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Title: Soldiers of the Legion - Trench-Etched
Author: Bowe, John
Language: English
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                          Transcriber’s Note:

Photographs have been moved to fall on paragraph breaks.

The few footnotes have been moved to follow the paragraphs in which they
are referenced.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Please
see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding
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    This matricule (aluminum wrist-tag) is No. 11,436—Foreign Legion.
    Chevron and device on left sleeve denote a grenade-thrower of two
    years’ trench service—one bar for first year and one for each added
    six months. Note bullet scar on left eyebrow.


                             OF THE LEGION



                            LEGIONNAIRE BOWE


                                PRESS OF
                        PETERSON LINOTYPING CO.
                             CHICAGO, 1918

                         COPYRIGHTED, 1918, BY
                               JOHN BOWE

                        AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED
                        TO HIS COMRADE IN ARMS,
                            THE FRENCH POILU


“Good luck, my soldier! You Americans are an extraordinary people. You
are complex. We have thought we understood you—but, we do not. We never
know what you will do next.”

I asked my French landlady, who thus responded to the news that I had
joined the Foreign Legion, for an explanation. She said:

“In the early days of the war, when the Germans advanced upon Paris at
the rate of thirty kilometers a day, driving our French people before
them, pillaging the country, dealing death and destruction, when our
hearts were torn with grief, Americans who were in Paris ran about like
chickens with their heads cut off. They could not get their checks
cashed; they had lost their trunks; they thought only of their own
temporary discomfort, and had no sympathy for our misfortunes.”

“But,” she continued, “the same ship that took these people away brought
us other Americans. Strong and vigorous, they did not remain in Paris.
Directly to the training camps they went: and, today, they are lying in
mud, in the trenches with our poilus.”

“Now, we should like to know, if you please, which are the real
Americans—those who ran away, and left us when in trouble, or those who
came to help us in time of need. Are you goers or comers?”

Self-proclaimed “good Americans,” who pray that when they die they may
go to Paris, are no more the real Americans than is their cafed,
boulevarded, liqueured-up artificial, gay night-life Paris—the only
Paris they know (specially arranged and operated, by other foreigners,
for their particular delectation and benefit!)—the real Paris.

Such Americans, whose self-centered world stands still when their checks
are but unhonored scraps of paper, the light of whose eyes fades if
their personal baggage is gone, with just one idea of “service”—that
fussy, obsequious attendance, which they buy, are they whose screaming
Eagles spread their powerful wings on silver and gold coin only. Their
“U. S.” forms the dollar-sign. They are the globe-trotting, superficial,
frivolous “goers.”

Boys in brown and blue, girls in merciful angels’ white, men and women
of scant impedimenta, are the “comers,” to whom—and to whose distant
home-fire tenders—“U. S.” means neither Cash nor Country alone, but a
suffering humanity’s urgent—US. Bonds of liberty mean, to them, LIBERTY
BONDS. Yes “La Fayette, we are here!” Real Americans think, shoot and
shout, Pershing for the perishing, “the Yanks are coming over till it’s
over, over there!”


Let the fastidious beware!
Here is no inviting account of a holiday in France.
The fighting author does not apologize for this terrible tale.
He has written literally, unglossed—no glamour, to
Help you understand the horrors of War and Prussian dreadfulness.
This gripping catalogue of catastrophe is by an American.
It contains romance, history—but absolutely no fiction.
It is a Love story. “Greater love hath no man than this....”
The National Society of Real Americans, in the shadow of
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, reminds Us that we have two Countries—
   United States and France.
“Jack Bowe,” in this, his second volume on War, presents a French
   viewpoint, rather than the British.
Cosmopolitan, born on the Scotch-English border, he
Knows no boundaries in
Freedom’s cause.
He has served in five regiments in France.
Wounded and spent, he has been restored in five different hospitals.
Evacuated from the front, twice, he has recuperated in
England and returned, on furlough, to America.
When he received “Certificate of Honor” for promoting the sale of
   Liberty Bonds.
Thrice decorated for distinguished conduct and valor in Europe,
He wears, also, three medals from service in the Spanish-American War
   and in the
Philippine Insurrection.
He has been marched through countless villages of France whose
Names he did not know—nor could he have pronounced them if he did.
Indian file, in black night, he has tramped hundreds of miles of
Trenches, which he could not have recognized in the morning.
He has endured twenty days and nights of continuous cannonade.
Experiencing every sort of military warfare on land, he has also
   survived a
Collision at sea.
He has been Mayor of his own town, Canby, Minnesota.
In Minnesota’s Thirteenth, he fought for the Stars and Stripes, being
Present at the capture of Manila, P. I., August 13, 1898.
Having represented, with honors, earth’s two greatest
Republics, he is still enrolled under the Tri-color of France, in that
   wonderful, international composite of
Individual fearlessness, the Foreign Legion.
“Where the blindest bluffs hold good, dear lass,
And the wildest tales are true.”

                                               CHARLES L. MacGREGOR,


        Dedication                                             5
        Introductory                                           7
        Foreword                                              11

             I Joining the Legion                             17
            II History of the Legion                          27
           III Americans in the Legion                        38
            IV First American Flag in France                  92
             V Foreigners in the Legion                       97
            VI Englishmen and Russians Leave                 109
           VII Trenches                                      114
          VIII July 4th, 1915                                121
            IX Outpost Life                                  130
             X Champagne Attack                              146
            XI Life in Death                                 159
           XII The 170th French Regiment                     162
          XIII The 163rd and 92nd Regiments                  166
           XIV Hospital Life                                 169
            XV An Incident                                   177
           XVI Nature’s First Law                            186
          XVII The Invaded Country                           199
         XVIII Love and War                                  208
           XIX Democracy                                     225
            XX Autocracy                                     233
           XXI Their Crimes                                  245
        L’Envoi                                              259

                       =They Went Before=


To those gallant fellows who left the peace and comfort of happy
American homes, when their country was yet neutral; in order to carry
out their ideals of Right and Justice;—this book is a reminder they have
not suffered in vain—and are not forgotten.

                         Soldiers of the Legion

                               CHAPTER I
                           JOINING THE LEGION

I entered the service of France in the Hotel des Invalides, Paris, that
historical structure upon the banks of the Seine, built by Napoleon
Bonaparte as a home and refuge for his worn-out veterans. The well-known
statue of the Man of Destiny, with three cornered hat and folded arms,
gazed broodingly upon us, as with St. Gaudens and Tex Bondt, I marched
up the court yard.

At depot headquarters, where I gave my name and American address, a
soldier, writing at a desk, spoke up,—“Do you know Winona, in
Minnesota?” “Yes, of course, it is quite near my home.” “Do you know
this gentleman?” He unbuttoned his vest and pulled out the photograph of
Dr. O. P. Ludwig, formerly of Winona, now of Frazee, Minnesota.

That night I was given a blanket and shown to a room to sleep. I shall
never forget what a cosmopolitan crew met my unsophisticated eyes next
morning. The man next to me, a burly Swiss, had feet so swollen he could
not get his shoes on. Another had no socks. One, wounded in the arm, sat
up in bed, staring at the newcomer. It is a habit old soldiers develop,
a polite way of expressing pity for the newly arrived boob. An Alsatian
corporal pored over an English dictionary, trying to learn words so he
could go to the English army as an interpreter. Suspected of being a
spy, he had been brought back from the front. These men had slept in
their clothes. The air was foul, stifling. A soldier went about and gave
each man his breakfast—a cup of black coffee.

I stuck around, wondering if I had lost my number. Suddenly a voice, in
English, boomed out, “Hello, where’s that new Englishman?” “I am not
English,—I am an American.” Quick as a shot came the answer, ”So am I! I
am the colonel’s orderly sent to take you over to your company. A few
minutes later, I was giving the latest American news to Professor
Orlinger, formerly instructor in languages at Columbia University, New

The training was fierce—almost inhuman. Men were needed badly at that
time. The Germans were advancing, and would not wait, so men were sent
out to the front as quickly as hardened. A number, possibly five per
cent, broke under the strain. It was a survival of the fittest. We stuck
it out; and, after eight weeks, went to the front with the Second
Regiment of the Foreign Legion.

No other nation in the world has a fighting force like the Foreign
Legion. Here, in this finest unit in France, the real red blood of all
peoples unites. Men from fifty-three countries, every land and clime,
all ranks and walks of life, colors, ages, professions, or different
religious and political beliefs, speaking all languages, they have come
from the four corners of the globe and are fused in the crucible of
discipline. The Legion exacts absolute equality. The millionaire with
his wealth, or the aristocrat of birth and pedigree, has no more
privilege than the poorest Legionnaire, who has not any.



      Switzerland               Belgium

    Comrades in 27 campaigns. Photograph taken in hospital. One left a
    leg, the other an arm, to fertilize the soil of France. Francois has
    four decorations, Blomme has six. He carries the gold medal
    presented by Queen Anne of Russia in his pocket and fought for
    France and Liberty for one cent. per day.

An outstanding type is the volunteer, well dressed, athletic, frequently
rich, who burns with enthusiasm, and brings dash, energy and vim, to be
conserved, directed into proper channels by the tested old timers, who
are the real nucleus of that dependability for which this Regiment is
noted. During this war, 46,672 men had enlisted in the Legion, of which
2,800 were on the front, autumn of 1917, when I left for America.




    From Holland. Man of birth, wealth and title in his own country. In
    the Legion a private soldier. Photograph taken the day he enlisted.
    Seriously wounded, was cared for in the American Hospital at
    Neuilly. Reported dead on the field. On his return to headquarters
    had to prove his own identity—and he had no papers. Someone stole
    them as he lay wounded, unable to move.

The Legion is a shifting panorama, international debating ground,
continuous entertainment, inspiriting school of practical human nature.
The Legionnaire lives in realms of romance, experiences, fantastic as
are dreams, horrible as the nightmare. He comes out, glad to have been
there, to have lived it all.

In the village of repose, one will sit in a sheltered corner by a
flickering camp fire, in the gathering darkness, not hearing the ever
present cannon’s roar, nor watching the illumination of the distant
star-shells, while Legionnaires and volunteers tell of the Boer,
Philippine, Mexican, Spanish wars, the South American revolutions, or
describe conditions on the Belgian Congo and in Morocco. Comrades in the
flesh recount deeds with the thrill of rollicking adventure. The
listener gets a grasp on himself, and learns world problems. He becomes
a divided person, one half living an unnatural present, the other
absorbed in the excitement of yesteryear.

Social life is that of the ancient buccaneer of the Spanish Main. Here
the Legionnaire finds a kindred spirit, who shares his joys and dangers
when alive, and inherits his wealth (?) when dead. Each shields the
other in the small incidents of life. In larger affairs all are secure
in the sheltering, comfortable traditions of the Legion, which,
insisting on strictest obedience, provide, in return, unflinching common
protection. Never is a comrade deserted, left to the mercies of an
enemy. Death,—rather than capture!

As in the early days of the American West, a man does not have to bring
recommendation from his priest, a bank’s letter of credit, or a
certificate of respectability, to prove his eligibility. He is taken at
his face value—“No questions asked.” He does not impair his citizenship.
He does not swear French allegiance. He retains his own individuality.
No one pries into his private affairs. His troubles are his. He carries
them, also his fame, without advertising. If bad, he conceals his vices.
If good, he bears his virtues in silence. Whatever his status in civil
life, in the Legion, he is simply a Legionnaire. This is not the place
for weaklings. Invariably they are used up in the training. Here are
only strong, independent men, who do things, who make their mark, who
scorn the little frivolities of life, who neither give nor ask favors.

There are no roundheads in the Legion. The most noticeable thing is
squareness—square jaws, square shoulders, square dealing of man to man.
There is a feeling of pride, of emulation, between officers and men—a
mutual respect, that is hard to define. Officers do not spare
themselves. They do not spare their men, nor do they neglect them. While
the men are untiring in admiration of their leaders, French officers are
equally complimentary in their appreciation, which the following
citation from General Degoutte, Commander of the Moroccan Division,
shows,—“The folds of your banner are not large enough to write your
titles of glory, for our foreign volunteers live and die in the
marvelous. It is to the imperishable honor of France to have been the
object of such worship, of all the countries, and to have grouped under
her skies all the heroes of the world.”

Scores of books, in many languages, have been written about this famous
corps, some in anger, others in sorrow, many blaming—few praising, the
hardness of the discipline, the shortness of the food, the length of the
marches, or the meager wages of one cent per day. After two years the
pay was raised to five cents, subsequently, and again increased to one
franc (20 cents) per day, while at the front.

There are many reasons why men become Legionnaires. Some join for glory,
others for adventure. Some just want to be in the midst of things,—they
yearn to see the wheels go round! Others were brought by curiosity,
rather than intelligence. Some came because they wanted to—others,
because they had to. Some crave the satisfaction of helping underdogs,
who are sweating their brass collars. Some fight for hatred of Germany
and of the German character. Others strive for love of France and what
she stands for. Different feelings, mingled with heroic ideals, recruit
the ranks.

American members know that the present fight of France is ours. She,
also, contends for democracy. She aided us in our direst need. In the
darkest hour of the Revolution, it was the French fleet that defied the
English, landed French soldiers to help us, and enabled Washington to
dispatch 5,000 red-breeched Frenchmen, who marched from Newport News to
join 1,500 American infantry under Alexander Hamilton. They captured
Yorktown and compelled the surrender of Cornwallis and gained the
victory that resulted in the independence of America.

