft", which caused a general laugh. These three days have been cold, damp, rainy, miserable days. No place to go, but stand around and take it. Mud, Mud everywhere.

The only thing to looks forward to is the next meal, and we look forward too far for that because we begin falling in line for it a couple hours before it is ready, it makes the cooks mad but they are able to get all they want to eat. But there is nothing else to do so we might as well stand in line as stand some where else. One likes to be near the head of the line so he can get back for seconds quicker. What makes us mad is the privilege the mule skinners have in falling in at the head of the line they don't have to line up with us, because they have a mule to care for. While on hikes we don't object to this privilege. But when we are laying around we don't like it. While we are upon the front all they will have to do is lay around the kitchen most of the time so we think we ought to have some rights ahead of them. Finally the Captain puts a stop to our lining up so long ahead of time by giving each platoon turns at being served first.

Rheumatic pains at night are getting us, can't hardly sleep for the hot waves creeping down our arms and legs, have to roll over often and there is hardly enough room to turn over in without getting cold and wet. What puzzles Houck and myself is that we are not drinking much water, only coffee, but we have to get up ever half hour all night long. And that is some effort to crawl out on our hands and knees in the mud and back in again getting cold and muddy. Then soon the other will have to crawl out. Sometimes we get too lazy to crawl out.

A couple days I had quite a fever, Houck wanted me to go down to the first aid station, but they always send one to the hospital if one needs anything besides CC pills, so I wouldn't go, I didn't want to leave the company now, especially when it is moving towards the front.

The band plays each afternoon and always end up by playing "Homeward Bound"

A German Army cemetery a short distance away is all blown to pieces. Caldwell and Shorty Olds found a dugout over there, they always are looking for some other place to sleep other than with the company, and Shorty has placed a skull and cross bones out in front of it. A few German dugouts are scattered around, mostly between 25-30 ft. deep have the shaft cemented up going down to them. Germans are great diggers. One day while we are lined up for mess (evening mess at 4:00 P.M.) a Hun plane suddenly sweeps low above the snags and brush and sets an observation balloon about 30 rods away on fire. It was resting down on the ground at the time. He circles right over us back towards his own lines, none of our machine guns are mounted so we can't fire at him, Cappy, a fellow who has a hobby of carrying a rifle with him all the time fired several times at him, don't know if he hit him or not. But just then we see an American plane higher up between him and his own German lines coming down on him like a hawk, the Hun to save his own neck, chose to make a forced landing rather than fight so he came down a couple kilos away.

There is no Y anywhere around here that we know of. I found a Hun armored suit while strolling around one day, some outfit, I'd hate to have to wear it on a hike very far. No newspapers have been received lately nor any writing paper and envelopes These woods are the Bois De Font and are south of Montfolcan. Bois means woods. Grub is liable to be rather slim on this trip up for orders call for all ammunition trucks and wagons to be granted the right of way thru the congested traffic coming up.

A declaration reported as coming from General Pershing at this time is causing considerable discussion. It is "Heaven, Hell or Hoboken by Christmas time" The Hoboken part is coming in for most of the conversation most to a man we don't think it possible that soon.


Orders received that the Bn. moves up tonight at 5:00 but will not go in the line until tomorrow night. This time there is no surplus baggage to get rid of save the letters received since coming off the St. Mihiel. These are reread torn up and thrown in shell holes, would like to keep them but things to eat, keep warm with and make war with are more vital now. Only the bare necessities of life are important now, must be able to give our best to the enemy and at the same time the best to save ourselves. Reserve ration of corn willie and hard tack are issued. Soon after we start, the route leaves the woods, swinging to the left nearly parallel to the front by the sound of the shells coming over. Meet a regiment of artillery from the 32nd Div. getting relieved so they said. (I don't think they were getting relieved for the 32nd. Div. stayed in line on our right until the 20th. or 21st. of Oct.) and that the 125th. Inf. of 32nd. Div. (Leslie's Reg.) advance over this same ground a few days ago Wonder if Leslie is still with the outfit (maternal uncle).

The Hun artillery keep us busy on the whole hike jumping into shell holes and fox holes along the roadside. Sometimes a whole squad or more will be piled in a bunch on the road falling over each other in the dark trying to get out of the way of a shell that sounds close. No traffic on road save for artillery. Near midnight pass thru a dilapidated village and come to a bivouac on a side of a hill just beyond, near a fair sized building.


Shorty after flopping Houck and I had heard a few shells explode near by but soon fell asleep. When we awoke after day light none of the company are in sight. We find them off across the fields from the road about 40 rods, they said that the Hun got to shelling too close so each one took it upon himself to find a better place. Shell holes are not nearly so thick as they were back in the woods where we were in reserve. Have quite a time locating the wagon train with our kitchen in it, they had gone beyond us up the road a couple kilos. Spend the day washing up and shaving and wondering around to kill time. Our bivouac is near the village Eclois Fontaine.

One month ago tonight we went in on the St. Mihiel front now we are going in again. There we advanced 18 kilos in a little over a day here only about 25 kilos have been advanced in two weeks steady pounding. After going about three kilos the Huns begin to shell the road, the carts keep to the road while us men dodge from shell hole to shell hole along side the road, each squad keeping near their own gun and ammunition carts. Shelling becomes severe. The column halts, the other companies of the Bn. are ahead of us. The Kaiser seems to have the address of us Michigan boys for most of fellows going back along the road by me here in a shell hole are Michigan boys. Up above at top of a bluff beside the road the shells are literally blowing the top off, they are just missing coming over here in the road. A stone comes down knocking my helmet over one ear. War and we lack 4 or 5 kilos of being in yet. Going in is one of the hardest trials. For one step so to speak out of peace and quiet into war with its turmoil and agony. Going in with its lack of protection and inability to fight back but just take it and go on. Finally the shelling slackens, we move up a kilo behind another steep buff, unload our carts and the company proceeds to file up and over the bluff just as darkness descends. Oh, what a climb with all this load of equipment as each man comes up over the summit he finds the man ahead rapidly vanishing out of sight in the darkness, the gap just has to be closed up or the whole column behind will be lost out here in the dark. Oh why don't the guide leading us give us time to all get up before going so fast? It calls for forgetting all physical discomfort and go. Will they never halt up ahead? Thru the dim light all that can be seen is a flat barren shell riddled surface, the path winding between the shell holes only the man immediately ahead can be seen.

A kilo or more of this then down into a valley way it looks, halts are frequent now. At each halt we sink down in our track and lean over on the pack, do not dare take the pack off because one doesn't know if the halt will be short or long and besides there wouldn't be time to get the pack on before being lost in the dark from the one ahead. There is no shells now. Sleepiness comes over me at each halt, I have to fight myself to keep awake and watch the man in front to see when he goes or the rest of the company behind will be lost until tomorrow morning for only the guide a head of the company we are relieving knows the route. Houck immediately ahead of me sniffs, mustard gas he says, I hadn't noticed it, he is a shark on smelling gas (many times he has awoke me up in the night and told me to put on my mask for there were a faint smell of gas and then we'd lay there with the tube in our mouth and nose clamp on) But there isn't enough to put on the mask for, besides we couldn't go on here in the dark with them on. After following the valley a couple kilos we swing to the left climbing a partly wooded mostly brush slope meeting a file of troops coming down. At the summit the officers in charge of each platoon select gun positions and get the range for each squad. The positions are each a few rods apart and are hole dug by the outfit we relieved. We don't know where or how far our infantry is away, only know the direction of the front by the way our gun points and the elevation we are to fire at if called on to. The 1st.. Div. is the one we relieved, fox holes scattered around the gun position we crawl in and go to sleep.


Morning and daylight, Oh! hadn't thought of this! Dead, our own (1st. Div) dead here and there, near and among our fox holes, thirteen around among the second squad, our squad, infantry men of the 1st. Div. killed by machine gunfire. When Gabby Kirsch crawled into his foxhole last night he had found one laying beside it but he didn't say anything about it to us then. We learn that our infantry lies ahead about 40 rods. Everything is quite quiet today, no firing much. Shortly after mess at 4:00 receive orders to fall back a kilo and to the right another kilo to another ridge. The intervening terrain is small patches of brush and little fields. Around the corner of nearly every corner of brush we find a crew of Hun machine gunners dead at their posts, positions which have been taken at the point of the bayonet. Enemy machine gunner, both by the Allies and the Huns are hated, the most hated of any branch of the service and are seldom taken prisoners especially when used as rear guard troops to cover a retreat. Yet among an armies own troops if there is one branch of the service among the combat troops that holds more respect, yes even affection, for another branch than for the rest of the branches it is respect that the infantrymen hold for the machine gunners. Infantry never feels so secure as when we are close by to back them up. The ridge we take positions on is a regular hogback covered with saplings and brush some what messed up by artillery fire. It has steep sides and is 25 or more rods long and only a few rods wide. A path runs length wise of the summit, along which numerous Hun stiffs all rather loud smelling by now, and most have holes blown in their helmets by shrapnel. Three lie within a couple rod of Houck and my foxhole, one with his head only a couple feet from our heads. My turn at guard came shortly after dark, not a very pleasant one walking up and down the path with the moonlight shinning down on the huddled figures by the path.


This morning Corp. Humpries badly in need of shoes, has been trying to get a pair of leather boots off a German officer, he finally succeeds by having one of the fellows stand on top while he tugged and pulled to get them off. Artillery fire got some of the fellows wandering around down at the foot of the ridge this A.M. We call this "Deadman's Hill". Corp. Carmer, appointed to fill the vacancy caused by his older brother, of the headquarters squad brings word at noon that chow has come up to within a kilo and that we are to go back by platoon to get it. He starts out with the 1st. Plat. men claiming to know the way but gets on the wrong path coming out, finally on the valley we came in on the other night way down by our first aid station. Details are at work all thru the woods carrying out stiffs and grouping them together. A short distance father down the valley is a spring and watering trough directly opposite on the other side of the valley is a farm house and barn. (This probably was the farmhouse James Burwell of Kalkaska was wounded near by and killed by as they started to carry him back. For Mrs. Burwell told me it happened by a farm house near Exermont and this is the only farm house I know of and I was on all sides of it. He was in the 1st. Div.) Filling our canteens we strike back cross lots finally coming onto the chow wagon along the edge of a field concealed behind a patch of brush. Exermont is about a kilo or two farther down the valley from where we filled our canteens so the chow driver says. The other platoons have already fed. Several wounded men coming back stop and we give them some chow.

Taking the chow in our mess kits we start back to our positions on Deadman's Hill. I decide to eat before getting clear back on account of the smell, so selecting the trunk of a fallen tree, sit down and begin eating. Looking down I see a set of brains on the ground by my feet. I just naturally move on for some other place. Late this afternoon Lt. Andres received the platoons blanks which we immediately fill out for him to mail. They are for our Xmas packages which will be allowed sent to us for Christmas. Each one is allowed one 1 pound package. Just at dusk an order is received to advance across Death Valley to Hill 263, a kilo in advance of us. Hill 263 is in the same line of ridges that we fell back from late yesterday only to the right. Immediately assembling the equipment the company files down off of Dead Man's Hill into the valley. Follow an unused dirt road thru the brush and saplings much pitted with shell holes and crossed by fallen trees. The valley is a hot bed of H.E. and gas shells. The pace set by Capt.Means is terrific, many fall out and are lost in the darkness because it is beyond their physical power to keep up with the heavy load a machine gunner has to carry. If I could only just lay down here and never get up again it would be a relief. One of the most used saying was Sheridan said, "War is Hell" but he only saw a skirmish used when discussing conditions and the war in general.) Unlike the St. Mihiel advance the ammunition is being held onto like it is our last and best friend, we can't throw it away here. At last the file halts at the foot of Hill 263, we sink down in our track to rest after what seems an age. After resting up a bit the climb up is made, so steep every few feet we have to rest. On the summit the guns are mounted, officers inform us the infantry are just in front of us at the foot of the hill. Then we crawl in to holes already dug and go to sleep.


Hock and I have a deep hole, 4 feet at one end, dug in the side of bank. The hill is wooded, mostly brush and a dirt road leads over the hill length wise. The hill is 25 rods or more long and only a couple rods wide, another hogback. Out thru the brush one can see the large flats below. In the distance (St. George is 2 kilo away) a village over in the enemy territory. At the foot of the hill a stone road winds it way out across the flat towards the village. The first thing we dig new gun positions along the crest of the hill a couple rods apart because word has been received to be ready to fire a barrage at 9:00 A.M. The Huns are entrenched in the Drienheld, line of trenches a kilo away, it is to be our job, the 42nd. Div's job, to break this line by taking small sections of the system until the division holds it all. Cote De Chatellon, cote means wooded hill, is the strong hold of the line because it commands a view of the surrounding territory. The Hun reply with a severe artillery and machine gun barrage we can see it creeping thru the flats below and up the hill towards us. The ammunition carriers of the squad , except Jones and myself, seek shelter on the other side of the hill, but to me it looks as safe here as anywhere. We might be needed in the gun pit any moment so we were sitting in a large hole like a tree might have blown over in years ago, feeling as safe anywhere when I suddenly take a notion to seek a smaller hole, a rod away is Houck and my foxhole were we slept last night so I crawl over to it with Jones following as we reach it, bang! We are covered with dirt, a moment later we see that a shell had hit with in three feet of the exact spot I had been sitting in the other hole. The barrage passes by and soon halts, leaving many casualties in its wake. Rabbits had fled before the barrage running for their lives, also a wild boar charged up and over the hill between the 3rd. and 4th. Squad guns.

The Cote de Chatellon proved too well fortified but the trenches to the left of it are taken. Sgt. Dudley was among those wounded. He had just received orders to report to Officers Training School, so he cried like a baby he wanted a commission so bad. It looked funny to us for usually one is pleased to go to the hospital.


Throw another barrage this morning, the Huns return fire less severe than yesterday. They bombard the hill instead of sweeping it with a barrage. Casualties also lighter. The Cote de Chatellon still with stood our assault but the trenches to the right are taken. Our infantry is suffering heavy losses.


Fire another barrage. Huns still trying to silence our machine gun nest but they are having trouble dropping their shells square on the top of the hill, the shells just fall short or skim over the top to the other side. The infantry takes the Cote de Chatellon and the 32nd. Div on our right flank also advances to keep up with our right flank. This relieves us from the severe cross fire the Hun has been sweeping directly from our right with its machine guns. The road over the hill runs directly parallel with this cross fire and they kept machine gun bullets cracking by ever little while. There were no jay walkers down the road.


As the Cote de Chatellon completed taking the Drienheld line along our whole division sector only a little firing is done that most harassing fire that is a few shots at a time off and on at intervals. At this I do my first actual firing the gun. The Huns seem to be contented to await our moves and are not doing much firing, so things are fairly quiet. Rain, rain, rain, these days. We have our shelter half stretched over the head of our foxhole but they are so wet and heavy with moisture they sag in the middle and keep getting holes cut in them all the time they don't do much good. Water runs in the hole and at night the side we lay on get soaking wet so rather than get both sides wet we lie on the same side all night, paralyzing our side and legs. Rheumatic pains don't help any. The sides of the foot of our hole would keep sliding in covering our legs over with many inches of clay and stones, until in the morning could hardly crawl out from under the weight. So Houck and I took to sleeping, sitting up at the head of the hole it being just wide enough for both to sit side by side wedged in so we wouldn't' fall over.

Long, weary, painful, restless, wet day and night, nights that seem like day light would never come yet when day did come it was the same thing, but we could wander around some standing in the mud, mud everywhere and rain. Yet day would bring us two meals, the Major, Major Winn had said when we went into the line this time he was going to give us two warm meals a day if he had to blow up every field kitchen in France in doing it and he is living up to his word as far as the meals are concerned. And then there was the possibility of the mail coming up with it. Mail, what a joy to receive some and what a disappointment when it did come and there were none for you.

Long, dark, wet, muddy shifts at guard duty at night to watch for signal rockets from the infantry calling for a barrage to protect them from a raid by the Hun and to watch for gas shells so the ones sleeping would not be gassed. War, war, war has there ever been anything but war in the world, hasn't it always been just war and war it will always be? Have I always know and been in war and will always live in war? Is there such a thing as peace or a place known as home or is it only a dream? Or is this a dream, a nightmare? Many a time I've hit myself to see if I was real or awake, Yes, there must be a place called home, I must have been born once. I couldn't be just here without, yes there must be home, it must be real and those things I use to do and know and live so long ago, wonder what they are doing at home it is six hours earlier there than here. War so real and home so unreal like. But in among all this Hell stands out the brightest spot of all -GOD-. Always no matter how dreary or hopeless the outlook, when I think of Him I seen to see Him in the clouds, always to the southeast, saying "Don't be afraid I will take care of you". Oh what a joy, a secret joy that is, a joy that can not be drowned in all this agony, discomfort, misery and death. And then too there is the satisfaction in knowing you are doing your bit, your share, your part in helping your country make this world safe for democracy, in knowing you are in the right and the enemy in the wrong, in knowing if there is ever an end to this that the Allies will be the winners, there is no doubt of that, but how long will this last is the question? To us the end looks very far away. It's a long ways even to German territory yet. True they are steadily falling back but it has taken more than three weeks to push them back here 25 kilos (15 miles) and look at the awful toll. It has been an orderly retreat, an orderly retreat can inflect an awful loss on the advancing army by a good rear guard of machine gunners, with only the loss of the machine gunners. And that is what the Hun has been doing too. As we say "It is a great life if you don't weaken". And no one says "Wish I was back in the States or home"' but look at it as a job that has to be pushed thru to the end and are determined to stick till that time comes. It's Heaven, Hell or Hoboken.


Orders received that the 84th. Brig. will be relieved by the 83rd. Brig. while we go back for a rest. At 4:00 P.M. The carts come up to the foot of the hill and we load on the equipment. The dirt road is full of mud holes, so us men follow off to the sides in singles file anywhere the going is best. The Hun observers must of seen us for they give us a nice shelling for a while.

Back thru the valley, passed our dressing station to Exermont about three kilos in all. Taking another dirt road out of Exermont much mud is encountered forcing us to help shove the carts and mules thru shell holes, mortar holes and up every little grade. We had started out in fair spirits at getting relieve, going back out of this all. Somehow the rumor starts, I don't know if it is true or not, that the Bn. is going to be billeted in barracks and new clothing issued and everything is to be deloused. This spurs us on. Mud, stiff, sticky mud rolling up on the wheels, so that the starved and weary mules could hardly draw them on the level, mud sticking to our feet making them feel many pounds heavier. Tired and weary we all become yet were soon going to have a rest, a place to sleep under out of the rain and new clothing. It spurs us on. Already the Bn. is 5 or 6 kilos beyond Exermont, some one says it is not much farther. Then --- a dispatch rider appears from Div. Hdg. ordering the column to about face and reenter the lines tonight. Our hopes are dashed to pieces, weary and dog tired already and now to turn back. A more disheartened and discouraged column of troops never turned around I believe. Go back in tonight we can't do it, will fall out before then, won't do it, am all in now, if there was a place right here to lay down in would fall out right here.

Weary discourage men hardly able to carry themselves and pack let alone help shove mule carts thru the stiff mud and up the grades. Let the mules lay down and die if they want too, we can't help them, why is a mule of more value in "This Man's War" than a man anyway? But some how we get them thru the long weary kilos back to Exermont. How many will fall out here? All threaten to, can't go any farther. Then word is passed back along the column that the Major has succeeded in getting Div. Hdg. to postpone our entry into the lines until tomorrow night. Dear old Major Winn. He knew how all in his men were and had dispatched a protest at once at receiving the order to turn. (Some probably would have fallen out at Exermont if we have had of gone back in but the most of the men probably would have gotten there somehow.) On a hillside above the town in the shelter of a hedge from the cold wind we bivouac, flopping along side of wooden crosses, about midnight.


Sleep well into the forenoon then getting up to wash up and shave, then wander around reading the dog tags on the crosses. They are all 1st. Div (Probably James Burwell was among theses. But not knowing anyone in that Division then I never thought of running across someone I knew.) The company spirits are a lot better this morning after a fair nights sleep and rest. To help out the mail came in this forenoon. I received several letters. We learn that the reason for us being ordered back in is that a big advance is planned to come off soon and Perishing is planning the biggest concentration of machine guns of the war for it. So the rest of the day is spent in cleaning equipment and reloading extra clips. Another infantry man shot himself in the hand this afternoon. Every time a man wounds himself he sets up an awful howl, but never when wounded in battle. Just at dusk the company gets under way following the valley arriving shortly after dark back on Hill 263 and in our same old positions again.


The weather all this week is mostly fair and sunny for the first time in two weeks. Every couple days we receive a little canteen stuff. One lot was Y stuff, other government canteen issue and once nearly to the last of this week come writing material from the K. of C. So I don't know which to blame for the rest of it although I think it was mostly govt. canteen issue because quite a bit was Bull Dunham smoking tobacco and that is issued mostly by the government. These issues come up with our rations and are not very plentiful, sometimes a pint can of peaches or a couple bars of chocolate or a half pound package of cookies to a squad with sometimes a couple sticks of gum thrown in extra. Houck always gives me the gum because I don't use the tobacco, so I chew a third of a stick at a time to make it last longer. A Y secretary is connected with our battalion now but I don't know what for unless to draw his $100 per month. A $100 dollars a month would buy a whole lot of chocolate bars etc. He never comes up here to the front even if he is obtaining us things we would not get it if he were not with the Bn. but it is hauled by Army trucks up with regular rations and issued out along with them so there is no need of him anyways. All Y stuff is transported free of charge by the War Dept. after leaving New York. Us men don't blame Y men for not wanting to come up here and get shot at and maybe killed when they don't have to but what we do resent is all the publicity being put out by the Y organization back home in all the papers about how their Y secretaries are living with the boys in the trenches undergoing the same hardships etc. and keeping them supplied with beaucoup canteen stuff etc. It probably happens as an exception but not as the rule as they lead one to believe. And there are articles put out by the Y asking the boys to keep a stream of letters going home and telling how many tons of writing material they are giving us etc. And yet in 2 1/2 months in France I have received just enough material to send four letters written on Y stuff, while the rest was bought when possible. Yet back around leave areas and base hospitals, so men returning to the company from there say, one can enter a Y and buy all he can carry away and writing paper laying around in huge stacks that the wind gushed in sending sheets and envelopes flying all over only to be trampled on and ruined. It has now been more than three weeks since we have had any writing material to send letters with and we have had time to write a plenty. We recognize the difficulties of getting this stuff up here, but why don't they say they are unable instead of faking about it. (The Y secretary with our Bn., I learned later while up on the Rhine, was utterly unqualified as a leader, a Y leader as for that matter, any kind of leadership. He couldn't sing or lead in singing, couldn't get up before us and even make an announcement or say a few words, nor talk to you man to man. Nor was there much of anything else that he could do or even try to do as I know of besides draw his salary. He stayed with us until we left for home. It is my judgement that the Y organization made its big mistake in the A.E.F., it was alright back home and couldn't be beat, by spending huge sums in salaries and needless big buildings back in the S.O.S. and leave areas, not enough money on things to give to the soldiers at the front. It is a fact that the K. of C. organization gave more stuff away in the whole A.E.F. than did the Y, Salvation Army, Jewish Welfare, etc. did all together yet the percentage off money spent by the K. of C. was 18 percent of the whole spent by all the Stars and Stripes paper that during the Chateau Thierry offensive that wounded men of the 32nd. Div. laying along the road begged the Y secretary with a load of eats, candy etc. to give them some and he refused because they did not have the money to pay for it.) Finally about 28th of Oct. two sheets and envelope of K. of C. material was sent up to each man. So while on airplane guard duty I write a couple letters mailing one, the other one will have to wait until I get an envelope.

The 1st squad and our squad, Houck always calls it his Shock Troops and the rest of the company have taken it from him, are put on airplane guard so some of us from each squad have got to be on duty night and day. Many a Hun plane I have chased away this week during the day times.

When a machine gun begins firing at them within range they just naturally get out in a hurry. At night we can not see them but have to be on in case they should come over to drop bombs but they didn't come.

One night while on guard I met Parks also on guard and learn that Carpenter and Bale were wounded and gassed the first couple days we were here on the hill the first time. We don't see each other very often and such things are not talked about much anyway. (Bale finally returned to the company next March but Carpenter never did show up, don't know what become of him.)

This week we all receive much needed over coats, many didn't even have any raincoats. Also another blanket is issued making two apiece. Ward and Gabby Kirsch the gunner and tripod man, rather than keep hunting cooties out of their blouses have thrown them away. They are the worst yet for lice in the company. They threw them away when they received their over coats. Both are young, too young to stand the gaff or war without it leaving its marks, they are brave enough and good enough on the front but it is breaking them on the inside. Gabby so the ones that know him back home was an alert, active boy a regular sheik and dressy, but now he don't care for anything, lousy, dirty and unkept, no spirit, no ambition, arches breaking down so it is very difficult for him to walk, (While on the Rhine he never picked up any, arches got worse and he walked sort of stiff legged. He got so lousy we turned him out of our room, it didn't make him spruce up any. He is sweet on a girl back home wonder what she will think.) I've seen Gabby lay half a day at a time in the rain out on top of the ground with only a raincoat spread over him and sleep as though he didn't have a care in the world, so it looked to us.

The men who are around 40 years old are real duds as far as being any good on the front. The officer usually but them driving mules, they are all right at that. Of course that doesn't take in ones with enterprise enough to get to be officers. In fact the older officers are just as good or better than the younger ones. Major Winn, Capt. Means, Capt, Travis, Capt, Brown, Capt. Peacock are all 40 to 50 years old and all very good officers. The rest of the officers range on down to 25 years old.

Ray Meiser of Pontiac, a stretcher bearer in the 1st. Platoon is a sort of an opera singer and is sure afraid he will loose his voice here in France. Ever now and then he will stick his head out of his hole and start running the scale. We all even to the Captain, call him Twee-Twa. Houck I guess started it. Nearly everyone has a neck name some rather queer and funny ones too. Twee-Twa does not take to soldiering very well. The other evening a surface shrapnel shell hit out in the road about four rods away wounding a couple fellows in the feet and legs, stretcher bearers were called for but Twee-Twa couldn't be made to hear, his hole is only a couple rods from ours. Houck stuck his head out and hollered for him but he wouldn't answer. Next morning he claimed he never heard. Capt. Means made him a stretcher bearer for the St. Mihiel drive because he was a big fellow so just before coming in on this front Capt. Means reappointed him and Twee-Twa said "Captain I carried a stretcher thru one barrage and I hadn't ought to have to do it thru another one."

Shortly after coming back up here this last time I was sick for several days. Could hardly eat a couple days one meal I couldn't eat a bit and it happened to be an extra good one, beefsteak at that. Houck kept at me to go back to the dressing station to see if they could help me, so finally one morning I went as it was my turn to get the 1st. and 2nd. squads canteens filled so I took them along to fill them from the spring near the dressing station in the valley. Filling the canteens first I stop at the dressing station which is a dugout in the side of a hill. I know if I had them look me over I was liable to be sent to the hospital. Just out from the station our little plot of wooden crosses had grown to quite a plot. "No I won't go in, I won't leave the company, it needs every one of us who can stick it out. If they send me to the hospital the whole squad will be without their canteen. I'll go back, maybe I'll be better by tomorrow." A small bunch of the latest newspapers laid near, I read one thru then started back with the filled canteens. I was so weak my legs didn't want to hold me up let alone walk, I wanted to lay down all the time. I could only carry the canteens a little way then would lay down for a while. Finally a doughboy an infantry man caught up to me, he was just back from the hospital, wanted to know where to find his company, his regiment, I told him, and he carried my canteens for me to the foot of the hill. I began to get better in a day or so then Houck commenced to get the same thing. Nearly everyone was getting sick or were sick, some one went to the hospital every day. While I was at my worst the Captain ordered all the mule skinner up to replace those who were sick, so that the ones sick could go back to take care of the mules for a few days. Houck ask me why I wouldn't go and I said that I might as well be sick here as back there for back there I wouldn't have any better place to sleep and I was not going to care for a starving mule and hear them bray all night long, myself was enough to take care of.

About this time Major Gen. Menhor, seeing the condition of his men already at the front two weeks asked Gen. Pershing for the Division to be relieved or he would send every man to the hospital. (After the war Gen. Pershing tells of a division commander asking for relief said he told him "Its you that need relief and not your men")

The whole company has been having dysentery ever since being up here the first time. No water to wash our mess kits, but just wipe them out with newspaper or the greenest leaves we can find, the green ones are not yet killed with gas. A few copies of the newspapers are received every few days and we read in them how the war is coming, read about things in which we have actually taken part in. One day a Hun plane came over us dropped a bunch of propaganda pamphlets out ahead of us a half kilo Knox went out and got some of them. (Brought one home with me but it got burned when the house burned.) They were printed in English, French and Italian telling us they didn't have anything against us, wanted to be friends, and all that bunk and so on.

One day the Colonel commanding the infantry ahead of us was out looking over the ground for new and better position out in front of his lines and the Jerries took him prisoner so now Major Winn is commanding the infantry for the time being only and Capt. Means is in charge of the Bn. The squads by relays have been digging Capt. Means a P.C. in the side of a bank here on the hill, some hard digging for it is mostly lime stone, has to be all loosened with a pick. The officers need good places to live in for being so much older than we are, they couldn't stand laying around in all this mud and wet and we have to at times.

The cooks have been making a special effort to give us some good chow lately. All the beef that they can is being made in beef steak which strikes us good even if it is tough. One evening the 1st. platoon Lt. Andres in command, receives orders to take his corporals, gunners and one other chosen man from each squad with picks and shovels and four boxes of ammunition per squad and go up just behind the infantry a kilo, in advance and dig gun pits to be occupied by us the next night. Houck chose me, after dark we go up to a hedge that runs across a field just behind the infantry and try to dig a pit. We don't like the lay of the ground here for we will have no protection form being seen in the daytime. The clay was matted with small roots and stuck to our shovel, so we tried loosening it in the darkness of the hedge and working on our hands and knees. I couldn't work, everytime I bent over it seem as if my whole insides were on fire, heartburn, every one has it here in the army. After trying to work for a couple hours the pit was only 6 in. deep, I mentioned the fact I am burning up and Wardie and Houck said they were just the same. Soon Lt. Andres came along to see how we were getting along and we told him we couldn't work for heartburn and he said the rest of the squads were in the same fix. So he told us to bring our tools, leave the ammunition and we would go back. On the way back in single file Temples, a fellow who couldn't see any too good even in the day time got lost from the man ahead loosing the whole file behind him. We discover it, stop and heard them trying to locate us. It saved us from a good shelling for then the Hun began shelling the road ahead of us where we had to cross it. If Temples hadn't got lost we would have been about on the road. For some reason orders were changed the next day and we went up, for it was a cloudy day so enemy balloon or airplanes observers weren't up so brought back the ammunition.

Another day a French tank pulled up to the foot of our hill and the crew came up and walked around in wooden shoes. It struck me kind of funny, wonder if they would loose their shoes if the Hun got to shelling us? Soon after coming back to the hill Houck and I changed to a wider and roomier and drier foxhole one no one used because it was out in plain sight in the daytime all the brush had been blown away form it and was the highest spot on the hill. From it we could look all over the flat below, see the villages of St. George and Laundres within the German lines and see the road, a mere white ribbon, connecting the town. There was no brush between directly ahead. The first couple nights all went well, then the Jerries commenced shelling the hill at night, probably using the bald spot on which the foxhole was dug in as their reference point for firing because it was the only spot on the that could be plainly seen without brush on it. The shells would just graze over us, making us hug the bottom of the hole for dear life. To me it seemed as safe as anywhere and I was sleeping good in it, wasn't so cramped up in it. I think I am blessed with a good sleep tank on me anyway for shelling never greatly bothers me at night. When I sleep war never comes in my dreams, before getting to the front or now after getting here. (That was something to come after it was all over with, something to remind you there was war once upon a time.)

