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Title: Average Americans
Author: Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919
Language: English
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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 "Average Americans" ***

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  [Illustration: Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt
                   From a photograph by Lévey-Dhurmer]



  AVERAGE AMERICANS

  BY
  THEODORE ROOSEVELT
  LIEUTENANT-COLONEL, U. S. A.

  _ILLUSTRATED_

  G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
  NEW YORK AND LONDON
  The Knickerbocker Press
  1919


  COPYRIGHT, 1919
  by
  THEODORE ROOSEVELT


  To
  THE OFFICERS AND MEN
  OF THE 26th INFANTRY



PREFACE


    All our lives my father treated his sons and daughters as
    companions. When we were not with him he wrote to us constantly.
    Everything that we did we discussed with him whenever it was
    possible. All his children tried to live up to his principles.
    In the paragraphs from his letters below, he speaks often of the
    citizens of this country as "our people." It is for all these,
    equally with us, that the messages are intended.

    "New Year's greetings to you! This may or may not be, on the
    whole, a happy New Year--almost certainly it will be in part at
    least a New Year of sorrow--but at least you and your brothers
    will be upborne by the self-reliant pride coming from having
    played well and manfully a man's part when the great crisis
    came, the great crisis that 'sifted out men's souls' and
    winnowed the chaff from the grain."--_January 1, 1918._

    "Large masses of people still vaguely feel that somehow I can
    say something which will avoid all criticism of the government
    and yet make the government instantly remedy everything that is
    wrong; whereas in reality nothing now counts except the actual
    doing of the work and that I am allowed to have no part in.
    Generals Wood and Crowder have been denied the chance to render
    service; appointments are made primarily on grounds of
    seniority, which in war time is much like choosing Poets
    Laureate on the same grounds."--_August 23, 1917._

    "At last, after seven months, we are, like Mr. Snodgrass, 'going
    to begin.' The National Guard regiments are just beginning to
    start for their camps, and within the next two weeks I should
    say that most of them would have started; and by the first of
    September I believe that the first of the National Army will
    begin to assemble in their camps.... I do nothing. Now and then,
    when I can't help myself, I speak, for it is necessary to offset
    in some measure the talk of the fools, traitors, pro-Germans,
    and pacifists; but really what we need against these is action,
    and that only the government can take. Words count for but
    little when the 'drumming guns' have been waked."--_August 23,
    1917._

    "The regular officers are fine fellows, but for any serious work
    we should eliminate two thirds of the older men and a quarter of
    the younger men, and use the remainder as a nucleus for, say,
    three times their number of civilian officers. Except with a
    comparatively small number, too long a stay in our army--with
    its peculiar limitations--produces a rigidity of mind that
    refuses to face the actual conditions of modern warfare. But the
    wonder is that our army and navy have been able to survive in
    any shape after five years of Baker and Daniels."--_September
    17, 1917._

    "Along many lines of preparation the work here is now going
    fairly fast--not much of a eulogy when we are in the ninth month
    of the war. But there cannot be much speed when military
    efficiency is subordinated to selfish personal politics, the
    gratification of malice, and sheer wooden-headed
    folly."--_October 14, 1917_.

    "The socialist vote [in the New York mayoralty election] was
    rather ominous. Still, on the whole, it was only about one fifth
    of the total vote. It included the extreme pacifist crowd, as
    well as the vicious red-flag men, and masses of poor, ignorant
    people who, for example, would say. 'He'll give us five-cent
    milk,' which he could have given as readily as he could have
    given the moon."--_November 7, 1917_.

    "Well, it's dreadful to have those we love go to the front; but
    it is even worse when they are not allowed to go to the
    front."--_Letter to Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., November 11,
    1917._

    "Yesterday mother and I motored down to the draft camp at
    Yaphank. First, I was immensely pleased with the type of the
    men, and the officers are just as good as the average of young
    West Pointers. I believe that in the end that army there will be
    as fine a body of fighting men as any nation in the world could
    desire to see under its banners. But there is still, after
    nearly three months that they have been called out, some
    shortage in warm clothes; there are modern rifles for only one
    man in six; there are only about four guns to an artillery
    brigade."--_November 19, 1917._

    "Of course, the root of our trouble lies in our government's
    attitude during the two and one half years preceding our entry
    into the war, and its refusal now to make the matter one in
    which all good citizens can join without regard to party, and
    paying heed only to the larger interests of the country and of
    mankind at large.... I now strike hands with any one who is
    sound on Americanism and on speeding up the war and putting it
    through to the finish; but we _ought_ to take heed of our
    industrial and social matters too."--_Thanksgiving Day, 1917._

    "There is little I can do here, except to try to speed up the
    war; the failure to begin work on the cargo ships with the
    utmost energy ten months ago was a grave misfortune."--_December
    23, 1917._

    "The work of preparation here goes on slowly. I do my best to
    speed it up; but I can only talk or write; and it is only the
    doers who really count. The trouble is fundamental and twofold.
    The administration has no conception of war needs or what war
    means; and the American army has been so handled in time of
    peace that the bulk of the men high up were sure to break down
    in the event of war."--_January 6, 1918._

    "Over here Senator Chamberlain's committee has forced some real
    improvements in the work of the war department and the shipping
    board. It is of course a wicked thing that a year was wasted in
    delay and inefficiency. Substantially we are, as regards the
    war, repeating what was done in 1812-15; there was then a
    complete breakdown in the governmental work due to the pacifist
    theories which had previously obtained, to inefficiency in the
    public servants at Washington, and above all to the absolute
    failure to prepare in advance. Yet there was much individual
    energy, resourcefulness, and courage; much work by good
    shipwrights; fine fighting of an individual and non-coherent
    kind by ship captains and by occasional generals."--_March 10,
    1918._

    "How I hate making speeches at such time as this, with you boys
    all at the front! And I am not sure they do much good. But
    _someone_ has to try to get things hurried up."--_March 14,
    1918._

    "Wood testified fearlessly before the Senate committee, and the
    country has been impressed and shocked by his telling (what of
    course all well informed people already knew) that we had none
    of our own airplanes or field guns and very few of our own
    machine guns at the front."--_March 31, 1918._

    "The great German drive has partially awakened our people to the
    knowledge that we really are in a war. They still tend to
    complacency about the 'enormous work that has been
    accomplished'--in building home camps and the like--but there
    really is an effort being made to hurry troops over, and
    tardily, to hasten the building of ships, guns, and airplanes.

    "My own unimportant activities are, of course, steadily directed
    toward endeavoring to speed up the war, by heartily backing
    everything that is done zealously and efficiently, and by
    calling sharp attention to luke-warmness and inefficiency when
    they become so marked as to be dangerous."--_April 7, 1918._

    "Of course, we are gravely concerned over the way the British
    have been pushed back; and our people are really concerned over
    the fact that after over a year of formal participation in the
    war our army overseas is too small to be of great use."--_April
    14, 1918._

    "The administration never moves unless it is forced by public
    pressure and public pressure can as a rule only be obtained by
    showing the public that we have failed in doing something we
    should do; for as long as the public is fatuously content, the
    administration lies back and does nothing."--_April 20, 1918._

    "The people who wish me to write for them are divided between
    the desire to have me speak out boldly, and the desire to have
    me say nothing that will offend anybody--and cannot realize that
    the two desires are incompatible."--_April 28, 1918._

    "I spoke at Springfield to audiences whose enthusiastic
    reception of warlike doctrine showed the steady progress of our
    people in understanding what the war means."--_May 5, 1918._

    "It is well to have had happiness, to have achieved the great
    ends of life, when one must walk boldly and warily close to
    death."--_May 12, 1918._

    "We are really sending over large numbers of men now, and the
    shipbuilding program is being rushed; but the situation as
    regards field guns, machine guns, and airplanes continues very
    bad. The administration never takes a step in advance until
    literally flailed into it; and the entire cuckoo population of
    the 'don't criticize the President' type play into the hands of
    the pro-Germans, pacifists, and Hearst people, so that a premium
    is put on our delay and inefficiency."--_May 12, 1918._

    "The only way I can help in speeding up the war is by jarring
    loose our governmental and popular conceit and complacency. I
    point out our shortcomings with unsparing directness and lash
    the boasting and the grandiloquent prophecies.

    "The trouble is that our people are ignorant of the situation
    and that most of the leaders fear to tell the truth about
    conditions. I only wish I carried more weight. Yet I think our
    people are hardening in their determination to win the war, and
    are beginning to ask for results."--_May 23, 1918._

    "The war temper of the country is steadily hardening and so is
    the feeling against all the pro-German agitators at
    home."--_June 2, 1918._

    "In every speech I devote a little time to the 'cut out the
    boasting plea.' Of course I really do think that in spite of our
    governmental shortcomings we are developing our
    strength."--_June 26, 1918._

    "On the Fourth of July I went down to Passaic, where three
    quarters of the people are of foreign parentage, the mayor
    himself being of German ancestry. I talked straightout
    Americanism, of course, which was most enthusiastically
    received; the mayor's two sons have enlisted in the navy, and
    one has been promoted to being ensign. The war spirit of the
    people is steadily rising."--_July 7, 1918._

    "I, of course, absolutely agree with you as to the tremendous
    difficulties and possible far-reaching changes we shall have to
    face after this war. Either _fool Bourbonism_ or _fool
    radicalism_ may land us unpleasantly near--say halfway
    toward--the position in which Russia has been landed by the
    alternation between Romanoffism and Bolshevism."--_July 15,
    1918._

    "It is very bitter to me that all of you, the young, should be
    facing death while I sit in ease and safety."--_July 21, 1918._

    "I keep pegging away in the effort to hurry forward our work. We
    now have enough troops in France to make us a ponderable element
    in the situation."--_August 4, 1918._

    "On Labor Day I spoke at Newburgh shipyard and spoke plainly of
    the labor slackers and the unions that encourage them; and on
    Lafayette Day, at the City Hall, I spoke of the kind of peace we
    ought to have, and nailed to the mast the flag of Nationalism as
    against Internationalism."--_September 9, 1918._

    "The Germans have been given a staggering blow, and while I
    _hope_ for peace by Xmas, I believe we should speed everything
    to the limit on the assumption that next year will be the
    crucial year."--_October 20, 1918._

    "During the last week Wilson has been adroitly endeavoring to
    get the Allies into the stage of note writing and peace
    discussion with an only partially beaten and entirely
    unconquered Germany. I have been backing up the men like Lodge
    who have given utterance to the undoubtedly strong, but not
    necessarily steady, American demand for unconditional surrender.
    It is dreadful to have my sons face danger; but unless we put
    this war through, _their sons may have to face worse danger--and
    their daughters also_."--_October 27, 1918._

    OYSTER BAY, August, 1919.



CONTENTS


                                                       PAGE

  PREFACE                                                 v

  CHAPTER
     I.--BOYHOOD RECOLLECTIONS                            1

    II.--SINS OF THE FATHERS                             21

   III.--OVERSEAS                                        33

    IV.--TRAINING IN FRANCE                              48

     V.--LIFE IN AN ARMY AREA                            66

    VI.--EARLY DAYS IN THE TRENCHES                      82

   VII.--MONTDIDIER                                     120

  VIII.--SOISSONS                                       162

    IX.--ST. MIHIEL AND THE ARGONNE                     183

     X.--THE LAST BATTLE                                201

    XI.--UP THE MOSELLE AND INTO CONQUERED GERMANY      217

   XII.--AFTERWARDS                                     234



ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                  PAGE

  LIEUTENANT COLONEL THEODORE ROOSEVELT                 _Frontispiece_
    From a portrait by Lévey-Dhurmer

  COLONEL ROOSEVELT IN AMERICA TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL
  ROOSEVELT IN FRANCE                                               20

  A GROUP OF OFFICERS OF THE 1ST BATTALION, 26TH INFANTRY           24
    Haudivillers, April, 1917

  BRIGADIER GENERAL FRANK A. PARKER, LIEUTENANT COLONEL
  THEODORE ROOSEVELT, AND MRS. ROOSEVELT AT ROMAGNE                 38

  "CHOW"                                                            58
    Drawn by Captain W. J. Aylward, A. E. F., 1918

  BEFORE THE OFFENSIVE                                              78
    Drawn by Captain W. J. Aylward, A. E. F.

  THE SIGNAL CORPS AT WORK                                          86
    Drawn by Captain Harry E. Townsend, A. E. F.

  A TRENCH RAID                                                    130
    Drawn by Captain George Harding, A. E. F., Montfaucon

  AN AIR RAID                                                      172
    Drawn by Captain George Harding, A. E. F. August, 1918

  THE RHINE AT COBLENZ                                             226
    Drawn by Captain Ernest Peixotto, A. E. F.

  THREE THEODORE ROOSEVELTS                                        240
    Copyright, Walter S. Shinn



AVERAGE AMERICANS



CHAPTER I

BOYHOOD RECOLLECTIONS

            "'Tis education forms the common mind,--
            Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined."
                                             ALEXANDER POPE.


From the time when we were very little boys we were always interested in
military preparedness. My father believed very strongly in the necessity
of each boy being able and willing not only to look out for himself but
to look out for those near and dear to him. This gospel was preached to
us all from the time we were very, very small. A story, told in the
family of an incident which happened long before I can remember,
illustrated this. Father told me one day always to be willing to fight
anyone who insulted me. Shortly after this wails of grief arose from
the nursery. Mother ran upstairs and found my little brother Kermit
howling in a corner. When she demanded an explanation I told her that he
had insulted me by taking away some of my blocks, so I had hit him on
the head with a mechanical rabbit.

Our little boy fights were discussed in detail with father. Although he
insisted on the willingness to fight, he was the first to object to and
punish anything that resembled bullying. We always told him everything,
as we knew he would give us a real and sympathetic interest.

Funny incidents of these early combats stick in my mind. One day one of
my brothers came home from school very proud. He said he had had a fight
with a boy. When asked how the fight resulted he said he had won by
kicking the boy in the windpipe. Further investigation developed the
fact that the windpipe was the pit of the stomach. My brother felt that
it must be the windpipe, because when you kicked someone there he lost
his breath. I can remember father to this day explaining that no matter
how effective this method of attack was it was not considered
sportsmanlike to kick.

Father and mother believed in robust righteousness. In the stories and
poems that they read us they always bore this in mind. _Pilgrim's
Progress_ and _The Battle Hymn of the Republic_ we knew when we were
very young. When father was dressing for dinner he used to teach us
poetry. I can remember memorizing all the most stirring parts of
Longfellow's _Saga of King Olaf_, _Sheridan's Ride_, and the _Sinking of
the Cumberland_. The gallant incidents in history were told us in such a
way that we never forgot them. In Washington, when father was civil
service commissioner, I often walked to the office with him. On the way
down he would talk history to me--not the dry history of dates and
charters, but the history where you yourself in your imagination could
assume the rôle of the principal actors, as every well-constructed boy
wishes to do when interested. During every battle we would stop and
father would draw out the full plan in the dust in the gutter with the
tip of his umbrella.

When very little we saw a great many men serving in both the army and
navy. My father did not wish us to enter either of these services,
because he felt that there was so much to be done from a civilian
standpoint in this country. However, we were taught to regard the
services, as the quaint phraseology of the Court Martial Manual puts it,
as the "honorable profession of arms." We were constantly listening to
discussions on military matters, and there was always at least one
service rifle in the house.

We spent our summers at Oyster Bay. There, in addition to our family,
were three other families of little Roosevelts. We were all taught
out-of-door life. We spent our days riding and shooting, wandering
through the woods, and playing out-of-door games. Underlying all this
was father's desire to have all of us children grow up manly and
clean-minded, with not only the desire but the ability to play our part
at the country's need.

Father himself was our companion whenever he could get away from his
work. Many times he camped out with us on Lloyd's Neck, the only
"grown-up" of the party. We always regarded him as a great asset at
times like these. He could think up more delightful things to do than we
could in a "month of Sundays." In the evening, when the bacon that
sizzled in the frying-pan had been eaten, we gathered round the fire.
The wind soughed through the marsh grass, the waves rippled against the
shore, and father told us stories. Of the children who composed these
picnics, two died in service in this war, two were wounded, and all but
one volunteered, regardless of age, at the outbreak of hostilities.

When we were all still little tadpoles, father went to the war with
Spain. We were too little, of course, to appreciate anything except the
glamour. When he decided to go, almost all his friends and advisers told
him he was making a mistake. Indeed, I think my mother was the only one
who felt he was doing right. In talking it over afterward, when I had
grown much older, father explained to me that in preaching self-defense
and willingness to fight for a proper cause, he could not be effective
if he refused to go when the opportunity came, and urged that "it was
different" in his case. He often said, "Ted, I would much rather explain
why I went to the war than why I did not."

At school and at college father encouraged us to take part in the games
and sports. None of us were really good athletes--father himself was
not--but we all put into it all we had. He was just as much interested
in hearing what we had done on the second football team or class crew as
if we had been varsity stars.

He always preached to us one maxim in particular: take all legitimate
chances in your favor when going into a contest. He used to enforce this
by telling us of a man with whom he had once been hunting. The man was
naturally a better walker than father. Father selected his shoes with
great care. The man did not. After the first few days father was always
able to outwalk and outhunt him just on this account. Father always went
over his equipment with the greatest care before going on a trip, and
this sort of thoroughness was imbued in all his sons.

Long before the European war had broken over the world, father would
discuss with us military training and the necessity for every man being
able to take his part.

I can remember him saying to me, "Ted, every man should defend his
country. It should not be a matter of choice, it should be a matter of
law. Taxes are levied by law. They are not optional. It is not permitted
for a man to say that it is against his religious beliefs to pay taxes,
or that he feels that it is an abrogation of his own personal freedom.
The blood tax is more important than the dollar tax. It should not
therefore be a voluntary contribution, but should be levied on all
alike."

Father was much interested in General Wood's camps for the training of
the younger boys and was heartily in sympathy with them. Both Archie
and Quentin attended them. Quentin had a badly strained back at the
time, but that did not keep him from going.

At the sinking of the _Lusitania_ a very keen realization of the gravity
of the situation was evident all over the country. A number of younger
men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-five met together to talk
things over. In this group were Grenville Clarke, Philip A. Carroll,
Elihu Root, Jr., Cornelius W. Wickersham, J. Lloyd Derby, Kenneth P.
Budd, and Delancy K. Jay. They felt that it was only a question of time
until we would be called to the colors, and realized most keenly the
fact that it is one thing to be willing and quite another to be able to
take your part. They felt, as this war has shown, the lamentable
injustice and grievous loss that is entailed by putting against men who
are trained in the business of fighting untrained men who, no matter how
good their spirit and how great their courage, do not know the game.

The outcome of the conference of these men was the decision to ask
General Wood if it would be possible for him to hold a training camp,
for men up to forty-five years, similar to those held for boys. With the
usual patriotism that characterizes him, General Wood said at once that
he would hold the camp even if they were able to get only twenty-five
men to attend. In the beginning, converts came slowly, but after a
campaign of personal solicitation, in which members of the original
group went individually to various cities in the vicinity of New York,
the movement got under way with such success that the first so-called
"Business Men's Plattsburg Camp" numbered about one thousand, and was
immediately followed by another nearly as large.

At this time the average man did not know what military training and
service meant. The camp was composed of men of all types and all ages.
Many of them, too old for active service, had come as an earnest of
their belief and through the desire to teach by their actions as well as
by their preachings. Robert Bacon and John Purroy Mitchel attended this
camp, both of them men whose memory will always be treasured by those
who were fortunate enough to know them.

We took it all very seriously. At one end of the company street you
would see two prominent middle-aged business men trying to do the manual
of arms properly, rain dripping off them, their faces set like the day
of judgment, crowned with grizzled hair. At the other would be Arthur
Woods, the Police Commissioner of New York, "boning" the infantry drill
regulations. George Wharton Pepper was promoted to sergeant, and was as
proud of it as of any of his achievements in civil life. Bishop Perry of
Rhode Island was named as color sergeant.

Men who went to this Plattsburg camp had to pay their own money in order
to try to fit themselves to serve their country. No more undemocratic
arrangement could have been made for it placed beyond the power of the
men of small means, who form the body of the country, to get in advance
the knowledge necessary to act as an officer. Yet this was the only
course open to us. In the ensuing year these camps spread over the
country, and through them passed many thousands of men. Far over and
above their value from the standpoint of military training was their
educational value in national duty. A large percentage of the
commissioned officers on our country's roll of honor attended the
Plattsburg camps.

These camps in themselves furnished the nucleus for the selection of the
commissioned personnel of the national army, and furnished, furthermore,
the system by which the great mass of our junior officers were chosen
and educated. Yet the movement was launched, not with the backing and
help of the national administration, but rather in spite of the national
administration. No official representing the administration visited
these early camps. Solely by private endeavor, therefore, arose the
system of selection of officers which enabled the army in this war, more
than any army this country has had in the past, to choose the men for
commissions with a keen regard for their ability, with a truer
democracy and less of political influence. On account of this movement
the town of Plattsburg is known from one coast to the other.

During this first camp my father came up to address the men. Up to this
time, although he had spoken on universal military training, it had been
considered as such an unthinkable program that no one had paid any
attention. Two or three times people have asked me when my father first
became convinced of the necessity for universal training and service in
this nation. They have always been greatly surprised when I have
referred them back to a message to Congress written during his first
term as President, in which he suggested that the Swiss system of
training would be an advisable one to adopt in the United States. Many
years before this he had directed N. Carey Sawyer to investigate and
report on Switzerland's military policy. So little were people concerned
with it at that time that no comment of any sort was caused by either
act.

The evening of my father's arrival at Plattsburg an orderly came and
directed me to report at headquarters, where my father was sitting in
conference.

"Ted, I have decided to make a speech to-morrow in favor of universal
service," father said to me. "My good friends here, who believe in it as
much as I do, feel that the time is not ripe, that the country would not
understand it, and that it will merely provoke a storm of adverse
criticism. I have told them that although the country may criticize, and
although unquestionably a storm of attacks will be directed against me,
it must be done, because the country must begin thinking on the
subject."

He spoke next day before the assembled students. The ring of serious
khaki-clad men seated on the parade ground, father speaking very
earnestly in the center, speaking until after dark, when he had to
finish by a lantern, is a clear picture to me.

To many of them this exposition was the first they had ever heard on the
subject. Most of them up to this time had not been interested in it,
and had felt vaguely that compulsory military training and service was
synonymous with the German system and was not democratic. When France
and Switzerland were brought to their attention as democracies, as
efficient democracies, and as countries which had a thoroughly developed
system of universal military training, their eyes were opened and they
saw the matter in a new light. From this camp, directed in a large part
by my father's and General Wood's inspiration and ideas, grew a
nation-wide group of young men who felt the seriousness of the
situation, young men who realized we must take our part and who wished,
as one of my private soldiers put it to me, "At least to have a show for
their white alley" when the war broke.

During the ensuing winter and summer in many parts of the country
enthusiasts were working, and many more camps were founded and carried
to a successful completion. Recognition of a mild sort was obtained
from the National Government. Not recognition which permitted men to go
as men should go in a democracy, to learn to serve their country, as
pupils of the country, at the country's expense, but at least as men
doing something which was not unrecognized and frowned on by their
government.

Toward the winter of 1917 father talked ever increasingly to all of us
concerning his chance of being permitted to take a division or unit of
some sort to Europe. When war was declared he took this matter up
directly with the President. What happened is now history. He took his
disappointment as he took many other disappointments in his life. Often
after he had worked with all that was in him for something, when all
that could be done was done, he would say, "We have done all we can; the
result is now on the knees of the gods."

Meanwhile he was constantly interested in and constantly talked with all
of us about what we were doing. At last, two months after we severed
diplomatic relations, training camps for officers were called into
being with enormous waste and inefficiency, and we ambled slowly toward
the training of an army and its commanding personnel.

All of us except my brother Quentin left for Plattsburg. Quentin, on the
day before diplomatic relations were severed, had telephoned from
college to father to say he would go into the air service, where his
real ability as a mechanician stood him in good stead. Of the other
three, Kermit had had the least training from a purely military
standpoint, having been in South America during most of the time when we
had been working on the "Plattsburg movement." His ability and
experience, however, in other ways were greater, as in his hunting trips
in Africa and South America he had handled bodies of men in dangerous
situations. Archie had attended practically all the camps, and was
naturally a fine leader of men and a boy of great daring.

At Plattsburg, Archie and I were fortunate enough to be put in the same
company. During the major part of the month we were there we were in
charge of the company. Our duty was to instruct potential officers in
the art of war which we ourselves did not know. We spent hours
wig-wagging and semaphoring. Neither of these methods of signaling did I
ever see used in action.

In our "conference" periods the floor was opened for questions. The
conversation would be something like this: "What is light artillery?"
"Light artillery is the lighter branch of the artillery."--"That is all
very well, but define it further." Deep thought. "It is the artillery
carried by men and not by horses." One man asked in all solemnity once,
"Does blood rust steel more than water?" It is not necessary to add that
he never became an officer.

We worked like nailers, but were always watching for the word that
troops were to be sent across. To all of us, from the beginning, it was
not a question of deciding whether we should go or not. We had been
brought up with the idea that, deplorable as war was, the only way when
it broke was to go. The only way to keep peace, a righteous peace, was
to be prepared and willing to fight. A splendid example of a fine family
record is given by Governor Manning's family, of South Carolina: seven
sons, all in service, and one paying the supreme sacrifice.

"If we had a trained army like the Swiss, Germany would never dare
commit any offenses against us, and, furthermore, I believe it highly
possible that the entire war might have been avoided," was a statement
often made to me by father at the beginning of the war.

At the end of the first three weeks we heard rumors that a small
expeditionary force was to be sent over immediately. We telephoned
father at Oyster Bay and asked him if he could help us get attached to
this expeditionary force. He said he would try, and succeeded in so far
as Archie and I were concerned, as we already had commissions in the
officers' reserve corps. We offered to go in the ranks, but General
Pershing said we would be of more value in the grades for which we held
commissions. Our excitement was intense when one day in an official
envelope from Washington we received a communication, "Subject--Foreign
Service." The communication was headed "Confidential," so we were forced
to keep all our jubilation to ourselves. Some ten days after we received
another communication, "Subject--Orders," and were directed to report to
the commanding general, port of embarkation, New York, "confidentially
by wire," at what date we would be ready to start.