So, today, 142 years later, American soldiers in khaki cross leagues of
ocean, fight, suffer and die to save France from invasion even as France
saved us.

                               CHAPTER II
                         HISTORY OF THE LEGION

The Foreign Legion has a notable record, which extends back to the
Crusades. Then, French and Anglo-Saxon marched together, and fought to
save the world for Christianity. History, repeating itself, after
centuries, today, we see the same forces, side by side, fighting, dying,
not only for Christianity, but for civilization. On the result of this
clash with the barbarous Hun depends the preservation of the world.

At Pontevrault, twenty miles from Saumer, in the valley of the Loire,
rest the remains of Richard Coeur-de-Lion, whose Anglo-Saxon heart, worn
with hardship and suffering, ceased beating under the sunny skies of
France, pierced by the poisoned arrow of a mysterious assassin from the
far East.

Beneath the pavement, in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in
Jerusalem, lie the remains of Philip D’Aubigne, a French knight, who
fulfilled his vow to lay himself upon the threshold of that church which
marks the place where rests the body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus

As the Anglo-Saxon perished in France, and the Frenchman died in
Jerusalem, both for the cause of Right and Justice, today, millions
leave native land to meet that organized force, which seeks to conquer,
subdue, and enslave the people of all earth’s free countries.

Among ancient soldiers of the Foreign Legion were Broglie of Broglie,
Rantzan, Lowendall, the Duke of Berwick, John Hitton, the son of an
African king, and the Scottish Stuarts, with many other knights and men
of note.

For their devotion, especially that of the Swiss Guards to the French
Kings, the Legionnaires, were respected, even by their enemies, the
Revolutionists, who, April 20, 1792, appealed to them to “desert the
cause of Royal oppression, range themselves under the flag of France,
and consecrate their efforts to the defense of liberty.” They responded,
gathered under the tri-color, and, in 1795, commanded by Angereau,
Marshal of France, one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s most trusted generals,
won such renown that companies—frequently whole regiments of
foreigners—flocked to their standard. In 1799, there were incorporated a
regiment of Italians, a regiment of Poles and a regiment of Maltese.
These made the campaign of Egypt with Napoleon. In 1809, a Portuguese, a
Greek and an Irish regiment joined. In 1812, came a regiment of
Mamelukes, who, January 7, 1814, had their name changed to Chasseurs of
the Orient.

The Foreign Legion helped save France for the people in the Revolution.
They shared in the glory and pomp of Napoleon’s dazzling career. They
marched and suffered through the retreat from Moscow. Napoleon, on his
return from Elba, created eight Regiments of the Foreign Legion, who
shared the fate of the world’s greatest soldier at Waterloo.

After Napoleon’s downfall Louis XVIII created the Royal Foreign Legion
which later became merged into the 86th Regiment of the Line.

May 9th, 1831, the French Chamber of Deputies decreed the Foreign Legion
should not be employed on the soil of France, so the Regiment was sent
to Africa, with headquarters at Sidi-bel-Abee’s, Algeria.

In 1842 Patrick MacMahon, a descendant of Irish kings, was lieutenant
colonel of the Foreign Legion. Later, during the Crimean War, MacMahon’s
troops were assigned the task of capturing the Malikoff. After hours of
hand-to-hand, sanguinary fighting, to beat off the Russian
counter-attacks, the French commander, Marshal Pellisser, believing the
fortress was mined, sent MacMahon orders to retire. The old Legionnaire
replied,—“I will hold my ground, dead or alive.” He held. The evacuation
of Sebastopol followed. In 1859, he defeated the Austrians at Magenta.
He was given the title of Duke of Magenta, and rewarded with the baton
of a Marshal of France.

In 1854, Bazaine, who enlisted as a private soldier in the 37th Regiment
of the Line, and died a Marshal of France, was Colonel of the Foreign
Legion. He led them to Milianah, Kabylia and Morocco.

They participated in the Mexican War, in 1861, and in the Franco-German
War of 1870, after the fall of Sedan, and the capture of Napoleon III,
under the Republic; they served with General Garibaldi, “The Liberator
of Italy.” Three brigades of the Foreign Legion, chiefly Irishmen,
Spaniards, Italians and Franc-Tireurs, fought a bitter partisan warfare
against overwhelming odds in eastern France and the Vosges, where,
rather than surrender to the invader, many crossed the frontier into

At Casablanca, Africa, in 1908, a dispute about a German, enlisted in
the Foreign Legion, almost precipitated war between Germany and France.
The Kaiser rattled the saber, demanding an apology from France; but the
response of M. Clemenceau, who stood firm, was so direct and spirited
that Germany did not then insist. The day had not arrived. In the same
town, seven years later, January 28, 1915, a German spy, Karl Fricke,
after failing to provoke a holy war among the Mohammedans, relying on
his personal friendship with his master, the Kaiser, laughed when the
French commander told him he would be shot in an hour. “You French are
good jokers,” he said, and asked for breakfast. Half an hour later, when
told to get ready for execution, he protested. “You are carrying the
thing too far, you forget who I am.” The officer responded,—“On the
contrary, we know who you are; we remember quite well—only too well.”

In 1913 Lieut. Von Forstner of the 91st German Regiment used abusive
language and insulted the French flag, while warning the Alsatian
conscripts against listening to French agents, who the Germans claimed
were inducing men to join the Foreign Legion.

On Nov. 29, 1913, at Severne near the Rhine-Marne Canal, the civilians
assembled in protest. The soldiers charged the crowd, arrested the
Mayor, two judges, and a dozen other prominent citizens; who in response
to the universal demand of the population were later released,—while the
officers responsible for the outrage were court-martialed and acquitted.

A short time afterward Lieut. Von Forstner had a dispute with a lame
shoemaker and cut him down with his sword.

This brutal act resulted in the officer being again court-martialed for
wounding an unarmed civilian. Sentenced to a year’s imprisonment, said
sentence was annulled by a higher court, who claimed that he acted in
“supposed self defense.”

The demand for justice caused by the injustice of the decision was so
loud and threatening that the Reichstag was compelled to investigate the
matter. For the first time in the German Empire a vote of censure was
passed on the Government, 293 to 54.

This vote, which challenged the supremacy of the military dynasty,
together with the refusal of the Social Democrats in the Reichstag to
stand up and cheer the Kaiser, was one of the determining factors that
helped bring on the war.

In the spring of 1915 the Foreign Legion in Europe consisted of four
regiments. In November, the small nucleus gathered about the 1st
Regiment was all that remained of those splendid men.

The 2nd Regiment, after passing the winter of 1914-15 at Croanelle in
front of Croane, went into the Champagne attack, September 25, 1915,
with 3,200. October 28th but 825 survived. These were merged into the
1st Regiment.

The 3rd Regiment, officered by Parisian firemen, had a very brief and
sanguinary existence, and later were merged into the 1st Regiment.

The 4th Regiment, the Garibaldeans, 4,000 strong, after a famous bayonet
attack in Argonne, captured three lines of trenches, losing half their
effectives, including the two Garibaldi brothers, Bruno and Peppino. The
survivors went to Italy to aid their own country, upon her entry into
the war.

Many English, Russians, Italians, Belgians went home during that summer.
When Legionnaires marched inside the long range of heavy German guns,
with attacks and counter-attacking machine gun emplacements, with wire
entanglements in front, which, owing to shortage of artillery, could not
be blown up or destroyed, but must be hand-cut, or crawled through, is
it any wonder they were scattered? Killed, missing, the hillsides were
dotted with their graves; their wounded were in every hospital.

During this last generation, the Foreign Legion made history in the
sand-swept plains of the Sahara and in the spice-laden Isle of
Madagascar. They marched to Peking during the Boxer troubles; fought
against the pig-tails in Indo-China, and the women warriors of Dahomey.
They have been in every general attack of the present great war.

Advancing steadily, fighting side by side with the magnificent French
Regiments who regard the Legion with respect, almost with jealousy,—the
Legionnaire feels himself a personage. His comrades have suffered and
died by thousands to gain the position the Regiment holds. Each living
member must now maintain that enviable record.

July 14, 1917, anniversary of the fall of the Bastile, Independence Day
of France, the Foreign Legion was decorated with the braided cord, the
Fouragere, the color of the Medaille Militaire, by President Poincare.
The only other regiment permitted to wear that decoration is the 152nd,
which has been cited four times. The Legion now stands cited five times
in the orders of the day.[A]


Footnote A:

  July, 1918. The Legion has again been decorated, this time with the
  Legion of Honor.


The fifth citation of the Foreign Legion reads:

                       “General Orders, No. 809.

“The General commanding the 4th Army Corps cites to the order of the
Foreign Legion: Marvelous Regiment, animated by hate of the enemy, and
the spirit of greatest sacrifice, who on the 17th of April, 1917, under
the orders of Lieut. Col. Duritz hurled themselves against the enemy,
strongly organized in their trenches, captured their front line trenches
against a heavy machine gun fire, and, in spite of their chief’s being
mortally wounded, accomplished their advance march by the orders of Col.
Deville under a continuous bombardment, night and day, fighting, man to
man, for five uninterrupted days, and, regardless of heavy losses and
the difficulty of obtaining ammunition and supplies, made the Germans
retreat a distance of two kilometers beyond a village they had strongly
fortified, and held for two years.

                                            “THE COMMANDING GENERAL,

During the attack on the Bois Sabot, September 28, 1915, a captured
German exclaimed: “Ha, ha, La Legion, you are in for it now. The Germans
knew you were to attack; they swore to exterminate you. Look out. Go
carefully. Believe me, I know. I am an old Legionnaire.”

Previous to this, Germany, incensed by the thousands of Alsatians and
Lorraines in the Legion, whom German law practically claims as deserters
from that country, served notice that any captured Legionnaire would be
shot. So the Legionnaires hang together. They stay by one another. They
never leave wounded comrades behind.

The Germans promised no mercy. The Legion adopted the motto: “Without
fear and without pity,” and on the flag is written, “Valor and
Discipline.” The march of the Foreign Legion, roughly interpreted,

           Here’s to our blood-kin, here’s to our blood-kin,
           To the Alsatian, the Swiss, the Lorraine.
           For the Boche, there is none.


In Artois, after the Legion attacked and captured three lines of German
trenches, in 1915, a captured officer, interviewed by the Colonel of the
Legion, said:

“Never have we been attacked with such wild ferocity. Who are those
white savages you turned loose upon us?”

                              CHAPTER III
                        AMERICANS IN THE LEGION

The world’s one organization which, for a century, has offered refuge to
any man, no matter what nor whence, who wished to drop out of human
sight and ken, does not, for obvious reasons, maintain a regular hotel
register and publish arrivals.

Records of the Foreign Legion are open to no one. This picturesque
aggregation of dare-devil warriors neither supports nor invites staff
correspondents. Even the names used by the gentlemen present do not,
necessarily, have any particular significance.

The American was a new element in this polyglot assembly. If there is
anything he excelled in, it was disobedience. Independence and servility
do not go hand-in-hand. He considered himself just as good as anyone
placed in authority over him. He knew that he must obey orders to obtain
results, that obedience was the essence of good team work; but he wanted
no more orders than were necessary. He was willing they should be
neutral,—who had not the courage to stand up for their convictions. His
conscience had demanded that he put himself on the side of Right. Always
courteous to strangers, Americans would dispute and wrangle among
themselves. They had a never-failing appetite, also a peculiar habit of
cooking chocolate in odd corners,—contrary to orders. They never would
patch their clothes. They did no fatigue duty they could dodge. They
carried grenades in one pocket and books in another, and only saluted
officers when the sweet notion moved them.

A corporal, who, for obvious reasons, changed from Battalion C to
Battalion G, speaking of early days said: “The Americans were the
dirtiest, lousiest, meanest soldiers we had. They would crawl into their
dugout, roll into their blanket; and, when I went to call them for duty,
the language they used would burn a man up, if it came true. Yes,” he
continued, “one night I heard an awful noise down the trench;—it was
bitter cold and sound traveled far, so I hurried on to see what was
wrong. A little snot from New York was making all the racket. He jumped
up and down, trying to keep warm, his feet keeping time to his
chattering teeth, till he wore a hole through the snow to solid footing.
Every time he jumped, his loaded rifle hit the ground.

“You fool, don’t you know that thing will go off?”

“Don’t I know. Of course I know. What do I care? Do you know what
happened in Section 2 last week, when a gun went off?”


“It accidentally killed a corporal!”

The officers, however, noticed, after the first shock of misery and
suffering, that they pulled themselves together, tightened their belts
and made no complaint. On the rifle range, they held the record. On
route march, they were never known to fall out. In patrol work, between
the lines, others would get all shot up and never come back. The
Americans always got there; always returned; if shot up, they brought
back their comrades. They were soon looked upon with respect and pride.
They learned faith in their officers. The officers, in turn, found them

It was customary for visiting officers to ask to see the Americans. When
so ordered, this aggregation of automobile racers, elephant hunters,
college students, gentlemen of leisure, professional boxers, baseball
players, lawyers, authors, artists, poets and philosophers, were trotted
out, and stood silently in line, while Sergeant Morlae, his head on one
side, extending his finger with the diamond on would say,—“These are the
Americans, mon General.”

Did they like it? They did not. They were unable to vent their rage on
the general; but they did on Morlae. True, he had made soldiers of them,
in spite of themselves. He had shamed, bluffed, bullied, scolded them
into being soldiers. They did not mind that. They knew it had to be.
But, being placed on exhibition got their goat.