But after Houck got sick he couldn't stand it, a couple times in the middle of the night he routed me out to go and sleep with some of the other fellows Then the last couple night he refused to sleep in it, went to sleep with Knox and I slept alone. Many are the nights I have walked around while on guard dodging into shell holes when shells sounded close soon to get out again so as not to go to sleep and to keep warm or stand gazing down into the flat below watching shells explode, or watch for signals and the flares sent up by the Jerries. Now and then a shell would hit an ammunition dump setting it on fire which would light up the whole sky than quickly burn itself out. One day a Hun plane came over on the way back he got cornered by our planes and he dropped thru the bottom of his seat and a parachute opened up and he came down just within his own lines. This was the first we had ever seen this done and a couple days later saw the account of it in the paper declaring it to be the first time done on the front.

The last days of this week all the crews built shelters around and over their gun pits to be in readiness for the Big Drive soon to come off. We use wicker (German) shell cases used in hauling shelling so as not to jar them, fill them with dirt. It will stop machine gun bullets but not much more. Houck has divided us five fellows into two gun crews to fire the barrage when it comes off for it is to be a long one. I'm to be on as one of the loaders. The Hun has invented a anti tank gun, it is like an over grown rifle, we have found some of them. There must be an awful kick to them.

We generally shave every four or five days and wash our hands and face in the same water after getting done shaving in it. All together about a half cup of water being used. Some of the fellows came across expecting a sort of vacation or for the novelty of it. I met one of those fellows while on guard one night, he had not been in the company very long, knocking everything in general including President Wilson, after I had stood it as long as I could I told him to shut up and keep that way or I'd kick him, he shut up. Goodness knows we have got enough to put up with without listening to chronic knockers. I've noticed that generally the knockers are the poorest soldiers and the fellows with the least kicks is the most popular ones in the outfit.


Houck made up his mind to go to the dressing station this morning so he gave me his 45 automatic and his range bubble reader and also his red cross kit containing among other thing is his beads and virgin. And last but not least a bar of chocolate he has been unable to eat. By noon he hasn't returned so we figure he has been sent to the hospital. This afternoon we learn that the big show comes off tomorrow morning our barrage commencing at 2:30 A.M. continuing until 6:00 A.M., the infantry going over at 5:30 A.M. The 2nd. Div. is to do the going over the top relieving us, the artillery and machine guns of both divisions are to fire the barrage.

At dusk Sgt. Deets and Sgt. Stauffer our 1st.Platoon Sgt. and Section Sgt. calls me into their foxhole and give me command of the second squad, it is a surprise to me, I had never thought of myself being put in charge and Houck had not said a word to me about it. (A month later I learned that Houck had gone to Lt. Andres and recommended me before he left.) They gave me a copy of the ranges and bubble readings I am to use, and which I will have to learn by heart before dark. I wish that Houck was back, I don't care for the job, the honor, the added responsibility or the greater risk of the job. (Back in training at home most everyone, and I was no exception wanted to work up, but when France was reached most wanted to go under fire just as a Private, only their self to look after.) I am content to do my bit as a Private but I will do my best at this. I won't if I can help, let anyone suffer from any mistake I might make. We all set our watches behind an hour tonight because day light savings comes to end at midnight tonight, also set them exactly together so we would have all the same time tomorrow morning. I have the only watch in the squad so it has done a lot of guard duty with the fellows so they would know when their time is up and then pass the watch on to the next one.


At shortly after 2:00 A.M. the guard on duty awakened me. I had difficulty in getting to sleep last night due to the new responsibility thrust so suddenly upon me just as things were going to get hot, before I had a chance to get use to it. The 1st. Squad is also without a corporal too, Caldwell has been placed in charge but he claims he won't have anything to do with it but he has coaxed Sauver his tripod man to take it instead so finally they have compromised by both agreeing between themselves to run it together. (They run it that way until after the Armistice, then Sgt. Deets complained to the Captain about it then the Captain appointed Caldwell and of course he had to accept.)

As everything was in order, had been for a couple days even to taking the clips out of their boxes and putting them in ricks each, one right end to so there would be no difficulty in the dark, so there was nothing to do but wait for H hour at 2:30 A.M. As Houck had left his blankets with me I took my German one and hung it up in front of the gun to keep the Jerries from locating our positions by the flame and sparks from it. This works better than the regular spark arrester which screws in the muzzle. I put Jones in my position as loader, making it Ward and Humpries on the first crew and Kirsch and Jones on the other, there being no more in the squad I planned to act as third man in each crew. Each crew to work in half hour shifts so as to keep warm better, for the crew firing have no chance to move around.

All was still now, but all night artillery of the 2nd. Div. had been moving in at the foot of the hill ahead of us along the road, so as to be up closer to protect the infantry longer after it had advance into the enemy territory. Our own divisions artillery is all behind us. By the sound also many tank moved in and up near the infantry too, to assist them in going over the top. I kept close watch of the time it still lacked a couple minutes of 2:30 A.M. when Sgt. Stauffer stuck his head out of his hole and asked us, the 1st. and 2nd. Squads if we were ready, we were, so he told us to "let her go". I knew he was beating the time but I told Wardie to fire, a moment later the 1st. squad joins us. Not another gun, either artillery or machine gun can be heard yet, guess we must of beat the time alright, we are the first crew to fire the first shot in this advance which is claimed if it works off as planned will make the Huns beg for peace, at least we are the first within hearing distance and we can hear a long ways here in the stillness of night. A minutes or so later the rest of the squads of the company and battalion begin to get into action with their jerky rattling noise. Far in the distance a lone battery pierced the stillness and a moment later every gun on the front is at it. (This was what is known as the start of the second phrase of the Meuse-Argonne offensive. The 26th. of September is known as the first phrase. The following Div. took part in the Meuse Argonne: The following twice in 1st., 5th., 26th., 42nd., 77th., 80th., 89th., 90th. The following once in 2nd., 3rd., 4th., 26th., 29th., 32nd., 33rd., 35th., 37th., 79th., 82nd., 91st.)

The bombardment is not as terrific as on the St. Mihiel, there seem to be more field artillery but it lacks the multitude of heavy artillery that was there, with its deep heavy roar. But multitudes of machine guns are setting up a lot of rattling, the battalions of our division had 120 machine guns sending out their stream of steel beside each of the four infantry regiment have a machine gun company in them. And added to all this are an equal number of the 2nd. Div. machine guns and artillery all with in our divisional sector of 2 or 3 kilos distance. The Huns artillery realizing we are going to advance are concentrating all their fire on our infantry up ahead so as to mess them up as much as possible, using only machine guns on us back here, but they are shooting a little to high, going over our heads mainly. Our gun is working like a top, it had been bucking some, a steady stream of bullets are going out and we hope they are doing their duty at the other end. It's them or us and we don't intend it to be us if the number of bullets going out counts anything. (Later I learn that when lists were made out telling us how many rounds to fire per minute the officers always cut it in half because they know we would fire twice what ever the order called for.) Our gun is covering a road to the rear of the Jerries to prevent reinforcements coming up or to prevent a retreat.)

On the second relief Jones has trouble in loading the gun in the dark and so I take his place. At the end of the third hour (5:30) The zero hour when the infantry goes over the top we begin raising our range and shifting it to the right, for the road goes at an angle to the front, every five minutes, so as to keep our firing above our own infantry as they keep advancing. This is done for a half hour and I kept my bubble reader on the gun most of the time so that the vibration of the firing would not get our range too low and get to firing into our own infantry. As no signal is received to continue the barrage we cease firing at 6:00 just day light. We know our infantry have captured their objective and the Hun is in retreat again. Then the guns are dismounted and the left over ammunition placed in the boxes and than we gather around in a bunch, the first time we have grouped together since being up the last time and discussed the happening of the morning and the future possibilities while waiting for the gun carts to come up to get our equipment to take us back to Exermont. Soon a couple infantrymen came back with a couple dozen Jerries and stop to talk with us. They report many prisoners are being taken, are advancing rapidly and that the machine gun barrage was simply the biggest and best placed one they had ever advance behind of.

The Jerries come in for a lot of kidding from us. It takes Caldwell to do it best though, he walks up to a Hun officer and places his cap, they usually throw away their helmets the first thing, on the back of his head, the Hun's head, or some other thing like that while the rest of us laugh at him while the Hun doesn't know what to do but look silly. The guards in charge of prisoners (P.W.) are given written orders to deliver so many P.W.'s back to Hdg. so they can't get rid of some without some good reason. On going back to the kitchen we pass batteries of 75's ceased firing, with big stacks of empty casings piled up, which had been fired. Canteen stuff has arrived at the kitchen when we get there. After having mess the company hikes back to Exermont a kilo away where we will spend tonight before starting to follow up the advance as a support or reserve division. At a K. of C. hut I manage to get an envelope but will not be able to mail the letter I have written for the officers won't have time to censure mail today. The afternoon is spent wandering around a large (1 acre) prisoner guard pen, hastily put up with a couple strands of barbed wire around, gazing at the P.W.'s armed guards pace the fence. Many of the P.W.'s have red cross bands on their arms, they sure get razed for it by us. The practice is against all decent rules of international warfare to put the Red Cross on soldiers not connected with the Red Cross Service. But the Hun has been putting it on most of their machine gunners. It has been the practice of the infantry to finish the machine gunners with them on but I guess they are capturing too many of them now.

The Huns are good fighters when winning but a born coward when loosing. A couple thousand P.W.'s are in the inclosure now mostly all taken by the 2nd. Div. the prisoners are all being searched and questioned for information by the intelligence officers as they are put in the pen. Latest reports have it that the Hun is retreating fast. Bivouac in our pup tents at edge of town. Sleep with Grandpa Lenz. He is from Detroit, suffers with kidney trouble a whole lot, has tried to get sent to the hospital but the Medical Officers won't believe him. We call him Grandpa because he is always complaining about his back.


Middle of forenoon start following up the advance going about 8 kilos, passed thru Fleville, which was on the left flank of the division when we were in the line and bivouacked a couple kilos beyond in holes dug on a hill side by the 166th. We can tell by letters scattered around. Sgt. Peacock in charge of quarters, that is bivouacking and selection guards, is having an awful time finding fellows to go on guard. It is as dark as pitch, he doesn't know where the different fellows are sleeping and the ones he calls won't answer. So he is mad as can be, he has the loudest voice in the company and his favorite phrase is "Up and at 'em". Bet he can be heard 3 kilos. I am sleeping with Grandpa again but I think it will be the last, he complains so, it gets on ones nerves. Tonight is drizzly and cold.


Start following up early this forenoon going by way of the road our machine gun covered in the barrage Nov. 1st. to St. Georges. I wonder how much of this I'm responsible for, not a depressing thought, they are Huns, they started it, are in the wrong, they aren't so dumb that they didn't know what they were following the Kaiser for, when they get enough they can stop all this by saying so. Just before entering into St. Georges, one of our planes comes low down over us, drops a dispatch which Knox runs out and gets and gives to Capt. Means. A couple kilos beyond the next village (Imecourt) we come to a halt. Capt. Means tells us that an Armistice is about to be signed maybe ending the war tonight. (This was what the dispatch contained, but found out later it was an Armistice with Austria to go in effect 4th of Nov. at 3:00 P.M. ) For some reason none took it very seriously, the words about and maybe took most of the meaning out of it. But they (officers) took care now we bivouacked for the first time, made us be military by pitching our pup tents in nice even rows in the field. Sleep with McKale 1st. squad.


Hear artillery far in the distance this morning and all day long on the hike. The Armistice stuff all bunk, didn't believe it anyway. Before starting a carton of Y cigarettes arrived, a carton for each man. I divided mine up among the rest of the squad. Tobacco and cigarettes, the fellows are always sort of, this being the first time any large quantity has been received. The shortage never bothers me any, but to the rest it does, when they are out of the stuff they have a hankering for it which simply adds one more trouble or discomfort to the already too long a list. So in fact it is more of a liability than an asset because they are out of it most of the time. Matches are also very scarce, always the safety matches if there are any. None use any very often but always borrow a light from each others lite cigarette. Even at night some one will be seen prowling around to the different fox holes locating some one with a lighted cigarette.

The cooks seemed to think the war was over or about over so they begin prowling around kicking out gold teeth and picking up other souvenirs by the road side as we started out but Capt. Means put a stop to it. Combat troops have their pet superstitions, some on one thing, some on another. Some, and I'm in that bunch, couldn't be hired to carry anything taken off of a dead Hun while this war lasts while others don't care. (After the war was over any of us would have liked some good souvenirs but not gold teeth and others in that class.) Pass thru Sivey. Just before reaching Buzancy the Bn. bivouacs beside the road in a field. Shave and wash up. Rumor has it that the Hun is retreating so fast our men can't get in touch with them. Near night a troop of American cavalry goes by. Rumor says they are going up to try locating the enemy. Just after dark we receive our first bombing plane scare since I've been with the company. We heard him coming following the road up from our rear and at each village he would drop a couple bombs. We thought sure we had been seen and located in the field before dark. Right over us he come and if I ever hugged the ground I did then, none of us were in holes, but he passed on dropping his pills in Buzancy. For some reason one has more fear of the bombs coming from directly above than when they are sent over by artillery. It gives one a feeling as if they are going to fall directly on top of you and you try to get away from it by trying to press a hole into the ground to get away from it. Sleep with Humphries use our pup tents.

While I was shaving this afternoon a large group of Allied bombing planes I counted 104 in many small groups and high up in the air to be out of range of anti aircraft passed over going back from a raid over the German lines. (This was the largest raid of the war.) Its been a clear day, good for such work, bombing is usually done at night but our plane have the Huns about wiped out, they only come out when there is none of our planes around.


Learn this morning at mess time that the 42nd. will relieve the 2nd. Div. tonight somewhere up ahead. As we have no reserve rations, we had all eaten them long ago, without orders, they were to much of a temptations when one is hungry all the time, so Capt. Means instructed the cooks to fix us up a large sandwich apiece to place in our mess kits. There is no telling when the cook will be able to get us any rations again for this rapid advance is playing hob with the transportation system. On both sides of Buzancy beaucoup Hun artillery still in their positions behind hills and hedges are passed. They must have fell back here shortly after the beginning of the retreat Nov. 1st. and been caught this time without time to get their guns out. Combat wagon are strewn along the road with dead horses hitched to them, killed by artillery fire. It looks as if the Hun is eating horse meat for so many have hunks of meat cut out of their hams, but the looks sliced out as one would in cutting steak. (I heard fellows claim they were served horse meat while across but I don't believe it. It's all hear say and rumor. I've heard it said inside my own company that some of our meat was horse meat.)

The Huns are not burning the villages as had been their practice before this. As yet no civilians are in any of these villages we have gone thru. In St. Pierremont the Bn. passes around numerous tanks and heavy artillery we are trying to get up close enough to be of support to the infantry. All these guns and tanks are named, usually with some girls name, or some prominent man like President Wilson or etc. The crews have a hobby of picking up German signs and hanging them on their outfit as trophies of war. A couple observation balloons are seen advancing ahead of us, up in the air probably trying to locate the enemy. On nearing Oches the Bn. takes to the fields to the left of the town as the road would take us to far to the right of our course. Cross the railroad turning thru the village and we stop for a rest along a hedge. A Hun plane is sighted, he swoops low over the village firing his machine gun as he came right towards us. I jump under a mule, the rest all seek shelter beneath mules and under carts. He passes by leaving a couple wounded in one of the other companies. The Bn. then forms in platoon column formation, each column abreast of each other but several rods apart and we go forward that way across the fields. On mounting a ridge to the left and above a village (Stonne) a half kilo the Hun artillery lets a battery of shells drop in among the Bn. wounding 4 or 5 among which is Speedy Ryan it being his third wound of the war.

The Huns word never has been any good in this war so it remains to be seen if it will this time. Maybe realizing he is beaten he will keep his word so as to help save his skin. A kilo beyond Stonne the outfit bivouacs along a terrace across a field. Do not pitch pup tents have nothing to use for stakes or poles. Capt. Means says the infantry of the 2nd. Div. is a kilo ahead and that our infantry will relieve them there. We have come about 18 kilos by straight line today. We are about 30 kilos from where the lines were on the morning of Nov. 1st. Do not mount the guns tonight


Humpries slept with me last night, he has thrown away his blankets rather than carry them, but I'm going to keep both of mine. I'd rather do a little harder work carrying them and have something to keep me warm at night than throw them away and spend the nights freezing cold. Shortly after turning in it began to rain last night the shelter half and rain coats spread on top of the blankets shed part of the water but enough come thru to get the blankets soaking wet. Everytime we would move it, it would let water under the edges. So this morning we are wet, cold, sore, stiff, and hungry too. Laying around on the ground for the past 2 1/2 months, especially the past 1 1/2 months has made us sore and stiff like old men. Everyone has the rheumatic. Sgt. Stauffer is going to the dressing station and on to the hospital this morning. He has finally made up his mind to it. He has been sick for several days. He says "Gentlemen if there is such a thing as Spanish flu I've got it, Gentlemen I've got it". We laugh at him and he raves all the harder. He has been in the army for 10 years is the huskiest man in the outfit, but he worries a lot, the war gets on his nerves and he is growing pale and thin. Sometimes I think he is going daffy. But he is a good sergeant and a good man on the front. We had heard a couple weeks ago about the flu back home, but none know just what it was like.

We learn this morning that 1st. Sgt. Lawrence, who went to Officers Training School while we were on the way to the Argonne, has returned to the company as 2nd. Lt. Lawrence and will have charge of the Hdg. Platoon. The officers pass out a few French hard tack, one apiece, I don't know where they got them out here. They always make the whole inside of my mouth sore eating them. They are next to impossible to chew up and they won't soften much either in cold or hot coffee, unless one left them soaking a half day. Knox busted out a couple teeth trying to eat them when the division first arrived over and the fellows tell it on him that he took them to Capt. Means and said "Captain, these hard tack are hard on my teeth". Capt. Means is still in command of the Bn. This morning before advancing he split the Bn. in two parts sending half over to the left a ways to advance while we start straight ahead across fields, patches of woods, and up and down dale. Each squads carts keeps with its own squad, the 1st. squad ahead, our squad next and so on. Come to a small village a half dozen houses in it occupied by civilian, cut thru back of it down a steep side hill covered with trees and brush, coming to a main road a short distance beyond which we follow the rest of the time because we can make swift time that way. Pass a large Chateau back from the road with a white flag flying from it. Soon a set of farm buildings where we stop for a rest, lying around on the hay while the good people bustle around and serve us a lot of hot tea, tea in name only not in taste, but it was I bet the best they had. Then on we go soon passing the waves of our infantry in their long skirmish lines reaching over hills and thru hollows and woods. We are soon in the lead and continue so the rest of the day.

Enter a large village, a couple thousand inhabitants probably, after covering a dozen kilo since morning. Raucourt is the name of it by the signs, the place is occupied by the civilians. More than, four long war torn years they have waited for this day, the day when they would be again united back with their own country, their own people, better than four years the slaves of the Hun and now deliverance has come so sudden they are bewildered hardly knowing what to do, but stand along the street and watch us go thru. But not for long, these are the Americans and they must do something for them, they must by hungry, soldiers always are. There is a hurrying into the houses by some of the women folk and out again as quickly with a loaf or so of black German bread. One rushes up to me with tears in her eyes and shoves a loaf in my hands. by now we are already leaving the village. Hungry! They had guessed it. We soon begin devouring the bread, black as molasses cake and with a strong sour taste, but it is good because we are so hungry. (Later I learn that this bread contained much pulverized sawdust, whole ground rye and I don't know the rest. When one wasn't very hungry it doesn't taste good enough to eat.) The loaves are solid and heavy compared with our bread. In a couple more kilo we reach the edge of another town must be twice as large as the last one on the outskirts are several small factories, lying idle. Haraucourt is the name of it. As we enter the first sight that greets our eyes is activity in the streets, unlike the other town. (They probably had learned some how from the other town that we were coming and so had time to realize what it was all about.) The youth of the town were climbing every where tearing down the German sign boards and German names and other marks of the Hun like they only had a minute to do it and it had to be done. The women and children are bustling around with more German bread, a women rushed up with a huge slice of bread covered with ham and I lose no time in getting to her first, bread with ham on it good I'll say. Old men, there is no men of military age, with tears in their eyes standing watching, four long years and the Huns are gone at last and their France is going to be free, they are free at last, these Americans helped to do it. There is no cheering or any of that sort of thing by them or us, no place or time for such as that because the happiness and feelings of both are too keep for that.

Up near the center of the town Capt. Means call a halt, it is about the middle of the afternoon, the good people continue to stuff us with bread and jam, about all they have to give I'm thinking or they would give it. Then some pork is give us by one family but I am not lucky enough to get any pork. Then some one thinks of tea, soon all are bringing us out tea. Just think pork and we have been living on just beef, wouldn't it taste good?

They do a lot of jabbering to us try to make us understand things but not very many are able to talk with or understand them. I sit down on a door step a half dozen women gather around me asking if we are going to "coo shoe" which is sleep here tonight I shake my head no, they are plainly disappointed. The Huns retreated out of the town only a half hour before we entered these Americans made them retreat and now they weren't going to even have the honor of sleeping them over night. An old Frenchman makes us understand that there is a German hid in a cellar in the town some of the fellows go and get him. Guess he has a sweetheart here. The thing that one cannot help notice is the condition that the Huns have gotten all the young girls in even down to ones twelve years old or such. Don't look like one escaped.

These people have been held in ignorance of the happening of this war. I doubt if they hardly knew if there were any Americans over here doing any fighting. They said when the Hun retreated out of the town they said they would soon be back and the people really didn't know for sure that they, the Hun was being forced to retreat. That probably explains why the people in Raucourt were so taken by surprise. An American plane circles over the town and the people all begin running inside until we tell them it is an American plane. I bet the Hun had lied to them about the identity of the different planes.

Then what do we see coming up the street but a column of American infantry headed by a Major General. He halts opposite us and demands the name of our outfit on being told he demands to be shown the commanding officer, he is madder than a hornet we can see, Capt. Means being within hearing distance presents himself and the old General, still on horse back with his aides with him says "This is General Price commanding the 77th Div, what do you mean by keeping ahead of my men all day long in my divisional sector?" Capt. Means "According to my last instructions my command was to follow this road, it being just inside the 42nd division sector." The General, "Well orders were changed last night and I want you to get out and stay out of our way, these are our towns." So he spurs his horse and goes on turning on the road leading out of the town to the right.

The 42nd. and 77th. Div. have not much love for each other probably the only two divisions in the A.E.F. that are at logger heads when they meet. It began in Lorraine when the 42nd. Div. finished its training there it was relieved by the 77th. Div., a division going in for its first time. Well the very first night before the new men had their legs under them yet the Hun sent over a large gas attack followed by a raid long the whole trench system occupied by the 77th Div. The division retreated and the infantry of the 42nd Div. had to go back in the next day and retake the trenches. Then when the 42nd. Div. was relieved off of the Chateau Thierry front the 77th. Div. again relieved them and of course came in for a whole lot of kidding about their retreat before. This ground their feelings considerably for they are so use to being bragged up in the New York papers all the time, which makes them think they are winning the war single handed because the other divisions are never mentioned because the 77th Div. is from New York City, the newspapers call it the "Metropolitan Division." We claim it is the poorest division in the A.E.F.

The famous "Lost battalion" has also puffed them up seeing the papers full of it all the time calling it one of the heroic acts of the war. To us, knowing some thing of war, it appears as the biggest mistake of our part in this war. Not that the men didn't have the guts that were in the battalion which was lost but that the commanding officer, Major B--- made a grand mistake leading his battalion forward without keeping in liaison with other outfits on his flanks, and by doing so let himself get surrounded by the enemy and mostly all the men killed. But the New York papers have made a grand heroic fete out of it all claiming it was done on purpose. We always claim it was bum or careless work on the part of the officers. (I think we were proven right in our judgement when the Major, jumped off of a liner at sea in about 1921 on account of worry brought on by his military service. If he had of been in the right he would not of worried about it and drowned himself.) As darkness descends the outfit takes the road to the left leaving the General to his own old road. Three kilo more and we reach Bulson a small village with only about a dozen buildings.

The whole company is billeted in a large barn the first time in a month and a half we have slept under cover of a roof. Advance about 15 kilos by straight line today. Having the mule carts haul our guns and ammunition helped a lot. Carrying our wet heavy blankets is enough and then we are so doggy and dead on our feet we have to make ourselves go with an effort. The cocky General on horseback was requiring his machine gunners to carry their guns and ammunition. Spect he wasn't going to get any of his mules killed, bet the men envies us with our carts.


Didn't get much sleep last night, tried to sleep on a scaffold made of poles, the poles being so far apart that I had to spread my blanket over to keep from falling thru. There must of been a couple poles under my body and then I hung my legs over another and used another for a pillow. Everywhere a soldier could lay you could find them laying on beams and everywhere else wide enough. But I could have slept if it hadn't been for Knox, directly underneath me, he was so talkative, excited I guess at the chance of sleeping inside once, that he kept up a steady stream of talk all night and we couldn't make him shut up. Then for a couple hours the Jerries artillery shelled the field just behind the barn a hundred yards. They either didn't have the right range on the village or are living up to their word about not firing into villages occupied by civilians within 2 hours after retreating. We have given them the benefit of the doubt but they sure did make us squirm each time a shell grazed the roof.

This morning for the second time since landing in France I'm chuck full. To begin with we had eaten a lot of the German bread, then an infantry kitchen here in the bay of the barn gave us a hand out during the night after they had sent their companies grub up, the infantry is in front of us now, it passed while we waited in Haraucourt, their company has lost so heavily that they have surplus grub. Then soon our own chow wagon come on the scene, it has started out early dark. We could not eat it all so this morning we had another meal out of it.

As we are leaving to advance this morning, our artillery began coming in, looks good to us to have them close up for support for our artillery has been so far behind the past few days they have been no support at all. In a kilo we catch up with the infantry in a patch of woods. The Hun is shelling, everytime a shell explodes our dog chases to the spot, it keeps him running here and there all the time. It is a German dog, he likes our grub but can't understand our English. Capt. Means has a German horse, of course he hasn't it with him here, that the mule skinners picked up for him on the St. Mihiel, it is a beauty, coal black.

A few German machine gunners in a woods a couple kilos in advance are holding the infantry back. The infantry has been trying to silence them with rifle fire but have not succeeded. The P.C. doesn't want us to use our moline guns as they would only give our positions away and draw heavier fire also he didn't think we could locate them either. So a runner is dispatched back to the artillery asking them to use H.E. on them, but this proves no better. Couldn't locate them so a couple squads of automatic rifles supported by a few squads of infantry men try crawling up on them by following ravines etc. Nearly noon the Huns cease firing only after we had seen most of the men that went up come back wounded in the head, that is the ones that didn't get killed. Us machine gunners lay along the road and they trickled back along one at a time. A man out of the automatic rifle squads said he was the last man of the bunch that had started up save for some of the infantry men.

The automatic rifles are like the regular rifles only they have an attachment on so as to feed a semicircle clip of cartridges like a machine gun. The clip holds 24 rounds. The infantry advances when the machine gun nest stops firing but we don't receive orders to go ahead until 4:00 P.M. then only to go a couple kilo to the next village (Thelonne)

Along the road two mammoth holes blown in the road by the retreating Hun made it necessary to go around them thru the deep sticky mud in the fields. The artillery will have some sweet time drawing their pieces thru this mud. Yesterday near the large Chateau we found a bridge blown out over a stream a rod wide. Us two squads in the lead had some miserable time making a crossing. If the Jerries could have seen us dragging our weary bones thru all that mud and water gathering sticks and limbs enough to make a footing for the mules and carts and then shove the mules and carts across, they would have considered it a job well done, that is their job of blowing the bridge well done. Just at dusk on entering the edge of the village of Thelonne a Hun battery lets go on us, there is a scattering all ways to get off the road and down flat on the ground before they hit and explode. Duds, every one of them, luck, dumb luck this time. All struck right in the road among us.

The village contains inhabitants, the last Huns left it last evening we learn from them, they are keeping close under cover expecting the Hun to shell the village at any minute. The machine gun rear guards had been off to the side of the village in a woods. This is fair sized village,

The whole company, we only average about 4 men to a squad now, are billeted in a barn with lots of hay and straw to sleep on, not very tired or hungry because we only came three kilo today and we were chuck full of chow this morning. Everyone is in better spirits tonight than for many weeks, two nights in a row with a roof over us and beaucoup straw to lay on and keep warm with tonight. We even are indulging in the luxury of taking off our shoes and leggings. Some of the fellows are persisting to smoke upon the hay mow against the friendly threats of the rest of us. For a long time tonight we laying awake and talk, a nice place like this is so unusual that everyone wants to lay awake and enjoy it.

Just when the most of us are settling down to go to sleep the Hun begin to shell and like last night the shells explode just back of us in the field, the barn being just on the edge of town. Someone said wouldn't it make a mess in here if a shell should come down thru the roof but none seem willing to give up a soft, warm place like this until one does come thru. Off and on for a couple hours the shelling lasts but we sleep during the intervals.

We are within 3 kilo of the Meuse River with Sedan laying on its opposite bank. Sedan the place, where the Germans forced the French to surrender in 1871 which caused France to surrender part of Alsac-Lorraine to Germany. The 42nd. Div. is now the farther most American division to the left in this part of the offensive. The next division on our left is French. Between 45 and 50 kilos have been advanced on this side of our sector. The right wing is using the Meuse River a few miles north Verdun as an axis so this side of the line has done most of the advancing. Latest reports however are that our troops have crossed the river down there and are advancing. The main objective in this drive has been to capture both banks of the river with the railroads and highways leading along it and the city of Sedan. The capture of Sedan will cut the main highway and railroad running lengthwise of the front on which, the Huns are doing most of their transporting of troops and supplies along the front on. Reports late tonight from our infantry indicate that a detachment of our divisions infantry has succeeded in crossing the Meuse just below Sedan under heavy fire and are holding the outskirts of the city.


At daylight this morning as we are just beginning to stir around Capt. Means and the officers that had turned in somewhere else, sent his orderly to us requesting a check up by each Corporal on each man in his squad for several had been killed and wounded during the night by the shell fire. News to us we didn't know that any of the shells fell in the village. The orderly said that one was thought to be Shorty Olds of the lst. Squad. Caldwell went to see for sure and returned saying it was.

It seems that Shorty had wanted Caldwell, they always chummed and slept together, had wanted Caldwell last night to go with him and find another place to sleep in but Caldwell had a hunch not too, so he didn't. We are strong on following the hunch stuff, so Shorty had gone alone, just a couple rods from the big doors of the barn he had found an 8xl0 ft. pig house and with three other fellows from other companies had crawled in it probably thinking it being so small it wouldn't get hit, but a shell had hit square on top. It killing two and wounding the others. It had always been Shorty and Caldwell habit of sleeping somewhere away from the Company, always looking for a better place than was assigned to them.

Dispatch received that the division will not advance anymore, that the Hun has been forced to vacate the city of Sedan but the city will not be officially where they were beaten by the enemy nearly 50 years ago. (The city of Sedan was occupied this forenoon by the French and 1st. Div. to get the 1st. Div. which was in the line several miles to our right over to Sedan it was relieved and made a forced march of 24 hours duration. This was one of the outstanding forced marches by Americans during the war.) The French have requested that a detachment of the 1st. Div. may have the honor of marching across the bridge into the city with them. The 1st. Div. is the pet of the French for they want to decorate one division with "Croix de Querre" and as a division has to be cited in dispatches a certain number of times (eight I think) they are citing the 1st. Div. every chance they can scare up. So today the 1st. Div. is going to relieve part of us, so we are going to go back to the rear this afternoon.

For the first time I am put on a burial detail, the 1st and 2nd. Squads taking turns at digging. (Much has been read about bodies being buried in graves so shallow that they were hardly covered. Any one who has ever done any digging in this wet, sticky gumbo will know it was about impossible to dig deep.) It took a long time for we are as weak as dish rags most. (How little did we realize this would be the last buddies to leave us. That the war was about over. In the days to come Shorty was the most talked of them all because he was the last one, sticking it out, so to speak, until the last few hours we were on the front.) This forenoon the mule skinners gathered some cabbage behind the barn and cooked us large kettle full in a kettle they found back there.