We both felt this was not the most expeditious way to proceed, but we
obeyed orders and telegraphed. We supplemented this, however, by taking
the next train and reporting in person at the same time the telegram
arrived, in case they could not decode our message. General Franklin
Bell was the commanding general, and he very kindly helped us get off at
once, and we left on the liner _Chicago_ for Bordeaux on June 18th.

Our last few days in this country we spent with the family. Archie and I
went with our wives to Oyster Bay, where father, mother, and Quentin
were. My wife even then announced her intention of going to Europe in
some auxiliary branch, but she promised me she would not start without
my permission. The promise was evidently made in the Pickwickian sense,
as when I cabled her from Europe not to come the answer that I got was
the announcement of her arrival in Paris. There were six of our
immediate family in the American expeditionary forces--my wife, one
brother-in-law, Richard Derby, and we four brothers. Father, busy as he
was, during the entire time we were abroad wrote to each of us weekly,
and, when he physically could, in his own hand.

    [Illustration: COLONEL ROOSEVELT IN AMERICA TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL
                   ROOSEVELT IN FRANCE

    The last five years have made me bitterly conscious of the
    shortcomings of our national character; but we Roosevelts are
    Americans, and can never think of living anything else, and wouldn't
    be anything else for any consideration on the face of the earth; a
    man with our way of looking at things can no more change his country
    than he can change his mother; and it is the business of each of us
    to play the part of a good American and try to make things as much
    better as possible.

    This means, at the moment, to try to speed up its war; to back its
    army to the limit; and to support or criticize every public official
    precisely according to whether he does or does not efficiently
    support its war and the army.]



CHAPTER II

SINS OF THE FATHERS

             "Sons of the sheltered city--
               Unmade, unhandled, unmeet--
             Ye pushed them raw to the battle
               As ye picked them raw from the street.
             And what did ye look, they should compass?
               Warcraft learned in a breath,
             Knowledge unto occasion
               At the first far view of death?"
                                                 KIPLING.


While we were personally working at Plattsburg the national
administration, after a meandering course, in which much of the motion
was retrograde, had finally decided that to fight a war in France it was
necessary to send troops to that part of the world. Out of this
determination Pershing's force grew.

Investigation of the condition of our military establishment indicated
that we had virtually nothing available. The best that could be done in
the way of an expeditionary force was to group two regiments of marines
and four regular regiments together and send them to Europe as the First
Division. So little attention and thought had been given to military
matters that when the First Division was originally grouped it consisted
of three brigades, not two. These brigades consisted of the Fifth and
Sixth Marines, Twenty-sixth and Twenty-eighth Infantry, and the
Sixteenth and Eighteenth Infantry. In the regiments themselves things
were in the same chaotic condition. Battalions contained three companies
of infantry and one machine-gun company each. This was an eleventh-hour
change from the old system of four companies of infantry, to which we
returned later in the year. We had, furthermore, up to this time, by our
tables of organization, companies of 152 men. These companies were
raised to 200 men, and still later became 250.

As a matter of fact, the strength of these companies at the declaration
of war was somewhere around sixty. The 140 additional were obtained by
getting a percentage by transfer from other infantry regiments, and
filling in the balance with raw recruits who had just volunteered for
service.

My own regiment, the Twenty-sixth Infantry, entrained early in June at
San Benito, Texas, and came to the port of embarkation, New York City.
The trip always stands out in my mind, although I did not join the
regiment until after it had arrived in Europe, because all through the
two years of war I was pestered by a paper which kept constantly turning
up concerning some $100 worth of ham and cheese that was supposed to
have been eaten by the men of the Twenty-sixth Infantry as they passed
through Houston. No one was ever able to furnish me with any information
as to it, but in the best approved military style the communication kept
circulating to and fro, indorsement after indorsement being added,
until, when I last saw it, January, 1919, after the war was finished,
there were some twenty-eight series of remarks, and no one was any the
wiser.

A story that always appealed to me was told me by one of my officers, of
the time when the troop train was lying in the Jersey marshes waiting to
go on board ship. A very good officer, Arnold by name, had command of
one of the companies of the Twenty-sixth Infantry. A number of
lieutenants were sent from the training camps to join the First
Division. The military knowledge of the lieutenants consisted in the
main of a month at Plattsburg at their own expense, and a month for
which the government paid. The lieutenants, after getting to New York,
had their uniforms pressed and cleaned and their shoes beautifully
polished, feeling that at least they would look the part. They went out
to join the troops, who were lying in the cars, hot, dirty and
uncomfortable, after traveling for four days. Arnold was sitting with
his company, his blouse off, unshaven, with his feet on the seat in
front of him. One of the nice young lieutenants came in to report to him
looking, as the lieutenant himself told me afterward, like a fashionable
clothes advertisement, and knowing about as much about military matters
as a canary bird.

     1 LT. EINAR H. GAUSTED        wounded
     2 LT. GEORGE JACKSON          killed May  28, '18
     3 CAPT. AMIEL FREY               "    "   27, '18
     4 LT. GROVER P. CATHER           "    "   28, '18
     5 LT. CHARLES H. WEAVER       wounded
     6 LT. WESLEY FREML            killed June 29, '18
     7 LT. JAMES M. BARRETT        gassed
     8 LT. ROLAND W. ESTEY
     9 MAJOR THEODORE ROOSEVELT    wounded
    10 LT. B. VANN
    11 LT. GEORGE P. GUSTAFSON     killed June  6, '18
    12 LT. TUVE J. FLODEN          wounded
    13 LT. REXIE E. GILLIAM        wounded
    14 LT. JOHN P. GAINES          wounded
    15 LT. LEWIS TILLMAN
    16 LT. PERCY E. LE STOURGEON   wounded
    17 LT. BROWN LEWIS             wounded
    18 CAPT. HAMILTON K. FOSTER    killed Oct.  2, '18
    19 LT. PAUL R. CARUTHERS       wounded
    20 LT. M. MORRIS ANDREWS
    21 LT. WILLIAM C. DABNEY       wounded
    22 LT. DONALD H. GRANT
    23 CAPT. E. D. MORGAN
    24 LT. DENNIS H. SHILLEN       wounded
    25 LT. HARRY DILLON            killed Oct.  4, '18
    26 LT. CHARLES RIDGELY
    27 LT. JOSEPH P. CARD
    28 LT. STEWART A. BAXTER       wounded
    29 LT. THOMAS D. AMORY         killed Oct.  3, '18
    30 LT. THOMAS B. CORNELI

  [Illustration: A GROUP OF OFFICERS OF THE 1ST BATTALION, 26TH INFANTRY
                   Haudivillers. April, 1917]

Arnold looked at him in a weary way, shook his head sadly and remarked
to the officer beside him, "We have only ourselves to blame for it."
Indeed, we were to blame for conditions, and such of us as were
fortunate enough to see service in Europe had the sins of our
unpreparedness brought before us in the most glaring light.

Just how much training and experience were of value was everywhere
evident. In my opinion, all divisions sent over by this country were
approximately equal in intelligence and courage. There was, however, the
greatest difference between the veteran divisions and those which had
just arrived. Each division, after being given the same amount of
training and fighting, would show up much the same, but put a division
which had been fighting for six months alongside of one that had just
arrived, and in every detail you could see the difference. The men of
the newly arrived division were as courageous as the men of the old
division. Their intelligence was as good, but they did not know the
small things which come only with training and experience, and which, in
a close battle, make the difference between victory and defeat, the
difference between needless sacrifice and the sacrifice which brings
results.

A great friend of mine, Colonel Frederick Palmer, put this to me very
clearly. He was observing the action of our troops in the Argonne and
came on a young lieutenant with a platoon of infantry. The lieutenant
was fidgeting and highly nervous. When Palmer came up he said, "Sir,
there is a machine gun on that hill. I don't know whether I should
attack it or whether I should wait until the troops on the right and
left arrive and force it out. I don't know whether it is killing my men
to no purpose whatever to advance. I don't know what to do. I am not
afraid. My men are not afraid."

This man belonged to one of the newly arrived divisions. Given the
experience, he would have known exactly what to do. If he had been a
man of an older division and had seen sufficient service he would have
been doing what was necessary when Colonel Palmer arrived.

The little tricks which come only with soldiering and training, which do
not appear in the accounts of the battles and are never found in the
citations for valor, are those which make the great difference. For
example, Napoleon has said that an army travels on its stomach. It is
often quoted and rarely understood, yet nothing is more true. The men
have had a hard day's fighting. They are wet, they are cold, they have
marched for a week, mostly at night, and are worn out. Can you get the
food forward to them? Can you get the food to them hot? If you can get
hot food forward to them you have increased the fighting efficiency of
these troops thirty per cent.

Experienced troops get this food forward. A machine working on past
experience knows exactly what to do. The supply trains keep track of
their advance units and follow closely in their rear. During the
engagement the supply officers are planning where to put their rolling
kitchens and what routes can be used to get the supplies forward.
Meanwhile the echelons of supply in the rear are acting in the same
manner. One does not find in the drill-book that the way to keep coffee
and slum hot after it has left the rolling kitchens is to take out the
boilers with the food in them, wrap these boilers in old blankets, put
them on the two-wheeled machine-gun carts, which can go nearly anywhere,
and work forward to the troops in this way. This is just one instance,
one trick of the trade. It is something that only training and
experience can supply, and yet it is of most vital importance. I have
known divisions to help feed the more recently arrived divisions on
their right and left, when all have had the same facilities to start
with. I have known new troops, fighting by an older division, to be
forty hours without food when the men of the older division had been
eating every day.

Right in the ranks of a regiment you could see the difference made by
training and experience. Look at a trained man alongside of a new
recruit just arrived for replacement. The trained man, at the end of the
day's fighting, will fix himself up a funk hole where he will be
reasonably safe from shell fragments, will cover himself with a blanket,
and will get some sleep. The recruit will expose himself unnecessarily,
will be continuously uncomfortable, and will not know how to take
advantage of whatever opportunity might arise to make himself more
comfortable. The result is that the value of the former is much greater
from a military standpoint, and the latter runs a far greater risk
physically from all standpoints. Moreover, when the test comes, as it
generally does, not in the beginning of the battle, but toward the
bitter end, when every last ounce that a man has in him is being called
on, the untrained man is not so apt to have the necessary vitality left
to do his work.

Our equipment, for the same reason, during the early days of the war was
most impracticable. A notable example of this was the so-termed "iron
ration" carried on the men's backs. The meat component of this ration
was bacon. In certain types of fighting, those in which our army had
been principally engaged, this may have been best, but for the work in
Europe, it was absolutely impracticable. To begin with, bacon encourages
thirst, and thirst, where troops are fighting in many of the districts
in France, is almost impossible to satisfy. A canteen of water a day for
each man was all it was possible to provide. Furthermore, bacon has to
be cooked, and this again is often impracticable. About a year after the
beginning of the war, some of the older divisions adopted tinned beef,
which went among the men under the euphonious name of "monkey meat."

To the average person in this country these things are not evident. They
read of battles, they read of the courage of the men, of the casualties,
of the glory. They do not appreciate the unnecessary sacrifices and the
unnecessary deaths and hardships entailed on us by our policies.

It is all very well for someone comfortably ensconced in his swivel
chair in Washington to issue the statement that he glories in the fact
that we went into this war unprepared. It may be glorious for him, but
it is not glorious for those who fight the war, for those who pay the
price. The clap-trap statesmen of this type should be forced to go
themselves or at least have their sons, as guarantee of their good
faith, join the fighting forces. Needless to say, none of them did.

Except for one instance, I do not believe there is a single male member
of the families of the administration who felt that his duty called him
to be where the fighting was, a single male member who heard a gun fired
in anger. I have heard some of these estimable gentlemen say they
considered it improper to use any influence to get to the front much
though they desired to do so. This type of observation is hypocritical.
No doubt the men who gave their lives, their eyes, their arms, or their
legs would feel deeply grieved to be robbed of this privilege.

I have quoted above my father's statement that he would rather have
explained why he went to war than why he did not, for the benefit of
these gentlemen. I should think they would rather explain why they used
their influence to be where the danger was than why they did not. As my
father wrote me in June, 1918: "When the trumpet sounds for Armageddon,
only those win the undying honor and glory who stand where the danger is
sorest."



CHAPTER III

OVERSEAS

                "Behind him lay the gray Azores,
                  Behind the gates of Hercules,
                Before him not the ghosts of shores
                  Before him only shoreless seas."
                                         JOAQUIN MILLER.


My brother and I sailed from New York for Bordeaux on June 18, 1917. One
little incident of the voyage always stands out in my mind. As we were
leaving the harbor, the decks crowded with passengers, everyone keyed up
to a high state of excitement, our flag was lowered for some reason.
While being lowered it blew from the halyards and fell into the water,
and as it fell one could hear everyone who saw it catch his breath, like
a great sob.

The passenger list was polyglot. French returning from missions to the
United States, Red Cross workers, doctors, ambulance drivers, and a few
casual officers. We spent our time trying to improve our French to such
an extent that we could understand or be understood when speaking it
with others than Americans. Our teacher was Felix, a chauffeur. He had
already served in the artillery in the French army, finally finishing
the war as a captain in the same branch of the service in the United
States army.

We touched the shore of France toward the end of June and, passing a few
outgoing ships and a couple of torpedoed vessels, steamed slowly up the
broad, tranquil estuary of the Garonne. In the town of Bordeaux all the
inhabitants were greatly excited about _Les Américaines_. We were the
first they had seen since the news had reached France that we were
sending troops, and as we drove through the multi-colored market the old
crones would get up and cackle their approval.

To the average Frenchman who had always been accustomed to a sound
scheme of preparedness and trained men who could go to the colors for
immediate service, we were taken to be simply the first contingent of an
enormous army which would follow without interruption. The poor people
were bitterly disappointed when they found that the handful of untrained
men alluded to by our papers in this country as "the splendid little
regular army" represented all that we had available in the United
States, and that ten months would pass before a really appreciable
number of troops would arrive.

From Bordeaux we went by train to Paris. In the train the same interest
in and excitement over us continued. The compartment was full of French
soldiers, who asked us all about our plans, the number of our troops and
when they would arrive. Outside it was a beautiful day, and the green,
well-cultivated fields and picturesque, quiet villages made it hard to
realize we were really in France, where the greatest war in history was
being fought.

On reaching Paris we reported to General Pershing. He asked us what duty
we wished. We both replied, service with troops. He assigned my brother
at once to the Sixteenth Infantry, and ordered me to go with the advance
billeting detail to the Gondecourt area, where our troops were to train.

Meanwhile the convoyed ships containing the troops had arrived at St.
Nazaire. On the way over officers and men had tried to do what they
could to prepare themselves. One of the officers told me he spent his
time learning the rules of land warfare for civilized nations as agreed
on by the Hague tribunal. Like the dodo, the mammoth, and international
law, these rules had long since become extinct.

From St. Nazaire a battalion of the Sixteenth Infantry went to Paris and
paraded on the Fourth of July. The population went crazy over them.
Cheering crowds lined the streets, flowers were thrown at them, and I
think the men felt that France and war were not so bad after all. As a
side light on our efficiency in this parade the troops were marched in
column of squads because the men were so green that the officers were
afraid to adopt any formation where it was necessary to keep a longer
line properly dressed.

Meanwhile three officers and I had left Paris and gone to Gondecourt.
The officers were General (then Colonel) McAlexander, who since made a
splendid record for himself when the Third Division turned the German
offensive of July 15, 1918, east of Château Thierry; General (then
Major) Leslie McNair, afterward head of the artillery department of the
training section; and Colonel Porter, of the medical corps. We knew
nothing about billeting. The sum total of my knowledge was a hazy idea
that it meant putting the men in spare beds in a town and that it was
prohibited by the Constitution of the United States.

Toward evening we arrived at the little French village of Gondecourt.
The streets were decorated with flowers, and groups of little French
children ran to and fro shouting _Vive les Américaines_! We were met by
French officers and taken to the inn, a charming little brownstone
building, where French officers, soldiers and civilians mingled without
distinction. There the mayor of the town and the town major, who is
appointed in all zones of the army as the representative of the
military, came to call on us, and we started to get down to business. A
most difficult thing for our men to realize was the various formalities
through which one must go in working with the French. Many times real
trouble was caused because the Americans did not understand what a part
in French life _politesse_ plays. No conversation on military matters is
carried on by the French in the way we would. You do not go straight to
the point. Each participant first expresses himself on the virtues and
great deeds of the other, and after this the sordid matter of business
in hand is taken up. We were poorly equipped for this. Only McNair and I
spoke French at all, and ours was weird and awful to a degree. We had
both been taught by Americans after the best approved United States
method.

The French town major with whom we dwelt was an old fellow, a veteran
of the war of 1870. He had an enormous white mustache. He "snorted like
a buffalo," and the one word that I always understood was
_parfaitement_, which he constantly used.

  [Illustration: BRIGADIER GENERAL FRANK A. PARKER, LIEUTENANT COLONEL
                 THEODORE ROOSEVELT, AND MRS. ROOSEVELT AT ROMAGNE]

Right by this area was the birthplace of Jeanne d'Arc. The humble little
village, Domremy, is just like any of those in the surrounding country.
The house where she is supposed to have lived is rather smaller than its
neighbors. In many ways Jeanne d'Arc and this little village symbolize
France to me. France is France not on account of those who scintillate
in Paris, but on account of the humbler people, those whom the tourist
never sees, or if he does, forgets. France has no genius for politics.
Her Chamber of Deputies is composed of men who amount to little and who
do not share the national ideals and visions, but in the body of the
people you find that flaming and pure patriotism which counts no costs
when the fight is for France. The national impulse will exist as long as
there is a peasant left alive.

The training area was composed of a number of towns with from 150 to 500
civilian population. We ran from village to village in automobiles,
surprised and appalled by the number of men that the French military
were able to put in each.

These small French villages in the north of France resemble nothing that
we have in our country. They are charming and picturesque, but various
features are lacking which to the well-ordered American mind causes
pain. To begin with, there is no system of plumbing. The village gets
all its water supply from the public fountains. This naturally makes a
bath an almost unknown luxury. Many times I have been asked by the
French peasants why I wanted a bath, and should it be winter, was I not
afraid I would be taken sick if I took one. Around these public
fountains the village life centers. There the chattering groups of women
and girls are always congregating. There the gossip of the countryside
originates and runs its course. There is rarely electric light in the
small towns, and enormous manure piles are in front of each house and
in the street. The houses themselves are a combination affair, barn and
house under the same roof. The other features that are always present
are the church and café. Even in the smallest town there are generally
charming chapels. The cafés are where the opinions of the French nation
are formed.

The peasants who live in these villages have an immemorial custom behind
them in most of their actions. They have the careful attitude of an old
people, very difficult for our young and wasteful nation to understand.
Each stray bit of wood, each old piece of iron, is saved and laid aside
for future use. No great wasteful fires roar on the hearth, but rather a
few fagots, carefully measured to do just what is intended for them.

The families have lived in the same spot for generations. Their roots
are very firmly in the ground. Individually they are a curious
combination of simplicity and shrewdness. One old woman with whom my
brother Archie was billeted in the town of Boviolles became quite a
friend of ours. We talked together in the evening, sitting by the great
fireplace, in which a little bit of a fire would be burning. She had
never in her life been farther than six or eight miles from the village
of Boviolles. To her Paris was as unreal as Colchis or Babylon to us.
She, in common with her country folk, looked forward to the arrival of
the American army, much in the way we would look forward to the arrival
of the Hottentots. In fact, when she heard we were coming to the
village, she at first decided to run away. To her the United States was
a wilderness inhabited by Indians and cowboys. We told her about New
York City and Chicago. We told her that New York was larger than Paris
and that neither of us had ever shot a bear there and no Indians
tomahawked people on the street. We explained to her that if you took
all the houses in the village and placed them one on top of another they
would not stand as high as some of our buildings. As a result, she felt
toward us much as the contemporaries of Marco Polo felt toward him--we
were amiable story-tellers and that was all.

Once I introduced a French officer to Colonel William J. Donovan, of the
165th Infantry. In the course of my introduction I mentioned the fact
that Colonel Donovan came from Buffalo. After Donovan had gone, the
Frenchman remarked to me, "Buffalo is very wild, is it not?" I answered
him guardedly, "Not very." He explained, "But it is the place where you
hunt that great animal, is it not?"

Something that struck me forcibly was the total lack of roving desire
among the peasants. Where they had been born, there they desired to live
and die. This you would see in the _poilu_ in the trenches, whose idea
always was to return home again to the house where he was born.

There is also a very real democracy in the French army. This should be
borne in mind by all those who go about talking of the military
aristocracy which would be built up by universal service in this
country. In France I have seen sons of the most prominent families, the
descendants of the old _haute noblesse_, as privates or noncommissioned
officers. I also have seen in the little French villages a high officer
of the French army returning to his family for his leave, that family
being the humblest of peasants, living in a cottage of two rooms. I have
dined with a general, been introduced by him to the remainder of his
family, and found them privates and noncommissioned officers.

The French sent to the Gondecourt area a division of the "Chasseurs
Alpins" to help train us. The chasseurs are a separate unit from the
French infantry and have their own particular customs. To begin with,
their military organization is slightly different, in that they do not
have regiments and the battalion forms the unit. Their uniforms are dark
blue with silver buttons, and they do not wear the ordinary French cap,
but have a dark-blue cloth _bérèt_, or tam-o'-shanter, with an Alpine
horn embroidered in silver as insignia. The corps is an old one and has
many traditions. Their pride is to consider themselves as quite apart
from the infantry; indeed, they feel highly insulted if you confuse the
two, although, to all intents and purposes, their work is identical.
They have songs of their own, some of them very uncomplimentary to the
infantry, and highly seasoned, according to our American ideas. They
have a custom when marching on parade of keeping a step about double the
time of the ordinary slow step. Their bugle corps, which they have
instead of our regimental brass bands, are very snappy and effective,
and the men have a trick of waving their bugles in unison before they
strike a note, which is very effective. They have no drums. These
quaint, squat, jovial, dark-haired fellows were billeted in the villages
all around our area.

The billeting party, after working very hard and accomplishing very
little, divided the area up as the French suggested. In advance of the
remainder of our troops the battalion of the Sixteenth Infantry, which
paraded in Paris on the Fourth of July, arrived. We were all down at the
train to meet them, as was a battalion of the Chasseurs Alpins. They
came in the ordinary day coaches used in France. I remember hearing an
officer say that these were hard on the men. It was the last time that I
ever saw our troops travel in anything but box cars, and this
arrangement was made, I think, as a special compliment by the French
Government.

A couple of days afterward came the Fourteenth of July. The French had a
parade, and our troops took part in it. The French troops came first
past the reviewing officers, who were both French and American. The
infantry of each battalion passed first, bayonets glittering, lines
smartly dressed; following them in turn the machine-gun companies, or
"jackass batteries," as they were called by our men, the mules finely
currycombed and the harness shining. Their bands, with the brass
trumpets, played snappily. Altogether they gave an appearance of
confident efficiency. Then came our troops--in column of squads. What
held good in Paris still held good--our splendidly trained little army
did not dare trust itself to take up platoon front.



CHAPTER IV

TRAINING IN FRANCE

    "I wish myself could talk to myself as I left 'im a year ago;
    I could tell 'im a lot that would save 'im a lot in the things
       that 'e ought to know.
    When I think o' that ignorant barrack bird it almost makes me cry."
                                                                KIPLING.


A day or two after the Fourteenth of July review the rest of the troops
arrived and my personal fortune hung in the balance, as I was still
unattached. Colonel Duncan, afterward Major General Duncan, commander of
the Seventy-seventh and Eighty-second divisions, was then commanding the
Twenty-sixth Infantry. One of his majors had turned out to be
incompetent. He came to General Sibert and asked if he had an extra
major to whom he could give a try-out.

"Yes," replied General Sibert. "Why not try Roosevelt?"

"Send him along and I will see what he's good for," was Duncan's reply.

I went that day, took command of my battalion the day after, and never
left the Twenty-sixth Infantry, except when wounded, until just before
coming back to this country after the war.

Most of the Twenty-sixth Infantry was billeted in a town called
Demange-aux-Eaux, one of the largest in the area. By it flowed a
good-sized stream, a convenient bathtub for officers and men alike. We
started at once cleaning up places for the company kitchens, getting the
billets as comfortable as possible and selecting sites for drill
grounds.

The men, who up to this time had been bewildered by the rapid changes,
now began to find themselves and make up to the French inhabitants. I
have seen time and time again a group composed of two or three _poilus_
and two or three doughboys wandering down the street arm in arm, all
talking at once, neither nationality understanding the other and all
having a splendid time. The Americans' love for children asserted
itself and the men made fast friends with such youngsters as there were.
It is a sad fact that there are very few children in northern France. In
the evenings, after their drill was over, the men would sit in groups
with the women and children, talking and laughing. Sometimes some
particularly ambitious soldier would get a French dictionary and
laboriously endeavor to pick out, word by word, various sentences.
Others, feeling that the French had better learn our language rather
than we learn theirs, endeavored to instruct their new friends in
English.

About this time that national institution of France, _vin ordinaire_,
was introduced to our men. The two types, _vin blanc_, white wine, and
_vin rouge_, red wine, were immediately christened _vin blink_ and _vin
rough_. The fact that this wine could be bought for a very small amount
caused much interest. Champagne also came well within the reach of
everyone's purse. To most of the men, champagne, up to this time, had
been something they read about, and was connected in their minds with
Broadway and plutocracy. It represented to them untold wealth completely
surrounded by stage beauties. Here, all of a sudden, they found
champagne something which could be bought by the poorest buck private.
This, in some cases, had a temporarily disastrous effect, for under
circumstances such as these a number of men might naturally feel that
they should lay in a sufficient supply of champagne to last them in
memory, if nothing else, through the rest of their lives.