However, each man carved out his own particular block and put his mark
thereon. Strong characters, they cannot be passed over living, or
forgotten dead. M. Viviani said, at Washington:—“Not only has America
poured out her gold, but her children have shed their blood for France.
The sacred names of America’s dead remain engraved in our hearts.”


  (Taken on the Summit of Ballon d’Alsace, August, 1915)

  Left to right—Zinn, wounded; Seeger, killed; Narutz, killed; Bowe,
    wounded; Bouligny, wounded three times; Dowd, killed; Scanlon,
    wounded; Nilson, killed.

=Denis Dowd=, of New York City, and Long Island, a graduate of Columbia
University, and of Georgetown, District of Columbia, a lawyer by
profession, of Irish descent, a fine soldier, passed the first year in
the trenches and was wounded October 19, 1915. We were in the same
squad—were wounded different days—again met in same hospital. While in
hospital, he received a package from the ladies of the American Church
of the Rue de Berri, Paris, in which was a letter. This was followed by
correspondence, later a daily correspondence. Then came an invitation to
pass his furlough with new found friends. Inside of twenty-four hours
after meeting, this hard-headed lawyer was affianced to the lady,
daughter of a professor at the Sorbonne. He entered, for the study of
aviation, the Buc Aviation School, and stood at the head of a class of
fifteen aspirants. While making a preliminary flight, previous to
obtaining his brevet, he was killed, August 11, 1916. In life he showed
a contempt of danger. He passed away with a smile on his lips. His body
was buried at Asnieres, near St. Germain.

=D. W. King=, Providence, R. I., member of a family connected with
cement products interests in England and America, a Harvard graduate—of
uncomplaining and unflinching disposition, though small in stature, he
was great in courage. I have seen him marching without a whimper when
his feet were so sore that only the toes of one foot could touch the
ground. He always had an extra cake or two of chocolate, and was willing
to divide with the individual who could furnish fire or water. He
changed from the Foreign Legion to the 170th, in 1915, and was seriously
wounded in 1916. On recovery he went into the Aviation.

=Edgar Bouligny=, a real American from New Orleans, Louisiana, had
served two enlistments in the U. S. Army. His father was minister to
Mexico, and during the civil war threw himself on the side of Human
Liberty, as the son, later, put in his fortune and health for
International freedom. He went from Alaska to France. He rose to be
sergeant in the Foreign Legion. He was three times wounded, then
transferred to the Aviation. Obtaining his brevet in three months, he
went to Salonica, Albania, Greece and the Balkans. He was decorated with
the Croix de Guerre, with silver star, in January, 1917.

=J. J. Casey=, a cartoonist from San Francisco, California, went into
the Foreign Legion in the early days and is still going strong.
Naturally of a quiet disposition, he will fight at the drop of the hat,
on provocation. He was shot in the foot on September 25, 1915, was in
the hospital of the Union de Femmes of France at Nice and went back to
the front, where he still remains.

=Arthur Barry=, Boston, Massachusetts, formerly a gunner on U. S.
battleship Dakota, now acts as an Irish battleship ashore and throws
grenades on the dry land Boche, whenever an opportunity occurs,—of a
happy, devil-may-care disposition, all work is a lark to him, while
growling and his temperament are total strangers. Twice wounded, the
last time I saw him was in hospital at Lyons, where he was waiting till
a shell splinter could be extracted. He had already decided that he
would go direct to the front instead of to the regimental depot on
recovery. He was decorated for bravery at Chalons, July 14, 1917. Was
later transferred to the American Engineers, wearing the red fouragere
of the Legion of Honor.

=James J. Back=, an engineer by profession, who spoke French fluently,
went from the Foreign Legion to the Aviation in the early part of 1915.
It was announced in “La France,” Bordeaux, September 2, 1917, that he
was taken prisoner by the Boche. When his machine broke, he fell inside
the German lines. He was taken before a court martial, charged twice
with being a Franc-tireur American, which called for the death penalty;
but was twice acquitted. He still languishes in prison. The published
account is true; but it did not mention that the news was over two years

=Bob Scanlon=, professional boxer, soldier of the Legion, kept having
narrow escapes from death so often that he became a mascot of good luck.
In civilian life he had whipped Mar-Robert, Marthenon, and Joe
Choynski—even the Boche shells respected him! He changed from the
Foreign Legion into the 170th, then went into the machine gun company.
He lost his good luck. He found a piece of shell which ripped him up
badly. Two years later, in September, 1917, in Bordeaux, coming back to
his old gait, he gave a boxing exhibition with Lurline, the French

=Laurence Scanlon=, wounded in the Foreign Legion, went into Aviation,
dropped his aeroplane through, and into, a cook-house. His captain
running, expecting to find a corpse, met Scanlon coming out of the door,
who saluted and reported himself present,—“It is I, mon capitaine, just

=John Brown=, American citizen, got mixed up with a shell explosion in
the September attack in Champagne, in 1915. All his comrades were
killed; but this tough nut has just been blown about till he is bent
double and one eye is almost gone. He has been in eleven hospitals
during twenty-three months. In August, 1917, he was ordered to go to
regimental depot for two months “Inapt.” The regimental doctors gave him
an examination, then sent him back to hospital.

=F. Capdevielle=, New Yorker, splendid fellow, after a year in the
Foreign Legion changed to the 170th, where he rose to be sergeant. But a
young man, he has a great record for longevity, having been through the
successive attacks of the two regiments volonté, without receiving a
scratch, though he was used up physically in the spring of 1917, and put
in a couple of months recuperating in Paris. He was decorated for
gallantry, at Verdun, in the spring of 1916.

=Tony Pollet=, champion boxer, from Corona, New York, came to America
with his parents, had his first papers—was the tallest, best-built man
in his company—a terror on wrong doers—in social life as gentle as a
woman. The boxing match between him and Bob Scanlon at Auxelle Bas,
Alsace, will pass down in the traditions of the Legion for all time.

Later Tony whipped the three cooks. He was put in charge of the kitchen
for punishment; but he got into disgrace again because the Legionnaires
caught a pet cat, skinned it and threw it into the soup.

Living on his income of one cent a day, as he had no money, too proud to
expose his financial condition, he did not go to Paris, July 4, 1915,
but suffered his martyrdom in silence. Wounded in Champagne in 1915,
also on the Somme in 1916, when permission came for a furlough in
America, he had forty-two cents. He stowed away on a Trans-Atlantic
steamer to New York, where the authorities claimed, he was not an
American. If he had declared his intention to be an American, he had
lost the evidence of it. So they locked him up two days at Ellis Island.

When in hospital one night, he stole out to see his girl, caught, and
standing before the medical board, who threatened to revoke his
convalescence, he replied hotly—“You do that, and I will make you more
trouble than you can shake off the rest of your life. You must not think
you are handling a Legionnaire from Africa now;—I will show you what a
real American Legionnaire can do!” The old Colonel, a judge of men,
spoke up;—“Silence yourself. Attention, eyes front, about face, forward
march.” Tony walked away; but he got his furlough.

=George Peixotto=, painter by profession, brother of the President of
the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris, joined the Foreign Legion and
was detailed to the 22nd artillery. Now, instead of making life-like
figures, he makes figures lifeless!

=Bullard.= After the Champagne attack, in 1915, was changed from the
Legion to the 170th, then again into the Aviation. A busy man, he
managed to dodge the Boche bouquets, and, so far, he has kept right side
up with care. Always likes to have Old Glory in sight.

=Bob Soubiron=, in civil life a racing automobilist, former racing
partner of Ralph de Palma. After a year of active service with the
Legion, he was wounded in the knee and evacuated. He concluded that was
too slow. So, in order to get a touch of high life, he went into the
Aviation. He was decorated for bravery with the following
citation:—“Soubiron, an American, engaged in the French service since
the beginning of the war,—member of the Foreign Legion, took part in
battle of the Aisne, in 1914, and the attack in Champagne, in
1915;—wounded October 19, 1915, entered Aviation, and proved a
remarkable pilot—forced an enemy to fall in October when protecting
aviators who were attacking an enemy’s observation balloon.”

=Lincoln Chatcoff=, Brooklyn, New York, one of the old originals, went
from the Legion into Aviation and was decorated with the Croix de
Guerre. Unable to get permission to go to England, he demanded a pass to
Paris. He went to the Minister of War’s office, explained his case, and

“Now, I want to know the truth.”

“About what?”

“Whether I am a Legionnaire or an Aviator?”

“You look like an Aviator.”

“Well, am I one or not?”

“You must be one.”

“Am I one or not?”


“Then I demand to be treated as one.”

“What do you want now?”

“Permission to go to England.”

He got it.

He became an expert in his line. He used to take his old friends up in
the air, ask them if they had been to confession, or had said their
prayers, then turn a double somersault, finish with an Egyptian side
wiggle and land his victims, gasping for breath. On June 15, 1917, he
had aloft an American ambulance man, who was killed by the process.
Chatcoff, himself, was sent to the hospital for repairs.

=Kroegh= was in the Legion the first year. He went down with the boys to
the Fourth of July wake in Paris. Then he went to Norway, when he
organized and brought back a detachment of Norwegian Ski-runners, who
hauled provisions and wounded men over the snow-clad hills of the Vosges
in the winter of 1915-1916.

=Eugene Jacobs=, from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, went from the Legion to
the 170th, where he became one of the best liked sergeants. He was
decorated with the Croix de Guerre for bravery. A butcher by trade, he
now carries a carving knife on the end of his rifle.

=Barriere= was killed at la Cote. His little brother, Pierre, 15 years
old, who had come from America to be as near him as possible, was
working at the American Express Company’s office at the Rue d’Opera,
Paris, when the bad news came. He quit his good situation, stopped
correspondence with all friends, and lived through his grief silently
and alone, like the little man he is.

=John Laurent=, a quiet, gentlemanly man, was in the Legion till October
12th, 1915, when he changed into the 170th. An actor in civil life, he
became a real, living actor in the most stupendous drama ever staged. He
plays his part to perfection.

=Collins=, writer and journalist, passed the first year of the war in
the trenches of France. Evacuated for inspection, the next we heard of
him was from the Balkans. Wounded, he turned up in Paris for
convalescence. Then, back to the French front. He became such a truthful
and realistic writer, through actual experience, that the censor cut out
the half of the last article he wrote to the New York Herald; and the
public hears from him no more.

=Charles Trinkard=, Brooklyn, went through the Croanelle and Campaigne
affairs with the Foreign Legion. He was wounded in Champagne September
25, 1915. Afterwards he joined the Aviation, and was killed in combat,
November 29, 1917. His machine fell into a village occupied by the
Legion. A few minutes after his death permission arrived allowing him,
after three years’ service, to visit his American home.

=Charles S. Sweeney=, a West Pointer, rose in the Legion successively to
corporal, sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He was wounded in the head
in 1915. Decorated with the Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre, he
returned to America. On the declaration of war, he became a major in the
American Army and drilled rookies at Ft. Meyer, Va. He carried the
colors that enwrapped O’Connel’s coffin—the Stars and Stripes, and the
Tri-color, to the latter’s home at Carthage, Mo.

=Mouvet=, San Francisco, Cal., brother of M. Maurice and Florence
Walton, the dancers, joined the Legion, August, 1915. He was wounded,
also, decorated with the Croix de Guerre, July 4, 1916. He served five
months in the Aviation, then returned to the Legion; and in December,
1917, was again seriously wounded.

=Prof. Orlinger=, Columbia University, New York City, put in the first
winter in Croanelle, changed to the 167th, wounded and invalided home.
Short of stature, the long strides he made on march, to keep step, were
an additional attraction in the ever-interesting adventure.

=Algernon Sartoris=, son of Nellie Grant, daughter of General U. S.
Grant, former President of the United States, serves at present in the
Foreign Legion.

=Paul Pavelka=, Madison, Conn., an old timer, bound up Kiffin Rockwell’s
bayonet wound at Arras, May 9, 1915.

It was his section that started the attack on the Bois de Sabot in
Champagne in 1915. Orders came to reconnoitre the Boche position.
Everybody knew that these trenches were German. They could see the
rifles of the soldiers over the trench tops. Musgrave said, “Let’s go
see what in hell sort of a show they have over there.” The section,
about forty men, went and just two, Pavelka and Musgrave, both
Americans, came back. After fourteen months in the trenches, he changed
to the Aviation. He, a splendid marksman, put twelve bullets, out of
twelve shots, into a moving target at one hundred yards. Killed near
Monastir, November 1, 1917, he was buried at Salonica.

=Frank Musgrave=, San Antonio lawyer, a long-limbed raw-boned Texan, not
only looks the part but acts it. Original as they make them, even in
original states. It was a joy to meet such a character. After dodging
death in Champagne, he changed into the 170th and at Verdun was captured
in the spring of 1916 by the Boche, during an attack. He is now a
prisoner in Germany.

=Frank J. Baylies=, New Bedford, Mass., drove ambulance in Serbia in
1916. Went into the French Aviation. At Lufberry’s death, he became the
leading American Ace and was himself killed June 17, 1918. The news of
how he was shot down in combat with German aviators, and went to his
death among the flames of his machine on German soil, was brought in a
letter dropped by an enemy pilot. He brought down 11 Boche machines, was
promoted to lieutenant, and decorated with the Legion of Honor.