At 1:00 P.M. the Bn. return to Bulson and take the road towards Haraucourt. Meeting the chow cart on the way we fall out for chow. A short distance from Haraucart we biviac in a field while Capt. Means goes to Haraucort to see if they, the 77th. Div. will let him billet us in the town over night it being such a large town. Haraucort is now officially inside of the 77th. Div. area and no other troop can billet in anothers without permission. Capt. Means on returning says they won't let us in so we will have to stay out here in the damp and cold. The boundary line between the two area comes just on this side of town. But we know good and well when night comes the officers will slip down there and find a good place to sleep so none of us pitch our tents we wait for darkness to come. Then we gather up our packs and go down to the edge of town, finding a large barn we proceed to make ourselves at home. McKale and I find a place in a stall.


This morning I get an awful bawling out from a Major in the Medical Corps of the 77th. Div. He had his sleeping quarters in a room built off the barn. As there was mud ankle deep all round the barn us fellows were using a sort of shelter built of stone wall a couple of rods or so in front of the majors latrine. Parks and Wells were already there when I arrived. Just then the Major came to the door with a towel in hand wiping himself when he sees me. Rough shod he jumped on me wanting to know what right and what outfit I belonged to. Not knowing the names of the 77th. outfits I had to tell him the truth. Then followed a bawling out for the whole outfit that came down there in the dark and made lots of noise to destroy his sleep and he ended up in telling me to get out and stay out and he stayed in the door until I had sauntered out of sight around the buildings. The funny part about it was that he never paid any attention to Parks and Wells, must of thought them some of his outfits men. Near noon we go back to the carts, and soon the Captain arrives and calls the Non-coms front and center. Going to the front again that means and we only came off. When they fall out they tell us we start this afternoon for the Metz Front where a drive will start Nov. 14 and the 42nd. will go in at that time and we have only a few days to get there in, and that the Germans are sending delegates in preparation for an Armistice to go in effect next Monday morning. An Armistice and going to the Metz Front. Might put some stock in it if it was not for being ordered to the front again. It will turn out like that scare we had a week ago. But Austria has to end sometime, but now that is too good to be true. The Huns are a long ways even to their own territory, they can hold out a long time yet if they continue a good rear guard movement with their machine gunners like they have the last couple days and only lose a few machine gunners while those same gunners are taking heavy toll in our infantry. In an advance looses are much heavier than in a well organized retreat with machine guns to cover the retreat. The Huns will never fight inside their own territory they won't stand to see their own villages destroyed but we are a long ways from them yet.

In south of Bulson we come to our kitchen and wagon train where a stop is made for chow before going on. At Maisencelle for some reason a dirt road across fields is taken. Encounter a stream without any bridge we find a couple planks which we lay across for the wheels to run on and lead the mules cross that way while waiting for C Co. ahead to get across at the regular ford which is so muddy and churned up that the mules can't pull the carts across so the men have to shove and pull the mules and carts across. Their lieutenant in command keep hollering "shove it on them,. Shove it on them" at the top of his voice which is nothing very weak, while us fellows nearly laugh our sides off listening to him. So for fun some of our fellows were hollering the same thing just to make him mad and yell the louder. (As long as he was in the army I guess he never heard the end of that. When he was near someone would say that just to make him mad, while they kept hid.)

At Artaase strike the main road again and keep hiking until after midnight. It seems like the hike will never end, everybody is talking of falling out some where to sleep and some do at a couple buildings we pass an different places. For the first time I really considered the notion of dropping out but kept hanging on in hopes that just ahead in the darkness would be our billets. Sgt. Deets our platoon sergeant had been sent ahead to find our billets in the town and I must say he did a good job on it for us men of his platoon at least. They are rooms in partly destroyed buildings the one selected for us having bunks on the floor with straw in them and a trench stove in the rooms. Four of us were placed in each room. McKale and myself together. The village name is Les Grandes Armoises and is directly south of where we left the front lines.


Build and keep a nice warm fire in our billet today. It sure is some luxury to soak in heat from a stove once more. It seem ages since Sept.12 and yet it is only two months. There is lots of water nearby so washing clothes, first time in six weeks and take a bath and shaving occupies most of our time today. And the regular cootie hunt comes in too, regular when the weather, time and conditions permit. Today has been sun shinny the first for some time. Have three meals today and that's something new in over two months. This is a regular day for things unusual. Even tonight when we turn in we took off our pants, another luxury. The topic of conversation today and this evening is speculating on the possibility of an Armistice. We all hope it is not a beautiful dream, but none is even willing to risk much money on it. War such a reality and peace such a myth, a something to dream of, but never close enough to reach.


Have an early (7:00 A.M.) mess this morning. The mail also arrived during the night and was distributed at mess time. This is the first mail since Nov. 1st. I received three or four letters. Sgt. Stauffer returned to the company this morning, he couldn't locate our own (151st.) dressing station, none of the other stations would send him back to the hospital, because when one is sick only his own dressing station has a right to do it, to prevent fellows from fogging from one station to another until finally finding one that would send you back. A fellow being sick, his own station will tend to send him back. So we kidded him about it but he claims he is going to get our station to send him back this morning. We ask him what he is going for, when the war is supposed to end this morning. Of course that started him raving again, "Gentlemen this war will never end but if there is such a thing as flu, Gentlemen I've got it." And when we pull out at 8:00 he is not with us. (It was after we reached the Rhine before Sgt. Stauffer showed up again well and getting fat again as ever.)

The weather looks as if it might turn into a misty day, clouds hung low and thick with a sort of fog, damp and cold, hanging around. The column is all ahead us this morning, it being our turn to be in the rear. On reaching the outside of the village, a distant rumble sounds, what little hope we had has sunk many degrees. Peace, and Armistice, another happy dream shattered. Didn't have any faith in the rumor anyway, rumors we hear them every day, each day different ones and don't any of them come true, only the ones about us going up. Where is the rainbow in the sky this morning? On our way up to the front a rainbow always appears in the sky, a symbol that the Rainbow Division is on its way up. The outfit will have to hike some to reach the Metz sector by the 14th. Each Bn. or regiment has a French interpreter connected with it, to help as interpreter between our adjutant and the French civilians in adjusting claims for damages and billeting which the War Department pays for wherever we are billeted in town occupied by civilians.

This morning when only a kilo out of town someone looks back sees him coming on his horse at a canter. We never had much use for him because he was particular that the French got their whole moneys worth out of us. But this morning we forgot all about that, he wasn't with us yesterday or even this morning in the village maybe he knows the latest about the war and that talk of Armistice. Before he reaches us someone asked if the Armistice is signed, all heads and eyes are turned his way, with tears running down his eyes he nods his head in the affirmative and cantered on by. But it was enough to tell us what we most wanted to hear. The War is over! It means life, home and loved ones. It means the right to live as other men do, as other men have done before us. Talking ceased abruptly, a stillness swept up the column as the interpreter went by headed for the Major at the head of the column. One lone man somewhere up ahead gave one shout, it sounded strangely out of place. (I have often wondered what made him shout, was he just a new man in the outfit or was he a loud mouth bragger who always lost himself out when going into action or what?) Stillness, a holy stillness most and we did as the men did in the song "Marching thru Georgia", we "Wept with joyful tears" couldn't have done anything else and none wanted too. Silently each man followed his own thoughts, while trudging onward, thoughts of home, wandering if they had the good news yet. Oh if one could only let them know this great morning that their soldier boy is alive and well that they too might be glad as we are here, that they would not have to live in suspense for many days yet. Home, going to live to go home at last. Wonder how long that will be yet, how soon will they start us home, but that day will come some day now. Won't that be a wonderful day. But there are a lot that won't go home, will never know the joy of today or home, this joy of peace, of victory's triumph. All they knew was war's curse, war's hell, wars agony. And we are going home and live as other men do. No more long days and night of war, no more night hiking towards the big dipper, no more sleeping and living in holes in the ground, or digging shrapnel and H.E.

Gradually we come back to the reality and begin to discuss the things at hand. Was it really true and Armistice was signed? If it is then the war is really over, for the Huns are so nearly at the end of their string they will not care to start it again now. If it is really true why did we hear firing this morning a few minutes ago? Word comes back thru the column that the Armistice was signed at 5:00 A.M. this morning but will not go in effect until 11:00 A.M. this forenoon and that orders were issued to fire all they (the Allies) could right up to the minute. (Reports of heavy firing I think are greatly exaggerated for the whole battle front runs thru villages occupied by French and Belgian civilians and these weren't being needlessly killed by their own country. Along this part of the front I don't think a great deal of heavy firing was done because the artillery wasn't close enough to do much and besides the enemy position were not known very well. The whole Western Front was in the same condition excepting from Verdun to the East along by Metz. That accounts for the rumbles we heard.)

The more we thought and talked about it the more we began to doubt it all. We are on the way to Metz. We've lived on rumors most of the time and none of them come true, that is probably the way this will turn out. Yet this way has got to come to an end sometime, yet it is too good to be true. When we get an official order from Gen. Hdg. announcing the end we will believe it or when we see it in print with our own eyes. Early in the afternoon the Bn. reaches Germont where it is billeted. A large bunch of us draw a large upstairs room for a billet. Tonight after dark trucks keep going by with their headlights turned on, there must be an armistice or they wouldn't be allowed to do that. It is hard to believe it all, we try too, but it seems a dream, something we have hoped for, prayed for but something that seemed like it would never come - peace - the end. (President Wilson's daughter was over here at this time, and Armistice night {in Toul I think} she sang "The end of a Perfect Day" a very perfect and fitting ending to be sure.)


Clean our machine guns and automatics today and the ones not having automatics are listed so as to obtain ones for them. A great time to think about issuing them after the war is over. In cleaning his automatic Jones let the spring slip out of his hand and we couldn't find it, so I told him to put in for a new one just as if he hadn't any. A lot of canteen candy and cookies are received this morning. I don't know whether they are Y stuff or government canteen but anyway our supply sergeant is doing the selling of it so probably it is from the government canteen service. Quite a lot of Y writing material is received so I write a couple letters home and also mail the one home I wrote the last part of October. Everybody else most are writing too. The company took a shower bath in a bath house rigged up by the Hun. Major Winn receives dispatch from Gen. Hdg. officially announcing the end of the war. We are slowly realizing the news must be true.


This morning Lt. Andres took the company out of town a couple kilos on a salvage detail to police up the battlefields. This brings out a lot of kicks. Good natured kicks mostly, about having to police up the fields after having to do the fighting. Looks to us like it ought to be good job for labor battalions. The company is formed in skirmish line and started back towards the village with instructions to pick up all pieces of equipment and carry along. This wasn't so bad until some of us came upon a few unfired 75mm shells. War being at an end we don't like the idea of running anymore risk we want to go home. Shortly afternoon start hiking and the rumor this time says we are headed for Germany.

Near 4:00 P.M. as we swing thru a village we spy a Y man in a Ford coming down the street with a bunch of newspapers. He holds out a bunch towards us, maybe the papers will have the news of the Armistice in it, got to see it in print before believing. All this stuff about an Armistice. Us fellows at the head of the company all make a dive for them, many hands grip the bunch, it rips in two but there on the half that I help to hold in large headline printed clear across the top of the page ran, "THE WAR IS WON". Oh, happy words, at last we can believe the war is over. Home, we're going home.

After dark reach a village (Alliepont) and are billeted in a sort of mammoth wooden barrack upstairs with the ground floor made for a stable and equipment. The cooks cook mess after we arrive which is another sign that the war is over. Three men out of the Hdg. Company are wounded while building a fire to get warm by while waiting for mess. They built the fire on a hand grenade laying about.


Buy some cookies from the Supply Sgt. which had arrived during the night. Each one allowed to buy so much so each can get some. 8:30 A.M. start hiking we are down now nearly to the front we started from Nov 1st. 9:30 reach St. Georges the very same St. Georges we use to see from Hill 263. As we swing on to the road running parallel to the old front (East and West) we look across to the road running out north of the village and there before us a regiment of troops marching with Old Glory flying in the breeze along with their regimental colors a sight for sore eyes. Dear Old Glory, we haven't seen you in many a month, but we have followed you just the same. A couple kilos up the road the Bn. bivouacs in a field beside the road. Already most of the division is bivouacked in their pup tents all over the surrounding hillsides. The rest are pulling in now. This is the first time the whole division has congregated together in a mass since reaching France. We are being assembled in preparation for the hike into Germany which we have learned is a sure thing.


It was rather chilly sleeping last night. McKale and I are tenting together. A cold chilly breeze swept across these hills making it most impossible to keep warm. We all sit up late trying to keep warm around small camp fires each group of 6 or 8 men built. Got the wood to burn out of a shell riddled woods a half a kilo away. The whole divisions is receiving new replacements, some arrived yesterday and the rest today. This will be tough on them, this sleeping on the nearly freezing ground. Wonder if they are disappointed that the war is over? And what they think of such unkept, unmilitary outfits as these? In our bunch what we were transferred from the 328th. M. G. Bn. was a fellow named Sheldon, a hardboiled fellow, who when he saw this outfit the first time he swore and said, "And this is that famous Rainbow Division we hear so much about and swore some more "its a dirty, lousy looking outfit to me" and swore some more. From that day on he was called Rainbow by everyone save at roll call. We are about 1 1/2 kilos from the Cote de Chatallon.

Learn that the 1st., 2nd., 3rd., 4th. Regular Army divisions, 32nd. and 42nd. National Guard divisions and the 89th. and 90th National Army divisions will compose the Army of Occupation with the 5th. Regular Army division in reserve.

We want to go home, don't give a rip about the honor of being selected to occupy Germany. We will be the last to go home. Why don't they send some of the new divisions up there? The Huns won't start anything now. But something deep down in us told us that we would resent the selection of the new division getting the honor of going to the Rhine after the old civilians have done their bit in helping to win the war. But just the same don't like the idea of being the last home, wish we were on the way home now don't five a rip for the honor.

Hope the snow will hold off until after we get thru with this hike, 240 miles, it will be an awful hike, why don't Perching load us on trains and take us up there instead of making pack mules of us. 240 miles, there will be a lot of broken arches and sore feet. (And yet one hears some people say that the Germans ought to have been driven clear to the Rhine or to Berlin, Berlin is 200 miles or more beyond the Rhine, before quitting, that a lot of German towns had ought to have been destroyed same as the Huns did to French and Belgian towns that the job ought to have been finished right after it had been started. But these same ones very seldom had any relatives over there and so had nothing to loose, they were thrilled by the news of victory from the newspapers each day and wanted that thrill to continue. But I say that John J. Pershings combat troops in France weren't getting any of those thrills of victory, not even at the time of the Armistice was there any thought of victory or triumph, but a thought of this miserable job being finished, being at an end, now we can go home. To have fought on after the enemy was beaten would have been shear folly for the Allies, it would have meant needless loss of human lives for them while the Hun would have lost very few in comparison, it would have meant destroying more Allied towns for the Hun to pay for, and goodness knows she isn't able to pay for all the ones she had already destroyed, it would have reduced the capacity of the Germans to pay for the ones destroyed for the Allies so it would have resulted in the Allies standing the cost of destroying them.)

When we started for the Rhine it took five hiking days to reach the border of Germany, there were other places along the front nearer of course and if the Allies hadn't granted an Armistice you can make up your mind the Hun would have taken a stand before seeing his own country destroyed. And would all of this been worth the cost of one human life when it was known that the Hun was already beaten and beaten badly. Man power they had a plenty but food and material for ammunition was very short. (If there is anything that has come out of this War for the Allies that has not been a complete victory it is not from the fault of the armed forces that brought the victory, but from bickering politicians and statesmen who have quibbled over the fruits of the victory.)

Shave today, it is some job to shave with cold water out in the cold breeze. Today Lt. Geisel returned to the company, carrying an awful scar the width of his neck. Another cool chilly breeze sweeping across the hillsides this evening. Early tomorrow morning we start on the hike to the Rhine. Tonight we are trying to keep warm around our little camp fires out front of our pup tents. Our feet and faces are roasting while our back freeze and vice versa if one turns around. Around each fire 6 or 8 men sit talking in low tones of things in general. Thousands and thousands of these little camp fires can be seen all over the surrounding hillsides. It is truly "Tenting on the Old Camp Grounds". If this was a division back home tented out like this one would hear each group around a camp fire singing for all they were worth, but here not a single sound, one can't even hear the voices by the next campfires on each side. The war is over and we are happy but in all these thousands of men not one is wanting to sing, but just think and dream and talk of what we will do when we get home. Ham and eggs is going to be in the first meal and there will be beaucoup of it.

Might as well try to keep warm here by the fire, one won't be able to sleep very good tonight for the cold. Like to have some good souvenirs to take home, but this hike, I don't want to carry anymore than I have to, will have plenty and then some to carry. Among the infantry flares start going up, the war is over, won't need them anymore, so might as well shoot them off here in the dark, and watch them burst and float down will help to pass the time away. The idea took hold of everywhere, thousands of rockets and flares begin going up making a great sea of fire works on the sky. Some of us machine gunners borrow some pistols and flares and help shoot. But this is all done without any commotion or activity or voices and more than before it began. Just a quiet entertainment that is all. Down by the road our officers of the company have their large canvass shelter propped up, we naturally shoot that way because it is down grade and we can see the flares longer. Capt. Means sends his orderly up to tell us not to shoot towards his tent because he is afraid it will by set afire. But for the fun of it we just naturally see how close we could come but he never said a word about it. Dear old Captain, he is a good sport. (So much has been said about how the boys celebrated after the Armistice by the newspapers. If a newspaper reporter had seen us from a little distance sending up our flares, he probably would have put an article in his paper on how Gen. Perching's Famous Rainbow Division went wild celebrating the Victory. Yet there was not a bit of the celebrating idea in any of our heads or actions. A lot is said about the celebrations around the hospitals, I don't believe it, if it did happen it must of been for members of the S.O.S. and not by the wounded men. I don't think they could do it or even want too. We hear of celebrations by people that had no near relatives across.)

What a change there has been from 15 days ago. Then this hillside was just within enemy territory, the road just below us, known as the Laundres St.Georges road and mentioned so many times in war communiqués (dispatches) was a mere white ribbon on clear days as viewed by us back on Hill 263. St. Georges was a block of buildings infested by the Hun. Many a time our machine guns swept these hillsides with sheets of steel and with the hope they were finding their marks so that our own positions might be more secure and that the end of this war by brought nearer thereby. Just beyond the road a couple kilos looms the war scared knob of Cote de Chattelon, a perpetual monument to the dead, ever a reminder to the living. The woods behind us testify as to the accuracy of our artillery making it literally a mass of broken limbs and splints which we are now using to fuel our camp fires.

Then all of "This Mans War" was misery and longings, and uncertainties, when will the next meal arrive and will there be any mail by brought up with it, when will we be relieved and go back where we will be billeted with a roof over our heads and the sound of the guns in the far distant, will much needed new clothing be issued and our clothes run thru the delouser and will this war ever end?

And now the war is over, meals will be more regular, billets will soon by provided, new clothing issued to keep us warm and dry and then some day we will start the trip home. Before the war was over the greatest desire and hope was for peace, the end of the war and all would be bliss and contentment without much thought of going home. But now peace has arrived and instead of the bliss and contentment there is a great longing an over whelming desire to get back home at once, the job is finished would that all the thoughts, sights and experiences of the war be put far behind even to France itself, Yes and army life too. An honorable discharge and a suite of civvies will seem pretty good. No one is in a hurry to turn in tonight mostly because it is so beastly cold we won't by able to keep warm after we do. Always before everyone turned in soon as darkness came or before but then we had too 'cause no fires were allowed so the warmest place was rolled up in ones blankets. (If you were lucky enough to have that many.) Orders are for us to have our packs rolled before breakfast at 7:30. Start hiking at 8:00. This was the last night we bivouacked out on the ground.


Awoke at daybreak but as no one also was stirring outside McKale and I decide to wait until the rest crawl out or the Sgt. in charge of quarters calls us. What is the use getting up so early anyway we will have lots of time after mess to get ready always do and stand around and wait besides. Army like is one wait after another, always waiting for orders. if you are a good waiter you don't mind it so much.

That sharp biting wind is still blowing and the ground is frozen this morning. No one rolled out until mess was ready. Have a good feed and a good bawling out from Capt. Means for not having our packs rolled. Going to pull out right away. As the feed is more plentiful this morning than usual I decide not to eat all of mine but keep it in my mess kit for a lunch about noon. Sometime rolling packs, the cold biting wind simply freezes your fingers numb, making it necessary to stop work and put them in your pockets every minute or two. There is not a pair of gloves or mittens in the whole company.

One of the advantages in belonging to a M. G. Bn. outfit is that we make the mules haul our pack on the carts. There goes the call to fall in none of us are ready and very few of the mules skinners have their mules hitched up yet. First thing we know Capt. Means gives order to march, we are at the head of the battalion today, but only a few of the carts are ready but they pull out anyway. Being one of the first to get my pack rolled I make a run to catch one of my squads carts who have already pulled out and are up towards the head of the column. The mule skinners won't let you put your pack only on your own carts so it means I will have to catch up with my own. By the time all the men and carts are in motion the company is strand out a mile long, the rear ones trotting their mules and the men running to catch up. Finally I catch my gun cart and hang my pack on it. but a little farther on I come up with my ammunition cart beside the road with a broken wheel so I halt to help the driver take off the wheel while waiting for the spare part cart to come up which we know is behind us. As this has a spare wheel in it we put that on and inside 10 minutes are on the run again. Meet up with Sauver of 1st.Squad who has been unable to catch up with the head of the column so I have him put is pack on my cart until we can all catch up. The driver doesn't like it, their all afraid they will haul more than the others. The men in the company don't get along with them very well on that account, guess they would rather we'd kill ourselves than their mules. Think they won the mules, they don't even own the clothes on their backs any more than we do what we have on our backs.

I don't know what makes more noise than a cart or wagon drawn behind a trotting mule over these rough stone roads. Some rumble and racket I'll say until all caught up. Then I found that my mess kit had jolted out of my pack carrier and lost with all that good grub. I'll salvage me another mess kit along the road for from the looks this road embankment has been used as a from line trench by our infantry, equipment of all kinds is scattered about. Before going a mile I have a complete outfit picked up including even knife, fork and spoon.

Cross the Meuse River at Dun at 11:00 A.M. on a temporary bridge, the old bridge having been blown up by the Boche. At 1:00 P.M. arrive at Brandeville, where D. Co. is billeted in a Boche Army (wooden) Theater containing an old piano. A few of the men fell out on the hike today came straggling in during the afternoon. The officers are going to try to prevent this from now on, each corporal receiving orders to report those from his squad that fell out today. Gabby Kirsch of my squad being one of them. Gabby's feet bother him awful but I've never seen him fail on the front lines or fall out on the way up. A number of the men fall out when the going gets tough back off the lines, who wouldn't anymore think of falling out when going up than deserting or being a slacker. It is those very few probably one or two percent that sneak out going up who are the "yellow ones". Some of those would sneak back to the outfit after being relieved and eat rations which by right belonged to men. The others drifted back into the S.O.S. area wandering here and there so as not to get picked up by the M.P.s and feeding with casual outfits and Y mess lines. Many of these latter class and there are thousands, probably ten thousand, of them were criminals and near criminals indulging in offenses from petty stealing to armed robbery and murder. (A Division of Criminal Intelligence (D.C.I.) composed of detectives etc, had its men posted in all the larger places in the S.O.S. running down these criminals. The ones merely A.W.O.L. were left to their old outfits along with bunches of casuals (wounded discharged from hospitals) only to go A.W.O.L. again before reaching their destination. Capt. Karl Detzer, chief of the D.C.I. true stories which have appeared in the American Legion paper, shed a lot of light on this work.)

On the edge of the village is a Boche Cemetery fixed up with nifty cement walks, stone markers and the like. It probably was built during the early years of the war when the Kaiser planned on making this part of France into Germany. I have only seen one other Hun cemetery, we passed one Armistice day but it wasn't fixed up permanent like this one. The Germans believed in burying their heros in the Fatherland I guess for most all their dead were taken back there. I've never seen scattered graves of the Boche either.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17-18, 1918

This is a medium sized village no inhabitants in it, situated on a railroad and used evidently by the Germans as a supply depot. The chief supplies left are pickled heart, tongue liver, cabbage and cauliflower mixed together in barrel containers. We can stand a whole lot more to eat than we are getting but that combination doesn't appeal to us although we are eating some of the cabbage and cauliflower. Since being allowed to build fires, toasting bread is a popular pastime each meal, it is a change from plain dry bread. For the first time since starting for the St. Mihiel front we stand reveille. This three day stop is being made to replace worn out clothing only a very limited supply is available. I obtain a new pair of breeches and pair of shoes.

Everybody is boiling out their clothing to reduce ones supply of live stock, in kettles and pots found around the supply depot. The Battalion barber shop is in operation again since a seven weeks lay off, it is doing a rushing business cutting hair. While waiting my turn I pick up a Detroit daily newspaper that one of the fellows had received, showing pictures of Camp Custer and telling of the hundreds dying there with the flu. We didn't know that the flu was so bad. Writing letters is very limited, no material to write on. Receive a batch of mail, mail is generally over a month old by the time we get it. Equipment such as carts and ammunition boxes are getting a washing and the guns a cleaning. A kilo beyond Brandeville is where the front line was on Nov. 11th, the 32nd.Div. was holding this sector and they were attacking that morning.

One forenoon here we were treated to a sight I'll never forget. According to the terms of the Armistice the Huns were to transport at once all prisoners of war held by them to the end of the railroads, ending where broken off by the battle area and let them loose. As the trains couldn't run quite as far as Brandeille here, several thousand were turned loose a few kilos up the line, down thru the village they swarmed as fast as their legs could carry them, cutting corners and across lots anywhere to save a step, bound for home and nothing could stop them. They were all French and really I don't believe they hardly seen us in their hurry to get home. Possibly some of the speed might be attributed to the desire to put Germany and the Boche as far in the rear as soon as possible for if any soldier as cause to hate the Boche it is the prisoners of war. Most had a few personal belongings in gunny sacks on his back, others salvaged a dog wagon or cart and groups were using these some pulling and some pushing all bent on making speed. But the most striking and interesting part of this scene was the clothing worn, not one had a complete uniform of any nation but parts of uniform form all nations in the war both Allies and enemy although rarely any Boche clothing maybe the Boche wouldn't contaminate any of their uniforms on prisoners or maybe the prisoners wouldn't be contaminated by the Boche uniform. Sometimes one man would have blouse from one nation, cap from another, breeches from another and leggens from yet another, there were American, British, French, Italian, Austrian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Algerian and Australian articles of uniform in the bunch.


8:00 A.M. finds the battalion on the march this is to be the regular time each day to pull out. The old military roads running parallel are to be our main course of march although some side roads will be used, some so as to reach enough villages to be billeted in, each civilians brigades will use paralleling roads and keep abreast of each other. On our road our brigades two infantry regiments are ahead of us. All day long their long wagon trains kept holding us back, a wagon train usually is a slow moving outfit, each regiments, or as in our case battalions wagon train follows in the rear and another outfit is not allowed to pass it or cut thru it on the road, so we have to stay behind, this made it very irksome for us. Just outside of Brandeville the point of fartherest advance is passed, shell holes gradually grow fewer and farther between all day long. Villages begin to have inhabitants, good to see civilians especially woman and children once more. Just at dusk pass what appears to be the last shell holes of the battle area close beside the road. This brings a comment from most of the men, a comment of gladness, of relief, at last behind us, behind forever - yes, forever.

Shortly it is dark and the battalion comes to a halt for the night in a fair sized village, Ive Les Pres, park the carts on edge of village in a field where there is a large pile of cabbage heads stacked up, each one of us grab our pack and a cabbage head before being taken to our billets. About 15 of us are billeted in a room evidently used by the Germans to house troops in which there are double decked bunks. Eat cabbage until wagon train arrives and cooks get supper which is served about 9:00 P.M.


Wagon train detains us same as yesterday. Cross into Belgium at 10:00 the boundary line being a small stream on which is situated a water wheel, the first I have ever seen and a flock of large duck paddling near by in the water, making it what I had always imagined a typical Belgium scene with a small village in the back ground. One thing strikingly noticeable is the absence here of the Huns devastating hand as seen just back over the boundary in France. There every thing usable even to the shade trees along the road have been taken making it bleak and desolate. Halt for the day at Meauxyrton (Virton) At 4:30 P.M. which is a little city, quite the largest place we've been in, in a long time. It is large enough to look like we might be able to buy something to eat, so no time is lost in giving the town the once over but jam seems to be the limit of eats that we can buy, expect eats are rather short for them too! Each one of the company was issued three cans of salmon, nicknamed goldfish as reserve rations before leaving Brandeville but the last two days have been so long and irksome that every man has eaten them. (After arriving on the Rhine orders were received from the powers that be for each company to gather up this reserve ration and return it to headquarters, but under the conditions that was impossible so next payday every man was minus 58 cents of his pay. That was alright the salmon tasted good and we didn't want the government to go bust.) Five of us are quartered upstairs on the floor of a private house and when mess is served instead of eating it on the street we go to our billets and set down at the peoples table. They thought we were getting fed great, but then it was an extra good meal.


Major Winn has asked and received permission for us to head the brigade after this on account of our lighter packs and shorter wagon train, we can make faster time and keep out of the way of the outfits behind. We have to carry our own packs now, so as to be military and make a showing to the Germans, but the officers are letting us pack most of our belongings on the carts just so we keep enough in our packs to get by with and that mostly is only one blanket and our toilet articles and such the like.

The past two days the roadsides have been lined with German helmets, guess they are glad enough the war is over but I notice not a single rifle has been thrown away. They would make good souvenirs but we have enough to carry and if one sent one home by mail some sucker back in the States would steal it before it arrived at its destination. The fellows have tried it too often the suckers think we've seen a lot of them so don't need them so they just help themselves to them. This has been a march of triumph today every village has met us with a band, flags of all the Allies line the streets, surprising where they all came from considering the rigid servitude they were held to by the Huns. Banners stretched across the streets read:


Flowers a scarce article at this time of year were thrust into our hands as we passed thru and I am sorry to say dropped as soon as we were outside of the village because of no way to keep them. The battalion never halted in the villages unless our rest period of 10 minutes at end of each hour found us there. The people stood silently by as we marched thru, they let their music and banners and flags do the talking for them. We greeted them with the same silence, we understand they understand.

At one village they were burning the Kaiser in effigy. As we left each village a youth would set out running across lots to inform the next village we were coming. Middle of the afternoon brought us to a long hard climb up a hill but when we reach the top in the valley below is twin towns separated by a short lane. In one of these we halt for the night. Are quartered here in Gueff in barns on hay and straw mows. I select a place way up in the gable end of a straw mow. This village has flu cases in it so Meiser and I decide to go over to the other village to find something to eat. When we arrive over there the infantry is just pulling in and the band is giving them a royal welcome.

Engage a meal from a lady and she sits us in the bedroom while she cooks it. soon a couple officers come in and give us a bawling out for trying to take their room but we explain the matter and all is well. Have a good feed some of the food come from America she said. She had high praise for Mr. Hoover for feeding them. We gave her 15 franc (about $2.25) for the feed and she is tickled pink. One of the surprises I received here in Belgium is the fact there is no Belgium language as I had though. They all talk both German and French. The people claim that it is true about the Germans committing the Atrocious offenses and told of cases. (The facts are that many Atrocious offenses were committed although not as wholesale as we were led to believe in war time. These offenses probably weren't ordered by German command but where German command took the guilt is that they never tried to punish or stop the guilty.)


Belgium is sure some pretty country. At 9:00 A.M. march thru streets of Arlon which is a city of many thousand. Shop windows are a scene for sore eyes. At 12:00 noon come upon a beautiful wooded scene with a stream running thru it. Just beyond the bridge is a roadhouse (cafe) flying the Luxembourg flag and we know the stream is the boundary line. Luxembourg is a small independent buffer state, neutral during the war but at the same time over run and dominated by the Germans. The Germans only allow them to maintain an army of 300 men. The country is getting nearly mountainous, its picturesque but hard hiking. After covering 28 kilos descend into a deep, narrow valley into a village called Simmern where about half of the company is billeted in a bowling alley. As we were halting in the street as we came in I saw a peasant lady leading along sheep from the opposite direction into town by holding on one ear. Buy some candy and eight of us get supper at a cafe. Red Laymon thought he would rig up a stove in our bowling alley and about smokes us out because the stove pipe is in bad shape. We threw the thing out.