I remember particularly one of my men who dined almost exclusively on
champagne one evening and returned to his company with his sense of
honor perhaps slightly distorted and his common sense entirely lacking.
The company commander, Captain Arnold, of whom I spoke before, was
standing in front of his billet when this man appeared with his rifle on
his shoulder, saluted in the most correct military manner, and said, "I
desire the company commander's permission to shoot Private So-and-So,
who has made some very insulting remarks concerning the town in which I
lived in the United States."

Trouble of all sorts, however, was very small considering the
circumstances, and decreased with every month the troops were in France.
We always found that the new men who arrived for replacements were the
ones who were most likely to overstep the bounds, and with them it was
generally the novelty rather than anything else.

Then came the question of French money. We were all paid in francs. To
begin with, our soldiers received eight or ten times as much pay as the
average French soldier. This put them in the position of bloated
plutocrats. Then, too, none of us had very much idea of what French
money meant. Since the war the paper of which French money was made had
been of very inferior quality, and I know I personally felt that when I
could get anything concrete, such as a good dinner, in exchange for
these very dilapidated bits of paper, I had made a real bargain. The
soldiers, I am sure, were of the same opinion. Prices tripled wherever
we were in France. Indeed, I doubt if in all their existence the little
villages in our training area had ever had a tenth part of the money in
circulation that appeared just after pay day for the troops.

Of course, the French overcharged our men. It's human nature to take as
much as you can get, and the French are human. One should remember, in
blaming them for this, that our troops, before sailing for France, were
overcharged by people in this country. When the doughboy wanted eggs,
for instance, he wanted them badly, and that was all there was to it. In
every company there was generally one good "crap shooter." What the
French did not get he got, and, contrary to the usual theory of
gamblers' money, he usually saved it. One of the trials of an officer is
the men's money. Before action, before any move, the men who have any
money always come to their C. O. and ask him to keep it for them. I
remember once an old sergeant came to me and asked me to keep two or
three thousand francs for him. I did. Next day he was A. W. O. L. He
had not wanted to keep the money for fear of spending it if he got
drunk. When he came back I tried him by court-martial, reduced him to
the ranks, and gave him back his money.

During the twenty months that I spent in Europe I was serving with
troops virtually the entire time, commanding them in villages all
through the north of France, through Luxembourg and Germany, and in all
that period I never had one complaint from the inhabitants concerning
the treatment by our men of either women or children. When we went into
conquered territory we did not even consider it necessary to speak to
the men on this point, and our confidence was justified. Occasionally a
man and his wife would call on me and ask if Private "So-and-So" was
really a millionaire in America, as he had said, because, if so, they
thought it would be a good thing for him to marry their daughter. This
would, however, generally smooth itself out, as Private "So-and-So," as
a rule, had no intention of marrying their daughter, and they had no
intention of letting her marry him when they found out that the
statement concerning his family estates in America was, to put it
mildly, highly colored. Oddly enough, this is not as queer as one might
think. The company cook in one of the companies of our battalion
inherited, while in Europe, about $600,000. It never bothered him from
any standpoint. He still remained cook and cooked as well as ever.

The average day's training was divided about as follows: First call
about 6 o'clock, an hour for breakfast and policing. After that, the
troops marched out to some drill ground, where they maneuvered all day,
taking their lunch there and returning late in the afternoon. Formal
retreat was then held, then supper, and by 10 o'clock taps sounded. The
American troops experienced a certain amount of difficulty in fixing on
satisfactory meeting grounds with the corresponding French units with
whom they were training. Our battalion, however, was fortunate, but
another battalion of our regiment had at periods to turn out before
daylight in order to make the march necessary to connect.

This battalion during the early part of our training was billeted in the
same town. One day their first call sounded at somewhere around 4.15. A
good sergeant, Murphy by name, an old-timer who had been in the army
twenty-four years, had his platoon all in one billet. He heard the first
call, did not realize that it was not for him, and turned his platoon
out. By the time he had the platoon filing out he discovered his
mistake. At the same time he noticed that one of the men had not turned
out. Murphy was a strict disciplinarian and he took a squad from the
platoon and went in to find the man. The man explained that this was not
the correct call. Sergeant Murphy said that that made no difference,
that when a platoon was formed, the place for every man was with the
platoon, and, to the delight of the platoon and particularly the squad
which assisted him, escorted the recalcitrant sleeper out and dropped
him in the stream.

Sergeant Murphy was the type of man who is always an asset to a command.
On the way to Europe he had been in charge of the kitchen police on
board the transport and here had earned himself the name of "Spuds"
Murphy. He was always faithful to whatever job he was detailed. When
things were breaking badly he could always be depended on to cheer the
men up by joking with them. He was an old fellow, bent and very gray,
and he was physically unable to stand a lot of the racket, so I used to
order him to stay behind with the kitchens when we went into action. One
night, when the troops were moving up to the front line, I was standing
by the side of the road checking off the platoons as they passed. I
thought I recognized one figure silhouetted against the gray sky. A
moment later I was positive when I heard, "Sure and if you feel that way
about the Gairmans there're as good as beat."

"Sergeant Murphy?"

"Sor-r?"

"What are you doing here? Didn't I tell you to stay with the kitchens?"

"But I didn't be thinkin' the Major would be wantin' me to stay coffee
coolin' all the time, so I just come up for a little visit with the
men."

The actual training consisted of practice with the hand grenade, rifle
grenade, automatic rifle, rifle, and bayonet, and in trench digging. We
had a certain amount of difficulty merging the troops in with the
French. It was really very hard for men who did not speak the same
language to get anywhere. In addition to this, the French temperament is
so different from ours. They always felt that much could be learned by
our troops watching theirs. But the soldier doesn't learn by watching.
His eye doesn't teach his muscles service. The way to train men is by
physical exercise and explanation, not by simply watching others train.

At one time an artillery demonstration was scheduled. In it we were to
see a rolling barrage illustrated and also destructive fire. The men
paid no attention at all to the bombardment. A company commander
described to me how the men lay down and rested when they got to the
maneuvers ground.

  [Illustration: "CHOW"
                   Drawn by Captain W. J. Aylward, A. E. F., 1918]

"Whizz, Bill, hear that boy," casually remarked one, when the first
shell went over. "What was it you said?"

An interesting sidelight on our military establishment is afforded by
the fact that on our arrival in France there was no one with the command
who had ever shot an automatic rifle, thrown a hand grenade, shot a
rifle grenade, used a trench mortar or a .37-millimeter gun. These were
all modern methods of waging warfare, yet none of our military had been
trained to the least degree in any of them. To all of us they were
absolutely new. The closest any of us came to any previous knowledge was
from occasional pictures we had seen in the illustrated reviews.

The Major of the French battalion with whom we trained was named
Menacci. He was a Corsican by birth and looked like a stage pirate. He
had a long black beard, sparkling black eyes, and a great appearance of
ferocity, but was as gentle a soul as I have ever known. The topic that
interested him above all others was the question of marriage. He was
just like a young girl or boy and loved to be teased about it. A very
fine fellow called Beauclare assisted him. Beauclare was from the north
of France, tall and light-haired, and full of energy. He would strip off
his coat, throw grenades with the men, and join in the exercises with as
much enjoyment as anyone.

Curiously enough, the good fellowship of the French made things rather
hard for many of us. The Chasseurs were as kind as could be, and I never
shall cease to respect the men with whom we trained, both as soldiers
and gentlemen. We, however, were trying by incessant work to overcome
the handicap of ignorance with which we had started, while they were out
of the line for a rest and naturally wished to enjoy themselves, have
parties, and relax.

At one time we tried attaching noncommissioned officers from the French
units to ours. We hoped we could accomplish more this way. It did not
work well, however, except in one instance, in which the American
company became so fond of their French "noncom." that they did their
level best to keep him with them for the rest of the war.

Toward the end of the training period, before the French left us, we had
a sort of official party for both our troops and the French troops. It
was held on our drill grounds and everyone had chow. The men and
officers really enjoyed this affair. Later we gave another party for the
French officers, who came and lunched with us. In the athletic sports
that afternoon we experienced some difficulty with the middleweight
boxing because Sergeant Ross, of B Company, was so much the best boxer
that we could find no one to put up a good fight against him.

Among the other sports was a "salad" race, in which all the combatants
take off their shoes, piling them in the center of a circle. They line
up around the edges and, at the word "go," run forward, try to find
their own shoes, put them on, and lace them up. The man who first does
this wins. Of course, the contestants throw each other's shoes around,
which adds to the general mix-up, with the usual comic incidents. During
the meet a lieutenant rushed up to me before the tug of war was to be
staged, terribly excited, explaining that the best men in his company's
team for a tug of war were just going on guard. I hurried off to try to
change this and succeeded in mixing the guard up to such an extent that
it took the better part of a day to get it straightened out again.

The French noncoms came over also and dined with our men, and one day
all of us went over to the French village and saw their sports, mule
races, pole vaulting, etc. Their officers' messes are very picturesque.
Every action is surrounded by custom. They rise in their snappy blue
uniforms and sing songs of previous battles and victories, and drink
toasts to long-dead leaders.

It was at this time we developed our policy concerning punishment. Under
circumstances such as we were up against it was necessary to be severe,
for the good of all. No outfit but had the same percentage of offenders;
the draft took all alike, and any man who says he had no punishments in
his command is either a fool or a liar. We always considered, however,
that as far as possible, in minor offenses, it was better to avoid
court-martial. The summary court if much used indicates a poor or lazy
commander. Where possible we always handled situations as follows:
Private Blank is ordered to take his full pack on maneuvers, and does
not. His C. O. notices it at a halt. No charges are put in against him
for disobedience of orders. His pack is opened then and there and nice,
well-selected rocks are put in to take the place of the missing blankets
and shelter half. He resumes the march with these on his back and has to
keep up.

One cold day the buglers, who are supposed to be having a liaison drill
while the rest of the brigade are maneuvering, decide to sneak off and
build a fire. They are discovered, and then and there are ordered to
climb to the top of a pine tree, where they are made to bugle in a cold
wind during the rest of the morning.

These punishments serve two purposes--first, they check the offender, at
the moment he has committed the breach of discipline, and not only make
it very unpleasant for him, but also make him ridiculous in the eyes of
the other men. Second, they leave no stain on his record and let him
keep his money.

It must not be taken from the above that I do not believe court-martial
necessary, for I most emphatically do in many cases. You often cannot
reach constant offenders by any other method. Also such offenses as
"theft," desertion, and serious insubordination can be dealt with
suitably by no other method. I believe in keeping all cases away from
the court when possible, but I also believe, when you do take them into
the courts, you should punish stringently.

In addition to the numerous incidents where too severe penalties have
been imposed, there are many instances of unjustifiable leniency. This
is resented by all alike. I remember the comment which was caused among
all ranks by the pardoning of men convicted of having slept on their
posts. This pardoning sounds pretty and humane to those who have not
been in the fighting line, but where the lives of all depend on the
vigilance of that sentry, it is "a gray horse of another color."



CHAPTER V

LIFE IN AN ARMY AREA


The billeting of the men was a problem. As I mentioned before, the
constitution of the United States forbids billeting, taking as ground
for this action that when soldiers are placed under a private roof
constant friction is bound to arise. In Europe the masses of troops were
so great and the country so thickly settled that this method of caring
for the soldiers was of necessity the only one that could be adopted. In
the average French farm the houses have big barns attached to them. In
the barn on the ground floor are the pigs, cows, and numberless rabbits,
also farm implements, wagons, and the like. Up a shaky ladder, which had
been doing service for generations, is the hay-loft.

There, among the hay, the soldiers are billeted and sleep.

When we first came over, according to our best army traditions, cots
were brought for the men. We tried to fit these into the barns, but soon
found it impossible, and, after we had been there a certain length of
time, we turned them all in, and they were never again used by the
troops. Instead, we bought hay from the natives, spread it on the floor
of the loft, and the men slept on it. This sounds pleasant, but it isn't
as pleasant as it sounds. It is fairly good in summer, as the weather is
warm, the days are long, and the barn is generally full of cracks, which
let in the air, and you can get along quite well as to light. When
winter comes, however, the barns are freezing cold, and the men, after
their hard work in the rain, come back soaking wet. It gets dark early,
and the sun does not rise until late. On account of the hay the greatest
care must be used with lights. Smoking has to be strictly forbidden. You
have, therefore, at the end of the day tired, wet men, who have nowhere
to go except to their billets, and in the billets no light to speak of,
very little heat, and a strict prohibition against smoking.

The officers, of course, fared better. They slept in the houses, and
generally got beds. Europeans do not like fresh air. They feel a good
deal like the gentleman in Stephen Leacock's story, who said he liked
fresh air, and believed you should open the windows and get in all you
could. Then you should shut the windows and keep it there. It would keep
for years.

I have been in many rooms where the windows were nailed shut. The beds
also are rather remarkable. They are generally fitted with feather
mattresses and feather quilts. Very often they are arranged in a niche
in the wall like a closet, and have two doors, which the average
European, after getting into the bed, closes, thereby rendering it about
as airy and well ventilated as a coffin.

I remember my own billet in one of the towns where we stopped. As I was
commanding officer, it was one of the best and was reasonably warm. It
was warm because the barnyard was next door, literally in the next room,
as all that separated me from a cow was a light deal door by the side of
the bed. The cow was tied to the door. When the cow slept I slept; but
if the cow passed a restless night I had all the opportunity I needed to
think over my past sins and future plans. In another town an excellent
billet was not used by the officers because over the bed were hung
photographs of all the various persons who had died in the house, taken
while they lay dead in that bed.

Human nature is the same the world over, and we became very fond of some
of the persons with whom we were billeted, while others stole everything
that was left loose. One hoary old sinner, with whom I lived, quite
endeared herself to me by her evident simplicity and her gentleness of
manner, until I discovered one day that, under the ægis of the
commanding officer billeting there, she was illicitly selling cognac to
the soldiers.

The struggle of certain sergeants with some of these French inhabitants
concerning the neatness of their various company kitchens or billets
always amused me. I remember a feud in one village which was carried on
between a little Frenchwoman and a sergeant called Murphy. Sergeant
Murphy liked everything spick and span. The French woman had lived all
her life where things were not, to put it mildly, according to Sergeant
Murphy's army-trained idea of sanitation. The rock that they finally
split on was the question of tin cans, old boxes, and egg-shells in
front of Sergeant Murphy's kitchen. I shall never forget coming around a
corner and seeing Sergeant Murphy, tall and dignified, the Frenchwoman
small and voluble, facing one another in front of his kitchen, she
chattering French without a break and he saying with great dignity,
"Ma'am, it is outrageous. It is the third time to-day that this stuff
has been taken away. I shall throw it in your back yard." He did, and
next morning the conflict was joined again. Although Murphy kept up the
struggle nobly, no impression was made on the Frenchwoman.

Most generally, in France, the small French village contains about one
battalion of infantry. As a result, the battalion commander is post
commander, and to him all the woes of the various inhabitants as well as
the troubles of his own troops come. One complaint which filled me with
delight was made by a Frenchwoman. The basis of the complaint was that
my men, by laughing and talking in her barn, prevented her sheep and
pigs from getting a proper amount of sleep.

A constantly recurring source of trouble were the rabbits. The rabbits
in all French country families are a sort of Lares and Penates. You find
them in hutches around the houses, wandering in the barns, hopping about
the kitchens, and, last but by no means least, in savory stews. I don't
maintain for a moment that none of my men ever took a rabbit; I simply
maintain that it would be a physical impossibility for these men to have
eaten the number of rabbits they were accused of eating. Every little
while in each town some peasant would come before me with a complaint,
the gist of which was that the men had eaten a dozen or so rabbits. With
great dignity I would say that I would have the matter investigated. The
man would then suggest that I come and count the rabbits in the village,
so that I would know if any were missing. I would explain in my best
French that from a long and accurate knowledge of rabbits, gathered
through years when, as a boy, I kept them in quantities, counting
rabbits one day did not mean that there would be the same number the
next day.

Eventually we adopted the scheme of making some officer claim adjuster.
After this it was smooth sailing for me. I simply would tell the mayor
that Lieutenant Barrett would adjust the matter under dispute, and from
then on Lieutenant Barrett battled with the aggrieved. He told me once
he thought he was going to be murdered by a little woman, who kept an
inn, over a log of wood that the men had used for the company kitchen.
Several times persons offered to go shares with him on what he was able
to get for them from the government.

In this part of France there was quite a little wild life. Sail-winged
hawks were constantly soaring over the meadows. Coveys of European
partridges were quite plentiful. Among the other birds the magpie and
the skylark were the most noticeable, the former ubiquitous with his
flamboyant contrast of black and white, the latter a constant source of
delight, with clear song and graceful spirals. The largest wild animal
was the boar. There were quite a number of these throughout the woods.
As a rule, they were not large, and there was, so far as I could find
out, no attempt made to preserve them. We would scare them up while
maneuvering. They are good eating, and occasionally we would organize a
hunt. The French Daniel Boone, of Boviolles, was a delightful old
fellow. When going on a hunt he would put on a bright blue coat, a green
hat, and sling a silver horn over his shoulders, resembling for all the
world the huntsman in _Slovenly Peter_.

During August a number of the field officers were sent on their first
trip to the trenches. I was among them. We went by truck to Nancy, a
charming little city, known as the Paris of northern France. At this
time the Huns had not started their air raids on it, which drove much of
the population away and reduced the railroad station to ruins. Round it
cling many historic memories; near by was fought the battle between
Charles the Bold, of Burgundy, and Louis XI, in which feudalism was
struck its death blow; on the hills to the north the Kaiser stood at the
commencement of this war, when the German troops were flowing over
France, seemingly resistless.

From Nancy we went to the Pont-à-Mousson sector, where we spent a day
with French officers of the corresponding grade. This was a rest sector,
and there was little to indicate that war was raging. Occasionally a
shell would whistle over, and if you exposed yourself too much some Hun
might take a shot at you with a rifle.

Pont-à-Mousson, the little French village, was literally in the French
front lines, and yet a busy life was going on there. There I bought
cigarettes, and around the arcade of the central square business was
much as usual. A bridge spanned the river right by the town, where
everyone crossing was in plain view of the Germans. The French officers
explained to me that so long as only small parties crossed by it the
Germans paid no attention, but if columns of troops or trucks used it
shelling started at once. In the same way the French did not shell,
except under exceptional circumstances, the villages in the German
forward area.

On a high hill overlooking Pont-à-Mousson were the ruins of an old
castle built by the De Guises. In old days it was the key to the ford
where the bridge now stands. It was being used as an observation post by
the French. I crawled up into its ivy-draped, crumbling tower, and
through a telescope looked far back of the German lines, where I saw
the enemy troops training in open order and two German officers on
horseback superintending.

In the trenches where the soldiers were there were vermin and rats and
mud to the waist. There I made my first acquaintance with the now justly
famous "cootie."

During this night I went on my first patrol. No Man's Land was very
broad, and deep fields of wire surrounded the trenches. The patrol
finished without incident. The only casualty in the vicinity while I was
on this front was a partridge, which was hit on the head by a fragment
of shell, and which the French major and I ate for dinner and enjoyed
very much. We returned to our training area by the same way we came. The
principal knowledge we had gained besides general atmosphere was
relative to the feeding of men in trenches.

These were the primitive days of our army in France. We being the first
troops who had arrived, received a very large proportion of the
attention of General Pershing and his staff. The General once came out
to look over the Twenty-sixth Infantry, and stopped in front of the
redoubtable Sergeant Murphy and his platoon. Now, Sergeant Murphy could
stand with equanimity as high an officer as a colonel, but a general was
one too many. He was not afraid of a machine gun or a cannon, but a star
on a man's shoulder petrified him. After the General had watched for a
minute, the good sergeant had his platoon tied up in thirteen different
ways. The General spoke to him. That finished it; and if the General had
not left the field, I think Sergeant Murphy would have.

With all of us comic incidents in plenty occurred. Our most notable
characteristic was our seriousness, and, running it a close second, our
ignorance. I remember one solemn private who threw a hand grenade from
his place in the trench. It hit the edge of the parapet and dropped back
again. He looked at it, remarked "Lord God," slipped in the mud, and sat
down on it just as it exploded. Fortunately for him it was one of the
light, tin-covered grenades, and beyond making sitting down an almost
impossible action for him for several days following he was
comparatively undamaged. Often the comic was tinged with the tragic. We
had men who endeavored to open grenades with a rock, with the usual
disastrous effects to all.

Once Sergeant O'Rourke was training his men in throwing hand grenades. I
came up and watched them a minute. They were doing very well, and I
called, "Sergeant, your men are throwing these grenades excellently."
O'Rourke evidently felt there was danger of turning their heads by too
much praise. "Sor-r-r, that and sleep is all they can do well," he
replied.

In order to get the men trained with the rifle, as we had no target
material, we used tin cans and rocks. A tin can is a particularly good
target; it makes such a nice noise when hit, and leaps about so. I liked
to shoot at them myself, and could well understand why they pleased the
soldiers.

Why more persons were not killed in our practice I don't know, as the
whole division was in training in a limited space, all having rifle
practice, with no possibility of constructing satisfactory ranges.

  [Illustration: BEFORE THE OFFENSIVE
                   Drawn by Captain W. J. Aylward, A. E. F.]

Some officers in another unit organized a rifle range in such a position
that the overs dropped gently where we were training. One eventually hit
my horse, but did not do much damage.

Lieutenant Lyman S. Frazier, an excellent officer, who finished the war
as major of infantry, commanded the machine-gun company of my battalion.
He was very keen on indirect fire, but we could get little or no
information on it. One evening, however, he grouped his guns, made his
calculations as well as he could, and then fired a regular barrage. As
soon as the demonstration was over he galloped out as fast as he could
to the target, and found to his chagrin that only one shot had hit.
Where the other 10,000 odd went we never knew.

We had many incidents that were really humorous with the men in the
guard mount. A young fellow, named Cobb, who lost his leg later in the
war, was standing guard early in his military career. A French girl
passed him in the dark. He challenged, "Who is there?" She replied,
"_Qu'est-ce qu'il dit?_" Young Cobb didn't know French, but he did know
that when in doubt on any subject you called the corporal of the guard.
So he shouted at the top of his voice, "Corporal of the guard,
queskidee!"

We emphasized the manual of formal guard mount as a disciplinary
exercise. One of the regulations is that when the ranking officer in a
post passes the guardhouse, the sentry calls, "Turn out the
guard--commanding officer," and the guard is paraded. We had lived so
long by ourselves that although we sometimes had the colonel in the same
town, when we were in the Montdidier sector, I never could persuade them
to pay any attention to him. They had it firmly rooted in their minds
that the ceremony was for me and no one else.

Occasionally a German airplane would come over and bomb the towns in the
area. This furnished a real element of excitement, as we had
anti-aircraft guns set up. The one trouble was that we could not tell at
night which was a German and which was a French plane, with the result
that if we should happen to hit one it was as likely that we would hit a
French one as not. We were saved this embarrassment by never hitting
one. Later, in the Montdidier sector, I remember hearing how, in a burst
of enthusiasm, the gun crew of one of our 75's had fired at an airplane,
and by some remarkable coincidence had torn a wing off and brought it
down. On rushing out to inspect it they found it contained a very
irascible Frenchman.



CHAPTER VI

EARLY DAYS IN THE TRENCHES

                "How strange a spectacle of human passions
                  Is yours all day beside the Arras road,
                What mournful men concerned about their rations
                  When here at eve the limbers leave their load,
                    What twilight blasphemy, what horses' feet
                    Entangled with the meat,
                What sudden hush when that machine gun sweeps
                  And flat as possible for men so round
                The quartermasters may be seen in heaps,
                While you sit by and chuckle, I'll be bound."
                                             A. P. H. (_Punch_).


Early in October mysterious orders reached us to spend forty-eight hours
in some trenches we had dug on top of a hill close to the village,
simulating actual conditions as well as we could. At the same time a
battalion of each of the other three infantry regiments were similarly
instructed. The orders were so well worked out that we were convinced at
once that we were to go in the near future to the front. Everyone was
in a high state of excitement, and very happy that we were at last to
see action.

The hilltop where we were to stay was covered by the remains of an old
Roman camp, commanding the two forks of the stream. We marched up the
following day over the remains of the old Roman road, and passed our
last short period training to meet the barbarians of the north, where
Cæsar's legions, nearly two thousand years ago, trained for the same
purpose. Many features were lacking from the trenches on the hill, such
as dugouts, for example, but we felt we could get along without them,
and everything went happily and serenely the first day.

We had the rolling kitchens and hospitals placed on the reverse slope in
the woods. Carrying parties brought the chow along a trench traced with
white tape to the troops, and they ate it without leaving their
positions. During the evening, however, "sunny France" had a relapse,
and a terrific rainstorm came on. It was bitterly cold, and a high wind
swept the hilltop. We were all soaked to the skin.

The men either huddled against the side of a trench or stretched their
ponchos from parapet to parapet, and sat beneath them in a foot-deep
puddle of water. In making inspection I passed by a number of them that
night who looked as if they were perfectly willing to have the war end
right then.

The company in reserve was occupying the territory around the old Roman
wall. They had dug some holes in it, and crawled into them to keep as
near dry as possible. Splendid so far as it went, but nearly disastrous,
for a message reached me saying that a first sergeant, the company
commander, the second in command and the company clerk had all been
buried by a cave-in. I ran back to see about them and found that they
had been extricated, and looked like animated mud-pies.

One company commander during the middle of the second day started his
men digging trenches as deep as they could, so that at night when the
rain started again and the cold wind blew up they would have some place
to stay. They dug vigorously all day, but by night, when the rain came
down in torrents again, the trenches filled up like bath-tubs, and they
had to sit on the edge.