=David E. Putnam=,[B] Brookline, Mass. Putnam succeeded Baylies as chief
American Ace with 12 Boche machines to his credit. In the month of June,
1918, he brought down seven machines.


Footnote B:

  Descendent of General Israel Putnam. Killed in combat Sept. 18, 1918.


=Paul Ingmer=, New York City. American of

Danish extraction, joined the Legion in 1916, went up on the Somme for a
preliminary, though bottled up in the Legion like Johnny Walker’s
whisky, is still going strong, and getting better with age.

=Nicholas Karayinis=, New York. One of the Americans who lived to tell
about it. Changed from Legion to American Army.

=Cyrus Chamberlain=, Minneapolis, Minn. Killed in combat while he and a
Frenchman were fighting twelve German aviators. Odds 6 to 1. Though he
lost his life, he gained the admiration of a brave people, and freely
gave his blood to cement the tie that binds the two Republics. Decorated
with the Croix de Guerre. Buried at Coulommiers.

=Harold E. Wright.= Along with others had much trouble getting
discharged from the French army. June 6, 1918, was ordered to Paris to
be transferred to American Army. No papers. Waited around for weeks.
Went to French Minister of Aeronautics for information. Was told to
report to the Commander of the Fourth Army at the Front, where he was
arrested as a deserter, and ordered to be shot at sunrise. Friends
interceded, and he was ordered to report at the Bureau of Recruitment,
Paris, where he received his discharge from the French Army, dated
January 21, several days before he was sentenced to be shot. Again
arrested on orders of the Prefect of Police, an examination of his
papers resulted in him being catalogued with the U. S. Army. Provost
Marshal receipted for him like a bale of merchandise.

=Manual Moyet=, Alabama. American Legionnaire, wounded near Soissons,
May, 1918. Three times cited for bravery. Last citation: “Legionnaire
Manual Moyet, during the Vilers-Bretioneaus combat, withstood
effectively with his automatic rifle, the enemy machine guns, deciding
the progress of his section. Afterwards he broke up several counter
attacks along the front.” He wrote from a hospital bed to a friend,
“Believe me, I am sure that after the war it is going to be the greatest
honor to have served in the Foreign Legion. I am getting better and hope
to be ready for duty in a month. As I grow older I understand things
better and better; we are not fighting for fun, but for liberty. After
you have killed two or three Boches you do not mind dying. The spirit of
the Legion is wonderful, although many of the most famous of the
legionnaires are dead. Should I live to be a hundred years I shall never
forget a man from my section who, mortally wounded, lay between the
lines shouting, ‘Vive la France, Vive la Legion I die, but I am
satisfied to die for Liberty.’”

=Elof Nelson=, a real, quiet, pleasant man, changed from the Legion to
the 170th. The only Swede in the Legion at that time, he adopted the
Americans. He was killed on the Somme in 1916.

=George Marquet=, New York, three times wounded—the last time on July 1,
1916, at Hill 304, near Verdun. This company, the 8th of the 6th Regt.
of the Line, while defending the hill against continued Boche attacks,
out of 200 men had only one sergeant and twenty-four men at the close of
that memorable day.

=Jack Noe=, Glendale, L. I., Foreign Legion, was wounded in the attack
near Rheims in the spring of 1917, and captured in the general mix-up.
He escaped and made his way back to the French lines.

=R. Hard=, Rosebank, Staten Island, New York, having only one eye, went
into the gas manufacturing works, and commenced to fill gas shells with
a bicycle pump. Gradually, the business developed till ten men could
turn out 1,875 shells every ten hours. A thin, wiry man, the gas fumes
affected his heart. Stout men get the poison in the lungs.

=Henry La Grange= went to France at the outbreak of war and was ordered
to the Foreign Legion: “No,” he said, “I want to go to my grandfather’s
regiment, the 8th. If I can’t join that I will not go at all.” His
great-grandfather had fought in Egypt. The grandson, following the old
man’s footsteps, rose to the rank of sergeant. He was decorated with the
Croix de Guerre and, later, detailed to America to instruct the growing
army in artillery observation.

=Mjojlo Milkovich=, of San Francisco, Cal., a professional boxer, left
the Golden West with $6,000 in his pocket and an elaborate wardrobe. He
was torpedoed in the “Brindisti” and, after five hours in the water,
reached shore, naked as the day he was born. At Corfu, Greece, he joined
the French Army, was wounded on the Bulgarian front and tended in the
Scottish Woman’s Hospital at Salonica. After his recovery he went direct
to the front, and, again severely wounded, was sent to France. At
quarters one day he accosted me:

“What, you understand English?” “Yes.”

“Are you an American?”


“So am I,—can’t speak a word of French.”

The three main cords of his leg were severed by shell splinters. He
chafed at the slow hospital life, and, every second day, he pounded the
doctors on the back.

“Why don’t you let me go back to America? You have got my leg, you know
I can never march again. Why don’t you let me go home?” He was decorated
with the Croix de Guerre, with the following citation: “A very good
soldier, seriously wounded, advancing resolutely to attack a village
very strongly fortified.”

I asked him what he saw down in the Balkans.

“I saw enough—so that I’ll never forget it.”

“Well what did you see?”

“I saw enough to make me sick.”

“Well, what did you see?”

“I saw boys seven and eight years old with throats cut.”

“How many did you see?”

“Seven or eight at least.”

“What else?”

“I saw young girls who tried to protect themselves with faces streaked
with knife wounds—some had their noses cut off.”

“What else did you see?”

“I saw old women laying in corners dying of hunger—I saw others out in
the fields eating grass.”

=Milton Wright=, an American citizen, born of American parents, went
from Philadelphia to France on a four-masted ship. On shore, without a
passport, was arrested by the gendarmes, who communicated with his
captain, who replied: “We don’t want him. He is a German spy.” So he was
in prison four or five months. He was then told he could go into the
Foreign Legion for the period of the war. He did not understand, as he
could not speak French. The French officials did not speak English. He
was signed up for five years.

The skipper owed him for several weeks’ wages. His going left an opening
to take back Frenchmen who would give thousands of dollars to get away
and escape military service. Wright was an innocent, honest fellow, a
victim of circumstances. But he felt he was wronged and would not drill.
Finally, after being worried almost crazy, he was given a railroad
ticket to Boulogne, and mustered out.

=James Ralph Doolittle=, of New York, started in the ambulance. He found
it too slow for a live man, so he joined the Foreign Legion. He was
decorated with the Croix de Guerre, with palm. He was a splendid fellow,
good soldier and a gentleman. He was three times wounded. The last time
he dropped 600 feet, breaking an ankle and seriously disfiguring his
face. He passed his convalescence in America, November, 1917.

=Dr. Julian A. Gehrung=, of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, offered
his services to the then personally conducted American Ambulance. He did
not know they wanted chauffeurs and drivers, who could be ordered about,
rather than doctors and men of established reputation who could run
their own affairs. So, he, known in America from coast to coast, was
snubbed. March 24, 1917, he was offered by the French Government, the
supervision of a large hospital. Accidentally meeting an American
soldier of the Legion, a French officer came along, patted him on the
back and said, “Ha, ha, you have got a fine appointment. You have found
a compatriot. You are now satisfied.” Quick as a shot, the answer came
back, “No, I am not satisfied, I want to be sent to the front.”

=James Paul=, St. Louis, Mo., twenty years old, the first American
killed in the Legion after the United States went into the war, was
an enthusiastic grenadier. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre
for having alone, with grenades, stopped a night attack at
Bellay-en-Santerre, in July, 1916. He was killed by a treacherous
prisoner, whose life he had spared. Having killed the Germans in
that dugout, excepting this prisoner, who threw up his hands and
cried “Kamrad,” Paul started to run to the next dugout, when the
German grabbed a rifle and shot him in the back through the heart.
Barry and other Americans paid special attention to that prisoner.
He did not die then, but, some hours, later, when the Legion was
being relieved, he breathed his last.

=George Delpesche=, of New York City, an energetic member of the Legion,
and an excellent scout, a volunteer for dangerous missions, lived
through places where others were killed; but he was wounded in 1916 and
transferred to the 35th Regiment of the Line with headquarters at Fort
Brezille, Besancon. Decorated with the Croix de Guerre for taking, alone
and unaided, five prisoners.

=Emile Van de Kerkove=, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, of Belgian descent,
three times wounded, was decorated while in the 246th Regiment with the
Medaille Militaire for having alone, with a machine gun, repelled a
Boche attack. He is now in the 10th Regiment of the Line.

=William Lawrence Bresse=, a son-in-law of Hamilton Fish, was killed in

=Ivan Nock=, Baltimore, Foreign Legion, formerly sergeant in the
Maryland Militia, a civil mining engineer, came from Peru to help
France. He was wounded in the head by an explosive bullet near Rheims,
April 20, 1917. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre, with the
following brilliant citation: “A grenadier of remarkable courage,
wounded April 20th, 1917, by a bullet in the head, just after he had
shot down his fifth German. He cried: ‘I will not leave the field until
I have killed my sixth Boche.’ He kept his word.”

=Paul Norton=, architect, died of wounds received in action.

=Kiffin Yates Rockwell=, a real American, born at Atlanta, Georgia. One
of his ancestors was a staff officer in Washington’s Continental Army.
Kiffin served the first winter in the trenches with the Foreign Legion,
and was wounded in a bayonet attack at Arras, June, 1915. He helped to
form the Franco-American Escadrille. He was killed at Rodern, in
captured German Alsace, September 23, 1916, by an explosive bullet, when
in combat with a German machine, and fell a few hundred yards back from
the trench, within two miles of where he shot down his first Boche
machine. He was decorated with the Medaille Militaire and Croix de
Guerre and buried at Loscieul, Vosges. Asked why he entered the Legion,
he said: “I came to pay the debt we owe, to Lafayette, to Rochambeau.”

=Paul Rockwell=, brother of Kiffin, also spent the first winter in the
Legion. He was badly wounded and mustered out. Remaining in Paris, he
devoted his time to bringing the two Republics closer together, and
easing the hardships of his former comrades in the Legion, who
recognized in him a true friend. He was married to Mlle. Jeanne
Leygenes, whose father was formerly Minister of Public Instruction. He
is at present on the front, attached to the General Headquarters of the
French Army.

=Robert Rockwell=, of Cincinnati, Ohio, thought cutting up as a surgeon
in hospital not strenuous enough for a live wire, so he joined the
Aviation to do a little aerial operating.

=F. Wilson=, one of the old originals, used up on the front, went into
hospital service. At the regimental hospital, at Orleans, he made a
specialty of tending and easing the path of poor, distressed, brother

=Billy Thorin=, Canton, S. D., was wounded in the head at the attack of
the Legion on the Bois Sabot, September 28, 1915. He returned to the
front and was gassed on the Somme, July, 1916. He was fourteen months in
hospital and mustered out September, 1917. Formerly he was a marine in
the U. S. Navy, also a sailor in the Chinese Imperial Navy. As a South
Sea trader, he fought cannibals in the New Hebrides. He had been
severely wounded in the Mexican War. He says: “Compared with a German, a
Mexican is a gentleman.”

=Chas. Jean Drossner=, San Francisco, California, one of the old
originals, went through the hard fighting in 1915. He was wounded in the
hand and mustered out. He is the son of a capitalist.

A snippy under-officer in the Legion, not liking his independent remarks
about the size of the eats, said: “You have come into the Legion to get
your belly full.” The American replied, “I may not get very much food, I
don’t see that any one does, but I have money. Here, buy something for
the boys.” He opened his vest and handed over three 1,000 franc notes.

=Maurice Davis=, of Brooklyn, New York, rose to the rank of lieutenant
and was killed in action.

=Harold Buckley Willis= was reported killed September 3, 1917, but later
developments proved that, during a combat with German machines, he was
compelled to land on German soil, August 18, and was taken prisoner.

=Rouel Lufbury=, Wallingford, Conn., Foreign Legion, changed to
Aviation, a real cosmopolitan American, for fifteen years roamed the two
hemispheres. Now, crippled by rheumatism, he rides his aerial carriage
and kills German aviators for recreation. He served as a United States
soldier in the Philippines and held the marksmanship record in his
regiment. While engaged in railroad work in India, on refusing to say
“Sir” to a prominent citizen of Bombay, he lost his job just about the
time the P. C. felt the toe of Lufbury’s boot. He traveled in Turkey,
Japan, China, Africa and South America October 12, 1916, the day Norman
Prince was mortally wounded, Lufbury got his fifth Boche machine. By
December, 1917, he had brought down, officially, eighteen. He is the
first American to be awarded the gold medal of the Aero Club of France.
He is also decorated with the Croix de Guerre with six palms; and is a
chevalier of the Legion of Honor. In the spring of 1918, he was
transferred and promoted major in the American Army, and when engaged in
battle, a bullet from the enemy punctured the gasoline tank, and he
jumped from the burning machine to his death.

=Joseph C. Stehlin=, Sheepshead Bay, Long Island, brought down a Boche
machine, when he had only been twenty days in service on the front. He
attacked three enemy machines alone and brought down one with a pilot,
observer, and two guns.

=George Meyer=, Brooklyn, New York, was killed in the Foreign Legion, by
a shell, while waiting for the order to go over the top near Rheims,
April, 1917.

=Robert Arrowsmith=, New Jersey, was wounded in the hip, and lying in
hospital when America entered the war. The wound not healing quickly, he
objected to hospital life, because: “There is so much going on, and so
much work to be done.”

