By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: War in the Garden of Eden
Author: Roosevelt, Kermit, 1889-1943
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "War in the Garden of Eden" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.




Captain Motor Machine-Gun Corps, British Expeditionary Forces
Captain Field Artillery, American Expeditionary Forces

Illustrated from Photographs by the Author

New York


[Illustration: Kermit Roosevelt. From the drawing by John S.
Sargent, July 8, 1917]


The Memory of My Father




Kermit Roosevelt
Map of Mesopotamia showing region of the fighting
Ashar Creek at Busra
Golden Dome of Samarra
Rafting down from Tekrit
Captured Turkish camel corps
Towing an armored car across a river
The Lion of Babylon
A dragon on the palace wall
Hauling out a badly bogged fighting car
A Mesopotamian garage
A water-wheel on the Euphrates
A "Red Crescent" ambulance
A jeweller's booth in the bazaar
Indian cavalry bringing in prisoners after the charge
The Kurd and his wife
Sheik Muttar and the two Kurds
A street in Jerusalem
Japanese destroyers passing through the gut at Taranto



It was at Taranto that we embarked for
Mesopotamia. Reinforcements were sent out
from England in one of two ways--either all
the way round the Cape of Good Hope, or by
train through France and Italy down to the
desolate little seaport of Taranto, and thence
by transport over to Egypt, through the Suez
Canal, and on down the Red Sea to the Indian
Ocean and the Persian Gulf. The latter
method was by far the shorter, but the submarine
situation in the Mediterranean was
such that convoying troops was a matter of
great difficulty. Taranto is an ancient Greek
town, situated at the mouth of a landlocked
harbor, the entrance to which is a narrow
channel, certainly not more than two hundred
yards across. The old part of the town is
built on a hill, and the alleys and runways
winding among the great stone dwellings serve
as streets. As is the case with maritime towns,
it is along the wharfs that the most interest
centres. During one afternoon I wandered
through the old town and listened to the fisherfolk
singing as they overhauled and mended
their nets. Grouped around a stone archway
sat six or seven women and girls. They were
evidently members of one family--a grandmother,
her daughters, and their children.
The old woman, wild, dark, and hawk-featured,
was blind, and as she knitted she chanted
some verses. I could only understand occasional
words and phrases, but it was evidently
a long epic. At intervals her listeners would
break out in comments as they worked, but,
like "Othere, the old sea-captain," she "neither
paused nor stirred."

There are few things more desolate than
even the best situated "rest-camps"--the long
lines of tents set out with military precision,
the trampled grass, and the board walks; but
the one at Taranto where we awaited embarkation
was peculiarly dismal even for a rest-camp.
So it happened that when Admiral Mark
Kerr, the commander of the Mediterranean
fleet, invited me to be his guest aboard H.M.S.
_Queen_ until the transport should sail, it was
in every way an opportunity to be appreciated.
In the British Empire the navy is the "senior
service," and I soon found that the tradition
for the hospitality and cultivation of its officers
was more than justified. The admiral had
travelled, and read, and written, and no more
pleasant evenings could be imagined than
those spent in listening to his stories of the
famous writers, statesmen, and artists who
were numbered among his friends. He had
always been a great enthusiast for the development
of aerial warfare, and he was recently
in Nova Scotia in command of the giant Handley-Page
machine which was awaiting favorable
weather conditions in order to attempt the nonstop
transatlantic flight. Among his poems
stands out the "Prayer of Empire," which,
oddly enough, the former German Emperor
greatly admired, ordering it distributed
throughout the imperial navy! The Kaiser's
feelings toward the admiral have suffered an
abrupt change, but they would have been
even more hostile had England profited by
his warnings:

    "There's no menace in preparedness, no threat in being strong,
    If the people's brain be healthy and they think no thought of wrong."

After four or five most agreeable days aboard the _Queen_ the word came to
embark, and I was duly transferred to the _Saxon_, an old Union Castle
liner that was to run us straight through to Busra.

As we steamed out of the harbor we were joined by two diminutive Japanese
destroyers which were to convoy us. The menace of the submarine being
particularly felt in the Adriatic, the transports travelled only by night
during the first part of the voyage. To a landsman it was incomprehensible
how it was possible for us to pursue our zigzag course in the inky
blackness and avoid collisions, particularly when it was borne in mind
that our ship was English and our convoyers were Japanese. During the
afternoon we were drilled in the method of abandoning ship, and I was put
in charge of a lifeboat and a certain section of the ropes that were to be
used in our descent over the side into the water. Between twelve and one
o'clock that night we were awakened by three blasts, the preconcerted
danger-signal. Slipping into my life-jacket, I groped my way to my station
on deck. The men were filing up in perfect order and with no show of
excitement. A ship's officer passed and said he had heard that we had
been torpedoed and were taking in water. For fifteen or twenty minutes we
knew nothing further. A Scotch captain who had charge of the next boat to
me came over and whispered: "It looks as if we'd go down. I have just seen
a rat run out along the ropes into my boat!" That particular rat had not
been properly brought up, for shortly afterward we were told that we were
not sinking. We had been rammed amidships by one of the escorting
destroyers, but the breach was above the water-line. We heard later that
the destroyer, though badly smashed up, managed to make land in safety.

We laid up two days in a harbor on the Albanian coast, spending the time
pleasantly enough in swimming and sailing, while we waited for a new
escort. Another night's run put us in Navarino Bay. The grandfather of
Lieutenant Finch Hatton, one of the officers on board, commanded the
Allied forces in the famous battle fought here in 1827, when the Turkish
fleet was vanquished and the independence of Greece assured.

Several days more brought us to Port Said, and after a short delay we
pushed on through the canal and into the Red Sea. It was August, and when
one talks of the Red Sea in August there is no further need for comment.
The _Saxon_ had not been built for the tropics. She had no fans, nor
ventilating system such as we have on the United Fruit boats. Some
unusually intelligent stokers had deserted at Port Said, and as we were in
consequence short-handed, it was suggested that any volunteers would be
given a try. Finch Hatton and I felt that our years in the tropics should
qualify us, and that the exercise would improve our dispositions. We got
the exercise. Never have I felt anything as hot, and I have spent August
in Yuma, Arizona, and been in Italian Somaliland and the Amazon Valley.
The shovels and the handles of the wheelbarrows blistered our hands.

[Illustration: Map of Mesopotamia showing region of the fighting. Inset,
showing relative position of Mesopotamia and other countries.]

We had a number of cases of heat-stroke, and the hospital facilities on a
crowded transport can never be all that might be desired. The first
military burial at sea was deeply impressive. There was a lane of Tommies
drawn up with their rifles reversed and heads bowed; the short, classic
burial service was read, and the body, wrapped in the Union Jack, slid
down over the stern of the ship. Then the bugles rang out in the haunting,
mournful strains of the "Last Post," and the service ended with all
singing "Abide With Me."

We sweltered along down the Red Sea and around into the Indian Ocean. We
wished to call at Aden in order to disembark some of our sick, but were
ordered to continue on without touching. Our duties were light, and we
spent the time playing cards and reading. The Tommies played "house" from
dawn till dark. It is a game of the lotto variety. Each man has a paper
with numbers written on squares; one of them draws from a bag slips of
paper also marked with numbers, calls them out, and those having the
number he calls cover it, until all the numbers on their paper have been
covered. The first one to finish wins, and collects a penny from each of
the losers. The caller drones out the numbers with a monotony only
equalled by the brain-fever bird, and quite as disastrous to the nerves.
There are certain conventional nicknames: number one is always "Kelley's
eye," eleven is "legs eleven," sixty-six is "clickety click," and the
highest number is "top o' the 'ouse." There is another game that would be
much in vogue were it not for the vigilance of the officers. It is known
as "crown and anchor," and the advantage lies so strongly in favor of the
banker that he cannot fail to make a good income, and therefore the game
is forbidden under the severest penalties.

As we passed through the Strait of Ormuz memories of the early days of
European supremacy in the East crowded back, for I had read many a
vellum-covered volume in Portuguese about the early struggles for
supremacy in the gulf. One in particular interested me. The Portuguese
were hemmed in at Ormuz by a greatly superior English force. The expected
reinforcements never arrived, and at length their resources sank so low,
and they suffered in addition, or in consequence, so greatly from disease
that they decided to sail forth and give battle. This they did, but before
they joined in fight the ships of the two admirals sailed up near each
other--the Portuguese commander sent the British a gorgeous scarlet
ceremonial cloak, the British responded by sending him a handsomely
embossed sword. The British admiral donned the cloak, the Portuguese
grasped the sword; a page brought each a cup of wine; they pledged each
other, threw the goblets into the sea, and fell to. The British were
victorious. Times indeed have sadly changed in the last three hundred

I was much struck with the accuracy of the geographical descriptions in
Camoens' letters and odes. He is the greatest of the Portuguese poets and
wrote the larger part of his master-epic, "The Lusiad," while exiled in
India. For seventeen years he led an adventurous life in the East; and it
is easy to recognize many harbors and stretches of coast line from his
inimitable portrayal.

Busra, our destination, lies about sixty miles from the mouth of the Shatt
el Arab, which is the name given to the combined Tigris and Euphrates
after their junction at Kurna, another fifty or sixty miles above. At the
entrance to the river lies a sand-bar, effectively blocking access to
boats of as great draft as the _Saxon_. We therefore transshipped to some
British India vessels, and exceedingly comfortable we found them, designed
as they were for tropic runs. We steamed up past the Island of Abadan,
where stand the refineries of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. It is hard to
overestimate the important part that company has played in the conduct of
the Mesopotamian campaign. Motor transport was nowhere else a greater
necessity. There was no possibility of living on the country; at first,
at all events. General Dickson, the director of local resources, later set
in to so build up and encourage agriculture that the army should
eventually be supported, in the staples of life, by local produce.
Transportation was ever a hard nut to crack. Railroads were built, but
though the nature of the country called for little grading, obtaining
rails, except in small quantities, was impossible. The ones brought were
chiefly secured by taking up the double track of Indian railways. This
process naturally had a limit, and only lines of prime importance could be
laid down. Thus you could go by rail from Busra to Amara, and from Kut to
Baghdad, but the stretch between Amara and Kut had never been built, up to
the time I left the country. General Maude once told me that pressure was
being continually brought by the high command in England or India to have
that connecting-link built, but that he was convinced that the rails would
be far more essential elsewhere, and had no intention of yielding.

I don't know the total number of motor vehicles, but there were more than
five thousand Fords alone. On several occasions small columns of infantry
were transported in Fords, five men and the driver to a car. Indians of
every caste and religion were turned into drivers, and although it seemed
sufficiently out of place to come across wizened, khaki-clad Indo-Chinese
driving lorries in France, the incongruity was even more marked when one
beheld a great bearded Sikh with his turbaned head bent over the
steering-wheel of a Ford.

Modern Busra stands on the banks of Ashar Creek. The ancient city whence
Sinbad the sailor set forth is now seven or eight miles inland, buried
under the shifting sands of the desert. Busra was a seaport not so many
hundreds of years ago. Before that again, Kurna was a seaport, and the two
rivers probably only joined in the ocean, but they have gradually enlarged
the continent and forced back the sea. The present rate of encroachment
amounts, I was told, to nearly twelve feet a year.

The modern town has increased many fold with the advent of the
Expeditionary Force, and much of the improvement is of a necessarily
permanent nature; in particular the wharfs and roads. Indeed, one of the
most striking features of the Mesopotamian campaign is the permanency of
the improvements made by the British. In order to conquer the country it
was necessary to develop it,--build railways and bridges and roads and
telegraph systems,--and it has all been done in a substantial manner. It
is impossible to contemplate with equanimity the possibility of the
country reverting to a rule where all this progress would soon disappear
and the former stagnancy and injustice again hold sway.

[Illustration: Ashar Creek at Busra]

As soon as we landed I wandered off to the bazaar--"suq" is what the Arab
calls it. In Busra there are a number of excellent ones. By that I don't
mean that there are art treasures of the East to be found in them, for
almost everything could be duplicated at a better price in New York. It is
the grouping of wares, the mode of sale, and, above all, the salesmen and
buyers that make a bazaar--the old bearded Persian sitting cross-legged in
his booth, the motley crowd jostling through the narrow, vaulted
passageway, the veiled women, the hawk-featured, turbaned men, the Jews,
the Chaldeans, the Arabs, the Armenians, the stalwart Kurds, and through
it all a leaven of khaki-clad Indians, purchasing for the regimental mess.
All these and an ever-present exotic, intangible something are what the
bazaar means. Close by the entrance stood a booth festooned with lamps and
lanterns of every sort, with above it scrawled "Aladdin-Ibn-Said." My
Arabic was not at that time sufficient to enable me to discover from the
owner whether he claimed illustrious ancestry or had merely been named
after a patron saint.

A few days after landing at Busra we embarked on a paddle-wheel boat to
pursue our way up-stream the five hundred intervening miles to Baghdad.
Along the banks of the river stretched endless miles of date-palms. We
watched the Arabs at their work of fertilizing them, for in this country
these palms have to depend on human agency to transfer the pollen. At
Kurna we entered the Garden of Eden, and one could quite appreciate the
feelings of the disgusted Tommy who exclaimed: "If this is the Garden, it
wouldn't take no bloody angel with a flaming sword to turn me back." The
direct descendant of the Tree is pointed out; whether its properties are
inherited I never heard, but certainly the native would have little to
learn by eating the fruit.

Above Kurna the river is no longer lined with continuous palm-groves;
desert and swamps take their place--the abode of the amphibious, nomadic,
marsh Arab. An unruly customer he is apt to prove himself, and when he is
"wanted" by the officials, he retires to his watery fastnesses, where he
can remain in complete safety unless betrayed by his comrades. On the
banks of the Tigris stands Ezra's tomb. It is kept in good repair through
every vicissitude of rule, for it is a holy place to Moslem and Jew and
Christian alike.

The third night brought us to Amara. The evening was cool and pleasant
after the scorching heat of the day, and Finch Hatton and I thought that
we would go ashore for a stroll through the town. As we proceeded down the
bank toward the bridge, I caught sight of a sentry walking his post. His
appearance was so very important and efficient that I slipped behind my
companion to give him a chance to explain us. "Halt! Who goes there?"
"Friend," replied Finch Hatton. "Advance, friend, and give the
countersign." F.H. started to advance, followed by a still suspicious me,
and rightly so, for the Tommy, evidently member of a recent draft, came
forward to meet us with lowered bayonet, remarking in a businesslike
manner: "There isn't any countersign."

Except for the gunboats and monitors, all river traffic is controlled by
the Inland Water Transport Service. The officers are recruited from all
the world over. I firmly believe that no river of any importance could be
mentioned but what an officer of the I.W.T. could be found who had
navigated it. The great requisite for transports on the Tigris was a very
light draft, and to fill the requirements boats were requisitioned ranging
from penny steamers of the Thames to river-craft of the Irrawaddy. Now in
bringing a penny steamer from London to Busra the submarine is one of the
lesser perils, and in supplying the wants of the Expeditionary Force more
than eighty vessels were lost at sea, frequently with all aboard.

As was the custom, we had a barge lashed to either side. These barges are
laden with troops, or horses, or supplies. In our case we had the first
Bengal regiment--a new experiment, undertaken for political reasons. The
Bengali is the Indian who most readily takes to European learning.
Rabindranath Tagore is probably the most widely known member of the race.
They go to Calcutta University and learn a smattering of English and
absorb a certain amount of undigested general knowledge and theory. These
partially educated Bengalis form the Babu class, and many are employed in
the railways. They delight in complicated phraseology, and this coupled
with their accent and seesaw manner of speaking supply the English a
constant source of caricature. As a race they are inclined to be vain and
boastful, and are ever ready to nurse a grievance against the British
Government, feeling that they have been provided with an education but no
means of support. The government felt that it might help to calm them if a
regiment were recruited and sent to Mesopotamia. How they would do in
actual fighting had never been demonstrated up to the time I left the
country, but they take readily to drill, and it was amusing to hear them
ordering each other about in their clipped English. They were used for
garrisoning Baghdad.

After we left Amara we continued our winding course up-stream. A boat
several hours ahead may be seen only a few hundred yards distant across
the desert. The banks are so flat and level that it looks as if the other
vessels were steaming along on land. The Arab river-craft was most
picturesque. At sunset a mahela, bearing down with filled sail, might
have been the model for Maxfield Parrish's _Pirate Ship_. The Arab women
ran along the bank beside us, carrying baskets of eggs and chickens, and
occasionally melons. They were possessed of surprising endurance, and
would accompany us indefinitely, heavily laden as they were. Their robes
trailed in the wind as they jumped ditches, screaming out their wares
without a moment's pause. An Indian of the boat's crew was haggling with a
woman about a chicken. He threw her an eight-anna piece. She picked up the
money but would not hand him the chicken, holding out for her original
price. He jumped ashore, intending to take the chicken. She had a few
yards' start and made the most of it. In and out they chased, over hedge
and ditch, down the bank and up again. Several times he almost had her.
She never for a moment ceased screeching--an operation which seemed to
affect her wind not a particle. At the end of fifteen minutes the Indian
gave up amid the delighted jeers of his comrades, and returned shamefaced
and breathless to jump aboard the boat as we bumped against the bank on
rounding a curve.

One evening we halted where, not many months before, the last of the
battles of Sunnaiyat had been fought. There for months the British had
been held back, while their beleaguered comrades in Kut could hear the
roar of the artillery and hope against hope for the relief that never
reached them. It was one phase of the campaign that closely approximated
the gruelling trench warfare in France. The last unsuccessful attack was
launched a week before the capitulation of the garrison, and it was almost
a year later before the position was eventually taken. The front-line
trenches were but a short distance apart, and each side had developed a
strong and elaborate system of defense. One flank was protected by an
impassable marsh and the other by the river. When we passed, the field
presented an unusually gruesome appearance even for a battle-field, for
the wandering desert Arabs had been at work, and they do not clean up as
thoroughly as the African hyena. A number had paid the penalty through
tampering with unexploded grenades and "dud" shells, and left their own
bones to be scattered around among the dead they had been looting. The
trenches were a veritable Golgotha with skulls everywhere and dismembered
legs still clad with puttees and boots.

At Kut we disembarked to do the remaining hundred miles to Baghdad by rail
instead of winding along for double the distance by river, with a good
chance of being hung up for hours, or even days, on some shifting
sand-bar. At first sight Kut is as unpromising a spot as can well be
imagined, with its scorching heat and its sand and the desolate
mud-houses, but in spite of appearances it is an important and thriving
little town, and daily becoming of more consequence.

The railroad runs across the desert, following approximately the old
caravan route to Baghdad. A little over half-way the line passes the
remaining arch of the great hall of Ctesiphon. This hall is one hundred
and forty-eight feet long by seventy-six broad. The arch stands
eighty-five feet high. Around it, beneath the mounds of desert sand, lies
all that remains of the ancient city. As a matter of fact the city is by
no means ancient as such things go in Mesopotamia, dating as it does from
the third century B.C., when it was founded by the successors of Alexander
the Great.

My first night in Baghdad I spent in General Maude's house, on the
river-bank. The general was a striking soldierly figure of a man, standing
well over six feet. His military career was long and brilliant. His first
service was in the Coldstream Guards. He distinguished himself in South
Africa. Early in the present war he was severely wounded in France. Upon
recovering he took over the Thirteenth Division, which he commanded in the
disastrous Gallipoli campaign, and later brought out to Mesopotamia. When
he reached the East the situation was by no means a happy one for the
British. General Townshend was surrounded in Kut, and the morale of the
Turk was excellent after the successes he had met with in Gallipoli. In
the end of August, 1916, four months after the fall of Kut, General Maude
took over the command of the Mesopotamian forces. On the 11th of March of
the following year he occupied Baghdad, thereby re-establishing completely
the British prestige in the Orient. One of Germany's most serious
miscalculations was with regard to the Indian situation. She felt
confident that, working through Persia and Afghanistan, she could stir up
sufficient trouble, possibly to completely overthrow British rule, but
certainly to keep the English so occupied with uprisings as to force them
to send troops to India rather than withdraw them thence for use
elsewhere. The utter miscarriage of Germany's plans is, indeed, a fine
tribute to Great Britain. The Emir of Afghanistan did probably more than
any single native to thwart German treachery and intrigue, and every
friend of the Allied cause must have read of his recent assassination with
a very real regret.

When General Maude took over the command, the effect of the Holy War that,
at the Kaiser's instigation, was being preached in the mosques had not as
yet been determined. This jehad, as it was called, proposed to unite all
"True Believers" against the invading Christians, and give the war a
strongly religious aspect. The Germans hoped by this means to spread
mutiny among the Mohammedan troops, which formed such an appreciable
element of the British forces, as well as to fire the fury of the Turks
and win as many of the Arabs to their side as possible. The Arab
thoroughly disliked both sides. The Turk oppressed him, but did so in an
Oriental, and hence more or less comprehensible, manner. The English gave
him justice, but it was an Occidental justice that he couldn't at first
understand or appreciate, and he was distinctly inclined to mistrust it.
In course of time he would come to realize its advantages. Under Turkish
rule the Arab was oppressed by the Turk, but then he in turn could oppress
the Jew, the Chaldean, and Nestorian Christians, and the wretched
Armenian. Under British rule he suddenly found these latter on an equal
footing with him, and he felt that this did not compensate the lifting
from his shoulders of the Turkish burden. Then, too, when a race has been
long oppressed and downtrodden, and suddenly finds itself on an equality
with its oppressor, it is apt to become arrogant and overbearing. This is
exactly what happened, and there was bad feeling on all sides in
consequence. However, real fundamental justice is appreciated the world
over, once the native has been educated up to it, and can trust in its

The complex nature of the problems facing the army commander can be
readily seen. He was an indefatigable worker and an unsurpassed organizer.
The only criticism I ever heard was that he attended too much to the
details himself and did not take his subordinates sufficiently into his
confidence. A brilliant leader, beloved by his troops, his loss was a
severe blow to the Allied cause.

Baghdad is often referred to as the great example of the shattered
illusion. We most of us have read the _Arabian Nights_ at an early age,
and think of the abode of the caliphs as a dream city, steeped in what we
have been brought up to think of as the luxury, romance, and glamour of
the East. Now glamour is a delicate substance. In the all-searching glare
of the Mesopotamian sun it is apt to appear merely tawdry. Still, a goodly
number of years spent in wandering about in foreign lands had prepared me
for a depreciation of the "stuff that dreams are made of," and I was not
disappointed. It is unfortunate that the normal way to approach is from
the south, and that that view of the city is flat and uninteresting.
Coming, as I several times had occasion to, from the north, one first
catches sight of great groves of date-palms, with the tall minarets of the
Mosque of Kazimain towering above them; then a forest of minarets and blue
domes, with here and there some graceful palm rising above the flat roofs
of Baghdad. In the evening when the setting sun strikes the towers and the
tiled roofs, and the harsh lights are softened, one is again in the land
of Haroun-el-Raschid.

The great covered bazaars are at all times capable of "eating the hours,"
as the natives say. One could sit indefinitely in a coffee-house and watch
the throngs go by--the stalwart Kurdish porter with his impossible loads,
the veiled women, the unveiled Christian or lower-class Arab women, the
native police, the British Tommy, the kilted Scot, the desert Arab, all
these and many more types wandered past. Then there was the gold and
silver market, where the Jewish and Armenian artificers squatted beside
their charcoal fires and haggled endlessly with their customers. These
latter were almost entirely women, and they came both to buy and sell,
bringing old bracelets and anklets, and probably spending the proceeds on
something newer that had taken their fancy. The workmanship was almost
invariably poor and rough. Most of the women had their babies with them,
little mites decked out in cheap finery and with their eyelids thickly
painted. The red dye from their caps streaked their faces, the flies
settled on them at will, and they had never been washed. When one thought
of the way one's own children were cared for, it seemed impossible that a
sufficient number of these little ones could survive to carry on the
race. The infant mortality must be great, though the children one sees
look fat and thriving.

Baghdad is not an old city. Although there was probably a village on the
site time out of mind, it does not come into any prominence until the
eighth century of our era. As the residence of the Abasside caliphs it
rapidly assumed an important position. The culmination of its magnificence
was reached in the end of the eighth century, under the rule of the
world-famous Haroun-el-Raschid. It long continued to be a centre of
commerce and industry, though suffering fearfully from the various sieges
and conquests which it underwent. In 1258 the Mongols, under a grandson of
the great Genghis Khan, captured the city and held it for a hundred years,
until ousted by the Tartars under Tamberlane. It was plundered in turn by
one Mongol horde after another until the Turks, under Murad the Fourth,
eventually secured it. Naturally, after being the scene of so much looting
and such massacres, there is little left of the original city of the
caliphs. Then, too, in Mesopotamia there is practically no stone, and
everything was built of brick, which readily lapses back to its original
state. For this reason the invaders easily razed a conquered town, and
Mesopotamia, so often called the "cradle of the world," retains but little
trace of the races and civilizations that have succeeded each other in
ruling the land. When the Tigris was low at the end of the summer season,
we used to dig out from its bank great bricks eighteen inches square, on
which was still distinctly traced the seal of Nebuchadnezzar. These,
possibly the remnants of a quay, were all that remained of the times
before the advent of the caliphs.