After the maneuvers we received definite orders that we were to go to
the front. The equipment was checked and verified, and everything put in
apple-pie order. The trucks arrived; we got in and started, all of us
feeling that now at last we were to be real warriors. All day long the
truck train, stretching out along the road, jolted forward in a cloud of
dust. Toward evening we began to pass through the desolated area over
which the Hun had swept in 1914, and about five o'clock we detrucked at
a little town about fourteen miles behind the lines.

Here we stayed a couple of days, while our reconnoitering details went
forward and familiarized themselves with the position. On the evening of
the second day the troops started forward. As usual, it was raining
cats and dogs, and our principal duty during the ten days we spent in
the sector was shoveling mud the color and consistency of melted
chocolate ice cream from cave-ins which constantly occurred in the
trench system.

We were all very green and very earnest. The machine-gun company
arrived, bringing all its ammunition on the gun carts. The guns were
uncased and the carts sent to the rear with ammunition still on them,
leaving the guns with hardly a round. Only about five or ten shells were
fired daily by the German artillery against the portion of line we
occupied. One man was hit, our signal officer, Lieutenant Hardon, his
wound being very slight. The adjutant, when this happened, ran to tell
me, and we both went down and solemnly congratulated Hardon on having
the honor to be the first American officer hit while serving with
American troops.

A number of ambitious members of the intelligence group sniped busily at
the German trenches. These were about a mile away, and though they
reported heavy casualties among the enemy, I believe that the wish was
father to the thought.

  [Illustration: THE SIGNAL CORPS AT WORK
                   Drawn by Captain Harry E. Townsend, A. E. F.]

The French were on our right, and we had some very funny times with
them. One officer of mine was coming in after inspecting the wire and
ran into one of their sentries.

"Qui est la?" called the sentry.

My officer then gave in his best American what he had been told was the
French password. This was incomprehensible to the Frenchman, who
immediately replied by firing his rifle at him. The officer jumped up
and down and gave the password again. BLAM went the Frenchman's rifle
the second time. Nothing but the fact that the Frenchman regarded the
rifle more as a lead squirt rather than a weapon of accuracy prevented
him from being hit. The officer eventually got through by shouting
repeatedly at the top of his voice, "Vive les Américains!"

At the end of the ten days we were relieved and hiked back veteran
troops, as we thought, to the training area. Our medical department,
not the department with the troops, but our higher medical department,
which dealt with papers rather than facts, sent at this time a
letter which I would give a lot to have now simply as a humorous
document. It was headed "General Order ----." It had at the top as
subject--"Pediculi." Pediculi is the polite medical name for lice. We
were instructed in the body that immediately on leaving the trenches all
men were to be inspected completely by the medical officer before they
were allowed to go to their billets. This involved the inspection by the
medical officer of some one thousand men. It furthermore necessitated
the inspection of these one thousand men between two and five in the
morning, in the dark. The order went on to say that where pediculi were
present all clothes were to be confiscated, finishing with the brief and
bland statement that thereupon new clothes were to be furnished
throughout. This to us, who had not had new clothes since we reached
France, to whom every garment was a valuable possession that could not
be replaced! However, we have no doubt that the medical officer felt
that he had done something splendid, and what is more, his paper record
was perfect in that, although what he demanded was impossible, he had
put it on paper, and, therefore, someone else was to blame for not
carrying it out.

Our first Christmas in France was spent in the usual little French
village. The men had raised a fund to be used for the purpose of giving
a Christmas tree to the refugee children living in the vicinity, as well
as the native children. It was the first Christmas tree that the village
had seen and excitement was intense. The festivities were held in a mess
shack, and to them came nearly the entire population, though I gave
instructions to be sure that the children were taken care of before the
"grown-ups." The enlisted men ran the festivities themselves.

Flickering candle-light cast shadows over Christmas greens and mistletoe
and the rough boards of the shack. A buzzing mass of French children and
adults crowded around the tree, and lean, weather-beaten American
sergeants gave out the presents. There were the usual horns and
crackers, and in a few minutes pandemonium had broken loose. The curé
was there, and the mayor, dressed in an antediluvian frock coat and top
hat. These two, at a given signal, succeeded in partially stilling the
tumult by making an equal noise themselves, and a little girl and boy
appeared with a large bouquet for me. First they made a little speech in
French, looking as cunning as possible. Each time they said "Mon
Commandant" they made a funny little bow. After giving me the bouquet
the little girl kissed me. Then the mayor spoke. Warned by the little
girl's action, I fended him off with the bouquet when he showed a
tendency to become affectionate. I then answered in my best French,
which I alone understood, and the festivities finished.

Later in the evening the men gave a show, which they had arranged
themselves. It was really very good. Sergeant Frank Ross was
principally responsible, ably assisted by Privates Cooper, Neary, and
Smith. The humor was local soldier humor and absolutely clean. For
instance, the men always march with their extra pair of shoes strapped
on the outside of the pack. One man on the stage would say to the other:
"Say, Buddy, I call my pack my little O. D. baby. It wears shoes the
same size as mine, and I can't get the son of a gun to walk a step."

During the play the sergeant of the guard came in to me and said, "Sir,
there has been a little disturbance. Sergeant Withis of B Company says C
Company men have been picking on him; but, sir, there are three C
Company men at the infirmary and Withis is all right."

The day, however, on the whole, was a success and it speaks well for the
men, for of all the Christmas dinner that our papers talked so much
about, practically nothing but a few nuts and raisins reached us.

One old regular sergeant of C Company, Baird by name, discovered at this
time a novel use for the gas mask. The old fellow had been in service
for many years, and though a fine and gallant soldier, he was long past
his prime physically. He always reminded me of Kipling's description of
Akela the gray wolf, when he says that "Akela was very old and gray, and
he walked as though he were made of wood." Baird was a great man on
paper work, and believed in having his company files in tiptop shape.
Facilities were a little poor. One bitter day he tried to make some
reports. First he tried in the barn, where his hands became so cold he
couldn't write. Then he tried in the kitchen, and his eyes got so full
of smoke he couldn't see. At last we found him sitting in the kitchen
with his gas mask on making his reports, writing in comfort.

We were joined at this time by Major Atkins of the Salvation Army, an
exceptionally fine character. He stayed with us during most of the time
we were in Europe. He was courageous under fire, felt that where the men
went he wished to go, and was a splendid influence with them. Whatever
he could do he always did with a whole heart.

Before the war I felt that the Salvation Army was composed of a
well-meaning lot of cranks. Now what help I can give them is theirs. My
feelings are well illustrated by a conversation I overheard between two
soldiers. One said, "Say, Bill, before this war I used to think it good
fun to kid the Salvation Army. Now I'll bust any feller on the bean with
a brick if I see him botherin' them."

Early in January we were told that replacements were arriving to bring
up our companies to 250 in strength. When the men arrived we planned to
be there on time to get our fair share. Two old sergeants, Studal and
Shultz, went down and helped pick the recruits, working from detachment
to detachment trying to shift the best material into our detail. The men
were, on the whole, a fine lot, but their knowledge of military matters
was absolutely nil. A large percentage had never shot any firearms, and
still a larger percentage had never shot the service rifle. One man
turned up with a service record on which was nothing except "Mennonite,
objects to bearing arms." Incidentally he made an excellent soldier, and
was killed while fighting gallantly near Montdidier. Another man had
partial paralysis of one side. When the medical officer asked him if he
had been examined before he said, "No, sir; just drafted." Still another
had an arm so stiffened that he could hardly bend his elbow. When the
medical officer tried to send him to the rear he protested. We let him
stay. He became an automatic rifle gunner, and was later killed.

One westerner, from Montana I believe, called Blalock, finished the war
as first sergeant in Company D, after a very distinguished record.
Another young fellow, Aug by name, was a real estate man from
Sacramento. I noticed him first when he was detailed as my orderly.
Later he was cited for gallantry twice, and eventually sent to the
officers' school, where he got a commission, and asked to be returned to
the fighting troops. He fell in action just before the armistice.
Private "Bill" Margeas was a Greek who came with this lot. He was shot
through the chest at Montdidier, and later ran away from the hospital
and got back before Soissons. He came in to report to me. I had been
near him when he had been hit before.

"Margeas," I said, "you're in no shape to carry a pack."

"No, sir," said he, "but I can carry a rifle all right."

He was killed later in the Argonne.

Two Chinamen, Young and Chew, drafted from San Francisco, were also in
this lot. They were with my headquarters all during the war.

These replacements had absolutely no conception of military etiquette.
They wanted to do what was right, but they didn't know anything. When
one man from a western National Guard regiment--incidentally he was a
German by birth--came up to me with a message from his company
commander, he would always begin with, "Say." One time I asked him when
he was born and he told me in 1848, which impressed me as being a
slight overstatement. Subsequent investigation proved that 1878 was the
year. Incidentally he fought very gallantly, and was fortunate enough to
get through the war, being with the regiment when I left it in Germany.

One huge fellow called Swanson, from North Dakota, turned up. Swanson
was a fine soldier in every way, but the government had not figured on a
man of Swanson's size. Never when he was in my command were we able to
get a blouse to fit him. He turned out on parade, went to the trenches,
and appeared on all other occasions in a ragged brown sweater.

Some of the men we got could not speak English. One squad in particular
we had to form in such a fashion that the corporal could act as
interpreter. Once turning around a corner I came upon a group of four or
five soldiers. All of them except one saluted properly. He merely
grinned in a good-natured, friendly fashion. I started to read him the
riot act, asking why he thought he was different from the rest of the
men, what he meant by it, did he put himself in a class by himself, and
so forth. About half way through one of the other men interrupted me.

"Sir," he said, "that guy there he don't understand English." We found
someone who could speak his language, had the matter explained to him,
and found it was simply that he did not understand. He wanted to do what
was right and he wanted to play the game.

These replacements had very long hair and looked very shabby. One of the
first things we did was to have their hair cut. There are many reasons
why troops should keep their hair cut. It looks neater for one thing,
but, far more important, it is sanitary, and where baths are few and far
between short hair makes a great difference. Each company has a barber.
Therefore the excitement was at fever pitch once in Company B when
Loreno, its barber, deserted and got to Italy, taking with him the
barber tools. As a result they used mule clippers for some time.

The men took great pride in the good name of their organization. One
man, who afterward proved himself an excellent soldier and a good
American, came to us through the draft with no idea of loyalty to the
flag, and with no real feeling for the country of any sort. He tried to
desert twice, but we caught him both times, although on the last
occasion he got as far as Marseilles. During the trial, while the court
was sitting, he became frightened and broke away from the sentry who had
him in charge. The alarm sounded for the guard, which immediately
started out through the dark and rain on the jump. Then, without any
orders, the escaped prisoner's own company turned out to help them, not
because they had to, but because they felt he was hurting their company
record.

"What is it, Bill?" I heard one man call.

"Aw, it's that guy Blank who's been giving Company B a black eye. He's
beat it again, and we're going out to get him."

About this time we were issued gas masks for the first time, thus
furnishing us with another weapon, or means, of warfare about which we
knew nothing. There was a small, active individual with glasses from
general headquarters who was supposed to be our instructor. He used to
give us long lectures on gas, in which he told us when gas had first
been used in the past (I believe by the Greeks), how it had been
employed in the beginning of the war, what gases had been used, and what
their chemical components were. He told us at great length how to
protect ourselves against the gas cloud, and then informed us that cloud
gas was not used any longer. Later he took up the deadly effects of
mustard gas, and how we must immediately put on the gas masks when gas
was evident.

Toward the end of the lecture a deeply interested officer asked him how
one could detect gas when it was present in dangerous quantities. He
didn't know; so we left the lecture with full information as to obsolete
methods of using gas, with full information as to its chemical
components and effects, but with no information as to how to detect it
when it was present in dangerous quantities.

To try to put interest in the work and make it less hard on the men, we
organized competitions in everything--competitions for the best platoon
billet, competitions for the best platoon in close order drill, bayonet,
etc. The prizes were almost negligible. Sometimes it would simply be
that the victorious platoon was excused from some formation, but the men
took to it like a duck to water.

The officers became fully as keen as the men. I never shall forget the
company commanders who, together with myself, formed the judges. They
would always start off by saying in an airy manner it was for the good
of the entire organization, and that they personally did not care
whether their company won or not, provided the battalion was benefited.
As soon as the contest was under way, however, all was different, and it
generally narrowed down to my doing all the judging. They would come up
and protest the standing in competitions in the official bulletin for
all the world as if they were managers of a big league baseball team.

About this time we organized a drum and bugle corps. This corps got so
it could render very loudly and very badly a number of French and
American tunes. We used it on all our long marches and maneuvers. We
used it for reveille in the morning, for retreat in the evening, for
close-order drill and all ceremonies. The men got so they thought a good
deal of it, and frequently when marching through towns the troops would
call out, "How about that band?" The doughboy likes to show off. I know,
myself, that I always got a thrill of conscious pride going through a
town, the troops marching at attention, colors flying, bugles playing,
drums beating, and the women and children standing on the streets and
shouting.

We had, in addition to this early training, long days spent in
maneuvers. I disapproved heartily of these maneuvers at the time,
looking at them from the point of view of battalion commander, who
feels that any attempt on the part of the higher command to have
maneuvers on a large scale is wasting valuable time that might be
employed by him to better advantage. I am sure now that General Fiske,
the head of the American training section, was right when he prescribed
them and that the maneuvers contributed greatly to the ability of the
First Division to keep in contact when it struck the line. The necessity
for them, of course, was based on the fact that, great as was the
ignorance of our junior officers, it was comparatively far less than the
ignorance of our higher command and staff. These maneuvers were bitter
work for the soldiers who would be out all day, insufficiently clad and
insufficiently fed. Often a bloody trail was left in the snow by the men
who at this time had virtually no boots. We used to call it Indian
warfare and say we were chasing the last of the Mohicans over the Ligny
sector.

About this time we began to work into some complicated trench maneuvers.
These were the ones the men liked. They threw hand grenades, fired
trench mortars, and had a general Fourth of July celebration.

Once we had a maneuver of this kind before General Pershing. The company
officers were lined up and afterward were asked their opinion as to how
the men had conducted themselves. The first one to answer was a game
little fellow named Wortley from Los Angeles, who was afterward killed.
He said that he thought everything went off very well and he didn't
think he had anything to criticize. The next lieutenant said that he
thought that a few men of his company had got a little mixed up. This
was a cheerful point of view for him to have, for, as a matter of fact,
two thirds of his company had gone astray. His company had been selected
to deliver a flank attack over the top, but when this took place it
consisted of one lieutenant and two privates. The mistake, however, was
never noticed.

Indeed, the generals and suchlike who come to maneuvers can rarely
criticize the efforts of the company and field officers, as they are
not conversant with the handling of small units. Their presence at
maneuvers is largely a question of morale. I remember during an exercise
a higher officer, a very fine man to whom I afterward became devoted
turned to me and said: "Have a trench raid."

"When, sir?" I asked.

"Immediately."

Now, any junior officer knows that a trench raid cannot be staged the
way you can fire a rocket. It has to be thought out in every detail and
all concerned have to be familiarized with all phases of the plan in so
far as it is possible. I got two very good lieutenants and, hastily
outlining the situation, told them to go ahead. They made their plans in
five minutes. I got some hand grenades for them and they gave a lively
imitation. The trenches they raided did not exist, but were simply
marked by tape on the ground. They did very well considering the
circumstances, but the higher officer remarked to the assembled officers
on its completion that he didn't know anything about raids, but this
one did not appeal to him. It took all concerned quite a while to get
over their feeling about this criticism.

During this period we heard of Bangler torpedoes. These torpedoes are
long sections of tin tubing loaded with high explosive and are used for
tearing up the enemy wire in order that the raiding party may get
through into the trenches. Nothing of the kind was to be had from our
people, but we obtained permission to send someone to try to get one
from the various French ammunition dumps near by. Lieutenant Ridgely, my
adjutant, went. He turned up after a hectic day with some long sections
of stovepipe and a number of little tin cases. He explained that he had
been unable to get the torpedoes, but that he had got some stovepipe and
some very deadly explosive and perhaps we could make one.

The next day we set out to follow his plan and two afternoons later
completed our experiment, and gave an exhibition before the assembled
officers of the brigade. The raiding party were picked men, whom I
considered among the best in the battalion. They all crawled out through
the assumed "No Man's Land," holding on to one another's heels and
endeavoring to look just as businesslike as possible. Their faces were
blackened and they carried trench knives and hand grenades. The party
which was to set off the torpedo lighted it, poked it under the wire,
then leaped up and dashed through the gap in the wire to the trenches
where the enemy were supposed to be. On account of the amateur
workmanship, only a part of the charge went off, and I never shall
forget my horror when I saw the party of my picked men galloping
gallantly through the gap over this smoking, unexploded charge. I had
visions of having to reorganize the battalion the next day. Fortunately
the charge did not go off and all worked out well.

Later we started a good deal of work at night, realizing how difficult
it was for men to find their way and how necessary it was for them to
get used to working in the dark. This training the men enjoyed. It was
all in the nature of a competition. Reconnaissance patrols would be
started out to see how near they could approach to the dummy trenches
without detection. In the dummy trenches other groups, with flares,
etc., would keep a strict watch. Combat patrols would go out two at a
time, each looking for the other. I recall one night when two patrols
ran into one another suddenly. One of the privates was so overcome with
zeal when he saw the supposed enemy that he made as pretty a lunge with
his bayonet as I have ever seen and stabbed through both cheeks of the
man opposite him.

During the entire time we were in France we trained much along the lines
indicated in the previous paragraphs, except that as we became veterans
we naturally became more conversant with the correct methods of
instruction. For trained troops who are leaving the line it is my
opinion that two points should be stressed above the rest--one is
close-order drill and the other rifle practice. In the First Battalion
we were particularly fortunate in this period in having with us Captain
Amel Frey and Lieutenants Freml and Gillian, all three of whom had
served as N.C.O.'s in the regular Army. They understood close-order
work, the service rifle, and the handling of men, and to them a large
part of the early training is ascribable.

The next point in the line to which we went was the Toul sector. This
was much more lively than Arracourt, and here we had our first real
taste of war. No Man's Land was not more than fifty to one hundred yards
in width at many places. The whole terrain had been occupied for three
years, and, as there had been many slight changes of position, abandoned
trenches, filled half full of mud and wire, ran everywhere. Originally
the front had been held with a large number of troops, but when we took
it over, these had been reduced to such an extent that now one company
would hold a kilometer in width. The line of support was furthermore
about one kilometer in the rear. It was winter and snow and sleet and
mud formed an ever-present trio. As always in trench warfare, the night
was the time of activity. During the day everything was quiet; in
walking through the trenches all one would meet was an occasional
sentry.

This night work was hard on the new men, for it is easy to see things at
night even if you are an old soldier. If you are a recruit, you just
can't help seeing them.

"Well, Major, it's like this," was the way Sergeant Rose, an old-timer,
put it to me when I was speaking to him in the front-line trenches one
night. "I'm an old soldier, but when I stand and look out over this
trench long enough, the first thing I know, those posts with the wire
attached to them begin to do squads right and squads left, and if I
ain't careful, I have to shoot them to keep them from charging this
trench."

Private Jones would imagine he saw a German patrol approaching him, fire
all his hand grenades at them, and send in a report to the effect that
he had repulsed a raid and that there were three or four dead Germans
lying in front of his part of the line. Investigation would prove that
an old stump or a sandbag had received all his attention.

The division had fairly heavy casualties in this sector. The Germans
staged a couple of raids. Also there were heavy artillery actions very
frequently. Generally these would start around three o'clock in the
morning. First would come the preliminary strafing. During it the higher
command would call up and ask what was going on, to which you replied N.
T. R.--(nothing to report). Then the shelling would commence in earnest
and all connections would go out at once. From then on, runners were the
only method of communication until everything was over. One could never
be sure that each strafing was not the preliminary to an assault.
Strafing like this was very picturesque. Generally I got into position
where I could see as much of the front as I could. It is possible to
guess by the intensity of shelling just what is getting ready, while
hand grenades and rifle fire mean that an attack is taking place. First
a few flashes can be seen, which increase until on all sides you see the
bursts of the shrapnel and the noise becomes deafening. Then it
gradually dies away and a thick acrid cloud of smoke lies over
everything.

During one of these actions a runner came in to report that the captain
of the right flank company had been severely hit. The second in command
had not, in my opinion, had quite enough experience, so I sent my scout
officer back with the runner to take command. They got to a bit of
trench where shells were falling thick.

"Lieutenant, you wait here while I see if we can get through," said the
runner to the officer.

"Why should you go rather than me?" asked the lieutenant.

"Well," came the reply, "you see you are going to command the company.
I'm just a runner. They can get lots more of me."

A very good sergeant of mine, Ross by name, had his hand blown off in
this sector.

He was making a reconnaissance with a view to a patrol, when a German
trench mortar shell that had been imbedded in the parapet went off under
his hand. As he passed me he simply said: "Major, I am awfully sorry to
leave you this early before the real game begins."

Here we captured our first German prisoner. I doubt whether any German
will ever be as precious to any of us as this man was. We had patrolled
quite a good deal, but the Germans had either stopped patrolling in the
sector in front of us or we were unfortunate in not running into any of
them. We felt at last that the only way to get a prisoner was to go over
to the German trenches and pull one out.

One night Lieutenant Christian Holmes, Sergeants Murphy, McCormack,
Samari (born in southern Italy), and Leonard, who was called Scotty and
who spoke with a pronounced Irish brogue, were designated to raid a
listening post. They crawled on their bellies across No Man's Land, got
through the maze of wire, and ran right on top of a German listening
post. A prisoner was what they wanted, so Lieutenant Holmes, who was
leading the party, leaped upon one of the two Germans and locked him in
a tight embrace. The German's partner thereupon endeavored to bayonet
Lieutenant Holmes, who was struggling in two feet of water with his
captive, but was prevented by a timely thrust from Sergeant Murphy's
bayonet. They seized the German, who was shrieking "Kamerad" at the top
of his lungs, and dragged him back across No Man's Land at the double.

When they came in with him we were as pleased as Punch. Indeed, we
hardly wanted to let him go to the rear, as we had a distinct feeling
more or less that we wanted to keep him to look at. He was a young,
scrawny fellow, and gave us much information concerning the troops
opposite us. Lieutenant Holmes and Sergeant Murphy received the
Distinguished Service Cross for this work; and well deserved it, for
they showed the way and did a really hard job. Holmes told me afterward
that they had all agreed that they would not come back until they had
got their prisoner. They had decided that if they did not find him in
the first front-line trenches they would go back as far as necessary,
but they were going to find him or not come back.

We began here also for the first time to play with that most elusive of
all military amusements, the code. In order that the Germans, in
listening in on our telephone conversations, might not know what we were
about, everything was put in code or cipher. The high command issued to
us the Napoleon code. The Napoleon code is written entirely in French.
Only a few of us could read French, with the result that only a few
could send messages. General Hines, then colonel of the Sixteenth
Infantry, realized that this was a poor idea, so he made up a code of
his own. This code went by the name of the Cauliflower Code, and the
commanding officer, his adjutant, etc., in every place were given
distinctive names.

Conversation ran something like this--"Hello, hello, I want Hannibal.
Hannibal is not there? Give me Brains. Brains, this is the King of
Essex talking. Sunflower. No balloons, tomatoes, asparagus. No, No. I
said _no_ balloons! Oh, damn. My kitchens haven't come. Have them sent
up."

When we received rush orders to leave this sector, I tried to mobilize
my wagon truck by telephone. The supply officers all went by the name of
Sarah in the code. I would start off, "Hello, hello. This is the King of
Essex talking. I want little Sarah. Little Sarah Van." Lieutenant Van,
my supply officer, would reply from the other side, "Hello, hello, is
this the King of Essex talking?" "It is." "Well, Major Roosevelt," then
the connection would be cut. After much labor I got him again. I had
just begun, "Balloons, radishes, carrots" when we were cut off again.
The next time we got the connection we said what we had to say in plain
English and quickly.

One evening just after we had arrived in the front-line trenches, after
a rest in the support position, the telephone buzzed. The adjutant
leaped to it. "Yes, this is Blank. What is it? Yes, yes. The Napoleon
code." And then for some thirty minutes, during which time the trench
telephone ceased to work, was cut off, or simply went dead, the Adjutant
took down a long string of numbers. At the end of that period he had a
sheet of paper in front of him which looked for all the world like the
financial statement of a large bank. He rushed to our portfolio where
the sector papers were kept, yanked them out, ran over them in a hurry,
and then turned to me with a blank look of grief: "Sorry, sir, we have
left the code behind." We thought for a moment, then called back the
sender, and said, "Sir, we have forgotten our code." He remarked
blithely from the other end, "If the message had been an important one,
I would not have sent it in code. I'll give it to you when I see you
to-night."

Our first real experience with gas came in this sector. As I said
before, we had been taught how to put on and take off our gas masks,
how gas was used by the ancients, what methods had been used and
abandoned in the present war, what the chemical components were, what
the effects were, but not how to detect it when it was present in
dangerous quantities. The result was that everyone was thoroughly
apprehensive of gas and afraid he would not be able to detect it. We had
all sorts of nice little appliances in the trenches to give the alarm.
They consisted of bells, gongs, Klaxon horns, and beautiful rockets that
burst in a green flare. A nervous sentry would be pacing to and fro. It
would be wet and lonely and he would think of what unpleasant things he
had been told happened to the men who were gassed. A shell would burst
near him. "By George, that smells queer," he would think. He would sniff
again. "No question about it, that must be gas!" and blam! would go the
gas alarm. Then from one end of the line to the other gongs and horns
would sound and green rockets would streak across the sky and platoon
after platoon would wearily encase itself in gas masks. One night I
stood in the reserve position and watched a celebration of this sort. It
looked and sounded like a witches' sabbath.