=Dr. David D. Wheeler=, Buffalo, New York, practicing physician, thought
being a doctor in the rear was too much of a shirker’s business. So, he
went into the Legion at the front; and the Legionnaires still talk about
the American, who wore no shirt most of the time, who never unslung his
knapsack en route, who tented alone, who never bent the body or dodged a
bullet, who was supposed killed at the Bois Sabot, but who lived through
it and was found in hospital. Wounded himself seriously, he had cared
for others professionally in “No-Man’s-Land,” while under fire. He was
decorated with the Croix de Guerre, with palm, and mustered out, used

=John Charton=, Foreign Legion, seriously wounded by a machine gun
bullet in the attack on Balloy-en-Santerre, July 4, 1916, after months
in hospital, was sent back as reinforcement to a Zouave Regiment. He
then went into the Aviation at Avord.

=Kenneth Weeks=, of Boston, 25 years old, a graduate of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a member of Delta Kappa
Epsilon Fraternity, author of “Driftwood,” “Esau and the Beacon,” “Five
Impractical Plays,” and “Science, Sentiment and Sense.” Passed the first
winter in Battalion D, of the 1st Legion in Rheims Sector. He was in the
Arras attack of May 9th and 10th, and mentioned for bravery. Acting as a
grenadier in an attack on Givenchy, June 17, 1915, he was first reported
missing, then captured; and, several months later, officially, killed.

He said, “Mother, is it not better that I should die than that the
Germans should come over here?”

=Paul Raoul le Dous=, Detroit, Michigan, promoted to sergeant, decorated
with the Medaille Militaire for saving his captain’s life on the Ancre.

=Ernest Walbron=, Paterson, New Jersey, volunteered at the start of the
war, fought in Artois, Verdun and the Somme.

In August, 1916, was detailed as interpreter to an English Regiment,
while leading it to the front was hit by a piece of shell. As no one
else knew the way, he kept going till he reached the destination, then
fainted. He could not be taken back on account of the bombardment.
Gangrene set in and his leg was amputated. He was decorated with the
French Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire, also with the English
Military Medal.

=Andrew Walbron=, brother of Ernest, decorated with the Croix de Guerre,
Corporal in the 78th Regiment, has been wounded four times.

=Paul Maffart=, American, Foreign Legion, 19 years of age, killed.

=Haviland=, Minnesota, brought down his first Boche machine, April 28,

=Ronald Wood Hoskier=, South Orange, New Jersey, a Harvard graduate,
Aviator. His father is also in France in Red Cross work.

Hoskier fell while he and his companion were fighting six Boche
machines. He and two Boche fell among the advancing English troops and
were all killed, April 24, 1917.

Cited in General Orders of the French Army: “Sergeant Ronald Wood
Hoskier, an American, who volunteered for service in the French Army. He
showed splendid conduct and self-sacrifice. He fell on April 23, 1917,
after defending himself heroically against three enemy machines.”

=Paul Perigord=, college professor, formerly an instructor in St. Paul
Seminary, later a parish priest at Olivia, Minn., went to France and
into the trenches at the outbreak of hostilities. Cited four times in
army orders, decorated with the Croix de Guerre, promoted to a
Lieutenancy in the 14th Regiment of the Line. Later, he returned to
America on a patriotic lecturing mission.

=Victor Chapman=, son of John Jay Chapman, was one of the splendid
fellows that it was a pleasure to meet and never to forget. Changing
from the Legion to the Aviation he was killed near Verdun, June 23,
1916, in a battle with French comrades against German machines. The
“Petit Parisian” headline announcing the event, said: “The king of the
air dies like a king.”

Harvard University students have raised a fund, known as the Victor
Chapman Scholarship Fund, of $25,000, bearing interest of $1,000 a year,
which is set aside for the education of a worthy French student. A young
man from Lyons is at present at Harvard, perpetuating and cementing the
ties for which Chapman gave his life.

=Eugene Galliard=, Minneapolis, Minn., served two years in the trenches,
twice wounded, was mustered out as a lieutenant and returned to America.

=John Huffer=, an American of the Legion, was decorated with the
Medaille Militaire, and the Croix de Guerre, with five citations, four
being palms.

=Bennet Moulter=, an American, went from Mexico to France, changed his
animosity from Caranza to the Kaiser; and was seriously wounded July,

=Christopher Charles=, of Brooklyn, New York, 21 years old, machine gun
operator, has been in all attacks since September, 1914. He was
decorated with the Croix de Guerre at Chalons, July 14, 1917. At
Bordeaux, I met his marraine (godmother), who said,—“Yes, I know
Christopher Charles. I met him when he was wounded in hospital here.
That boy is an American. His place is in his own country now. I will get
him out of the Legion if I have to go to Washington to do it.”

=Norman Barclay=, New York City, formerly of Long Island, aviator, was
killed by aeroplane, nose diving. Had two years’ service on the front
before being snuffed out. Killed June 22, 1917.

=Robert Mulhauser= entered the Legion in 1914, changed to the 170th in
1915, was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and promoted to Lieutenant
at Verdun. He has been cited in Army Orders three times.

=Walter Appleton=, New York City, scion of the great American publishing
house. The last time I met him was north of Suippe, in the middle of the
night, unloading barrels from a wagon in the darkness, where the first
line men connected with the commissary. Zouaves with canvas pails of
wine, Moroccans carrying loaves of bread on their bayonets, Legionnaires
looking after their own, and ready to pick up any straggling food. Dead
horses and men lay alongside, a German captured cannon pointed to the
rear was near-by, surrounded by broken cassions and German dead. Shells
were exploding overhead. We ran into each other in the mix-up, shook
hands, said “Hello,” and separated into the night.

=Alan Seeger=, a Harvard graduate, killed in bayonet attack, in
“No-Man’s-Land,” Independence Day, July 4, 1916. Buried in the Army
Zone. The only tears that will water the flowers that grow on his
hillside grave will be the evening dew, even as he dropped his brilliant
thoughts on the close of life.

=Seeger Gems.= “I love to think that if my blood has the privilege to be
shed, or the blood of the French soldier to flow, then I despair not
entirely of this world.”

“When at banquet comes the moment of toasts, when faces are illumined
with the joy of life and laughter resounds, then flow towards the lips
that which I at other times much loved, from the depth of the cup with
the foam, as an atom of blood on the juice of the vine.”

“That other mighty generations may play in peace to their heritage of
joy, one foreigner has marched voluntarily toward his heroic martyrdom
and marched under the most noble of standards.”

Letter to his mother:

“I am feeling fine, in my element, for I have always thirsted for this
kind of thing, to be present always where the pulsations are liveliest.
Every minute here is worth weeks of ordinary experience. If I do not
come out I will share the good fortune of those who disappear at the
pinnacle of their careers!”

           “Esteeming less the forfeit that he paid
             Than undishonored that his flag might float
           Over the towers of liberty, he made
             His breast the bulwark and his blood the moat.”

           “Under the little cross, where they rise,
             The soldier rests. Now, round him, undismayed,
           The cannon thunders, and at night he lies
             At peace beneath the eternal fusillade.”

=G. Casmese=, real friend, old soldier of the Legion, got mixed up and
disappeared in the quick-acting movements of these chain-lightning

=Russell A. Kelly=, son of a New York stock broker, went through the
hard and early fighting and was killed at Givenchy, June 17, 1915. His
father, a true descendant of the Isle of Unrest, on hearing the news
said,—“He did his duty—I do not complain.”

=John Huffert=, New York, would not drive a motor car in the rear, so he
scrambled out on top. In an aeroplane, he became the hero of several
desperate battles above.

=John Roxas=, Manila, Philippine Islands, son of the largest land owner
in the Philippines, having absorbed American freedom, he is carrying it
to Germany.

=William E. Dugan=, 27 years old, Rochester, New York, graduate of
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, joined the Legion, Sept. 19,
1914, changed to aviation, October 15, 1915. Decorated with Croix de
Guerre, wounded at Verdun.

=Kenneth Proctor Littaner=, Sergeant in military life, poet in civil
life, decorated and cited, as follows:—

“A good pilot, brave, devoted to duty, an excellent soldier, invariably
showing energy and coolness, especially on Feb. 8, 1917, in course of an
engagement with a German machine, his aeroplane hit in several places,
he compelled his adversary to retreat.”

=Narutz=, an American philosopher, a serious personage, went through the
hard fighting of 1915 and was killed on the Somme in July, 1916.

=Norman Prince=, Boston, Mass., a Harvard man of splendid character, was
descending in the early darkness at Corceuix, when his machine ran into
a telegraph wire and tipped. Taken to Gerardmer, while lying
unconscious, the Legion of Honor was pinned to his breast alongside of
the Croix de Guerre and the Medaille Militaire. That day he had brought
down a Boche machine, the third he had accounted for. Cited as follows:—

“=Prince=, Sergeant, Pilot in Squadron V. B. 108:—An American citizen,
who enlisted for the duration of the war; excellent military pilot who
always shows proof of the greatest audacity and presence of mind;—ever
impatient to start, he has executed numerous expeditions of bombardment,
particularly successful in a region which was difficult in consequence
of the firing of the enemy’s artillery, by which his aeroplane was
frequently hit.”

Killed October 15, 1916.

=Fred Prince=, brother of Norman, is now in the aviation, while the
father, Mr. Prince, is one of the best friends of the Foreign Legion
boys, and they, like France, do not forget.

=Dr. Van Vorst=, from the middle west, a Spanish War veteran in America,
adjutant in the Foreign Legion. He introduced new sanitary ideas into
the camps of repose and kept the stretcher bearers busy cleaning up.

=William Thaw=, Pittsburgh, Pa., passed the first winter, 1914-15, in
the trenches with the Legion, rose in aviation to lieutenant. One of the
best liked Americans in France. Cited frequently in General Orders,
decorated for bravery, wounded in the arm. Promoted to Major in U. S.

=One Citation=: “Thaw, pilot, corporal at that time of Squadron C.
42:—Has always given proof of fine qualities, courage and coolness. On
two separate occasions, in the course of scouting tours, his machine was
violently shelled and was struck by shrapnel, great damage being done.
Nevertheless, he continued to observe the enemy’s positions and did not
return until he had accomplished the object of his mission.”

=Another citation=: “Lieutenant Wm. Thaw, an excellent pilot. He
returned to the front after receiving a serious wound, and has never
failed to set an example of courage and dash. During the German retreat,
he showed initiative and intelligence by landing near troops on the
march, so as to place them in possession of information. Brought down
his second aeroplane, April 26th.”

=Braxton Bigelow=, grandson of John Bigelow, author, New York City, a
mining engineer by profession, followed this occupation in Alaska and
South America, was promoted to captain in France and disappeared in a
trench raid, July 23, 1917.

=Henry Claude=, Boston, Mass., one of the Legion grenadiers, was cited
in the Orders of the Day and decorated for conspicuous gallantry at
Auberieve, June, 1917.

=Edward M. Collier=, Bass Rocks, Iowa, Aviator, injured in a smash-up
June, 1917.

=Elliot C. Cowdin=, a Harvard man, member of the Foreign Legion, home
address Gramercy Park, Manhattan and Cedarhurst, L. I.

First American to receive the Medaille Militaire.

=Citation=:—“Cowdin, Sergeant, Pilot in Squadron V. B. 108, an American
citizen engaged for the duration of the war; executes daily long
bombardment expeditions, is an excellent pilot and has several times
attacked the enemy’s aeroplanes. He attacked them and forced them
successively to descend; one of them appeared to be seriously damaged,
as was his own and his motor by the firing from the German avion; his
helmet also bore the traces of several shots.”

=Snowy Williams= has been in different sections of the Foreign Legion,
in Serbia, Albania, Egypt, Africa and France. He was gassed, wounded,
taken prisoner, almost burned to death in hospital; but made his escape,
was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and twice cited in Army orders. A
famous jockey, he runs with the Legion rather than with horses, and
comes out, in both cases, a winner.

=Everett Buckley=, Kilbourne, Illinois, a former racing automobile
driver, having competed with Barney Oldfield. On Dec. 15, 1917, during a
battle with a two sector Boche machine, had his control cut, dropped
8,000 feet and arrived, a prisoner, in Germany. Eight months later made
his escape into Switzerland.

=M. Paringfield=, of San Francisco, a soldier of the Legion, was shot
below the knee in an attack, spring of 1917. Killed in autumn, 1917.

=Allen Richard Blount=, son of Richard Blount, the chemist of North
Carolina and Paris, entered the Foreign Legion with his father’s
consent, who said he would be satisfied if the boy killed five Boches.

One morning that young man brought thirty German prisoners into the
French lines, received the Croix de Guerre, a brilliant citation, and a
trip to Paris, and went back again for more.

=Edward Charles Genet=, Sassening, New York, killed in aeroplane near
Ham, is buried at Golancourt in a German cemetery. The machine was
smashed, the body placed in a wagon, drawn by one horse, which also
carried the wooden cross which marked the grave and the U. S. flag which
covered the coffin.

=F. W. Zinn=, Battle Creek, Michigan, graduate of University of
Michigan, passed the first year in the Legion, was hit by a chunk of
metal in Champagne attack, September 1915, which did not break the skin,
but broke bones and made internal troubles. On recovery, he went into
the Aviation. Later he was promoted to Captain in the U. S. Army. As
modest as he is brave, decorated for gallantry, having received two
citations in two weeks, he said:—“Do not say anything about me, there
are too many unknown Frenchmen who deserve publicity more than I.”