A few days after reaching Baghdad I left for Samarra, which was at that
time the Tigris front. I was attached to the Royal Engineers, and my
immediate commander was Major Morin, D.S.O., an able officer with an
enviable record in France and Mesopotamia. The advance army of the Tigris
was the Third Indian Army Corps, under the command of General Cobbe, a
possessor of the coveted, and invariably merited, Victoria Cross. The
Engineers were efficiently commanded by General Swiney. The seventy miles
of railroad from Baghdad to Samarra were built by the Germans, being the
only Mesopotamian portion of the much-talked-of Berlin-to-Baghdad Railway,
completed before the war. It was admirably constructed, with an excellent
road-bed, heavy rails and steel cross-ties made by Krupp. In their retreat
the Turks had been too hurried to accomplish much in the way of
destruction other than burning down a few stations and blowing up the
water-towers. The rolling-stock had been left largely intact. There were
no passenger-coaches, and you travelled either by flat or box car. Every
one followed the Indian custom of carrying with them their bedding-rolls,
and leather-covered wash-basin containing their washing-kit, as well as
one of the comfortable rhoorkhee chairs. In consequence, although for
travel by boat or train nothing was provided, there was no discomfort
entailed. The trains were fitted out with anti-aircraft guns, for the
Turkish aeroplanes occasionally tried to "lay eggs," a by no means easy
affair with a moving train as a target. Whatever the reason was, and I
never succeeded in discovering it, the trains invariably left Baghdad in
the wee small hours, and as the station was on the right bank across the
river from the main town, and the boat bridges were cut during the night,
we used generally, when returning to the front, to spend the first part of
the night sleeping on the station platform. Generals or exalted staff
officers could usually succeed in having a car assigned to them, and
hauled up from the yard in time for them to go straight to bed in it.
Frequently their trip was postponed, and an omniscient sergeant-major
would indicate the car to the judiciously friendly, who could then enjoy a
solid night's sleep. The run took anywhere from eight to twelve hours; but
when sitting among the grain-bags on an open car, or comfortably ensconced
in a chair in a "covered goods," with _Vingt Ans Après_, the time passed
pleasantly enough in spite of the withering heat.

While still a good number of miles away from Samarra we would catch sight
of the sun glinting on the golden dome of the mosque, built over the cleft
where the twelfth Imam, the Imam Mahdi, is supposed to have disappeared,
and from which he is one day to reappear to establish the true faith upon
earth. Many Arabs have appeared claiming to be the Mahdi, and caused
trouble in a greater or less degree according to the extent of their
following. The most troublous one in our day was the man who besieged
Kharthoum and captured General "Chinese" Gordon and his men. Twenty-five
years later, when I passed through the Sudan, there were scarcely any men
of middle age left, for they had been wiped out almost to a man under the
fearful rule of the Mahdi, a rule which might have served as prototype to
the Germans in Belgium.

[Illustration: Golden Dome of Samarra]

[Illustration: Rafting down from Tekrit]

Samarra is very ancient, and has passed through periods of great
depression and equally great expansion. It was here in A.D. 363 that the
Roman Emperor Julian died from wounds received in the defeat of his forces
at Ctesiphon. The golden age lasted about forty years, beginning in 836,
when the Caliph Hutasim transferred his capital thither from Baghdad.
During that time the city extended for twenty-one miles along the
river-bank, with glorious palaces, the ruins of some of which still stand.
The present-day town has sadly shrunk from its former grandeur, but still
has an impressive look with its great walls and massive gateways. The
houses nearest the walls are in ruins or uninhabited; but in peacetime the
great reputation that the climate of Samarra possesses for salubrity draws
to it many Baghdad families who come to pass the summer months. A good
percentage of the inhabitants are Persians, for the eleventh and twelfth
Shiah Imams are buried on the site of the largest mosque. The two main
sects of Moslems are the Sunnis and the Shiahs; the former regard the
three caliphs who followed Mohammed as his legitimate successors,
whereas the latter hold them to be usurpers, and believe that his
cousin and son-in-law, Ali, husband of Fatimah, together with their sons
Husein and Hasan, are the prophet's true inheritors. Ali was assassinated
near Nejef, which city is sacred to his memory, and his son Husein was
killed at Kerbela; so these two cities are the greatest of the Shiah
shrines. The Turks belong almost without exception to the Sunni sect,
whereas the Persians and a large percentage of the Arabs inhabiting
Mesopotamia are Shiahs.

The country around Samarra is not unlike in character the southern part of
Arizona and northern Sonora. There are the same barren hills and the same
glaring heat. The soil is not sand, but a fine dust which permeates
everything, even the steel uniform-cases which I had always regarded as
proof against all conditions. The parching effect was so great that it was
not only necessary to keep all leather objects thoroughly oiled but the
covers of my books cracked and curled up until I hit upon the plan of
greasing them well also. In the alluvial lowlands trench-digging was a
simple affair, but along the hills we found a pebbly conglomerate that
gave much trouble.

Opinion was divided as to whether the Turk would attempt to advance down
the Tigris. Things had gone badly with our forces in Palestine at the
first battle of Gaza; but here we had an exceedingly strong position, and
the consensus of opinion seemed to be that the enemy would think twice
before he stormed it. Their base was at Tekrit, almost thirty miles away.
However, about ten miles distant stood a small village called Daur, which
the Turks held in considerable force. Between Daur and Samarra there was
nothing but desert, with gazelles and jackals the only permanent
inhabitants. Into this no man's land both sides sent patrols, who met in
occasional skirmishes. For reconnaissance work we used light-armored
motor-cars, known throughout the army as Lam cars, a name formed by the
initial letters of their titles. These cars were Rolls-Royces, and with
their armor-plate weighed between three and three-quarters and four tons.
They were proof against the ordinary bullet but not against the
armor-piercing. When I came out to Mesopotamia I intended to lay my plans
for a transfer to the cavalry, but after I had seen the cars at work I
changed about and asked to be seconded to that branch of the service.

A short while after my arrival our aeroplanes brought in word that the
Turks were massing at Daur, and General Cobbe decided that when they
launched forth he would go and meet them. Accordingly, we all moved out
one night, expecting to give "Abdul," as the Tommies called him, a
surprise. Whether it was that we started too early and their aeroplanes
saw us, or whether they were only making a feint, we never found out; but
at all events the enemy fell back, and save for some advance-guard
skirmishing and a few prisoners, we drew a blank. We were not prepared to
attack the Daur position, and so returned to Samarra to await

Meanwhile I busied myself searching for an Arab servant. Seven or eight
years previous, when with my father in Africa, I had learned Swahili, and
although I had forgotten a great deal of it, still I found it a help in
taking up Arabic. Most of the officers had either British or Indian
servants; in the former case they were known as batmen, and in the latter
as bearers; but I decided to follow suit with the minority and get an
Arab, and therefore learn Arabic instead of Hindustanee, for the former
would be of vastly more general use. The town commandant, Captain Grieve
of the Black Watch, after many attempts at length produced a native who
seemed, at any rate, more promising than the others that offered
themselves. Yusuf was a sturdy, rather surly-looking youth of about
eighteen. Evidently not a pure Arab, he claimed various admixtures as the
fancy took him, the general preference being Kurd. I always felt that
there was almost certainly a good percentage of Turk. His father had been
a non-commissioned officer in the Turkish army, and at first I was loath
to take him along on advances and attacks, for he would have been shown
little mercy had he fallen into enemy hands. He was, however, insistent on
asking to go with me, and I never saw him show any concern under fire. He
spoke, in varying degrees of fluency, Kurdish, Persian, and Turkish, and
was of great use to me for that reason. He became by degrees a very
faithful and trustworthy follower, his great weakness being that he was a
one-man's man, and although he would do anything for me, he was of little
general use in an officers' mess.

I had two horses, one a black mare that I called Soda, which means black
in Arabic, and the other a hard-headed bay gelding that was game to go
all day, totally unaffected by shell-fire, but exceedingly stubborn about
choosing the direction in which he went. After numerous changes I came
across an excellent syce to look after them. He was a wild, unkempt
figure, with a long black beard--a dervish by profession, and certainly
gave no one any reason to believe that he was more than half-witted.
Indeed, almost all dervishes are in a greater or less degree insane; it is
probably due to that that they have become dervishes, for the native
regards the insane as under the protection of God. Dervishes go around
practically naked, usually wearing only a few skins flung over the
shoulder, and carrying a large begging-bowl. In addition they carry a
long, sharp, iron bodkin, with a wooden ball at the end, having very much
the appearance of a fool's bauble. They lead an easy life. When they take
a fancy to a house, they settle down near the gate, and the owner has to
support them as long as the whim takes them to stay there. To use force
against a dervish would be looked upon as an exceedingly unpropitious
affair to the true believer. Then, too, I have little doubt but that they
are capable of making good use of their steel bodkins. Why my dervish
wished to give up his easy-going profession and take over the charge of my
horses I never fully determined, but it must have been because he really
loved horses and found that as a dervish pure and simple he had very
little to do with them. When he arrived he was dressed in a very ancient
gunny-sack, and it was not without much regret at the desecration that I
provided him with an outfit of the regulation khaki.

My duties took me on long rides about the country. Here, and throughout
Mesopotamia, the great antiquity of this "cradle of the world" kept ever
impressing itself upon one, consciously or subconsciously. Everywhere were
ruins; occasionally a wall still reared itself clear of the all-enveloping
dust, but generally all that remained were great mounds, where the desert
had crept in and claimed its own, covering palace, house, and market,
temple, synagogue, mosque, or church with its everlasting mantle. Often
the streets could still be traced, but oftener not. The weight of ages was
ever present as one rode among the ruins of these once busy, prosperous
cities, now long dead and buried, how long no one knew, for frequently
their very names were forgotten. Babylon, Ur of the Chaldees, Istabulat,
Nineveh, and many more great cities of history are now nothing but names
given to desert mounds.

Close by Samarra stands a strange corkscrew tower, known by the natives as
the Malwiyah. It is about a hundred and sixty feet high, built of brick,
with a path of varying width winding up around the outside. No one knew
its purpose, and estimates of its antiquity varied by several thousand
years. One fairly well-substantiated story told that it had been the
custom to kill prisoners by hurling them off its top. We found it
exceedingly useful as an observation-post. In the same manner we used
Julian's tomb, a great mound rising up in the desert some five or six
miles up-stream of the town. The legend is that when the Roman Emperor
died of his wounds his soldiers, impressing the natives, built this as a
mausoleum; but there is no ground whatever for this belief, for it would
have been physically impossible for a harassed or retreating army to have
performed a task of such magnitude. The natives call it "The Granary," and
claim that that was its original use. Before the war the Germans had
started in excavating, and discovered shafts leading deep down, and on top
the foundations of a palace. Around its foot may be traced roadways and
circular plots, and especially when seen from an aeroplane it looks as if
there had at one time been an elaborate system of gardens.

We were continually getting false rumors about the movements of the Turks.
We had believed that it would be impossible for them to execute a flank
movement, at any rate in sufficient strength to be a serious menace, for
from all the reports we could get, the wells were few and far between.
Nevertheless, there was a great deal of excitement and some concern when
one afternoon our aeroplanes came in with the report that they had seen a
body of Turks that they estimated at from six to eight thousand marching
round our right flank. The plane was sent straight back with instructions
to verify most carefully the statement, and be sure that it was really men
they had seen. They returned at dark with no alteration of their original
report. As can well be imagined, that night was a crowded one for us, and
the feeling ran high when next morning the enemy turned out to be several
enormous herds of sheep.

As part consequence of this we were ordered to make a thorough water
reconnaissance, with a view of ascertaining how large a force could be
watered on a march around our flank. I went off in an armored car with
Captain Marshall of the Intelligence Service. Marshall had spent many
years in Mesopotamia shipping liquorice to the American Tobacco Company,
and he was known and trusted by the Arabs all along the Tigris from Kurna
to Mosul. He spoke the language most fluently, but with an accent that
left no doubt of his Caledonian home. We had with us a couple of old
sheiks, and it was their first ride in an automobile. It was easy to see
that one of them was having difficulty in maintaining his dignity, but I
was not quite sure of the reason until we stopped a moment and he fairly
flew out of the car. It didn't seem possible that a man able to ride
ninety miles at a stretch on a camel, could be made ill by the motion of
an automobile. However, such was the case, and we had great difficulty in
getting him back into the car. We discovered far more wells than we had
been led to believe existed, but not enough to make a flank attack a very
serious menace.

The mirage played all sorts of tricks, and the balloon observers grew to
be very cautious in their assertions. In the early days of the campaign,
at the battle of Shaiba Bund, a friendly mirage saved the British forces
from what would have proved a very serious defeat. Suleiman Askari was
commanding the Turkish forces, and things were faring badly with the
British, when of a sudden to their amazement they found that the Turks
were in full retreat. Their commanders had caught sight of the mirage of
what was merely an ambulance and supply train, but it was so magnified
that they believed it to be a very large body of reinforcements. The
report ran that when Suleiman was told of his mistake, his chagrin was so
great that he committed suicide.

It was at length decided to advance on the Turkish forces at Daur. General
Brooking had just made a most successful attack on the Euphrates front,
capturing the town of Ramadie, with almost five thousand prisoners. It was
believed to be the intention of the army commander to try to relieve the
pressure against General Allenby's forces in Palestine by attacking the
enemy on all three of their Mesopotamian fronts. Accordingly, we were
ordered to march out after sunset one night, prepared to attack the enemy
position at daybreak. During a short halt by the last rays of the setting
sun I caught sight of a number of Mohammedan soldiers prostrating
themselves toward Mecca in their evening prayers, while their Christian or
pagan comrades looked stolidly on. It was late October, and although the
days were still very hot and oppressive, the nights were almost bitterly
cold. A night-march is always a disagreeable business. The head of the
column checks and halts, and those in the rear have no idea whether it is
an involuntary stop for a few minutes, or whether they are to halt for an
hour or more, owing to some complication of orders. So we stood shivering,
and longed for a smoke, but of course that was strictly forbidden, for the
cigarettes of an army would form a very good indication of its whereabouts
on a dark night. All night we marched and halted, and started on again;
the dust choked us, and the hours seemed interminable, until at last at
two in the morning word was passed along that we could have an hour's
sleep. The greater part of the year in Mesopotamia the regulation army
dress consisted of a tunic and "shorts." These are long trousers cut off
just above the knee, and the wearer may either use wrap puttees, or
leather leggings, or golf stockings. They are a great help in the heat,
as may easily be understood, and they allow, of course, much freer knee
action, particularly when your clothes are wet. The reverse side of the
medal reads that when you try to sleep without a blanket on a cold night,
you find that your knees are uncomfortably exposed. Still we were, most of
us, so drunk with sleep that it would have taken more than that to keep us
awake. At three we resumed our march, and attacked just at dawn. The enemy
had abandoned the first-line positions, and we met with but little
resistance in the second. Our cavalry, which was concentrated at several
points in nullahs (dry river-beds), suffered at the hands of the hostile
aircraft. The Turk had evidently determined to fall back to Tekrit without
putting up a serious defense. They certainly could have given us a much
worse time than they did, for they had dug in well and scientifically.
Among the prisoners we took there were some that proved to be very worth
while. These Turkish officers were, as a whole a good lot--well dressed
and well educated. Many spoke French. There is an excellent gunnery school
at Constantinople, and one of the officers we captured had been a senior
instructor there for many years. We had with us among our intelligence
officers a Captain Bettelheim, born in Constantinople of Belgian
parentage. He had served with the Turks against the Italians and with the
British against the Boers. This gunnery officer turned out to be an old
comrade of his in the Italian War. Many of the officers we got knew him,
for he had been chief of police in Constantinople. Apparently none of them
bore him the slightest ill-will when they found him serving against them.

Among the supplies we captured at Daur were a lot of our own rifles and
ammunition that the Arabs had stolen and sold to the Turks. It was
impossible to entirely stop this, guard our dumps as best we could. On
dark nights they would creep right into camp, and it was never safe to
have the hospital barges tie up to the banks for the night on their way
down the river. On many occasions the Arabs crawled aboard and finished
off the wounded. There was only one thing to be said for the Arab, and
that was that he played no favorite, but attacked, as a rule, whichever
side came handier. We were told, and I believe it to be true, that during
the fighting at Sunnaiyat the Turks sent over to know if we would agree
to a three days' truce, during which time we should join forces against
the Arabs, who were watching on the flank to pick off stragglers or ration

That night we bivouacked at Daur, and were unmolested except for the enemy
aircraft that came over and "laid eggs." Next morning we advanced on
Tekrit. Our orders were to make a feint, and if we found that the Turk
meant to stay and fight it out seriously, we were to fall back. Some
gazelles got into the no man's land between us and the Turk, and in the
midst of the firing ran gracefully up the line, stopping every now and
then to stare about in amazement. Later on in the Argonne forest in France
we had the same thing happen with some wild boars. The enemy seemed in no
way inclined to evacuate Tekrit, so in accordance with instructions we
returned to our previous night's encampment at Daur. On the way back we
passed an old "arabana," a Turkish coupé, standing abandoned in the
desert, with a couple of dead horses by it. It may have been used by some
Turkish general in the retreat of two days before. It was the sort of
coupé one associates entirely with well-kept parks and crowded city
streets, and the incongruity of its lonely isolation amid the sand-dunes
caused an amused ripple of comment.

Our instructions were to march back to Samarra early next morning, but
shortly before midnight orders came through from General Maude for us to
advance again upon Tekrit and take it. Next day we halted and took stock
in view of the new orders. The cavalry again suffered at the hands of the
Turkish aircraft. I went to corps headquarters in the afternoon, and a
crowd of "red tabs," as the staff-officers were called, were seated around
a little table having the inevitable tea. A number of the generals had
come in to discuss the plan of attack for the following day. Suddenly a
Turk aeroplane made its appearance, flying quite low, and dropping bombs
at regular intervals. It dropped two, and then a third on a little hill in
a straight line from the staff conclave. It looked as if the next would be
a direct hit, and the staff did the only wise thing, and took cover as
flat on the ground as nature would allow; but the Hun's spacing was bad,
and the next bomb fell some little way beyond. I remember our glee at
what we regarded as a capital joke on the staff. The line-officer's humor
becomes a trifle robust where the "gilded staff" is concerned,
notwithstanding the fact that most staff-officers have seen active and
distinguished service in the line.

Our anti-aircraft guns--"Archies" we called them--were mounted on trucks,
and on account of their weight had some difficulty getting up. I shall not
soon forget our delight when they lumbered into view, for although I never
happened personally to see an aeroplane brought down by an "Archie," there
was no doubt about it but that they did not bomb us with the same
equanimity when our anti-aircrafts were at hand.

[Illustration: Captured Turkish camel corps]

That night we marched out on Tekrit, and as dawn was breaking were ready
to attack. As the mist cleared, an alarming but ludicrous sight met our
eyes. On the extreme right some caterpillar tractors hauling our "heavies"
were advancing straight on Tekrit, as if they had taken themselves for
tanks. They were not long in discovering their mistake, and amid a mixed
salvo they clumsily turned and made off at their best pace, which was not
more than three miles an hour. Luckily, they soon got under some
excellent defilade, but not until they had suffered heavily.

Our artillery did some good work, but while we were waiting to attack we
suffered rather heavily. We had to advance over a wide stretch of open
country to reach the Turkish first lines. By nightfall the second line of
trenches was practically all in our hands. Meanwhile the cavalry had
circled way around the flank up-stream of Tekrit to cut the enemy off if
he attempted to retreat. The town is on the right bank of the Tigris, and
we had a small force that had come up from Samarra on the left bank, for
we had no means of ferrying troops across. Our casualties during the day
had amounted to about two thousand. The Seaforths had suffered heavily,
but no more so than some of the native regiments. In Mesopotamia there
were many changes in the standing of the Indian battalions. The
Maharattas, for instance, had never previously been regarded as anything
at all unusual, but they have now a very distinguished record to take
pride in. The general feeling was that the Gurkhas did not quite live up
to their reputation. But the Indian troops as a whole did so exceedingly
well that there is little purpose in making comparisons amongst them. At
this time, so I was informed, the Expeditionary Force, counting all
branches, totalled about a million, and a very large percentage of this
came from India. We drew our supplies from India and Australia, and it is
interesting to note that we preferred the Australian canned beef and
mutton (bully beef and bully mutton, as it was called) to the American.

At dusk the fighting died down, and we were told to hold on and go over at
daybreak. As I was making my way back to headquarters a general pounced
upon me and told me to get quickly into a car and go as rapidly as
possible to Daur to bring up a motor ration-convoy with fodder for the
cavalry horses and food for the riders. A Ford car happened to pass by,
and he stopped it and shoved me in, with some last hurried injunction. It
was quite fifteen miles back, and the country was so cut up by nullahs or
ravines that in most places it was inadvisable to leave the road, which
was, of course, jammed with a double stream of transport of every
description. When we were three or four miles from Daur a tire blew out.
The driver had used his last spare, so there was nothing to do but keep
going on the rim. The car was of the delivery-wagon type--"pill-boxes"
were what they were known as--and while we were stopped taking stock I
happened to catch sight of a good-sized bedding-roll behind. "Some one's
out of luck," said I to the driver; "whose roll is it?" "The corps
commander's, sir," was his reply. After exhausting my limited vocabulary,
I realized that it was far too late to stop another motor and send this
one back, so I just kept going. Across the bed of one more ravine, the
sand up to the hubs, and we were in the Daur camp. I managed to rank some
one out of a spare tire and started back again. My driver proved unable to
drive at night, at all events at a pace that would put us anywhere before
dawn, so I was forced to take the wheel. By the time I had the convoy
properly located I was rather despondent of the corps commander's temper,
even should I eventually reach him that night, which seemed a remote
chance, for the best any one could do was give me the rough location on a
map. Still, taking my luminous compass, I set out to steer a cross-country
course. I ran into five or six small groups of ambulances filled with
wounded, trying to find their way to Daur, and completely lost. Most had
given up--some were unknowingly headed back for Tekrit. I could do no more
than give them the right direction, which I knew they had no chance of
holding. Of course I could have no headlights, and the ditches were many,
but in some miraculous way, more through good luck than good management, I
did find corps headquarters, and what was better still, the general's
reprimand took the form of bread and ham and a stiff peg of whiskey--the
first food I had had since before daylight.

During the night the Turks evacuated the town. Their forces were certainly
mobile. They could cover the most surprising distances, and live on almost
nothing. We marched in and occupied. White flags were flying from all the
houses, which were not nearly so much damaged from the bombardment as one
would have supposed. This was invariably the case; indeed, it is
surprising to see how much shelling a town can undergo without noticeable
effect. It takes a long time to level a town in the way it has been done
in northern France. In this region the banks of the river average about
one hundred and fifty feet in height, and Tekrit is built at the junction
of two ravines. No two streets are on the same level; sometimes the roofs
of the houses on a lower level serve as the streets for the houses above.
Many of the booths in the bazaar were open and transacting business when
we arrived, an excellent proof of how firmly the Arabs believed in British
fair dealing. Our men bought cigarettes, matches, and vegetables. Yusuf
had lived here three or four years, so I despatched him to get chickens
and eggs for the mess. I ran into Marshall, who was on his way to dine
with the mayor, who had turned out to be an old friend of his. He asked me
to join him, and we climbed up to a very comfortable house, built around a
large courtyard. It was the best meal we had either of us had in
days--great pilaus of rice, excellent chicken, and fresh unleavened bread.
This bread looks like a very large and thin griddle-cake. The Arab uses it
as a plate. Eating with your hands is at first rather difficult. Before
falling to, a ewer is brought around to you, and you are supplied with
soap--a servant pours water from the ewer over your hands, and then gives
you a towel. After eating, the same process is gone through with. There
are certain formalities that must be regarded--one of them being that you
must not eat or drink with your left hand.

In Tekrit we did not find as much in the way of supplies and ammunition as
we had hoped. The Turk had destroyed the greater part of his store. We did
find great quantities of wood, and in that barren, treeless country it was
worth a lot. Most of the inhabitants of Tekrit are raftsmen by profession.
Their rafts have been made in the same manner since before the days of
Xerxes and Darius. Inflated goatskins are used as a basis for a platform
of poles, cut in the up-stream forests. On these, starting from Diarbekr
or Mosul, they float down all their goods. When they reach Tekrit they
leave the poles there, and start up-stream on foot, carrying their
deflated goatskins. The Turks used this method a great deal bringing down
their supplies. In pre-war days the rafts, keleks as they are called,
would often come straight through to Baghdad, but many were always broken
up at Tekrit, for there is a desert route running across to Hit on the
Euphrates, and the supplies from up-river were taken across this in camel

The aerodrome lay six or seven miles above the town, and I was anxious to
see it and the comfortable billets the Germans had built themselves. I
found a friend whose duties required motor transportation, and we set off
in his car. A dust-storm was raging, and we had some difficulty in finding
our way through the network of trenches. Once outside, the storm became
worse, and we could only see a few yards in front of us. We got completely
lost, and after nearly running over the edge of the bluff, gave up the
attempt, and slowly worked our way back.

When we started off on the advance I was reading Xenophon's _Anabasis_. On
the day when we were ordered to march on Tekrit a captain of the Royal
Flying Corps, an ex-master at Eton, was in the mess, and when I told him
that I was nearly out of reading matter, he said that next time he came
over he would drop me Plutarch's _Lives_. I asked him to drop it at corps
headquarters, and that a friend of mine there would see that I got it. The
next day in the heat of the fighting a plane came over low, signalling
that it was dropping a message. As the streamer fell close by, there was a
rush to pick it up and learn how the attack was progressing. Fortunately,
I was far away when the packet was opened and found to contain the book
that the pilot had promised to drop for me.

After we had been occupying the town for a few days, orders came through
to prepare to fall back on Samarra. The line of communication was so long
that it was impossible to maintain us, except at too great a cost to the
transportation facilities possessed by the Expeditionary Forces. Eight or
ten months later, when we had more rails in hand, a line was laid to
Tekrit, which had been abandoned by the Turks under the threat of our
advance to Kirkuk, in the Persian hills. It was difficult to explain to
the men, particularly to the Indians, the necessity for falling back. All
they could understand was that we had taken the town at no small cost, and
now we were about to give it up.

For several days I was busy helping to prepare rafts to take down the
timber and such other captured supplies as were worth removing. The river
was low, leaving a broad stretch of beach below the town, and to this we
brought down the poles. Several camels had died near the water, probably
from the results of our shelling, and the hot weather soon made them very
unpleasant companions. The first day was bad enough; the second was worse.
The natives were not in the least affected. They brought their washing and
worked among them--they came down and drew their drinking-water from the
river, either beside the camels or down-stream of them, with complete
indifference. It is true this water percolates drop by drop through large,
porous clay pots before it is drunk, but even so, it would have seemed
that they would have preferred its coming from up-stream of the derelict
"ships of the desert." On the third day, to their mild surprise, we
managed with infinite difficulty to tow the camels out through the shallow
water into the main stream.