After a certain amount of this we worked into a practical knowledge of
gas. We found that there were only two methods of attack we had to fear:
one was by cylinders thrown by projectors, and the other by gas shelling
by the enemy artillery. With the former, an attack was often detected
before it took place by our intelligence, and it was possible to tell by
a flare that showed up along the horizon on the discharge of the
projectors when the attack commenced. With the latter, after a little
practice, it was perfectly simple to tell a gas shell from a H. E.
shell, as it made a sound like a dud. The difficulty with both types of
attack was not so much in getting the gas masks on in time, as there was
always plenty of time for that, but rather in holding heavily gassed
areas, where burns and trouble of all sorts were almost impossible to
avoid.

It was in this Toul sector on March 11th that my brother Archie was
severely wounded. The Huns were strafing heavily and an attack by them
was expected. He was redisposing his men when he was hit by a shell and
badly wounded both in the left arm and left leg. Major A. W. Kenner, M.
C., and Sergeant Hood were shelled by the Germans while they were moving
out the wounded, among them my brother, when, because of the stretchers
they were carrying, they had to walk over the top and not through some
bad bits of trench. To Major A. W. Kenner, M. C., and Captain E. D.
Morgan, M. R. C., is due great credit, not only in this operation, but
in all the work to come. They never shrank from danger or hardship and
their actions were at all times an inspiration to those around them.



CHAPTER VII

MONTDIDIER

    "And horror is not from terrible things--men torn to rags by
        a shell,
    And the whole trench swimming in blood and slush, like a Butcher's
        shop in Hell;
    It's silence and night and the smell of the dead that shake a man to
        the soul,
    From Misery Farm to Dead Man's Death on a nil report patrol."
                                                            KNIGHT-ADKIN.


By the end of March we were veteran troops.

All during the latter part of the month rumor had been rife about the
proposed German drive. After nearly four years of war, Germany had
crushed Russia, Rumania, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, and Albania; had
dealt Italy a staggering blow, and was about to assume the offensive in
France. On March 28th the blow fell, the allied line staggered and
split, and the Germans poured through the gap.

The news reached us, and at the same time came orders to prepare for an
immediate move. At once the Twenty-sixth American Division moved up in
our rear, and with hardly any time for reconnaissance they took over
from us. My battalion moved out and marched twelve kilometers to the
rear; the last units checked in to where our trains were to meet us at
about 5 A.M., and by 6 A.M. we were on the march again to the vicinity
of Toul, where the division was concentrating.

Here we were told that we were to be thrown into the path of the German
advance. By this time all types of rumor were current. We heard of the
Englishman Cary's remarkable feat, how he collected cooks, engineers,
labor troops from the retreating forces, formed them into a fighting
unit, and stood against the German advance, and how his brigade grew up
over night. Cary, because of this feat, became, from captain in the Q.
M. C., general of infantry. We heard of the thirty-six hours during
which all contact was lost between the French left and the English
right, when a French cavalry division was brought in trucks from the
rear of the line and thrown into the gap, and on the morning of the
second day reported that they believed they had established contact with
the English.

The next few days all was excitement. We formed the men and gave out our
first decorations to Lieutenant Holmes and Sergeant Murphy. At the same
time we told them all that we knew of our plans. They were delighted.
Men do not like sitting in trenches day in and day out, and being killed
and mangled without ever seeing the enemy, and this promised a fight
where the enemy would be in sight.

We had a large, rough shack where we were able to have all the officers
of the battalion for mess. Lieutenant Gustafson, an Illinois boy, who
had, in civilian life, been a head waiter at summer hotels, managed the
mess. We had some good voices among the officers, and every night after
dinner there was singing.

Our supply officer, meanwhile, was annexing everything in sight for the
battalion in the most approved fashion. One time his right-hand man,
Sergeant Wheeler, passed by some tethered mules which belonged to a
green regiment. He hopped off the ration cart he was riding, caught
them, and tied them behind the cart. A mile down the road some one came
pounding after them.

"Hey! Where are you going with those mules?" Wheeler was equal to the
occasion. "Are them your mules? Well, what do you mean by leaving them
loose by the road? I had to get out and catch them. I have a good mind
to report you to the M. P. for this." Eventually Wheeler compromised by
warning the man, and giving one of the mules back to him.

Then the trains arrived. We had never traveled on a regular military
train before. A military train is made up to carry a battalion of
infantry; box cars holding about forty men or eight animals each, and
flat cars for wagons, kitchens, etc. We entrained safely and got off
all right, though we were hurried at the last by a message saying the
schedule given us was wrong, and our train left one half hour earlier
than indicated.

We creaked off toward the southwest. We didn't know where we were going,
but by this time we had all become philosophical and self-sufficient and
believed that if the train dropped us somewhere far away from the rest
of the division, we would manage to get along by ourselves without too
much trouble.

After a day's travel we stopped at a little station. The only thing that
we had to identify us was a long yellow ticket scratched all over with
minute directions, which none of us could read. Here I was informed by a
French guard that this was the regulating station and the American
regulating officer was waiting to see me. I hopped off the train and ran
back, finding Colonel Hjalmar Erickson, who afterward became a very dear
friend of mine and later commanded the regiment. He was busy trying to
figure things out with the French _chef de la gare_, an effort
complicated by his inability to speak French.

"My lord, Major, why aren't you the Seventh Field Artillery?" was
Colonel Erickson's greeting.

As he was giving me the plans and maps I heard a whoop from the train
outside. I ran to the door and found that, for some reason, best known
to himself, the French engineer had started up again and my battalion
was rapidly disappearing down the track. I started on the dead run after
them. Fortunately some of the officers saw what was happening, and by
force of arms succeeded in persuading the engineer to stop the train.

That night we detrained a couple of days' march from Chaumont-en-Vexin,
where division headquarters were to be. We hiked through a beautiful
peaceful country, the most lovely we had yet seen in France, billeting
for the night in a little town where a whole company of mine slept in an
old château. At Chaumont we stayed for some few days, maneuvering while
the division was being fully assembled.

From Chaumont we marched north for four days to the Montdidier sector. I
never shall forget this march. Spring was on the land, the trees were
budding, wild flowers covered the ground, the birds were singing. Our
dusty brown column wound up hill and down, through patches of woods and
little villages. By us, all day, toward the south streamed the French
refugees from villages threatened, or already taken, by the Hun. Heavy
home-made wagons trundled past, drawn by every kind of animal, and piled
high with hay and farm produce, furniture, and odds and ends of
household belongings. Tramping beside them or riding on them were women
and children, most of them dazed and with a haunted look in their faces.
Sometimes the wagons would be halted and their occupants squatted by the
road, cooking a scanty meal from what they had with them.

To us in this country, thanks to Providence, not to our own forethought
or character, this description is only so many words. Unless one has
seen it, it is impossible to visualize the battered village, the column
of refugees that starts at each great battle and streams ceaselessly
toward Paris and southern France, the apple orchards and gardens torn
beyond recognition, the desolation and destruction seemingly impossible
of reparation.

Nothing would have been better for our countrymen and women than for
each and every one of them to have spent some time in the war zone. When
I think of men of the type of Bryan and Ford, when I think of their
self-satisfied lives of ease, when I think of what they did to permit
disaster and death to threaten this country, it makes me wonder more
than ever at the long-suffering kindness of humanity which permits such
as they still to enjoy the benefits of citizenship in this great land
which they have so signally failed to serve.

When we took over the Montdidier sector it was not, nor did it ever
become, the type found in the parts of the front where warfare had been
going on without movement for more than three years. Trenches were
shallow and scanty, and dugouts were almost lacking. Indeed, from this
time on, with one exception, the division never held an established
sector. The line at Montdidier had been established shortly after the
break-through by the Germans, by a French territorial division which was
marching north, expecting to relieve some friendly troops in front of
it. They suddenly encountered, head on, the German columns that were
marching south. Both sides deployed, went into position, and dug in
where they were. The First Division took over from these troops.

The first morning we were in the Montdidier sector the Huns shelled us
heavily. Immediately after they raided a part of our front line held by
a platoon of D Company, commanded by Lieutenant Dabney, a very good
fellow from Louisville, Ky. The Germans were repulsed with loss. We
suffered no casualties ourselves except from the German bombardment. The
next evening we picked up the body of the German sergeant commanding
the party, whom we had killed.

We staged a very successful raid ourselves at about this time. The
raiding party was composed of eighty-five men of D Company, under the
command of Lieutenant Freml. The section of German trenches selected as
the objective of the operation lay in a little wood about one hundred
yards from our front line. Our patrols had reported that this part of
the German line was particularly heavily held. In the first light of the
half dawn the raiding party worked up into position, passing by through
the mist like black shadows. At the agreed time our artillery came down
with both the heavies and the 75's, and the patch of woods was enveloped
in clouds of smoke through which the bursts of the H. E. showed like
flashes of lightning. In ten minutes the guns lifted and formed a box
barrage, and the raiding party went over. So rapid was the whole
maneuver that the German defensive barrage did not come down until
after the raiding party had reached the enemy trenches.

The enemy trenches were found, as had been expected, full of Germans.
Most of them were in dugouts or funk holes, and did not make a severe
resistance. "Come out of there," the man in charge of the particular
detail for that part of the trench would call down the dugout. If the
Huns came out, they were taken prisoner. If they did not, a couple of
incendiary grenades were thrown down the dugout and our men moved on.

We captured, in all, thirty-three prisoners, of whom one was an officer,
and probably killed and wounded as many more. Our losses were one killed
and five slightly wounded. Unfortunately the one man killed was
Lieutenant Freml, the raid leader, who fell in a hand-to-hand combat.
Freml was an old Regular Army sergeant and had fought in the Philippine
Islands. After this war he was planning to return and establish a
chicken farm. He always kept his head no matter what the circumstances
were and his solutions for situations that arose were always practical.
His men were devoted to him and would follow him anywhere.

  [Illustration: A TRENCH RAID
                   Drawn by Captain George Harding, A. E. F.,
                   Montfaucon]

The men returned in high excitement and fine spirits. This was the most
successful minor operation we had had so far. I was with the raiding
party when it jumped off and then went to the point where they were to
check in as they got back. There were four parties in all. As each
returned with its collection of prisoners, the first thing that the
officer or sergeant in command asked was, "Sir, did any of the rest get
any more prisoners than we did?" When I told one of them, Lieutenant
Ridgely, that another party had brought in two more prisoners than he
had, he wanted to go back at once and get some more himself.

A very gallant fellow, Bradley, my liaison sergeant, asked and was
granted permission to go on the raid. He turned up at the checking-in
point driving three Germans in front of him, his rifle over his
shoulder, the bayonet covered with blood and a German helmet hanging
from the end. As he passed I said, "Bradley, I see you have a new
bonnet." He turned to me with a beaming smile and answered, "Why, Major,
I heard that Mrs. Roosevelt wanted a German helmet and this was such a
nice one that I stuck the man who had it on." Poor Bradley was, I
believe, killed in the battle of Soissons, though I never have been able
to get positive information.

A curious instance of the way a man will carry one impression from an
order in his mind and one only was given by this raid. Before the
operation started I had given particular instructions to the effect that
I wanted prisoners and papers. This is literally what the party brought
back, lots of prisoners and papers of all sorts. They took the crews of
two machine guns but did not bring the guns back--that was not included
in the instructions. The company which made this raid was composed of
raw recruits who had never had even the most rudimentary kind of
military training until their arrival in Europe some five months before
this date. They were of all walks in life and all extractions. Many did
not even speak the English tongue with ease.

It was in this sector that the First Division staged the first American
attack when the town of Cantigny was taken. The attack was made by the
Twenty-eighth Infantry. My battalion, although not actually engaged in
the assault, was in support and took over the extreme right of the line
after the assault. It also helped in repelling counter-attacks delivered
by the Germans and in consolidating the position. Just preceding the
Cantigny show the Germans strafed and gassed very heavily the positions
held by us. I suspect that this was due to a certain amount of
additional movement in the sector coincident with moving the troops into
position for the attack.

After gassing us and strafing us heavily a raid in considerable force
was sent over by the Germans. It was repulsed with heavy loss, leaving a
number of prisoners in our hands. A Company took the brunt of this, the
platoon commanded by Lieutenant Andrews doing particularly well. Just
after the repulse of the German attack I was up watching the right of
the line, which was in trenches out in the open. The German machine guns
and sharpshooters were very active. One of our men was lying behind the
parapet. He had his helmet hooked on the end of his rifle and kept
shoving it over the top. The Germans would fire at it. Then he would
flag a miss for them by waving it to and fro in the same way the flag is
waved for a miss when practice on the rifle range is going on.

Our own losses were due in large part to the German artillery fire. In
this operation a number of our most gallant old-timers were killed.
Captain Frey, second in command of the battalion, was shot twice through
the stomach while leading reënforcements to his front line. When the
stretcher bearers carried him by me, he shook my hand, said "good-by,"
and was carried away to the rear. After they had moved him a short
distance he lifted himself up, saluted, said in a loud voice, "Sergeant,
dismiss the company," and died. Sergeant Dennis Sullivan, Sergeant
O'Rourke, and Sergeant McCormick, not to mention many, many others, were
killed or received mortal wounds at this time.

The Cantigny operation was a success. We took and held the town, or
rather the spot where the town had been, for it would be an exaggeration
to say it was even a ruin. It was literally beaten flat. This piece of
land had seen the German invaders for the last time. We learned a
valuable lesson also, namely, not to make the disposition of the men too
thick. In this operation we did, and this, and the fact that our
objective was necessarily limited in depth, caused us casualties, as the
enemy artillery was not reached and opened on us before we had time to
dig in and consolidate the position we had taken.

Not all our operations were necessarily as successful as the ones I have
mentioned above. Raids were organized and drew blanks. At times orders
would reach us so late that it was exceedingly difficult to attempt
their execution with much chance of success. For example, one night a
message reached me that a prisoner was wanted for identification
purposes by morning.

As I recall, it happened as follows: The telephone buzzed; I answered,
and the message came over the wire somewhat in this fashion: "Hello,
hello, is this Hannibal? Hannibal, there is a friend we have back in the
country [the brigadier general] who is very fond of radishes
[prisoners]. He wants one for breakfast to-morrow morning without fail."
This reached me at about ten or eleven o'clock. The raid had to be
executed before daylight. In the meantime the plans had to be made, the
company commander notified, the raiding party chosen, and all ranks
instructed. Add to this that everything had to be done during the dark
and you will see what a difficult proposition it was.

I got hold of the company commander, got the men organized, telephoned
to the artillery, and asked for five minutes' preparation fire on a
certain point, joined the raiding party and went forward with it. Then
the first of a string of misfortunes happened. On account of the hurry
and the difficulty of transmission, the artillery mistook the coördinate
and fired three hundred meters too short, with the result that an
effective bit of preparation fire was wasted on my own raiding party. By
the time this preparatory firing upon our own raiding party was over,
the Germans naturally understood that something was happening, for why
would we strafe our own front-line trenches to no purpose? The result
was that when the raid went over, every machine gun in the area was
watching for them. They got to the opposing wire, ran into cross-fire,
and, after various casualties, found it entirely impossible to get by
the enemy wire, and worked their way back.

As they were working back a senior sergeant, Yarborough by name, was
sitting in a shell hole, machine-gun bullets singing by him, checking
his party as it came in. Lieutenant Ridgely, who had been with the
party, came up to him. As he crawled along, Yarborough said to him:
"Lieutenant, this reminds me of a story. There was once a guy who
decided to commit suicide by hanging himself. Just about the time he
done a good job of it the rope broke. He was sitting up on the floor
afterward when I came in, a-rubbing his neck, and when he saw me, all he
said was, 'Gee, but that was dangerous.'"

During this period the German Château-Thierry drive was made, again
scoring a clean break-through. The Second Division, which was coming up
to our rear to relieve us, was switched and thrown in front of the
enemy. Shortly after the Huns attacked toward the town of Compiègne, in
an endeavor to straighten out the reëntrant in their lines with its apex
at Soissons. This latter attack passed by on our right flank.

We, of course, got little but rumor. In the trenches you are only
vitally concerned with what happens on your immediate right and left.
What goes on ten kilometers away you know little about, and generally
are so busy that you care less. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil
thereof," is a proverb that holds good in the line. In this last
instance we were more interested because we believed that as a result of
this attack the next point to stand a hammering would be where we were
holding. Our policy, which held good through the war, was developed and
put into action at this time. The orders were, all troops should resist
to the last on the ground on which they stood. All movement should be
from the rear forward and not to the rear. Whenever an element in the
front line got in trouble, the elements immediately in the rear would
counter-attack. This extended in depth back until it reached the
division reserve, which, as our general put it, "would move up with him
in command, and after that, replacements would be necessary."

During the time when the Huns were making their Château-Thierry drive,
Blalock, afterward sergeant of D Company, distinguished himself by a
rather remarkable piece of marksmanship. Noticing a pigeon fluttering
over the trench, he drew his automatic pistol and killed it on the wing.
The bird turned out to be a carrier pigeon loosed by one of the
attacking regiments the Germans were using in their drive toward the
Marne, and carried a message giving its position as twelve kilometers
deeper in France than our higher command realized. At the same time it
identified a division that we had not heard of for three months, and
indicated by the fact that it was signed by a captain who was commanding
the regiment that the Germans were finding it difficult to replace the
losses among their officers.

Instances occurred constantly which showed the spirit of both officers
and men. A recruit, arriving one night as a replacement, got there just
in time for a heavy strafing that the Germans were delivering. A
dud--that is a shell that does not go off--went through the side of the
dugout and took both of his legs off above the knees. These duds are
very hot, and this one cauterized the wounds and the man did not bleed
to death at once. The platoon leader, seeing that something had gone
wrong on the right, went over to look and found the man propped up
against the side of the trench. When he arrived, Kraakmo, the private,
looked up at him and said, "Lieutenant, you have lost a hell of a good
soldier."

Another time, when we were moving forward to reënforce a threatened part
of the line, a sergeant called O'Rourke was hit and badly wounded. As he
fell I turned around and said: "Well, O'Rourke, they've got you." "They
have sir," he answered, "but we have had a damned good time."

Sergeant Steidel of A Company was a fine up-standing soldier and won the
D. S. C. and the Médaille Militaire. He used to stay with me as my own
personal bodyguard when I was away for any reason from headquarters.
Steidel was afraid of nothing. He was always willing and always
clear-headed. When I wanted a report of an exact situation, Steidel was
the man whom I could send to get it. We used to have daylight patrols.
One day a patrol of green men went out to obtain certain information.
They were stampeded by something and came back into the part of the
trench where Steidel was. He went out alone as an example to them, and
came back with the information.

Lieutenant Baxter, whom I have mentioned before, and a private called
Upton patrolled across an almost impossible shell-beaten area to
establish connection with the battalion on our left. They both went out
cheerfully, and both, by some streak of luck, got back unhurt. Baxter,
on returning, reported to ask if there was any other duty of a like
nature that he could undertake right away.

One night, when we were shifting a company from support to a position on
our left flank, a heavy bombardment came on. A number of the men were
killed and wounded while moving up. One sergeant, by the name of
Nestowicz, born in Germany, was badly hit and left for dead. I was
standing in the bushes on the side of the valley waiting for reports
when I saw this man moving unsteadily toward me. I asked him what the
matter was, and he replied that he had been hit, his company had gone
on and left him, and he had come up to ask me where he could find them.
I said, "Hadn't you better go to the first aid, sergeant?" He said, "No
sir, I am not hit that bad and I want to go back to my company. It looks
as if they'd need me."

Sergeant Dobbs, of B Company, badly wounded by a hand grenade, wrote me
a letter, saying that he was well enough to come back, but the doctors
would not let him come, and could not I do something about it. I took a
chance and wrote, telling the medical authorities I would give him light
work if they let him come back to the outfit. Dobbs turned up, was
wounded again, and the last I heard of him was a letter written in late
October, saying that he had never had the opportunity to thank me for
getting him back. Mind you, getting him back merely meant, in his case,
giving him the chance to get shot up again before he was thoroughly
cured of his first wound. He finished by saying that he was in bad
trouble now, as part of his nose had gone the last time he was wounded
and they would not even keep him in France, but were sending him back to
the United States. His last line was the hope that he would get well
soon so he could get back to the outfit.

There was a young fellow called Fenessey from Rochester, New York, in B
Company. He was being educated for the Catholic priesthood. As soon as
war was declared he enlisted and came over with the regiment. He did
well and was a good man to have around the command because of his
earnestness and humor. He was eventually made corporal of an
automatic-rifle squad. His rifle was placed in the tip of a small patch
of wood guarding a little valley that ran back toward the center of our
position. These valleys were important, as down them the Germans
generally delivered thrusts. The Huns, one morning, strafed heavily our
position. Fenessey's automatic rifle was destroyed and he was hard hit,
his right arm torn off and his right side mangled. Fenessey knew he was
dying. The strafing stopped, the first-aid men worked in, and Fenessey
was carried to the rear. They heard him mumble something, listened
carefully, and found he wished to be taken to his company commander.
They carried him back to Lieutenant Holmes. When he saw Lieutenant
Holmes, he said: "Sir, my automatic rifle has been destroyed. I think
the company commander should send one up immediately to take its place."
Fenessey died ten minutes later.

Quick promotion, unfortunately not in rank, simply in responsibility,
occurred all the time. Of the four infantry company commanders which had
started, only one was surviving when we left this sector. In each case a
lieutenant took command of the company and did it in the finest shape
possible. Lieutenants Cathers and Jackson were killed here at the head
of their platoons, and Lieutenants Smith and Gustafson died from the
effect of wounds. Lieutenant Freml, who was killed in a raid, had
numerous narrow escapes.

I remember one time we were going together over the top on a
reconnoitering party preparatory to redisposition of the troops. Freml
had as his personal orderly a very bright little Jew from San
Francisco--Drabkin by name, who had kept a junk-shop. The little fellow
seemed to run true to former training, for he always went around
festooned with pistols, "blinkers," notebooks, and everything
conceivable. A shell hit beside them, Freml being between this man and
the shell. Freml was untouched, but the man was torn to pieces.

One young fellow seemed, for a while, to bear a sort of charmed life.
Unfortunately this did not last, and he was killed in the battle of
Soissons. He was very proud of the things that had happened to him. One
night, while I was inspecting the front trenches, he said to me, "Major,
I have been buried by shells twice to-day. The last time I only had one
arm sticking out so they could find me. All the other men in the dugout
have been killed and I ain't even been scratched."

It was here that Lieutenant Ridgely earned for himself the nickname of
the idiot strategist, which he went by for a long while in the
battalion. The Huns were putting up a pretty lively demonstration on our
left. A message reached me that they were attacking. I made my
preparations to counter-attack, if necessary, and sent runners to the
various units concerned to advise them of this plan. The runner who was
bringing the message to Ridgely's platoon lost it in the shuffle.
Runners are made to repeat messages verbally to take care of
contingencies just like this. However, this does not always work, and
when he got to Ridgely, the only message he could remember was, "The
Major orders you to counter-attack, and help the troops on our left."

It seemed a pretty forlorn business to counter-attack with one platoon,
but neither Ridgely nor the platoon considered this was anything which
really concerned them. They hastily formed up and moved to the left.
They got over and found that the Germans had been successfully repulsed
and that they were among our own troops. The Captain in charge of the
company told Ridgely to go back. Ridgely thought for a moment and said,
"No, my Major's orders were to counter-attack to assist the troops on
the left," and it was only with difficulty that they persuaded him that
he must not stage a little private adventure then and there against the
German lines.

In this sector we experienced our most severe gas attacks. It is a
thoroughly unpleasant thing to hear gas shells coming over in quantity.
Often an attack begins much as follows: It draws toward morning; the
digging parties file back toward their positions. Suddenly shelling
begins to increase in volume. Private Bill Smith notes a sort of a
warbling sound overhead and remarks to Private Bill Jones, "Gee, Bill,
they're gassing us." Next, reports come in from various sections that
they are gassing Fontaine Woods, Cantigny Woods, and the valley between.
You stand out on some point of vantage and listen to the shells singing
over and bursting. As day dawns you see a thick gray mist spreading
itself through the valley. The men have slipped on their gas masks. The
question now is, what's up? Just meanness on the part of the Huns, or is
it part of some ulterior design to straighten the salient and nip off
the two points of woods we are holding? How heavy is the gassing to be?
How quickly will the wind carry it away? A thousand and one other
questions.

You send your gas officer up to test. You go up yourself and generally
know as much as the gas officer. Our general experience was that the
first gas casualties we had were the gas officers. You decide that, as
nothing has developed up to this time, it is probable that if any attack
is planned by the Huns it is not intended to take place this morning.
You get your men out of the heavily gassed areas and try to determine
where is the best place for them to be well protected, to cover
practically the same territory, and not to be too much exposed to the
gas. By this time they have been sweating in their gas masks for three
hours or more with the usual number of fools and accidents contributing
to the casualties. You carefully redispose them while a desultory
bombardment by the Germans adds to the general joy of life. You get them
redisposed. The wind changes, the gas is carried to the position where
they are. You have to change them again. To add to the general
complications, the chow which was brought up last night is spoiled. It
has been in the gassed area and the men must go hungry until the next
evening. You come back to your dugout and find that in some mysterious
way the gas has gone down into the dugout, so you prop yourself in the
corner of the trench and carry on from there. Altogether it is a happy
and joyful occasion. Your one consolation rests in the fact that your
artillery is now earnestly engaged in retaliating on their infantry.

Speaking of artillery, there is one thing that always used to fill us,
the infantry, with woe and grief. A paper would come up, reading,
"Nothing to report on the (blank) sector except severe artillery
duels." "Severe artillery duels" to the uninitiated means that the
opposing artillery fights one with the other. This, however, is not the
custom. Your artillery shells their infantry hard and then their
artillery shells your infantry hard. This is an artillery duel. The
infantry is on the receiving end in both cases.

Our artillery was particularly good. General Summerall, who commanded, I
have been told, preached to his men that the primary duty of that arm
was to help the infantry, and that to do this properly in all war of
movement they should follow the advancing troops as closely as possible.
Once I saw a battery of the Seventh F. A. wheel up and go into action
not more than two hundred yards from the front line. We, on our part,
endeavored to call uselessly on the artillery as little as possible.