=Harman Edwin Hall=, killed at Givenchy, June 17, 1917.

=W. R. Hall, or Bert Hall=, one of old Legion, who went into the
Aviation, well-known, well-liked, good soldier, decorated with the Croix
de Guerre with three citations. On furlough in America June, 1918.
Author of “En l’Air.”

=James Norman Hall=, Corporal, Colfax, Iowa, aviator, author of
“Kichinger’s Mob,” shot down two Boche machines, and destroyed a third.
Four days later, June 25, 1917, fighting seven machines, was wounded,
and reported killed. However, he managed to make the French territory,
and landed in an empty trench with the wings of his machine resting on
each side.

Writing to a friend, he said:—“I am flying 125 miles an hour and now I
see why birds sing.” Hall was the first American aviator to win the
distinguished service cross of the American Army.

=John Earle Fike=, Wooster, Ohio, Foreign Legion, killed at Givenchy,
June 17, 1915.

=James B. McConnell=, 28 years of age, born in Chicago, graduate of
Haverford, Pennsylvania, and University of Virginia, a Railroad, Land
and Industrial Agent, by profession. Writing for an American magazine,
he was killed before the material was printed.

He said:—“The more I saw of the splendidness of the fight the French
were making, the more I felt like a slacker.” He was decorated with the
Croix de Guerre, and killed March 26, 1917, while fighting two German
aviators. His body was found amid the wreckage of the machine by French
troops on the advance through the devastated district. The old bullet
marked propeller from this wrecked machine, which formerly marked his
grave, has now been superseded by two cannon, erected by special order
of the U. S. Government.

McConnell said,—”The war may kill me but I have to thank it for much.”

=Schuyler Deming=, American citizen, soldier of the Legion, killed in
attack August, 1917.

=Dr. James A. Blake=, American Surgeon, who gave his services to France
at the outbreak of the war;—was requested by the French Government to
take charge of the hospital in the Ave. du Bois du Bologne with 300
beds. He was decorated with the Legion of Honor.

=Marius Roche=, New York, arrived in France in 1914, only 17 years of
age, decorated with the Croix de Guerre, wounded at Verdun.

=Edward Mandell Stone=, a Harvard graduate, was the first American
volunteer killed in France.

=N. Frank Clair=, Columbus, Ohio, died in hospital of wounds received in

=Nelson Larson=, a former American sailor, was killed on the Somme on
our Independence day, July 4, 1916.

=Brock B. Bonnell=, Brooklyn, New York, soldier of the Legion, seriously
wounded, returned home to America, decorated with the Croix de Guerre,
the Medaille Militaire and a wooden leg.

=Frank Whitmore=, Richmond, Va., decorated for conspicuous bravery, on
the Somme, July, 1916, wounded in the spring offensive, 1917, now in
hospital, covered with bandages, medals and glory.

=Edward Morlae=, California, an old American ex-soldier. He served in
the Philippines with the First California Heavy Artillery, then in the
Mexican Civil War, then turned up in France and tried to pass Spanish
conversation off for French. He was wounded in October, 1915, decorated
with the Croix de Guerre and is now in America. A good soldier and
aggressive character, he is one man who will always be remembered by
Americans in the Legion.

=H. W. Farnsworth=, Harvard graduate, Boston, Mass., killed in attack
1915, was a correspondent of the Providence Journal and in Mexico when
the war broke out.

From France in his last letter home he wrote,—“If anything happens to me
you may be sure that I was on my way to victory for these troops may
have been demolished, but never beaten.

He preferred to become a Petit Zephyr de la Legion Etrangere and to
sleep, like the birds, under the open sky, surrounded by congenial
comrades, exchanging horizons with each season.

=J. S. Carstairs=, a Harvard graduate, was a member of the Foreign

=Geo. W. Ganson= put in the first winter in the trenches with the
Foreign Legion. He was a Harvard graduate whose ministerial manner did
not prevent the mud from hanging to his clothes, nor the whiskers on his
face. He was mustered out and went back to America, but he returned to
France in 1917 and went into the artillery service.

=Robert Pellissier=, a Harvard graduate, became a sergeant in Chasseur
Alpins. He was killed on the Somme, August 29, 1916.

=Henry Augustus Coit=, a Harvard man, died of injuries received at the
front, August 7, 1916.

=Robert L. Culbert=, New York City, was killed in action in Belgium.

=Albert N. Depew=, an American youth, wears his Veterans of Foreign Wars
badge beside his Croix de Guerre. He has been a gunner and chief petty
officer in the United States navy, a member of the Foreign Legion, also
captain of a gun turret on the French battle ship Cassard. After his
honorable discharge from the American navy, he entered French service,
was transferred to the Legion, fought on the west front, and
participated in the spectacular Gallipoli campaign, was captured on the
steamship Georgic by the Moewe, a German commerce raider, and spent
months of torture in a German prison camp. He has written a book,
“Gunner Depew”; and is at present on a speechmaking tour of America.

=Demetire=, St. Louis, Mo., soldier of the Legion, killed four
Germans,—two with grenades, two with rifle, in an outpost engagement the
night previous to the attack of April 17, 1917. Going over the top the
following day, he was killed.

=Henry Beech Needham=, American journalist, was killed near Paris, 1915,
while making a trial flight with Lieutenant Warneford, who was the first
man to, alone, bring down a Zeppelin machine.

=D. Parrish Starr=, a Harvard graduate, was killed in action September
15, 1916.

=Andrew C. Champollion=, New York, an American, painter by profession,
Harvard graduate, a big game hunter, went to the front March 1st, 1915.
He was a descendant of the Champollion, who deciphered the Rosetta
Stone, and grandson of Austin Carbin. His ancestors had followed
Napoleon’s Eagles through Italy and Egypt and this boy was killed by a
bullet in the forehead at Bois le Pietre, March 23, 1915.

In his last letter he wrote:—”Last night we slept in the second line
trenches (not so bad), but today we are nose to nose with the enemy on
the frontiest of fronts. It is the damnedest life imaginable. You are no
longer treated like an irresponsible ass, but like a man, while you live
the life of a beast or a savage.

=Guy Augustine=, of San Francisco, son of the U. S. Consul to Barcelona,
member of the Foreign Legion, was decorated with the Croix de Guerre for
bravery at Chalons-Sur-Marne, July 14, 1917.

=Sylvain Rosenberg=, New York, 23 years of age, son of Max Rosenberg,
with the 19th Company of the 251st Regiment, wounded on the Marne, Sept.
7, 1914;—in Argonne, Dec. 8, 1915,—cited in the Orders of the Day,—and
killed March 15, 1916, at Verdun.

=The Lafayette Escadrille=, No. 124, is an offspring of the Legion,
formed by Rockwell, Curtis, Thaw, Hall, Back, Chapman, Cowdin and
Prince, who kept pounding the Colonel of the Legion on the back, so much
that he gave his consent, to get rid of them. It has formed a nucleus of
All-Americans that became the start, or foundation, of that immense
fleet of aeroplanes that is to furnish the eyes that will find the weak
places in the enemy’s line through which the Allies will march to
victory. First Americans to carry their national flag into action as a
fighting unit, April 11, 1917.

Originally called the Franco-American Escadrille, but the name was
changed to satisfy pro-Germans, who claimed to be Americans, but these
aviators did not change their emblem. The Red Indian sign is still on
the machines. The old boys from the Legion are in the seats, and we hope
to see every man an officer, dressed in the uniform of his own country.

About the time the United States entered the war, the Americans of the
Legion offered their services to the American Government at home and
were not then accepted and the following letter, among others, was sent
to the New York Herald by a French lady:—

                    =”American Veterans in France.=

                                                      “April 28, 1917.

“Sir:—May I ask through your columns why it is that those few Americans,
brave enough to seek voluntarily, while their country was still neutral,
the ranks, of our army, have not yet been claimed by their own
Government, whose citizens they remain, while all at home are apparently
receiving commissions and honor, are these men to remain sergeants and
soldiers in the French Army, unrecognized and unhonored by their mother

“To me, their part was such a beautiful one, to leave home and luxury
and peace for this carnage to follow their ideals, to risk death
voluntarily, if it aid their friends.

“Surely, your people cannot understand how deeply the spirit of those
boys has touched the hearts of French women in these trying times. And,
now that the spirit of your people has risen to their side, are these
leaders to be forgotten?

“The two aviators, Genet and Hoskier, who have died since April 3, were
in French uniform. Frenchmen respect them; do not Americans?

                                                   A French Mother.”

The Continental edition of the New York Herald is not a mail order
catalogue, or a political organ, it is a real newspaper, and the only
American journal published in France. It is well printed on good paper.
It records the doings of society. Its columns are open to the opinions
of others. It publishes the most cutting criticism of its own policy
with the greatest of pleasure. It prints every appeal for charity—from
humans to cats.

It fought for International Honesty, when leaders and trimmers were
silent. When the leaders woke up, it pushed. Its accurate information,
often suppressed by the censor, makes every blank space an honor mark.
While the editor, like the petite Parisienne, whose demure eyes cannot
conceal the lurking mischief within, just writes enough editorially to
make the reader wish for more.

Its vigorous American attitude in 1915 and 1916 gave the French people
hope. It gave the repatriated American comfort, for it strengthened his
convictions. He felt better for knowing that some, at least, of his
countrymen had the courage to stand up for the cause he was willing to
die for. So, he went forward cheerfully. He knew he was following the
right path and he was not alone. The Herald gave him comfort. It
sustained him in adversity.

                               CHAPTER IV
                     FIRST AMERICAN FLAG IN FRANCE

Americans in the Legion came and went. Singly or in groups they went
wounded into hospitals, prisoners into Germany. Dead they took the
western trail to eternity. Missing they disappeared into oblivion. A few
were permitted to exchange into French Regiments, where, mothered by
France, they were welcomed as her own.

August 21, 1914, in the court yard of the Hotel des Invalides, occurred
that grand mobilization of foreigners, who, in admiration for France,
placed their lives at her disposal. Grouped together, each under a
separate standard, these cast the vote of inspiring constituents, lovers
of freedom, back home.

Next day, the American volunteers assembled at No. 11 Rue de Valois, and
had breakfast through the courtesy of M. Georges Casmeze at the Café de
la Regence. Starting out from the Palace Royale in the Latin Quarter,
that corner of old Paris where, in by-gone days, Camille Desmoulins
jumped on a chair and made the speech that started the French
Revolution, these latter day revolters against the “Divine Right of
Kings” and absolute monarchism began the greatest venture the world has
ever known.

The volunteers marched through the Place de l’Opera, Phelizot carrying
high and proudly the Stars and Stripes, which received a great ovation
en route. Thence to the Gare St. Lazare, to Rouen, where they met
retreating English soldiers, many wounded and utterly exhausted. Thence
to Toulouse, whence, after a very brief training, they were sent to the

February, 1915, in the village of repose there occurred one of those
lamentable misunderstandings, which, in spite of official
far-sightedness, occasionally happen in the best regulated
organizations. Begun in fun, it ended in death, and almost started a
civil war between volunteers and Legionnaires.

A little New Yorker commenced to chaff and jolly a big, burly Arab, who,
not understanding American methods of joshing, thought the little fellow
was desperately in earnest; and, of course, he got angry, as he was
expected to. What the Arab intended to reply was that he could whip two
men like his tormenter. He did say he could whip two Americans.
Phelizot, coming on the scene just then, overhearing the remark,
yelled,—“You can’t whip one,” and waded in to educate the Arab.

In about two minutes, the Arab had enough, and ran among a crowd of
Legionnaires for protection. One of the Legionnaires swung a canteen and
hit Phelizot on the head, who did not stop till he beat the Arab to the
ground. Morlae, Capdeville and other volunteers ran to Phelizot’s aid.
Legionnaires flocked from all corners. A pitched battle seemed imminent.
An officer heard the tumult, happening along, and separated them. The
Arabs were transferred to another battalion. The Americans were herded
into a loft, and placed under arrest; while sentinels walked underneath,
with fixed bayonets, till the Arabs had been moved, bag and baggage.

The doctor who dressed Phelizot’s wound probably did not know the
canteen was rusty. Possibly he did not know he was hit by a canteen. At
any rate, he did not give an anti-tetanic injection. The injured man
steadily grew worse. He was not a squealer, and insisted on marching in
line till the pain became unbearable. When too late, his condition was
discovered. He had contracted blood poison which resulted in his death.

He was a splendid specimen of manhood, an American first, last, all the
time. A dead shot, he was hunting elephants in Africa when the war broke
out. In spite of having a large consignment of ivory confiscated by the
Germans in Antwerp, he donated several thousand francs to the Belgian
Relief Fund.

By his untimely death, the Legion lost one of its strongest characters,
France a fine soldier and America a good citizen. He was buried at Ferme
d’Alger. His last words, were,—“I am an American.”