Last night after arriving here I went over to the infirmary (first aid) to get may feet bound up, my arches are bothering some but they wouldn't do anything, there are so many going lame a fellow has to be quite bad to get fixed up. But this morning I fooled them I made believe I could hardly walk on them so they taped both of them up. I believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (I left the tape on until we reach the Rhine. I didn't have any trouble after they had been taped a couple days.) As the Germans are given so long a time to retreat and turn over their war material and as there is to be so many kilos of neutral zone between them and us, we are going to halt here a few days. It sure will be a welcome rest especially for our feet.

Buy some writing material and write letters today. Shaved up too. This afternoon is spent washing the carts and cleaning the guns. This valley is sure deep and narrow. There is one place, around where we washed our carts, the people say that the sun never hits and I believe it. Right up from there on one side 150 feet on a cliff stands an old castle destroyed more than a hundred years ago by fire. A sharp curve in the valley at this point helps to shade it from the suns rays. A fast mountain stream comes tumbling down runs directly thru the village, at one place for a hundred foot or more it is carried in a viaduct ten feet above the ground coming to the ground just before getting to the front door of our bowling alley billet.


Buy postcard of scenes of the village. Get paid today for the first time since being transferred three months ago excepting the casual pay received on St. Mihiel Front. Drill this forenoon in the flats below the village. Something new for us got to snap into it and be military from now on the officers say. Got to salute the officers from now on. Some drill I'll say. The officers will have sometime making this outfit be military again, the war is won so what is the use? They want us to make a showing before the Germans. Cleaning our pistols this afternoon. If we all don't die with the T.B. we will by lucky. A common saying is that this hike is taking ten years off each ones life. It is a fright at night here in the billet which is cold and damp, we are lying on the bare floor, have only two blankets apiece, not enough to keep warm without keeping our heads under the blankets. At no time during the night but what one can hear men coughing all over the room coughing the deep down cough that threatens to tear the inside out with it, and nothing to help it with, but try to keep it smothered under your blankets. There is not a man that has escaped it. Capt. Means orderly Shorty Williams has found a bed for McKale and myself over there. McKale is German and can understand and talk the language some. The old man and lady have one daughter Josephine, about 18 years old and they, the old folks are stuck on Shorty, the old man has offered Shorty a horse if he will marry his daughter. A horse is about all that is needed here to farm with and considering the value and scarcity of horses he made quite a liberal offer with Josephine thrown into boot. McKale made Shorty jealous because of his being able to talk and understand Josephine better than he can and Shorty tries to claim one of our blankets when he gets ready to turn in. Before going upstairs to bed the old lady fixed us two up a hot drink of milk with some herbs in it said it would loosen our cold before morning. We have a bed in another room, there are two beds in the room, where one of the fellows has a touch of pneumonia. Hadn't anymore than got in bed until Capt. Means sends a fellow up to take care of the sick man with the under standing he use the bed we are sleeping in. He is one of those old codgers 45 years old no good for anything else than being a mule skinner so on as he seen us in bed got mad marched right downstairs wouldn't listen to us making offers to get up and let him have the bed. Soon he some back with Capt. Means we explained how we happened to be here so he let us stay for the night.


We didn't sleep very good last night guess the bed was too soft and warm and then we had to get out every few minutes are kidneys bothered us so. But our colds are so loose they rattle but if we have to stir up such a mess to sleep in a bed, we will go back to our old place in the bowling alley. We arrive a little late for reveille and get bawled out. Drill in forenoon. Rains most of day. Mess Sgt. Troop made 1st. Sgt. and Sgt. Stump made Mess Sgt.


Thanksgiving Day. Have swell dinner, company buying a hog, so have roast pork and mashed potatoes and gravy. View the old castle this afternoon climbing to the top of it and walking around. Natives claim a princess is buried in it. One can see the remains of the old moat around it, numerous loop holes and catches where the archers and spear men stood at their posts of defense, the tower in which were the living rooms and many other interesting sights. A large cobble stone court yard in the center of the ruins. Many tourists names are carved in the large wooden doors at the main entrance and I added mine to them. Mieser and I bought a supper of a family.


Drill today, Pvt. Herr of another squad is appointed to take over the corporalship of my squad. Herr is a nice fellow, one of the original men of the company. I'm glad I haven't the job any longer. Sun shone today for first time in a week.


This morning I found 120 franc outside of our quarters trampled in the mud. It belonged to George Temples. Stand company inspection this morning with light packs. The rest of the day we have off. Today has been appointed as write a letter home day for the whole A.E.F. so as to get the ones who haven't written home to let them know they are safe to do so today. Most everyone is writing. Tomorrow we hike again. The rest has helped our feet but our colds are not any better, McKales and Mine tightened right up again as soon as coming back to the bowling alley here to sleep. Ever since the Armistice boils have been the rage in the company hardly a person escaping this. I have three large ones and a couple small ones on my right hip, right where I should carry my automatic but I keep it twisted around in front of me so as not to rub them.


The people here are mostly of German stock, although at present they seem to favor the Allies cause, I have a good idea they weren't that way at the beginning of the war. Germans three main military roads cross the country leading to Belgium and France. Hike to Heisdorf, Luxembourg arriving at 1:00 P.M. This is a large village on a railroad. Sure was some steep descent coming down into the flat in which the village is located. The mules couldn't hold the carts back. About half the company is billeted over a large cafe on the floor. This didn't suit Sgt. Drawbough, McKale and my self so we find a family living upstairs in a two family house who are going to let us sleep on their dining room floor. We buy dinner and supper of them, besides eating from our own kitchen. Rumor going around, started by mule skinners that we will entrain here for the Rhine.


Hike to Mandenach, Luxembourg arriving at mid afternoon with men and mules about all in. At 10:00 A.M. our general reviewed us from beside the road just as we were making a long grade. Dudly let his mule lag behind just when passing the general which caused him a bawling out a few minutes later by Lt. Parkenson, the first time I've ever seen him really ruffled up. Dudley doesn't give a rip anyway. One has to be careful about wrapping his leggings before starting on these hikes if least bit tight one will have too fall out and rewrap them. The first hour is when the swelling comes, generally some has to fall out each morning. Also the hike and the pull of the pack carriers straps across your chest and back cause the hands to swell and become numb, until the fingers can not hardly be moved. This swelling last till the hike is over for the day. The ten minutes rest each hour are most welcome but at the end of them one is so stiff that one can hardly get up again. Todays hike was over mountainous country the road zig zagged up the mountain sides sometimes the head of the company would be only a few rods from the rear of the company yet up many feet higher on the mountains side. I am detailed to help the supply wagon driver to unload his wagon tonight so he can draw the kitchen some grub and supplies. Sleep in a straw mow tonight.


Will enter Germany about noon today. Our company is in lead, the first squad has mounted its machine gun on top the gun cart and Knox the gunner is riding it and they are hiking 200 yds in advance of us acting as advance guard in case of trouble with the Germans. At 12:30 enter Germany at (Wallendorf I think) the Sauer River forming the boundary line, a large river crossed by a long bridge. Billeted at Eisnach at mid afternoon in a straw shed across from a cafe. We spend most of our time after hiking in cafes generally, it gives a place to sit down and some time there is a stove to get warm by. Orders received that six shots in succession means call to arms in case there is trouble. So far we haven't seen much of the Germans yet. They stay completely off the streets while we are marching thru the only glimpse we see of them is of them peeking out of the window.


As we are packing our spare clothing and blankets on the carts this morning just before pulling out Johnson, a member of the headquarters squad who haven't any carts belonging to their squad, gets in a fight with one of the mule skinners who refuses to let him put his blankets on his cart. They trade blows for a few minutes calling it a draw, but Johnson put his blankets on. We pulled for him for the mule skinners begrudge hauling our blankets for us. Hike to Ideshum only 6 kilos away. Again billeted in a barn, this time on a mow of partly threshed wheat. They use a horsepower threshing rig. Drizzled most all day. Shave. Corp. Hoover is busted to private today for swiping stuff from the kitchen at night and Capt.. Holbrook relieved of his squad for the same offense.


Hike to Gendorf a medium sized village where many of us are billeted in a cafe. I'm going to leave my bolo here when I pull out tomorrow it is a Russian issue one and our equipment has never been checked over yet since the armistice so it will be the same as lost in action. Anything lost in action didn't come out of your pay but now when things are checked up to you once if lost , out of your pay check it will come. The bolo is such a trouble to carry it on your belt it being so long.


Hike to Bettenpels arriving late in afternoon. At the beginning of this hike several days ago, Meiser about noon each day would start saying "Well we"ll be billeted in the next village we come too", generally when that village would be reached we wouldn't stop, then he would say "Well the next one then", until now it is a joke and every one says it in passing thru a village.

The people are gradually coming out of their holes so to speak, learning that we are not so ferocious as they had heard we were from account their soldiers had told about us on the front plus the propaganda sent out by the Kaiser himself to make them hate the Americans for turning the tide against them. Invariably the first questions they ask is "Is that Rainbow division coming into Germany?" When we tell them we are part of the Rainbow division they are surprised we are so young, haven't even got mustaches yet and the like. The mustache was a mark of a soldier in the French and German armies. I guess the news that we are treating the Germans fairly is proceeding us. That we haven't even killed and eaten anybody yet is bringing the Germans back on to the streets and on sociable terms. Today Corp. Caldwell sauntered off the side of the road while the company was resting, to see if he could find something to eat in a garden beside the road, along came on officer just at that time in a car, stopped demanded his name and etc., stealing from the Germans is going to be rigidly prevented. Eight of us are billeted with a German family and we are to sleep on the dinning room floor. None of us can understand German very well, the family took us into the barn part instead of into the house, and Red Laymon cussed and swore at them fit to kill until we found out that what they wanted was for us to put our packs in the barn because there wasn't room enough in the house for us and packs both. The family consists of the old folks a young unmarried daughter and a son just returned from the Germany army, and his bride of a few days. Learn that the son was at Chateau Thierry and the Argonne. We eat supper with them discuss the war as best we can without any feeling of hate atleast not on our part. They are just as glad the war is over as we are. If one has a bar of soap or chocolate you can get anything from these Germans you want. That is something they are mighty scarce of and they will trade you anything from something to eat to a marriageable daughter for a wife for either one of these. I gave the old lady some soap but I didn't ask for her daughter. Nearly all these German people that you talk with have a sister, brother, uncle or aunt living in the United States and they tell you the State and place and think it grand that you know where that place is.

We keep close tab on our equipment especially our blankets and generally carry our automatics with us all the time. Just before bedtime I went outside intending to go into the barn door to get my blankets, being pitch dark I'm not able to locate the barn door by feeling along side the building. Suddenly I stepped off into space landing about six feet below on the hard cobble stone pavement beside a manure pile. Getting up I am hardly able to stand and one side of me is all covered with wet manure. With some difficulty I manage to climb back up the cobble stone terrace and back into the house. The sight of me all manure covered brought a big laugh out of the German family but let them laugh we gave them the horse laugh back on the St. Mihiel and the Argonne. They gave me some water and I gave my side a washing.


This afternoon pass a large German army hospital and shortly after enter Daun a large city, the show windows are decorated with Christmas things. Many 32nd. Div. men are walking about the streets they have their divisional insignia sewed on their sleeves the first we have seen. All the division have had insignias for some time, the men have not been allowed to wear them until now, the trucks being the only equipment that has the insignia on. it. On leaving Daun the insignia signs of the 1st. Div., 2nd. Div. and 32nd Div. directing their truck traffic are along the road indicating that the combat units of these divisions are now ahead of us. Billeted late in afternoon in a very small village named Waldhomigen in deserted rooms upstairs.


As we pull out this morning an infantry regiment with its long wagon train gets ahead of us, coming onto our road from a side road. This detains us an hour. Some of us fellows who are lucky enough to have raincoats, have been wearing them because most of the days have with been rainy or threatening to rain and besides and raincoats are cooler and lighter to carry than the overcoats, but orders have been to war overcoats rain or shine, cold or hot and keep them buttoned up at all times. Goodness knows they have caused a lot of sweating on this hike. But this morning I have a hunch I had better wear my overcoat and lucky I did for while we are waiting for the wagon train to pass the Captain orders all wearing raincoats to change them for the overcoats. This caused a lot of unrolling and rerolling packs.

Many people are on the roads this morning walking to church, everybody walks. Arrive at Boxberg, a little village, late in the afternoon and we are quartered in a deserted house on a straw bunk. This is Company D's turn at guard, every fourth day the companies taking turn and I am assigned to kitchen guard. Each company guards its own kitchen each night to keep the grub from being stolen, so much stuff has been disappearing lately that a corporal is also put on guard at the kitchen and making him responsible if anything is stolen. This has helped considerably. Eats have been mighty scarce on this hike coupled along with the extra heavy hiking we are doing. I don't know how we would stand it if it wasn't for the eats we get from German families, where we are quartered. The Germans are mighty shy of food too, potatoes seem to form the bulk of their eats. On arriving in a village where the battalion is to be billeted the company whose turn it is to do guard duty forms a guard detail dividing the village in beats which the guards patrol, always two guards together on each beat. Each guard detail is divided into three reliefs, and guarding continue's until the battalion pulls out next day.

Our kitchen is located in a bay of a barn. Soon after going on guard at dark two young Germans come calling on two girls in the house which is attached on the barn where the kitchen is located. About midnight on leaving the girls accompany the fellow to the door letting a flood of light out on the cobblestone street. After laughing and chatting a while the two fellows saunter out to the edge of the light and proceeded to make two streams of water clatter on the stone pavement all the while the four continued to laugh and chat. I'd give anything to know what they were saying.


About noon today on approaching a river spanned by a bridge another column of troops, infantry, is seen approaching the same bridge from another road, the two columns being about a kilo from the ridge. The column reaching the bridge first will have the right of way, the other will be forced to wait. At once a spirited race is begum as fast as packs would permit our legs to carry us with out breaking into a run or double quick. Of course, we have the advantage, our pack being lighter than theirs so we win by a couple rods. D Company is leading the battalion today. George Temples shoes are badly worn making his feet sore so this afternoon Capt. Means let him ride his horse. Temples is awful clumsy and never rode much I guess, it took nearly the whole two 1st. squads of the company to get him into the saddle. A few days ago Major Winn and Capt. Means hiked one day at head of the column to show us they are game. Mid-afternoon reach Boos where four of us including McKale and myself are billeted in a home, where we have a room with two beds in it. The family only consists of the man and wife both elderly people They make us right at home with them, eat supper with them.


These four days we receive a much needed rest although I believe the fact of the men as a whole are in better shape than at the half in Luxembourg. The weather has remained quite warm the ground hasn't even frozen yet, and wearing our overcoats has sort of broken loose our coughs and colds. Sleeping in reasonably warm places has helped our "Rhumetz" also. "Oh BOY!" us four fellows here are living high, fried potatoes and waffles a couple times a day besides eating at the company kitchen. And good warm beds to sleep in. The last day here at 2:00 P.M. the companies turn at guard came and I was on the detail, my post being out on the edge of town guarding the pickets line. At night we built a small camp fire to keep warm by.


At reveille volunteers for the job of buglers for the company is asked and I put in my name. As we hike today us four fellows each give the Frau where we have been staying 20 franc apiece. Gee it tickled her some. That was about $15.00 all together. Pass thru Mayen in the forenoon. Mayen is a fair sized city. We meet another column of troops marching thru, some one in our column called "who won the war" and they answered back "the May and June draft:. The joke being on us. Beside the river in the city lies a small park in which stands the bust of Kaiser Bill. (Along in the winter this bust came up missing one morning, later it was found in the river bottom. Of course, there was no doubt of how it came to get there.)

Many stone quarries lie just beyond the city and just beyond there a typical old time shepherd, long whiskers, cloak, and staff and all, stood with his watch dog guarding a large flock of sheep. Since leaving Luxembourg the country has been only rolling and hilly not any mountains. General farming is the produce of the country. Reach Bell a fair sized village at 4:00 P.M. after a 26 kilo hike. When being billeted the officer who has gone ahead to arrange for the billets starts at the head of the column tolling off as they come so many to each billet place according to its capacity. Today as Lt. Andres our billeting officer, he does the billeting because he is a German and talks the language, was assigning us to our billets some of the fellows came back said the Germans wouldn't let them all in because there was not enough room for that many. Lt. Andres said "You go right back there and go in, if we'd listen to these people we would all have to sleep out doors." Meiser and myself are assigned to a house on edge of town where we have a nice room with a feather bed, quite the swellest place I hit yet. At mess time the mail is distributed and I receive three letters we take our mess to the billet where we sit down with the man and wife and eat our supper. They gave us each a plate to eat off but they eat directly from the dish or bowl that the food is served in This is the way all the people have eaten so far that I've seen. I don't know whether it is the custom or for lack of dishes. The man and wife are middle aged and he is just out of the Army, we having met him once before, at St. Mihiel, guess he was going so fast that we failed to see him. I believe the German soldiers were just simply turned loose without waiting to discharge them.


Learn this morning that todays hike brings us to the end of the hike. By road it has been about 400 kilo (240 miles) by way the crow flies about half that it seems by the way these roads twists around. Hike 13 kilo to Waldorf where some of us are billeted over head in a barn, learn we will be placed in homes when places can be found. It is only 5 or 6 kilos to the Rhine River from here. Everyone has a desire to see that old river and are planning to walk over there in a day or two. Placed at kitchen guard tonight.


Clean carts this A.M. Eight of us are changed to another billet, using a families living room. Shave this afternoon. I am assigned on special duty, to learn bugling but there is no bugle to learn on until some are received.


The corporal sleeps on the couch here and the rest of us sleep on the floor, under and on top of the dinning table and anywhere we can sleep the best. The people have apples to sell and believe me, we keep buying a peck from them every little while. I am placed on guard detail again, the main street thru the village is my beat to patrol, of course along with another man. I shouldn't have been placed on guard while on special duty but the 1st. Sgt. made a mistake said he would remember next time. Receive many new pair of shoes which the company need badly. Lt. Andres has a cousin, a frau, living here in this village. Payday for month of November while here.


Orders to change from here to quarters nearer the Rhine are received and we pull out for a hike of only 9 kilos they say. Pass thru a small city, Sinzig, which is crammed with German trucks turned over to the Allies. Just beyond the city are three German planes taking the air piloted by our airmen. A kilo from Sinzig is a large village Kripp situated on the bank of the Rhine and we are billeted in it. Most of the company being billeted in a large chateau while the rest of the battalion is billeted in homes. The chateau has never been occupied before, being built in 1914 at start of war. It is named Bethelm. The building is modern, running water in some of the rooms, bathrooms, toilets, furnace heated, and a large sun parlor. Steel cots with springs are provided for us. Eleven of us, Corp. Herr and Caldwell, Pvts. Hanby Meiser, Sauer, Jones, Kirsch, Humphries, Childs, McKale and myself occupy one room on the second floor, there is three stories, in one corner of which is a large porcelain wash bowl equipped with hot and cold water. Off our room there is another smaller room that is occupied by Corp. Holbrook, Mechanics May and Frederick, Pvts Anderson, Johnson, Knox and Ryan.

From our windows we can see the Rhine River a half kilo away winding its crooked way long side a row of hills on its opposite side. Between us and the river is a large flat which extends down to the river a couple kilos to where the low lying buildings of another town can be seen, (Remogen has about 3000 population). Just this side of Remogen a railroad crosses the river. Excavation work can be seen on the top of one of the hills across the river between here and the bridge, this contains the emplacement of one of the Big Berthas had a range of 75 miles. Directly across the river from Kripp is a larger place called Linz. Kripp has a population of 1200. The two towns are connected by a ferry boat only Tugs drawing flat boats barges many hundred feet in length and loaded until only a few inches of the barge sticks out of the water are continually passing down the river and empty ones going up. Each tug draws from two to four barges and always in tandem. Allied military regulations forbid this traffic after this to move from sun down to sun up. Tomorrow is Saturday so most of the afternoon in spent washing our cartridge belts and pack carriers.` Hope we stay here until we are ordered home, for the outlook is pretty good with cots to sleep on and a steam heated room to lie in. This being used as a pack mule isn't pleasant work by any means even if you are seeing a lot of good scenery and interesting and novel sights. We seen an oxen and a milch cow, a mule and an oxen and even a horse and a cow soon to be fresh hitched together doing work for German farmers on our way here. Never have we seen two horses hitched together yet, which all goes to testify that horses are mighty scarce here in Germany. The German kids near have taken up with us like the French kids who were always running along beside the troops begging pennies. The people have used us kindly and free hearted but part of that might be contributed to fear of us and the desire to win our good will so we would use them better. This kindness and good heartedness struck us as in sharp contrast to the touchy French who always were looking for our money and always afraid we were going to take something from them. The French are a more refined, artistic, loving, pleasure loving and emotional people than the Germans. The Germans more hardworking, home loving and self centered people. The Germans in their home life seem to be hard to beat but it is their ideas on the Germany as a whole where they have fallen down. They are an educated people but their education has been entirely directed from Berlin teaching them of their so called German culture, German might, German might makes right, German superiority "alliance with God" until nationally they are a overbearing, self centered, pigheaded nation. The French nick-named the German soldiers "Boche" meaning blockhead. Their school houses, village halls and other public buildings always have one of the following mottos on them:



I don't believe the company sang a song on the whole hike to the Rhine. Reason-didn't feel in the mood too. I earned the reputation as being the companies best hiker. Mail arrived today and I received four old letters, that's letters that have been on the way a long time with letters received in the meantime of more recent dates.


Inspection this A.M. Us men of the first platoon have to stand it over again because our equipment wasn't up to requirements. GEE! we have got to begin to soldier again. Gunner Ward of the 2nd. Squad got us balled up some what. Corp. Herr sent him down town where the carts are parked and he came back without the machine gun cause he couldn't find it declaring some one else had taken it. As I'm not in the squad any more I said I would go down and get it so that the rest would have more time to get ready for the inspection. I have no trouble finding it, but the squad didn't have time to give it a good cleaning. This afternoon stroll down to the river and along the river street meeting Hutchens in a cafe on the river bank. It has been sometime since I have had time to talk with him.


Write letters today. One can buy writing material in any of these German villages but that is about the limit.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 23-24, 1918

Company commences regular drill which will be in the forenoon only, the afternoon will be had off unless you get on the guard detail which takes about half the company each fourth day. I commence to practice bugling on an old bugle which one of the fellows found on the hike up here. It has been run over so it is no good only to practice on. Us eight buglers, there are two from each company assembled down on the river bank to practice.


Christmas, but it doesn't seem much like it even if it did snow an inch last night. This morning the company was taken down to the Y which at present is in the village school house, where each one of us are given a chocolate bar and package of cookies. This evening members of the company gave an entertainment downstairs here, consisting of songs and clogging. The company bought some chickens so we had chicken dinner today. Some feed. Three meals are served each day since arriving in Kripp.


Y changes its quarters to a large one story building with writing tables and chairs in it. At one end is a stage in fact it must be the village entertainment hall. About two thirds of the company receive their Christmas boxes today along with lots of other mail but I'm not lucky enough to get my box. A carload of the boxes we hear burnt up back in France, bet mine was in it. Rained the snow off this evening.


Teeth of all the men in the Bn. are inspected by a group of central officers, mine being listed as in No. 1 condition. Men who have bad teeth that are very far gone will have to get them pulled within the next few days. (This caused a whole lot of kicking because so many teeth listed to be pulled could be fixed, the men preferred to keep them until they were out of service and then have them fixed rather than have them pulled out now. But orders were orders so out come most of the teeth.) Battalion is taken to the Y were each man is required to make out a card listing what kind of employment he is qualified to work at when he is discharged and whether he has a job waiting for him. Entertainment at the Y by men of the Battalion and some German musicians. Most all Germans can play some kind of musical instrument.


No drill. It is a clear day for a change and I take a walk down the river side towards Remogen. The river banks are stoned up from beneath the waterline to a few feet above. The river is getting into flood stage from the recent rains. It is a case of going to bed with the chickens very seldom do we received any candles (army issue) so when darkness comes, it's go to bed unless there is an entertainment on at the Y or one goes down to sit in the cafes. Most go to bed instead of to the cafes. Meiser is a great fellow to eat, he is always out hunt a place to buy a meal, tonight he's out so us fellows play a joke on him, filling his blankets and bedding, we have straw ticks, with all the old rubbish we can find. He will have a nice time getting it all out in the dark when he arrives.


166th. Inf. Band furnishes the entertainment at the Y this evening.


Write letters and attend church services at the Y. Our battalion has a chaplin now, a former doughboy sergeant from the 166th. Inf. The river has overflowed its banks here in town backing up the main street several rods, the street along the river bank is a couple feet under water and water is in all the buildings along the street.


167th. Inf. Octet at the Y. News of death of former President Roosevelt. Battalion formation and salute at 4:00 P.M. in honor of Roosevelt.


Movies at the Y the power being furnished by a truck and the movie machines taken on rounds of the different town to give shows. Shows are being organized in most regiments to travel around to entertains us boys and help us pass the time away.


Boxing at Y by Battalion men.


Wrestling at Y by Battalion men.


Y receives candy and cookies to sell but they don't last the day out. Rainbow Sheldon gets tanked on Ven Rouge and the patrols try to arrest him. They have some time doing it.


Inspection in A.M. 168th. Inf. Band at Y in evening, appointed bugler today.


Fine weather, no snow yet attend church at Y. Buy a pie, at least it is called a pie but I would call it pie crust with a then coat of jam filling baked on it. It is about the only eatable article that one can buy save a little carrot jam, (ground carrot flavored with black berries) made at a jam factory here in town. The first few days after we arrived a small butcher shop was in operation, most of their meats were ground and mostly had blood mixed with it. Us fellows tried to eat some of the stuff but couldn't stomach it. (Shortly after this Allied army regulations forbid the Germans form selling meals or any food stuff to soldiers so that cut us off completely from buying things to eat. Reason, the scarcity of food for the Germans themselves.)


Receive first mail for sometime in which I learn that Alfred is very sick and Roma is dead. (Alfred is the oldest brother and Roma is sister of future wife, Molly Hager.)


A Bishop from New York speaker at the Y. I go with Parks to Ahrweiler the division headquarter to take him home after the speech. Parks is the Majors chauffeur now, has an old Ford delivery wagon sort of thing to drive. Pass thru Neuemahro the Divisional Supply Base on the way.


After practicing bugling a while this A.M. I take a walk over to Sinzig we are not supposed to go over there without a pass but we never bother to get one. Buy three rings for souvenirs. On my way back just at the out edge of Sinzig suddenly I see the company coming towards me just down the road a short ways. I ducked down a side road behind a hedge to get out of sight. This hedge bordered around a three or four acre field so I follow it around figuring in coming out on the road again after the company had passed into Sinzig. As I turn a corner of the hedge and start the road again suddenly the head of the company appears in view ahead of me, comes to a halt like the officers were debating whether to enter the field, they had turned about face since I had first run on to them. I beat a hasty retreat back around the corner of the hedge the way I came from following the hedge back to the side road I had first ducked onto. Before stepping out on to the road I look to see if the coast is clear and there if the company hadn't about faced again and are on the road where I first run on to them. I duck into the ditch alongside of the hedge and wait until they pass on into the town.

From the above drawing one can see the positions of the several armies and the neutral zone as the Allies are lined up along the Rhine River. The bridge heads are drawn from the three main cities Cologne, Coblinz and Mainze on a 30 kilos radius the neutral zone is also 30 kilos in diameter no Germans or Allied troops are allow with in this neutral zone less of course Germany should violated the terms of the Armistice then of course the Allies can take over as much of Germany as they can get. Each company in all the divisions have positions selected in battle for an immediate attack of advance. In case of an attack our M. G. Bn. will fall back to positions already selected on the heights about the city of Sinzig along where the infantry have their positions. Each battalion and regiment are billeted as near their position as the lay of the village permit so as to be ready in as short a time as possible in case there is trouble. Of course none of us really believe there will be anything doing.

One day the infantry and the artillery staged a sham attack, the artillery using a hill between here and Remogen and a little ways back from the river, advanced down from their positions across the fields in battle formation thru Kripp and to the rivers edge. The German didn't know what was going on, wringing their hands, the women folks wept and everybody scared in general. It was sport for us, darn them let them get scared once, let them take some of their own medicine, If it wasn't for them we would be back home and in civvies. But as it is we're in this "God forsaken country" where there is nothing you can buy to eat or any place to go for amusement of anything to help pass the time away. A new song has come out entitled "All we've got is a home on the Rhine". It is very popular because it is the way we feel and it is sung with a wailing and mournful tune. Meiser the fellow that seems to start the sayings of the outfit start each morning when he awoke to say "One more day neared home:. Although we go to bed in the dark and don't get up until 7:00 A.M. just in time for reveille every one hates to get up and so the song, "I'm going to murder the bugler" is very popular. I don't have to do any drilling. The fellows hate the drilling even if it is only for part of the forenoon. There is a craving for something to eat that is sweet, if only the Y would send us up some candy and cookies it would help some. Our Y man isn't worth two cents he has gotten us one batch of writing paper and a few books, magazine but that's about all, the paper is long since gone, the magazines check full of war stuff and we don't want to read that stuff. The war stuff probably goes great back home but sending the stuff here for us to read is a misfit. Of course we get fighting the war over in our billets often but it is on account there is nothing else to talk about in this hole unless it is the latest rumors. Each week brings a new batch of rumors about when the division will entrain for home. A few days ago all the artillery horses of the division were turned in, that is shipped outside the division, rumors had it we would soon be entraining for home ourselves soon as the horses were gone. But instead the artillery was all reequipped with tractors to draw their guns and here we are for the remainder of our lives so it seems.

Quite often the Y received copied of the A.E.F. edition of the New York Herald and Chicago Tribune which serve to keep us in touch with the outside world. The Germans have ceased helping to furnish music at the Y programs I don't know why but I do know that the Germans especially the boys and men got to coming to the Y doings every night in such large numbers there wasn't room for all us men. One night recently some of the fellows got to teasing the larger boys by sticking them with pins, mostly making believe they were formed a lane thru the crowed room down one side of the room to the stage across the room there to the other side of room than back along hat side to the door leading outside. They made the Germans run this lane one at a time all the while the fellows along the lane would make believe they were going to stick them. This worked so well clearing the room that soon the German men were being made to run the gauntlet until there was not a German left in the room. Since then there hasn't been a single German at the Y to bother us. Well we are living more closely to Army regulations thereby for Army Regulations forbid associating with the Germans any more than absolutely necessary to carry on the business of soldiering. The German by the same regulations are forbidden to hold night meetings of any kind, no meetings in the day time only church and meeting absolutely necessary for the good government of their village or city. More than three German adults meeting on the streets together is forbidden Germans have to get passes from our officers to leave our divisional area or to cross into the neutral zone. Absolutely all fire arms have to be turned over to the Allied Armies for safe keeping while the occupation lasts. Each householder has to keep a list of people staying under his roof tacked to his front door. We are have no trouble with the Germans not living up to the regulations. I don't think the war affected the "kid crop" of Germany any. But believe me they are pretty hard up for shoes. While watching the kids play at recess I've seen all manner of foot wear on the kids "Boys and girls 8 or 10 years old wearing worn out shoes of their father or mother shoes with heavy thick wooden soles with leather uppers., shoes of their older brothers or sisters, shoe of odd pairs and maybe of the same foot, shoes with the heels worn off, shoes with the soles warn thru, believe me they are hard up for shoes. None wore wooden shoes to school and not many of the older people wear them here either.