We finally got our rafts built, over eighty in number, and arranged for
enough Arab pilots to take care of half of them. On the remainder we put
Indian sepoys. They made quite a fleet when we finally got them all
started down-stream. Two were broken up in the rapids near Daur, the rest
reached Samarra in safety on the second day.

We had a pleasant camp on the bluffs below Tekrit--high-enough above the
plain to be free of the ordinary dust-storms, and the prospect of
returning to Samarra was scarcely more pleasant to us than to the men.
Five days after we had taken the town, we turned our backs on it and
marched slowly back to rail-head.



We returned to find Samarra buried in dust and more desolate than ever. A
few days later came the first rain-storm. After a night's downpour the air
was radiantly clear, and it was joy to ride off on the rounds, no longer
like Zeus, enveloped in a cloud.

It was a relief to see the heat-stroke camps broken up. During the summer
months our ranks were fearfully thinned through the sun. Although it was
the British troops that suffered most, the Indians were by no means
immune. Before the camps were properly organized the percentage of
mortality was exceedingly large, for the only effective treatment
necessitates the use of much ice. The patient runs a temperature which it
was impossible to control until the ice-making machines were installed.
The camps were situated in the coolest and most comfortable places, but in
spite of everything, death was a frequent result, and recoveries were apt
to be only partial. Men who had had a bad stroke were rarely of any
further use in the country.

Another sickness of the hot season which now began to claim less victims
was sand-fly fever. This fever, which, as its name indicates, was
contracted from the bites of sand-flies, varied widely in virulence.
Sometimes it was so severe that the victim had to be evacuated to India;
as a rule he went no farther than a base hospital at Baghdad or Amara.

One of the things about which the Tommy felt most keenly in the
Mesopotamian campaign was that there was no such thing as a "Cushy
Blighty." To take you to "Blighty" a wound must mean permanent
disablement, otherwise you either convalesced in the country or, at best,
were sent to India. In the same manner there were no short leaves, for
there was nowhere to go. At the most rapid rate of travelling it took two
weeks to get to India, and once there, although the people did everything
possible in the way of entertaining, the enlisted man found little to make
him less homesick than he had been in Mesopotamia. Transportation was so
difficult and the trip so long that only under very exceptional
circumstances was leave to England given. One spring it was announced
that officers wishing to get either married or divorced could apply for
leave with good hopes of success. Many applied, but a number returned
without having fulfilled either condition, so that the following year no
leaves were given upon those grounds. The army commander put all divorce
cases into the hands of an officer whose civil occupation had been the
law, and who arranged them without the necessity of granting home leave.

A week after our return to Samarra a rumor started that General Maude was
down with cholera. For some time past there had been sporadic cases,
though not enough to be counted an epidemic. The sepoys had suffered
chiefly, but not exclusively, for the British ranks also supplied a quota
of victims. An officer on the staff of the military governor of Baghdad
had recently died. We heard that the army commander had the virulent form,
and knew there could be no chance of his recovery. The announcement of his
death was a heavy blow to all, and many were the gloomy forebodings. The
whole army had implicit confidence in their leader, and deeply mourned his
loss. The usual rumors of foul play and poison went the rounds, but I
soon after heard Colonel Wilcox--in pre-war days an able and renowned
practitioner of Harley Street--say that it was an undoubted case of
cholera. The colonel had attended General Maude throughout the illness.
The general had never taken the cholera prophylactic, although Colonel
Wilcox had on many occasions urged him to do so, the last time being only
a few days before the disease developed.

[Illustration: Towing an armored car across a river]

[Illustration: Reconnaissance]

General Marshall, who had commanded General Maude's old division, the
Thirteenth, took over. The Seventeenth lost General Gillman, who thereupon
became chief of staff. This was a great loss to his division, for he was
the idol of the men, but the interest of the Expeditionary Force was
naturally and justly given precedence.

In due course my transfer to the Motor Machine-Gun Corps came through
approved, and I was assigned to the Fourteenth battery of light-armored
motor-cars, commanded by Captain Nigel Somerset, whose grandfather, Lord
Raglan, had died, nursed by Florence Nightingale, while in command of the
British forces in the Crimean War. Somerset himself was in the infantry at
the outbreak of the war and had been twice wounded in France. He was an
excellent leader, possessing as he did dash, judgment, and personal
magnetism. A battery was composed of eight armored cars, subdivided into
four sections. There was a continually varying number of tenders and
workshop lorries. The fighting cars were Rolls-Royces, the others Napiers
and Fords.

At that time there were only four batteries in the country. We were army
troops--that is to say, we were not attached to any individual brigade, or
division, or corps, but were temporarily assigned first here and then
there, as the need arose.

In attacks we worked in co-operation with the cavalry. Although on
occasions they tried to use us as tanks, it was not successful, for our
armor-plate was too light. We were also employed in raiding, and in
quelling Arab uprisings. This latter use threw us into close touch with
the political officers. These were a most interesting lot of men. They
were recruited in part from the army, but largely from civil life. They
took over the civil administration of the conquered territory and
judiciously upheld native justice. Many remarkable characters were
numbered among them--men who had devoted a lifetime to the study of the
intricacies of Oriental diplomacy. They were distinguished by the white
tabs on the collars of their regulation uniforms; but white was by no
means invariably the sign of peace, for many of the political officers
were killed, and more than once in isolated towns in unsettled districts
they sustained sieges that lasted for several days. We often took a
political officer out with us on a raid or reconnaissance, finding his
knowledge of the language and customs of great assistance. Sir Percy Cox
was at the head, with the title "Chief Political Officer" and the rank of
general. His career in the Persian Gulf has been as distinguished as it is
long, and his handling of the very delicate situations arising in
Mesopotamia has called forth the unstinted praise of soldier and civilian

Ably assisting him, and head of the Arab bureau, was Miss Gertrude Bell,
the only woman, other than the nursing sisters, officially connected with
the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Forces. Miss Bell speaks Arabic fluently
and correctly. She first became interested in the East when visiting her
uncle at Teheran, where he was British minister. She has made noteworthy
expeditions in Syria and Mesopotamia, and has written a number of
admirable books, among which are _Armurath to Armurath_ and _The Desert
and the Sown_. The undeniable position which she holds must appear doubly
remarkable when the Mohammedan official attitude toward women is borne in
mind. Miss Bell has worked steadily and without a leave in this trying
climate, and her tact and judgment have contributed to the British success
to a degree that can scarcely be overestimated.

The headquarters of the various batteries were in Baghdad. There we had
our permanent billets, and stores. We would often be ordered out in
sections to be away varying lengths of time, though rarely more than a
couple of months. The workshops' officer stayed in permanent charge and
had the difficult task of keeping all the cars in repair. The supply of
spare parts was so uncertain that much skill and ingenuity were called
for, and possessed to a full degree by Lieutenant Linnell of the

A few days after I joined I set off with Somerset and one of the battery
officers, Lieutenant Smith, formerly of the Black Watch. We were ordered
to do some patrolling near the ruins of Babylon. Kerbela and Nejef, in the
quality of great Shiah shrines, had never been particularly friendly to
the Turks, who were Sunnis--but the desert tribes are almost invariably
Sunnis, and this coupled with their natural instinct for raiding and
plundering made them eager to take advantage of any interregnum of
authority. We organized a sort of native mounted police, but they were
more picturesque than effective. They were armed with weapons of varying
age and origin--not one was more recent than the middle of the last
century. Now the Budus, the wild desert folk, were frequently equipped
with rifles they had stolen from us, so in a contest the odds were
anything but even.

We took up our quarters at Museyib, a small town on the banks of the
Euphrates, six or eight miles above the Hindiyah Barrage, a dam finished a
few years before, and designed to irrigate a large tract of potentially
rich country. We patrolled out to Mohamediyah, a village on the caravan
desert route to Baghdad, and thence down to Hilleh, around which stand the
ruins of ancient Babylon. The rainy season was just beginning, and it was
obvious that the patrolling could not be continuous, for a twelve-hour
rain would make the country impassable to our heavy cars for two or three
days. We were fortunate in having pleasant company in the officers of a
Punjabi infantry battalion and an Indian cavalry regiment. Having
commandeered an ancient caravan-serai for garage and billets, we set to
work to clean it out and make it as waterproof as circumstances would
permit. An oil-drum with a length of iron telegraph-pole stuck in its top
provided a serviceable stove, and when it rained we played bridge or read.

I was ever ready to reduce my kit to any extent in order to have space for
some books, and Voltaire's _Charles XII_ was the first called upon to
carry me to another part of the world from that in which I at the moment
found myself. I always kept a volume of some sort in my pocket, and during
halts I would read in the shade cast by the turret of my car. The two
volumes of Layard's _Early Adventures_ proved a great success. The writer,
the great Assyriologist, is better known as the author of _Nineveh and
Babylon_. The book I was reading had been written when he was in his early
twenties, but published for the first time forty years later. Layard
started life as a solicitor's clerk in London, but upon being offered a
post in India he had accepted and proceeded thither overland. On reaching
Baghdad he made a side-trip into Kurdistan, and became so enamored of the
life of the tribesmen that he lived there with them on and off for two
years--years filled with adventure of the most thrilling sort.

I had finished a translation of Xenophon shortly before and found it a
very different book than when I was plodding drearily through it in the
original at school. Here it was all vivid and real before my eyes, with
the scene of the great battle of Cunaxa only a few miles from Museyib.
Babylon was in sight of the valiant Greeks, but all through the loss of a
leader it was never to be theirs. On the ground itself one could
appreciate how great a masterpiece the retreat really was, and the
hardiness of the soldiers which caused Xenophon to regard as a "snow
sickness" the starvation and utter weariness which made the numbed men lie
down and die in the snow of the Anatolian highlands. He remarks naïvely
that if you could build a fire and give them something hot to eat, the
sickness was dispelled!

The rain continued to fall and the mud became deeper and deeper. It was
all the Arabs could do to get their produce into market. The bazaar was
not large, but was always thronged. I used to sit in one of the
coffee-houses and drink coffee or tea and smoke the long-stemmed
water-pipe, the narghile. My Arabic was now sufficiently fluent for
ordinary conversation, and in these clubs of the Arab I could hear all the
gossip. Bazaar rumors always told of our advances long before they were
officially given out. Once in Baghdad I heard of an attack we had
launched. On going around to G.H.Q. I mentioned the rumor, and found that
it was not yet known there, but shortly after was confirmed. I had already
in Africa met with the "native wireless," and it will be remembered how in
the Civil War the plantation negroes were often the first to get news of
the battles. It is something that I have never heard satisfactorily

In the coffee-houses, besides smoking and gossiping, we also played games,
either chess or backgammon or munkula. This last is an exceedingly
primitive and ancient game--it must date almost as far back as jackstones
or knucklebones. I have seen the natives in Central Africa and the Indians
in the far interior of Brazil playing it in almost identical form. In
Mesopotamia the board was a log of wood sliced in two and hinged together.
In either half five or six holes were scooped out, and the game consisted
in dropping cowrie shells or pebbles into the holes. When the number in a
particular hollow came to a certain amount with the addition of the one
dropped in, you won the contents.

In most places the coffee was served in Arab fashion, not Turkish. In the
latter case it is sweet and thick and the tiny cup is half full of
grounds; in the former the coffee is clear and bitter and of unsurpassable
flavor. The diminutive cup is filled several times, but each time there is
only a mouthful poured in. Tea is served in small glasses, without milk,
but with lots of sugar. The spoons in the glasses are pierced with holes
like tea-strainers so that the tea may be stirred without spilling it.

There was in particular one booth I could never tire watching. The old man
who owned it was a vender of pickles. In rows before him were bottles and
jars and bowls containing pickles of all colors--red, yellow, green,
purple, white, and even blue. Above his head were festoons of gayly
painted peppers. He had a long gray beard, wore a green turban and a
flowing robe with a gold-braided waistcoat. In the half-lights of the
crowded, covered bazaar his was a setting in which Dulac would have

At Museyib we led a peaceful, uneventful existence--completely shut in by
the mud. We had several bazaar rumors about proposed attacks upon the
engineers who were surveying for a railroad that was to be built to Hilleh
for the purpose of transporting the grain-crop to the capital. Nothing
materialized, however. The conditions were too poor to induce even the
easily encouraged Arabs to raid. One morning when I was wandering around
the gardens on the outskirts of the town I came across some jackals and
shot one with my Webley revolver. It was running and I fired a number of
times, and got back to town to find that my shooting had started all sorts
of excitement and reports of uprisings.

Christmas came and the different officers' messes organized celebrations.
The mess we had joined was largely Scotch, so we decided we must make a
haggis, that "chieftain of the pudden race." The ingredients, save for the
whiskey, were scarcely orthodox, but if it was not a success, at least no
one admitted it.

As soon as the weather cleared we made a run to Kerbela--a lovely town,
with miles of gardens surrounding it and two great mosques. The bazaar was
particularly attractive--plentifully supplied with everything. We got
quantities of the deliciously flavored pistachio-nuts which were difficult
to obtain elsewhere, as well as all sorts of fruit and vegetables. There
were no troops stationed in the vicinity, so the prices were lower than
usual. The orders were that we should go about in armed bands, but I never
saw any marked indication of hostility. The British, true to the
remarkable tact and tolerance that contributes so largely to their success
in dealing with native races, posted Mohammedan sepoys as guards on the
mosques, and no one but Moslems could even go into the courtyards. If this
had not been done, there would have been many disturbances and uprisings,
for the Arabs and Persians felt so strongly on the question that they
regarded with marked hostility those who even gazed into the mosque
courtyards. Why it is so different in Constantinople I do not know, but
there was certainly no hostility shown us in Santa Sophia nor in the
mosque of Omar in Jerusalem. Be that as it may, forbidden fruit is always
sweet, and the Tommies were inclined to force an entrance. During a change
of guard a Tommy who had his curiosity and initiative stimulated through
recourse to arrick, the fiery liquor distilled from dates, stole into the
most holy mosque in Kerbela. By a miracle he was got out unharmed, but for
a few hours a general uprising with an attendant massacre of unbelievers
was feared.

The great mosque lost much of its dignity through an atrocious clock-tower
standing in the courtyard in front of it. It had evidently been found too
expensive to cover this tower with a golden scale to shine in the sun, so
some ingenious architect hit upon the plan of papering it with flattened
kerosene-tins. It must have glinted gloriously at first, but weather and
rain had rusted the cans and they presented but a sorry spectacle. From
the thousand and one uses to which these oil-cans have been put by the
native, one is inclined to think that the greatest benefit that has been
conferred on the natives by modern civilization is from the hands of the
Standard Oil Company.

There were a fair number of Indians living in Kerbela before the war, for
devout Shiahs are anxious to be buried near the martyred sons of Ali, and
when they are unable to move to Kerbela in their lifetime they frequently
make provisions that their remains may be transported thither. The British
found it a convenient abode for native rulers whom they were forced to
depose but still continued to pension.

[Illustration: The Lion of Babylon]

[Illustration: A dragon on the palace wall]

Hilleh, which stands near the ruins of ancient Babylon, is a modern town
very much like Museyib. I never had a chance to study the ruins at any
length. Several times we went over the part that had been excavated by the
Germans immediately before the war. I understand that this is believed to
be the great palace where Belshazzar saw the handwriting on the wall. It
is built of bricks, each one of which is stamped in cuneiform characters.
There are very fine bas-reliefs of animals, both mythical and real. In the
centre is the great stone lion, massively impressive, standing over the
prostrate form of a man. The lion has suffered from fire and man; there
have even been chips made in it recently by Arab rifles, probably not
wantonly, but in some skirmish. Standing alone in its majesty in the midst
of ruin and desolation amid the black tents of a people totally unable to
construct or even appreciate anything of a like nature, it gave one
much to think over and moralize about. The ruins of Babylon have been
excavated only in very small part; there are great isolated mounds which
have never been touched, and you can still pick up in the sand bits of
statuary, and the cylinders that were used as seal-rings. The great city
of Seleucia on the Tigris was built largely with bricks and masonry
brought by barge from the ruins of Babylon through the canal that joined
the two rivers.

The prophecy of Isaiah has fallen true:

    And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees'
    excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

    It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from
    generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent
    there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.

    But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses
    shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there,
    and satyrs shall dance there.

    And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate
    houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is
    near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

A few days after Christmas, we were ordered to return to Baghdad. The
going was still bad. We had a Ford tender in advance to find and warn us
of the softest spots. Once it got into the middle of such a bottomless bog
that, after trying everything else, I hit upon the idea of rolling it out.
It was built all enclosed like a bread-van, and we turned it over and over
until we had it clear of the mud. We had hard work with the heavy
cars--sometimes we could tow one out with another, but frequently that
only resulted in getting the two stuck. Once when the cars were badly
bogged I went to a near-by Arab village to get help. I told the head man
that I wanted bundles of brush to throw in front of the cars in order to
make some sort of a foundation to pass them over. He at once started
turning out his people to aid us, but after he had got a number of loads
under way he caught sight of one of his wives, who, instead of coming to
our assistance, was washing some clothes in a copper caldron by the fire.
There followed a scene which demonstrated that even an Arab is by no means
always lord of his own household. The wife refused to budge; the Arab
railed and stormed, but she went calmly on with her washing, paying no
more attention to his fury than if he were a fractious, unreasonable
child. At length, driven to a white heat of rage, the head man upset the
caldron into the fire with his foot. The woman, without a word, got up and
stalked into a near-by hut, from which she refused to emerge. There was
nothing for her discomfited adversary to do but go on with his rounds.

By manoeuvring and digging and towing we managed to make seven miles after
fourteen hours' work that first day. Night found us close beside an Arab
village, from which I got a great bowl of buffalo milk to put into the
men's coffee. Early in the morning we were off again. The going was so
much better that we were able to make Baghdad at ten o'clock in the



We spent a few days making repairs and outfitting before starting off
again. This time our destination was Deli Abbas, the headquarters of the
Thirteenth Division. The town is situated in the plains below the
foot-hills of the Persian Mountains, on the banks of the Khalis Canal,
some seventy miles north-east of Baghdad. At dawn we passed out of the
north gate, close to where General Maude is buried, and whirled across the
desert for thirty miles to Bakuba, a prosperous city on the banks of the
Diyala. From the junction of the greater Zab down to Kurna, where the
Euphrates joins, this stream is the most important affluent of the Tigris.
It was one of those bright, sparkling mornings on which merely to be alive
and breathe is a joy. We passed a number of caravans, bringing carpets and
rugs from Persia, or fruit and vegetables from the rich agricultural
district around Bakuba. The silks manufactured here are of a fine quality
and well known throughout the country.

After passing the big aerodrome near the town, the going became very bad;
we struggled along through the village of Deltawa, in and out of
unfathomable ditches. The rivers were in flood, and we ran into lakes and
swamps that we cautiously skirted. Dark overtook us in the middle of a
network of bogs, but we came upon an outpost of Welsh Fusiliers and spent
the night with them. We had smashed the bottom plate of one of the cars,
so that all the oil ran out of the crank-case, but with a side of the
ever-useful kerosene tin we patched the car up temporarily and pushed off
at early dawn. Our route wound through groves of palms surrounding the
tumble-down tomb of some holy man, occasional collections of squalid
little huts, and in the intervening "despoblado" we would catch sight of a
jackal crouching in the hollow or slinking off through the scrub. Deli
Abbas proved a half-deserted straggling town which gave evidence of having
once seen prosperous days. Some Turkish aeroplanes heralded our arrival.

In front of us rose the Jebel Hamrin--Red Hills--beyond them the
snow-clad peaks of the Kurdish Range. A few months previous we had
captured the passes over the Jebel, and we were now busy repairing and
improving the roads--in particular that across the Abu Hajjar, not for
nothing named by the Arabs the "Father of Stones." Whenever the going
permitted we went out on reconnaissances--rekkos, as we called them. They
varied but slightly; the one I went on the day after reaching Deli Abbas
might serve as model. We started at daybreak and ran to a little village
called Ain Lailah, the Spring of Night, a lovely name for the small clump
of palm-trees tucked away unexpectedly in a hollow among barren
foot-hills. There we picked up a surveyor--an officer whose business it
was to make maps for the army. We passed through great herds of camels,
some with small children perched on their backs, who joggled about like
sailors on a storm-tossed ship, as the camels made away from the cars.
There were villages of the shapeless black tents of the nomads huddled in
among the desolate dunes. We picked up a Turk deserter who was trying to
reach our lines. He said that his six comrades had been killed by Arabs.
Shortly afterward we ran into a cavalry patrol, but the men escaped over
some very broken ground before we could satisfactorily come to terms with
them. It was lucky for the deserter that we found him before they did, for
his shrift would have been short. We got back to camp at half past eight,
having covered ninety-two miles in our windings--a good day's work.

Each section had two motorcycles attached to it--jackals, as one of the
generals called them, in apt reference to the way in which jackals
accompany a lion when hunting. The cyclists rode ahead to spy out the
country and the best course to follow. When we got into action they would
drop behind, and we used them to send messages back to camp. The best
motorcyclist we had was a Swiss named Milson. He was of part English
descent, and came at once from Switzerland at the outbreak of the war to
enlist. When he joined he spoke only broken English but was an exceedingly
intelligent man and had been attending a technical college. I have never
seen a more skilful rider; he could get his cycle along through the mud
when we were forced to carry the others, and no one was more cool and
unconcerned under fire. The personnel of the battery left nothing to be
desired. One was proud to serve among such a fine set of men. Corporal
Summers drove the car in which I usually rode, and I have never met with a
better driver or one who understood his car so thoroughly, and possessed
that intangible sympathy with it which is the gift of a few, but can be
never attained.

We were still in the rainy season. We had to travel as light as possible,
and all we could bring were forty-pounder tents, which correspond to the
American dog-tent. Very low, they withstood in remarkable fashion the
periodical hurricanes of wind and rain. They kept us fairly dry, too, for
we were careful to ditch them well. There was room for two men to sleep in
the turret of a Rolls, and they could spread a tarpaulin over the top to
keep the rain from coming in through the various openings. The balance of
the men had a communal tent or slept in the tenders. The larger tents in
the near-by camps blew down frequently, but with us it happened only
occasionally. There are happier moments than those spent in the inky
blackness amid a torrential deluge, when you try to extricate yourself
from the wet, clinging folds of falling canvas.

Time hung heavily when the weather was bad, and we were cooped up inside
our tents without even a hostile aeroplane to shoot at. One day when the
going was too poor to take out the heavy cars, I set off in a tender to
visit another section of the battery that was stationed thirty or forty
miles away in the direction of Persia, close by a town called Kizil Robat.
We had a rough trip, with several difficult fords to cross. It was only
through working with the icy water above our waists that we won through
the worst, amid the shouts of "Shabash, Sahib!" ("Well done!") from the
onlooking Indian troops. I reached the camp to find the section absent on
a reconnaissance, for the country was better drained than that over which
we were working. A few minutes later one of the cyclists came in with the
news that the cars were under heavy fire about twenty-five miles away and
one of them was badly bogged. I immediately loaded all the surplus men and
eight Punjabis from a near-by regiment into the tenders. We reached the
scene just after the disabled car had been abandoned. Some of the Turks
were concealed in a village two hundred and fifty yards away; the rest
were behind some high irrigation embankments. The free car had been
unable to circle around or flank them because of the nature of the
terrain. The men had not known that the village was occupied and had
bogged down almost at the same time that the Turks opened fire. By
breaking down an irrigation ditch the enemy succeeded in further flooding
the locality where the automobile was trapped. The Turks made it hot for
the men when they tried to dig out the car. The bullets spattered about
them. It was difficult to tell how many Turks we accounted for. As dark
came on, the occupants of the disabled car abandoned it and joined the
other one, which was standing off the enemy but had lost all four tires
and was running on its rims. We held a consultation and decided to stay
where we were until dawn. We had scarcely made the decision when one of
our cyclists arrived with orders from the brigade commander to return
immediately. Although exceedingly loath to leave the armored car, we had
no other course than to obey.

It was after midnight by the time we made back to camp. We were told that
a small attack had been planned for the morning, and that then we could go
out with the troops and recover our car, using some artillery horses to
drag it free. The troops soon began filing past, but we didn't pull out
till three o'clock, by which time we were reinforced by an armored car
from another battery. We were held back behind the advanced cavalry until
daylight, and felt certain that the Turks would have either destroyed or
succeeded in removing our car. Nor were we wrong, for just as we breasted
the hill that brought the scene of yesterday's engagement into view, we
saw the smoke of an explosion and the men running back into the village.
We cleared the village with the help of a squadron of the Twenty-First
cavalry, and found that the car had been almost freed during the night. It
was a bad wreck, but we were able to tow it. I wished to have a reckoning
with the village head man, and walked to an isolated group of houses a few
hundred yards to the left of the village. As I neared them a lively
fusillade opened and I had to take refuge in a convenient irrigation
ditch. The country was so broken that it was impossible for us to operate,
so we towed the car back to camp.