The flag was carried by Phelizot until his death. Then, Bob Soubiron
wrapped it about his own body and so kept it until he was wounded in
October, 1915. On his recovery, February, 1916, it was taken to the
Aviation, and, July 14, 1917, presented, by Dr. Watson, to the French
Government. It was deposited in the Hotel des Invalides along with the
other historic battle flags of France. The Minister of War acknowledged
its receipt,—“I accept with pleasure, in the name of the French army,
this glorious emblem, for which General Noix, Governor of the Invalides,
has reserved a beautiful place in the Hall of Honor in the Museum of the


  United States Army
  Spanish-American War


  United States Army
  Philippine Insurrection

                               CHAPTER V
                        FOREIGNERS IN THE LEGION

Within this present generation, men like Lord Kitchener, King Peter of
Serbia, Vernof, a Russian prince, and Albert F. Nordmann, who died in
Algeria and was reported a relative of Kaiser Wilhelm II, belonged to
this famous corps. This chapter presents some illustrious foreigners who
have served during the present war.

=Nagar Aza=, son of the Persian minister to France, decorated for
bravery and three times cited in Army Orders, again cited and decorated
for brilliant conduct at Auberieve, April 17, 1917.

=Edwin Bucher=, a Swiss sculptor, pupil of Roden and Bourdelle, has
marked the resting places of the Foreign Legion by carving exquisite
figures on the solid walls of everlasting rock.

=Marquis de Montesquion=, compelled to leave the French Army because his
Catholic soul would not permit him to dismantle churches, joined the
Foreign Legion. On Sept. 28, 1915, when acting as Lieutenant in
Battalion G, 2nd Legion, he saw a German white flag projecting from the
enemy’s position. He went over with eight men to take possession and all
were shot down by the treacherous enemy and killed.

=M. Lobedef=, a Russian, promoted to lieutenant in 1915. He later
returned to Russia and became Minister of Marine.

=Abel Djebelis=, a Maltese, winner of the Marathon race between Windsor
and London, England, June, 1914. He was wounded at Champagne in 1915 and
on the Somme in 1916, by two bullets each time. While waiting to be
mustered out at Lyons, July, 1917, he entered a race under the name of
Marius, and won from twenty competitors. Discharged for disability.

=M. Valsamakis=, a Greek, rose to a lieutenancy in the Legion and was
decorated with the Legion of Honor. He returned home and was arrested in
Athens for participating in the street riots of December, 1916.

=Piechkoff Gorky=, Russian, son of Maxim Gorky, the novelist, had an arm
blown away by a shell. He received the Legion of Honor for bravery and
is now attached to the Russian Mission in France.

=Bruno and Peppino Garibaldi=, Italians, sons of an illustrious father,
killed in bayonet attack in Artois, spring of 1915. French admirers have
had their profiles, in a medal, fitted into the statue of Garibaldi in
the Square Lowendal, Paris. The square is named for one Legionnaire, the
statue is built for another.

=Eilyaken=, an Egyptian, was attending the Conservatory of Music at
Brussels when the war broke out. A natural born actor, he burlesqued the
military system of the Legion so accurately that the sous-officers
managed to keep him in prison in order to silence his cutting sarcasm.
He was shot, square through both cheek bones, in the Champagne attack,
in 1915, and carried to shelter on the back of an officer. Mustered out
in 1916.

=An East Indian=, name unknown, blew in, like a blaze of glory, between
two French military policemen. He was dressed in English khaki—clothes,
leggings, spy-glass, map-book, canteen, haversack, spurs, a brand new
English rifle, with a pocket full of 100 franc notes.

“What is that, an English soldier?”

“No, a civilian.”

Such he proved to be, a practicing physician in London, who had equipped
himself, and arrived at the little village where the Legion was in
repose. A stout man, the officer in command, addressed the East Indian,—

“Why don’t you report yourself at headquarters?”

“How can I report myself, till I can find the place to report?”

“Why don’t you report to your superior officer?”

“I can’t report to him till I can find him, can I?”

“Don’t you know I am your superior officer;—why don’t you salute?”

“If you are, consider yourself saluted.”

The Major roared out, in disgust,—“Here, sergeant, take this fool to

=De Chamer=, Swiss, a major in the Swiss National Army, fought his way
up in the Legion from a private to a captaincy. The Swiss residents of
Paris showed appreciation of their countrymen in the service of France
by inviting them to a banquet held in the Palais d’Orsay, on
Independence Day, Aug. 1, 1917.

=Emery=, Swiss, a student of Oxford University, England, outspoken,
independent and intelligent—a good comrade, was killed on the Somme,
July, 1916.

=Ben Azef=, an Arab, an Oriental priest, always wanted water, when there
was none. He would flop onto his knees, face toward the East, and bow
his forehead to the ground. Then get up on the trench and rail at the
Germans for their swinish propensities and ruthless rapacity.

A shell dropped into his section. His comrades threw themselves on the
ground and yelled out:—

“Get down, you, blamed fool, you’ll get killed!”

Ben Azef stood majestically erect, gazed calmly and contemplatively at
the shell (fortunately it was a dud—one which fails to explode) and
said,—“My friends, death to me is not destruction. It is the
consummation of my material life,—the commencement of my Life Divine.”

He was shot dead through the heart, in 1916.

=Ch. A. Hochedlinger=, an educated Polish gentleman, speaks half a dozen
languages, was twice wounded. When in hospital, he met and married a
lovely French girl from Algiers, who now conducts his business at
Bordeaux, while he gives his services to France.

=Michal Ballala=, an Abyssinian Prince, in spite of his color, had the
dainty figure and elegant bearing of a woman of fashion. He was wounded
in 1915.

=Colonel Elkington=, of the English Royal Warwickshire Regiment, served
as a private soldier in the Legion. He was seriously wounded in the
attack on the Bois Sabot, Sept. 28, 1915. He was decorated with the
Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire.

One morning, on inspection, an Alsatian Captain of the Legion, noticing
he was short a button, said,—“No button? Four days confined to

Elkington replied,—“Merci, mon capitaine.” (Thank you, my captain.)

On recovery from his serious wounds, he returned to England and was
reinstated in his former rank.

=Said Mousseine= and his two brothers, sons of Sultan Ali of the Grand
Comorres, who, being too old to fight, sent his best beloved to aid the
country he holds so dear. Said was promoted to corporal and transferred
to the 22nd Colonials.

=Augustus St. Gaudens=, cousin of the sculptor who made the Adams
monument in Rock Creek cemetery, Washington, D. C., whose father lived
near the old Academy of Design on Fourth Avenue, New York.

Another cousin of St. Gaudens, Homer, is in charge of the 300 men in the
U. S. Army, known as the Camouflage Corps, or the army in advance of the

=Varma=,[C] a Hindoo, black whiskered, silent. Let those speculate about
him who would, let them glean what information they could.


Footnote C:

  In Aug., 1918, a man same name, same type, was arrested in Paris by
  the gendarmes for making and selling bogus diamonds.


=M. Ariel=, a Turk, dealer in antiques in civil life. He was seriously
wounded on the Somme, in 1916. I met him at Legion headquarters a year
later and found him carrying a purse made of his own skin.

=E. Seriadis=, a Greek, was a Lieutenant in the Army of Greece. He had
three medals from the Balkan wars. These he refused to wear because King
Constantine’s face disgraced them. He was serious|y wounded in the body
in 1915, and, during the winter of 1916, all the toes of both feet were
frozen off. At the age of twenty-three, he was mustered out—used up.

=Tex Bondt=, a Hollander, a wonderful character, a splendid specimen of
manhood, brave as a lion, quick as a steel trap, the only son of a
Count, with an unbroken lineage, extending back for 800 years, his
record in the Legion would fill a book.

He went out and captured two Germans single handed. He tried to capture
a third but was discovered. He threw a grenade, and, both sides taking
alarm, started an engagement. He was between the lines and was reported
missing. Four hours later, he reported himself alive.

In Alsace he worked and slaved to chop up a poor peasant woman’s
wood-pile—just to show her a Hollander could keep his word.

He was shot through the lungs and taken to the hospital. Months later,
reporting at the depot, he was informed that he was dead.

When on convalescence in Paris, living on one meal per day, he met one
of France’s most accomplished and wealthy daughters. He is now her
acknowledged suitor.

Seeing him in prison one day, I asked,—

“What are you in for?”


“How’s that?”

“Well, a friend in London asked me why I did not write about Legion
life, and I responded,—‘My dear fellow, if I wrote you all I know about
the Legion, it would make your hair stand on end!’”

=Sorenson=, a Dane, from Schleswig-Holstein, formerly a policeman at St.
Thomas, Danish West Indies. He came to me holding a letter in his hand
and said,—

“Just see here what those swine have done—they have fined my mother a
hundred marks because she gave a crust of bread to a French prisoner.”

Poor fellow, the last I saw of him was on Sept. 25, 1915, during the
attack. He had been buried by a shell—other soldiers had run over him in
the rush. After he worked through the loose earth and freed himself, I
listened to him as in broken French, English and Danish he apologized to
the captain for the broken straps of his knapsack and a lost gun. His
round chest was flattened out, his face dirty and bloody, grazed by
hob-nailed boots, and blood was trickling from a round hole in his
forehead. The captain, a good sort, patted him on the back and told him
to go to the Red Cross Station. The poor fellow staggered away and was
never heard from again.

=Guimeau=, Mauritius Islands, a plantation owner, of French descent,
under British rule, spoke French but no English. He was an energetic
character and a valuable member of the machine gun section.

In 1915, after taking several lessons in tactics, he went to the

“What are we waiting here for? Why don’t we go to the front?”

“We are waiting for the guns.”

“How many are needed for our section and how much do they cost?”

“Two, at 2,000 francs each.”

“Well, here are 4,000 francs. Buy them and let us get out where we

When he was about to change to the British Army, the Colonel of the
Legion, the Chief of the Battalion and the Captain of the Company waited
for five minutes while the British Ambassador explained to Guimeau the
benefits of changing armies. After listening to the finish he
said,—“Will you repeat that in French? I did not understand a word you
said.” Knowing his desire to leave the Legion, his Captain asked, why
he, of French descent, speaking only that language, should not be
satisfied with his comrades who were proud of him. He replied,—“The
British flag is the flag of my country. It protects me. I want to
protect it.” So he went to Great Britain, and the British, not knowing
what to do with this handy, ready Legionnaire, sent him to school.

=Dinah Salifon=, son of an African King from the Soudan, Egypt, enlisted
in 1914. He was promoted to a Lieutenancy and decorated with the Legion
of Honor. He later became Commissioner of Police at Brazzarville.

=Etchevarry=, a French convict, escaped from French Guiana, made his way
to the United States and returned to France, under an assumed name, to
fight for his native land. He enlisted in the Foreign Legion. He made an
enviable record. But he was recognized and ordered to return to the
penal settlement. Measures were taken in his behalf by the Society of
the Rights of Men, in response to whose appeal President Poincaré signed
a reprieve. Etchevarry returned to the front a free man, in December,

=Nick Korneis=, a Greek push-cart peddler, who used to sell bananas at
Twenty-third Street and Avenue B, New York City, was decorated for
bravery at Verdun, with the following citation: “Korneis, Nick,
Legionnaire, 11th Company, Foreign Legion—Elite grenadier, who on August
20, 1917, won the admiration of all his comrades by his courage and
contempt for danger. He led his comrades to the conquest of a trench,
which was defended with energy, and which was captured along a distance
of 1,500 yards, after several hours of bloody combat;—took single
handed, numerous prisoners;—already cited twice in Army Orders.”

=Rene Betrand=, New Jersey, was over two years on the front, a member of
the Regiment Colonial of Morocco, which is part of the famous 19th Army
Corps. He received the Croix de Guerre for bravery, and at Douaumont,
Oct. 4, 1915, the Legion of Honor for personally finishing off a Boche
machine gun section and bringing in the gun. That is the record, a well
built, uninjured man on board ship gave me when I asked him how he had
earned the Legion of Honor, and why he wore the fouragere of the Foreign
Legion. In July, 1918, a man, same name, turned up in Paris decorated
with nine medals, minus an arm and a leg, claiming his body bore more
than 30 bullet and bayonet wounds. The gendarmes promptly arrested him
as the world’s greatest fakir, declared he had lost the arm and leg in a
railroad accident and that five imprisonments instead of five citations
composed his record.

                               CHAPTER VI

About 350 Englishmen were with the Americans in the same Battalion of
the 2nd Legion. They had enlisted when the Huns were advancing on Paris.
Common peril drew the bravest of all countries to the front. Possibly,
they were promised later transfer to the English Army; but, once in the
Legion, they were as nuns in a convent, to do as told, dead to the
outside world.

An American writer has said, “England’s greatest assets are patriotism
and money.” He overlooked the foundation of both—MEN, the Englishman who
dares to do and does it. He knows his rights, and insists on them.

After the Germans were driven back at the Marne and trench conditions
established, these men demanded to be sent home to fight for their
native land. They went to the Captain, who could not help. They went to
the Colonel, who would not. They had the British Ambassador request
their release from the French War Department, with no better results.
Ere they were transferred, the subject was brought up in the Chamber of

Just before they left, a number went to the company captain with their
breakfasts, cups of black coffee, in their hands.

“What is this, mon capitaine?”

“Your little breakfasts, mes enfants.”

“This would not keep a chipping sparrow alive—let alone a man.”

“You received a half loaf of bread yesterday.”

“Yes, but we ate that yesterday.”

“Well, I am sorry. That is the regular rations of the French Army. I
cannot change it.”

Walking away, disgruntled, a cockney muttered to his comrade,—“’E thinks
we are blooming canaries!”