Every Friday afternoon their teachers take them for hikes, always march in column of squads both the boys and the girls singing as they go. Even their games are based on some kind of military formation or drill. From the time they are born, yes and even before, they are taught to be a soldier to fight for their fatherland. I say before they are born because the old Government, Kaiser Bills government encourage illegitimacy by offering to raise free of charge an illegitimate boy from infancy training it all the while to be a soldier. These boys were not released until they were of age. Illegitimate baby girls were taken in the same way, taught sewing, nursing and housekeeping. Everything militarism, Deutchland over all. A common saying among us boys is that "when we get home we will have to get busy and raise a crop of boys to lick this crop of German kids someday".

The town crier dispenses the daily news and Allied Army Regulations instead of newspapers. He goes about the town ringing his little bell stopping now and then to tell the news. Most of us are getting about rid of our cooties but still it gives me a sense of disappointment not to find any when I look for them, doesn't give one anything to amuse himself passing the time away looking for them. At first after getting here I had a German lady to do my washing but I don't believe she boiled them or used any soap so I do my own washing now. She kept a brown sheep in one room.

Each officer by turns are being sent back to France for three weeks training in a war tactic school.

A 2nd. Lt. from the S.O.S. has been sent us, he is trying to make the company snap into it like the men did when in training but he can't make out. He never was on the front or he would be just like our own officers just make us do enough to get by with so as not to get in bad with the higher up's. Major Winn has received his commission as a Lt. Col. and Capt. Peacock of one of the other companies of the battalion has been commissioned , Major in his place. Only commissions recommended before the Armistice can be issued. No new commissions or Non-com officers are being made, only under those regulations.


150th Artillery Saxophone Sextet at Y. Hear song "Jada" first time.


Well if the Y didn't give us some candy today, they must be getting liberal.


Payday and the accompanying payday drinking. Quite a number of the fellows cut loose the night after being paid but outside of that there is not so much drinking considering the abundance of the stuff here. I've never known any of the fellows carrying any of the stuff in their canteens when going to the front or being under influence of it on the way up. French, British and Germans were all issued the stuff although the British and German issue stuff was mostly beer. Overhear they don't go and get drunk like the American boys and then lay off the stuff for a while but keep using it all the while. We are receiving our pay in German marks instead of franc. Before the war the marks was worth 24 cents but now only eight cents. Some of the boys obtain passes down the Rhine a few miles to Boon going by railroad. Boon is in the British bridgehead and is occupied by the Canadians. This Canadian division is next to the 42nd. Div. on the left.


Chaplin conducts a singing school this evening at the Y.


Part of company go to Coblenz by rail on passes. Battalion turns in the Hotchkiss Machine guns and receive Browning Guns in their place. These guns have the old stamp of the 339th. M. G. Bn. of the 85th, Div. on them. Us old 85th. Div. men are right at home with them but the rest don't like them because they are so complicated.


Part of company go to Boon on pass. Receive my XMAS box this P.M. O.K.


Bugler Walker is sick. Government starts regular candy, gum, tobacco and cookies issue. This is to come a couple times a week and will be sold so much to each man. (This came regular here after and was sold to us by a couple Sgts. who had been appointed to take charge of it. It sure was a great pleasure to us men to be able to get something of that sort here.)


Practice a battalion parade like we will have to do in a few days for the General, we have a new general now an S.O.S. one, our old one being promoted to command of an Army Corps, is coming to review us.


Mail arrives. Company receives a issue of gum, cookies and jam for the Y our supply sgt. issuing it out to us. Each one of course paid so much for his share.


Today was the parade and review. This 150th.. M. G. Bn. came over here and was reviewed with us by Major General Fauser.


Time is going awful slow. Entertainments at the Y are getting few and farther between. General Perching has issued a list of the divisions, the order in which they will sail for home and the month in which each will sail. April is our month, will April ever come. Well anyway it will help to quell all the rumors about when we start but two months yet, think of it. Some of the fellows declare up and down they would rather be back in the trenches like they were in when in training last winter in the Lorraine Front than be in this hole of a country. If it comes to a pinch I guess they would back out for there is a chance to go home some day, then the chances were more slim. But just the same there is not a man in the company but who is just about as sick, tired, and lonesome of this life here as one can possibly be. Of course we realized that all cannot go home first but just the same we all want too. That is one thing we are united on to the last man of the A.F.E. I guess it is the first time. From the beginning army life has been a weeding out process. First the slackers weeded themselves out, next come the ones who didn't want to go across on account of their religion or who developed bad feet or something similar so as to be left at home, then on this side another small group suddenly developed a notion they didn't want to fight as much as they thought before they came across, but now we all are ready to go home even to the last group of slackers.

Today our division football team plays the team of the 4th. Div. at Cobenz. A dozen of us including myself received passes to go via the truck that hauls our daily rations from the supply base. Leave at 8:30 A.M. but a couple kilos beyond Sinzig the truck broke down so we hopped some other trucks going toward Coblenz, but the truck I hop develops trouble so I manage to catch another truck in which I reach Coblenz in. Coblenz is 32 kilo from Kripp. Inspect the city before noon and then Knox and myself walk out to the football field south of the city near the river banks. A Sgt. of our company is a member of the football squad as a sub. Our team looses. Get supper at the Y, German waiters serving the meal. Knox and myself visit the Red Cross rooms and get a Red Cross sweater apiece. Entertainment at Y hut last until 10:00 P.M. when we catch the last truck leaving for our Div. area. Truck took us as far as Sinzig where we jump off it when going 25 miles per hour and walk into Kripp.


Half of the company including myself receive passes for a boat trip up the river. The other three companies also issue passes to about one half their men, all are to go on the same boat. An officer from each company has charge of his companies men. There is no wharf at Kripp so each detail is marched down to Remogen at 8:30 A.M. The boat is already at the dock and is taking on grub for our lunch. The boat is an excursion or pleasure craft which are used for sight seeing up and down the river for tourists, the Rhine being a popular place for foreign tourists especially. It is operated by a German crew but a couple Marine navigation men (U.S. Mariners) are on board to see that things are run according to Allied Army Regulations.

Villages are every two or three kilos apart on each side of the river, bridges are few in fact only in the cities are there any bridges spanning the river. A railroad on each bank parallels the river in its general course. The river averages a couple hundred yards in width, here and there is an island in the middle of the stream. Picturesque and historical are the sights but what in thunder do we care if that cross up there on that cliff does mark the place where a medieval prince on horse back plunged to his death, or of those old battle emplacements of Napoleon where he made his last stand before being forced to retreat across the old fortress Ehrenbreitstein, lying directly across the river from Coblenz and directly opposite the point were the Moselle River flows into the Rhine, although it does look good to see the Stars and Strips floating in the breeze above it especially after all the bragging Kaiser Bill has done. Yes, just to see Old Glory floating there above the old fortress situated on that steep and mighty cliff and waving in the breeze as if it had always been there. Probably it was the looked to with scorn onto the opposite side of the river to the point made by the meeting of the two rivers share stands the large monument of Kaiser Bill I, (the present day Kaiser Bill who is sojourning in Holland is Kaiser Bill II) on horseback. There is an American soldier guarding the monument now, a while back some A.E.F. doughboy took a couple shots at the head of Kaiser Bill I Probably to see if he could hit it and test its hardness. He hit it alright, hence the guard to stop farther pot shots at it. An American army platoon bridge connects the fortress with Coblenz at present, traffic is limited to soldiers only. A few kilos above Coblenz our boat turns around to start back, up on a steep mountain side on the west bank is one of the Kaisers many castles, this one is called Stolzenfels. A good lunch of meat sandwiches and cookies and cocoa is served by the German waiters in the dining room. Arrive back at Remogen at 3:30 P.M. It has been a clear day but with a raw wind.


Inspection as usual. Also payday. Army regulations call for us to be paid before the 10th. of the following month. Pay books have been issued to each man so whether he is with his company on payday or not he can get paid by presenting his paybook to some finance officer wherever he is. Sgt. Deets receives decoration from the Belgium Government for bravery in action. Capt. Means decorated him before the company.


Write letters. 168th. Inf. Band at the Y.


The Chaplin today took a detail of one man from each company back to Toul and Nancy after officers baggage stored there when the division first went into the trenches a year ago coming February 22nd. Meiser is on the detail.


Again a detail from each company of the battalion receive passes for a trip, this time down the Rhine to Cologne. The reason why we go is to help wile away the time, sorts of breaks the monotony and gets us out of drill. Darn the sights we want to see the Statue of Liberty, if we ever get back there once you won't get this bird out of the United States again, wouldn't take the whole county as a gift or France either. Try as we can we cannot interest ourselves in anything here, these beautiful scenes historical, sights and old legendary wonders are passed by with a scant look and with a feeling that they don't amount to much anyway, there is nothing compared with the sight, the trials, the hardship, the agonies, the magnitude, the devastation, the horrors, the deaths of the war that we have seen. These little historical sights and events are merely small town stuff of time long past and the results don't effect us any now, the war is so real, so near yet, we've had our part in it, its happenings and results effect us now and will for sometime in the future, home is ahead of us, that is what we want, get all this other stuff out of the way. Pass Rolandsick where the 166th. Inf. is quartered, than comes British territory with the Canadians soldiers going about their soldiers duties, Rad Honnet and the wonders of the Seven Mountains, Bonn a large city the center of the mammoth brick chimneys line the river a good share of the times, boy private schools and country club houses can be seen, there is much more activity of all kinds down here than up by Coblenz.

Cologne a large city with its low lying building interrupted here and there by some cathedral or public building sending their tall, steep spires a great ways above the surrounding roofs. Dock for supplies a few minutes. Arrive back at Remogen at 4:00 P.M. Meiser returns today from Toul I receive a letter from home today just 15 days from the time it was mailed. Seems like hearing directly from home. This is by several days the record time yet.


Attend basketball game between our battalion teams and the 168th. Inf. team for the championship of the division. We loose 28-10, the game being played in our Y. Movies in the evening.


A fine sunny day, farmers are beginning to plow a little. Shortly after diner Sgt. Drawbaugh came up to our room looking for fellows who want to go to the basketball game at Andermack between our division team and the 3rd. Div. team. A truck load of us go. The 42nd. Div. won 26-28, Albert Cunningham is in the 7th. Inf. of the 3rd. Div. which is located in this town but I don't know what company to look for him in, besides immediately after the game we start back to Kripp.




The battalion Minstrel show Tweet-Twa Meiser is on it.

SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 1919

For several days past, things have been receiving a cleaning and polishing to be in readiness for a inspection and reviews by General John J. Perching. The only equipment that will be presented for inspection and review will be our side arms and empty pack carrier, but the rest of the equipment has been cleaned and put in order so if "Black Jack" passes thru the village all will be in order. But mainly it has been our uniforms and overcoats that have received the greatest attention. The Major is trying to make a great showing with us so he has had all of us get our overcoats pressed. Our divisional insignia and the service and wound stripes we are entitled to wear also must be on our sleeves. Many company and battalion inspections have been held in past few days to see if all these things were done properly and uniformly.

Well at last the day has arrived, a cold damp, chilly day to stand inspection in. But we are lucky in a way because the review grounds is to be between here and Remogen on the flats along the river bank. Many of the troops will have many miles to hike to get here. No horses or drawn equipment are to be reviewed or inspected, just the man only. Orders call for the outfits to be all in their positions by 10:00 with J.J.P. arriving at 11:00 so the rumors say. By eight A.M. troops begin passing thru the village on the way to the reviewing grounds. Our battalion assemble at 9:00 and marches over to the parade grounds, being about the last to arrive and get into position. Each company forms in company front, open ranks and then the front rank about faces so that left the ranks facing each other six feet apart. Down this lane General Perching with his staff, the commanding General of an A. of O. (Army of Occupation). The Commanding General of our Army Corps, our Divisional Commander and as each Regiment or Battalion and Company is inspected the Commanding Officers of these will fall in behind according to their rank, the Captain of the Company being behind.

While waiting we are allowed to stand rest that is move and turn around but not step out of our position. Headquarters troop and band are located in advance of the Division upon the bank formed as the river flat gives way to higher ground. 11:00 and 12:00 P.M. and no General Pershing. We keep moving around on our tracks to keep warm. Why in the world doesn't the General come or if he didn't figure on reviewing us until afternoon why did we have to assemble so early? Down Hearted! No! This review is the first step taken in preparing a division to sail for home so we should worry. Several small groups of civilians are gathered here and there upon the higher ground and back of us at the rivers edge, come to see how American troops perform and get a glimpse of Pershing, the man that brought them defeat for they say they would have won if it had not of been for the Americans, and they probably would have. 1:00 P.M. a bugler from the Hdg. Troop sound attention, Company Commanders voices are heard calling their men to attention, both up and down the line, we are near one end, a limousine appears on the road above us, the bugler blows the call "The General" and then the Hdg's Band plays "The Commander-in-Chief". General Pershing mounts his favorite horse, a dappled white one, the routine of other Generals mount horses likewise and led by the Commander-in-Chief gallop at a fast pace around the outside of the Division all the while the Hdg. Band furnishes music. Beginning with the Hdg. Troop the inspection starts, then beginning at the other end of the Division from us the inspection party proceed to inspect each outfit. Each Regiments band furnishes music while it Companies are being inspected, then the next Regiments Band takes it up all the while creeping gradually up closer to our end. There are eleven bands in all and one continues string of music without a break.

At 3:30 P.M. the party reaches us, General Pershing is setting a fast pace, only one or two brief stops to each company are being made to ask some of the men to see how quick and intelligent an answer they will make. The General compliments Major Peacock of the neatness of the 1st. M. G. Bn. and also Capt. Means on the neatness of his company declaring it to be the best looking he has inspected so far. (General Pershing himself is a snappy dresser, even years later when in civilian clothes he is known by his smartness in dress.) By 4:00 the inspection is over and the division marches by the reviewing stand in mass formation, that is each company in column of squads by platoons abreast and each company of the battalion abreast of each other so as not to take so much time to pass in review. Usually in reviews a company would pass by in platoon fronts, platoon front is same as company front only the company is divided into its platoons instead. A company or platoon front is the men standing or marching abreast of each other two deep. Inside an hour the review is over and the division is massed on the edge of Remogen before a lean to farm building upon which General Pershing climbs upon and proceeds to give us a ten minute speech, glorifying us individually and as a division in doing our share in helping win the war and says the division is about to leave for home. "Attaboy, General",that's what we want to hear, we don't care who won the war tell us just when we entrain for home. Homeward bound, Oh! what a wonderful sound". No time is lost by the outfits pulling out for their several villages and towns some with many kilos ahead of them nothing to eat since morning and nothing to eat until they get back again. But happy? yes, the man said we were going home soon. Oh! Boy!. Capt. Means turns the Company over to 1st. Sgt. Troop to take back to Kripp, marching will be too slow, so Troop turns us loose and the gang break loose in a run, across fields the shortest way to get back, all are in a joyous mood and hungry as bears.

MONDAY, MARCH 17, 1919

The Division is transferred to the S.O.S. today as the next step in preparing for entraining. We're in the S.O.S. now technically, but that won't stop us saying "Who won the War, - the S.O.S.". No more drilling now. We see by the newspapers that the people (civilians) of France, England, and the United States each are claiming their "horse" won the war. Sometimes even some high government official will come out with some statement claiming his nation won the war which is all rather simple and silly. There is an absence among the soldiers of these some nations claiming they won the war. The fact of the matter is that any two of these nations would of been out of luck without the aid of the third. There is a mighty big doubt if the British and French would of held the Germans in their Big Drive in March and April if it hadn't been for the aid of the Americans. At best it would of been a much more long drawn out affair than it was. But that is no reflection on the abilities of the British, Italian or French troops for they were simply out numbered but not outfought by the enemy, the Triple Alliance, Germany, Austria, Turkey and Bulgaria. If they had of been out fought by the Germans the war would have been ended in its first year but for three long war torn years the Allied troops hung on, outnumbered, out equipped but always fighting. The German troops were good fighters in trench warfare where they would use mass attacks, where they out numbered their foe and while they were winning but soon as they commenced to loose their foe having the upper hand they were the biggest cowards in Europe, ever ready to cry "Comrade" to save their own necks. The German soldiers was ever at a loss to cope with an unexpected situation or act individually. The French were at their best individually or in thin lines of attack where dash and guts were necessary. A very brave, dashing and spectacular soldier who I sometimes think would rather die for his country in battle than serve it in times of peace. Although not so good at repulsing attacks as when attacking they were ever ready to give their all for France. The British proved themselves virtually bulldogs by their ability too hang on in face of all kinds of odds and defeat. To this ability to hang on to the last man undoubtedly saved the Allies from defeat many times during the war. An all round soldier hard to beat anywhere in the world. The Canadians deserve separate mention from the British partly because they are more like the American soldiers but principally because all the fiendish inventions invented by the Germans during the war were tried on them first, such as liquid fire, and they withstood it all, withstood it but with terrific losses. The Huns probably used these against the Canadian first thinking they were not so well trained and because they figured they could dishearten them form coming over to help England fight her war. Canadians lot in this war was a hard one.

As for the American soldier we'll let the rest judge, outside of our reputation of doing the unexpected, outguessing and out witting the enemy, and using regular Yankee ingenuity and grit. Much has been said of the dash, the spirit, the courage and the fighting ability of the American soldier in comparison with the other soldiers in the war but the fact is lost sight of that the comparison is being made between American troops raring to go and troops who have withstood the trials, the defeats, the hardships, the heartaches, the discouragements. the hunger and resultant loss of moral of four war torn years.

Saver and myself went out to the edge of town to see the mules and horses get dipped in a vat to rid them of lice and etc. They are to be sold to the Belgium Government and will be shipped in a few days. All the animals of the division are being brought here. The vat is long ad narrow, so narrow a mule cannot turn around in it. They are run down a shute where they step off in and have to swim to the other end to climb out. Both sides of shute are fenced in to prevent them from escaping.


Kieth, a mule skinner was killed last night by Spangler, who since the Armistice has been a mule skinner. Lately our divisional headquarters town, Ahrweiler, has been made into a sort of leave area for the Division each day a few of the men from each company get passes to it, riding over and back on the ration truck Late last night I was awakened by Knox talking, Knox had just returned from Ahrweiler, to one of the other fellows about it. The shooting had just taken place as he arrived here in Kripp. This morning when I awoke I wasn't sure whether I had dreamed it or not so I spoke to the rest of the fellows about it, none had heard Knox come in so I pulled Knox out of bed to find out. At mess we learn that Kieth died on the way in the ambulance to Ahrweiler. While we were still eating, a guard brings Spangler down to the kitchen for his mess, on his arrival he remarks. "What do you think of my orderly?" From that moment on not a one of the company had the least bit of sympathy for him. It seems that Kieth had been teasing him about an old red headed German hag, about being friendly with her and Spangler being an uneducated hot tempered fellow from up in the mountains of West Virginia just simply shot him down. The red headed hag had lost her husband in the war. (Spangler was court martialed and received a sentence of 15 years.) Our battalion guards took charge of him until we reached Brest where he was turned over to other authorities to be taken to Fort Leavensworth, Kanas. Later the Government review all cases and sentences meted out to the men and most cases the terms were cut in half or more. (A Senator Watson stirred up a big investigation along in 1920-21 about the severe treatment and punishments given the boys in the A.E.F. claiming many were shot at sun rise for the least offenses. But he absolutely didn't know what he was talking about. General Pershing issued a report showing only 15 men in the A.E.F. were shot for offenses and they were for rape. According to Army Regulations sleeping on post, deserting in face of enemy and others were offenses with firing squad sentences so if these had been carried out there would have been a lot that wouldn't of come back that did. Summed up I think that the men were allowed more freedom in such matters than was really good for good discipline while facing the enemy, at least there would of been a lot less falling out when outfits took their positions in the line.)

Snowed today, the first time since Christmas eve.

FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 1919

Company turns in the machine guns glad to see them go. Today is fair but the last three days it has been raining and snowing by turns, the snow melting as fast as it hits the ground.

A wedding took place in town today so the inhabitants are celebration by patronizing the cafe more freely and indulging heavier. One cannot tell a wedding from a funeral here very well. Of course the wedding procession lacks the corpse but otherwise both look much the same. Immediately afterwards both call for quite a lot of drinking.


This A.M. instead of inspection our equipment was checked up to see what each man has or lacks. Certain of our equipment will be turned in and other articles we must have before entraining. Officers of the battalion call a meeting of whole Battalion in the Y to organize the battalion into a Rainbow Society. There seems to be a division between the officers over who they want to lead the Society, us men don't give a rip who does, the Chairman finally gets disgusted, he is acting chairman, and quits. Some one of the men calls out let's go! The rest of us get up and left it and so we all get up and leave breaking the meeting up entirely. (Later the officers organized the Society and then each companies officers had their company organize a company Society.)

General Pershing gets all the blame for rigid discipline in "This Mans Army" and none of the credit for winning the war, while Marshal Foch even gets credit for the American victories, while Pershing gets none. But that is not my view of the matter.


A nice sunny day. Part of company is on a boat trip on the Rhine. This afternoon I have my picture taken by an elderly German photographer. Company taken for a bath in a building rigged up with showers and water heated by a boiler. Turn in our pistols today. All the ammunition had been taken from us after the Kieth shooting affair. Red Laymon sometime ago got drunk and nearly shot a German. The Alabama boys over in Sinzig have been shooting around over there just to keep the Germans in hot water lately. American soldiers and some Germans got in a row up to Coblenz and several Germans were killed. The men are getting restless if it wasn't for the Germans we would be home. But considering the circumstances the troops and the Germans are getting along good, the Germans know better than stir up trouble.

This province between the Rhine and France and Belgium is known as the Rhineland, the people are less in sympathy with the Kaiser and the Royalists than any of the other provinces. There is quite a bit of talk of making the Rhineland a separate republic from the other republics formed after the Kaiser fled to Holland. But at that I think if they know that the allies wouldn't object to the Kaiser coming back to rule they would welcome him back at once, but of course they are wise enough to know that the Allies will never stand for that, so they are trying to make the best of it. Their "Deutschland umber ales" and their hate for France still lives, they are poor looser, they will watch for a chance to jump on France again in the future years unless the republic can be kept alive, as they get a taste of ruling themselves they will like it more and more and so gradually they will loose the war spirit and work for peace. A republic never is a war machine like a monarch.

Us boys sure have kept tract of the news coming from the Peace Conference. Wilson is having hard sledding in getting his principals put in the peace terms. Great Britain seems to hang to Wilson ideas better than to the French's. We believe that on the out come of the conference depends quite a bit when we shall start home. We cannot get rid of a feeling but what there might be something happen to keep us here longer. Church and movies at the Y in the evening.

MONDAY, MARCH 24, 1919

Turn in our holsters. Physical inspection in a building down on the river street. Snows most of the day but melts as fast as it comes. For some reason the past few days our billet has not been heated so today us boys take up a collection to buy some coke from the village fuel dump. Fuel is scarce and so much is being doled out per householder by army supervision.

There is a little shriveled up Englishman with a shriveled up German wife living here is Kripp, has been for the past 9 years, they have one child, a boy four years old who is a favorite with us boys. He can not talk English but the fellows are learning him to talk it parrot like. The father is a sort of head bookkeeper and manager in a factory here in Kripp. He must be a poor stick of an Englishman, bet the English didn't miss him during the war, for he wasn't even interned by the Germans during the war.

On the hike up here as we passed thru Belgium a boy of about 12 years old picked up with one of the other companies of the battalion and came up here with us. He is still here. His father was killed in the war and his mother died, has no relatives that he knows of. One of our captains is going to adopt him if he can so he can take him back home with him.


Snow and rain today again. The battalion minstrel troupe is going out to other places to give shows so today Meiser gets a shot in the arm so he can go, for the rest of the battalion are due to get theirs tomorrow. This shot is three times stronger than any we have received yet all have to get it before going home. It made Meiser sick as a dog and Jones made fun of him said, "it wasn't going to make him sick like he was a baby".


Snow and rain again. Company arranged according to the size of the men, the largest men at the head of the company and so on down. This is the way we are going home. Company gets its shot before bedtime many are getting sick including Jones so he comes in for a lot of kidding.


Most everyone is sick this morning. I manage to escape being sick again, only a dozen or so turned out for breakfast so we have all we can eat. This P.M. Server, Humpreys and myself go to Sinzig where we buy some souvenirs such as knives, handkerchiefs, service stripes and A. of O. insignias.

FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 1919

Snow again. Band concert at Y in evening. Get my pictures I had taken.


Inspection and snow today. We can hardly wait for the time to come for starting home, we don't know just how soon but everyday shows more signs of being nearly ready. Restlessness and fear are ever present that somehow something will happen to cage the orders that appear to be issued to entrain. Rumors of all kinds abound everywhere. Our division is the first on the Rhine to leave according to present sailing orders. (42nd., 32nd., 89th., 90th., 4th., 2nd., 1st., 3rd., was the order in leaving the Rhine.)

SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 1919

Meiser and myself went to the German Protestant church this morning. Church this evening in Y. Snow again today. The Army has just completed a large mess hall here in Kripp for each company I don't know what the big idea is if we are going home soon. But I expect the power that be back in the War Dept., issued orders that the men must have mess halls built and no one else had the right to object on account of lesser rank even if they did know the mess hall couldn't be built in time to do us any good. Lack of lumber seemed to be the cause of the delay. All winter long us men have eaten outdoors, or kitchen has been located in the bay of the small barn and house in which lives the care taker of the Chateau and its surrounding two acre garden of shrubs, flowers lawn and vegetables. The caretaker has been spading the ground over all winter long when the ground wasn't frozen. While waiting for mess one day some of the fellows caught the caretakers dog and tied a tin can to its tail, the dog went some, but the old man never showed his head out the door to take it off. We suspect him of swiping some of our extra pairs of shoes and blankets while we had been away from our billets.

MONDAY, MARCH 31, 1919

Walked over to Sinzig alone this afternoon. This evening the battalion have a costume dance. Many of the fellows borrowed women clothes, sure was some ridiculous figures. Two or three of the smaller men made some pretty nifty looking girls. Band from 165th. Inf. furnished the music.


Extra fine day most like summer time. Battalion inspection down on the river street.


Orders received that we entrain at Sinzig 9:00 A.M. Saturday morning and are to be the first train load out, it will be American box cars instead of these little foreign cars. Each one issued a empty straw tick. Must be going to ride in fine style. Battalion show and Caberet. Some show, a few of the boys were dressed as women, they sure were good. This impersonation of women goes great and is extra popular in the whole A.E.F.


Two more days! Oh Boy!

Battalion inspection again down on the river street. Capt. Salisbury is going to do the checking of our knives and forks and spoons, if a man has all of them, he hollers in his big voice "one of each" or as the case maybe, us fellows get to mocking him that makes him mad and he yells the louder. Well of all things, if the Y doesn't receive a large issue of candy, cookies, etc, us men are marched down to the Y and each man receives his share.


One more day if orders aren't changed, when we really get on the train we will be sure we're going. Mess kit inspection. Physical (personal) inspection in building on the river street. Company takes bath. Scrub up our billets, for once I don't believe a man tried or even thought of getting out of detail work. If being prepared is going to get us out of here and on our way tomorrow prepared we will be, not a man of us will hold up the entraining.


By 5:00 A.M. every one is up and busy rolling his pack. On account of the kitchen will have to be taken over to Sinzig early, mess is had at 5:30 A.M. Company falls in at 7:00 and a few toilet articles as shaving soap, combs etc. are issued to the ones that need them. While waiting the truck comes after the field kitchen and goes clattering off for Sinzig. Well I guess we are going sure. German officials and our officers go thru our billets while we are waiting to see how much damage has been done to the building, hob nailed shoes have sure been hard on its floor. This damage will have to be paid the owner of the building by the War Dept. and the War Dept. is supposed to collect the costs of the Army of Occupation form the German Government. (A couple years after this the U.S. Gov't. had failed yet to received billing and pay from Germany because the latter was so hard up. I don't know if anything was received later or not. I doubt it though. The French and British fared better because they kept pressing their claims.)

The officers said the Germans put in for several thousand dollars. At 8:30 orders to march are given, heavy packs are slung and we are on the way without even a thought or look back at the billet which had served as a home for several months. Down thru the center of Kripp we swing, most of the inhabitants are out in the narrow streets to see us go, some with tears in their eyes, they say they hate to see us go for probably they won't like the next bunch of Americans who will occupy the town like they do us. (The 4th. Div. next occupied the village then after they entrained for the U.S. some units of the 3rd. Div. were billeted there.) A few fellows have gone with some of the girls here but not much, the general comment is that to marry a girl over here would be an insult to the American girls and if a fellow did it would be a sure sign he wasn't good enough for any American girl. I know there is not a single man in this company really sweet on any of these girls. (This attitude was in direct conflict to that held and used by the newly recruited A. of O. that took the place of the wartime divisions.) Being unused to carry heavy packs Capt. Means takes us across the field to Sinzig going by way of our parade rounds above Kripp, where the River Ahr joins the Rhine. Ahr River flows thru Sinzig. While filling our straw ticks from a straw pile, placed there for that purpose we see our old Major, Major Caldwell, of the 328rd. M. G. Bn. He is in the Hdg. troop of our Division now.

Our box car special is waiting on the side tracks 45 men are placed in each car, they are capable of holding 60 men but owing to the long distance they are not being filled to the limit. 45 of us will just be able to lay comfortable. Sgt. Deets, Troops, Stump, Peacock and myself are going to bunk together across one end of the box car next a small slide window which we will be able to stand up and look out ar the sights. Have mess along side the train. The field kitchens are mounted in cars so as to do the cooking on our trip to Brest. Latest information says it will take three days to make it to Brest. Leave Sinzig at 1:15 P.M. follow up the Rhine to Coblenz. We give the troops along the way the "Ha Ha" bit they envy us and have a sick feeling in their midships. Follow the course of the Moselle River from Coblenz via Trier where supper is served in a Red Cross hut beside the track. In this territory is where the 89th. and 90th. Div. are located in reserve. This is a great grape country quite mountainous, the vineyards covering the mountain sides. Stones are placed all over the ground to prevent washing the soil away. Just now the keepers are busy removing the stones a square rod at a time, spading it up and replacing the stones again. This afternoon we passed thru the longest tunnel in the world, so they say, six miles long. Sure did get some smoky here in the box car.


This is an American train even to the engineer and fireman. We learn that we passed thru Metz just before daylight, there is not a one of us but who would of like to have seen Metz. We are now arriving in the war zone before Verdun, that old city which for 18 month the German Crown Prince tried to take from the French in what is probably the longest and severest struggle of the whole war. Acres and acres of gentle slopes and fields of shell holes, observation posts here and there, old artillery emplacements, miles of camouflages. Then finally we come into the barb wire entanglements torn and twisted, messes of it five rods in width and stretching o'er hill and dale as far as one could see, systems of trenches run their zigzag courses behind them, multitudes of trench. As we near Verdun the terrain gets rougher and hillier, large hills packed close together, each war torn, what had once been woods lay in a mass of bleak stubs, dugouts galore on the sheltered sides, these hills appear to have been held by the French, their dressing station dugouts are here and there can be told by the group of French crosses grouped in the vale in front of the dugouts opening or door which testifies as to the severity of the fighting because the dead couldn't be taken back farther. Soon Verdun itself comes in view, before it lays a 10 acre cemetery one solid mass of French crosses The city in the back ground shows masses of buildings in ruin. We had our breakfast this morning beside the train when we first entered the war zone reaching Verdun at 10:30. Leave at 12:00 noon without any dinner. Pass thru St. Mihiel and what we thought was Bar-la-duc during afternoon. At St. Mihiel we left the war zone. Much interest was shown by the men in the old war sights. Had mess during afternoon beside track across from where a large number of army horses are picketed in a grove. Numerous halts this afternoon.


Breakfast this morning in a city, French Yardmen say we have gone a short way by Paris already, we did not go thru the city but passed around it, train don't run into the city anyway but you enter by subways. On one side of the track there is a big 200 lb. fat woman switching cars with a horse, whenever any of the other switchmen pass her they give her a healthy swat on her hams. Across on the other side of the track is a French girl about 12 years old doing some fancy roller skating on the cobble stone court yard of her home. Travel slow all day long, frequent halts and delays until 4:00 P.M. when things begin to hum again. Glad when we get on that boat for it won't always be going into sidetracks. They started out feeding us great on this trip but the feeds are getting far between now. Guess they don't know we are used to eating. Pull into LaMons at 9:00 P.M. tonight. LaMons is the center of the S.O.S. from here to Brest we will travel over a railroad built especially for the American army. Leave at 10:30 P.M.