[Illustration: Hauling out a badly bogged fighting car]

[Illustration: A Mesopotamian garage]

Our section from Deli Abbas was moved up to take the place of the one that
had been engaged, which now returned to Baghdad. We were camped at
Mirjana, a few miles north of Kizil Robat, on the Diyala River. A pontoon
bridge was thrown across and the cars were taken over to the right bank,
where we bivouacked with a machine-gun company and a battalion of native
infantry. The bed of the river was very wide, and although throughout the
greater part of the year the water flowed only through the narrow main
channel, in the time of the spring floods the whole distance was a riotous
yellow torrent. We had no sooner got the cars across than the river began
to rise. During the first night part of the bridge was carried away, and
the rest was withdrawn. The rise continued; trees and brush were swept
racing past. We made several fruitless attempts to get across in the
clumsy pontoons, but finally gave it up, resigning ourselves to being
marooned. We put ourselves on short rations and waited for the river to
fall. If the Turks had used any intelligence they could have gathered us
in with the greatest ease, in spite of our excellent line of trenches. On
the fourth day of our isolation the river subsided as rapidly as it had

We had good patrolling conditions, and each day we made long circuits.
Sometimes we would run into a body of enemy cavalry and have a skirmish
with them. Again we would come upon an infantry outpost and manoeuvre
about in an effort to damage it. The enemy set traps for us, digging big
holes in the road and covering them over with matting on which they
scattered dirt to make the surface appear normal. The nearest town
occupied by the Turks was Kara Tepe, distant from Mirjana eight or ten
miles as the crow flies. In the debatable land were a number of native
villages, and such inhabitants as remained in them led an unpleasantly
eventful existence. In the morning they would be visited by a Turkish
patrol, which would be displaced by us in our rounds. Perhaps in the
evening a band of wild mountainy Kurds would blow in and run off some of
their few remaining sheep. Then the Turks would return and accuse them of
having given us information, and carry off some hostages or possibly beat
a couple of them for having received us, although goodness knows they had
little enough choice in the matter. There was one old sheik with whom I
used often to sit and gossip while an attendant was roasting the berries
for our coffee over the near-by fire. He was ever asking why we couldn't
make an advance and put his village safely behind our lines, so that the
children could grow fat and the herds graze unharmed. In this country
Kurdish and Turkish were spoken as frequently as Arabic, and many of the
names of places were Turkish--such as Kara Tepe, which means Black
Mountain, and Kizil Robat, the Tomb of the Maidens. My spelling of these
names differs from that found on many maps. It would be a great
convenience if some common method could be agreed upon. At present the
map-makers conform only in a unanimous desire to each use a different

Kizil Robat is an attractive town. I spent some pleasant mornings
wandering about it with the mayor, Jameel Bey, a fine-looking Kurdish
chieftain of the Jaf tribe. He owned a lovely garden with date-palms,
oranges, pomegranates, and figs. Tattered Kurds were working on the
irrigation ditches, and a heap of rags lying below the wall in the sun
changed itself into a small boy, just as I was about to step on it.
Jameel's son was as white, with as rosy cheeks, as any American baby.

Harry Bowen, brother-in-law of General Cobbe, was the political officer
in charge of Kizil Robat. He spoke excellent Arabic and was much respected
by the natives. His house was an oasis in which I could always look
forward to a pleasant talk, an excellent native dinner, and some
interesting book to carry off. Although the town was small, there were
three good Turkish baths. One of them belonged to Jameel Bey, but, judging
from the children tending babies while squatting in the entrance portico,
was generally given over to the distaff side and its friends. The one
which we patronized, while not so grand a building, had an old Persian who
understood the art of massage thoroughly, and there was nothing more
restful after a number of days' hard work with the cars.

In the end of February there passed through Kizil Robat the last
contingent of our former Russian Allies. They were Cossacks--a
fine-looking lot as they rode along perched on their small chunky saddles
atop of their unkempt but hardy ponies. When Russia went out of the war
they asked permission to keep on fighting with us. They were a good deal
of a problem, for they had no idea whatever of discipline, and it was most
difficult to keep them in hand and stop them from pillaging the natives
indiscriminately. They had been completely cut off from Russia for a long
time but were now on their way back. A very intelligent woman doctor and a
number of nurses who had been with them were sick with smallpox in one of
our hospitals in Baghdad. When they recovered they were sent to India, for
it was not feasible to repatriate them by way of Persia. When the Russians
first established connection with us, some armored cars were sent to bring
in the Cossack general, whose name we were told was Leslie. We were
unprepared to find that he spoke no English! It turned out that his
ancestors had gone over from Scotland to the court of Peter the Great.



Early in March we got orders to return to Baghdad, where all the armored
cars were to be concentrated preparatory to an attack on the Euphrates
front. There was much speculation as to our mission. Some said that we
were to break through and establish connection with General Allenby's
forces in Palestine. While I know nothing about it authoritatively, it is
certain that if the state of affairs in France had not called for the
withdrawal from the East of all the troops that could be spared, the
attack that was launched in October would have taken place in March. We
could then have advanced up the Euphrates, and it would have been entirely
practical to cross over the desert in the cars by way of Tadmor.

When we got word to come in, the roads were in fearful shape and the rain
was falling in torrents, but we were so afraid that we might miss the
attack that we salvaged everything not essential and started to fight our
way through the mud. It was a slow and wearisome process, but we managed
to get as far as Bakuba by evening. The river was rising in one of its
periodical floods and we found that the pontoon bridge had been cut half
an hour before our arrival. No one could predict how long the flood would
last, but the river rarely went down sufficiently to allow the bridge to
be replaced within a week. At that time the railroad went only as far as
Bakuba, and crossed the river on a wooden trestle, so I decided to try to
load the motors on a flat car and get across the Diyala in that way.

After having made arrangements to do this I wandered off into the bazaar
to get something to eat. In native fashion I first bought a big flap of
bread from an old woman, and then went to a pickle booth to get some
beets, which I wrapped in my bread. Next I proceeded to a meat-shop and
ordered some lamb kababs roasted. The meat is cut in pellets, spitted on
rods six or eight inches long, and lain over the glowing charcoal embers.
In the shop there are long tables with benches beside them. The customer
spreads his former purchases, and when his kababs are ready he eats his
dinner. He next proceeds to a coffee-house, where he has a couple of
glasses of tea and three or four diminutive cups of coffee to top off, and
the meal is finished. The Arab eats sparingly as a rule, but when he gives
or attends a banquet he stuffs himself to his utmost capacity.

Next morning we loaded our cars successfully and started off by rail for
Baghdad, some thirty miles away. The railroad wound across the desert,
with here and there a water-tank with a company from a native regiment
guarding it. As we stopped at one particularly desolate spot, a young
officer came running up and asked if we would have tea with him. He took
us to his tent, where everything was ready, for he apparently always met
the two trains that passed through daily. Poor fellow, he was only a
little over twenty, and desperately lonely and homesick. Many of the young
officers who were wounded in France were sent to India with the idea that
they could be training men and getting on to the methods of the Indian
army while yet recuperating and unfit to go back to the front. They were
shipped out with a new draft when they had fully recovered. This boy had
only been a month in the country, and ten days before had been sent off in
charge of his Sikh company to do this wearisome guard duty.

We spent a few days in Baghdad refitting. The cars were to go out
camouflaged to resemble supply-trucks, for every precaution was taken to
prevent the Turks from realizing that we were massing men for an attack.
The night before we were to start, word came in that the political officer
at Nejef had been murdered, and the town was in revolt. We were ordered to
send a section there immediately, so Lieutenant Ballingal's was chosen,
while the rest of us left next morning with the balance of the battery for
Hit. The first part of the route lay across the desert to Falujah, a
prosperous agricultural town on the Euphrates. Rail-head lies just beyond
at a place known as Tel El Dhubban--the "Hill of the Flies." From there on
supplies were brought forward by motor transport, or in Arab barges,
called shakturs. We crossed the river on a bridge of boats and continued
up along the bank to Ramadie. Here I stayed over, detailed to escort the
army commander on a tour of inspection.

The smaller towns along the Euphrates are far more attractive than those
on the Tigris. The country seems more developed, and most inviting
gardens surround the villages. Hit, which lies twenty miles up-stream of
Ramadie, is an exception. It is of ancient origin and built upon a hill,
with a lovely view of the river. It has not a vestige of green on it, but
stands out bleak and harsh in contrast to the palm-groves fringing the
bank. The bitumen wells near by have been worked for five thousand years
and are responsible for the town being a centre of boat manufacture. With
the bitumen, the gufas and mahelas are "pitched without and within," in
the identical manner in which we are told that the ark was built. The jars
in which the women of the town draw water from the river, instead of being
of copper or earthenware as elsewhere, are here made of pitched
wicker-work. The smell of the boiling bitumen and the sulphur springs is
trying to a stranger, although the natives regard it as salubrious, and
maintain that through it the town is saved from cholera epidemics. We had
captured Hit a few weeks previously, and the aeroplanes flying low over
the town had reported the disagreeable smell, attributing it to dirt and
filth. "Eyewitness," the official newspaper correspondent, mentioned this
in despatches, and when I was passing through, a proclamation of apology
was being prepared to soothe the outraged and slandered townsfolk.

[Illustration: A water-wheel on the Euphrates]

After taking the army commander back to rail-head, we retraced our steps
with all speed to Hit, and thence the eight miles up-stream to Salahiyeh.
The road beyond Hit was in fearful shape, and the engineers were working
night and day to keep it open and in some way passable. In the proposed
attack we were to jump off from Salahiyeh, and it was here that the
armored cars were assembled. Our camp was close to a Turkish hospital.
There were two great crescents and stars laid out for a signal to warn our
aeroplanes not to drop bombs. One of the crescents was made of turf and
the other of limestone. The batteries took turns in making the
reconnaissances, in the course of which they would come in for a good deal
of shelling. The road was unpleasant, because the camels and transport
animals that had been killed during the Turkish retreat from Hit were by
now very high. For some unknown reason there were no jackals or vultures
to form a sanitary section. After reconnoitring the enemy positions and
noting the progress they were making in constructing their defenses, we
would make a long circuit back to camp.

One unoccupied morning I went over to an island on the river. Its cool,
restful look had attracted me on the day I arrived, and it quite fulfilled
its promise. Indeed, it was the only place I came across in Mesopotamia
that might have been a surviving fragment of the Garden of Eden. It was
nearly a mile long, and scattered about on it were seven or eight
thick-walled and well-fortified houses. The entire island was one great
palm-grove, with pomegranates, apricots, figs, orange-trees, and
grape-vines growing beneath the palms. The grass at the foot of the trees
was dotted with blue and pink flowers. Here and there were fields of
spring wheat. The water-ditches which irrigated the island were filled by
giant water-wheels, thirty to fifty feet in diameter. These "naurs" have
been well described in the Bible, and I doubt if they have since been
modified in a single item. There are sometimes as many as sixteen in a
row. As they scoop the water up in the gourd-shaped earthenware jars bound
to their rims, they shriek and groan on their giant wooden axles.

On the night of March 25 we got word that the long-expected attack would
take place next morning. We had the cars ready to move out by three. Since
midnight shadowy files had been passing on their way forward to get into
position. One of our batteries went with the infantry to advance against
the main fortified position at Khan Baghdadi. The rest of us went with the
cavalry around the flank to cut the Turks off if they tried to retreat
up-stream. We were well on our way at daybreak. The country was so broken
up with ravines and dry river-beds that we knew we had a long, hard march
ahead of us. Our maps were poor. A German officer that we captured had in
some manner got hold of our latest map, and noting that we had omitted
entirely a very large ravine, became convinced that any enveloping
movement we attempted would prove a failure. As it happened, we came close
to making the blunder he had anticipated, for we started to advance down
to the river along the bank of a nullah which would have taken us to Khan
Baghdadi instead of eight or ten miles above it, as we wished. I think it
was our aeroplanes that set us straight. I was in charge of the tenders
with supplies and spares, and spent most of the time in the leading
Napier lorry. Occasionally I slipped into an armored car to go off
somewhere on a separate mission. The Turks had doubtless anticipated a
flanking movement and kept shelling us to a certain extent, but we could
hear that they were occupying themselves chiefly with the straight
attacking force. By afternoon we had turned in toward the river and our
cavalry was soon engaged. The country was too broken for the cars to get
in any really effective work. By nightfall we hoped we were approximately
where we should be, and after making our dispositions as well as the
circumstances would permit, we lay down beside the cars and were soon
sound asleep. At midnight we were awakened by the bullets chipping the
rocks and stones among which we were sleeping. A night attack was
evidently under way, and it is always an eerie sensation. We correctly
surmised that the Turks were in retreat from Khan Baghdadi and had run
into our outposts. In a few minutes we were replying in volume, and the
rat-tat-tats of the machine-guns on either side were continuous. The enemy
must have greatly overestimated our numbers, for in a short time small
groups started surrendering, and before things had quieted we had twelve
hundred prisoners. The cavalry formed a rough prison-camp and we turned in
again to wait for daylight.

At dawn we started to reconnoitre our position to find out just how
matters stood. We came upon a body of two thousand of the enemy which had
been held up by us in the night and had retreated a short distance to wait
till it became light before surrendering. Among them were a number of
German officers. They were all of them well equipped with machine-guns and
rifles. Their intrenching tools and medical supplies were of Austrian
manufacture, as were also the rolling kitchens. These last were of an
exceedingly practical design. While we were taking stock of our capture we
got word that Khan Baghdadi had been occupied and a good number of
prisoners taken. We were instructed to press on and take Haditha, thirty
miles above Khan Baghdadi. It was hoped that we might recapture Colonel
Tennant, who was in command of the Royal Flying Corps forces in
Mesopotamia. He had been shot down at Khan Baghdadi the day before the
attack. We learned from prisoners that he had been sent up-stream
immediately, on his way to Aleppo, but it was thought that he might have
been held over at Haditha or at Ana.

We found that a lot of the enemy had got by between us and the river and
had then swung back into the road. We met with little opposition, save
from occasional bands of stragglers who concealed themselves behind rocks
and sniped at us. Numbers surrendered without resistance as we caught up
with them. We disarmed them and ordered them to walk back until they fell
in with our cavalry, or the infantry, which was being brought forward in
trucks. As we bowled along in pursuit the scene reminded me of
descriptions in the novels of Sienkiewicz or Erckmann-Chatrian. The road
was littered with equipment of every sort, disabled pack-animals, and dead
or dying Turks. It was hard to see the wounded withering in the increasing
heat--the dead were better off. We reached the heights overlooking Haditha
to find that the garrison was in full retreat. Most of it had left the
night before. Those remaining opened fire upon us, but in a half-hearted
way, that was not calculated to inflict much loss. Many of the inhabitants
of the town lived in burrows in the hillsides. Some of these caves had
been filled with ammunition. The enemy had fired all their dumps, and
rocks were flying about. We endeavored to save as much of the material as
was possible. We were particularly anxious to get all papers dealing with
the Arabs, to enable us to check up which were our friends and which of
the ones behind our lines were dealing treacherously with us. We
recaptured a lot of medical equipment and some ammunition that had been
taken from our forces during the Gallipoli campaign.

Haditha is thirty-five miles from Khan Baghdadi, and Ana is an equal
distance beyond. It was decided that we should push on to a big bridge
shown on the map as eight miles this side of Ana. We were to endeavor to
secure this before the Turks could destroy it, and cross over to bivouac
on the far side. The road was in fair shape. Many of the small bridges
were of recent construction. We soon found that our map was exceedingly
inaccurate. Our aeroplanes were doing a lot of damage to the fleeing
Turks, and as we began to catch up with larger groups we had some sharp
engagements. The desert Arabs hovered like vultures in the distance
waiting for nightfall to cover them in their looting.

That night we camped near the bridge. At dusk the Red Cross ambulances and
some cavalry caught up. The latter had had a long, hard two days, with
little to eat for the men and less for the horses, but both were standing
up wonderfully. They were the Seventh Hussars and just as they reached us
we recaptured one of their sergeants who had been made prisoner on the
previous night. He had covered forty miles on foot, but the Turks had
treated him decently and he had come through in good shape. We always felt
that the Turk was a clean fighter. Our officers he treated well as long as
he had anything to give or share with them. With the enlisted men he was
not so considerate, but I am inclined to think that it was because he was
not accustomed to bother his head much about his own rank and file, so it
never occurred to him to consider ours. The Turkish private would thrive
on what was starvation issue to our men. The attitude of many of the
Turkish officers was amusing, if exasperating. They seemed to take it for
granted that they would be treated with every consideration due an honored
guest. They would complain bitterly about not being supplied with coffee,
although at the time we might be totally without it ourselves and far
from any source of supply. The German prisoners were apt to cringe at
first, but as soon as they found they were not to be oppressed became
arrogant and overbearing. At different times we retook men that had been
captives for varying lengths of time. I remember a Tommy, from the
Manchesters, if I am not mistaken, who had been taken before Kut fell, but
had soon after made his escape and lived among the Kurdish tribesmen for
seven or eight months before he found his way back to us. Quite a number
of Indians who had been set to work on the construction of the
Berlin-to-Baghdad Railway between Nisibin and Mosul made good their escape
and struggled through to our lines.

It was a great relief when the Red Cross lorries came in and we could turn
over the wounded to them. All night long they journeyed back and forth
transporting such as could stand the trip to the main evacuation camp at

By daybreak we were once more under way. Under cover of darkness the Arabs
had pillaged the abandoned supplies, in some cases killing the wounded
Turks. The transport animals of the enemy and their cavalry horses were
in very bad shape. They had evidently been hard put to it to bring through
sufficient fodder during the wet winter months when the roads were so deep
in mud as to be all but impassable. Instead of being distant from Ana the
eight miles that we had measured on the map, we found that we were
seventeen, but we made it without any serious hindrance. The town was most
attractive, embowered in gardens which skirt the river's edge for a
distance of four or five miles. In addition to the usual palms and
fruit-trees there were great gnarled olives, the first I had seen in
Mesopotamia, as were also the almond-trees. It must be of great antiquity,
for the prophet Isaiah speaks of it as a place where kings had reigned,
but from which, even in his time, the grandeur had departed.

The greater part of the enemy had already abandoned the town, but we
captured the Turkish governor and a good number of the garrison, and many
that had escaped from Haditha. The disaster at Khan Baghdadi had only been
reported the afternoon before, as we had of course cut all the telegraph
wires, and the governor had not thought it possible we would continue the
pursuit so far. He had spent most of his life in Hungary and had been
given this post only a few months previous to our advance. From the
prisoners we had taken at Haditha we had extracted conflicting estimates
as to the time when Colonel Tennant, the commander of our air forces, had
been sent on, and from those we took at Ana we received equally varying
accounts. The cars had been ordered to push on in search of the colonel as
long as sufficient gasolene remained to bring them back. Captain Todd with
the Eighth Battery was in the lead when some thirty miles north of Ana
they caught sight of a group of camels surrounded by horsemen. A couple of
belts from the machine-guns scattered the escort, and Colonel Tennant and
his companion, Major Hobart, were soon safe in the turret of one of the

From some of our Turkish captives we heard about a large gold convoy which
had been sent back from Ana; some said one day, and others two, before our
arrival. The supply of fuel that we had brought in the tenders was almost
exhausted, so that it would be necessary to procure more in order to
continue the pursuit. Major Thompson, who was in command of the
armored-car detachment, instructed me to take all the tenders and go back
as far as was necessary to find a petrol dump from which I could draw a
thousand gallons. I emptied the trucks and loaded them with such of the
wounded as could stand the jolting they were bound to receive because of
the speed at which I must travel. I also took a few of the more important
prisoners, among them the governor of Ana. He was a cultivated middle-aged
man who spoke no Arabic but quite good French. It was mid-afternoon when
we started, and I hadn't the most remote idea where I would find a
sufficient quantity of petrol. During the run back we were sniped at
occasionally by Turks who were still hiding in the hills. A small but
determined force could have completely halted the cars in a number of
different places where the road wound through narrow rock-crowned gorges,
or along ledges cut in the hillside and hemmed in by the river. In such
spots the advance of the armored cars could either have been completely
checked, or at all events seriously hampered and delayed, merely by
rolling great boulders down on top of us.

When we had retraced our steps for about sixty miles I was lucky enough
to get wind of an enemy petrol dump that our men had discovered. It was a
special aeroplane supply and the colonel of the infantry regiment who was
guarding it had been instructed to allow none of it to be used for
automobiles. He showed his desire to co-operate and his ability to read
the spirit rather than the letter of a command by letting me load my
tenders. The L.A.M. batteries were well regarded and we everywhere
encountered a willingness to meet us more than half-way and aid us in the
thousand and one points that make so much difference in obtaining results.

By the time that we had everything in readiness for our return run it was
long after dark and the men were exhausted. I managed to get some tea, but
naturally no sugar or milk. The strong steaming brew served to wash down
the scanty supply of cold bully beef. Fortunately it was a brilliant
starlit night, but even so it was difficult to avoid ditches and washouts,
and the road seemed interminable. Not long after we left we ran into a
couple of armored cars that had been detailed to bring the rescued
aviators back, after they had been reoutfitted and supplied as far as our
limited resources would permit. During the halt I found that my sergeant
had produced from somewhere or other an emergency rum ration which he was
issuing. An old-army, experienced sergeant always managed to hold over a
reserve from former issues for just such occasions as this, when it would
be of inestimable value. I had been driving all day and had the greatest
difficulty in keeping awake. Twice I dozed off. Once I awakened just as
the car started over the edge of an embankment; the other time a large
rock in the road brought me back to the world. It was two o'clock in the
morning when we wearily crept into Ana.

The expedition to capture the gold convoy was to start at four, so after
two hours' sleep I bundled into one of the Rolls-Royces and the column
swung out into the road. Through the mist loomed the sinister,
businesslike outlines of the armored car ahead of me. Captain Carr of the
Thirteenth L.A.M.B.'s[1] was in command of the expedition. Unless we were
in action or in a locality where we momentarily expected to be under fire
from rifle or machine-gun, the officer commanding the car and his N.C.O.
stood in the well behind the turret, steadying themselves with leather
loops riveted to its sides. On long runs the tool-boxes on either side of
the well formed convenient seats. When the car became engaged the crew
would get inside, pulling the steel doors shut. The slits through which
the driver and the man next him looked could be made still smaller when
the firing was heavy, and the peep-holes at either side and in the rear
had slides which could be closed. The largest aperture was that around the
tube of the gun. Splinters of lead came in continuously, and sometimes
chance directed a bullet to an opening. One of our drivers was shot
straight through the head near Ramadie. The bottom of the car was of wood,
and bullets would ricochet up through it, but to have had it made of steel
would have added too much weight. The large gasolene-tank behind was
usually protected by plating, but even so was fairly vulnerable. A
reserve-tank holding ten gallons was built inside the turret. We almost
invariably had trouble with the feed-pipes leading from it. During the
great heat of the summer the inside of the turret was a veritable fiery
furnace, with the pedals so hot that they scorched the feet.

[Footnote 1: Light Armored Motor Battery.]

Forty miles above Ana we came upon a large khan. These road-houses are
built at intervals along the main caravan routes. Their plan is simple:
four walls with two tiers of rooms or booths built into them, enclosing an
open court in which the camels and horses are tethered during the night.
The whole is strongly made to resist the inroads of the desert tribesmen.
As we drove to the heavy gate, a wild clamor met our ears from a confused
jumble of Jewish and Armenian merchants that had taken refuge within. Some
of them had left Ana on their way to Aleppo before the news of the fall of
Khan Baghdadi had reached the town. Others had been despatched by the
Turks when the news of our advance arrived. All had been to a greater or
lesser degree plundered by the Arabs. Most of the baggage animals had been
run off, and the merchants were powerless to move. The women were weeping
and imploring help, and the children tumbled about among the confused
heaps of merchandise. Some of the Armenians had relations in Baghdad about
whom I was able to give them bits of information. All begged permission to
go back to Ana and thence to the capital. We, of course, had no means of
supplying them with transportation, and any attempt to recapture their
lost property was out of the question.

A few miles on we made out a troop of Arabs hurrying inland, a mile or so
away from us, across a couple of ravines. They had some of the stolen
camels and were laden down with plunder. Two of our cars made a fruitless
attempt to come to terms with them, but only succeeded in placing a few
well-aimed bursts from their machine-guns among them.

We now began to come up with bands of Turks. We ran across a number of
isolated stragglers who had been stripped by the Arabs. A few had been
killed. They as a rule surrendered without any hesitation. We disarmed
them and told them to walk back toward Ana. Several times we had short
engagements with Turkish cavalry. As a general thing the ground was so
very broken up that it was impossible to manoeuvre. I was riding a good
deal of the time in the Ford tender that we had brought along with a few
supplies, and when one of the tires blew out I waited behind to replace
it. The armored cars had quite a start and we raced along to catch them.
In my hurry I failed to notice that they had left the road in pursuit of a
troop of cavalry, so when we sighted a large square building of the sort
the Turks use as barracks, I made sure that the cars had been there before
me. We drove up to the door and I jumped out and shoved it open. In the
yard were some infantry and a few cavalry. I had only my stick--my Webley
revolver was still in its holster. There was nothing to do but put on a
bold front, so I shouted in Arabic to the man I took to be the officer in
command, telling him to surrender, and trying to act as if our forces were
just outside. I think he must have been more surprised than I was, for he
did so immediately, turning over the post to me. Eldridge, the Ford
driver, had succeeded in disengaging the rifle that he had strapped in
beside him, and we made the rounds under the escort of our captive.

One wing of the post was used as a hospital, under the charge of an
intelligent little Armenian. He seemed well informed about the war, and
asked the question that was the universal wail of all the Armenians we
encountered: "When would Great Britain free their country, and would she
make it an independent state?" There was a definite limit to the number of
prisoners we could manage to carry back, but I offered the doctor to
include him. His answer was to go to his trunk and produce a picture of
his wife and little daughter. They were, he told me, in Constantinople,
and it was now two years since he had had leave, so that as his turn was
due, he would wait on the chance of seeing his family.

When the cars came up we set off again in pursuit of the elusive gold
convoy. We could get no accurate information concerning it. Some said it
was behind, others ahead. We never ran it down. It may well be that it was
concealed in a ravine near the road a few yards from where we passed. Just
short of a town called Abu Kemal we caught three Germans. They were in
terror when we took them, and afterward said that they had expected to be
shot. Under decent treatment they soon became so insolent that they had to
be brought up short.

[Illustration: A "Red Crescent" ambulance]

During the run back to Ana we picked up the more important of our
prisoners and took them with us. Twenty-two were all we could manage. I
was running one of the big cars. It was always a surprise to see how easy
they were to handle in spite of the weight of the armor-plate. We each
took great pride in the car in which we generally rode. All had names. In
the Fourteenth one section had "Silver Dart" and "Silver Ghost" and
another "Gray Terror" and "Gray Knight." The car in which I rode a
great deal of the time met its fate only a few days before the armistice,
long after I had gone to France. Two direct hits from an Austrian
"eighty-eight" ended its career.

It was after midnight when we got back to our camp in a palm-garden in
Ana. Although we had not succeeded in capturing the gold convoy, we had
brought in a number of valuable prisoners, and among other things I had
found some papers belonging to a German political agent whom we had
captured. These contained much information about the Arab situation, and
through them it was all but proved that the German was the direct
instigator of the murder of the political officer at Nejef. An amusing
sidelight was thrown in the letters addressed by Arab sheiks through this
agent to the Kaiser thanking him for the iron crosses they had been
awarded. There must have been an underlying grim humor in distributing
crosses to the Mohammedan Arabs in recognition of their efforts to
withstand the advance into the Holy Land of the Christian invaders.