At times our own artillery would drop a few "shorts" into us but this is
unavoidable and the infantry felt too strongly what had been done for
them to pay much attention.

In one of the German dugouts we captured, a lieutenant told me he found
a sign reading, "We fear no one but God and our own artillery."

Sector matériel is something that always adds interest to the life of
the officers in trench warfare. Sector matériel consists of all
varieties of articles, from tins of bully beef and rusty grenades to
quantities of grubby, illegible orders and lists, and mangled maps.
These remain in the sector and are turned over by each unit to the next
succeeding. Theoretically a careful inventory is made and each
individual article checked each time.

Moreover, to keep the higher command satisfied, there must be
maps--legions of maps. These maps do not have to be accurate. Indeed,
they cannot possibly be accurate, but they must be beautifully marked in
red, blue, yellow, and green with a pretty "legend" attached. The higher
command never knows if the maps are correct, but they do know if they
are not beautifully marked. In each sector there must be, first, a map
indicating where all the trenches are. You, as commanding officer, are
probably the only person who knows and you are too busy to put them
down. Then there must also be maps indicating work in progress. Very
generally they like a map to be turned in every day showing what work
has been done during the night. How they expect anyone to do this is
beyond anyone who has done it. Further, maps must show abandoned
trenches; still further, there must be what is known to the high command
as maps indicating "alternate gas positions." "Alternate gas positions"
are impossible to indicate. Everything depends on which way the wind is
blowing and what place is gassed. But the higher command wants these
maps and it is simpler to placate them than to fight with them. I had a
fine artillery liaison officer, called Chandler. He had had some
training in topography and he kindly agreed to take over the map
question. When a message came up from the rear demanding a map showing
alternate gas position, he would get out his stack of blue pencils and
make, with exquisite care, the nicest and most symmetrical blue lines.
He would number them in black, arrange a margin between, putting green
marks and yellow marks and red marks for other units; fold them up and
send them back. It was quite simple for him. He did not have to consult
anyone, it wasn't necessary to reconnoiter the ground; the map would go
in with the morning report and all would be happy.

Another sport indulged in by the higher command was to change the main
line of defense and re-allot the defense system of the sector. To be
really qualified to do this, you should on no account have any knowledge
of the actual terrain. Indeed, I think in all my experience I never
received a defense map from the higher command where the individual
making the map had been over the ground. All that you do, if you are the
higher command, is to get a beautiful large scale map, draw broad lines
across it and then dotted lines to indicate boundaries. For nearly a
month I defended a sector where the map was entirely wrong. Two patches
of woods were represented as in a valley, whereas they were on a hill.
This worried neither the higher command nor me. The higher command did
not know that the map was wrong; they had sent me their beautiful little
plans. I sent them equally beautiful ones without debating the matter,
and all were satisfied.

I remember one general who commanded the brigade of which I was a
member. His hobby was switch lines. A switch line is simply a trench
running approximately perpendicular to the front, where a defensive
position can be taken up in case the enemy breaks through on the right
or left and whereby you form a defensive flank. The old boy would come
up, solemn as a judge, and ask me where my switch lines were to be put.
With equal solemnity I would explain to him. After talking for a half an
hour he would ask confidentially, "Major, what is a switch line?" With
equal solemnity I would explain to him and conversation would cease.
Three days thereafter we would go through the same thing again. The old
fellow had heard someone talking about a switch line once and somehow
felt that it counted a hundred in game to have one.

Another indoor sport of the high command was a report for plans of
defense. A plan of defense consisted of maps and long screeds indicating
just where counter-attacks were to be launched when parts of the front
line were taken by the enemy. They were beautiful things, pages and
pages long. They were as gay in color as Joseph's proverbial coat, and
when things broke, circumstances were always such that you did something
entirely different from any of the plans.

Still another sport was patrol reports and patrolling. The patrols were,
according to instructions, arranged for by the higher command because
the higher command knew nothing and could know nothing of the particular
details that govern in any individual section of the front. They would
send down to the battalion commander and demand statements, for their
revision, as to what his patrols were to be for the night, when they
were to go out, what they were to do, etc. The battalion commander would
send them his patrol sheet and then by the above-mentioned code they
would endeavor to confer with him and debate the advisability of certain
of his actions. Again experience taught the way out. You agreed with
everything they said, and did what you originally intended. Next day
they would want a map indicating exactly the points traversed by the
patrol. Knee-deep in water in a filthy dugout, your adjutant or
intelligence officer would make them this map. The map, like most maps,
was for decorative purposes. No patrol wandering in a pitch-black night
in the rain, stumbling on dead men, snarling itself in wire, lying flat
on its bellies when the Hun flares shot up, could possibly tell exactly
where it had gone. This was, happily, not known to the higher command,
so they rested in blissful ignorance.

I cannot leave the question of maps without discussing the all-absorbing
topic of coördinates. A coördinate is a group of numbers which indicate
an exact point on the map. If you have firmly got the system in your
head, you can find the point accurately on the map. Any man, however,
who thinks he can go and sit on a coördinate on the actual ground is
either a lunatic or belongs to the higher command. Incidentally, in
demanding reports of patrols, alternate gas positions, etc., the order
usually, reads, "Battalion commander will furnish reports with
coördinates."

When I was recovering from a wound in my leg, I attended for two weeks
our staff college. This college was well conceived and did excellent
work, but nowhere were more evident the grievous faults of our
unpreparedness. A good staff officer should have had practical
experience with troops. If he has not had this experience he takes the
thumb rules too literally and does not realize that they are simply
rules to govern in general. We had practically no officers with this
experience. The result was that the students, good fellows, most of them
men who had never been in action, attached too much importance to the
figures and did not realize it was the theory that was important.
Infantry, according to staff problems, always marches four kilometers an
hour. March graphics are drawn with columns which clear points, with
three hundred meters to spare between them and the head of the next
column after both columns have marched ten kilometers to the point of
junction. No account is taken of the fact that rarely, if ever, does
infantry exceed in rate of march three and one half kilometers under the
ordinary conditions prevailing in France, and that bad weather, bad
roads, etc., bring it to three kilometers. What a commanding officer of
troops must bear in mind is not simply getting his troops to a given
point, but getting them to that given point in such shape that they are
able to perform the task set them when they arrive. Furthermore, roads
given on the map are accepted with the sublime faith of a child. I
remember once having my regiment on the march for twelve hours because
the trail on which we had all been ordered to proceed necessitated the
men going single file, and the infantry of a division single file
stretches out indefinitely.

Our troops had now begun to arrive in France in large numbers. It was
more than a year after the commencement of the war before this was
effected. The inability of our national administration to bring itself
to the point where it considered patriotism as above politics was
largely responsible for this. Every move forward toward the active
pushing of the war was the result of the pressure of the people on
Washington. When I say that our troops were coming across in large
numbers, let it be borne in mind that, though the men did come,
munitions and weapons of war did not. The Browning automatic rifle, for
example, to my mind one of the greatest weapons developed by the war,
was invented in the United States in the summer of 1917. When the war
finished it had just been placed for the first time in the hands of a
limited number of our divisions; my division, the First, never had them
until a month after the armistice. We used the old French chauchat, a
very inferior weapon. None of our airplanes had come, and the death of
many of our young men was directly traceable to this, as they, of
necessity, used inferior machines. Our cannon was and remained French
and its ammunition was French. Our troops were at times issued British
uniforms and many of the men objected strenuously to wearing them on
account of the buttons with the crown stamped on them. Our supply of
boots, up to and including the march into Germany, was composed in part
of British boots. These boots had a low instep and caused much foot
trouble. These are facts that no amount of words can cover, no speeches
explain away.



CHAPTER VIII

SOISSONS

              "And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
              Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy."
                                                 TENNYSON.


Early in July rumors reached us that we were going to be relieved. At
first we did not attach any importance to this, as we had heard many
rumors of a like nature during the months we had been in the sector. At
last, however, the French officers came up to reconnoiter, and we knew
it was true. We were relieved and marched back to some little village
near the old French town of Beauvais. Everyone was as happy as a king.
Here we heard that the plan was to form a corps of the Second Division
and our division, train and recruit them for a month, and make an
offensive with us some time late in August or September. General
Bullard, our division commander who had been, in turn, colonel of the
Twenty-eighth Infantry, brigadier general commanding the Second Brigade,
and division commander, was to be corps commander. This pleased us very
much, as we had great confidence in him.

We had been in these villages only for a few days when orders reached us
to entruck and proceed to some towns only a short distance from Paris.
This appealed to us all, for if we were going to train and rest for a
month, no more delightful place could be chosen for one and all than the
vicinity of Paris.

The buses arrived and all night we jolted southwest through the forest
of Chantilly. By morning we arrived and detrucked and the brown columns
wound through the fresh green landscape to the charming little gray
stone towns. The town where we were to stay was called Ver. It was built
on rolling country and its gray cobble-paved streets twisted and wound
up hill and down through a maze of picturesque gray houses in whose
doors well-dressed, bright-cheeked women and children stood watching
us. On the hill were the remains of an old wall and château, and at the
foot, through a broad meadow shaded with trees, a fair-sized brook
rippled. Jean Jacques Rousseau lived and wrote there. How he could have
been such a hypocrite and have lived in such a charming place is more
than I can see.

The men were delighted. "Say, Buddie, this is some town; look at that
stream!"--"Bonne billets."--"Let's fight the rest of the war here"--were
some of the remarks I heard as the column swung in.

Everything was ideal. The stream above mentioned furnished a bathtub for
the command. We had had no opportunity for about two months to
thoroughly bathe, as we had been on active work the entire time, and you
can imagine in just what condition we were. To put it in the words of
one of my company commanders, "The command was as lousy as pet coons."
The first day we spent in orienting ourselves, getting the kitchens
arranged and the billets comfortable. Meanwhile the troops were down
bathing in the stream, to the admiring interest of the French
inhabitants, who lined the bridge. To our staid Americans the
unconventional attitude of interest in bathing troops displayed by the
French inhabitants of all ages and both sexes was a source of constant
embarrassment. I have known a platoon sergeant to guide his men to quite
a distant point to take their baths. When I asked him why, he replied,
"Sir, it isn't decent with all them frogs looking on."

That evening, at officers' meeting, everyone was on the crest of the
wave, "sitting on the world," as the doughboy puts it. The officers
established their mess in various houses, and I remember to this day
Lieutenant Kern, as gallant an officer as ever it was my pleasure to
know, who was mortally wounded some three days from this time, telling
me that they had the prettiest French girl in all of France as a
waitress at his company mess and that they were all going to give her
lessons in English. We talked over training and made all arrangements
for a long stay. The only dissenting voice was that of the medical
officer, Captain E. D. Morgan. He, Cassandra-like, prophesied that the
town was too nice and we would be moved soon.

Next morning, while I was out going over the village, selecting drill
grounds and planning the schedule, a motorcycle orderly arrived and
handed me a message which read, "You will be prepared to entruck your
battalion at two this afternoon." This meant no rest for us. We realized
that a move on our part now meant one thing and one thing only, that
something serious had arisen, and that we were going in again. Rumor had
been rife for two or three days past that the big Hun offensive was
about to start again. In the army, among the front-line troops,
practically all you get is rumor about what is happening daily. Where
the rumor starts from it is impossible to say, but it travels like
lightning. Officers' call was sounded, and when they had assembled, I
read them the order and told them it was my opinion we were going into a
big battle right away. The men were immediately assembled and told the
same thing. We always felt that all information possible should be given
to the men. Instead of the command being downcast at the idea of leaving
their well-deserved rest, their spirits rose. Immediately bustle and
preparation was evident everywhere in the town.

By one o'clock the truck train was creaking into place on the road.
Oddly enough the truck train was made up of White trucks, made in
Cleveland, with Indo-Chinese drivers and was under the command of a
French officer. The troops filed by in columns of twos toward the
entrucking point. The men were laughing and joking. "They can't do
without us now, Bill." "Say, Nick, look over there" (pointing toward a
grave yard), "them's the rest billets of this battalion, and that"
(indicating a rather imposing tomb) "is the battalion headquarters."
Many of them were singing the national anthem of the doughboy, _Hail!
Hail! the Gang's All Here._

I got into the automobile of the French commander of the train, taking
with me Lieutenant Kern, as he was pretty well played out and I wanted
to spare him as much as possible. The French train commander had no idea
what our ultimate destination was. All he knew was a route for about
sixty kilometers, at the end of which he was to report for further
orders at a little town. As we ran up and down the column of trucks
checking the train to make sure that all units were present and all
properly loaded, the men were singing and cheering.

As all afternoon we jolted northward through clouds of dust, rumors came
in picked up from French officers on the roadside. The Hun had attacked
in force east and west of Rheims in a desperate attempt to break the
French army in two. East of Rheims they had met with a stone-wall
resistance by Gouraud's army and been hurled back with heavy loss. West
of Rheims their attack had been more successful, and they were reported
to have broken through, crossed the Marne, and to be now moving on
Châlons.

As night fell the jolting truck train pressed ever farther north. At
the regulating station, by the shaded flare of an electric torch, we got
our orders: we were to proceed to Palesne. We guessed on receiving them
what our mission was. We were pushing straight north into the reëntrant
into the German lines, at the peak of which was Soissons. Our
destination was a large wood. We realized that we were probably to form
part of an offensive to be made against the Hun right flank, which
should have as its object, first, by pressure at this point, to stop the
attack on Châlons; second, if it was possible, to penetrate far enough
to force the evacuation of the Château-Thierry salient by threatening
their lines of communication. In the early dawn the troops detrucked,
sloshed through the mud, and bivouacked in the woods. Every care
possible was taken to get the troops under cover of the woods and the
trucks away before daylight in order to avoid any possible chance of
observation by the Germans.

All day we became more certain that our guess as to our probable mission
was correct. We heard that the Foreign Legion and the Second American
Division had come up on our right. We knew that our division, the
Foreign Legion, and the Second Division, would not be concentrated at
the same point if it did not mean a real offensive.

Soon after the orders for the attack were given us. Apparently the idea
was to stake all on one throw. Marshal Foch had decided on a
counter-offensive in this part and had delegated to General Mangin,
commander of the French army, the task of putting it into execution.
Mangin desired to make this offensive, if possible, a complete surprise.
All care was used that no unnecessary movement took place among our
troops in the back area. We were not to take over the position from the
French troops holding the front line, as was generally customary for the
attacking troops before an action, but rather to march up on the night
of the offensive and attack through them. Fortunately, from the point of
view of secrecy, the night before the attack it rained cats and dogs.
The infantry slogged through the mud, up roads cut to pieces by trucks
and over trails ankle deep in water. The artillery skittered and
strained into place. The tanks clanked and rattled up, breaking the
columns and tearing up what was left of the road. It was so dark you
could hardly see your hand before your face.

As a part of the element of surprise there was to be but a short period
of preparatory bombardment. The artillery was to fire what the French
call "the fire of destruction" for five minutes on the front line, and
then to move to the next objective. This bombardment was to commence at
4.30, and at 4.35 the men were to go over the top.

The troops all reached the position safely by about 4 o'clock. Our
position lay along the edge of a rugged and steep ravine. The rain had
stopped and the first faint pink of the early summer morning lighted the
sky. Absolute silence hung over everything, broken only by the
twittering of birds. Suddenly out of the stillness, without the warning
of a preliminary shot, our artillery opened with a crash. All along the
horizon, silhouetted against the pale pink of the early dawn, was the
tufted smoke of high explosive shells, and the burst of shrapnel showed
in flashes like the spitting of a broken electric wire in a hailstorm.
After the bombardment had been going on for two or three minutes, D
company, on the right, became impatient and wanted to attack, and I
heard the men begin to call, "Let's go, let's go!"

At 4.35 the infantry went over. The surprise was complete. Germans were
killed in their dugouts half dressed. One of the units of the division
captured a colonel and his staff still in his dugout. So rapid was the
advance on the first day that the German advance batteries were taken.
The French cavalry followed up our advance, looking for a break-through.
By night all the objectives were taken and the troops bivouacked in the
captured position. During the night Hun airplanes flew low over us
dropping flares and throwing small bombs. Next morning the attack
started again. We ran into much machine-gun fire. "Only those who have
danced to its music can know what the mitrailleuse means."

  [Illustration: AN AIR RAID
                   Drawn by Captain George Harding, A. E. F., August,
                   1918]

The Germans now rushed up all the reserves they could to hold this
threatened point. On the second day we took prisoners from four Hun
divisions in front of the regiment. One prisoner told us he had marched
twenty-four kilometers during the preceding night. For five days the
advance continued, until the final objective was taken and we held the
Château-Thierry-Soissons railroad and the Germans ordered a general
retreat. I was not fortunate enough to see the last half of this battle,
as I was wounded. I heard about it, however, from men who had been all
through it.

Our casualties were very heavy. At the end of the battle, companies in
some cases came out commanded by corporals, and battalions by second
lieutenants. In the battle the regiment lost most of the men that built
it up.

Colonel Hamilton A. Smith, as fine an officer and as true a gentleman
as I have ever known, was killed by machine-gun fire while he was
verifying his outpost line. Major McCloud, a veteran of the Philippines
who had served with the British for three years, was killed on the
second day. I have somewhere a note written by him to me shortly before
his death. He was on the left, where heavy resistance was being
encountered. I had just sent him a message advising him that I was
attacking in the direction of Ploisy. His answer, which was brought by a
wounded runner, read: "My staff are all either killed or wounded. Will
attack toward the northeast against machine-gun nests. Good hunting!"

Lieutenant Colonel Elliott was killed by shell fire. Captain J. H.
Holmes, a gallant young South Carolinian, was killed. He left in the
United States, a young wife and a baby he had never seen. Captains Mood,
Hamel, and Richards were killed. Lieutenant Kern, of whom I spoke
before, was mortally wounded while gallantly leading his company.
Lieutenant Clarke died in the hospital from the effect of his wounds a
few days later. Clarke was a big, strapping fellow who feared nothing.
Once he remarked to me: "Yes, it is a messy damn war, sir, but it's the
only one we've got and I guess we have got to make the best of it."
These are only a few of those who fell. Both Major Compton and Major
Travis were wounded.

The Twenty-sixth Infantry was brought out of the fight, when it was
relieved, by Lieutenant Colonel (then Captain) Barnwell Rhett Legge, of
South Carolina. Colonel Legge started the war as a second lieutenant.
When I first knew him he was adjutant of the Third Battalion. Later he
took a company and commanded it during the early fighting. He was then
made adjutant of the regiment, and two or three times I recall his
asking the Colonel to let him go back with his company. Captain Frey,
killed earlier, who was originally my senior company commander, thought
very highly of him and used to "josh" him continually. Once Legge took
out a raiding party and captured a German prisoner fifty-four years
old. Frey never let him hear the last of it, asking him if he considered
it a sportsmanlike proceeding to take a man of that age, and saying that
a man who would do such a thing would shoot quail on the ground and
catch a trout with a worm. All during my service in Europe, Legge served
with me. During the latter part he was my second in command in the
regiment. I have seen him under all circumstances. He was always cool
and decided. No mission was too difficult for him to undertake. His
ability as a troop leader was of the highest order. In my opinion no man
of his age has a better war record.

An amusing incident occurred in Lieutenant Baxter's platoon during the
battle. The men were advancing to the attack perhaps a couple of hundred
yards from the Germans. They were moving forward in squad columns as
they were going through a valley where they were defiladed from
machine-gun fire, though the enemy was firing on them with its
artillery. Suddenly Baxter heard rifle fire behind him. He wheeled
around and saw that a rabbit had jumped up in front of the left of the
platoon and the men were firing at it.

The worst strain of the battle came during the last two days when
casualties had been so heavy as to take off many of the field officers
and most of the company commanders, when the remnants of the regiments
pressed forward and captured Berzy-le-Sec and the railroad. It is always
more difficult for the juniors in a battle like this, for they generally
do not know what is at stake. General Frank Parker told me how, during
the fourth day, when battalions of eight hundred men had shrunk to a
hundred and it looked as if the division would be wiped out, and even he
was wondering whether we were not losing the efficiency of the division
without getting a compensatory gain, General C. P. Summerall, the
division commander, came to his headquarters and said: "General, the
German high command has ordered the first general retreat since the
first battle of the Marne."

General Summerall took command of the division just before Soissons,
when General Bullard was given the corps. He had previously commanded
the artillery of the division. The division always regarded him as their
own particular general. He was known by the nickname of "Sitting Bull."
He is, in my opinion, one of the few really great troop leaders
developed by us during the war. At this battle General Summerall is
reported to have made a statement which was often quoted in the
division. Some staff officer from the corps had asked him if, after the
very heavy casualties we had received, we were capable of making another
attack. He replied: "Sir, when the First Division has only two men left
they will be echeloned in depth and attacking toward Berlin."

Beside the First Division, the Foreign Legion and the Second Division
were meeting the same type of work and suffering the same losses. No
finer fighting units existed than these two. A very real compliment that
was paid the Second Division was the fact that the rank and file of our
division was always glad when circumstances ordained that the divisions
should fight side by side. I have often heard the junior officers
discussing it.

The division was relieved by the Seaforth and Gordon Highlanders. When I
was going to the rear, wounded, I passed their advancing columns. They
were a fine set of men--tall, broad-shouldered, and fit looking. They,
too, were in high spirits. The morale of the Allies had changed within
twenty-four hours. They felt, and rightly, that the Hun had been turned.
Never from this moment to the end of the war did it change.

This Highland division showed its appreciation of the American division
by the following order that was sent to our higher command:

                        Headquarters 1st Division,
                      AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES,

                                             FRANCE, August 4th, 1918.

     General Order
       No. 42.

     The following is published for the information of all concerned as
     evidence of the appreciation of the 15th Scottish Division of such
     assistance as this Division may have rendered them upon their
     taking over the sector from us in the recent operation south of
     Soissons:

                              15th Scottish Division No. G-705 24-7-18

     To General Officers Commanding,
       FIRST AMERICAN DIVISION.

     I would like on behalf of all ranks of the 15th Division to express
     to you personally, and to your staff, and to all our comrades in
     your splendid Division, our most sincere thanks for all that has
     been done to help us in a difficult situation.

     During many instances of taking over which we have experienced in
     the war we have never received such assistance, and that rendered
     on a most generous scale. In spite of its magnificent success in
     the recent fighting, your Division must have been feeling the
     strain of operations, accentuated by very heavy casualties, yet we
     could discern no symptom of fatigue when it came to a question of
     adding to it by making our task easier.

     To your artillery commander (Col. Holbrook) and his Staff, and to
     the units under his command, our special thanks are due. Without
     hesitation when he saw our awkward predicament as to artillery
     support the guns of your Division denied themselves relief in order
     to assist us in an attack. This attack was only partly successful,
     but the artillery support was entirely so.

     Without the help of Colonel Mabee and his establishment of
     ambulance cars, I have no hesitation in saying that at least four
     hundred of our wounded would still be on our hands in this area.

     The 15th Scottish Division desires me to say that our hope is that
     we may have opportunity of rendering some slight return to the
     First American Division for all the latter has done for us, and
     further that we may yet find ourselves shoulder to shoulder
     defeating the enemy in what we hope is the final stage of this war.

                                              Signed: H. L. REED,
                                                _Major General_
                                           _Comdg. 15th Scottish Div._

                                By Command of Major General Summerall:
                                          H. K. LOUGHRY,
                                             _Major, F. A. N. A._,
                                                          _Div. Adjt._

The Highlanders cheered as the wounded Americans passed by them. One
lieutenant called out to me, "How far have you gone?" I answered, "About
six kilometers." "Good," he said. "We'll go another six."

After the battle the division was withdrawn to near Paris. Many of the
officers came to see me, where I was laid up with a bullet through the
leg. Major A. W. Kenner, the regimental surgeon, who had again
distinguished himself by his gallantry, and Captain Legge were both in,
looking little the worse for the wear.



CHAPTER IX

ST. MIHIEL AND THE ARGONNE

        "'Millions of ages have come and gone,'
          The sergeant said as we held his hand;
        'They have passed like the mist of the early dawn
          Since I left my home in that far-off land.'"
                                                 IRONQUILL.


During the next couple of months, while I was laid up with my wound, the
regiment first went to a rest sector near Pont-à-Mousson. There
replacements reached them, wounded men returned, and they gradually
worked up to their full strength again.

They enjoyed themselves fully. It was one of those sectors so common on
the east of the Western Front where by tacit agreement little action
took place. The nature of the country and its distance from the great
centers of France made many parts of the front impracticable for an
offensive either by the Hun or ourselves. In these sectors a division
such as ours, worn by hard fighting, or a division of green or old men,
held the line, a handful of men on each side occupying long stretches. A
few shells would come whistling over during the day and that was all.

Everybody used to look back on their pleasant times in this sector. They
got fresh fish by the thoroughly illegal method of throwing hand
grenades in some near-by ponds, while fresh berries were plentiful even
in the front line. It was midsummer and the weather was pleasantly warm.
Altogether, if you had to be at war, it was about as comfortable as
possible.

An odd incident of this period occurred to a recruit who was sent out
the first night to a listening post. In the listening post was a box on
which the guard sat. At some time during the previous night the Germans
had crept up and put a bomb under this box. After looking around a
little the recruit felt tired and sat down on the box. A violent
explosion followed. Right away a patrol worked out from our lines to
see what had happened. When they got there they looked carefully through
every ditch or clump of bushes in the vicinity, but they could not find
a trace of the man. He was reported as dead, blown to bits. On the march
up into Germany that missing recruit reported back to the regiment on
his return from a German prison camp. Instead of being blown to pieces
he had simply been blown into the German lines. When he came to, he was
being carried to the rear on a stretcher, and he spent the rest of the
war as a prisoner, little the worse for wear, except for a few scars.