Did not travel much last night, but this forenoon we sure are hitting the grit pretty steady. Sleeping has been fairly comfortable on the straw ticks, some big difference from no ticks at all, and we are not overly crowded, all of us can lay down comfortably Sgt. Deets and myself have had our heads out this little slide door most of the time viewing the sights. It is raining showers once in a while this A.M. must be getting near Brest. We hear we will reach there about noon. It is an actual fact that during the past year that it rained some 340 days out of the 365 days. During one extra heavy shower the train passes within 30 rods of a farm house, the boys knowing the weakness of Frenchmen for American cigaretts and seeing a French man looking out of the door began throwing out cigarettes, the Frenchman dashes out in the rain, making across the field towards the railroad track as fast as he could run. Reach the outskirts about noon but owing to delays we don't reach our destination to detrain until 3:00 P.M. Are served mess in a mammoth mess building where incoming troops are fed at all hours of the day on arrival. March up an awful steep hill as we leave the railroad station for the short hike out to the now famous Camp Pontanezen. Guess this is some tough place some streets are closed entirely to American troops on account of fast women. Boy! they must be some fast places if they are any worse than a place along the road out to the camp, were a couple girls stood advertising their wears. The camp is built of mammoth mess halls and kitchens, the troops are all sheltered in squad tents with trench stoves in them. On account of the rain and mud all walks and paths are built a foot or two above the ground of boards. The floors of the tents are fixed the same way. Corp. Caldwell, Pvts. Ward, Orahood, Ryan, and myself in one tent. Have steel cots and springs. Sent on a detail after a water cart of water.

There will be a lot of detail work while we stay here we learn, all troops have to put out on arrival here. Put out is army term for work. The camp is managed by marines and they see that us poor suckers do the work, we're only soldiers, they are marines. But you can just bet we will never ask them who won the war, the marines? The orders are strict about that here, if you're heard saying it, means three more months in France for you. So before leaving Kripp we were instructed not to say such things here. At first when the troops started to move homeward, about half have already gone, if a man in a company was heard saying anything about the marines the whole company was forced to stay which wasn't fair at all. We'll leave the marines alone you can bet yourself, for home we are going


Equipment checked over again this A.M. Mail arrives today. Company given a delousing bath in a mammoth bath house by the number, so we say, that is at the count of one-each man raises the lid of his delousing fluid, count two-takes a hand full, count three-rubs it over himself and so on. It is sure some novel way to bathe. Most all the company are placed on a detail for fatigue duty down in the railroad yards tonight. Troops work here night and day. Shortly after mess at supper time the truck arrives and hauls us down town to the yards, where we learn we have to unload several carloads of used lumber and pile it up beside the tracks which are near the wharfs. A large vessel is in dry dock with a mammoth hole in its side caused by a sub torpedo. Seems most impossible that a vessel could remain afloat long enough to get into the harbor with such hole, probably all of twenty feet in diameter, it is below the water line on the side.

The 2nd. Lt. we received from the S.O.S., has charge of the detail, he had turned out to be a good scout, long ago ceasing to try to make the company drill like the men he knew in training. The Non-com officers have to put out on these details here same as the rest of us. Us fellows decide if we work good and steady that we can finish all the work in sight by midnight if this is all the lumber we will have to pile. The marine said it would be all so we dig in thinking to get done and then go back to camp. Before midnight we are done and then if the marine Sgt. doesn't order us to shove the empty cars down the side track and have a switch engine bring in another lot of loaded cars. Well we'll show that leatherneck of a marine, we will just kill time the rest of the night. Our Lt. won't care and if the marine Sgt. does come around we make believe we are busy. At midnight we are taken over to the large mess hall where we were fed when we arrived here in Brest, for a midnight meal. Killed all the time we could eating, soon after getting back to work it started raining and rained until morning but we spent most of the time in empty box cars keeping warm and dry even though we did have our raincoats and were supposed to work even if it rained. At day light the truck transports us back to camp.


Issued new clothing this A.M. down at the camp wearhouse, that is providing your clothing was torn. I manage to get a new pair of pants, not breeches, but the long legged regular marine pants. This is the kind of pants we would have received if the war had continued instead of the breeches. Boy do we have to wear these slouchy things home? A person can't make a decent rap of his leggings over these things. You don't catch us wearing these after we reach the States, we'll buy a pair of breeches in New York before we'll wear these things home. My blouse not being torn the officers in charge wouldn't issue me a new one, if I had known that it sure would of gotten a good tear. I have worn it ever since leaving Camp Custer and it is all thread bare and dirty, the officer said I could get something to clean it up with. I manage to find a better blouse in the pile of blouses being discarded so I trade but it sure doesn't fit any too good. Rained most all day.

FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 1919

Rain most all day again. Part of the company including myself hit another detail today piling wood over by the mess hall (mess hall #2) where we eat. A marine Sgt. is in charge of the detail and he is staying around to see that we work this forenoon. There is a canteen right along side where we are working so once in a while we slip in to buy some candy seems good to be able to buy something when you want too. But the best thing we found in there was the last edition of the Stars and Stripes in which the War Dept. orders that no division, in particular the 42nd. Div., will not be detained to hold parades in different cities after reaching the U.S. unless the men themselves want too, on account of the hue and cry coming from the 42nd. Div. men against the order calling for a parade of the division in New York City and Washington D.C. Boy! That is good news, it will mean a month less service after reaching New York. Atta Boy! That is what we want. (An exception was made of 1st. Div. which paraded in New York and the 26th. Div. paraded in its home state and city Boston, Mass.)

This afternoon the detail hauled ashes away from the kitchen in a cart pulled by hand but it rained most all the time so we killed just as much time as we could and get away with it, most of the time we spent talking with the negro K.P.s around the kitchen. These negro troops sure do give us the bouquets and behold us with awe and wonder. This is the first division to go thru here for home that has seen much of the fighting. Our company officers exchange our French money for honest to goodness money real U.S. dollars. Boy! They look good after using "soapwrapper" money for so long.


Equipment checked over by the camp officers to see if each has his right equipment. Company formed alphabetically like it will go on board ship. Rain today. This evening I went to the Y to an entertainment and movie. Real honest to goodness American girls put on the entertainment, mosty married though. The program was long and mostly singing, the men getting impatient for the movie to begin. The last number a solo, rather boresome brought a good hand clap at the close because the movie would now start by the lady thought that all the enthusiasm was for her singing so she encored again, a good hand clap and stamping of feet now we will have the movie, but she encored more impatience and stamping of feet especially in the back of the room where I stood. At the end of the seventh encore I guess she must of been played out and had sang all the songs she know for she gave it up. Bet she will go back home and tell them how she took the boys by storm with her singing, but if she had of been back standing with the boys she would of heard an ear full about her voice. A few crippled French war veterans have been begging on the edge of the camp of money. It don't seem as if the French Gov't. would permit them too.

SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 1919

Attended church this A.M. at the Y. On water cart detail this evening again. For some reason most of the bath houses have been locked up the past couple days making it most impossible to get washed up although someone broke a window pane in one so we reach thru there and get water out of one of the facets. Orders received that we embark tomorrow morning on our ship which will be an American Man of War. AttaBoy! Wish it wasn't going to be a battle ship though because regulations will be more strict on there than a regular transport. Have pack inspection with packs rolled like we must have tomorrow when we leave. Also have our temperatures taken to see if anyone is sick. Rain this P.M.

MONDAY, APRIL 14, 1919

At last the day is here, let her rain if it wants too. Let them leather neck marine Sgts. think they won the war if they want too. Let the whole marine corps raise on the glory of the lone two regiments of their corp, the 5th. and 6th. Inf. Reg and the 2nd. Div. that saw service on the front if they want too. We don't care we are going home. Leave the camp in a rain at 7:00 A.M. taking a short cut across the camp to the harbor arriving in the wharf warehouse at 9:30. During a couple hours wait the Red Cross gave each a pair of heavy woolen socks. Board a ferry boat at 11:30 to take us out to our transport, the harbor being so shallow that vessels anchor out in midstream. At 12:30 ascend a steep gang plank on to the battle ship Minnesota our transport. Each three men are assigned to a tier of hammocks three high, without any delay I claim the top one for I see immediately that the lower ones are going to get the vomit if there is any seasickness, I'll risk falling out of the top hammock to a vomit bath, besides during the day time I will be able to lay on my hammock up there near the ceiling while the lower ones will have to be folded up during the day. We learn that the transport will not pull out until sometime tomorrow. Tonight the fellows are having some trouble trying to climb into their hammocks without up setting them. And all night long one could hear commotions here and there where some one had fallen out wile sleeping. But everybody is in a jovial mood so bumps don't hurt but tend to increase the good time, this time that all have for so long planned and looked forward too.


Roll out of our bunks at 6:00 A.M. mess at 6:30 do not have any mess halls but line up for chow in our regular way and eat sitting around on top dick. Boat drill in A.M. each one assigned to a particular life raft or boat. Turn in our uniforms and are issued overalls to wear while on board boat so as to keep our uniforms clean for there is no place to sit but on the floor which is sometimes wet and dirty. When we are all out of our hammocks there is only room enough for all to pack into each of the rooms, these rooms have an emplacement to mount a 3 in. rifle on with a port hole to stick the muzzle thru. There are canteens (two) on board boat with "beau coup" eats to sell. This noon the last of the sailors return form their short leaves in large motor boats from the battleship. It is some rough and some difficulty is experienced in drawing the motor boats over the ships side. Weigh anchor at 4:4 P.M. for the trip home. Run into high seas as soon as we pull out from the harbors mouth at 5:30 P.M. just as mess is being issued out. Seasickness grip most of the boys at once because we haven't had a chance to get our sea legs under us. I manage to hold my grub down by staying up on deck until time to turn in, by laying flat on my back in my hammock, I kept from heaving up. Sure glad I'm Up here on top for the deck floor is a slush an inch thick already of vomit, gee! some smell!


Not quite so rough today, the breeze is cold so cold that it isn't very comfort able on deck even in the shelter from the wind. Many still seasick, the K of C secretary on board is giving small lemons away to help prevent it, guess the lemons most of come from Italy they are so much smaller and different than Americans lemons. The South Carolina a battle ship transport that started with us last evening turned back shortly after reaching the harbor mouth on account of the high seas. Meet two ships today, one being the Leviathan the largest boat a float, capable of transporting some over 13,000 men. We have around 1200 here on board.


Stand muster in morning. Muster is naval term for roll call. Ships band plays in afternoon. Also have cootie inspection in P.M. Movies on stern of boat in the evening. Well there is one thing about this boat trip across that doesn't worry us any and that is the ship never has to stop or go onto a side track to wait several hours for orders or something similar, it is always going night and day whether we are asleep or awake always going nearer the Statue of Liberty.

FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 1919

Red Foluke has an awful time riding his hammock, Red is the companies joke, poor old Red, but he was a good man on the front. Get the book "The Maid of old New York" to read from the ship library. Sea is smoother today.


Have our port hole open today not very rough but suddenly a big wave shoots thru the port hole giving many of the men a ducking right, I happen to be up on may hammock at the time. It is surprising how much water can come thru a small opening in one wave. Movies in evening.

SUNDAY, APRIL 20, 1919

Easter and no eggs, but we do have the next thing to them for dinner, chicken think of it. These sailors sure feed us good stuff, a large variety of stuff and good too. Seems to us they feed a lot better than the Army. The ship is equipped with Chinese cooks these cooks are hired, they are not enlisted men. Meet three ships today. Movies in the evening.

MONDAY, APRIL 21, 1919

Clearest day yet. Nothing to do, no formations to stand but lay around and talk and read. Everyone enjoying themselves. Movies this evening. The sailors like us so they say they say they couldn't get along with the marines when some of them were quartered on the boat during the war. Our hammocks are in the regular marine quarters of the boat. The sailors seem to be kept busy most of the time, there is such a jam of us soldiers on the decks, that we are in the sailors way most of the time, so when we see a sailor coming we call "gang way for a sailor" to help clear a path for them to walk. They appreciate the help. This is the Minnesotas first trip as transport, it just came out of dry dock from having repairs done to damage parts caused from hitting a mine. The sailors say it is leaking badly now and will probably have to go into the dry dock on arrival at New York. Let her leak we will swim the rest of the way if we have too.


Meet a ship and also pass a freighter this A.M. I have always thought that a vessel on the high seas carried their flag flying but they don't seem too. Whenever we approach a vessel our ship will run up the Stars and Stripes and the other vessel will also show their colors. Signals y means of flags will be run out by each telling each other in ships language what the other wants to know. This evening the old ocean has roughened up considerably. Finish reading the book "The Lady of the Aroostock". Bought a picture of the Minnesota and a fountain pen at the canteen.


Picked members of the ships crew and the members of our battalion. Show troupe give a show in the evening on the stern of the boat. Our troop brought their womens costumes along with them, they make a big hit. This forenoon was quite rough but this P.M. the wind has quieted down. Receive wireless that the boat is to land at New York. We will arrive some time Saturday so the sailors say.


Pass a sailing vessel headed for N.Y. according to messages passed back and forth they have been on the trip across thirty days already. I though that sailing vessels on the ocean were things of the past. Orders issued we can write letter and mail them on the boat before docking without stamping them so may are writing letters today. I also mail the picture of the Minnesota home.

FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 1919

Write letters. Awful rough and cold. Get the uniforms back again to wear tomorrow.


Rough and windy and cold this forenoon but that isn't keeping us off the deck watching for the first sight of land. The sky is partly clear and one can see quite a distance. The sailors say we will sight land by noon or before so when 11:30 A.M. came, time for chow to begin being issued out very few went below to get it. At 12:00 noon a dim outline of shore appears far in the distance, land, our country, what a glad joyous feeling it causes deep down in the inside of one. A long look and then hurry to get into the chow line before the grub is stopped being issued, the first time that men voluntarily stayed away from the first rush for the chow line that I have seen.

After mess came details of getting the packs out of the holds and cleaning out our quarters. Oh if one could only stand up there on deck and watch Sandy Hook and Long Island slip by and watch for the "Old Girl" the Statue of Liberty come in view and dream and think, to look ahead, let the past be gone. (It is a fact that the average A.E.F. man didn't do very much thinking and talking of the past, events and incidents were seldom recalled or thought of after they happened, partly because of the rapidity they sometimes happened and partly because the future looked brighter was more pleasant to dream about. Sometimes incidents were not recalled for a year or more after being out of service.) By 4:30 every detail is over, packs ready to be slung, everything in its proper place. Time and distance as slipped quickly by, on looking around as I come up on deck the "Old Girl" is just before us, nine long months ago since I sailed by you going over than one couldn't hope to see you with in a year at least if ever, some on the transport then will never pass here again, will never know this great moment. Ferry boats darting here and there with their throngs aboard each are waving and cheering as we go by, we return their waving silently but with a stirring emotion on the insides, our people, our kind. A ship load of silent waving men receiving a hearty welcome, so much more silent than the months before as the ships went out carrying a mass of waving, cheering men being God speed, on the journey Overthere by this same ever waving, cheering throng of New Yorkers. (Maybe Zane Grey the novelist was jealous when he saw the troops coming home being greeted so whole heartedly by the whole nation and New York included. New York city furnished bands and committee to greet every ship load of troops returning. According to Zane Grey in his book "The Day of the Beast" returning soldiers were given the cold shoulder when arriving in New York City and by the nation at large.) Back to our own country at last Back to the greatest and best country in the whole world. Back to where people talk the good old United States language, where liberty is liberty, where justice is justice, where good will is good will, where a poor man isn't always a poor man, where national armament isn't always a pressing subject, where democracy is democracy.

Minnesota halts in the river between the long row of piers on the New York side of the river and the row of piers on the other side of the river, the Hoboken, N.J. piers. She is maneuvering to let the current of the river help to carry her into pier No. 3 on the Hoboken side. A band on the pier is playing some of the latest jazz music, a decided contrast to the war time pieces they played when we left. The boat Captain stands on the bridge directing the Minnesota to the pier, several unsuccessful attempts are made to get it up to the pier, the current of the river and the slowness of heavy battle ship makes it hard to manage. Once the crew manage to throw a large 6 in. rope to the pier which is immediately made fast but it is broken in two as if it were nothing. The pier officers talking thru their megaphone want to get a tug to draw the Minnesota in, the Minnesota's Captain said he would make it. On the next try she slips in along the side of the pier and is made fast. Opposite us in the next pier lies the mammoth Leviathan it has beaten us back by more than a days time and here we were on our way home when it was going over. Six days is its regular time in crossing. Immediately file off ship board after being made fast which is at 6:30 P.M. each man answering to his name on coming down the gang plank. Taken at once upstairs in the warehouse where the Red Cross serve us a lunch and give each a card to mail home. As the company files out of the lunch room every eighth man is given a 5 lb. box of chocolates, a box is thrust into my hands going down a bridge to the cement pavement below, everything is hurry the officers are taking us on the double quick to a waiting ferry boat across the street, as my hobnails strike the pavement I take a spill, sort of greeting America with a kiss. As the last man steps on the ferry it is off, a few minutes ride, dock, unload and board a train for a ten mile ride to Camp Merritt, N.J. we learn. This has been some hustle and speed since debarking I'll say. That's service something the old country (Europe) doesn't know anything about. New York is service and speed to the upper most, she has to, to move her traffic. On the train, it is just dark now things are all lit up everywhere everyone are in great spirits, home at last, outside the street lights flash by, inside us men are sitting by three or four in two double seats talking with enthusiasm of the present and the future not so far ahead where in we will be back in civvies once more.

In looking back some months to that other train ride out of New York to Camp Mills just on such an evening as this what a joy ride that was, care free, happy, joyous raring to go and letting it all come out in song, how we did sing or trying to sing that night . Tonight for the first time since then equally as happy, as joyous, as carefree, coming in to the home stretch of a long journey, with the job done, no one thought of singing so no one sang. When the Armistice was signed ending hostilities an unconscious Armistice was signed against song singing. Oh! of course we did break loose once in a while in our billets especially us fellows upstairs accompanying the singing with a lot of stamping of feet until the fellows down stairs would come up threaten to throw us out of the windows if we didn't stop cracking the plaster loose from the ceiling below. Detrain a couple miles out from Camp Merritt. Hike out to camp arriving at 10:00 P.M. The camp is built up to barracks.

SUNDAY, APRIL 27, 1919

A bright spring day quite hot for the season. There is a sign in the latrines here in camp that reads "Get into the habit of saving water for when you get across only three gallons will be allowed each man". Goll! Who ever had three gallons the whole time he was in France? Johnson and I went over to the Y this A.M. to look around. Later I went over to the telegraph office and sent a telegram home. In the afternoon the company is run thru the delousing station, each mans clothing being done up in a bundle which is put in a steam heated boiler for 15 minutes while the men took baths. Our clothing sure are some wrinkled now. Later in the afternoon all are issued new clothing. Each man received a pair of breeches instead of the marine pants, now we won't have to buy any. A lot of trading around of clothing is done the rest of the day to get better fits and get blouses and breeches to match each other. We feel quite well satisfied with our uniforms to go home in now. Everybody is also busy sewing on new service stripes and divisional ensigns. Write letters home this evening at the Y.

MONDAY, APRIL 28, 1919

Part of company get passes to New York today. Buy a pair of dress shoes. Receive some mail. Its seems funny to be hearing civilians talk English because for so long we have been around civilians who talked only French or German. We will have to be more careful about how we talk now or we will be making breaks. Company and battalion pictures were taken this morning. A mammoth privately owned barber shop in camp here is doing some business, there is 22 barber chairs, cost $1.75 to get fed thru there to get all of our army scum off but every one is having it done, going to go home clean.


Most of the Lancaster boys receive 24 hour passes home to Lancaster, Pa. this morning. Lucky birds! They nearly broke their necks hurrying to get out of camp. The officers purchase a lot of apples, oranges etc. with money out of the company fund. This fund is a certain percent of the money the company barber took in for cutting hair.


Most of the Lancaster boys were late getting back from their passes this morning. They sure have some tales to tell. While passing thru the station at Philadelphia, Pa., a man stepped up to Sgt. Deets and asked him what he done to get his medal, he was wearing his Belgium medal, Deets said "Hell if I know:. John Miller of Lancaster the company slacker and skulker is giving people the low down on the war and he was never on the front a day. The S.O.S. men are chuck full of war stories you can tell a combat trooper from a S.O.S. man as a slacker, far from it, but the S.O.S. as a necessary evil as eaters of candy and cookies that partly of which should of been ours and as a class of troops below the combat troopers.''

Battalion taken to the Liberty Theater to hear lecture on sex hygiene. Have my overcoat pressed. Late this afternoon the battalion is assembled in a hollow square formation on a small parade ground inside of the camp. The last formation of the present 151th. M.G.Bn. our last formation of battalion and company forever. We are to be separated into several groups, each group to be sent to the camp nearest their homes to be discharge, an officer of the battalion will be in charge of each group. Glad the parting has come, peace time soldiering doesn't appeal to us Americans, it is to be our own bosses and to wear civvies that appeals to us. So without any heartaches or sadness we are ready to part, forever. Capt. Means calls the name of each man and his troop number, the man answering here to his name and steps out of ranks and marches over to fall in with his group. A printed farewell greeting is handed to each it being a farewell from General John J. Pershing. So passes the old 151st. into memory and history. Each group is marched away to another part of the camp than where we have been quartered. The Pennsylvania group being assigned the barracks next to us Michigan boys. Buy a traveling bag to hold my belongings such as toilet articles and a few odd belongings, all the rest of our equipment has been turned in save our pack carrier and a couple blankets, excepting our gas mask and helmet which two articles besides our uniforms we will be allowed to retain.


Some lively time here in the barracks upstairs, there are few military regulations here in camp, no reveille, retreat, drill, fatigue, taps or lights out, burn your light all night if you want. We haven't stood reveille or retreat since leaving Kripp. Well last night shortly after I had gone to sleep suddenly I am awakened by hitting the floor with a bang and my cot on top of me. Crawling out I spy Shorty Anderson nearly bursting himself with laughter, That started a high time among us all seeing who we could play jokes on. Finally a couple officers who happened to be quartered down stairs came up to quiet us down so they could sleep. We weren't able to catch Shorty in his bunk to tip him out, he stayed up until all of us were asleep. The Lancaster boys are pulling out for Camp Dix., Pa. this morning. A few handshakes, a general good-bye, "I'll see you down at the Old Soldiers Home some day, and they are gone. Lucky dogs! They'll beat us out of service a week or more. On the bulletin boards at the several Y's are a list of the different contingents and the date they entrain for their discharging camp. This contingent, The Camp Custer detachment of the 151th. M G.Bn. will entrain May 7th. Rains most of the day. Bale and I go to the Y movie in the evening. Nice warm day. Attend the slow at the large Central Y given by a group of New York girls. One of the girls sang a song about being in love with some one and pointed out a soldier in the crowd he came right up after her, she run off the stage into the side room so he started to sit down again when she stuck her head out again and dared him to so he sent right up on the stage after her but she slipped away. Everybody roared. Stay for the movie afterwards. Turn in our heavy winter underwear and socks for summer wear.


Awful hot day. Spend most of our time visiting the canteens and Y's. The barracks is on the edge of camp close to the to county line of the reservation.

SUNDAY, MAY 4, 1919

Another hot day. Write letters, the last before going home.. Attend church in the Y.

MONDAY, MAY 5, 1919

These hot days are making one lazy, or gives one the spring fever by the feel. Seems like the days are awful long. Gee if they don't feed on corn willies part on the time in this camp, thought we were past that objective. Attend the movies.

TUESDAY, MAY 6, 1919

Shortly afternoon, move to another part of the camp. Will leave camp tomorrow at 6:00 P.M. Seen some of the Georgia boys, they haven't left camp yet. Hutchens and I buy a small raisin pie today thinking we were awful hungry, but together we are unable to eat all of it. Must be that we are so used to eating so little that our stomachs are not very large.


A long restless day waiting for the departure from camp this evening. Leave at 6:00 P.M. On the way to the station see Savuer and Humphreys standing beside the road. Arrive at station at a quarter to 7:00 Immediately board the train and at 7:00 P.M. the train pulls out going via Hudson River route same as when we came to New York from Camp Custer. Halt an hour in Ravenna N.Y. where we have Sam our negro porter on the train go out and buy us a lot of pies, he has to make several trips. When he gets done distributing them he has one pie over, can't find the owner of it but declares some one gave him the money for it. Sam is good natured and comes in for a lot of kidding. This train is made up of tourist coaches, each two double seat are convertible into a bunk for two while above an extra bunk for one can be let down form the ceiling. Three men are assigned to each two double seats so we have lots of room, most like riding in state. Hutchens, Bale and myself are together. Lt. Parkenson of our old Co. D. is in command of the contingent


Pass thru Syracuse and Rochester early this morning. 9:30 Buffalo where a short stop is made. Cross into Canada at Buffalo at 10:00 A.M. instead of at Niagara Falls where we did before. Arrive at Detroit 3:00 P.M. stop an hour in train sheds at the depot. Beach, whose home is in Toledo talks strongly of taking an A.W.A.L. to Toledo, and get back into Camp Cluster tomorrow morning but I talk him out of it. It would be a foolish thing to do at this stage of the game. Might have to remain in service in Camp Custer a month or more for doing it if he wasn't on deck tomorrow when they start feeding us thru the Discharge Board. As we halt in Jackson we see and shake hands with Johnson the company clerk of Co. A. 328th. M. G. Bn. His home is in Jackson. Arrive at Camp Custer at 7:00 P.M. and detrain at once. Well of all things, of course we know that most of the soldiers stationed here had been discharged, but never thought of the camp looking so bleak, desolate and deserted as it is now. No soldiers strolling around, no life anywhere only ourselves it seems, no traffic on the cement road, no sight seers from Battle Creek driving around in cars. They say it takes 48 hours to pass thru all the red tape of the Discharge Board, we will get out of here about Saturday night, two more days and then Oh! Boy!

FRIDAY, MAY 9, 1919

Today has been a round of visits to multitudes of different boards, etc. Turn in extra clothing, blankets and pack carrier, retaining only our clothing and uniforms, including overcoat, that we are wearing and gas masks, helmet and toilet articles. Oh yes, they did throw in our first aid kit lucky never had to use it. Picture taken of the contingent.

Physical examination, a whirlwind one at that, in direct contrast to the slow and thorough one given when accepted for service. If you have been wounded they give you a better examination. An example of the speed of the examination is when you approach the heart doctor you see a sign which reads "breath deeply" he claps his rig on you as you pass him without stopping and you're passed. Hammond and I attend lectures and movies at the Y and the only Y in camp that is open. Late this afternoon I went down to where the several mammoth amusement buildings stand on the edge of camp next to Battle Creek, only one of them are open. Trying to get rid of souvenirs yet. They were great amusement places during the camps "hey days". They held you up for your whole months pay when you got in one of them and as you left they would give you a little souvenir and a pat on the back for helping to win the war.

SATURDAY, MAY 10, 1919

Hope we get out of here this afternoon and don't have to wait until Monday to get our discharges. Yesterdays we were given each a red discharge chevron to sew onto our right sleeve, this has to be on before they will give us the discharge. We are taken over to the final Discharge Board at 8:00 A.M. it is a large room caged in so that a path way circles the outside edge of the room here we will get our discharge. At 8:30 they start feeding us thru called each man as he is on their lists. At 9:00 my name is called and I start the round of the different windows in the cage who inspect the different papers etc. Finally receiving my discharge and traveling pay home and I'm discharged. As each man passes out he breaks into a rum to his barracks, grabs his traveling bag, gasmask and helmet and runs over to the cement road to catch a taxi for Battle Creek. On the last lap at last. Five weeks ago this morning we left Kripp, Germany. Oh boy, about home at last.

Parks, Peltier, another fellow and myself catch a taxi at once for Battle Creek. Parks and I figure we've got about a half hour to catch the next electric car for Grand Rapids if we can get it we will get home this evening. A guard at the edge of camp halts the taxi and looks thru our baggage for surplus army goods. The taxi stops at the electric station, the other two are bound for Jackson, to let Parks and myself out and we start off without paying our own way, we're out of the army now, we've traveled all over two continents without paying our way and here this fellow wants us to pay him. Gee! never thought of pay. Hutchens already was waiting in the station when we walk in. Before the car comes in a half hour later several more of the fellows arrive. Have a going north on the train. Bale leaves us at Howard City. Parks call up his folks at Lake City from Cadillac, they are going to come after him in the car.

Eight or ten Fife Lake men are in Cadillac to attend an Odd Fellows meeting. Of course I'm anxious to get home, keep looking out to get sight of some familiar scene, must be getting nearly to Fife Lake now, what small like is that, little bigger than a frog pond. Why that looks like the Hobbs Hotel on the other side, why it must be Fife Lake, guess seeing the Atlantic makes it look so small.

The end of the long, long trail a trail that couldn't be gone back over again as gladly and enthusiastically as this first time. An experience like this one once is enough to last a life time for war is like Sherman said it was "Homeward Bound, Oh, What a Wonderful, Wonderful Sound".


The period from May 28, - Sept. 13, 1918 might be called raring to go. It was indeed truly a time of "drums rum tumming everywhere", when the average soldiers ambition was to get over there and at 'em, when soldiers trained to the best of their abilities, when soldiers were carefree and good times were numerous.

The period from Sept. 13 - Nov. 11, 1918 might be called Fininshing the Job or Hanging on. A period of misery and cooties, of agony and hunger, of death and honor, of duty and longings, of cold and mud, of sickness and hope, of thinning ranks, and guts. When joys were few, and comforts fewer, when little pleasures were made the most of, when death was always near and hope said it won't be you but somehow all would be well, when war seemed so real and never ending and peace and home so far away as to be unattainable.

The period from Nov. 11th., 1918 - May 10th., 1919 might be called longing for home. A period of loneliness, heartsickness, restlessness and longing. The job done, army snap gone and drill boresome. A period when one found it impossible to be content or interested in foreign surroundings.

The high spots in my service, the days of great importance or events are:

JULY `12th. Entrain for New York at Camp Custer

JULY 22th. Sail for France From New York

AUGUST 11th. Land in Cherborg France from England

AUGUST 24th. Receive notice of transfer to a front line division.

SEPTEMBER 11th. & 12th. Enter trenches in evening for St. Mihiel drive next day

NOVEMBER 11th Armistice day

MAY 10 Discharged at Camp Custer and arrive home.

Of these the evening of September 11th. and the day of September 12th stand out above the rest. The going in of Sept. 11th, just before darkness with its weird, calm, holy stillness, holy because each know that by tomorrow all would not be with the company but some would be lying somewhere out there beyond. The calm just before the battle. For us men just going up the first time, a wondering what it all would be like and if we would be able to meet the test as it should be met, would be like and if we would be able to meet the test as it should be met, resolution made to stick to the end at any cost. Weird because of the strangeness of it all. The battle on Sept. 12th. us new men beholding it for the first time, the awfulness of it all, the conviction that the one days warfare was enough to last forever.''Not very many wrote farewell letters to carry into battle, to most to have done so would of been a sort of a conviction or superstition a that one was going to get his.. Most of the soldiers had some few superstitions about doing or not doing certain things on the front.

Although at home among the people an effort was made to call the American soldiers "Sammies" the name never stuck to the troops. Even the popular word Budddie didn't take hold amongst the troops but now in later years Buddie has become popular among former soldiers and sailors. The popular nicknames used by the over sea soldiers themselves in addressing an unknown soldier was "Mac", "Big Boy", or sometimes just plain Yank.

I have heard it said by persons that they couldn't understand why the soldiers were so crazy to go across and get killed. Well they didn't want to get killed, they wanted to do their bit, their share in winning the war, each one holding a hope that some how he would get thru some how.