On our arrival at Ana we were told that orders had come through that the
town be evacuated on the following morning. Preparations were made to
blow up the ammunition dump, which was fortunately concentrated in a
series of buildings that joined each other. We warned the inhabitants and
advised them to hide in the caves along the hillsides. We ourselves went
back to the camp which we had occupied near the bridge the night before
entering Ana. During the afternoon Major Edye, a political officer, turned
up, travelling alone with an Arab attendant. He pitched his camp,
consisting of a saddle and blanket, close beside us. He was an
extraordinarily interesting man, with a great gift for languages. In the
course of a year or so's wandering in Abyssinia he had learned both
ancient and modern Abyssinian. There was a famous German Orientalist with
whom he corresponded in the pre-war days. He had mailed him a letter just
at the outbreak, which, written in ancient Abyssinian, must have been a
good deal of a puzzle to the censors.

The main explosion, taking place at the appointed time, was succeeded by
smaller ones, which continued at gradually lengthening intervals
throughout the night. General Cassels, who had commanded the cavalry
brigade so ably throughout the advance, wished to return to Ana on the
following morning in order to check up the thoroughness with which the
dump had been destroyed. He took an escort of armored cars, and as I was
the only one in the batteries who could speak Arabic, my services were
requisitioned. As we approached the town the rattle of the small-arms
ammunition sounded like a Fourth of July celebration. The general noticed
that I had a kodak and asked me to go out into the dump and take some
photographs. There was nothing to do but put on a bold front, but I have
spent happier moments than those in which I edged my way gingerly over the
smoking heaps to a ruined wall from which I could get a good view for my
camera. As I came back a large shell exploded and we hastily moved the
cars farther away.

I went to the mayor's house to find out how the town had fared. He was a
solemn old Arab, and showed me the damage done by the shells with an
absolutely expressionless face. The houses within a fair radius had been
riddled, but the natives had taken our warning and no one had been killed.
After a cup of coffee in a lovely garden on the river-bank, I came back
to the cars and we ran on through to Haditha. Here we were to remain for a
week or ten days to permit the evacuation of the captured supplies.

Thus far we had been having good luck with the weather, but it now began
to threaten rain. We crawled beneath the cars with our blankets and took
such precautions as were possible, but it availed us little when a
veritable hurricane blew up at midnight. I was washed out from under my
car, but before dark I had marked down a deserted hut, and thither I
groped my way. Although it was abandoned by the Arabs, living traces of
their occupancy remained. Still, even that was preferable to the rain, and
the roof proved unexpectedly water-tight.

All next day the storm continued. The Wadi Hauran, a large ravine reaching
back into the desert for a hundred and fifty miles, became a boiling
torrent. When we crossed over, it was as dry as a bone. A heavy lorry on
which an anti-aircraft gun was mounted had been swirled away and smashed
to bits. The ration question had been difficult all along, but now any
further supply was temporarily out of the question.

Oddly enough, I was the only member of the brigade occupying Haditha who
could speak enough Arabic to be of any use, so I was sent to look up the
local mayor to see whether there was any food to be purchased. The town is
built on a long island equidistant from either bank. We ferried across in
barges. The native method was simpler. They inflated goatskins, removed
their clothes, which they had fastened in a bundle on top of their heads,
and with one hand on the goatskin they paddled and drifted over. By
starting from the head of the island they could reach the shore opposite
the down-stream end. The bobbing heads of the dignified old graybeards of
the community looked most ludicrous. On landing they would solemnly don
their clothes, deflate the skins, and go their way.

The mayor proved both intelligent and agreeable. The food situation was
such that it was obviously impossible for him to offer us any serious
help. We held a conclave in the guest-house, sitting cross-legged among
the cushions. In the centre a servant roasted coffee-beans on the large
shovel-spoon that they use for that purpose. The representative village
worthies impressed me greatly. The desert Arabs are always held to be
vastly superior to their kinsmen of the town, and it is undoubtedly true
as a general rule; nevertheless, the elders of Haditha were an unusually
fine group of men. We got a few eggs, which were a most desirable luxury
after a steady diet of black unsweetened tea and canned beef. We happened
to have a sufficient supply of tea to permit us to make an appreciated
gift to the village.

My shoes had collapsed a few days before and I borrowed a pair from a Turk
who had no further use for them. These were several sizes too large and
fashioned in an oblong shape of mathematical exactness. Even in the motor
machine-gun service, there is little that exceeds one's shoes in
importance, and I was looking forward with almost equal eagerness to a
square meal and a pair of my own shoes. The supply of reading-matter had
fallen very low. I had only Disraeli's _Tancred_, about which I found
myself unable to share Lady Burton's feelings, and a French account of a
voyage from Baghdad to Aleppo in 1808. The author, Louis Jacques Rousseau,
a cousin of the great Jean Jacques, belonged to a family of noted
Orientalists. Born in Persia, and married to the daughter of the Dutch
consul-general to that country, he was admirably equipped for the
distinguished diplomatic career that lay before him in the East and in
northern Africa. His treatises on the archæological remains that he met
with on his many voyages are intelligent and thorough. The river towns
have changed but little in the last hundred years, and the sketch of Hit
might have been made only yesterday.

Within three days after the rise, the waters of the Wadi Hauran subsided
sufficiently for us to cross, and I received orders to return to Baghdad.
The rain had brought about a change in the desert since we passed through
on our way up. The lines of Paterson, the Australian poet, kept running
through my head:

    "For the rain and drought and sunshine make no changes in the street,
    In the sullen line of buildings and the ceaseless tramp of feet,
    But the bush hath moods and changes, as the seasons rise and fall,
    And the men who know the bushland they are loyal through it all."

The formerly arid floor of the desert was carpeted with a soft green, with
myriads of little flowers, all small, but delicately fashioned. There
were poppies, dwarf daisies, expanses of buttercups, forget-me-nots, and
diminutive red flowers whose name I did not know. It started raining
again, and we only just succeeded in winning our way through to Baghdad
before the road became impassable.



Although never in Baghdad for long at a time, I generally had occasion to
spend four or five days there every other month. The life in any city is
complex and interesting, but here it was especially so. We were among a
totally foreign people, but the ever-felt intangible barrier of color was
not present. For many of the opportunities to mingle with the natives I
was indebted to Oscar Heizer, the American consul. Mr. Heizer has been
twenty-five years in the Levant, the greater part of which time he has
spent in the neighborhood of Constantinople. The outbreak of the war found
him stationed at one of the principal ports of the Black Sea. There he
witnessed part of the terrible Armenian massacres, when vast herds of the
wretched people were driven inland to perish of starvation by the
roadsides. Quiet and unassuming, but ever ready to act with speed and
decision, he was a universal favorite with native and foreigner alike.

With him I used to ferry across the river for tea with the Asadulla Khan,
the Persian consul. The house consisted of three wings built around a
garden. The fourth side was the river-bank. The court was a jungle of
flowering fruit-trees, alive with birds of different kinds, all singing
garrulously without pause. There we would sit sipping sherbet, and
cracking nuts, among which salted watermelon seeds figured prominently.
Coffee and sweets of many and devious kinds were served, with arrack and
Scotch whiskey for those who had no religious scruples. The Koran's
injunction against strong drink was not very conscientiously observed by
the majority, and even those who did not drink in public, rarely abstained
in private. Only the very conservative--and these were more often to be
found in the smaller towns--rigorously obeyed the prophet's commands. It
was pleasant to smoke in the shade and watch the varied river-craft
slipping by. The public bellams plied to and fro, rowed by the swart
owners, while against them jostled the gufas--built like the coracles of
ancient Britain--a round basket coated with pitch. No Anglo-Saxon can see
them without thinking of the nursery rhyme of the "wise men of Gotham who
went to sea in a tub." These gufas were some of them twenty-five feet in
diameter, and carried surprising loads--sometimes sheep and cattle
alone--sometimes men and women--often both indiscriminately mingled.
Propelling a gufa was an art in itself, for in the hands of the
uninitiated it merely spun around without advancing a foot in the desired
direction. The natives used long round-bladed paddles, and made good time
across the river. Crossing over in one was a democratic affair, especially
when the women were returning from market with knots of struggling
chickens slung over their shoulders.

Asadulla Khan's profile always reminded me of an Inca idol that I once got
in Peru. Among his scribes were several men of culture who discoursed most
sagely on Persian literature; on Sadi and Hafiz, both of whom they held to
be superior to Omar Khayyam. I tried through many channels to secure a
manuscript of the "Rubaiyat," but all I succeeded in obtaining was a
lithograph copy with no place or date of publication; merely the remark
that it had been printed during the cold months. I was told that the
writings of Omar Khayyam were regarded as immoral and for that reason were
not to be found in religious households. My Persian friends would quote
at length from Sadi's _Gulistan_ or _Rose Garden_, and go into raptures
over its beauty.

       *       *       *       *       *

Below the consulate was a landing-place, and when we were ready to leave
we would go down to the river-bank preceded by our servants carrying
lanterns. They would call "Abu bellam" until a boat appeared. The term
"abu" always amused me. Its literal meaning is "father." In the bazaars a
shop-owner was always hailed as "father" of whatever wares he had for
sale. I remember one fat old man who sold porous earthenware
jars--customers invariably addressed him as "Abu hub"--"Father of

My best friend among the natives was a Kurdish chief named Hamdi Bey
Baban. His father had been captured and taken to Constantinople. After
living there a number of years in semicaptivity he died--by poison it was
said. Hamdi was not allowed to return to Kurdistan until after he was a
grown man and had almost forgotten his native language. He spoke and read
both French and English. Eventually permission was granted him to live in
Baghdad as long as he kept out of the Kurdish hills, so he set off by
motor accompanied only by a French chauffeur. Gasolene was sent ahead by
camel caravan to be left for him at selected points. The journey was not
without incident, for the villagers had never before seen an automobile
and regarded it as a devil; often stones were thrown at them, and on one
occasion they were mobbed and Hamdi only escaped by driving full speed
through the crowd.

His existence in Baghdad had been subject to sudden upheavals. Once he was
arrested and convoyed back to Constantinople; and just before the advance
of the British his life was in great danger. Naturally enough he had
little love for the Turk and staked everything on the final victory of the

He intended writing a book on the history of his family, in which he was
much interested. For material he was constantly purchasing books and
manuscripts. In the East many well-known histories still exist only in
manuscript form, and when a man wishes to build up a library he engages
scribes and sends them to the place where a famous manuscript is kept with
an order to make a copy. In the same way Hamdi Bey had men busied
transcribing rare chronicles dealing with the career of his family--extant
in but one or two examples in mosques. He once presented me with a large
manuscript in Persian in which his family is mentioned, the mention taking
the form of a statement to the effect that seventeen of them had had their
heads removed!

Next to various small tradesmen with whom I used to gossip, drink coffee,
and play dominoes, my best Arab friend was Abdul Kader Pasha, a striking
old man who had been a faithful ally to the British through thick and
thin. The dinners at his house on the river-bank were feasts such as one
reads of in ancient history. Course succeeded course without any definite
plan; any one of them would have made a large and delicious meal in
itself. True to Arab custom, the son of the house never sat down at table
with his father, although before and after dinner he talked and smoked
with us.

[Illustration: A jeweller's booth in the bazaar]

I had a number of good friends among the Armenians. There was not one of
them but had some near relation, frequently a parent or a brother or
sister, still among the Turks. Sometimes they knew them to be dead, more
frequently they could only hope that such was the case and there was no
further suffering to be endured. Many of these Armenians belonged to
prominent families, numbering among their members men who had held the
most important government posts in Constantinople. The secretary of the
treasury was almost invariably an Armenian, for the race outstrips the
Jews in its money touch.

With one family I dined quite often--the usual interminable Oriental feast
varying only from the Arab or Turkish dinners in a few special national
dishes. All, excepting the aged grandmother, spoke French, and the
daughters had a thorough grounding in the literature. Such English books
as they knew they had read in French translations. The house was
attractively furnished, with really beautiful rugs and old silverware. The
younger generation played bridge, and the girls were always well dressed
in European fashion. Whence the clothes came was a mystery, for nothing
could have been brought in since the war, and even in ante-bellum days
foreign clothes of that grade could never have been stocked but must have
been imported in individual orders. The evenings were thoroughly
enjoyable, for everything was in such marked contrast to our every-day
life. It must be remembered that these few Armenians were the only women
with whom we could talk and laugh in Occidental fashion.

By far the best-informed and cleverest Arab was Père Anastase. He was a
Catholic, and under the supervision of the Political Department edited the
local Arab paper. All his life he had worked building up a
library--gathering rare books throughout Syria and Mesopotamia. He was
himself an author of no small reputation. Just before the British took
Baghdad the Germans pillaged his collection, sending the more valuable
books to Constantinople and Berlin, and turning the rest over to the
populace. The soldiers made great bonfires of many--others found their way
to the bazaars, where he was later able to repurchase some of them. When
talking of the sacking of his house, Père Anastase would work himself into
a white heat of fury and his eyes would flash as he bitterly cursed the
vandals who had destroyed his treasures.

It was in Baghdad that I first ran into Major E.B. Soane, whose _Through
Mesopotamia and Kurdistan in Disguise_ is a classic. Soane was born in
southern France, his mother French and his father English. The latter
walked across the United States from ocean to ocean in the early forties,
so Soane came by his roving, adventurous spirit naturally. When still but
little more than a boy he went out to work in the Anglo-Persian Bank, and
immediately interested himself in the language and literature of the
country. Some of his holidays he spent in the British Museum translating
and cataloguing Persian manuscripts. Becoming interested in the Kurds, he
spent a number of years among them, learning their languages and customs
and joining in their raids.

As soon as we got a foothold in the Kurdish Hills, Soane was sent up to
administer the captured territory. His headquarters were at Khanikin,
twenty-five miles from Kizil Robat and but a short distance from the
Persian frontier. One morning during the time that I was stationed in that
district I motored over to see him. It was a glorious day. The cloud
effects were most beautiful, towering in billows of white above the snow
peaks, against a background of deepest blue. The road wound in and out
among the barren foot-hills until suddenly as I topped a rise I saw right
below a great clump of palm-trees, with houses showing through here and
there--the whole divided by a lovely river bestridden by an old seven-arch
bridge. I picked my way through the narrow streets, scattering ragged
Kurds right and left; past part of the covered bazaar, until I came to a
house with a large courtyard, thronged with a motley array of Kurdish
irregulars, armed with every sort of weapon. It was there that Soane
administered his stern but practical justice, for he thoroughly understood
how to handle these men.

The district had suffered fearfully, for it had been occupied in turn by
Turk and Russian, and then Turk again, before we took it over, and the
unfortunate natives had been pillaged and robbed mercilessly. Thousands
starved to death. When I was at Deli Abbas ghastly bands of ragged
skeletons would come through to us begging food and work. Soane turned a
large khan on the outskirts of the town into a poorhouse, and here he
lodged the starving women and children that drifted in from all over
Kurdistan. It was a fearful assemblage of scarecrows. As they got better
he selected women from among them to whom he turned over the
administration of the khan. They divided the unfortunates in gangs, and
supervised the issue of dates on which they were fed. Such as were
physically able were employed in cleaning the town. The Kurds are a fine,
self-respecting race and it was easy to understand Soane's enthusiasm for

       *       *       *       *       *

In Baghdad you lived either in the cellars or on the housetops. The former
were called serdabs. A large chimney, cowled to face the prevailing wind,
served for ventilation, and on the hottest days one was cool and
comfortable. We slept on the roofs, and often dined there, too. Since the
town was the General Headquarters of the Expeditionary Force, one was
always sure to meet many friends. A comfortable and well-run officers'
club was installed, as well as warrant officers' and enlisted men's clubs.

Occasionally race meetings were planned and the various divisions would
send representatives. Frank Wooton, the well-known jockey, was a
despatch-rider, and usually succeeded in getting leave enough to allow him
to ride some general's horses. An Arab race formed part of the programme.
Once a wild tribesman who had secured a handsome lead almost lost the
race by taking off his cloak and waving it round his head as he gave
ear-piercing shouts of triumph. The Arab riding second was less emotional
and attended better to the business in hand, but his horse was not quite
good enough to make the difference.

The scene at the race-course was a gay one. The color was chiefly
contributed by the Jewesses who wore their hooded silk cloaks of lively
hue--green or pink or yellow. The only crowd that I saw to vie with it was
one which watched the prisoners taken at Ramadie march through the town.
Turkish propaganda, circulated in the bazaars, gave out that instead of
taking the prisoners we claimed, we had in reality suffered a defeat, and
it was decided that the sight of the captive Turks would have a salutary
effect upon the townsmen. Looking down from a housetop the red fezzes and
the gay-colored abas made the crowd look like a vast field of poppies.

When I was at Samarra an amusing incident took place in connection with a
number of officers' wives who were captured at Ramadie. The army commander
didn't wish to ship them off to India and Burma with their husbands, so he
sent them up to Samarra with instructions that they be returned across
the lines to the Turks. After many aeroplane messages were exchanged it
was agreed that we should leave them at a designated hill and that the
Turks would later come for them. Meanwhile we had arranged quarters for
them, trying to do everything in a manner that would be in harmony with
the Turkish convenances. When the wives were escorted forth to be turned
back to their countrymen, they were all weeping bitterly. Whether it was
that the Turk in his casual manner decided that one day was as good as
another, or whether he felt that he had no particular use for these
particular women, we never knew, but at all events twenty-four hours later
one of our patrols came upon the prisoners still forlornly waiting. We
shipped them back to Baghdad.

Occasionally I would go to one of the Arab theatres. The plays were
generally burlesques, for the Arab has a keen sense of humor and greatly
appreciates a joke. Most of the puns were too involved for me to follow,
but there was always a certain amount of slap-stick comedy that could be
readily understood. Then there was dancing--as a whole monotonous and
mediocre; but there was one old man who was a remarkable performer, and
would have been appreciated on any stage in the world. The topical songs
invariably amused me--they were so universal in spirit. The chorus of one
which was a great hit ran: "Haido, haido, rahweni passak!" "I say, I say,
show me your pass." There had been much trouble with spies and every one
was required to provide himself with a certificate of good conduct and to
show it on demand. It was to this that the song referred.

Captain C.G. Lloyd was my companion on many rambles among the natives. He
had been stationed in Burma and India for many years, and was a good
Persian scholar. Like every one who has knocked about to any extent among
native peoples, his career had not been lacking in incident. I remember on
one occasion asking him why it was that he never joined me in a cup of
coffee when we stopped at a coffee-house. He replied that he had always
been wary of coffee since a man with him was poisoned by a cup which was
intended for him.

I always looked forward to a trip to Baghdad, for it gave me a chance to
mingle in a totally different life from that which daily surrounded me,
and temporarily, at least, forget about the war in which the world was
plunged. Still, the morning set to leave invariably found me equally glad
to shove off once more into the great expanses of the desert.



When I reached headquarters after the attack on the Euphrates front, I was
expecting to hear that my transfer to France had gone through and receive
orders to proceed thither immediately. It had always been my intention to
try to join the American army once it began to take a real part in the
war, and for some time past I had been casting about in my mind for the
best method to carry out my plans. When affairs looked so very black for
the Allied forces in March and April, 1918, I decided that France was the
place where every one, who could by any possibility manage it, should be.
General Gillman, the chief of staff, had on more than one occasion shown
himself a good friend, and I determined to once more task his kindness. He
said that he thought he could arrange for my transfer to France, and that
once there I could work out the best way of getting into the American

Everything went well, and I was daily expecting my orders, when Major
Thompson, who commanded the brigade of armored cars, sent for me and told
me that an advance was being planned on the Kurdish front. Only two
batteries were to be taken--the Eighth and the Thirteenth--but he said
that he would like to have me go along in command of the supply-train. Of
course I jumped at the chance, as the attack promised to be most

We were told to be ready to move on an hour's notice. For several days the
weather held us back. The rain, helped out by the melting snow from the
mountains, caused the rivers to rise in flood. The Tigris rose sixteen
feet in a night. The lower bridge was broken and washed away. Everything
possible was done to reinforce the upper bridge, but it was hourly
expected to give way under the strain of the whirling yellow waters. The
old Arab rivermen said that they could tell by the color just which of the
tributaries were in spate. When they saw or thought they saw a new
admixture, they would shake their heads and say: "Such and such a river
is now also in flood--the Tigris will rise still further."

On the night of April 24 we at length got our orders and at six o'clock
the following morning we set out, prepared to run through to Ain Leilah.
The country was indeed changed since I passed through six weeks before.
The desert had blossomed. We ran through miles and miles of clover; the
sweet smell seemed so wholesomely American, recalling home and family, and
the meadows of Long Island. The brilliant red poppies were more in keeping
with the country; and we passed by Indian cavalry reinforcements with the
scarlet flowers stuck in their black hair and twined in the head-stalls of
the horses.

As we approached the hills they looked less bleak--a soft green clothed
the hollows, and the little oasis of Ain Leilah no longer stood out in the
same marked contrast as when last I visited it. The roads were in good
shape, and we reached camp at four in the afternoon. I took one of the
tenders and set off to look up some old friends in the regiments near by.
As I passed a group of Arabs that had just finished work on the roads, I
noticed that they were playing a game that was new to me. A stake was
driven into the ground, with a horsehair rope ten or twelve feet in length
attached to it. An old man had hold of the end of the rope. About the
stake were piled some clothes, and the Arabs were standing around in a
circle just out of reach of the man with the rope. The object was to dart
in and snatch up something from the heap without the old man who was on
guard catching you. They were enjoying themselves hugely--the oldest
graybeards behaving as if they were children--a very pleasant side of the

Our instructions were to be ready to pull out before daybreak. The mission
was, as usual, a flanking one. The direct attack was to be delivered on
Kara Tepe, and, if that were successful, upon Kifri. We were to intercept
the arrival of reinforcements, or cut off the retreat of the garrisons, as
the case might be.

In the early morning hours the country was lovely--rolling grass land
"with a hint of hills behind"--miles of daisies with clusters of blood-red
poppies scattered through them--and occasional hollows carpeted with a
brilliant blue flower. In the river courses there were numbers of
brilliantly hued birds--the gayest colors I saw in Mesopotamia with the
exception of the vivid arsenic-green birds around Ana on the Euphrates.
In one place I thought that the ground was covered with red flowers, but a
close inspection proved it to be myriads of tiny red insects swarming on
the grass stems.

Column marching is slow and wearisome, and after the sun rose the heat
became intense. The dust smothered us; there was not a breath of air to
rid us of it for even a moment. The miles seemed interminable. At noon we
halted beside a narrow stream known as Oil River--a common name in this
part of the country where oil abounds and the water is heavily impregnated
with it. For drinking it was abominable--and almost spoiled the tea upon
which we relied for a staple. A few miles beyond, the engineers found a
suitable location to throw a bridge across the creek. The main body was
halted at a place known as Umr Maidan and we were sent over the bridge to
form across the main road leading from Kara Tepe back into the Turkish

It was nightfall before we had effected a crossing, and we groped our way
along until we came upon the road. It was impossible to do very much in
the way of selecting a position, but we arranged the cars as best we
could. When you were off at large in the desert you were what the army
called "Out in the blue," and that was certainly our situation on the
night of April 26. We all expected that we would intercept traffic going
one way or the other, but the night passed without incident or excitement.

[Illustration: Indian cavalry bringing in prisoners after the charge]

By four in the morning we were once more feeling our way along through the
darkness. As it lightened we came under observation by the Turks, who
started in to shell us. We learned from our aeroplanes that Kifri had been
evacuated; the garrison was falling back along a road running parallel to
the one on which we were, separated by eight or ten miles of broken
country. By this time our cavalry had caught up with us. They pushed off
across country to intercept the Turks. We attempted to do likewise but it
was more difficult, and what with dodging in and out to avoid a ravine
here or a hill there, we made little headway. At length we struck a road
that led in approximately the direction whither we wished to go. It was
already early afternoon before, upon topping a rise, we caught sight of a
good-sized body of Turks marching on a road which ran along the base of
a range of steep, stony hills. We put on as much speed as was possible,
and headed north to try to intercept them. The cavalry were coming from
the south, and while we were circling around they charged in upon the
Turks. It was a stirring scene. The powerful Indians sat their horses with
the utmost grace. Their drawn sabres flashed in the sun. As they came to
close quarters the turbaned heads bent forward and we could hear the
shouts and high-pitched cries of triumph as the riders slashed at the foe.
The wounded and dead testified to their skill as swordsmen. The whole
sight reminded me more of the battle books I read as a boy than anything I
saw in the war. About six hundred prisoners were taken, but many of the
Turks escaped to the mountains and lay among the rocks, whence they could
snipe at us with impunity. They were a tenacious lot, for all next day
when we were using the road below the hills they continued to shoot at us
from the places whence it was impossible to dislodge them.

While the prisoners were being brought in we caught sight of one of our
aeroplanes crashing. Making our way over to it we found that neither the
pilot nor the observer was seriously hurt. Flying in Mesopotamia was made
unusually difficult by the climatic conditions. The planes were designed
for work in France and during the summer months the heat and dryness
warped the propeller blades and indeed all the wooden parts. Then, too,
the fine dust would get into the machinery when the aviator was taxiing
for a start. Many pilots coming out from France with brilliant records met
an early and untimely end because they could not realize how very
different the conditions were. I remember one poor young fellow who set
off on a reconnaissance without the food and water he was required by
regulations to carry. He got lost and ran out of gasolene--being forced to
land out in the desert. The armored cars went off in search of him, and on
the second morning after he had come down they found his body near their
bivouac. He had evidently got that far during the night and died of
exhaustion and exposure practically within hearing. He was stripped of his
clothes; whether this had been done by himself or by the tribesmen was
never determined. A death of this sort always seems so much sadder than
being legitimately killed in combat. The L.A.M. batteries were in close
touch with the Royal Flying Corps, for when news came in that a plane was
down in the desert or some part of the debatable land, we would be
detailed to go out in search of the occupants. A notice printed in Arabic,
Persian, Turkish, and Kurdish was fastened into each aeroplane informing
the reader of the reward that would be paid him if the pilot were brought
in safety to the British lines. This was done in case a plane got lost and
was driven down out of its course among the tribesmen.