Shortly after this the St. Mihiel operation took place. The plan was to
nip off the salient by a simultaneous attack on both sides. Our division
was the left flank unit of the forces attacking on the right of the
salient, being charged with the mission of making a juncture with the
Twenty-sixth Division, which was the right unit of the forces attacking
on the left of the salient. The resistance was so slight that the
operation partook of the nature of a maneuver rather than a battle. Our
losses were practically nil. A large number of prisoners were captured
and a considerable amount of matériel. The reason for this was that the
Germans had determined to abandon the position and were in full retreat
when we attacked. They had been misinformed by their spies, however, and
started their movement about twenty-four hours too late.

The men had a fine time in this attack. While they had been in the Toul
sector a high hill, called Mount Sec, behind the German lines, had given
them a lot of trouble. From it the Germans had been virtually able to
look into our trenches. In the attack they not only took this hill, but
left it far in the rear. Our unit captured a German officers' mess,
including the cook and a fine pig. They promptly made the cook kill the
pig and prepare him for their dinner, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

At another time a German company kitchen came up in the night to one of
our outposts to ask him directions. When they found out their mistake
it was too late, and they were promptly conducted to one of our very
hungry companies.

The value of the St. Mihiel operation to our army was considerable. It
gave our staffs an opportunity to make mistakes which were not too
terribly costly. We fell down particularly on the question of handling
our road traffic. The artillery and the trains in many instances became
hopelessly jammed on the largely destroyed road. Each unit commander
with laudable desire to get forward would do anything to accomplish that
purpose--double back or cut across country. The result was, of course, a
hopeless tangle. This alone would have prevented us carrying on a
further attack, as no army can run away from its echelons of supply.

Immediately on the completion of the attacks the First Division, in
company with a number of others, was withdrawn from the line and moved
west by marching to a position of readiness for the Argonne offensive,
which was to take place in a couple of weeks. The march was made mainly
by night, as every endeavor was being used to make a surprise attack.
The troops bivouacked in the woods, keeping under cover during the day.

The battle was a fierce one. During the first day the Americans made a
clean break through, but the lack of training showed and they were
unable to exploit their success properly. The various units became
dislocated and orders could not be transmitted. The men were gallant,
but gallantry is no use when you do not get orders and when supplies do
not come up. As a result the Germans were able to gather themselves, and
what might have been a rout became a fierce rear-guard action which
lasted for more than a month.

The First Division was held in army reserve and thrown in to take a
particularly hard bit of territory. They were in eleven days in all and
took all their objectives. As a result they were cited individually by
General Pershing in General Orders No. 201. This order--I believe the
only one of its kind issued during the war--follows:

                              G. H. Q.
                    AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES,

                                              FRANCE, Nov. 10, 1918.

     General Orders
        No. 201.

     1. The Commander in Chief desires to make of record in the General
     Orders of the American Expeditionary Forces his extreme
     satisfaction with the conduct of the officers and soldiers of the
     First Division in its advance west of the Meuse between October 4th
     and 11th, 1918. During this period the division gained a distance
     of seven kilometers over a country which presented not only
     remarkable facilities for enemy defense but also great difficulties
     of terrain for the operation of our troops.

     2. The division met with resistance from elements of eight hostile
     divisions, most of which were first-class troops and some of which
     were completely rested. The enemy chose to defend its position to
     the death, and the fighting was always of the most desperate kind.
     Throughout the operations the officers and men of the division
     displayed the highest type of courage, fortitude, and
     self-sacrificing devotion to duty. In addition to many enemy
     killed, the division captured one thousand four hundred and seven
     of the enemy, thirteen 77-mm. field guns, ten trench mortars, and
     numerous machine guns and stores.

     3. The success of the division in driving a deep advance into the
     enemy's territory enabled an assault to be made on the left by the
     neighboring division against the northeastern portion of the Forest
     of Argonne, and enabled the First Division to advance to the right
     and outflank the enemy's position in front of the division on that
     flank.

     4. The Commander in Chief has noted in this division a special
     pride of service and a high state of morale, never broken by
     hardship nor battle.

     5. This order will be read to all organizations at the first
     assembly formation after its receipt. (14790-A-306.)

     By Command of General Pershing:

                                                  JAMES W. MCANDREW,
                                                   _Chief of Staff_.

     Official:

       ROBERT C. DAVIS,
         _Adjutant General_.

The losses again were very heavy, nearly as heavy as at Soissons. It was
in this battle Lieutenant T. D. Amory was killed while making a daring
patrol. Amory was a gallant young fellow, not more than twenty-two or
twenty-three years of age. He had originally been intelligence officer
for my battalion and had been quite badly wounded by a shell fragment in
the Montdidier sector. As soon as he was cured he reported back to the
regiment and took up his old work as scout officer. When the division
took over, contact had been lost with the enemy. A patrol was
accordingly sent out at once, for it was possible that an attack would
be ordered in the morning. Lieutenant Amory was given forty men and went
out. Signal-corps men were put with him to carry a telephone. It turned
out that the Germans were holding strong points rather than a continuous
line of front. On account of this and the darkness he filtered through
without finding them and unobserved by them. The first word his
battalion commander received was a telephone message from the
signal-sergeant, saying: "We have advanced about one and one half
kilometers and there is no sign of the enemy. The Germans have opened on
us from the right flank." Then: "They are firing on us from three sides.
I believe we are surrounded." And, last: "Lieutenant Amory has just
been shot through the head and killed."

Captain Foster and Captain Wortley also were killed at this time,
besides many other gallant officers and men. Foster when he died was but
twenty-two years old. When he came over with the division, he was
nothing but a curly-headed boy. In the year and a half that he spent in
France he turned from a boy into a man. He was afraid of nothing and had
a rarer virtue in that he was always in good spirits. He had been hit
once before at Soissons. He had been platoon leader and adjutant. Later,
on the death of the company commander, Captain Frey, he had taken
command of a company. He, like Lieutenant Amory, was shot through the
head by a machine gun.

Wortley was an older man and had always been ambitious to join the
regular army. He had served an enlistment in the regulars and had been a
sergeant. Later at the Leavenworth School he had received his
commission. Wortley also had been wounded at Soissons.

Major Youell described to me a personal incident of this battle, which
illustrates very well the dull leathery mind that everyone gets after a
certain amount of bitter fighting and fatigue. As commander of the
Second Battalion he had received orders for an attack. He was not sure
of his objectives. He got out his very best prismatic compass, which he
valued more than any of his other possessions, as it was virtually
impossible to replace it, sighted carefully, determined the direction of
the attack, ordered the advance, put the compass on the ground, and
walked off, leaving it there. When he next thought of it the compass was
gone for good.

Another captain we had was thoroughly courageous personally, but he had
one very bad fault. He could not keep his men under control. Once after
an attack his battalion commander was checking up to see if the
objectives were taken and all units in place. He found the objectives
were taken all right, but that, in the instance of this one company, the
company itself was missing! On the objective was sitting simply the
company commander and his headquarters group. The rest of the company
had missed its direction advancing through a wood and got lost.

I remember this same company commander in another action. We had been
advancing behind tanks, which had all been disabled by direct fire from
the Germans. I went forward to where he was lying with a handful of men
by one of these tanks. I said to him, "Captain, where is your company?"
He said, "I don't know, sir; but the Germans are there." He knew where
the enemy were and was perfectly game to go on and attack them with his
eight or nine men.

Colonel Hjalmar Erickson was commander of the Twenty-sixth Infantry
during this action. He was a fine troop leader and a powerful man
physically. During a battle the higher command naturally want to know
what is going on at the front. It is very difficult for the officer at
the front to furnish these details; often he is busy, sometimes he knows
nothing to tell. Once, during the first Argonne battle, the higher
command called upon Erickson. Nothing was happening, but Erickson was
equal to the occasion.

"Yes, yes, everything is fine. What has happened? Our heavies have just
started firing and it sounds good," was Erickson's reassuring message.

Meanwhile I had been given a Class B rating and detailed as an
instructor at the school of the line at Langres. After I had been there
a short while I saw an officer from the First Division and told him I
was awfully anxious to get back and felt quite up to field work again. A
few days after that General Parker called up some of the commanding
officers in the college on the telephone. I had one obstacle to
overcome. I still had to walk with a cane, and, although this did not
really make any difference to me from a physical standpoint, it was a
question if I could get the medical department to pass me as Class A. We
decided that the best way to do was to take the bull by the horns and go
anyhow. I said good-by to the college one night and went with Major
Gowenlock, of the division staff, directly back to the division. I was
technically A. W. O. L. for a couple of weeks, but they don't
court-martial you for A. W. O. L. if you go in the right direction, and
my orders came through all right. On reporting to General Frank Parker,
who was commanding the division, he assigned me to the command of my own
regiment. When my orders finally came to the school directing me to
report to C. G., of the First Division, for assignment to duty, I was
commanding the regiment in battle.

At about this time three cavalry troopers reported to the Twenty-sixth
Infantry. They said they came from towns where they had been on military
police duty. They stated that they had heard from a man in a hospital
that the First Division was having a lot of fighting and so they had
gone A. W. O. L. to join it. They were attached to one of the companies,
and a letter was sent through regular channels saying that they were
excellent men and we wanted their transfer to a combatant branch of the
service. We phrased it this way in order to tease one of our higher
command who belonged to the cavalry. A long while later, as I recall, an
answer came back directing me to send the men back to their outfit, but
they were all either killed or wounded at that time.

After the division was relieved from the Argonne it went into rest
billets near the town of Ligny, there to rest and receive replacements
before returning into the same battle. Advantage was taken of this brief
period of rest to give leave to some of the enlisted personnel and
officers. This was the first leave most of them had had since they had
been in France. Captain Shipley Thomas took the men under his command to
their area. He described to me on his return how on the way down all the
men would talk about was: "Do you remember how we got that machine-gun
nest? That was where McPherson got his." "Do you remember how Lieutenant
Baxter and Sergeant Dobbs got those seventy-sevens by outflanking and
surprising them?"

By the time they had been at the Y. M. C. A. Leave Area twenty-four
hours they had forgotten all this. For seven days they had a fine time
and their point of view changed entirely. As the train carried them
north through France, when they stopped at a station they would lean out
of the windows and inveigle some unsuspecting M. P. close to the train.
They would ask him with much earnestness what it was like at the front,
explaining to him meanwhile that they were members of the Arkansas
Balloon Corps, and when he got near enough throw soda-water bottles at
his head. Later an indignant epistle reached me demanding an explanation
and directing "an investigation to fix the responsibility." A commanding
officer should know a great many things unofficially, and in this case
my knowledge was all of an unofficial nature, so I was able with a clear
conscience to indorse it back with the suggestion that they investigate
some other unit.

Captain J. B. Card, Captain Richards, and some other of the officers
were given leave. They started immediately for Nice. While they were
traveling down we received orders that we were to go back into the
battle, so wires were awaiting them when they got off the train to
report back to their units immediately. They made a good connection and
spent only three hours at Nice. They reported back smiling and thought
it was a good joke on themselves.

General C. P. Summerall had been promoted to the command of a corps and
General Frank Parker given command of the division. General Parker was
also one of the First Division's own officers. Before getting the
division he had in turn commanded the Eighteenth Infantry and the First
Brigade. He had a fine theory for soldiering. Summarized briefly, it was
that the way to handle troops was to explain to them, in so far as
possible, all that was to take place and the importance of the actions
of each individual man. He had all his officers out with the men as much
as possible. He had them all emphasize to the private the importance of
his individual intelligent action. This is a fine creed for a commanding
officer, as it helps to give him the confidence of his men. Obedience is
absolutely necessary in a soldier, but unintelligent obedience is not
nearly as valuable as intelligent obedience given with confidence in the
man who issues the order. It is intelligent comprehension of the aims of
an order that lends most to its proper execution.



CHAPTER X

THE LAST BATTLE

            "The giant grows blind in his fury and spite,
            One blow on the forehead will finish the fight."
                                                      HOLMES.


Hardly had the new replacements, some 1800 in all, learned to what
company they belonged, when our definite orders reached us. The trucks
arrived and we rattled off toward the front. We detrucked and bivouacked
for a couple of days in a big wood while our supply trains came up. The
weather, fortunately, was crisp and cool and bivouacking was really
pleasant. What our mission was we did not know, but as we were to be in
General Summerall's corps we were sure there would be plenty of fighting
to go around.

General Summerall himself came and spoke to each of the infantry
regiments. The regiment was formed in a three-sided square and he spoke
from the blank side.

Almost immediately our orders arrived to move up. As usual we moved at
night. The weather repented of its gentleness and cold heavy rain
started. The roads were gone, the nights black, the columns splashed
through mud with truck trains, with supplies for the troops ahead of us,
crisscrossing and jamming by us. We passed the barren zone that had been
No Man's Land for four years and was now again France.

Early in the morning in a heavy mist we reached another patch of woods
just in rear of where the line was. Here we gained contact with the
Second Division that was ahead of us. They attacked the same day and
again we received orders to follow them. On this night the maps played
us a trick, for a road well marked turned out to be a little wood trail.
All night long we moved down it single file to get forward a bare seven
kilometers. A wood trail in the rain is bad enough for the first man
that moves over it, but it is almost impassable for the three
thousandth man when his turn comes. We got through, however, and by
morning the regiment was in place. The road was clogged with a stream of
transports of all kinds--trucks, wagon trains, tanks, and tractors,
double banked and stuck. Occasionally, passing by them on foot, you
would hear some general's aide spluttering in his limousine at the delay
and wet.

Through this our supply train was brought forward by Captains Scott and
Card and Lieutenant Cook with the uncanny ability to accomplish the
seemingly impossible which had stood us in good stead many times.
Indeed, the train beat the infantry and when we arrived, we found them
there banked beside the road, with the kitchens smoking, and the food
spreading a comforting aroma through the rain-rotted woods. Orders were
received to march to Landreville. We gave the men hot chow and put the
column in motion as soon as they had finished. The sun came out and
dried us off and we felt more cheerful.

Still following in the wake of the victorious Second Division, we
passed through the desolate, war-battered little town of Landreville.
There, to my intense astonishment, I suddenly came on my brother,
Kermit, and my brother-in-law, Richard Derby, who was chief surgeon of
the Second Division. My brother Kermit had transferred to the American
army from the British, had finished his course at an artillery school,
and was now reporting to the First Division for duty. Seeing them so
unexpectedly was one of the most delightful surprises.

We went into position at Landreville and sent out patrols, which
immediately gained contact with the marines in our front, who were
preparing to attack next day.

That night my brother and I sat in a ruined shed, regimental
headquarters, surrounded by dead Germans and Americans, and talked over
all kinds of family affairs.

Again the following night, as the Second Division's attack had been
successful, we moved forward. Again it rained. Next morning we were
bivouacked in the Bois de la Folie, but before evening were on the
march again to another position. By the time we had reached this
position, orders came to move forward again and we went into position in
woods just south of Beaumont. Here the Colonel of the Ninth Infantry and
I had headquarters together in an old farmhouse that had been used by
the Germans as a prisoners' cage. It was surrounded by wire and filthy
beyond description.

Here we got orders that we were to take over from the division on the
left of the Second Division and attack in the morning. By this time the
troops had marched practically five nights in succession and also two of
the days. Speaking of this, there is a military phrase which has always
irritated me. It appears in all accounts of big battles. It is, "At this
point fresh troops were thrown into action." There is no such thing as
"throwing fresh troops" into action. By the time the troops get into
action they have marched night after night and are thoroughly tired.

The correct phrase should be, "troops that have suffered no
casualties." For example, that night my three majors, Legge, Frazier,
and Youell, all of them young men not more than twenty-eight years old,
came in to get their orders for the attack. We all sat down on wooden
benches in the cellar. Something happened which made it necessary for me
to change part of my orders. Making the changes did not take more than
five minutes in all. By the time I was through, all three of them had
fallen asleep where they sat.

After receiving the orders, I got in touch with the Second Division, and
I want to say that when the next war comes I hope my side partners will
be of the same type. Colonel Robert Van Horn, an old friend of mine, was
commanding the Twenty-third Infantry, which was to be on the right
flank. I was to attack with two battalions in line and one in support,
my right flank on Beaumont, my left following a road that led north to
Mouzon. Together Van Horn and I worked out our plans and arranged for
the connections we wished to make. He had been fighting then for a
number of days, but was just as keen to continue as a schoolboy in a
game of football.

That night again sunny France justified her reputation and for the fifth
day in succession it rained. The troops moved forward and with the easy
precision of veterans found their positions, got their direction, and
checked in as in place at the moment of attack.

At 5.35 in a heavy mist they went over the top. The Hun had, by this
time, lost all his fight and we advanced for seven or eight kilometers
to our objectives, Mouzon and Ville Montry. By 6.00 in the evening the
sector was cleared, the troops established on the objectives, and the
advanced elements fighting in Mouzon.

Two of the German prisoners who were brought back early this day, an
officer and his orderly, were nothing more than boys. They said they had
been retreating for days and that they were so tired that they had not
woke up until some of the Americans had prodded them with a bayonet.

It was in this attack that, among others, one of the medical officers,
Lieutenant Skillirs, was killed. Like most of our medical officers, he
followed his work with absolute disregard for his personal safety. He
was hit by a shell toward the end of the attack while crossing the
shelled area to help some wounded.

At 8 o'clock we received word that we were to withdraw from the sector
we had taken and march into a position from which we should attack Sedan
next morning. The Seventy-seventh Division was to extend its right and
occupy the sector we were leaving. Word was sent to the majors to
collect their commands and assemble them at a given point. All honor
again to our supply company. They were there close in the rear of us and
worked forward food to the men. At this time, with the men as tired as
they were, it was of vital importance.

I received my detailed orders from General F. C. Marshall at a little
half-burned farm.

By 8 o'clock the officers and men, who had marched and fought without
stopping for twenty-four hours, were again assembled and moving west on
the Beaumont-Stornay road. All night long the men plowed like mud-caked
specters through the dark, some staggering as they walked. Once we had
to move single file through our artillery, which was to follow in our
rear. Often we had to take detours, as the Germans had mined the road.
At one place a bridge over a stream was gone and the whole division had
to cross over single file. Everyone had reached the last stages of
exhaustion. Captain Dye, a corking good officer, fainted on the march,
lay unconscious in the mud for an hour, came to, and joined his company
before the morning attack. Major Frazier, while riding at the head of
his battalion, fell asleep on his horse and rolled off.

As I rode up and down the column I watched the men. Most of them were so
tired that they said but little. Occasionally, however, I would run on
to some of the old men, laughing and joking as usual. I remember hearing
a sergeant, who was closing the rear of one platoon, say, "Ooh, la,
la!"

"What is it, sergeant, aren't you getting enough exercise?" I said to
him.

"Exercise, is it, sir? It's not the exercise I'm worried with, but I do
be afraid that them Germans are better runners than we are! Faith, to
get them is like trying to catch a flea under your thumb."

Another time I passed an old sergeant called Johnson, at one of the
five-minute rests.

"Sir," asked Johnson, "when do we hit 'em?"

"I'm not sure, sergeant," I said, "but I think about a kilometer and a
half from here."

"That's good," Johnson replied. "If we can once get them and do 'em up
proper they will let us have a rest."

Johnson voiced there the sentiments of the rank and file. They had been
set a task and it never entered into their calculations that they could
not do the task. They wanted to do it, do it well, and then have their
rest.

In the morning we passed through a French unit at Omicourt and started
our attack. By afternoon we were on the heights overlooking Sedan, where
word reached us to halt our attack. Shortly after we were told to
withdraw, turning over to the French. We found later that it was
considered wise that the French should take Sedan on account of the
large sentimental value attached to it because of the German victory
there in the war of 1870.

I waited in the sector until the troops had checked back, and then
followed them to Chemery, where we were to spend the night. When I
arrived I found the three battalion commanders sleeping in the stalls of
a stable. As I came in one sat up and said: "Sir, I never knew until
this minute what a lucky animal a horse is."

A characteristic incident of the new spirit occurred in this attack.
Lieutenant Leck of E Company was assigned the task of occupying the town
of Villemontry with a platoon. After severe hand-to-hand fighting on the
streets he succeeded. The rapidity of the attack prevented the Germans
from carrying off some French girls with them. The town was under heavy
fire and the runner who was sent with the message directing the
withdrawal and the march on Sedan was killed before he reached them.
After the relieving unit arrived a message was sent to Leck that his
regiment had withdrawn. He replied that the First Division never gave up
conquered ground and he would hold the town until he received word from
his proper commander.

The next day we moved to the south and east. The plan of the higher
command, I have been informed, was to throw the First, Second,
Thirty-second, and Forty-second Divisions across the Meuse in an attack
on Metz, to assign no objectives but to let the rivalry in the divisions
determine the depth of the advance.

All through the last ten days vague rumors had been reaching us
concerning a proposed armistice. None of us really believed there was
anything in them. This was largely on account of the fact that during
the year and a half we had grown so accustomed to war that we could not
imagine peace. Besides, we felt that terms that would be in any way
acceptable to us would not be even given a hearing by the Germans. We
felt also that we had them on the run and we wanted to go in and finish
them. As a matter of fact, we didn't give much thought to it anyhow. We
had almost as much as we could do finishing the job we had in hand.

On the march one day I heard one man discussing with the other members
of his squad. He finished his remarks by saying, "I hope those damned
politicians don't spoil this perfectly good victory we are winning."

As we were moving back a day later an engineer officer rode up to me
from the rear and told me he had just come from Second Division
headquarters, where they had announced that the armistice had been
signed and all hostilities were to cease at 11 o'clock that morning. I
sent back word to the men. It was announced up and down the column and a
few scattering cheers were all that greeted it. I don't think it really
got through their heads what had happened. I know it had not got through
mine.

That night we stopped in the Bois de la Folie, and for the first time
the men began to realize what had happened. Fires were lit all over.
Around them men were gathered, singing songs and telling stories. It was
very picturesque: the battered woods, the flaming fires, and the brown,
mud-caked soldiers. The contrast was doubly great, as until that time no
fires were lighted by the troops when anywhere near the front lines.
German airplanes always came over and as the men expressed it, "laid
eggs wherever they saw a light."

The first thing that really brought it home to me personally was when a
little military chauffeur came up through the dark and said, "Colonel,
Mrs. Roosevelt is waiting in the car at the corner."

I knew that no women had been anywhere near the front the day before. I
realized that this really meant that the war was over. The car came up
and skidded around in the deep mud. Mrs. Roosevelt was there in a pair
of rubber boots. She had somehow managed to come because she wished to
say good-by to me and return to our children in the United States now
that the fighting was over. I went back with her some ten kilometers to
a tent where some Y. M. C. A. men were giving out chocolates, crackers,
etc.

All the way back through the night the sky was lit by the fires of the
men. On every side rockets were going up, like a Fourth of July
celebration. Gas signals and barrage signals flashed over the tree tops.
The whole thing seemed hardly possible.

Although we had been there in France only a year and a half, it seemed
as if the war had lasted interminably. It seemed as if it always had
been and always would be with us. All our plans had been based on an
indefinite continuation. I had been rather an optimist, and yet I did
not consider the possibility of a cessation of hostilities before the
following autumn. Much of the quaint philosophy of the French had sunk
into our hearts and insensibly became a part of us--the philosophy which
had its creed in the expression _C'est la guerre_. To them and to us
_C'est la guerre_ had much the significance of "All in the day's work."
Like them, we treated _après la guerre_ as something in the nature of
"castles in Spain."

So the war finished, so our part in the fighting came to an end; a page
of the world's history was turned and we moved south to Verdun to
prepare for our march into conquered Germany.



CHAPTER XI

UP THE MOSELLE AND INTO CONQUERED GERMANY

                "Judex ergo cum sedebit
                Quidquid latet, apparebit
                Nil, inultum remanebit."
                                   CELANO.


The Third Army, which was to march into Germany as the army of
occupation, was all in place on the 15th of November. My regiment was
bivouacked in what had once been a wood, northeast of shell-shattered
Verdun. The bleakest of bleak north winds whistled over the hilltops,
whirling the gray dust in clouds. The men huddled around fires or
burrowed into cracks in the hillside. Here we prepared as well as we
could for our move forward.

Before dawn on the 17th of November, the infantry advanced in two
parallel columns. By sunrise we were over the German lines and the
brown columns were winding down the white, dusty roads through villages
long beaten out of the semblance of human habitation by the shells.
Gazing back down the column, the thought that always struck uppermost
was the realization of strength. The infantry column moves slowly, but
the latent power in the close mass of marching men is very impressive.
The only thing I know which compares with it in suggestion of power is a
line of great gray dreadnaughts lunging across the water.

At one village a young French soldier, who had been riding on a bicycle
by our column, stopped sadly before three crumbling walls. It was all
that was left of his home. His father, the mayor of the village, had
lived there. His mother had died in Germany and he did not know what had
become of his father.

By night we were out of the uninhabited parts and were reaching the
freed French villages. Here we found starving men, women, and children
whom we helped out from our none-too-plentiful rations. These people
were pathetic. They seemed to have lost the power to rejoice. They
looked at us from their doors with lackluster eyes and apparent
indifference. One woman told me that the Germans as they left her house
had told her they would be back soon. I asked her if she believed it,
and she simply shrugged her shoulders.

Next morning we were on the march again. All day long, past our
advancing columns, streamed the prisoners whom the Germans had been
working in the coal mines. They were French, Italian, Russian, and
Rumanian, desperately emaciated for the most part and still wearing
their old uniforms. Sometimes they dragged behind them little carts
containing the possessions of two or three of them. Often I stopped them
and questioned them, but whether they were French or not they seemed to
have one idea, and one only--to put as many miles between them and
Germany as possible.

We had sent back to where our baggage was stored while we were at Verdun
and brought up our colors and our band. Now we put them at the head of
the column and went forward with band playing and colors flying.

The farther we got from where the front line had been, the better was
the condition of the inhabitants. Now we began to see the first signs of
rejoicing. News would reach the authorities in villages that we were
coming some time before we arrived. They would throw arches of flowers
over the streets through which we marched. Groups of little girls would
run by the side of the column, giving bouquets to the men. Cheering
crowds would gather on the sides of the road.