By the time a soldier was discharge from the service he had had enough of the army and war declaring he would't get into another war, but today time has wiped out that feeling and there probably wouldn't be a more loyal group of men in the whole nation to offer themselves again if the occasion should arise again even than this same group of ex-service men even if they do know and hate war as only men who know war can hate it.

Edward Ted Inman


April 18, 1918

A message to you from his majesty King George Vth. Censored by Fred D. Ball Maj. (very hard to read his rank) To T.J. Inman, So. Boardman, Michigan

Windsor Castle, April 1918, Soldiers of the United States, the people of the British Isles welcome you on your way to take your stand beside the Armies of many Nations now fighting in the Old World the great battle for human freedom.

The Allies will gain new heart and spirit in your company. I wish that I could shake the hand of each one of you and bid you God speed on your mission. George R.I.

5/30/18 Y postcard.

Dear Father, Mother and All: Arrived all O.K. at 7:30 last night. We were vaccinated as soon as we arrived. Saw Albert C. and were given supper by L.F.s company. Had a long talk with him. Haven't been examined yet. Won't be for a day or so I guess. A holiday to day you know. Nothing doing much. We have to stay in the barracks for three weeks only when we drill we are out. From Ted.


To T.J. Inman, So. Boardman, Michigan, post marked June 3, 1918 from Battle Creek, Camp Custer Division, on linen look stationary.

June 1, 1918, Bldg.1316, 4th Co. 1st. Bn., 160 Depot Brig., Camp Custer

Dear Parents: This has been some windy day and sandy too. The ground all around the buildings is bare not even a spear of grass too be seen. It has all been covered with gravel and clay so you see thee is something doing when the wind blows. Out away from the camp the grounds a most all seed down only once in a while a vacant field. The land is quite rolling with a range of large hills on one side. The targets are at the foot of this range so they well stop stray bullets, I guess. Most of the farm houses are still strange, officers live in them, the barns are used as garages mostly.

Taps are sounding so out goes the light

June 2, 6:10 P.M. This has been some busy day for us here in 1316 (roll call at 6:00) We had breakfast at 6:30 then cleaned our barracks. At 7:45 the Seargent took us down to the other end of camp (about 3 miles) to be mustered in and examined. But there was a big bunch ahead of us that there wasn't time to be examined before dinner. Had dinner at 12:00 and was marched back to get the exam at 1:30. I don't know how many Drs there were (with about helpers a piece) but I guess about 10 to 12 different ones. About 150 men were being examined at once. All undressed in one room then filed by the Drs. in order. There was 33 in our bunch and 16 were referred to the Special Board after were examined. I was one of the latter so don't know if I will pass or not. They said something was wrong with my heart. Will be examined by the Special Board tomorrow A.M. Just returned from Retreat a little while ago. Every body examined received a "shot" in the arm after the exam. The shot doesn't hurt much at the time unless your stomach is out of order then you'll faint but about 3 or 4 hours later then. Two fellows fainted in retreat tonight, one fellow into my arms and 3 or 4 walked out pretty faint. We hadn't anymore than got back in until the whole bunch began to feel pretty blue. The guards are sinking into bed one by one. They have to put on a new bunch pretty soon if it keeps up so I believe I will go to bed myself before they put me on, am feeling tough too, ache all over. Were are closed in here for three weeks so can't get out to buy anything. I need a glass to shave by but don't send one till I let you know how I come out on the exam. Haven't any ink either. Lucius and Wilbus G, where here last night but had to stay on the out side. We can go out and to anybody if we went to.

Albert C. was here Thur. night that makes twice I have seen him. This is some place when it rains, all water but not much mud. 500 soldiers left Sat. for Camp Maraud, I guess. Also a lot came from Virginia 2 or 3 thousand they say. They figure on moving all of this draft out of here in 4 or 5 weeks. I guess I will close for tonight. Good Night Ted.

Postcard stamped may 31, 1918, Custer Branch, Battle Creek, Mi; to T.J. Inman

Edward Inman, 1316 Bldg., 4th Co. 1st. Bn. 160 Deport Brig., Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Mi

5/30/1918 Dear Father, Mother and All

Arrived all O.K. at 7:30 last night. We were vaccinated as soon as we arrived . Saw Albert C. and were given supper by L.F. Company. Had along with him. Haven't been examined yet. Won't be fore a day or so I guess. A holiday today, to day you know. Nothing doing much. We have to stay in the barrack for three weeks only when we drill. From Ted

Letter is post marked June 3, 1918, Custer Br., Battle Creek, Michigan to T.J. Inman, South Boardman, Michigan.

June 1, 1918, Bldg. 1316, 4th. Co. 1st. Bn., 160 Depot Brig., Camp Custer

Dear Parents, This has been some windy day and sandy too. The ground all around the buildings is bare not even a spear of grass to be seen. It has all been covered with gravel and clay so you see there is something doing when the wind blows. Out away from the camp the grounds are most all seeded down only once in a while a vacant field. The land is quite rolling with a range of large hills on one side. The targets are at the foot of this range so they will stop stray bullets I guess. Most of the barn houses are still standing, officers live in them, the barn are used as garages mostly. Taps are sounding so out goes the lights.

June 2, 6:10 P.M. This has been some busy day for us here in 1316. Revelle call at 6:00 We had breakfast at 6:30 then cleaned our barracks. At 7:45 the Sgt. took us down to the other end of camp (about 3 miles) to be mustered in and examined. But there was a big bunch a head of us that there wasn't time to be examined before dinner. Had dinner at 12:00 and was marched back to get the exam at 1:30. I don't know how many Drs. (with about 5 helper a piece) there were but I guess about 10 or 12 different ones. About 150 men were being examined at once. All undressed in one room then filed by the Dr. in order. There was 33 in our bunch and 16 were referred the Special Board after were examined. I was one of the latter so don't know if I will pass or not. They said something was wrong with my heart. Will be examined by the Special Board tomorrow A.M., will have to start down at 7:30 A.M.

Just returned from retreat a little while ago. Every body examined received a shot in the arm after the exam. The shot doesn't hurt much at the time unless your stomach is out of order then you'll faint but about 3 or 4 hours later then------. Two fellow fainted in retreat tonight, one fellow into my arms and 3 or 4 others walked out pretty faint. We hadn't any more than got back in until the whole bunch began to feel pretty blue.

The guards are sinking into bed one by one. They have to put on a new bunch pretty soon if it keeps up so I believe I will go to bed myself before they put me on, am feeling tough too, ache all over. We are closed in here for three weeks so can't get out to buy anything. I need a glass to shave by but don't send one till I let you know how I come out on the exam. Haven't any ink either.

Lucius and Wilbus G. were here last night but had to stay on the out side. We can go out and to anybody if we want to.

Albert C. was here Thur. night that makes twice I have seen him. This is some place when it rains all water but not much mud. 500 soldiers left Sat. for Camp Merret I guess. Also alot came from Virginia 2 or 3 thousand they say. They figure on moving all of this draft out of here in 4 or 5 weeks. I guess I well close for tonight. Good Night Ted

Letter is post marked June 3, 1918, Custer Br., Battle Creek, Michigan to T.J. Inman, South Boardman, Michigan.

June 1, 1918, Bldg. 1316, 4th. Co. 1st. Bn., 160 Depot Brig., Camp Custer

Dear Parents, This has been some windy day and sandy too. The ground all around the buildings is bare not even a spear of grass to be seen. It has all been covered with gravel and clay so you see there is something doing when the wind blows. Out away from the camp the grounds are most all seeded down only once in a while a vacant field. The land is quite rolling with a range of large hills on one side. The targets are at the foot of this range so they will stop stray bullets I guess. Most of the barn houses are still standing, officers live in them, the barn are used as garages mostly. Taps are sounding so out goes the lights.

June 2, 6:10 P.M. This has been some busy day for us here in 1316. Revelle call at 6:00 We had breakfast at 6:30 then cleaned our barracks. At 7:45 the Sgt. took us down to the other end of camp (about 3 miles) to be mustered in and examined. But there was a big bunch a head of us that there wasn't time to be examined before dinner. Had dinner at 12:00 and was marched back to get the exam at 1:30. I don't know how many Drs. (with about 5 helper a piece) there were but I guess about 10 or 12 different ones. About 150 men were being examined at once. All undressed in one room then filed by the Dr. in order. There was 33 in our bunch and 16 were referred the Special Board after were examined. I was one of the latter so don't know if I will pass or not. They said something was wrong with my heart. Will be examined by the Special Board tomorrow A.M., will have to start down at 7:30 A.M.

Just returned from retreat a little while ago. Every body examined received a shot in the arm after the exam. The shot doesn't hurt much at the time unless your stomach is out of order then you'll faint but about 3 or 4 hours later then------. Two fellow fainted in retreat tonight, one fellow into my arms and 3 or 4 others walked out pretty faint. We hadn't any more than got back in until the whole bunch began to feel pretty blue.

The guards are sinking into bed one by one. They have to put on a new bunch pretty soon if it keeps up so I believe I will go to bed myself before they put me on, am feeling tough too, ache all over. We are closed in here for three weeks so can't get out to buy anything. I need a glass to shave by but don't send one till I let you know how I come out on the exam. Haven't any ink either.

Lucius and Wilbus G. were here last night but had to stay on the out side. We can go out and to anybody if we want to.

Albert C. was here Thur. night that makes twice I have seen him. This is some place when it rains all water but not much mud. 500 soldiers left Sat. for Camp Merret I guess. Also alot came from Virginia 2 or 3 thousand they say. They figure on moving all of this draft out of here in 4 or 5 weeks. I guess I well close for tonight. Good Night Ted To T.J. Inman, So. Boardman, R.F.D. #3, Michigan post marked June 24, 1918 on regular stationary.

June 22, 1918, Co.A.328 M.G.Bn., Camp Custer, Michigan,

Dear Parents, This has been some busy week, three nights we drilled until 10:00 o'clock at night besides getting up at 5:00 o'clock every morning. The drilling at night was with gas masks. Practiced going "over the top" with them on. This afternoon we went through the gas house twice with them on and you couldn't tell there was any gas around only by the sight. Then we went through "tear gas" with them off and believe me the tears came. I'm writing at one of the Y.M.C.A. and the audience is singing "Goodbye Broadway, Hello France".

Mrs. Judkins was on the train Sun. she went to Grand Rapids. Also Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Jodges were on their way to Detroit. Saw Gordon S. at Reed City and Herrick at Morley. As we were pulling out of Big Rapids I saw Mr. Ball but it was too late to draw his attention. Arrived back about 2:30A.M. today about two thirds of the Company went home for over Sun,

All of our guns and guncarts have been shipped the last day or two so we may go most anytime. Different company have been going all this last week. I fired on the range one day and made some pretty good shots. Also fired on the pistol range a little while but the old pistol seemed to jump when I pulled the tricker so I only made 29 out of a possible 50. It certainly some dry the drill fields have about two inches of dust on them and when you march through it you raise a regular cloud of dust till your can't hardly breathe.

How's Wallace getting along ? Have received all my equipment including barrack bag and I use that other little to keep my toilet articles in.

Sun. A.M. Had my picture taken it won't by finished for about 10 days and if we leave before then they will be sent home. Lots of visitors in camp today. Have you had any rain? From you son, Ted.

To T. J. Inman from Pvt. Edw. Inman Co.A.328 M.G. Bn., Camp Custer, Michigan post marked July 1, 1918 on YMCA stationary.

June 30, 1918,

Dear Parents, This has been some rainy day, started in about midnight and it is still raining and it is 11:00 A.M. It rained so hard that we stood reveille in side the barracks. There is water standing all over but the ground is covered with gravel so it isn't muddy. Also had a rain last Mon. night and one Thursday P.M. while we were out on the range. It was a regular cloud burst. Had our raincoats so didn't get wet.

There has been an airplane flying around Camp the last two or three days. Seen it fly several times. Also seen it loop the loop once. Don't know where it came from. Several of the officers went up in it. Went on a hike last Tues. afternoon of about 10 miles. Went through some swell country. I believe it was about the richest I've seen in Michigan. Where this Camp is located the ground is very light.

Seen Greg McT. last night just happened to run on to him. He was home last Sunday. Haven't seen any of the last drafted fellows that I knew. Don't know where they are located. About 3,000 of them are living it pup tents till we are moved out which will be a couple of weeks yet I think. Were to have gone last Friday but got orders from Washington D.C. that our departure was indefinitely postponed.

Received the box O.K. Friday noon. Suppose Wallace is chewing gum to beat the band.

Sun. P.M. Just got back from dinner and it is still raining. Had ice cream for dinner which isn't new which we get about three times a week. Also bananas, oranges, apples, peaches, ect. about everyday.

There is a fellow in our Company who used to live a Custer, Ohio by the name of Beck. There must be Inmans all over Michigan for I've had five fellows in my Company if I was any relation to some Inman where he lives, some of the places were Benton Harbor, Otsego and Ludington.

Last Sunday there was about 3 visitors to every soldier but today there is not very many on account of the rain. The Company fed about 25 visitors today while last Sunday they fed over 80 visitors.

I don't know how they get off so easy up there in our county for down here it seems as though about one out of every 7 or 8 is married and lots of them have farms of their own. Also most everyone seem to me a farmer.

I was going out on the range today and get some big shells to send home if it hadn't rained. You can get all kinds of them out there. You have to get them on Sundays for on other days they are firing so you can't go. There is a red flag on one of the fills and when that is down you can go anywhere you please. Can't find anymore to write so will close. With Love, Ted

To T. J. Inman from Pt. Edw. Inman, Co.A.328 M.G. Bn., Camp Custer, Michigan on YMCA stationary dated July 8, 1918

July 6, 1918, Dear Parents and All,

Saturday evening and as I haven't did much today, will write a letter home. We stood inspection at 9:00 o'clock with full pack then went out and pitched tents for a while returning at 11:00 o'clock. Haven't did anything since then only eat and sleep. They last two weeks they haven't worked us as hard as at first. My! But I pity those last drafted fellows. They been working them all day and some nights until mid-night getting some of them ready to go with the Division.

Friday A.M. we fired on the range on the way up for dinner we met the infantry coming in from a hike. There was some bunch of them. We waited 20 minutes for them to pass. Must have been a mile long and they were four abreast. Fri. P.M. we went for a hike about four miles out, stopped in a farmers meadow and learnt to pitch our tents. Got back at 5:30.

The wheat and rye are getting ripe they look good too but the corn is poor here too. Most of the farmers were making hay.

What are we going to do for feed next winter? How's the hay? Saw Lucius today for the first time since I dame back. He was always gone when I went over to see him and it was the same way when he came over to see me. He was in Battle Creek for the Fourth. Nina is there you know. Lucius isn't in that picture but there is a Corp. Shannon from G.R. who looks quite a bit like him also acts like him too.

Lots of visitors in Camp the Fourth. Seemed more like Sunday to me. Slept most of the day. Took a walk down to the base hospital and its some pretty place with a little lake at the back and a dandy scenery in front. In the evening Clate and Carl C. came over and we went to the movies.

We have been given woolen suits now. Every thing is wool now but my underwear and I guess they are going to let us wear cotton for a while yet. Have turned in my cotton cloths. They don't wear them across.

Tomorrow at 9:00 o'clock there is a Special Farewell speech in all the Y's in honor of the departing 85th Division. I guess that means we will leave soon. But I think it will be a week or more before we leave. If I tell you when we are going to leave or about when we will go you are not supposed to tell anyone about it. I have a right to tell you only your supposed to keep still about it.

Who is Billy's girl?

Did anyone from Fife Lake or Boardman come in that last draft? Wonder what Mr. Brown will do if Richard teaches in Boardman and Reo enlists? Sent my picture home Wednesday. They were bum that is the finish was. If I had time I'd go up to B.C. and have some good ones taken in my new clothes but it takes about two weeks to get them. You can give them to whom you want but the kids will each want one so they won't be left.

Well I will close for tonight and finish it up tomorrow if I have time for I have to work in the kitchen tomorrow. Good Night, Ted

1:30P.M. Just back from working in the kitchen all day. Lots of visitors in Camp but we didn't have any for dinner because they are not allowed inside of the barracks from now on, on account of spreading diseases. Had oranges for breakfast and ice cream for dinner. The kitchen help had ice cream for supper what war left over from noon. We get pretty good grub most of the time although sometime it is very tempting but we eat it just the same. We've had butter once or twice the rest of the time it is oleomargerine. They use condensed milk then thin it with water till it taste more like dish water than anything.

Well, I can't think of anymore to write so will close for this time. From Ted.

To T. J. Inman July 14, 1918 from Ted Co. A. 328 Mach. Gun Bn. Am. Exped. Forces via New York., stationary is coarse kakai colored with gold embossed rifles crossed at top of page.

Dear Parents, Arrived here at night about 12:00 We left Camp Custer at 9:00A.M., Friday going to Det. via Jackson. Had dinner on the train just before we arrived there. The cooks did the cooking on the train. Red Cross also Gave us a lunch there too. Went under the river into Canada. Canada was as level as a floor. Someplace for hay. If you remember what Dr. Niehardt told you, you will know what it looks like. Stopped at St. Thomas and paraded a little. It was Orangemans Day in Canada. There was quite a crowd but they didn't even give us one cheer. They've saw too much of war I guess. All the towns were small not over a hundred or two in the largest save St. Thomas which has several thousand. Arrived at Niagara Falls at 6:00 A.M. and they let us off for 5 minutes to look at the Falls then crossed over to the U.S. side and such a change for everybody were out to see us and wave their hands. Saw the Erie Canal and some boats on it. The Red Cross gave us a lunch here too. Hit Buffalo at 8:00 P.M., Rochester, 9:00, Syracuse, 10:30, then I went to sleep or rather tried too. Stopped at Rivena, N.Y. at 4:00A.M. and didn't leave until 9:00 on account of a broken engine marched out into the country about a mile and had some exercises. It about the size of Kalkaska, I guess. The west half of N.Y. state looks about the same as around Traverse City.

After leaving Rivena we came into the Catskill Mts. They were fine. Next was the Hudson River which we followed into N.Y. about 150 miles the track being about 20 ft. from the shore at all times. Run over a section motor car but the man jumped off and saved himself. The old train certainly came to a sudden stop. Saw Sing Sing Prison, West Point and one of the ships, Henry Hudson came over in. Arrived in N.Y. at 1:30 after doing thru a tunnel a mile long, went thru four other tunnels along he Hudson too.

We then got on the boat where we had to wait until 4:30 for some other companys to arrive. After an hour ride on the boat arrived on Long Island where we waited till 9:00 P.M. for the train which brung us here which is about 22 miles.

There are no barracks here but all tents which hold eight men, we sleep on cots but it certainly hasn't got the accommodation that Camp Custer had. Lots of Aeroplanes here. We won't be here long I guess from the way the officers talk. Will close for this time. From your son Ted To T. J. Inman So. Boardman, Michigan, R.F.D. #2, from Pvt. Edward Inman, Co.A.328 Mach. G. Bn., Am. Exped. Forces via New York, post marked July 19, 1918

July 18, 1918 Dear Parents, Thur. Morning, received our first mail since we came here yesterday P.M. I got a letter from Aunt Eliza and the box of candy from Gladys. It was fine but it didn't seem to last very long. Say Gladys, Pvt. Wolfe was over last night and I fed him some of it. I guess he thought it was good by the way he ate it. He received a letter from Mildred Pierson wrote the day after she was married. He let me read it. That Myrtle Copes husband is in his company.

Had another wind and rain storm yesterday. They seem to always come all of a sudden. Flooded half of our tent my cot happened to be in a dry corner.

Some place for areoplanes here. Saw 13 in the air at once the other day and there is some one in the air all the time during the day. Their field is only a half mile from here. They do all kinds of stunts. Most of them are the big battle planes and they fly in groups of 5 or 6 in V shape with the ones behind a little above the next one in front.

We are all fitted out for overseas now, believe me they do dress a fellow good when he leaves here. I have two woolen suites, two pair shoes, three woolen blankets, overcoat, two pair of leggins, the woolen kind that wrap about 10 times around your leg starting at the bottom and coming up. They are swell looking and a lot of other things. Everything is kakai color but my overalls and jacket. We don't do any drilling here at all. Just keep clean and receive equipment ect. Will leave here soon I think but don't know where to.

They are digging early potatoes here on the Island. They seem to be pretty good.

How's every thing at home? How's Wallace making it? Does he still sleep alone?

Thrus. P.M. was over at Himstead, L. Is. this afternoon with one of the fellows. It is on the edge of the campground. Sent a couple pillow tops from there. Gladys can have the one. Am going over to night with Albert W. if I can get away. Where is Adrain and Mildred living?

Well close for today. From your son, Ted. Last letter before sailing from Camp Mills, New York, added after discharge. To T. J. Inman, So. Boardman, Michigan, from Pvt. Edward Inman.

July 20, 1918, Co.A.328 M.G. Bn. Am. Exped. Forces via New York

Dear Parents and All: I wouldn't get any mail at all if somebody else didn't write. Haven't heard from you since two weeks ago yesterday. They went after some more mail this evening so if I don't get a letter with it will be some weeks probably before I do. Leave here, Camp Mills before many hours and before you get this letter we will be quite a ways from land. Was over to see Albert C. Thur. night but haven't seen any of the others from F.L. It is certainly hot here, been simply baking every day this seek. But we haven't did any work or drilling so it hasn't bother as much. Most of the airplanes from here went out to look for "subs" yesterday after that battleship was sunk a little way from here.

Had some time here the other night everybody in the company had the trots even the officers too. You could hear fellows trotting by the tent al all hours of the night. Some sick looking bunch next morning I guess they put something in the eats to get us cleaned up before we go.

I suppose Shippys have their barn about finished by this time. Wo are in the next draft from around home. Lucius was telling me of several who were changed into the 1st. class. Have you started cutting the rye yet? Well I can't think of anymore to write so will close. With love from you son and brother, Ted.

Written last part of August shortly after arriving at training sector, added to envelope after discharge. To T.J. Inman, So. Boardman, Michigan from Pvt. Edward Inman on kakai stationary with gold embossed rifles crossed.

2:00 P.M. Somewhere in France, Dear Parents,

If I was home today I'd give Wallace a good spanking, maybe it would help him grow up a little faster. But I suppose he feels big enough anyway. You'll have to tell him he has to sleep along this winter, I guess. (Wallace was youngest and 17 years younger than Ted).

There is no use in trying to tell you any war new for you probably know a lot more than we do here for we hear very little. Received a letter last Sun evening, our first mail. Wed. we got another bunch, I received six letter including one from you and one from Aunt Eliza. Some happy bunch when we received the mail believe me.

You must be having all kinds of socials this summer. The people must be getting little more patriotic. Never received that letter you sent the day before the candy but by now I have later ones so it must have got lost. Tell Gladys a person wouldn't think so much about it if it had of been Fay instead of Beatrice that turned turtle. Ha Ha. It has been awful not here, but that is to be expect here I guess. But the last two days it has been a little cooler. Fri morning we got up at 3:30 in the morning had breakfast and then went on a hike so as to avoid the hot part of the day. Got back about 11:00 o'clock. In the afternoon some of us went down to the swimming hole for a swim and to wash our cloths for inspection in the morning. I washed two suits of underwear two pair of socks, two towels, a handkerchief and my pack carrier and used a big flat stone for a washboard.

Yesterday P.M. we had off, so another fellow and myself went out and picked a few blackberries. to eat but didn't find very many ripe ones but pots of green ones. The roads are all lined with them. The French people never pick them. Turn their nose up at the sight of them and think it awful that we should like them.

Have been busy all day long today until just now. Had inspection and checking up of equipment

What was the matter of Mrs. Lightizer that caused her to go daffy? Probably tried to carry ____ pocket book to much. I'm writing with another fellows fountain pen but it don't flow fast enough.. You'll have to guess part of this.

7:00 P.M. Just back from supper. If they keep on feeding us like this I'll soon be getting fat. But you can tell Uncle Leaf or whatever his name is that there is none wasted. If anybody is caught throwing some away it goes hard with them. Two fellows the other day got in wrong for throwing some away.

Wrote to Aunt Eliza this P.M. just before supper we were payed off for the month of July. Nearly everyone was broke so it come in handy. Will close for this time with love your son, Ted.

This was in the same envelope:

Somewhere in France, Dear Parents and All: I think France was rightly named when they call it "Sunny France" for the sun seems to shine here every day and good and hot at that. I feel as if I would like to go in bathing. Yesterday a couple fellows and myself went about two miles out to a little creek about 15 ft. wide but quite deep. From the looks of it I didn't think it was very keep so I stepped in, but to my sudden surprise, was up to my neck and ice cold at that.

We are billeted in a village, the first Americans to be stationed here. We all like it better than in England. The people seem to be so much more friendlier and glad to see us. Our quarters are in the different barns around town, mostly nice clean places. The French are just as anxious to learn English as we are French. You can look anywhere and see small groups of French and Americans trying to talk to each other. I believe if you would tie a Frenchmans hands behind him he couldn't talk even to another Frenchman for they motion so much of it with their hands.

Afternoon; Just woke up from a nap in the backyard on the grass. This forenoon went to regimental church service in the park. There are no churches here only Catholic and we are (not) suppose to go unless we are Catholics. I guess they were afraid there would be too many sight seekers. At four o'clock I'm going over to the park to a band concert. One of the infantry band of about 40 pieces. They give a concert on every week day evenings at 7:00. It seems nice to be located at last after being on the move for better than a month.

I suppose Alfred is think of going home pretty soon or has he made up his mind to stay where he is? And how's his Ledah? about the scarcest thing here I believe is water and the most plentiful is wine and beer by the look of things. The water has to be either treated or boiled before we are allowed to drink it. All the wells are open but plenty deep enough for good water if they were only drilled instead. If I mail this today I will have to close it now. With love your son Ted (First letter after transfer to 151 M.G.Bn.42nd. Div.) To T. J. Inman So. Boardman, Michigan from Pvt. Edward Inman Do. D. 151Mach. Gun. Bn. American E. F. via New York, censored by M. E. Means, Capt. written on kakai paper with gold embossed rifles crossing at the top of note paper.

Sept. 1, 1918 Somewhere in France, Dear Father, Mother and all,

I will try and write a little this Sun. evening if I can think of anything to write which seems the hardest problem. There is so much I could write but can't. Am feeling fine and you needn't worry. The past week has been a little cooler especially at night when it seem pretty much like the night at home.

The band is playing down at the corner of the street. It plays nearly every night when it can.

Haven't got any mail this week at all. Maybe I'll straightened around sometime so the mail will be more regular Probably you are thinking the same thing. I've been trying to write regular but ever now and then something turns up that I can't find time or that the letters can't be mailed if they were wrote. So you will have to be as patient as you can.

The young fellows must be getting awful scarce there by this time at the rate they are being drafted. Shippy certainly will have to dig more than the last few hills if belly is drafted (potatoes). I see they have changed the draft age. Does Maurice (Hager) talk of enlisting yet? I'd like to run across Leslie (Hager) but I suppose there is not much chance of it. Am getting sleepy and can't think of anymore to write so will close for this time with love, Good Night, Ted P.S. Not change of address.

To T. J. Inman so. Boardman, Michigan from Pvt. Edward Inman Co. D. 151 Mach. gun. Bn. American E. F. via New York, post marked 9/25/1918, censored by M. E. Means, Capt., written on Y.M.C.A. paper in a kakai envelope.

Sept 6, 1918, Somewhere in France,

Dear Parents and All, Just had supper, hash, lima beans, bread and coffee. I weighed 169 lb. on a pair of French scales with my raincoat on but I don't think I weigh that much, but they were French scales so maybe I didn't understand them right Ha! Ha!

We had quite a rain this afternoon but lasted only about a half hour. Some of the fellows took shower baths in it. Trying to rain again, if it does I'm going to take one too. Everybody is reading letters but me it seems tonight. Haven't had any for over two weeks. I guess they can't keep track of me over here, hardly can myself.

I suppose school is running full force by now. Who is teaching our school? I don't suppose Gladys will go to school this year, will she? How are you getting along with the work. Soon will be corn cutting time. Seems funny not to see any corn over here, about all they raise is wheat and grapes and dairying. All it takes to keep a Frenchman alive is to give him lots of bread and wine and a little cheese now and then and they are satisfied. In fact they don't care for anything else. Hardly any grocery stores and they are small carrying about as much stock as Helmicks (Fife Lake) did, for a town the size of Kalkaska. All the people live in villages here. The barn and house in one building. I can't tell which is which yet. This is all my paper so will have to close. With Love Ted KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS

Army of Occupation

printed in upper left corner, W. P. Andres 1st. Lt. censored letter to T. J. Inman

Tue Sept 10

Rained most of day also quite chilly, are camped in a woods about 8 miles from the front. Big naval guns were located here also a Y near by Don't move today.

Wed Sept 11

Late in afternoon get notice to move up into trenches in evening. From the looks of the troop movements we had expected a give drive was soon to be made so now we know it. Just before we started learnt that we had to be in our positions by midnight that the artillery opened up at 1:00 A.M. and we were to go over the top at 5:00 A.M. Roads simply alive with troops going forward in small groups never in mass formation. Pass thru Suphrecy on way from there on has masks had to be worn in an alert position. Unload ammunition carts and guns a half mile from the trenches carrying them the rest of the way by a board walk path on one side of which were strung wire so as to guide you in the dark through a thick woods to the trenches which lay on the edge of the woods.

Had to be careful not to make any noise which was nearly impossible it being so dark and path so rough could hardly see three feet ahead. But the greatest difficulty was getting in and located in the trenches which was finally accomplished by the aid of guides from the Division (89th) we were relieving. Started raining about midnight.

Thrus. Sept. 12

Carried several boxes of ammunition from where we unloaded the carts. Meanwhile the bombardment started at 1:00 A.M. and those old woods were no longer dark. Looked like a big Fourth July celebration or that the earth was on fire, and talk about noise with the deep rumble of the big naval guns 6 or 8 miles in the rear and the sharper bark of the smaller guns just back of the trenches in all one continuous noise, thousands of guns firing at the same time. Before 1:00 A.M., all had been quiet only an occasional shot or shell being exchanged. On entering the trench we had all thrown our blankets and ect. away so our packs would be light to go over the top with, so now we nearly froze , it being a cold chill rain. Finally got thawed out in a dugout.

Luke and myself do an hour guard by the gun. At 5:00 A. M. just at the brake of day the first wave of Inf. and M. Gun. went over the top along with hundreds of tanks. Our platoon was held to go .......(other sheet of paper is blank)

To T. J. Inman, So. Boardman, Michigan, from Pvt. Edward Inman, U.S. Army written on a smooth stationary, censored by 2nd Lt. W. P. Andres (on the St. Mihiel front was added after discharge)

Sept 25, 1918, Somewhere in France, Dear Parents and All, I have finally gotten hold of a sheet of paper and an envelope so will try and write to you this morning the first for some time.

The weather has been quite chilly and rainy for the past three weeks. This morning the sun is trying to shine but there is a brisk wind so as soon as it gets nearly cleared off the wind blows some more clouds over. A typical fall day. Haven't had any frosts yet, but all kinds of mud. The soil is all red clay so you can imagine what it is like. Still no mail. The last letter I received was written July 26th two months ago. Maybe I'll get some before Christmas. I see by a newspaper that a big Liberty Loan drive opens Saturday. I'm thinking it will make some of them dig a little keeper in their pockets than they have been if they make it a success. I think if most of them had a close view of this war once for just an hour they would be all to glad to stay at a distance and fork over their "dough".

Suppose you are getting ready to dig potatoes soon. How will they turn out and is the price very good. Haven't seen any potatoes for so long I wouldn't know hardly what they look like, only some German potatoes and believe me they tasted like they were German too. Bitter as quinine nearly. They use dehydrated spuds in the Army but they haven't got the taste as the fresh ones have. How are you getting along with the car? Have you run it very much this summer and has Wallace helped you to fix anymore punctures yet? I'm in the same Division as Charley LaBar (Fife Lake) came across with you know. This sheet nearly gone so will have to close. Will write again soon. With Love Your Son and Brother Ted.