The night of the 27th we bivouacked once more "out in the blue." Dawn
found me on my way back to Umr Maidan to lay in a new supply of gasolene.
I made a rapid trip and caught up with the armored cars in action in a
large swampy plain. The grass was very high and the ground so soft that it
was difficult to accomplish anything. Two or three small hills offered
vantage-points, but they were not neglected by the Turk, and among those
that fell was the colonel of the Twenty-First cavalry--the regiment that
had acquitted itself so well in the charge of the day before.

We were ten miles from Tuz Khurmartli, the next important town held by
the enemy now that Kifri had been taken. It was thither that the Turks had
been retreating when we cut them off. Finding that we were unable to
operate effectively where we were, it was decided that we should make our
way across to the Kifri-Kirkuk road and advance along it to make a frontal
attack upon Tuz. Our orders were to proceed to a deserted village known as
Kulawand, and wait there for the command to advance. When we got to the
road we found the hills still occupied by camel-guns and machine-guns. We
replied ineffectively, for we had no means of dislodging them, nor did the
cavalry when they came up. Kulawand we found to be a fair-sized native
village unoccupied save for a single hut full of old women and children.
Here we waited until nightfall for the orders that never came. I sat under
a ruined wall reading alternatively Camoens' _Lusiad_ and _David Harum_
until darkness fell.

During the night some infantry came up, both native and British. They had
had stiff marching during the last few days, and were done up, but very
cheerful at the prospect of an attack on the morrow. They had some hard
fighting ahead of them. The King's Own in particular distinguished itself
in taking a stubbornly contested and strongly held hill.

At dawn we were under way. We had heard reports during the night that the
Turks had evacuated Tuz--but it was not long before we found that such was
not the case. They were still there and showed every evidence of staying.
A small village five or six miles to the southwest was also bitterly
contested. Our cavalry did some excellent work, capturing small hills held
with machine-guns.

We advanced down the road beside the hills. A mile before reaching Tuz we
ran into the Aq Su, a large stream flowing through a narrow cleft in the
hills. Fortunately the river was very low, and there were several places
where it was spread out over such a wide bed that it seemed as if it might
be possible to get the cars across. I emptied a Ford van and set out to do
some prospecting. First I went up-stream, which was toward the mountains,
but I could not go far, for there was an ancient fort situated at the
mouth of the gorge, and it had not been evacuated. Finding a likely
looking place a little below, I made a cast and just succeeded in getting
through. It was easy to see that it would not be possible for the
low-swung Rolls to cross under their own power, for the fly-wheel would
throw the water up into the motor. There was nothing to do but send back
for artillery horses to pull the armored cars across.

Meanwhile, as our artillery had practically ceased firing on the town and
the Turks seemed to have entirely evacuated it, I thought that I would go
up and take over and see whether there had not been some valuable
documents left behind. I drove along past some abandoned artillery into
the main street. A number of Turkish soldiers came up to surrender and I
told them to have the Reis Beledia--the town mayor--report to me. When he
came I directed him to take me to the quarters of the Turkish commanding
general. As we drove through the covered bazaar everything was closed.
Scarcely anybody was in the streets--but I could see the inhabitants
peeping out from behind lattices. It was a good thing to have the old
mayor along, for he served as an excellent hostage, and I kept close watch
upon him. He brought me to a prosperous, neat-looking house with heavy
wooden doors. In response to his summons an old woman came and ushered us
into a large, cool room, well furnished and with beautiful Kurdish rugs.
There we found four young girls, who, it was explained to me, formed the
Turkish general's "field harem." He had left in too much of a hurry to
take them with him. They were Kurds and Circassians, or Georgians--and the
general had shown no lack of taste in his selection! True to the tradition
of the Garden of Eden, this harem proved disastrous to a brother officer
who, having heard of my capture, sent me "priority" over the field service
lines a ribald message as to its disposition. "Priority" wires are sent
only on affairs of the greatest importance, and when I left the country my
friend was slated to explain matters before a court martial. There were no
papers of any great value to be found, and I told the mayor to take me to
the more important ammunition and supply dumps. By the time I had located
these some cavalry had come in, and I went back to the river to help get
the fighting cars across.

Once we had these safely over we set out in pursuit of the Turks. The next
town of importance was a ramshackle mud-walled affair called Tauq, twenty
miles beyond, on the far side of a river known as the Tauq Chai. The
leading cars pursued to within sight of the town and came in for a good
deal of shelling.

The Turks we captured were in far poorer shape than those we had recently
taken on the Euphrates front. Their shoes were worn out, they were very
ragged, and, what was of greater significance, they were badly nourished.
The length of their line of communications had evidently severely strained
them. Supplies had to come overland all the way from Nisibin, which is
more than a hundred miles beyond Mosul. The broken country made the
transportation a difficult problem to solve. It was a miracle that they
had the morale to fight as they did under such disadvantageous conditions.

Here, as throughout the campaign, it was a continual source of pride to
see the way in which our soldiers behaved to the natives. I never heard of
a case in which man, woman, or child was wrongfully treated. Minor
offenses were sometimes committed, but these were quickly righted. No
doubt there were isolated instances of wrong-doing, for in such a large
army there are bound to be degenerate individuals from whose conduct it is
unfair to judge the whole.

That night we encamped in the outskirts of Tuz, not far from the Turkish
aerodrome. Next morning one of the batteries was ordered to reconnoitre as
far as the town--pursuing a different route than that taken on the
previous day. The commanding officer asked me to go along because of my
knowledge of Arabic. The road followed the telegraph-lines, and part of
the time that was the only way in which we could distinguish it from the
surrounding country. Of course, the map was hopelessly incorrect. The
villages were not even rightly named. A great deal of reconnoitring was
called for, and in one village we had to knock the corner off a mud house
to enable us to make a sharp right-angle turn. The natives were in pitiful
condition. The Turks had not only taken all their crops, but even the
grain that should be reserved to sow for the following year. The sheep had
been killed in the lambing season, so the flocks were sadly depleted. Such
standing grain as there was left looked flourishing. The wheat waved above
the cars.

As we came out of a deep, broad ravine that had caused us much delay and
difficulty, we caught sight of an attractive town situated on a steep,
flat-topped hill. Upon drawing near, a fine-looking, white-bearded Arab
rode up on a small gray mare. He said that he was the head man of the
town; that he hated the Turks, and would like to be of any assistance
possible to us. I asked him if the enemy had evacuated Tauq. He replied
that they had. I then asked him if he were positive about it. He offered
to accompany us to prove it. The trail was so bad that we could not go
fast, and he rode along beside us at a hand-gallop.

When we came to the river in front of the town we found that it was
impossible to get the armored cars across. The Turks had evidently fallen
back, but not far, for they were dropping in shells with regularity. Our
Arab friend told us that there was a bridge six miles up-stream, but it
was too late for us to attempt it, and we turned back to Tuz after
arranging with Sheikh Muttar to meet us in the morning.

[Illustration: The Kurd and his wife]

[Illustration: Sheik Muttar and the two Kurds]

Next day we found him waiting for us as he had promised. With him were two
handsome Kurds. One of them had his wife perched behind him on the horse's
crupper. Together they undertook to guide us up to the bridge. It was
invariably difficult to find out from natives whether or not a road was
passable for motor-cars. They were accustomed to think only in terms of
horses or men, and could not realize that a bad washout might be
impassable for automobiles. Curiously enough, even those natives whom we
had taken along with us on several reconnaissances as guides could not be
trusted to give an opinion as to the feasibility of a proposed route. We
experienced no little trouble in following our guides to the bridge,
although we afterward discovered a good road that cut off from the main
trail about half-way between Tuz and Tauq.

When we reached the bridge we found it to be a solid, well-built affair of
recent construction. The retreating Turks had tried to blow it up, but the
most vital charges had failed to go off, so the damage done would not be
sufficiently serious to stop our passage, after six or seven hours'
preliminary work. We immediately sent back for the engineers, and put in
the time while waiting by taking a much-needed bath in the rapids beneath
one of the side arches. Every one who has wandered about in the waste
places of the world can recall certain swims that will always stand out in
his memory. Perhaps they have been after a long and arduous hunt--perhaps
at the end of a weary march. Our plunge in the Tauq Chai took its place
among these.

In the late afternoon we drove back to Tuz. Our camp there was anything
but cheerful, for swarms of starving townsfolk hovered on the outskirts
ready to pounce on any refuse that the men threw away. Discarded tin cans
were cleaned out until the insides shone like mirrors. The men gave away
everything they could possibly spare from their rations. As the news
spread, the starving mountain Kurds began straggling in; and the gruesome
band made one glad to leave camp early and return after dark. Our line of
communication was so extended that it was impossible to attempt any relief

The following morning we crossed over the bridge with little trouble, but
ran into a lot of difficulty when we tried to make our way down to the
town. A couple of miles above the main town there is a small settlement
grouped on a hill around the mosque of Zain El Abidin. The "mutabelli," or
keeper of the shrine, is an important personage in the community, so when
he appeared riding a richly caparisoned stallion and offered to accompany
us to the town, we welcomed the opportunity of going in under such good
auspices. We decided to take Seyid Mustapha, for that was his name, in one
of the Ford vans with us. It was comparatively easy to get the light car
up over the precipitous, rocky trail; and eventually one of the fighting
cars succeeded in following. I was driving, with Mustapha beside me. In
front of us on a white horse galloped the Seyid's attendant singing and
shouting and proclaiming our arrival. We stopped at Mustapha's house for a
cup of coffee and a discussion of events. The information which we secured
from him afterward proved unusually correct. I took him on with us to the
town so that he could identify the head man and see that we got hold of
the right people. Our reception was by no means cordial, although after we
had talked a little and explained what we were after, the mayor became
cheerful and expansive. He had a jovial, rotund face, covered in large
part by a bushy beard, and would have done excellently as a model for
Silenus. In the town were a handful of Turkish stragglers--among them a
stalwart Greek who spoke a little English. He said that he had been
impressed into service by the Turks and was most anxious to join our

We found large stores of ammunition and other supplies, among them a
wireless set. What interested us most, I am afraid, was the quantity of
chickens that we saw strutting about. A few of them and a good supply of
eggs found their way to the automobiles in short order. We were always
very particular about paying for whatever we took, and seeing that the men
did likewise; our reputation went before us, and the native, as a rule,
took it for granted that we would pay. It was up to the officers to see
that the prices were not exorbitant. We always used Indian currency--the
rupee and the anna. In normal times a rupee is about a third of a dollar.
Throughout the occupied area Turkish currency also circulated, but the
native invariably preferred to be paid in Indian. Curiously enough, even
on entering towns like Tauq, we found the inhabitants eager for payment in
rupees. I was told that in the money market in Baghdad a British advance
would be heralded by a slump in Turkish exchange. Paper rupees were almost
everywhere as readily accepted as silver, but paper liras and piasters
were soon of so little value that they were no longer in circulation.

When we got back to camp I found a wire informing me that I had been
transferred to the American army, and ordering me to report at once to
Baghdad to be sent to France. Major Thompson asked me if I would delay my
return until the end of the advance. It was rumored that we would continue
to push on and would attack Kirkuk. Many felt that the difficulty that was
already being experienced in rationing us would preclude our thrusting
farther. Still, I made up my mind that as long as the major wished it and
would wire for permission I would stay a few days longer on the chance of
the attack continuing.

On the morning of the 3d we moved camp to the far side of the Tauq Chai
bridge. When the tenders were unloaded I started back to bring up a supply
of gasolene, with the purpose of making a dump in case we were called upon
for a further advance. I was told that the nearest supply from which I
could draw was at Umr Maidan; and the prospect of running back, a distance
of seventy miles, was not cheerful. When I got as far as Tuz I found a
friend in charge of the dump there, and he let me draw what I wanted, so I
turned back to try to get to the bridge by dark. One car after another
got in trouble; first it was a puncture, then it was a tricky carburetor
that refused to be put to rights; towing-ropes were called into
requisition, but the best had been left behind, and those we had were
rotted, and broke on every hill. Lastly a broken axle put one of the
tenders definitely out of commission, and, of course, I had to wait behind
with it. To add to everything, a veritable hurricane set in, with thunder
and lightning and torrents of rain. The wind blew so hard that I thought
the car would be toppled over. What made us more gloomy than anything else
was the thought of all the dry river courses that would be roaring floods
by morning, and probably hold up the ration supply indefinitely.

Two days later the orders for which we had been waiting came through. We
were to march upon a town called Taza Khurmatli, lying fifteen miles
beyond Tauq and ten short of Kirkuk. If we met with no opposition there we
were to push straight on. From all we could hear Taza was occupied only by
cavalry, which would probably fall back without contesting our advance.
The cars had been out on reconnaissance near the town for the last two
days, and had come in for artillery and machine-gun fire; but it was
believed that the Turks had everything ready to withdraw their guns on our

In the gray light that preceded dawn we saw shadowy columns of infantry
and artillery and cavalry passing by our camp. The costumes of the
different regiments made a break in the drab monotony. The Mesopotamian
Expeditionary Force was composed of varied components. Steel helmets could
be worn only in winter. In many of the native regiments the British
officers wore tasselled pugrees, and long tunics that were really shirts,
and an adaption of the native custom of wearing the shirt-tails outside
the trousers. The Gurkhas were supplied with pith helmets. It was
generally claimed that this was unnecessary, but the authorities felt that
coming from a cold, high climate they would be as much affected by the
Mesopotamian sun as were Europeans. The presence of the Indian troops
brought about unusual additions to the dry "General Routine Orders" issued
by general headquarters. One of them, referring to a religious festival of
the Sikhs, ran:

"The following cable message received from Sunder Signh Hagetha,
Amritsar, addressed to Sikhs in Mesopotamian force:

"To our most Dear Brothers now serving the Benign King-Emperor oversea,
the chief Khalsa Dewan tenders hearty and sincere greetings on the
auspicious Gurpurb of First Guru. You are upholding the name and fame of
Gurupurb. Our hearts are with you and our prayers are that Satguru and
Akalpurkh may ever be with you and lead you to victory and return home
safe, after vanquishing the King-Emperor's foes, with honor and flying

The British Empire was well and loyally served by her Indian subjects, and
by none more faithfully than the Sikhs.

We let the column get well started before we shoved off in our cars. The
trail was wide enough to pass without interfering; and long before we were
in sight of Taza we had taken our place ahead. As was foreseen, the enemy
evacuated the town with scarce a show of resistance. I set off to
interview the local head man. In the spring all the upper Mesopotamian
towns are inundated by flocks of storks, but I have never seen them in
greater force than in Taza. On almost every housetop were a couple,
throwing their heads back and clattering their beaks in the odd way that
gives them their onomatopoetic Arabic name of Lak-Lak. It sounded like the
rattle of machine-guns; so much so that on entering the village, for the
first second I thought that the Turks were opening up on us. No native
will molest a stork; to do so is considered to the last degree

There was but little water in the river running by Taza, and we managed to
get the cars through under their own power. A few miles farther on lay a
broad watercourse, dry in the main, but with the centre channel too deep
to negotiate, so there was nothing to be done without the help of the
artillery horses. The Turks were shelling the vicinity of the crossing, so
we drew back a short distance and sent word that we were held up waiting
for assistance to get us over.

Once we had reached the far side we set out to pick our way round Kirkuk
to get astride the road leading thence to Altun Kupri. This is the main
route from Baghdad to Mosul, the chief city on the upper Tigris, across
the river from the ruins of Nineveh. It was a difficult task finding a way
practicable for the cars, as the ground was still soft from the recent
rains. It was impossible to keep defiladed from Turkish observation, but
we did not supply them with much in the way of a target. At length we got
round to the road, and started to advance down it to Kirkuk. The town, in
common with so many others in that part of the country, is built on a
hill. The Hamawand Kurds are inveterate raiders, and good fortifications
are needed to withstand them. As we came out upon the road we caught sight
of our cavalry preparing to attack. The Turks were putting up a stout
resistance, with darkness fast coming to their aid. After approaching
close to the town, we were ordered to return to a deserted village for the
night, prepared to go through in the early morning.

The co-ordinates of the village were given, and we easily found it on the
map; but it was quite another proposition to locate it physically. To add
to our difficulties, the sky clouded over and pitchy blackness settled
down. It soon started to rain, so we felt that the best we could do was
select as likely a spot as came to hand and wait for morning. I made up my
mind that the front seat of a van, uncomfortable and cramped as it was,
would prove the best bed for the night. My estimate was correct, for at
midnight the light drizzle, that was scarcely more than a Scotch mist,
turned into a wild, torrential downpour that all but washed away my
companions. The waterproof flap that I had rigged withstood the onslaughts
of wind and rain in a fashion that was as gratifying as it was unexpected.
The vivid flashes of lightning showed the little dry ravine beside us
converted into a roaring, swirling torrent. The water was rushing past
beneath the cars, half-way up to their hubs. A large field hospital had
been set up close to the banks of the stream at Taza. We afterward heard
that the river had risen so rapidly that many of the tents and a few
ambulances were washed away.

By morning it had settled down into a steady, businesslike downpour. We
found that we were inextricably caught in among some low hills. There was
not the slightest chance of moving the fighting cars; they were bogged
down to the axle. There was no alternative other than to wait until the
rain stopped and the mud dried. Fortunately our emergency rations were
still untouched.

Our infantry went over at dawn, and won through into the town. If it had
not been for the rain we would have made some important captures. As it
was, the Turks destroyed the bridge across the Hasa Su and retreated to
Altun Kupri by the road on the farther bank. From a hill near by we
watched everything, powerless to help in any way.

At noon the sky unexpectedly cleared and the sun came out. We unloaded a
Ford van, and with much pushing and no little spade work managed to get it
down to a road running in the direction of Kirkuk. We found the surface
equal to the light car, and slowly made our way to the outskirts of the
town, with occasional halts where digging and shoving were required. We
satisfied ourselves that, given a little sun, we could bring the armored
cars out of their bog and through to the town.

[Illustration: Kirkuk]

Next morning, in spite of the fact that more rain had fallen during the
night, I set to work on my tenders, and at length succeeded in putting
them all in Kirkuk. We were billeted in the citadel, a finely built,
substantial affair, with a courtyard that we could turn into a good
garage. The Turks had left in great haste, and, although they had
attempted a wholesale destruction of everything that they could not
take, they had been only partially successful. In my room I found a
quantity of pamphlets describing the American army--with diagrams of
insignia, and pictures of fully equipped soldiers of the different
branches of the service. There was also a map of the United States showing
the population by States. The text was, of course, in Turkish and the
printing excellently done. What the purpose might be I could not make out.

The wherefore of another booklet was more obvious. It was an illustrated
account of alleged British atrocities. Most of the pictures purported to
have been taken in the Sudan, and showed decapitated negroes. Some I am
convinced were pictures of the Armenian massacres that the Turks had
themselves taken and in a thrifty moment put to this useful purpose. This
pamphlet was printed at the press in Kirkuk.

There were a number of excellent buildings--mainly workshops and armories,
but the best was the hospital. The long corridors and deep windows of the
wards looked very cool. An up-to-date impression was given by the
individual patient charts, with the headings for the different diagnoses
printed in Turkish and French. The doctors were mainly Armenians. The
occupants were all suffering from malnutrition, and there was a great deal
of starvation in the town.

I did not wish to return to Baghdad until I could be certain that we were
not going to advance upon Altun Kupri. The engineers patched up the
bridge, and we took the cars over to the other side and went off on a
reconnaissance to ascertain how strongly the town was being held. The long
bridge from which it gets its name could easily be destroyed, and crossing
over the river would be no light matter. The surrounding mountains limited
the avenue of attack. Altogether it would not be an easy nut to crack, and
the Turks had evidently determined on a stand. What decided the army
commander to make any further attempt to advance was most probably the
great length of the line of communications, and the recent floods had made
worse conditions which were bad enough at the best. The ration supply had
fallen very low, and it seemed impossible to hold even Kirkuk unless the
rail-head could be advanced materially.

I put in all my odd moments wandering about the bazaars. The day after
the fall the merchants opened their booths and transacted business as
usual. The population was composed of many races, chiefly Turcoman, Kurd,
and Arab. There were also Armenians, Chaldeans, Syrians, and Jews. The
latter were exceedingly prosperous. Arabic and Kurdish and Turkish were
all three spoken. Kirkuk is of very ancient origin--but of its early
history little is known. The natives point out a mound which they claim to
be Daniel's tomb. Two others are shown as belonging to Shadrach and
Meshech; that of the third of the famous trio has been lost. There are
many artificial hills in the neighborhood, and doubtless in course of time
it will prove a fruitful hunting-ground for archæologists. As far as I
could learn no serious excavating has hitherto been undertaken in the

The bazaars were well filled with goods of every sort. I picked up one or
two excellent rugs for very little, and a few odds and ends, dating from
Seleucid times, that had been unearthed by Arab laborers in their gardens
or brick-kilns. There were some truck-gardens in the outskirts, and we
traded fresh vegetables for some of our issue rations. There are few
greater luxuries when one has been living on canned foods for a long
time. I saw several ibex heads nailed up over the doors of houses. The
owners told me that they were to be found in the near-by mountains, but
were not plentiful. There is little large game left in Mesopotamia, and
that mainly in the mountains. I once saw a striped hyena. It is a
nocturnal animal, and they may be common, although I never came across but
the one, which I caught sight of slinking among the ruins of Istabulat,
south of Samarra, one evening when I was riding back to camp. Gazelle were
fairly numerous, and we occasionally shot one for venison. It was on the
plains between Kizil Robat and Kara Tepe that I saw the largest bands.
Judging from ancient bas-reliefs lions must at one time have been very
plentiful. In the forties of the last century Sir Henry Layard speaks of
coming across them frequently in the hill country; and later still, in the
early eighties, a fellow countryman, Mr. Fogg, in his _Land of the Arabian
Nights_, mentions that the English captain of a river steamer had recently
killed four lions, shooting from the deck of his boat. Rousseau speaks of
meeting, near Hit, a man who had been badly mauled by a lion, and was
going to town to have his wounds cared for. Leopards and bears are to be
met with in the higher mountain regions, and wild boars are common in many
districts. They inhabit the thickets along the river-banks, in country
that would permit of much sound sport in the shape of pig-sticking.

Game-birds are found in abundance; both greater and lesser bustard; black
and gray partridges, quail, geese, duck, and snipe. A week's leave could
be made provide good shooting and a welcome addition to the usual fare
when the wanderer returned. Every sort of shotgun was requisitioned, from
antiquated muzzle-loaders bought in the bazaar to the most modern
creations of Purdy sent out from India by parcel-post.

After waiting a few days further, to be certain that an attack would not
be unexpectedly ordered, I set out on my return trip to Baghdad. The river
at Taza was still up, but I borrowed six mules from an accommodating
galloping ambulance, and pulled the car across. We went by way of Kifri, a
clean, stone-built town that we found all but empty. The food situation
had become so critical that the inhabitants had drifted off, some to our
lines, others to Persia, and still others to Kirkuk and Mosul. Near Kifri
are some coal-mines about which we had heard much. It is the only place in
the country where coal is worked, and we were hoping that we might put it
to good use. Our experts, however, reported that it was of very poor
quality and worth practically nothing.



Several days later I embarked at Baghdad on one of the river boats. I took
Yusuf with me to Busra to put me aboard the transport for Egypt. It was
the first time he had ever been that far down-stream, and he showed a fine
contempt for everything he saw, comparing it in most disparaging terms to
his own desolate native town of Samarra. The cheapness, variety, and
plenty of the food in the bazaars of Busra were the only things that he
allowed in any way to impress him.

I was fortunate enough to run into some old friends, and through one of
them met General Sutton, who most kindly and opportunely rescued me from
the dreary "Rest-Camp" and took me to his house. While I was waiting for a
chance to get a place on a transport, he one morning asked me to go with
him to Zobeir, where he was to dedicate a hospital. Zobeir is a desert
town of ten thousand or so inhabitants, situated fifteen miles inland
from Busra. The climate is supposed to be more healthful, and many of the
rich and important residents of the river town have houses there to which
they retire during the summer months. To an outsider any comparison would
seem only a refinement of degrees of suffocation. The heat of all the
coastal towns of the Persian Gulf is terrific.

Zobeir is a desert town, with its ideals and feelings true to the
inheritance of the tribesmen. It is a market for the caravans of central
Arabia. A good idea of the Turkish feeling toward it may be gathered from
the fact that the inhabitants were exempt from military service. This was
a clear admission on the part of the Turk that he could not cope with the
situation, and thought it wisest not to attempt something which he had no
hope of putting through. It was, therefore, a great triumph for the
British and a sure wedge into the confidence of the desert folk when the
hospital was opened, for any people that can introduce so marked an
innovation among the hidebound desert communities must have won their
confidence and respect in a remarkable degree. Ibrahim, the hereditary
Sheikh of Zobeir, himself contributed largely to the fund for the
endowment. It was arranged that Doctor Borrie, who among his other duties
ran the civil hospital at Busra, should periodically include Zobeir in his
rounds. The Sheikh showed us over the building. It was cool, comfortable,
and very sanitary. The Indian who was to be resident physician had every
appearance of intelligence and proficiency. Old Ibrahim gave us a large
banquet of the orthodox type. There was a sheep roasted whole, and dishes
of every sort of meat and vegetable marshalled upon the table, which
fairly groaned beneath their weight. We had innumerable speeches. General
Sutton made an excellent address, which an interpreter translated into
Arabic. Our Arabian hosts were long-winded, and the recognized local
orator was so classical in his phrases and forms and tenses that it was
impossible to do more than get the general drift of what he said. Luckily
I had in my pocket a copy of the _Lusiads_, which I surreptitiously read
when the speeches became hopelessly long drawn out.