The doughboy had a beautiful time. The doughboy loves marching to music,
with flags flying and the populace cheering. He is very human and is
fond of showing off. For some reason or other there is a current belief
in this country that the average American does not like parades,
decorations, etc. This is just bosh. The average American is just as
keen for such things as anyone else. He likes to put on a pretty ribbon
and come home and be admired by the young ladies. I know I like to put
on my decorations for my wife.

In every little town where we spent the night a ceremony of some sort
took place. Generally the townspeople made us an American flag and
presented it to us. I have some of these flags stowed away at this
moment. They were made with the help of old dictionaries. Sometimes
these dictionaries were very old and the American flag of one hundred
years ago would be the one copied. At one village we were presented with
a flag with fifty stars. The donor explained that he had been in the
United States and knew we had forty-eight and that the two extra were
for Alsace and Lorraine.

Once, while we were at mess in the evening, with great ceremony it was
announced that a committee of young ladies desired to wait on me. I
bowed to the girdle and said, "Will they come in?" They trooped in,
peasant girls from fourteen to twenty years old, dressed in their
Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and headed by the mayor's daughter. They
had a flag with them. First, one of them made an elaborate speech, in
which we were hailed as the sons of Lafayette and George Washington, a
slight historical inaccuracy. Then I replied, calling upon the names of
Joan of Arc, Henry of Navarre, and others, and then the spokeslady, to
the intense delight of my staff, stepped forward and kissed me on both
cheeks. At another time a large, corpulent, much-bewhiskered mayor
endeavored to enact the same ceremony, but forewarned is forearmed, and
I evaded him.

In a short time we came to the Duchy of Luxembourg and marched over the
border. Everywhere here also we were met with open arms. The streets
were jammed as we marched through the villages. All the world and his
wife were there and greeted us as "Comrades glorious" and "Victors."

We sent forward, as was customary, a detail of officers to make sure
that billeting accommodations were forthcoming and that everything would
be as comfortable as possible for the men. When I arrived, slightly in
advance of the troops, the first thing I saw was a procession of
townfolk approaching. At its head was a band which might, for all the
world, have come out of the comic opera. Following the band were pompous
gentlemen in frock coats and top hats, carrying bouquets of gorgeous
flowers done up with ribbons, and making up the body of the procession
were people of every age, both sexes, and every grade in society. I
realized they were heading for me, and with great dignity descended from
the dinky little side car in which I had been traveling. Major Legge and
Lieutenant Ridgely here joined me and explained that a ceremony of
welcome was to take place, and I was to represent the United States! We
three lined up solemnly while the Luxembourgers formed a semicircle
around us. The ceremony was, first, the presentation speech; second, the
keys of the city and armfuls of bouquets, and, third, a cheer for
America; and then the band played. We none of us knew the Luxembourg
national anthem, but felt that this must be it, so we stood at attention
with great solemnity and saluted while it was sounding. When it was
finished the mayor started it off again with a cheer for France and the
same supposedly national anthem. Again we stood at attention. We went
through this same ceremony for six of the Allies, when fortunately the
troops came up and terminated it. Later I found that the tune they
played and to which we had been rendering the formal compliment was the
air of a popular song. The warm welcome would have impressed me more had
I not been certain it had been accorded equally to the Germans when they
marched through.

Meanwhile the Eighteenth Infantry of our division had passed on our left
flank through the city of Luxembourg. That day I ran down with a couple
of officers to watch them parade. It was the first time I had ever been
in Luxembourg. The city is very picturesque. It is built on the side of
a rocky gorge, and on one jutting pinnacle of rock are the remains of
the feudal castle where a medieval emperor of Germany was born. The fête
amused me very much. I felt as if I were living in George Barr
McCutcheon's _Graustark_. The Luxembourg army was drawn up to receive
our troops, all the men being present, 150 sum total. What they lacked
in numbers they made up in gorgeousness. Never have I seen such
beautiful uniforms, so many colors, so much gold lace, and such absurdly
antiquated rifles. The populace had a beautiful time. They are
mercantile by temperament. They realized that a reign of plenty was
coming; that the American goose that lays the golden eggs would be in
their midst and that money would flow as the changeless current of their
own Moselle River.

A couple of days' march farther and we reached the banks of the Moselle.
Here we spent four or five days while the troops cleaned up and rested
in three small towns. The regimental band played for different units
every day. Everything moved smoothly. The inhabitants were gentle and
kindly. Indeed, they were so effective in their kindness that one of the
second battalion headquarters cooks, called "Chops," came to grief.
First, he drank all of their wine he could get, then, in an inspired
spirit of generosity, cooked and turned over to his new friends the
turkey which, with much labor, had been secured for the officers'
Thanksgiving dinner. His generosity was sadly misunderstood by his
commanding officer, for he was returned to duty with the mule train from
which he had come.

On the fifth of December we resumed the march and crossed the Moselle
into conquered Germany. From this time on a new element was added to the
chances of campaigning. Our maps were perfectly impossible. You never
could tell where bridges were and where there were simply ferries. Once
we ran our column directly into a pocket. The map showed what looked
like a bridge. We were not allowed to scout ahead, and the interpreter's
questions seemed to confirm its existence. When we got there we found a
ferry that accommodated only sixteen men at a time and we had to double
on our tracks. On these maps, also, the roads all looked good. The first
day's march in Germany we nearly lost the supply train on account of
this, as a seemingly good highway ended in a marsh.

  [Illustration: THE RHINE AT COBLENZ
                   Drawn by Captain Ernest Peixotto, A. E. F.]

That night we billeted for the first time in German territory.
Regimental headquarters were in the country house of a German officer.
On the news of our advance he had fled farther north, but, with the
characteristic affectation of his class, telephoned, on our arrival,
saying he regretted that he would not be there to receive us and hoped
that we would be comfortable. Next morning he telephoned again, sending
a message to the effect that if any of his servants had not done
everything for our comfort would we please report the matter to him
immediately in order that he might punish the offender.

All the next day we moved up the banks of the winding Moselle through
Treves, where relics of the old Roman buildings frowned down on us as we
passed. At night we stopped in another German house, from which the
German officer had not fled. He was a lieutenant colonel and had waited
to receive us, prepared to be butler or anything we demanded.

A real indication of the character of the German soldier was given by
the terror of the women at our approach. It was clear that they expected
any outrage. On account of this, on arriving in each town, when I would
call the burgomaster to give him the instructions concerning the
behavior of the townspeople, I would finish up by directing him to
announce to all women and children that they need have no fear
concerning the actions of any American soldier, that we were Americans,
not Germans. I had my interpreter see that it was given out in this
form.

Day after day we followed the river or made short cuts inland. As we
marched along, on hilltops on either side, silhouetted against the sky,
austere and dignified, were the crumbling brown-rock towers of medieval
castles. These castles were destroyed more than two centuries before by
Louis XIV as he marched by the same route. On either side of the river
the slopes rose abruptly. They were covered with vineyards, apparently
growing from the brown shale. Once, when we passed through the city of
Berncastle, in the early morning, when the mist choked the valley, I
looked up and saw on the peak that overhung the town, touched by the
morning sun, the old keep framed in the white mist like a cameo set in
mother-of-pearl. Time and again some Hun farmer would stop me and take
me through a cow-shed to see the marble remains of some Roman bath or
villa, the name of whose owner had long since vanished in the mists of
time.

An odd incident of this march occurred when Lieutenant Barrett was
ordered by me to go and instruct a German soldier we were passing
concerning certain of our regulations. When Barrett reported back, he
told me the man had come from his own home town in Indiana.

One thing that struck us all as we left France and reached Germany was
the number of children. In France children are rare. Each community you
passed you felt was composed of grown people. In Germany the streets
were full of them--healthy-looking little rascals, pink-cheeked and
well-nourished, wearing diminutive gray-blue uniforms like those of the
German soldier. Little machine gunners, the men used to call them, for
they looked like so many small replicas of those men we had been killing
and who had killed us. Immediately upon the proclamation going out that
the children would be in no way molested, these little rascals swarmed
over everything. Nothing could satisfy their curiosity.

After weaving our way up the river valley and over the hills, one early
December morning we found ourselves winding down from the surrounding
hills toward the Rhine. As we swung around a rocky corner, the whole
panorama lay before us--the gables and steeples of the town of Boppard
with, as a background, the broad, undisturbed silver Rhine. On we wound
down the rocky slope into the city, the flag flying at the head of the
column. That night I formed the entire regiment in line on the terraced
water front facing the river and, with the band playing _The
Star-Spangled Banner_, stood retreat.

We waited here a day and then marched down the river to Coblenz. On
this march we passed through one village, with old gates, little jutting
houses carved and painted in bright colors, unchanged sixteenth-century
Europe. Next was another village, factory towers smoking, great brick
buildings filled with machinery, plain little board houses for the
workmen, the epitome of modernism.

The night of December 12th we billeted at Coblenz. Next morning, at
seven o'clock, the First Division in two columns crossed the Rhine, the
first of the American troops. As the head of the column reached the
center of the bridge and I looked at massive Ehrenbreitstein and up and
down the historic river, I felt this truly marked the end of an era.

Two days more brought us to the end of the bridgehead, where we were to
take up our position. Division headquarters were in quite a large town
called Montabaur, a name supposed to have been brought back with the
early crusaders, _i. e._, Mount Tabor. Two castles overlooked the town,
one in ruins, the other still used as an administrative building by the
town authorities. The regiment was scattered through the surrounding
small country villages.

Quarters for the men were good in comparison with what they had been
used to. We were able to get washing facilities, food came up regularly,
and now, for the first time, proper equipment. The men really enjoyed
themselves for the first week or so. We had no trouble with
fraternization. Our men had seen too many of their friends and relations
killed to care to have anything to do with their late enemies. Like true
Americans, they played with the children and flirted with the women
whenever opportunity offered, but I never remember seeing any attempt to
become familiar with the men.

Now that the work of fighting was over, uppermost in everyone's mind was
the thought, "When do we get home?" The minuteman wanted to go back to
ordinary life and his family. Time and again when I first returned to
this country people would ask me what I thought the soldiers thought of
this or that public question. I always replied truthfully that the men
were so busy thinking about what a good place the United States was, how
much better in their opinion than any of the European countries they had
been to, that all they were interested in was, when will that transport
leave.

In January I was ordered to Paris on sick leave. Shortly after, I sailed
for home on the _Mauretania_ and saw the mass of New York lift on the
horizon, where my three children, who had practically forgotten me, were
waiting. So ends the active participation of an average American with
average Americans in the war.



CHAPTER XII

AFTERWARDS

             "When old John Burns, a practical man,
             Shouldered his rifle, unbent his brows,
             And then went back to his bees and cows."
                                            BRET HARTE.


The war is important to us in this country for what it accomplished
directly: namely, it crushed the brutal military power of Germany, which
threatened our ideal of civilization. We are, however, primarily
civilians, not soldiers, and we are now going back to our "jobs,"
whatever they may be. For this reason I consider more important and more
far-reaching than the military victory the lessons that it taught us and
the effects it had on our citizens who participated. We must profit by
these lessons and preserve the impulses that have been given to our
people. If we do this the war will not simply be history, a past issue,
a good job well finished; it will be a force that will be felt in this
country through the generations to come for righteousness and a truer
Americanism.

The first and most evident lesson taught us was the effect of being
ill-prepared. We permitted in the past a policy which substituted fine
words for fine deeds, the pen and the voice for action. We, in the past,
contented ourselves with sounding platitudes; we allowed our sloth to
approve them under the misnomer of idealism. We allowed ourselves to be
switched from the hard realities by glittering phrases. We sowed the
wind and we reaped the whirlwind. As a result hundreds of millions have
been spent to no purpose and blood has been shed unnecessarily. Those
who were in this country saw daily the evidences of inefficiency and the
coincident waste of the public moneys. Those who went to Europe saw
blood shed unnecessarily through lack of supplies, inefficient
organization, and untrained leadership. At no times did our equipment
compare favorably with that of either of our major Allies. At all times
in Europe we were to a greater or less extent equipped by them.

Much as we are to blame for permitting these conditions to arise in the
past, we will be doubly so if in the future we let half-baked theorists
and sinister demagogues lead us again into a like neglect. We will be
guilty of bringing down upon the heads of our children the same
punishments that we have suffered. Indeed, we will probably bring down
more upon them, as we by pure good fortune escaped the maximum penalties
that were due us.

It was our good fortune that we were permitted, under the sheltering
forces of the Allies, slowly to prepare ourselves after we had declared
war, until, after about a year, we were in a condition which enabled us
to join in the conflict. Next time in all probability there will be
neither England nor France standing between us and the enemy armies and
giving us nearly a year leeway before we have to fight. I am proud to be
an American, I am proud of the actions of the citizens of the country,
I am proud to be a citizen of a country which has fought a war, not with
the aid of, but in spite of, its national administration. My pride in
the actions of the rank and file of the country is offset only by my
shame at being represented in the world by the present administration.

As is usually the case, those who are responsible in a large measure for
conditions have suffered least. The average American man or woman has
borne the brunt and paid the price. Those nearest and dearest to the men
mostly responsible have been, like the Kaiser's sons, too valuable to
risk near the battle. A prominent Socialist deputy of France who had
advocated disarmament went with the first troops. He was wounded, and
when dying said he was thankful it had been permitted him to atone with
his life for his errors in the past. I admire a man of that type of
honesty and courage.

Honor where honor is due. Honor to the people of the United States for
their actions after the beginning of this war.

Blame where blame is due. Blame to the citizens of the United States for
their easy indolence which permitted them to support for their high
offices men who neither thought straight nor were manly enough to share
in the penalties for their mistakes.

We had the lesson of unpreparedness illustrated so that we all can
understand it. We must not now content ourselves with admitting we were
wrong. That does not get us any further forward. We must adopt measures
to see that it does not occur again. The policy that I believe is
necessary to this end is compulsory training. This is not, to my mind,
simply a military question. It is an educational question, educational
in the broadest sense of the term. The question of most vital importance
to a democracy, and for which we always work, is to create equal
opportunity for every man and woman; to raise in every way possible the
type of the average citizen. It is from this point of view that I
believe most strongly in universal training.

We have adopted in this war the policy of compulsory military service.
We have used it as a military war-time measure. To get the peace-time
economic value we should have its complement, compulsory training in
time of peace. One of the obstacles to this, in the mind of the average
citizen, is the creation of a military caste. This is no doubt a danger,
and a real danger, but it is not an insurmountable danger. In France and
in Switzerland it has been surmounted. There is no military caste in
either country. There is no desire for war among the citizens of these
countries. No one can say that France by her aggressive action drove
Germany to the war. No one can say that on account of military training
Switzerland plunged into the war. The first country saved herself from
the domination of the German military caste by compulsory training. The
second country by the same means saved herself entirely from war, for
unquestionably Germany chose Belgium to rape on account of her
defenselessness. Both France and Switzerland are democracies, real
democracies in deed and thought.

This danger of fostering a military caste, in my opinion, can be met by
a proper handling of the scheme. The whole matter of training should be
directly under the control of a general staff. This general staff should
not be composed, as in Germany, simply of military men. Military
training, to my mind, is only a part of the training necessary. On the
general staff the military should be simply an element. In addition to
them there should be prominent educators, representatives of labor,
prominent employers of labor, representatives of the farming interests,
and members of our legislative bodies, the House and Senate. Such a
staff would prohibit once and for all the question of a military caste.
Such a staff would obtain the correct balance between the purely
military and the obviously more important educational side. The
complicated adjustments of interests would be safeguarded. The economic
question would be properly handled.

Some of the benefits are obvious. First, when the country is called upon
to defend itself, competent, trained men will step forward into the
ranks. Over and above them will be a mechanism conserving the
sacrifices, making possible the just reward in victory of gallantry and
self-sacrifice. Your boy will go out and you will feel that what can be
done will be done. You go yourself and you know you will get a show for
your white alley. You don't mind sitting into a game where there is an
even break, but you hate to be forced to draw cards when you know they
are stacked against you.

  [Illustration: THREE THEODORE ROOSEVELTS
                   Copyright, Walter S. Shinn]

Second, the physical welfare of our young men would be immeasurably
helped. Let us face the cold facts. In this war nearly half of the men
of military age were refused admission to the service for physical
defects. They were below par from the standpoint of the physician.
Compulsory training should be organized in such a way as to pay
particular attention to just this feature. No man would be exempt from
compulsory training on account of physical defects. Special
organizations should be created to handle men of this kind. Specialists
should be put in charge. These specialists year after year would devote
their entire time to working with men of just this kind and would add
enormously to the country economically by this work.

Third. The knowledge of sanitation and simple hygienic rules, to be
concrete, the care of teeth, the feet, the digestion, and a thousand and
one things of this nature, should be taught to the many men who up to
this time would have had no opportunity to learn. For the person who
lives where every modern convenience surrounds him it is difficult to
believe the conditions which exist in sections of the country. Let him
go to the poor sections of any great city, let him go to the mountain
districts of Tennessee or of North Carolina. He will see at once that
the men from these districts will be infinitely benefited by this
education.

Fourth. The democratization would be very beneficial to all alike. All
would receive the same treatment, and all classes, all grades in
society, would be mixed. The educational value from this alone would be
very great. Everyone would get new ideas, a broader outlook on life, and
a more complete understanding of this country. Our public schools do not
embrace all classes and do not cover the situation as generally as they
should. It is a rare thing for the sons of the wealthy to go to the
public schools. Compulsory training would be a very real benefit to
them.

To sum up, from an economic standpoint alone, compulsory training would
be of untold benefit. The economic unit of the community is the
individual. By training and developing the individual you develop the
economic assets. The small loss in time from a money-earning aspect
would be ten times compensated by the increased efficiency after
training. From a moral standpoint the individual would be broadened by
contact, trained in fundamentals and self-discipline, and have one of
the surest foundations of clean thought and clean action, a healthy
body. So much for the lesson of unpreparedness and what I believe we
should do to remedy it.

One of the first effects on the men who served was democratization. By
the draft call all classes and grades of society were drawn into the
service. After reaching the service, in so far as possible they were
advanced into positions of responsibility without fear or favor. The
effort was directed toward finding the men most suited for the
individual job. The result was, in most instances, as close a
reproduction of a real democracy as is possible.

In my regiment there were many instances of this fact. One of my
lieutenants, a gallant young fellow, was a waiter in civilian life, a
captain was a chauffeur. On the other hand, many men serving in the
ranks came from professions ranking high in the scale in civilian life.

A lieutenant once spoke to me after an action saying that when he was
leading his platoon back from the battle one of his privates asked him a
question. The question was so intelligent and so well thought out that
the lieutenant said to him: "What were you before the war?" The reply
was, "City editor of the Cleveland _Plain Dealer_."

Another private, serving as a runner in one of the company headquarters,
was an ex-state senator from the State of Washington. These are isolated
instances of what was taking place the army over--the waiter and
chauffeur as officers and the lawyer and newspaper editor as privates.
Ability to take responsibility in the present, not previous conditions,
was what they were judged by. Surely associations of this sort will
breed sympathy and understanding for the future. Surely these will aid
the country to approach its problems without class bias.

Another effect was the idea of service to the country. To most of us, up
to the time of the war, the country was a rather indefinite affair which
had done something for us and which we expected to do more for us in the
future. We had given but little thought to what we should do for the
country. During the war every man in the service did something for his
country. He now is in the position of a man who has bought a share of
stock in a company. He is interested in seeing the country run right and
is willing to give more service. The idea that we must endeavor to
approach in the United States is to create a condition where as close to
our entire population as possible has a vested interest in the country.
In a certain way this has been supplied to the service men by what they
have done for the country.

The most important effect, to my mind, was the Americanization. Those
who served became straight Americans, one hundred per cent. Americans
and nothing else.

The regiment was composed of as good a cross section of the United
States as you could get. The men came from all sections of the country
and from all walks of life.

Selected at random from men who one time or another served at my
headquarters are the following: Sergeants Braun, Schultz, Cramer, and
Corporal Schwarz were born and educated in Germany, and no gallanter or
better Americans fought in our army. Sergeant Braun was awarded the
Distinguished Service Cross. Corporal Schwarz gave his life.

Sergeant Samari and Privates Belacca, Kalava, and Rano were born in
Italy. Samari particularly distinguished himself by his gallantry,
although all were gallant.

The Sergeants Murphy, mainstays of their particular organizations;
Hennessy, of gallant memory; Leonard, Magee, and O'Rourke were, I
believe, born in Ireland. All of the men reflected credit on this, their
country.

Sergeant Hansrodoc, born in Greece, was promoted from private and served
from beginning to end.

Sergeants Masonis, Crapahousky, and Zablimisky were born in Poland.

Sergeant Mosleson and Privates Brenner and Drabkin were of Jewish
extraction. One of them is dead; each of the others has been twice
wounded.

Sergeants Major Lamb and Sneaton and Corporals Brown and Glover were of
straight English extraction. Corporal Le Boeuf is of French-Canadian
extraction. These are only some of the names that occur to me. In the
regiment at large the range was greater.

All of these men were straight Americans and nothing else. All of these
men thought of themselves as Americans. Once I heard one of the men in
conversation outside my headquarters. He had been born in a foreign
country. He didn't like the way that country was doing in the war. He
alluded to the citizens of that country, the country of his birth, as
"them cold-footed rascals." It never even occurred to him that there was
anything funny in this. He thought of himself as an American, the men to
whom he was talking thought of him as an American.

An excellent soldier born in Germany was brought back to me one day as
we were advancing into the lines. The officer in charge reported that
the man had been caught talking to German prisoners, which was something
strictly forbidden. He appeared before me. I knew him to be a good sort
and said to him, "What is the matter, how did this come about?" He said,
"Well, sir, I know I should not have done it and I won't do it again,
but I suddenly saw in that batch of prisoners someone from the town
where I was born." This man was killed in action shortly afterward
fighting for this country.

I have been told of a leave train sent to Italy with American soldiers
born in Italy on it in order that they might see their people. Doubt was
expressed in the minds of the higher command as to whether it was an
advisable move, inasmuch as it was thought probable that many of the men
would overstay their leave or possibly try to desert and stay there. Not
one man out of the 1200 did either. An officer who talked with these men
on their return said that conversations ran much like this: "Cipiloni,
have a fine time on your leave?" "Yes, sir." "See your family?" "Yes,
sir." "Get back in time all right?" "Yes, sir, got back to the train
fourteen hours before it left, sir. I was afraid, sir, if I missed this
train, I might get left behind when the division started for home."

When replacements came to us, some of them could not even speak
English. After they had been with the troops two or three months the
same men would not only be speaking English, but would speak it by
preference. I have seen two Italians, born in the same district in
Italy, laboriously conversing with one another in English rather than
use the tongue to which they were born, with which they were naturally
much more familiar.

From these and many other reasons, the army is the least of this
country's fears as far as Bolshevism and its kindred anarchies are
concerned. All over the country you will find the service men keen to
put down demonstrations of this sort. They are keen of their own accord,
not prompted by anyone. The other day I was in a city where a Bolshevist
meeting had been broken up by some service men. I knew one of the men
who was concerned in this. I asked him how it occurred. He said. "Why,
sir, it was this way. I was talking to some of the fellows down at the
W. C. C. S. and a guy says to us, 'They've got a red-flag meeting on
for to-night.' I said to some of the men, 'That ain't the flag we know
anything about, or fought for. Let's go down and bust them birds up.'"

The service man feels that this is his country. His first and foremost
concern is for the United States. He wants the institutions of this
country to stand. He has given himself, and where one has given of one's
self the interest is deepest. He has bought a share of stock of the
United States. As a stockholder he intends to do what he can to see that
the concern is run properly.

In order to keep alive and active this spirit of sturdy loyalty, a
vested interest of some type obtained by his own labor should be aimed
at for every one of as many citizens as possible. This country will have
to move forward with a program of sane, constructive, carefully
thought-out liberalism.

It may be necessary in doing this to modify or change certain things in
this community in the future, but the service man, I believe, intends,
as far as he is able, to see that those changes and modifications are
carried out in such a way as will not destroy or injure the national
fabric and institutions.

Again, first, last, and always, the service man is an American!


THE END



_A Selection from the Catalogue of_

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

Complete Catalogues sent on application


"Wade in, Sanitary!"

The Story of a Division Surgeon in France

  By
  Richard Derby
  Lt.-Col. M. C., U. S. A., Division Surgeon, Second Division

This is a surgeon's story of the war--of that life and death humanly
dramatic portion of the war in which the doctors in khaki played their
great part.

The book is far more than a mere account of war experiences. It is the
first complete and authoritative picture of the struggle from the
surgeon's side. Though non-technical in style and thoroughly popular, it
points out many of the lessons of the war from the medical standpoint of
interest to every physician and every thinking citizen.

To after the war literature the book is a highly valuable addition of
absorbing interest.


The Yankee in the British Zone

  By
  Captain Ewen C. MacVeagh
  and
  Lieutenant Lee D. Brown

How did Tommy Atkins and the Yank get on? How did they impress each
other? What did they learn about each other?

That is what this book answers. It is not a war book; it is rather a
study in the psychology of the average man, British and American; and it
is the first intimate story of the Anglo-American relations.

Written by two trained observers it sets forth a wealth of anecdotes,
many grotesquely funny, and illustrative "human interest" stories and
incidents.


"I WAS THERE"

WITH THE YANKS IN FRANCE

  By
  C. Le Roy Baldridge

300 sketches made on the spot while the author was a camion driver with
the French Army, and later after he had joined the A. E. F. He was also
the official artist of _The Stars and Stripes_. "Not the least of the
paper's achievements," says the _N. Y. Eve. Post_, "is the repute it won
for an excellent artist--Mr. Baldridge."

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

New York London


The Story of the American Legion

  By
  Lieut. George S. Wheat

  _12º, 13 Illustrations_

First of a most important series, which will contain from year to year a
complete record of the "G. A. R. of the Great War." This first volume
treats fully of the original formation of an organization that is
potentially the most far-reaching influence in America to-day.

G. P. Putnam's Sons

New York London





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