Written on Y stationary, postmarked October 5, 1918 To T. J. Inman So. Boardman, Michigan from U.S. Army

Sept 29,1918 Somewhere in France, Dear Parents and All:

Say when you write after this put in an extra envelope and a sheet or two of paper in each letter. Have an awful time getting envelopes and paper most of the time here. Can only get one envelope and 2 sheets of paper here at the Y and then you nearly have to get on your knees for it. And Y's are sometimes pretty scarce too. From the papers in the U.S. one would think there was one under every bush over here but so far I've only been to two of them and then had to walk 5 or 6 miles. Then only got one envelope. Don't send a box of stationary for it never would get here anyway. Some of the fellows have had boxes of stuff sent to them but they seldom get here. This typical drizzly fall day. Started to rain early in the night and has kept it up ever since. It's nearly 10:00 A.M. now. Got up early this morning (6:30) for breakfast. Seemed rather early for we haven't been getting up until 9:00 or 10:00. Bit then we only had two meals a day. Then I helped to clean up on little German barrack (holds two squads). After that was done I shaved and sewed a button on my trousers and fixed a rip in them and one in my coat. Yesterday while washing my underwear I cut my knuckle on the edge of the can I was washing them in. It bled to beat the band. Busted it open this morning and got some of the blood on the envelope but since it is the only one I have I'm going to use it anyway. The mail came in last night, that is for most of them so most of them are writing letters or trying to borrow stuff to write with.

Hurrah! A couple of fellows went over to the Salvation Army (about 4 mile) this morning and just returned with some candy and chewing gum. The first I've tasted in France. Believe me it tasted some good. They were lucky and brought back 3 or 4 collars worth.

Did Shippy ever finish his barn or didn't he start it? Did Billy get drafted yet? Just had dinner. The sun is trying to shine this afternoon. Can't think of anymore to tell so will close for this time. With love, Ted.

Written on Y stationary, postmarked October 5, 1918 To T. J. Inman So. Boardman, Michigan from U.S. Army

Sept 29,1918 Somewhere in France, Dear Parents and All:

Say when you write after this put in an extra envelope and a sheet or two of paper in each letter. Have an awful time getting envelopes and paper most of the time here. Can only get one envelope and 2 sheets of paper here at the Y and then you nearly have to get on your knees for it. And Y's are sometimes pretty scarce too. From the papers in the U.S. one would think there was one under every bush over here but so far I've only been to two of them and then had to walk 5 or 6 miles. Then only got one envelope. Don't send a box of stationary for it never would get here anyway. Some of the fellows have had boxes of stuff sent to them but they seldom get here. This typical drizzly fall day. Started to rain early in the night and has kept it up ever since. It's nearly 10:00 A.M. now. Got up early this morning (6:30) for breakfast. Seemed rather early for we haven't been getting up until 9:00 or 10:00. Bit then we only had two meals a day. Then I helped to clean up on little German barrack (holds two squads). After that was done I shaved and sewed a button on my trousers and fixed a rip in them and one in my coat. Yesterday while washing my underwear I cut my knuckle on the edge of the can I was washing them in. It bled to beat the band. Busted it open this morning and got some of the blood on the envelope but since it is the only one I have I'm going to use it anyway. The mail came in last night, that is for most of them so most of them are writing letters or trying to borrow stuff to write with.

Hurrah! A couple of fellows went over to the Salvation Army (about 4 mile) this morning and just returned with some candy and chewing gum. The first I've tasted in France. Believe me it tasted some good. They were lucky and brought back 3 or 4 collars worth.

Did Shippy ever finish his barn or didn't he start it? Did Billy get drafted yet? Just had dinner. The sun is trying to shine this afternoon. Can't think of anymore to tell so will close for this time. With love, Ted.

October 7, 1918, In reserve before going in at Argonne, written on Y stationary, censored by only a stamp, no signature. To T. J. Inman, So. Boardman, Michigan from Edward Inman U.S. Army.

October 7, 1918 Somewhere in France, Dear Parent and All:

This rainy forenoon will try and write you a letter. I don't know when it will get mailed for I have no envelopes and no where to get any. Maybe you won't be able to read this anyway for I'm lying flat on my back and trying to keep dry at the same time. Anyway we heard good news last night just after we went to bed, it was that the Kaiser had asked for peace, but we hear so many things that isn't true that this is probably one too. The German prisoners say that Fritz can't last much longer and they give themselves up nearly every chance they get.

Leslie's Division is just a little way from here (Hager). Last Thur night the mail came in after I had gone to bed but it didn't take me long to get up. Received 14 letters and one card. Some mail! Seems mighty good to get mail again. Your last letter was dated Aug 21th. Have received all of them but the one wrote about the 10th. of July.

The country looked quite a bit like I thought it would from photos. Here where we are now it looks like it used to look on the way to Dieberts going by the way of Van Dykes.

Richard must have given up the idea of joining the army and started in to raise one. I can imagine how good that pie was. Don't see any of them things here. Not any kind of fruit only prunes and apricots. Some trip to Bay Vierre. Did Wallace go too? Or did he have to say home to look after the chores? Where did Kenneth go too and how long was he gone? I suppose Maurice (Hager) and Faye (brother-in-law married to Gladys) figure on enlisting before they have to register. It don't make any difference over here whether your drafted or enlisted your thought just as much of. How did the rye and oats yield and did the grasshoppers effect them much. That was certainly some social at our place. Are you able to get much yarn yet? My sweater is coming in mighty handy now. Alfred must like the south better than he did or has he fell in love again with another girl down there? Who teaches our school and how much money is missing? Just had dinner and am feeling rather full. A boiled dinner with bread butter and coffee. This morning we had a beef stew with bread and coffee.

This is the last scrape of paper I could find so I'll have to ring off pretty quick. You here the Y's and everybody else telling the soldiers boys to write more letters, I'd like to know how they are going to do it when they can't find anything to write on. Love Ted.

Censored by W. R. Andres 1st. Lt.

Written on childs lined school paper and very brittle, in a Y envelope, censored by R. G. Rhoads 2nd. Lt. To T. J. Inman, So. Boardman, Michigan from U.S.Army

November 24, 1918, Somewhere in Luxemburg, Dear Parents: Today we're resting after a four day hike. I guess we will be here tomorrow too! Thought when I wrote the last time that the next letter would be from "Somewhere in Belgium" but we were only two days passing thru there and didn't stop long enough to write. The post week has certainly been fine weather for this time of year, clear and warm during the day with the nights frosty typical November days and fine for hiking too. The roads were all stones most like city pavements. Crossed the Franco-Belgium frontier about 10:00 A.M. Thur. morning and about the first thing I saw was a water wheel the first one I ever saw in motion. Also a flock of geese and some cows all which are abundant in Belgium. Belgium is some rich country and someplace for scenery too all big hills, alleys and hedges. Ever little village we went thru they were out to welcome us. Some of the larger places with bands. While all the buildings were decorated with flags mostly, Belgium, French and American flags with a few British and Italian also in the streets were stood evergreen trees all decorated with flags and colors looked most like Christmas trees.

Arrived in Luxenburg sate about noon adeste and are quartered in side the frontier five or six miles in a village located in a keep narrow valley with a little creek flowing down the center. The sun only shines in here at noonday, the hills are so high and steep all around. In fact there is about two thirds of the frost left on the ground yet where the sun hasn't hit and the sum is nearly down now. The people are most all Germans here although they don't hang in sympathy with them very much.

Have been busy all day, shaved and cleaned up a little after breakfast which was at 8:00A.M., then had Roll Call. Then went and saw the Doctor to have one of my feet bound up. It was getting lame from hiking. Dinner at 12:00, then we had to clean all our equipment. Just finished doing that a little while ago.

How is the influenza around there by this time? Got the letter you wrote the 23rd. of Oct. last Monday. Haven't received any mail since than but I think we will get some about tomorrow. There is quite a lot of back mail that I ought to get pretty soon. Most all that was written in Sept I haven't got yet. I'm sending a piece of propaganda dropped by a German aeroplane which I picked up along in October. Also a citation which our division got. This is the Rainbow Division. I don't know if you "caught on" when I told it before or not. Who would have ever thought I would have landed in the most famous American Division and here I've nerey been in the Army six months yet. This hiking certainly beats fighting a long way ad I am having a pleasant time so far, but at the same time I'm getting anxious for the time when we will pull into old New York which I don't think will be very long. This time we're billeted in a bowling alley or what used to be one, that is about 35 of us are. A nice place bur no fire or light. Getting dark now so will ring off for this time. With love from your son, Ted. Written on fancy stationary, seafoam green covered with tiny embossed vertical lines cross by a horizontal line very half inch, censored by R. G. Rhoads 2nd.Lt., to T. J. Inman, So. Boardman, Michigan from Pvt. Edward Inman, U.S. Army.

November 28, 1918 Somewhere in Luxenburg, Dear Parents:

Thanksgiving morning, I suppose you are busy at home getting ready for a big batch for dinner. Wish I could be there I think I could do justice to the meal. What are you going to have to eat? One thing I don't suppose you will have any venison though this year but chicken instead. The very thoughts of a good chicken dinner makes my mouth water. But I guess we will have roast beef for a change. That will taste good for I haven't had any roast meat since I was at Camp Custer. I'll tell you what we have for dinner when we have eaten.

It has been drizzly for the past three days but today it isn't although it is still cloudy. We have been drilling the last couple days which makes it seem more like the days at Custer. Getting ready for the big show when we arrive in the States, I suppose. I bet you will be surprised to see the new writing paper. This is the first time we have been in a place that you could by anything for three months. Writing paper is the cheapest thing in town I believe. Ten envelopes and ten sheets of paper for about 25 cents. Not so bad for that.

The Chaplin from one of the Inf. Reg. is coming over here to hold services at 11:00 o'clock so I'll finish this in the afternoon for it's nearly 11:00 now.

A good dinner, about the best I have eaten in sometime, roast beef, lettuce salad, mashed potatoes, rice, jam bread, gray, coffee and plenty of it too. It has drizzled all afternoon. This afternoon I went up to the castle that I sent a picture of on the cards. I crawled clear to the top of it. I'm sending nine picture post cards of this village in two differed envelopes. From your son, Ted. Stamped 1/15/1919, censored by W. P. Andres (unable to read rank)

Jan 19th, 1919, Kripp, Germany, Sunday afternoon, How are you all feeling? Must be getting real winter there now. Friday afternoon it snowed for about five minutes but that is the first since Xmas. I suppose Wallace is having a great time with his Tinker Toys this afternoon. I imagine he thinks he can build most anything invented.

Oh say, Wallace I had pancakes the other night for supper. Got a letter the other day from Aunt Eliza written Nov 30th. Had comic "Movies" at the Y last night. There is a movie outfit that travels from town to town through the division.

Pay day yesterday. Several of the fellows today are looking like the day after the night before. Payed in German "marks" 215 of them worth about 12 cents each all paper money, looks like soap wrappers to me. This is the last sheet of paper I have. With love Ted.

Bgl. Edward Inman, COD 151 Mach Gun Bn., Am. E. F. APO 715Stamped 1/24/1919 with Solders Mail hand written in upper right hand corner, brown paper envelop and paper with heading AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES, Young Men's Christian's Association. Army of Occupation.

Jan 22, 1919 Kripp, Germany, Dear Parents and All, Well I got my box at last, received it yesterday afternoon. It was all in good shape, the taffy was just as fresh as when you made it. It was sort of a surprise to get it for I had nearly given up hope of getting it. Most of the fellows have gotten theirs. Several of the fellows have had three or four boxes sent to them since they have been over here and haven't received any yet. But most of the Xmas boxies got here this year. Last year the Red Cross sent them boxes and they never received them until in March. The reason so many never get their boxes is that the fellows that handle them back of the lines steal them. That gum is what looks good to me. Can't get any over here at all. Sent the first instalment of that diary this morning. Keep it so I can make another copy off of it sometime. News is scarce. It is just the same thing over day in and day out. If it wasn't for the Y to five us entertainment I don't know what we would do. With love Ted. Letter stamped 1/25/19, censored by W. P. Anders 1st. Lt., to T. J. Inman

Jan. 26, 1919, Kripp, Germany Dear Parents, Sun. afternoon,

Just had dinner so I'll try and write a little this afternoon. This forenoon went down town to the Y to church. When I came back I brought some writing paper and a book "Glengarry School Day" back with me.

The Y just got the books in yesterday, 15 of them, when we borrow a book we have to put up three mark (37 cents) getting the money back when we return the book. They do that so the fellows won't keep the books. They also received a lot of sporting goods and ect. also some song books. Guess we will be here for sometime to come. The four or five day have been somewhat colder, the ground is frozen and occasionally a few flakes of snow can be seen. Received your letter of the 1st. Jan. the day before yesterday. The mail seem to be coming quicker than it has been. This last week there hasn't been anything going on at the Y until last night when we have movies, a mining scene out west in Colorado, guess we're going to have them every Saturday night.

Tonight there is a singing meeting conducted by the Chaplin. Mon night the Y said we were going to have the best entertainment we have had yet. He didn't say what it was going to be.

I'm sending one of the Army of Occupation emblem to be wrong on the left sleeve below the Rainbow. There Pennsylvania fellows have just been telling what a great and glorious state there's was, so us Michigan fellows have been trying to tell them Michigan has it all over them.

I think I'll take a little snooze so will close. With love Ted Soldiers Mail, No stamp, Censored by M. Bezcil 1st.__,

Jan 30, 1919

Kripp, Germany

Dear Parents,

Received your letter of the Jan 8th this forenoon so I guess I will answer at now. Have just enough snow to make the ground look a little whitish but it is quite cold, that is it sent thawing any. Quite a difference to what it must be back there. Got a card from Emily also this morning. No date on it but I think it was written before Christmas at least Ledah was still there. Have a big review tomorrow morning. We have all been busy the last two days getting cleaned up for it.

Man. evening the 167 Inf. (Alabama) band gave us a concert and last night Thu orchestra give one. Tue. night a Y.M.E.A. man and his wife gave an entertainment and tonight the 168 Inf. (Iowa) band given us a concert.

Received a letter from Aunt Eliza and one from Doris this week. Getting dangerous to live in our rooms here for someone is always playing a joke on someone else. Last night we fixed three of the fellows bunks so that when they came in to go to bed and sit down on the bun it would collapse. Of course we were asleep when they came in so we could see the fun.

The Yman was just up here, looking for a fellow to sing at the Y tonight. He said things looked like we would be soon on the way home. Also an official announcement said that the 42nd. and 32nd. Div. would be amongst the first to go home. Seem to good to be true. From your son. Ted. Soldiers Mail, unable to read stamp, censored by Jn__Gunzel, 1st. Lt., on plain brown paper to T. J. Inman.

Feb w, 1919

Kripp, Germany

Dear Parents and All,

Sunday afternoon ground-hog da, been a chilly foggy day so I guess he doesn't see his shadow today. Had movies again last night. They were pretty good, mostly comedy ones.

Well that big review is over. Wish it had of been passing in review in New York than here in this good-for nothing country. Just think tomorrow will make six months since landing on this side of the water. That means I'll be due a service stripe. Hope I don't have to stay over here long enough to earn another. Yesterday our Company played Co. C at basketball, 9-4 in favor of us. News awful scarce this week so will ring off for this time. From Ted Plain brown paper with lines, censored by R. G. Rhoads 2nd. Lt.

Feb. 9, 1919

Kripp, Germany

Dear Parents and All,

I don't see why you don't get my letters quicker and more regular than you do. The mailing is coming "overhere" pretty regular now, takes about three weeks. The past three or four days have been quite cold but no snow. Didn't write the middle of this last week Thursday and Friday I was a way on passes so didn't get the time. Thursday morning ten of us got passes to Coblenz to see a football game between our Division and the 4th. Division. The or fifteen went from each company in the Division, Truck from headquarters gathered us up about 9:00 A.M. two truck being assigned to our battalion to carry us up and back at night. But we only got about one third of the way when the truck I was on broke down, but we make up our mind we were going to get there so where some other trucks came along in a little while we jumped on them. Its about 20 miles to Coblenz, arrived there about 12:00 oclock. Looked around town a little while then got on another truck and went out to the game. So that left us all without a truck to bring us back, but by catching one of the other trucks we could get back to one of the other towns which are near this one about 6:00 o'clock after looking around in vain for something to eat we decided to return. So we found a truck which would bring us with in two miles of Kripp but it was so loaded that two of us, another fellow and myself couldn't get on so we stayed. Then we went over to a y which were giving out suppers and got our fill. Then stayed for an entertainment after which we found a truck driver who said he was going to start back at 10:00 P.M. So we came back with him to the town about two miles from here.

Friday they give me another pass, 50 of us going from each company in this battalion. Went up he river passed Coblenz and turned around about 5 miles on the other side of the city (Coblenz). They Y man chartered the boat and also gave us our dinners arrived on the boat. Certainly some great scenery along the Rhine some paces both sides of the river is bounded by high cliffs while at other places the valley widens out in a flat plane a mile wide. The river is alive with boats mostly freighters hauling coal.

Got payed again yesterday. Had movies last night of the 42nd. Division in action. Saw myself where we went over the top at St Mehiel. Just was down and got some candy and cookies the Y got in. With love Ted. Soldiers Mail stamped Fev.19, 1919 WESS 715, US ARMY POST, censored by 1st. Lt. Andreas

Feb 16, 1919

Kripp, Germany

Dear Parents,

Today has been rather foggy, yesterday it rained a little if it keep on this way there won't be any winter at all. I guess they never do have much snow any year.

Will if every thing goes as they are now planned we will soon be on our way out of this Hunland. Everyone will certainly be glad too. The longer we stay here the worse we hate these Huns. They haven't changed much if any from what they were in 19114. The only reason why they act good now is because they have to.

We're supposed to leave here before the 1st.. of March unless orders change. Will probably go back thru France where we will stop for a couple weeks before going aboard the boast. Ought to be home the just of April. General Pershing is going to review the division tomorrow or Tuesday. News is scarce today so will close for this time. with love, Ted

BGL. Edward Inman

Co. D 151 M.G. Bn.

A. E. F. A.P.O. 715

Brown stationary, paper has lines, censored by R.G. Rhoades 2nd. Lt.

Feb 22, 1919

Kripp, Germany

Dear Parents, Sat afternoon.........some fine afternoon but that don't keep it from being lonesome. Everybody is getting so tired of this country overhere they don't know what to do. Last week our officers told us we would soon be on our way home but I guess orders must have changed by the looks of things. Think they've forgotten there is a American Army overhere.

This forenoon it rained most of the time, warm rain, just like spring.

Yes, I think just as soon as peace is signed we will be able to start for home but that seems a long way off yet. May or June at least that is the way it looks now. Tow fellows from this company are getting discharges today on grounds of having dependents in the States. Got a letter from Aunt Sarah and Emily this week besides one from you and Mollie. They all came across in three weeks or less.

The cooties don't bother us much now since being able to change our cloths often. I think all of these French and Germans are born with them especially the French.

Tell Wallace that little Belgium boy is about ten years old. He was carried into Germany the first part of the war where he lived until the war was over. He fights these German kids every chance he gets.

I suppose Emily is home, Aunt Sarah said she was leaving for home the day she wrote to me.

General Pershing didn't come this week, don't know when he is going to come. Nearly time for retreat so well close for this time. From Ted.Soldier Mail, censored by R. G. Rhoads, 2nd. Lt.

March 1, 1919

Kripp, Germany

Dear Parents,

Received two letters from you this week the 5th and 12th. That is doing pretty good just taking 10 days for the last one to come over.

This morning had inspection had to stand for 9:00 to 12:15 o'clock rather tiresome but it was a nice warm sunshiny day so that helped some. Thursday about 30 from this company including myself got passes for a boat ride down the Rhine to Cologne that is the center of the British sector. It is about 45 miles distant down the river from here. Left here at 9:00 A.M. arriving at Cologne about 11:30 then turned around and started back without stopping. Got back here at 4:15 P.M. You see you can travel only about half as fast up the river as you can down it. The Y furnished dinner for us on the trip. Some great place for scenery along the river it is conclusively the best in the world.

I think Albert C. and Emmit N. will be out of luck in getting home soon probably not until next fall for their division will be the last home for they are regular Army Divisions. According to orders from Army Headquarters we will sail about the last of April. Will probably leave here some time f=before that about the 1st. of April I think. The 32nd. Div. is looked to sail the first part of May.

Bet Wallace did have sometime drumming the chickens. Maybe he thought it would make the roosters lay.

Time for supper so will wait and finish this letter tomorrow. Farmers have began to plow a little around here again, look like they just did it.

Sunday evening is another fine day. Going to go to church so as I get this litter finished. They have changed the services from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. now. Just thru with supper, had soup, rice, bread and coffee. Yes, I have plenty of cloths to keep warm with and some to spare. Only had about two week of freezing weather this winter. It me it don't seem like we had any winter at all. This has been an exceptional warm winter over here like it has been over there. But they never do have much snow not enough to know what sleighs are. With love, Ted Soldiers Mail, to Miss Gladys Inman, So. Boardman, Michigan, censored by R. G. Rhoads, 2nd.Lt.

March 6th, 1919

Kripp, Germany

Hello Gladys, I received the snapshot and of course recognized the resemblance at once. I rather think it would make a good sequel to "Long Boy". Be sure and have that string halted rooster fatted by the middle of May.

Talk about rumors there is nothing like the army for them. Why it is a dull day if I don't hear at least 99 1/2 new ones each day. In other words there just about as numerous as kids are in Germany. A family isn't with it unless there are 12 to 20 kids in it. Why in some cases the eldest son or daughter have grandchildren older than some of their brothers or sisters (nearly). At the age of 13 months or younger if they walk sooner, they start training the boys for soldiers by giving them a pack to carry on their back and when they start to school have regular military drills. Never see a German without this pack on their back so that by the time they are 40 years old they are stooped about as much as a Wall street broker would be in bowing to a Fifth Ave. belle. I think they even die and are buried with these packs on.

I hadn't been thinking that you would be wanting to take one of those June trips so soon. From my experience in traveling I think I would make a right smart guide and chaperon. That girl must be a Y.M.C.A. lass that William B. Richard married from the looks of her name. Just think the U.S. will just simply be flooded with German girls after peace is signed and they are allowed to come over. They say Americans quite "Dutche niche gute". But it is noticeable that only the fair sex say that. Oh. The broken hearts there will be when the Army of Occupation has al gone!

What is Jimmy doing? Touring the States? Must be getting a regular hobo. The other day I was going down the street and a little boy about 5 years old saluted me. Getting some guy! Huh! Also every once in a while so sold German gives you the salute. Must think we

re some guys. In the French and English sectors the Germans are forced to salute all officers. They (Fr. &Eng.) are much more strict with the civilians than the Americans are. One reason why the Americans are the best liked of them all. Some of these old timers do hate to get out of the way of us soldiers. The other night I run right plumb into one. He didn't care about turning out and I didn't either so we met head on. So long Ted. Soldiers Mail, censored by P. G. Phonss, math.

Mar. 9th, 1919

Kripp, Germany

Dear Parents and All,

Sunday forenoon and don't seem to be much to write about this morning but will try and scribble a few lines. Every day it is the same thing over and over drill in the forenoon for about four hours then in the afternoon either baseball, basketball or some kind of sport for an four or so. Friday evening the 310 Field Signal Battalion gave a Minstrel show at the Y. The 310th was in the 86th Div. but is now transferred to the Army of Occupation. Also the 310th Eng. are in the Army of Occupation. They are stationed about 20 miles from here. One of the fellows, Parks from Lake City, has a brother-in-law in the 310 th Eng. and he was over there on a seen day pass.

Monday morning, went to church and afterward to the movies so didn't get your letter finished. Yesterday afternoon our Battalion basketball team played the 151th. Field Artillery for the championship of the division and lost 28-10.

Tell Wallace hello for me. I suppose Wallace is trying to give Dad a spanking this morning as it is the 10th of March. With Love, Ted. Soldiers Mail, censored by R. G. Rhoads, 2nd. Lt.

March 17, 1919

Kripp, Germany

Dear Parents, Monday A.M. well we had that long inspection review yesterday so didn't get time to write until this morning. We were lucky for the review was held about a mile from here some of the company had to come eight or ten miles. The Battalion formed here at 9:30 in the morning and then was inspected by our Major to see if we all looked speck and span then marched over to the parade grounds. By 11:30A.M. the whole division was formed ready for inspection by General Pershing but it wasn't until 2:00 o'clock that he arrived. Inspection took until 4:30 P.M. then he decorated twenty or thirty fellows for bravery. We stood in one space five hours and it had to be one of the coldest days we have had for sometime damp and chilly. Then we passed in review after which we formed in a mass before the platform and General Pershing gave a short speech. There were eight bands so they helped to pass the time away. Got back here at 5:30 feeling rather lank in the stomach then after supper went to the movies.

I think about the time you get this letter we will be on our way home. They are starting to get rid of all the equipment that we are not going to take back this morning.

Will leave here the first week in April according to the latest dope. Our Battalion was one of the cleanest and looking in the Div. the General said and our Company the best in our Battalion.

I am thinking Dad and Gladys will have to fix up the car if they want to run it very early. I sure Wallace will five them all the aid he can. Tuesday P.M. about twenty of us sent in a track up the river to Andermach where the Third Div. is stationed or part of it rather. to a basketball game between them and our Div. team. Our team own 2 to 26. Didn't see Albert C. there was such a large crowd there that it was no use looking for him. If I knew what Reg. and Company he is in I could find him but when there is over 27,000 men in a Div. it is no use trying unless you know where to find him.

I suppose Leslie is home by this time. It must be looking something like spring by this time. With love, Ted. Very small yellow envelope with AMERICA YMCA in upper left corner, censored by Roy Rhoads, 2nd. Lt.

March 23, 1919

Kripp, Germany

Dear Parents and All

Sunday forenoon and just back from taking a bath at the bathhouse, the whole battalion is taking a bath today, getting rid of the cooties before we leave here. Will have to take a couple more baths in a few days. Guess were going home by the way of France instead of down the Rhine as first planned. Quite a few of the company went on a boat trip on the Rhine, I've been both up and down so didn't care about going to day besides it was to cold to make it a very pleasant trip. The past week has been rather cold three or four days it snowed a little. Last night it snowed enough to make the ground look a little whitish this morning but it is all malted by now. This is the first snow since January.

Received two letters from you this last week ones written Feb 20th and Mar 3rd. Those long pants are about the only kind they issue now. I don't like the looks of them nearly as well as the other kind look so sloppy.

Well I suppose Leslie is home by this time. It must seem good to be back in a civilized country again after being in there heathen country. It about six of one and half a dozen of the other when it domes to France and Germany. When it comes down to the people themselves. You see so much in the papers of how much the French think of the Americans but that is mainly to make the people back there feel good just about the same as the Y stuff. Sunday P.M. Just had dinner. The sky has cleared up and it is quite warn out today.

Tell Will Hunter there is no chance of my getting him a revolver. We are going to turn ours in to the gov't in a couple days and you are not allowed to buy them or carry them back with you. When you board the boat you are search to see if you have any. If you do it might mean a trip to jail for several years. Even officers can't take or send any back. Gee! Everybody must be have kids. Must be taking after German In France they are too wise. You see they (the woman) couldn't shove the kids in a corner and make them stay there like they can the old man when it domes bed time. Or they (the kids) might be in the road if there mother wants to change daddies for the night. Here in German the surplus kids are turned over to the gov't which trains them to be kaisers. With love your son Ted Stamped Jersey City, Merrit Branch, New Jersey, on Y.M.C.A. stationary

May 4, 1919

Camp Merritt, N.J.

Dear Parents,

Sunday A.M., this is sure some fine day and so was yesterday. some of the trees are in blossom and some are leafing out so it is beginning to look like summer here. Guess we leave here for Camp Custer some time Wednesday. Last Wednesday the Company was separated into the groups that go to the different camps. The Pennsylvania boys have gone to Camp Dix and have been mustered out and are home already. There were 123 of us Michigan fellows in the 151 Bn. and we are all in one company now. There is a casual company going to start for Camp Custer today. I don't know why they are keeping us so long for the first of the 32rd. Div. landed in New York yesterday saw some of them here in camp last night.

Say I sent a box by parcel post about a week ago you probably have it by this time if not keep a look out for it. Got a letter from Aunt Eliza since being here. Said Alfred was working in Toledo. Just weighed a little while ago, 176 # guess I must be getting a little fatter. Everybody is weighing more than they did in Germany. The reason is we get plenty to eat here. Maybe the reason is that we are not eating so much of that so called chocolate cakes, doughnuts and etc. that the Y.M.C.A. was supposed to be giving us. I thing it must of ate most of it its self or had a bad dream. Getting nearly dinner time so I'll quit for this time. From Ted.

P.S. Suppose Wallace is having lots of auto rides and goes every where it goes? Envelop has the Star of David surrounded with word JEWISH WELFARE BOARD, U.S. Army and Navy, not censored.

Heading on stationary; JEWISH WELFARE BOARD, UNITED STATES ARMY AND NAVY, Cooperating with and under the supervision of war department commission on training camp activates.

April 224, 1919

Somewhere at Sea

Dear Parents and All,

Well here I am on the top hammock (three high) on the gun deck of the battle ship Minnesota, 601 miles from New York. That's the distance at noon today. Expect to reach there about Saturday noon and I sure will be glad too for we have been on the way nine days already since leaving. But I don't think anyone was sorry to leave France either of course you didn't dare express your feelings like that while still thee for you have got to act like you are nearly heart broken on leaving that dear old country or Uncle Sam is just kidding them though trying to make them believe they are some people whether they are or not.

I suppose you know that we left Kripp April 5th. We were on the first train to leave. And I really do think those Huns did feel a little sorry to see us leave probably because they had been used "whiter" by the American Army than ever by their own people. Of course that's just speaking of the occupied country and not of the rest of Germany.

The last letter I know was March 29th you probably have that by this time. While at Brest received two letters from you April 19th and 26th.

You sure must of had an early spring for the cars to run so early. I suppose you have ours running by this time. I don't know how soon I well be home after landing it depends wither we parade or not. Every one hopes not except some of the officers I guess. I suppose they are earning more money in the Army than they made in civilian life so of course went to get that extra pay. But they don't get the $30 per that the privates do so why should they worry. What we are looking for is the discharge paper as soon as we can get it. It seems to me if they want to be so good to us why are they going to make us all stay in the service two or three extra weeks so as to parade when everyone don't want too.

As soon as we land I'm going to send you a telegram if I can of course you'll get that before this letter gets there. You'll have to wait for another letter after this before you write for I don't know what camp we are going too yet. Haven't got sea sick yet that is more than most of them can say. Has been rather rough the whole way across. The first night out run into a real stormy nearly everyone threw up their supper. We have had movies five or six time since being on board. Have them on deck at night at rear of boat.

Is Roy working for us this summer?

Hello Wallace how many eggs did you eat Easter? I didn't eat any for we didn't have any that day. But we have had them several meals on board also pie and cake. Oh! Yes! Last night had ice cream for supper. With love Ted. Post Card HELLO-JUST GOT BACK AM FEELING GREAT, WILL WRITE SOON AGAIN. Going to Camp Merritt, N.J. Back Sat evening, Co. D 151 M.G. Bn. to T. J. Inman

Y.M.C.A. stationary, not censored

April 27, 1919

Camp Merritt, N.J.

Dear Parents;

Sunday evening 9:00 o'clock and I am rather sleeping for we didn't get into camp until after 10:00 P.M. last night and today have been on the move most of the time getting deloused and new clothing.

It sure has been some warm day the very opposite to yesterday which was very cold with some snow. Landed on the New York side of the river at 6:30 last night the Y ladies gave us supper then took a ferry boat across the river to Hoboken from there got on a real American train and not the "side door Pullman", kind like in France and Germany and came out here to camp. The camp is then miles northwest of New York. We first sighted land at noon but it was four o'clock before we got up into the city. The boat had quite a time getting into the cock but it finally it. I don't think it will be here over two or three days more before being sent to Camp .Love Ted

P.S. Sent you a telegram this forenoon.