I was allotted space on a British India, boat, the _Torrilla_, that was to
take to Egypt a field artillery regiment of the Third Division. As we
dropped down-stream and I watched a disconsolate Yusuf standing on the
dock, I felt that another chapter had closed--an interesting one at that.
I was not left long to muse on what the next would bring forth before
there was a cry of "fire"; and from where I was standing in the
smoking-room I could see, through the open hatchways, the soldiers
hurrying about below decks. As the ship was well ballasted with
ammunition, anything that happened would, take place quickly, and only
those on the spot could hope to control events, so I stayed where I was. A
few minutes later the fire was reported out.

The long two weeks' trip through the Persian Gulf and round to the Red Sea
was monotonously peaceful. Being "unattached," I had no regular duties.
Occasionally I attended "stables," and wandered around the horse lines.
The great heat below decks had far less effect upon the horses than would
be supposed. Of course, they were well cared for, and many were seasoned
veterans that had taken more than one long sea voyage. If I am not
mistaken, only one was lost on the trip.

Most of the time I lay back in my rhoorkhee chair and read whatever I
could find in the ship's library. The wireless broke down a few days
after we left Busra, so we got no news whatever of the outer world, and
soon ceased to speculate on what might be happening in France.

At length, on the morning of June 4, we dropped anchor in Suez harbor. We
had hoped that the _Torrilla_ would run through the canal to Port Said,
but the disembarkation officer told us that we were all to be unloaded at
Suez and proceed by rail. When I reached Alexandria I learned that a
convoy had just sailed and there would not be another for two weeks at
earliest. Sir Reginald Wingate, who had long been a family friend, was the
British High Commissioner. Lady Wingate and he with the utmost hospitality
insisted on my moving out to the residency to wait for my sailing.

When I left for Mesopotamia Lord Derby had given me a letter to General
Allenby which I had never had an opportunity to present. Sir Reginald
suggested that I could not do better than make use of this enforced delay
by going up to Palestine. The railway was already running to Jerusalem and
you could go straight through from Cairo with but one change. At Kantara
you crossed the canal and entered the military zone. Leaving there at
half past eleven in the evening the train reached Ludd, which was general
headquarters, at seven the following morning.

Every one that I had ever met who knew General Allenby was wildly
enthusiastic about him, and you had only to be with him a few minutes to
realize how thoroughly justified their enthusiasm was. He represented the
very highest type of the British soldier, and more need not be said. On
the morning on which I arrived an attack was in progress and we could hear
the drumming of the guns. The commander-in-chief placed a car at my
disposal and I went around visiting old friends that I had made in
Mesopotamia or still earlier in England, before the war. Among the latter
was Colonel Ronald Storrs, the military governor of Jerusalem. With him I
spent several days. Life in the Holy City seemed but little changed by the
war. There was an interesting innovation in the Church of the Nativity at
Bethlehem. The different Christian religious sects, in particular the
Greek and Latin Catholics, were prone to come to blows in the church, and
bloodshed and death had more than once been the result. To obviate this
it had been the custom to have a regular relief of Turkish soldiers
stationed in the church. Their place was now taken by British and French
and Italians. Each nationality in rotation furnished the guard for a day.
At the festival of the distribution of the Sacred Fire from the Church of
the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem there were usually a number of accidents
caused by the anxiety to reach the portal whence the fire was given out.
The commander-in-chief particularly complimented Colonel Storrs upon the
orderly way in which this ceremony was conducted under his régime. The
population of Jerusalem is exceedingly mixed--and the percentage of
fanatics is of course disproportionately large. There are many groups that
have been gathered together and brought out to the Holy Land with
distinctly unusual purposes. One such always had an empty seat at their
table and confidently expected that Christ would some day appear to occupy
it. The long-haired Russian and Polish Jews with their felt hats and
shabby frock coats were to be met with everywhere. In the street where the
Jews meet to lament the departed glory of Jerusalem an incongruous and
ludicrous element was added by a few Jews, their bowed heads covered with
ancient derby hats, wailing with undefeated zeal.

[Illustration: A street in Jerusalem]

It is a mournful fact that the one really fine building in Jerusalem
should be the Mosque of Omar--the famous "Dome of the Rock." This is built
on the legendary site of the temple of Solomon, and the mosaics lining the
inside of the dome are the most beautiful I have ever seen. The simplicity
is what is really most felt, doubly so because the Christian holy places
are garish and tawdry, with tin-foil and flowers and ornate carving. It is
to be hoped that the Christians will some day unite and clean out all the
dreary offerings and knickknacks that clutter the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre. Moslems hold the Mosque of Omar second in sanctity only to the
great mosque in the holy city of Mecca. It is curious, therefore, that
they should not object to Christians entering it. Mohammedans enter
barefoot, but we fastened large yellow slippers over our shoes, and that
was regarded as filling all requirements. Storrs pointed out to me that it
was quite unnecessary to remove our hats, for that is not a sign of
respect with Moslems, and they keep on their red fezzes. The mosque was
built by the Caliph Abd el Melek, about fifty years after Omar had
captured Jerusalem in 636 A.D. Many of the stones used in building it came
from the temple of Jupiter. In the centre lies the famous rock, some sixty
feet in diameter, and rising six or seven feet above the floor of the
mosque. To Mohammedans it is more sacred than anything else in the world
save the Black Stone at Mecca. Tradition says that it was here that
Abraham and Melchizedek sacrificed to Jehovah, and Abraham brought Isaac
as an offering. Scientists find grounds for the belief that it was the
altar of the temple in the traces of a channel for carrying off the blood
of the victims. The Crusaders believed the mosque to be the original
temple of Solomon, and, according to their own reports, rededicated it
with the massacre of more than ten thousand Moslems who had fled thither
for refuge. The wrought-iron screen that they placed around the rock still
remains. The cavern below is the traditional place of worship of many of
the great characters of the Old Testament, such as David and Solomon and
Elijah. From it Mohammed made his night journey to heaven, borne on his
steed El Burak. In the floor of the cavern is an opening covered with a
slab of stone, and said to go down to the centre of the world and be a
medium for communicating with the souls of the departed.

The military governor has been at work to better the sanitary conditions
in Jerusalem. Hitherto the only water used by the townsfolk had been the
rain-water which they gathered in tanks. Some years ago it was proposed to
bring water to the city in pipes, some of which were already laid before
the inhabitants decided that such an innovation could not be tolerated.
The British have put in a pipe-line, and oddly enough it runs to the same
reservoir whence Pontius Pilate started to bring water by means of an
aqueduct. They have also built some excellent roads through the
surrounding hills. Here, as in Mesopotamia, one was struck by the
permanent nature of the improvements that are being made. Even to people
absorbed in their own jealousies and rivalries the advantages that they
were deriving from their liberation from Turkish rule must have been
exceedingly apparent.

The situation in Palestine differed in many ways from that in Mesopotamia,
but in none more markedly than in the benefits derived from the
propinquity of Egypt. Occasional leaves were granted to Cairo and
Alexandria and they afforded the relaxation of a complete change of
surroundings. I have never seen Cairo gayer. Shepherd's Hotel was open and
crowded--and the dances as pleasant as any that could be given in London.
The beaches at Ramleh, near Alexandria, were bright with crowds of
bathers, and the change afforded the "men from up the line" must have
proved of inestimable value in keeping the army contented. There were
beaches especially reserved for non-commissioned officers and others for
the privates--while in Cairo sightseeing tours were made to the pyramids
and what the guide-books describe as "other points of interest."

When I left Mesopotamia I made up my mind that there was one man in
Palestine whom I would use every effort to see if I were held over waiting
for a sailing. This man was Major A.B. Paterson, known to every Australian
as "Banjo" Paterson. His two most widely read books are _The Man from
Snowy River_ and _Rio Grande's Last Race_; both had been for years
companions of the entire family at home and sources for daily quotations,
so I had always hoped to some day meet their author. I knew that he had
fought in the South African War, and I heard that he was with the
Australian forces in Palestine. As soon as I landed I asked every
Australian officer that I met where Major Paterson was, for locating an
individual member of an expeditionary force, no matter how well known he
may be, is not always easy. Every one knew him. I remember well when I
inquired at the Australian headquarters in Cairo how the man I asked
turned to a comrade and said: "Say, where's 'Banjo' now? He's at Moascar,
isn't he?" Whether they had ever met him personally or not he was "Banjo"
to one and all.

On my return to Alexandria I stopped at Moascar, which was the main depot
of the Australian Remount Service, and there I found him. He is a man of
about sixty, with long mustaches and strong aquiline features--very like
the type of American plainsman that Frederic Remington so well portrayed.
He has lived everything that he has written. At different periods of his
life he has dived for pearls in the islands, herded sheep, broken broncos,
and known every chance and change of Australian station life. The
Australians told me that when he was at his prime he was regarded as the
best rider in Australia. A recent feat about which I heard much mention
was when he drove three hundred mules straight through Cairo without
losing a single animal, conclusively proving his argument against those
who had contested that such a thing could not be done. Although he has
often been in England, Major Paterson has never come to the United States.
He told me that among American writers he cared most for the works of Joel
Chandler Harris and O. Henry--an odd combination!

While in Egypt I met a man about whom I had heard much, a man whose career
was unsurpassed in interest and in the amount accomplished by the
individual. Before the war Colonel Lawrence was engaged in archæological
research under Professor Hogarth of Oxford University. Their most
important work was in connection with the excavation of a buried city in
Palestine. At the outbreak of hostilities Professor Hogarth joined the
Naval Intelligence and rendered invaluable services to the Egyptian
Expeditionary Forces. Lawrence had an excellent grounding in Arabic and
decided to try to organize the desert tribes into bands that would raid
the Turkish outposts and smash their lines of communication. He
established a body-guard of reckless semioutlaws, men that in the old days
in our West would have been known as "bad men." They became devoted to him
and he felt that he could count upon their remaining faithful should any
of the tribes with which he was raiding meditate treachery. He dressed in
Arab costume, but as a whole made no effort to conceal his nationality.
His method consisted in leading a tribe off on a wild foray to break the
railway, blow up bridges, and carry off the Turkish supplies. Swooping
down from out the open desert like hawks, they would strike once and be
off before the Turks could collect themselves. Lawrence explained that he
had to succeed, for if he failed to carry off any booty, his reputation
among the tribesmen was dead--and no one would follow him thereafter. What
he found hardest on these raids was killing the wounded--but the dread of
falling into the hands of the Turks was so great that before starting it
was necessary to make a compact to kill all that were too badly injured to
be carried away on the camels. The Turks offered for Colonel Lawrence's
capture a reward of ten thousand pounds if dead and twenty thousand
pounds if alive. His added value in the latter condition was due to the
benefit that the enemy expected to derive from his public execution. No
one who has not tried it can realize what a long ride on a camel means,
and although Lawrence was eager to take with him an Englishman who would
know the best methods of blowing up bridges and buildings, he could never
find any one who was able to stand the strain of a long journey on camel

Lawrence told me that he couldn't last much longer, things had broken
altogether too well for him, and they could not continue to do so.
Scarcely more than thirty years of age, with a clean-shaven, boyish face,
short and slender in build, if one met him casually among a lot of other
officers it would not have been easy to single him out as the great power
among the Arabs that he on every occasion proved himself to be. Lawrence
always greatly admired the Arabs--appreciating their many-sidedness--their
virility--their ferocity--their intellect and their sensitiveness. I
remember well one of the stories which he told me. It was, I believe, when
he was on a long raid in the course of which he went right into the
outskirts of Damascus--then miles behind the Turkish lines. They halted at
a ruined palace in the desert. The Arabs led him through the various
rooms, explaining that each was scented with a different perfume. Although
Lawrence could smell nothing, they claimed that one room had the odor of
ambergris--another of roses--and a third of jasmine;--at length they came
to a large and particularly ruinous room. "This," they said, "has the
finest scent of all--the smell of the wind and the sun." I last saw
Colonel Lawrence in Paris, whither he had brought the son of the King of
the Hedjaz to attend the Peace Conference.

When I got back to Alexandria I found that the sailing of the convoy had
been still further delayed. Three vessels out of the last one to leave had
been sunk, involving a considerable loss of life. The channel leading from
the harbor out to sea is narrow and must be followed well beyond the
entrance, so that the submarines had an excellent chance to lay in wait
for outgoing boats. The greatest secrecy was observed with regard to the
date of leaving and destination--and of course troops were embarked and
held in the harbor for several days so as to avoid as far as possible any
notice being given to the lurking enemy by spies on shore.

The transports were filled with units that were being hurried off to stem
the German tide in France, so casual officers were placed on the
accompanying destroyers and cruisers. I was allotted to a little Japanese
destroyer, the _Umi_. She was of only about six hundred and fifty tons
burden, for this class of boat in the Japanese navy is far smaller than in
ours. She was as neat as a pin, as were also the crew. The officers were
most friendly and did everything possible to make things comfortable for a
landsman in their limited quarters. The first meal on board we all used
knives and forks, but thereafter they were only supplied to me, while the
Japanese fell back upon their chop-sticks. It was a never-failing source
of interest to watch their skill in eating under the most difficult
circumstances. One morning when the boat was dancing about even more than
usual, I came into breakfast to find the steward bringing in some rather
underdone fried eggs, and thought that at last I would see the ship's
officers stumped in the use of their chop-sticks. Not a bit of it; they
had disposed of the eggs in the most unsurpassed manner and were off to
their duties before I myself had finished eating.

[Illustration: Japanese destroyers passing through the gut at Taranto]

We left Alexandria with an escort of aeroplanes to see us safely started,
while an observation balloon made fast to a cruiser accompanied us on the
first part of our journey. The precautions were not in vain, for two
submarines were sighted a short time after we cleared the harbor. The
traditional Japanese efficiency was well borne out by the speed with which
our crew prepared for action. Every member was in his appointed place and
the guns were stripped for action in an incredibly short time after the
warning signal. It was when we were nearing the shores of Italy that I had
best opportunity to see the destroyers at work. We sighted a submarine
which let fly at one of the troopers--the torpedo passing its bow and
barely missing the boat beyond it. Quick as a flash the Japanese were
after it--swerving in and out like terriers chasing a rat, and letting
drive as long as it was visible. We cast around for the better part of an
hour, dropping overboard depth charges which shook the little craft as the
explosion sent great funnels of water aloft. The familiar harbor of
Taranto was a welcome sight when we at length herded our charges in
through the narrow entrance and swung alongside the wharf where the
destroyers were to take in a supply of fuel preparatory to starting out
again on their interminable and arduous task.




My transfer to the American army appointed me as captain of field
artillery instead of infantry, as I had wished. Just how the mistake
occurred I never determined, but once in the field artillery I found that
to shift back would take an uncertain length of time, and that even after
it was effected I would be obliged to take a course at some school before
going up to the line. It therefore seemed advisable to go immediately, as
instructed, to the artillery school, at Saumur. The management was half
French and half American. Colonel MacDonald and Colonel Cross were the
Americans in charge, and the high reputation of the school bore testimony
to their efficiency. It was the intention of headquarters gradually to
replace all the French instructors with Americans, but when I was there
the former predominated. It was of course necessary to wait until our
officers had learned by actual experience the use of the French guns with
which our army was supplied. When men are being taught what to do in
combat conditions they apply themselves more attentively and absorb far
more when they feel that the officer teaching them has had to test, under
enemy fire, the theories he is expounding. The school was for both
officers and candidates. The latter were generally chosen from among the
non-commissioned officers serving at the front; I afterward sent men down
from my battery. The first part of the course was difficult for those who
had either never had much mathematical training or had had it so long ago
that they were hopelessly out of practice. A number of excellent sergeants
and corporals did not have the necessary grounding to enable them to pass
the examinations. They should never have been sent, for it merely put them
in an awkward and humiliating position--although no stigma could possibly
be attached to them for having failed.

The French officer commanding the field work was Major de Caraman. His
long and distinguished service in the front lines, combined with his
initiative and ever-ready tact, made him an invaluable agent in welding
the ideas and methods of France and America. His house was always filled
with Americans, and how much his hospitality meant to those whose ties
were across the ocean must have been experienced to be appreciated. The
homes of France were ever thrown open to us, and the sincere and simple
good-will with which we were received has put us under a lasting debt
which we should be only too glad to cherish and acknowledge.

Saumur is a delightful old town in the heart of the château country. The
river Loire runs through it, and along the banks are the caves in some of
which have been found the paintings made by prehistoric man picturing the
beasts with which he struggled for supremacy in the dim dark ages. The
same caves are many of them inhabited, and their owners may well look with
scorn upon the châteaux and baronial castles of whose antiquity it is
customary to boast. There is an impressive castle built on a hill
dominating the town, and in one of the churches is hung an array of
tapestries of unsurpassed color and design. The country round about
invited rambling, and the excellent roads made it easy; particularly
delightful were the strolls along the river-banks, where patient
fisherfolk of every sex and age sat unperturbed by the fact that they
never seemed to catch anything. One old lady with a sunbonnet was always
to be seen seated on a three-legged stool in the same corner amid the
rocks. She had a rusty black umbrella which she would open when the rays
of the sun became too searching.

The buildings which were provided for the artillery course had formerly
been used by the cavalry school, probably the best known in the world.
Before the war army officers of every important nation in the Occident and
Orient were sent by their governments to follow the course and learn the
method of instruction. My old friend Fitzhugh Lee was one of those sent by
the United States, and I found his record as a horseman still alive and
fresh in the memory of many of the townspeople.

Soon after the termination of my period of instruction I was in command of
C Battery of the Seventh Field Artillery in the Argonne fighting. I was
standing one morning in the desolate, shell-ridden town of Landres et St.
George watching a column of "dough-boys" coming up the road; at their head
limped a battered Dodge car, and as it neared me I recognized my elder
brother Ted, sitting on the back seat in deep discussion with his
adjutant. I had believed him to be safely at the staff school in Langres
recuperating from a wound, but he had been offered the chance to come up
in command of his old regiment, the Twenty-Sixth, and although registered
as only "good for light duty in the service of supply," he had made his
way back to the division. While we were talking another car came up and
out from it jumped my brother-in-law, Colonel Richard Derby--at that time
division surgeon of the Second Division. We were the only three members of
the family left in active service since my brother Quentin, the aviator,
was brought down over the enemy lines, and Archie, severely wounded in leg
and arm, had been evacuated to the United States. I well remember how once
when Colonel Derby introduced me to General Lejeune, who was commanding
his division, the general, instead of making some remark about my father,
said: "I shall always be glad to meet a relative of a man with Colonel
Derby's record."

On the 11th of November we had just returned to our original sector after
attacking Sedan. None of us placed much confidence in an armistice being
signed. We felt that the German would never accept the terms, but were
confident that by late spring or early summer we would be able to bring
about an unconditional surrender. When the firing ceased and the news came
through that the enemy had capitulated, there was no great show of
excitement. We were all too weary to be much stirred by anything that
could occur. For the past two weeks we had been switched hither and yon,
with little sleep and less food, and a constant decrease in our personnel
and horses that was never entirely made good but grew steadily more
serious. The only bursts of enthusiasm that I heard were occasioned by the
automobile trucks and staff cars passing by after dark with their
headlights blazing. The joyous shouts of "Lights out!" testified that the
reign of darkness was over. Soon the men began building fires and
gathering about them, calling "Lights out!" as each new blaze started--a
joke which seemed a never-failing source of amusement.

We heard that we were to march into Germany in the wake of the evacuating
army and occupy one of the bridge-heads. All this came through in vague
and unconfirmed form, but in a few days we were hauled back out of the
line to a desolate mass of ruins which had once been the village of
Bantheville. We were told that we would have five days here, during which
we would be reoutfitted in every particular. Our horses were in fearful
shape--constant work in the rain and mud with very meagre allowance of
fodder had worn down the toughest old campaigners among them. During the
weary, endless night march on Sedan I often saw two horses leaning against
each other in utter exhaustion--as if it were by that means alone that
they kept on their feet. We were told to indent for everything that we
needed to make our batteries complete as prescribed in the organization
charts, but we followed instructions without any very blind faith in
results--nor did our lack of trust prove unwarranted, for we got
practically nothing for which we had applied.

There were some colored troops near by engaged in repairing the roads, and
a number of us determined to get up a quartet to sing for the men. We went
to where the negroes had built themselves shelters from corrugated-iron
sheets and miscellaneous bits of wreckage from the town. We collected
three quarters of our quartet and were directed to the mess-shack for the
fourth. As we approached I could hear sounds of altercation and a voice
that we placed immediately as that of our quarry arose in indignant
warning: "If yo' doan' leggo that mess-kit I'll lay a barrage down on
yo'!" A platform was improvised near a blazing fire of pine boards and we
had some excellent clogging and singing. The big basso had evidently a
strong feeling for his steel helmet, and it undoubtedly added to his
picturesqueness--setting off his features with his teeth and eyes gleaming
in the firelight.

On the evening of the second day orders came to move off on the following
morning. We were obliged to discard much material, for although the two
days' rest and food had distinctly helped out the horse situation, we had
many animals that could barely drag themselves along, much less a loaded
caisson, and our instructions were to on no account salvage ammunition. We
could spare but one horse for riding--my little mare--and she was no use
for pulling. She was a wise little animal with excellent gaits and great
endurance. We were forced to leave, behind another mare that I had ridden
a good deal on reconnaissances, and that used to amuse me by her
unalterable determination to stick to cover. It was almost most impossible
to get her to cut across a field; she preferred to skirt the woods and had
no intention of exposing herself on any sky-line. In spite of her caution
it was on account of wounds that she had eventually to be abandoned. I
trust that the salvage parties found her and that she is now reaping the
reward of her foresight.

We were a sorry-looking outfit as we marched away from Bantheville. My
lieutenants had lost their bedding-rolls and extra clothes long since--as
every one did, for it was impossible to keep your belongings with you--and
although authorized dumps were provided and we were told that anything
left behind would be cared for, we would be moved to another sector
without a chance to collect our excess and practically everything would
have disappeared by the time the opportunity came to visit the cache. But
although the horses and accoutrements were in bad shape, the men were fit
for any task, and more than ready to take on whatever situation might

Our destination was Malancourt, no great distance away, but the roads
were so jammed with traffic that it was long after dark before we reached
the bleak, wind-swept hillside that had been allotted to us. It was
bitterly cold and we groped about among the shattered barbed-wire
entanglements searching for wood to light a fire. There was no difficulty
in finding shell-craters in which to sleep--the ground was so pockmarked
with them that it seemed impossible that it could have been done by human

This country had been an "active" area during practically all the war, and
the towns had been battered and beaten down first by the Boche and then by
the French, and lately we ourselves had taken a hand in the further
demolition of the ruins. Many a village was recognizable from the
encompassing waste only by the sign-board stuck in a mound announcing its
name. The next day's march took us through Esné, Montzeville, and
Bethainville, and on down to the Verdun-Paris highway. We passed by
historic "Dead Man's Hill," and not far from there we saw the mute
reminders of an attack that brought the whole scene vividly back. There
were nine or ten tanks, of types varying from the little Renault to the
powerful battleship sort. All had been halted by direct hits, some while
still far from their objective, others after they had reached the wire
entanglements, and there was one that was already astride of the
first-line trench. The continual sight of ruined towns and desolated
countryside becomes very oppressive, and it was a relief when we began to
pass through villages in which many of the houses were still left
standing; it seemed like coming into a new world.

At ten in the evening I got the battery into Balaicourt. A strong wind was
blowing and the cold was intense, so I set off to try to find billets for
the men where they could be at least partly sheltered. The town was all
but deserted by its inhabitants, and we managed to provide every one with
some degree of cover. Getting back into billets is particularly welcome in
very cold or rainy weather, and we all were glad to be held over a day on
the wholly mythical plea of refitting. Although the time would not be
sufficient to make any appreciable effort in the way of cleaning harness
or _matériel_, the men could at any rate heat water to wash their clothes
and themselves.

The next day's march we regarded as our first in the advance into Germany
to which we had so long looked forward. We found the great Verdun highway
which had played such an important part in the defense that broke the back
of the Hun to be in excellent shape and a pleasant change from the
shell-pitted roads to which we had become accustomed. It was not without a
thrill that I rode, at the head of my battery, through the missive south
gate of Verdun, and followed the winding streets of the old city through
to the opposite portal. Before we had gone many miles the road crossed a
portion of the far-famed Hindenburg line which had here remained intact
until evacuated by the Boche a few days previously under the terms of the

We made a short halt where a negro engineer regiment was at work making
the road passable. A most hospitable officer strolled up and asked if I
wanted anything to eat, which when you are in the army may be classified
with Goldberg's "foolish questions." A sturdy coal-black cook brought me
soup and roast beef and coffee, and never have I appreciated the culinary
arts of the finest French chef as I did that meal, for the food had been
cooked, not merely thrown into one of the tureens of a rolling kitchen,
which was as much as we had recently been able to hope for.

The negro cook looked as if he would have been able to emulate his French
confrère of whom Major de Caraman told me. The Frenchman was on his way to
an outpost with a steaming caldron of soup. He must have lost the way, for
he unexpectedly found himself confronted by a German who ordered him to
surrender. For reply the cook slammed the soup-dish over his adversary's
head and marched him back a prisoner. His prowess was rewarded with a
Croix de Guerre.

It was interesting to see the German system of defense when it was still
intact and had not been shattered by our artillery preparation as it was
when taken in an attack. The wire entanglements were miles in depth, and
the great trees by the roadside were mined. This was done by cutting a
groove three or four inches broad and of an equal depth and filling it
with packages of explosive. I suppose the purpose was to block the road in
case of retreat. Only a few of the mines had been set off.

Passing through several towns that no longer existed we came to Etain,
where many buildings were still standing though completely gutted. The
cellars had been converted into dugouts with passages and ramifications
added. We were billeted in some German huts on the outskirts. They were
well dug in and comfortably fitted out, so we were ready to stay over a
few days, as we had been told we should, but at midnight orders were sent
round to be prepared to march out early.

The country was lovely and gave little sign of the Boche occupation except
that it was totally deserted and when we passed through villages all the
signs were in German. There was but little originality displayed in naming
the streets--you could be sure that you would find a Hindenburg Strasse
and a Kronprinz Strasse, and there was usually one called after the
Kaiser. The mile-posts at the crossroads had been mostly replaced, but
occasionally we found battered metal plaques of the Automobile Touring
Club of France. Ever since we left Verdun we had been meeting bands of
released prisoners, Italians and Russians chiefly, with a few French and
English mingled. They were worn and underfed--their clothes were in rags.
A few had combined and were pulling their scanty belongings on little
cars, such as children make out of soap-boxes. The motor-trucks returning
to our base after bringing up the rations would take back as many as they
could carry.

We came across scarcely any civilians until we reached Bouligny, a once
busy and prosperous manufacturing town. A few of the inhabitants had been
allowed to remain throughout the enemy occupation and small groups of
those that had been removed were by now trickling in. The invader had
destroyed property in the most ruthless manner, and the buildings were
gutted. The domestic habits of the Hun were always to me inexplicable--he
evidently preferred to live in the midst of his own filth, and many times
have I seen recently captured châteaux that had been converted into
veritable pigsties.

The inhabitants went wild at our entry--in the little villages they came
out carrying wreaths and threw confetti and flowers as they shouted the
"Marseillaise." The infantry, marching in advance, bore the brunt of the
celebrations. What interested me most were the bands of small children,
many of them certainly not over five, dancing along the streets singing
their national anthem. It must have been taught them in secret. In the
midst of a band were often an American soldier or two, in full swing,
thoroughly enjoying themselves. The enthusiasm was all of it natural and
uninspired by alcohol, for the Germans had taken with them everything to
drink that they had been unable to finish.

Bouligny is not an attractive place--few manufacturing towns are--but we
got the men well billeted under water-tight roofs, and we were able to
heat water for washing. My striker found a large caldron and I luxuriated
in a steaming bath, the first in over a month, and, what was more, I had
some clean clothes to pull on when I got out.

One evening, when returning from a near-by village, I met a frock-coated
civilian who inquired of me in German the way to Etain. I asked him who he
was and what he wanted. He answered that he was a German but was tired of
his country and wished to go almost anywhere else. He seemed altogether
too apparent to be a spy, and even if he were I could not make out any
object that he could gain. I have often wondered what became of him.

The Boches had evidently not expected to give up their conquests, for they
had built an enormous stone-and-brick fountain in the centre of the town,
and chiselled its name, "Hindenburg Brunnen." Above the German canteen or
commissary shop was a great wooden board with "Gott strafe England"--a
curious proof of how bitterly the Huns hated Great Britain, for there were
no British troops in the sectors in front of this part of the invaded

We worked hard "policing up" ourselves and our equipment during the few
days we stayed at Bouligny. One morning all the townsfolk turned out in
their best clothes, which had been buried in the cellars or hidden behind
the rafters in the attics, to greet the President and Madame Poincaré, who
were visiting the most important of the liberated towns. It was good to
hear the cheering and watch the beaming faces.

On November 21 we resumed our march. Close to the border we came upon a
large German cemetery, artistically laid out, with a group of massive
statuary in the centre. There were some heroic-size granite statues of
Boche soldiers in full kit with helmet and all, that were particularly
fine. As we passed the stones marking the boundary-line between France
and Lorraine there was a tangible feeling of making history, and it was
not without a thrill that we entered Aumetz and heard the old people greet
us in French while the children could speak only German. The town was gay
with the colors of France--produced from goodness knows where. Children
were balancing themselves on the barrels of abandoned German cannon and
climbing about the huge camouflaged trucks. We were now where France,
Luxemburg, and Lorraine meet, and all day we skirted the borders of first
one and then the other, halting for the night at the French town of
Villerupt. The people went wild when we rode in--we were the first
soldiers of the Allies they had seen, for the Germans entered immediately
after the declaration of war, and the only poilus the townsfolk saw were
those that were brought in as prisoners. We were welcomed in the town
hall--the German champagne was abominable but the reception was
whole-hearted and the speeches were sincere in their jubilation.

I was billeted with the mayor, Monsieur Georges. After dinner he produced
two grimy bottles of Pol Roger--he said that he had been forced to change
their hiding-place four times, and had just dug them up in his cellar.
They were destined for the night of liberation. Monsieur Georges was thin
and worn; he had spent two years in prison in solitary confinement for
having given a French prisoner some bread. His eighteen-year-old daughter
was imprisoned for a year because she had not informed the authorities as
to what her father had done. No one in the family would learn a single
word of German. They said that all French civilians were forced to salute
the Germans, and each Sunday every one was compelled to appear in the
market-place for general muster. The description of the departure of their
hated oppressors was vivid--the men behind the lines knew the full portent
of events and were sullen and crestfallen, but the soldiers fresh from the
front believed that Germany had won and was dictating her own terms; they
came through with wreaths hung on their bayonets singing songs of victory.

I had often wondered how justly the food supplies sent by America for the
inhabitants of the invaded districts were distributed. Monsieur Georges
assured me that the Germans were scrupulously careful in this matter,
because they feared that if they were not, the supplies would no longer
be sent, and this would of course encroach upon their own resources, for
even the Hun could not utterly starve to death the captured French
civilians. The mayor told me of the joy the shipments brought and how when
the people went to draw their rations they called it "going to America."
We sat talking until far into the night before I retired to the luxury of
a real bed with clean linen sheets. There was no trouble whatever in
billeting the men--the townsmen were quarrelling as to who should have

Next morning, with great regret at so soon leaving our willing hosts, we
marched off into the little Duchy of Luxemburg. We passed through the
thriving city of Esch with its great iron-mines. The streets were gay with
flags, there were almost as many Italian as French, for there is a large
Italian colony, the members of which are employed in mining and smelting.
Brass bands paraded in our honor, and we were later met by them in many of
the smaller towns. The shops seemed well filled, but the prices were very
high. The Germans seemed to have left the Luxemburgers very much to
themselves, and I have little doubt but that they would have been at least
as pleased to welcome victorious Boches had affairs taken a different
turn. Still they were glad to see us, for it meant the end of the
isolation in which they had been living and the eventual advent of

As we rode along, the countryside was lovely and the smiling fields and
hillsides made "excursions and alarums" seem remote indeed. It felt
unnatural to pass through a village with unscarred church spires and
houses all intact--such a change from battered, glorious France.

We were immediately in the wake of the German army, and taken by and large
they must have been retiring in good order, for they left little behind.
Our first night we spent at the village of Syren, eight kilometres from
the capital of the Duchy. Billeting was not so easy now, for we were
ordered to treat the inhabitants as neutrals, and when they objected we
couldn't handle the situation as we did later on in Germany. No one likes
to have soldiers or civilians quartered on him, and the Luxemburgers were
friendly to us only as a matter of policy. Fortunately, the chalk marks of
the Boche billeting officers had not been washed off the doors, and these
told us how many men had been lodged in a given house.

In my lodging I was accorded a most friendly reception, for my hostess
was French. Her nephew had come up from Paris to visit her a few months
before the outbreak of the war, and had been unable to get back to France.
To avoid the dreaded internment camp he had successfully passed as a
Luxemburger. In the regiment there were a number of men whose parents came
from the Duchy; these and a few more who spoke German acquired a sudden
popularity among their comrades. They would make friends with some of the
villagers and arrange to turn over their rations so that they would be
cooked by the housewife and eaten with the luxurious accompaniment of
chair and table. The diplomat would invite a few friends to enjoy with him
the welcome change from the "slum" ladled out of the caldrons of the
battery rolling kitchen. I had always supposed that I had in my battery a
large number of men who could speak German--a glance over the pay-roll
would certainly leave that impression--but when I came to test it out, I
found that I had but four men who spoke sufficiently well to be of any use
as interpreters.

Next morning we made a winding, roundabout march to Trintange. Here we
were instructed to settle down for a week or ten days' halt, and many
worse places might have been chosen. The country was very broken, with
hills and ravines. Little patches of woodland and streams dashing down
rocky channels on their way to join the Moselle reminded one of Rock Creek
Park in Washington. The weather couldn't be bettered; sharp and cold in
the early morning with a heavy hoarfrost spreading its white mantle over
everything, then out would come the sun, and the hills would be shrouded
in mist.

My billeting officer had arranged matters well, so we were comfortably
installed and in good shape to "police up" for the final leg of the march
to Coblenz. I had now my full allowance of officers--Lieutenants Furness,
Brown, Middleditch, and Pearce. In active warfare discipline while
stricter in some ways is more lax in others, and there were many small
points that required furbishing. Close order drill on foot is always a
great help in stiffening up the men, and such essentials as instruction in
driving and in fitting harness required much attention. In the American
army much less responsibility is given to the sergeants and corporals than
in the British, but even so the spirit and efficiency of an organization
must depend largely on its non-commissioned officers. We were fortunate in
having an unusually fine lot--Sergeant Cushing was a veteran of the
Spanish War. He had been a sailor for many years, and after he left the
sea he became chief game warden of Massachusetts. In time of stress he was
a tower of strength and could be counted upon to set his men an example of
cool and judicious daring. The first sergeant, Armstrong, was an old
regular army man, and his knowledge of drill and routine was invaluable to
us. He thoroughly understood his profession, and was remarkably successful
in training raw men. Sergeants Grumbling, Kubelis, and Bauer were all of
them excellent men, and could be relied upon to perform their duty with
conscientious thoroughness under the most trying conditions.

One afternoon I went in to Luxemburg with Colonel Collins, the battalion
commander. The town looks thoroughly mediæval as you approach. It might
well have been over its castle wall that Kingsley's knight spurred his
horse on his last leap; as a matter of fact the village of Altenahr, where
the poet laid the scene, is not so many miles away. The town is built
along the ragged cliffs lining a deep, rocky canyon spanned by old stone
bridges. The massive entrance-gates open upon passages tunnelled through
the hills, and although the modern part of the town boasts broad streets
and squares, there are many narrow passageways winding around the ancient

I went into a large bookstore to replenish my library, and was struck by
the supply of post-cards of Marshal Foch and Kitchener and the King and
Queen of Belgium. All had been printed in Leipzig, and when I asked the
bookseller how that could be, he replied that he got them from the German
commercial travellers. He said that he had himself been surprised at the
samples shown him, but the salesman had remarked that he thought such
post-cards would have a good sale in Luxemburg, and if such were the case
"business was business," and he was prepared to supply them. There was
even one of King Albert standing with drawn sword, saying: "You shall not
violate the sacred soil of my country." A publication that also interested
me was a weekly paper brought out in Hamburg and written in English. It
was filled with jokes, beneath which were German notes explaining any
difficult or idiomatic words and phrases. With all their hatred of England
the Huns still continued to learn English.

Thanksgiving Day came along, and we set to work to provide some sort of a
special feast for the men. It was most difficult to do so, for the
exchange had not as yet been regulated and the lowest rate at which we
could get marks was at a franc, and usually it was a franc and a quarter.
Some one opportunely arrived from Paris with a few hundred marks that he
had bought at sixty centimes. For the officers we got a suckling pig,
which Mess Sergeant Braun roasted in the priest's oven. He even put the
traditional baked apple in its mouth, a necessary adjunct, the purpose of
which I have never discovered, and such stuffing as he made has never been
equalled. We washed it down with excellent Moselle wine, for we were but a
couple of miles from the vineyards along the river. In the afternoon I
borrowed a bicycle from the burgomaster and trailed over to Elmen, where I
found my brother just about to sit down to his Thanksgiving dinner served
up by two faithful Chinamen, who had come to his regiment in a draft from
the West Coast. After doing full justice to his fare I wended my way back
to Trintange in the rain and dark.

The next day we paid the men. For some it was the first time in ten
months. To draw pay it was necessary to sign the pay-roll at the end of
one month and be on hand at the end of the following month to receive the
money. No one could sign unless his service record was at hand, and as
this was forwarded to the hospital "through military channels" when a man
was evacuated sick or wounded, it rarely reached his unit until several
months after he returned. It may easily be seen why it was that an
enlisted man often went for months without being able to draw his pay.
This meant not only a hardship to him while he was without money, but, it
also followed that when he got it he had a greater amount than he could
possibly need, and was more than apt to gamble or drink away his sudden
accession of wealth. We always tried to make a man who had drawn a lot of
back pay deposit it or send it home. Mr. Harlow, the Y.M.C.A. secretary
attached to the regiment, helped us a great deal in getting the money
transferred to the United States. The men, unless they could spend their
earnings immediately, would start a game of craps and in a few days all
the available cash would have found its way into the pocket of the
luckiest man. They would throw for appallingly high stakes. On this
particular pay-day we knew that the supply of wine and beer in the village
was not sufficient to cause any serious trouble, and orders were given
that no cognac or hard liquor should be sold. A few always managed to get
it--all precautions to the contrary notwithstanding.


On the 1st of December we once more resumed our march and at Wormeldange
crossed over the Moselle River into Hunland. The streets of the first town
through which we passed were lined with civilians, many of them only just
out of uniform, and they scowled at us as we rode by, muttering below
their breath. A short way out and we began to meet men still in the
field-gray uniform; they smiled and tried to make advances but our men
paid no attention. When we reached Onsdorf, which was our destination, the
billeting officer reported that he had met with no difficulty.

The inhabitants were most effusive and anxious to please in every way. Of
course they were not Prussians, and no doubt were heartily tired and sick
of war, but here, as throughout, their attitude was most distasteful to
us--it was so totally lacking in dignity. We could not tell how much they
were acting on their own initiative and to what extent they were following
instructions. Probably there was something of both back of their conduct.
Warnings had been issued that the Germans were reported to be planning a
wholesale poisoning of American officers, but I never saw anything to
substantiate the belief.

Next morning we struck across to the Saar River and followed it down to
its junction with the Moselle. The woods and ravines were lovely, but from
the practical standpoint the going was very hard upon the horses. We
marched down through Treves, the oldest town in Germany, with a population
of about thirty thousand. In the fourth century of our era Ausonius
referred to it as "Rome beyond the Alps," and the extent and variety of
the Roman remains would seem to justify the epithet. We were halted for
some time beside the most remarkable of these, the Porta Nigra, a huge
fortified gateway, dating from the first century A.D. The cathedral is an
impressive conglomeration of the architecture of many different
centuries--the oldest portion being a part of a Roman basilica of the
fourth century, while the latest additions of any magnitude were made in
the thirteenth. Most famous among its treasures is the "holy coat of
Treves," believed by the devout to be the seamless garment worn by Christ
at the crucifixion. The predominant religion of the neighborhood is the
Roman Catholic, and on the occasions when the coat is exhibited the town
is thronged by countless pilgrims.

Leaving Treves we continued down along the river-bank to Rawen Kaulin,
where we turned inland for a few miles and I was assigned to a village
known as Eitelsbach. The inhabitants were badly frightened when we rode
in--most of the men hid and the women stood on the door-steps weeping. I
suppose they expected to be treated in the manner that they had behaved to
the French and Belgians, and as they would have done by us had the
situation been reversed. When they found they were not to be oppressed
they became servile and fawning. I had my officers' mess in the
schoolmaster's house. He had been a non-commissioned officer of infantry,
and yet he wanted to send his daughters in to play the piano for us after
dinner. We would have despised the German less if he had been able to
"hate" a little more after he was beaten and not so bitterly while he felt
he was winning.

The country through which we marched during the next few days was most
beautiful. We followed the winding course of the river, making many a
double "S" turn. The steep hills came right to the bank; frequently the
road was cut into their sides. A village was tucked in wherever a bit of
level plain between the foot of the hill and the river permitted. When the
slopes gave a southern exposure they were covered with grape-vines,
planted with the utmost precision and regularity. Every corner and cranny
among the rocks was utilized. The original planting must have been
difficult, for the soil was covered with slabs of shale. The cultivator
should develop excellent lungs in scaling those hillsides. The leaves had
fallen and the bare vines varied in hue from sepia brown to wine color,
with occasional patches of evergreen to set off the whole. Once or twice
the road left the river to cut across over the mountains, and it cost our
horses much exertion to drag the limbers up the steep, slippery trail. It
was curious to notice the difference between those who dwelt along the
bank and the inhabitants of the upland plateau. The latter appeared
distinctly more "outlandish" and less sleek and prosperous. The highlands
we found veiled in mist, and as I looked back at the dim outlines of horse
and man and caisson, it seemed as if I were leading a ghost battery.

We were in the heart of the wine country, and to any one who had enjoyed a
good bottle of Moselle such names as Berncastel and Piesport had long been
familiar. In the former town I was amused on passing by a large millinery
store to see the proprietor's name was Jacob Astor. The little villages
inevitably recalled the fairy-tales of Hans Andersen and the Grimm
brothers. The raftered houses had timbered balconies that all but met
across the crooked, winding streets through which we clattered over the
cobblestones. Capping many of the beams were gargoyles, demons, and
dwarfs, and a galaxy of strange creatures were carved on the ends of the
gables that jutted out every which way. The houses often had the date
they were built and the initials of the couple that built them over the
front door, frequently with some device. I saw no dates that went further
back than the late sixteen hundreds, though many of the houses doubtless
were built before then. The doors in some cases were beautifully carved
and weathered. The old pumps and wells, the stone bridges, and the little
wayside shrines took one back through the centuries. To judge by the
records carved on wall and house, high floods are no very uncommon
occurrence--the highest I noticed was in 1685, while the last one of
importance was credited to 1892.

We were much surprised at the well-fed appearance of the population, both
old and young, for we had heard so much of food shortages, and the Germans
when they surrendered had laid such stress upon it. As far as we could
judge; food was more plentiful than in France. Rubber and leather were
very scarce, many of the women wore army boots, and the shoes displayed in
shop-windows appeared made of some composition resembling pasteboard. The
coffee was evidently ground from the berry of some native bush, and its
taste in no way resembled the real. Cigars were camouflaged
cabbage-leaves, with little or no flavor, and the beer sadly fallen off
from its pre-war glory. Still, in all the essentials of life the
inhabitants appeared to be making out far better than we had been given to

We met with very little trouble. There were a few instances where people
tried to stand out against having men billeted in their houses, but we of
course paid no attention except that we saw to it that they got more men
than they would have under ordinary circumstances. Every now and then we
would have amusing side-lights upon the war news on which the more
ignorant Boches had been fed. A man upon whom several of my sergeants were
quartered asked them if the Zeppelins had done much damage to New York;
and whether Boston and Philadelphia had yet been evacuated by the
Germans--he had heard that both cities had been taken and that Washington
was threatened and its fall imminent.

Our men behaved exceedingly well. Of course there were individual cases of
drunkenness, but very few considering that we were in a country where the
wine was cheap and schnapps plentiful. There were the inevitable
A.W.O.L.'s and a number of minor offenses, but I found that by making the
prisoner's life very unattractive--seeing to it that they performed
distasteful "fatigues," giving them heavy packs to carry when we marched,
and allowing them nothing that could be construed as a delicacy--I soon
reformed the few men that were chronically shiftless or untidy or late.
When not in cantonments the trouble with putting men under arrest is that
too often it only means that they lead an easier life than their comrades,
and it takes some ingenuity to correct this situation. Whenever it was in
any way possible an offender was dealt with in the battery and I never let
it go further, for I found it made for much better spirit in a unit.

The men were a fine lot, and such thoroughgoing Americans, no matter from
what country their parents had come. One of my buglers had landed in the
United States only in 1913; he had been born and brought up on the
confines of Germany and Austria, and yet when a large German of whom he
was asking the way said, "You speak the language well--your parents must
be German," the unhesitating reply was: "Well, my mother was of German
descent!" The battery call read like a League of Nations, but no one could
have found any cause of complaint in lack of loyalty to the United

The twelfth day after we had crossed over the river from Luxemburg found
us marching into Coblenz. We were quartered in large brick barracks in the
outskirts of the city. The departing Germans had left them in very bad
shape, and Hercules would have felt that cleaning the Augean stables was a
light task in comparison. However, we set to work without delay and soon
had both men and horses well housed. Life in the town was following its
normal course; the stores were well stocked and seemed to be doing a
thriving trade. We went into a café where a good orchestra was playing and
had some very mediocre war beer, and then I set off in search of the
Turkish bath of which I was much in need. The one I found was in charge of
an ex-submarine sailor, and when I was shut in the steam-room I wondered
if he were going to try any "frightfulness," for I was the only person in
the bath. My last one had been in a wine-vat a full week before, and I was
ready to risk anything for the luxury of a good soak.

Orders to march usually reached us at midnight--why, I do not know; but we
would turn in with the belief that we would not move on the following
day, and the next we knew an orderly from regimental headquarters would
wake us with marching instructions, and in no happy frame of mind we would
grumblingly tumble out to issue the necessary commands. Coblenz proved no
exception to this rule. As we got under way, a fine rain was falling that
was not long in permeating everything. Through the misty dripping town the
"caissons went rolling along," and out across the Pfaffendorf bridge, with
the dim outlines of the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein towering above us. The
men were drowsy and cold. I heard a few disparaging comments on the size
of the Rhine. They had heard so much talk about it that they had expected
to find it at least as large as the Mississippi. We found the slippery
stones of the street ascending from the river most difficult to negotiate,
but at length everything was safely up, and we struck off toward the
bridge-head position which we were to occupy for we knew not how long. The
Huns had torn down the sign-posts at the crossroads; with what intent I
cannot imagine, for the roads were not complicated and were clearly
indicated on the maps, and the only purpose that the sign-posts could
serve was to satisfy a curiosity too idle to cause us to calculate by map
how far we had come or what distance lay still before us. A number of
great stone slabs attracted our attention; they had been put up toward the
close of the eighteenth century and indicated the distance in hours. I
remember one that proclaimed it was three hours to Coblenz and eighteen to
Frankfort. I have never seen elsewhere these records of an age when time
did not mean money.

The march was in the nature of an anticlimax, for we had thought always of
Coblenz as our goal, and the good fortune in which we had played as
regarded weather during our march down the valley of the Moselle had made
us supercritical concerning such details as a long, wearisome slogging
through the mud in clumsy, water-logged clothes. At length we reached the
little village of Niederelbert and found that Lieutenant Brown, whose turn
it was as billeting officer, had settled us so satisfactorily that in a
short time we were all comfortably steaming before stoves, thawing out our
cramped joints.

With the exception of Lieutenant Furness my officers belonged to the
Reserve Corps, and we none of us looked forward to a long tour of garrison
duty on the Rhine or anywhere else. Furness, who had particularly
distinguished himself in liaison work with the infantry, held a temporary
commission in the regular army, but he was eager to go back to civil life
at the earliest opportunity. In Germany the prospect was doubly gloomy,
for there would be no intercourse with the natives such as in France had
lightened many a weary moment. Several days later regimental headquarters
coveted our village and we were moved a few miles off across the hills to
Holler. We set to work to make ourselves as snug and comfortable as
possible. I had as striker a little fellow of Finnish extraction name
Jahoola, an excellent man in every way, who took the best of care of my
horse and always managed to fix up my billet far better than the
circumstances would seem to permit.

The days that followed presented little variety once the novelty of the
occupation had worn off. The men continued to behave in exemplary fashion,
and the Boche gave little trouble. As soon as we took up our quarters we
made the villagers clean up the streets and yards until they possessed a
model town, and thereafter we "policed up" every untidiness of which we
might be the cause, and kept the inhabitants up to the mark in what
concerned them. The head of the house in which I was lodged in
Niederelbert told me that his son had been a captain in the army but had
deserted a fortnight before the armistice and reached home in civilian
clothes three weeks in advance of the retreating army. Of course he was
not an officer before the war--not of the old military school, but the
fact that he and his family were proud of it spoke of a weakening
discipline and morale.

Now that we had settled down to a routine existence I was doubly glad of
such books as I had been able to bring along. Of these, O. Henry was the
most popular. The little shilling editions were read until they fell to
pieces, and in this he held the same position as in the British army. I
had been puzzled at this popularity among the English, for much of his
slang must have been worse than Greek to them. I also had _Charles
O'Malley_ and _Harry Lorrequer_, Dumas' _Dame de Monsereau_ and _Monte
Cristo_, Flaubert's _Education Sentimentale_, Gibbon's _Rise and Fall_,
and Borrow's _Zincali_. These with the Oxford Books of French and English
verse and a few Portuguese and Spanish novels comprised my library, a
large one considering the circumstances. It was always possible to get
books through the mail, although they were generally many months en route.

Soon after we reached the bridge-head, officers of the regular army began
turning up from the various schools whither they had been sent as
instructors. We all hoped to be released in this manner, for we felt that
the garrison duty should be undertaken by the regulars, whose life
business it is, in order to allow the men who had left their trades and
professions to return to their normal and necessary work. In the meantime
we set out to familiarize ourselves with the country and keep our units in
such shape that should any unforeseen event arise we would be in a
position to meet it. The horses required particular attention, but one
felt rewarded on seeing their improvement. There were many cases of mange
which we had been hitherto unable to properly isolate, and good fodder in
adequate quantity was an innovation.

For the men we had mounted and unmounted drill, and spent much time in
getting the accoutrements into condition for inspection. During part of
the march up rations had been short, and for a number of days were very
problematical. Sufficient boots and clothing were also lacking and we had
had to get along as best we could without. Now that we were stationary our
wants were supplied, and the worst hardship for the men was the lack of
recreation. A reading-room was opened and a piano was procured, but there
was really no place to send them on short passes; nothing for them to do
on an afternoon off. When I left, trips down the Rhine were being planned,
and I am sure they proved beneficial in solving the problem of legitimate
relaxation and amusement.

My father had sent my brother and myself some money to use in trying to
make Christmas a feast-day for the men. It was difficult to get anything,
but the Y.M.C.A. very kindly helped me out in procuring, chocolates and
cigarettes, and I managed to buy a couple of calves and a few
semi-delicacies in the local market. While not an Arabian Night feast, we
had the most essential adjunct in the good spirits of the men, who had
been schooled by their varied and eventful existence of the past eighteen
months to make the most of things.

In the middle of January my brother and I left for Paris. I was very sorry
to leave the battery, for we had been through much together, but in common
with most reserve officers I felt that, now that the fighting was over,
there was only one thing to be desired and that was to get back to my wife
and children. The train made light of the distance over which it had taken
us so long to march, and the familiar sight of the friendly French towns
was never more welcome. After several months on duty in France and Italy,
I sailed on a transport from Brest, but not for the wonderful home-coming
to which I had so long looked forward.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "War in the Garden of Eden" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.