The bull-dog tactics of the persistent English did not appeal to the
officers of the Legion. Probably the last to go were Poole and Darcy,
two powerful silent fellows, who were in hospital, delayed by unhealed

Originally, there were two Darcy brothers. While making a machine gun
emplacement, they heard a noise in front. One of the brothers with half
the detachment went out to investigate. The other stayed at work. A
German shell dropped into the emplacement and killed, or knocked
senseless, every man. Red Cross workers, who gathered together the
mutilated and the shell-shocked Darcy, were startled to hear some one in
front. Looking around, they saw the other Darcy drag his shattered limbs
over the edge of a shell hole. He expired, saying, “The damned cowards
ran away and left me.” The others were all killed.

In June, 1915, after six months of constant warfare, poor food, no
furloughs, cold winter weather and scanty clothing had so brought down
the morale of the men that they didn’t care whether they lived or not.
They were absolutely fed up to the limit on misery.

Many Russian Jews volunteered, as had the English, to help France.
Russia later called her subjects to the colors. Negotiations were under
way in Paris to facilitate the exchange of Russians from the Foreign
Legion to the Russian Army. They were informed that the Colonel had
received orders to permit their return to their native land.

Possibly, the negotiations had been completed, perhaps not. Perhaps the
Colonel was not officially instructed. However, the Russian volunteers,
relying on their information, when ordered to dig trenches, refused to
do so. They demanded to be sent home. Officers argued with them and
pointed out the penalty of refusing to obey when in front of the enemy.
They didn’t care, would not work, and could not be forced. So ten of the
ringleaders were court-martialed, sentenced to death, taken out into the
woods near the little village of Merfy, blindfolded—shot. Tearing the
bandage from his eyes and baring his chest to the bullet, one cried out,
“Long live France; long live the Allies, but God damn the Foreign

Next morning the others refused to work again,—“You have killed our
brothers. Kill us also—we are not afraid to die.” They were not killed
but were court-martialed and sentenced to fifteen years’ penal

The third morning, no one would work. These cheerful fatalists said, “We
are Russians—our country calls us—we demand to go, and you tell us go to
work. We will not work. You killed our brothers, kill us also. You may
mutilate our bodies, but you cannot crush our souls.” These also
court-martialed, were sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude.

There were many Russians. They showed no disposition to yield. The load
was getting too heavy,—even for the broad shoulders of officers of the
Legion. The underground wireless had been working. A sigh of relief went
up when a high Russian official, breast covered with decorations,
arrived from Paris. About the same time, orders came from the French
headquarters to stop proceedings. The penal servitude sentences were not
carried out; but they could not bring back the dead to life.

Inside of one month, Battalion F of the 2nd Legion, to which the unhappy
men belonged, was merged into others. In two months, the Russians were
transferred to the Russian Army. Four months later, the Regiment had
ceased to exist.

                              CHAPTER VII

The real, well-made, manicured trench is from two and a half to three
feet wide and eight or ten feet deep. The narrower the trench, the
better. It gives the least space for German shells to drop in and blow
occupants out. The more crooked the trench the better. The enemy has
smaller chance to make an enfilading (raking lengthwise) fire. Here only
are narrowness and crookedness virtues.

Each trench is embellished with channels, mines, saps, tunnels,
subterranean passages, and bomb proof structures of various sorts. Out
in front, are from ten to fifty yards of barbed wire entanglements,
through which a Jack rabbit could not go without getting hung up. The
German has about the same arrangement on his side. That piece of open
ground between the German wire and the French wire is known as
“No-Man’s-Land.” In the night, patrols of men, German and French,
promenade this strip, to guard against surprise attacks, and make
observations of the enemy.

Patrols often meet in conflict. Some never come back. Others, wounded,
must lie in shell holes, awaiting an opportunity to return. At the sign
of an attack, darkness is lighted by star shells. It is then necessary
for the patrol to get back to the wire-cut lane, or tunneled hole under
the wires where they went out, their only refuge and chance for safety.

Back of the first line trench is the second, back of that a third. In
some places, there are a dozen lines of trenches, different distances
apart, varying with local conditions. From the rear, at right angles,
interweaving like meshes of a net, are the communication and auxiliary
branches through which men bring up supplies, provisions and ammunition.

In the front line trenches, in addition to the infantry’s rifles and
grenades, are machine guns and trench mortars. Around the second line,
the 75’s and field artillery. About the third line, with the reserves,
stand heavy artillery. So, when one side attacks the other, they must
cross that open “No-Man’s-Land,” go through these barbed wire
entanglements, meet the rifle fire and grenades of the infantry, and
those three rows of artillery. You can readily see why the line remains
stationary along the front for so long, also how, when it has been
broken or bent, there has been such great loss of life.

It was in a bomb proof shelter of a first line trench, in the middle of
the night, at Sillery-Sur-Marne, that I met the “American,” whose real
name was Dubois. I did not then understand French and had been placed on
guard by a French corporal who could not speak English. He pointed to
the hole, then at the Boche trench opposite, and walked away. The post
was well protected by sandbags and solid timbers overhead, with an
observation hole, one inch deep by three inches wide, cut into armor
plate, in front. The usual, intermittent warfare was in progress, and it
suddenly developed into a battle. The post was out on an angle. Rifle
clashes were all about. No one was near in the open trench. So, getting
uneasy, I became afraid I was cut off or left behind.

I started toward the trench just as a big shell burst there. I ducked
back, concluded the sheltered post was better than the open trench, then
glued my eye on the 1 × 3 observation hole. Yes, no doubt, the Germans
were advancing in mass formation. I could see, through the little hole,
against the sky line, the bayonets on their guns. A noise near my ear
compelled my attention. Then I felt and saw better. Those bayonets were
hairs, sticking straight out from a big, fat, impudent rat, who sniffed
along and looked through the hole squarely into my eye. I spat at the
rat, which retreated a few inches, then stopped to await developments.
This nerve angered me and I started to go outside to throw a rock at the
rodent, when a voice behind said in English,—“Damn it, that cussed
sergeant has plugged it up.”

From the shelter I could see a nondescript figure clad in an old,
abbreviated bath-robe, tassels hanging down in front, shoes unlaced,
rifle in hand, ruefully gazing at a new stack of sandbags, which blocked
a small exit into “No-Man’s-Land.” He might have been a soldier but he
did not look it. He might have been French, but America was stamped all
over that free-moving, powerful figure, in his quick acting, decisive
manner and set jaws, square-cut, like a paving block.

Thus, we two Americans, who had arrived from different directions, each
animated by the same idea, sat down at the jumping off place amid those
unnatural surroundings and got acquainted.

It was bizarre. The devilishness, the beauty, alternately, shocked the
feelings or soothed the senses. Darkness and grotesque shadows,
intermingled with colored illumination, scattering streams of golden
hail, followed by red flame and acolytes, while sharp, white streaks of
cannon fire winked, blinked, and were lost in the never-ending din.
Between the occasional roll of musketry and the rat-rat-tat-tat of
machine guns, we watched the pyrotechnic display and talked.

Yes, he was an American, and had been ten months without a furlough. He
had been out in front sniping all the afternoon. That cheapskate
sergeant, who is always nosing around, must have missed him and closed
up the outlet.

“Yes,” he soliloquized, “the world is not fit to live in any more. The
Kaiser has mobilized God Almighty. The Crown Prince said he could bring
the Devil from hell with his brave German band. The Mexicans broke up my
business and destroyed my happy home. Here in France, they made me take
off my good clothes and don these glad rags. This bath robe is all I
have left of my ancient grandeur—and there is not much of it, but it is
all wool and a yard wide—not as long as it used to be, but it is warm. I
know it looks like hell, but it is a sort of comfort to me, and is
associated with happier days.

“Yes,” he ruminated, ”if I am not careful I won’t have enough left to
make a pocket handkerchief. Here I have taken five or six pair of
Russian socks from it, and bandaged up Pierre’s wound, and I only have
enough for four more pairs of socks after I have taken some pieces to
clean my rifle with.”

He was a man of unusual history, even for the Legion. Some months
previous, seeing an Alsatian officer strike a small man, the American
stepped up and said: “Why don’t you take a man your own size?” For
answer the officer pulled a revolver and thrust it at his breast.
Dubois, gazing down through the eyes of the officer, clear into his
heart, said: “Shoot, damn you, shoot. You dare not; you have not got the

He was an expert gymnast. He played the piano, accompanying the singers
at concerts, during repose. When encored, he came back with a song in
French. In conquered Alsace, he spoke German with the natives.

On the day we made the 48-kilometer march to the summit of Ballon
d’Alsace and back, while the company was resting Dubois was striding up
and down, knapsack on back, hands in pockets. I said: “What are you
doing? Can’t you sit down and rest?”

“Oh,” he replied, “I was telling the lieutenant that instead of poking
along with these short, fiddling steps, the men should march out like
this,—like we do in America!” It is a fact that the French take the
longest strides, and are the best marchers in the world!

                              CHAPTER VIII
                              JULY 4, 1915

Several American journalists, “May their tribe increase!” among them Mr.
Grundy, of the New York Sun; Nabob Hedin, of the Brooklyn Eagle; Mr.
Mower, of the Chicago Daily News; Mr. Roberts, of the Associated Press,
and Wythe Williams, of the New York Times, presented a petition to the
Minister of War for the Americans to celebrate Independence Day in
Paris. It was granted. The good news made a bigger noise on the front
than the heaviest bomb that ever fell. It did not seem possible,—too
good to be true!

Previously, no one, French or foreigner, soldier or officer, had been
allowed to leave his post. From then on, everyone received his regular
furlough at stated intervals—more liberal as danger lessened. Now, each
man is granted ten days every four months.


Evening of July 3d I was on guard in front of Fort Brimont, three
kilometers from Rheims, when Dubois put his head around a corner and
yelled, “Come on, we are going to Paris.” I paid no attention to him. I
had not asked for a furlough, and, of course, did not expect any.

A few minutes later Dubois roared, “Come on, you fool, don’t you know
enough to take a furlough when you can get one? All Americans can go to
Paris.” When the corporal came around I asked to be relieved, went to
the captain and was told we had forty-eight hours permission; to pack up
at once and go.

We walked through the communication trenches to battalion headquarters
among falling shells. These made Dubois stop and say: “Damn it, it would
just be my luck to get killed now; I would not mind if I were coming
back from Paris, but if the Boche get me now I shall not be able to rest
in my grave.”

At the battalion headquarters we were lined up in the darkness. An
officer with a flashlight read off the names. Each man stepped out and
received his furlough as his name was called. The officer stopped
reading, Dubois still stood in line. Then he stepped up, saluted, and
asked for his furlough. There was none.

It was a dramatic moment. Sergeant Bouligny came out from the darkness,
and a spirited argument occurred between him and the officer. The
American sergeant then came over to Dubois and said: “It’s a damned
shame. They held that five years (suspended sentence for sleeping, when
lost by a patrol in ‘No-Man’s-Land’) over you. Now, man to man, I want
you to promise me you will go right back to your company. I told them
you would. I stood good for you. The colonel must sign that furlough. He
is not here and we can’t do a thing to help you.” It was sad. The poor
fellow was crushed. We walked away, leaving him in the darkness with his
bitter thoughts.

We arrived at Thill near midnight and were depositing our equipment at
the guardhouse when a guard came and said to me: “The sentinel wishes to
see you.” I went out and there was old Tex Bondt! “Yes,” he said, “I am
sentinel tonight. Last night I was in prison. This is it, the prisoners
are out working. I drew eight days for trying to be reasonable. Reason
is all right in its place, but not in the army. They nearly worked me to
death. We were carrying timbers to the front line to make dugouts—three
men to a stick. I was in the middle and I am six foot three!”

Next morning Bouligny and I tried to find some breakfast. The town was
deserted, badly shot-up. Stores were empty, civilians gone. Prospects
looked bad, when a gunny-sack was drawn back from a doorway, and a voice
yelled out, in English: “Here, where in the devil are you fellows going?
Come up and have a cup of coffee.” It was Tony Pollet, of Corona, New


Footnote D:

  In October, 1917, dressed in the French uniform, I was walking up the
  street near the Grand Central Station, New York. A civilian accosted
  me in French. We conversed in that language for some time. He worked
  the third degree, asked about Battalion D, and mentioned several names
  of men I knew. I turned on him and said, “You must have known Tony
  Pollet.” The civilian stopped short, finally found his voice, and
  gasped out, “Pollet?—that’s me!”


In the early morning we walked fifteen kilometers to the railroad and
waited for the other Americans to arrive. Capdeville found some grease.
Sweeney went to a French camp and talked some potatoes from them. So we
ate “French fried,” with wine, till the train started for Paris.

Dr. Van Vorst was ranking officer, but Morlae and Sweeney sparred for
ground. Said Morlae to Delpeshe: “You do that again and I will turn you
over to the gendarmes.” Delpesche replied: “Who in hell are you? I am
taking no orders from you. I belong to Sergeant Sweeney’s section!”

Soubiron had the time of his life. He rode down on the foot-board of the
coach. He was determined not to miss the green fields, the lovely
flowers and the smiles of the girls, as they wished the Americans “Bon
Voyage.” Everything was beautiful after the drab and dirt of the front.

On the platform at Paris the two sergeants were still disputing. A
petite Parisienne stepped up to Sweeney, saying: “Pardon, Monsieur, you
came from near Rheims; did you see anyone from the 97th Regiment on the
train?” The 97th had been badly cut up. Sweeney remembered that. In an
instant his face changed. He smiled back at the girl and answered: “No,
there were no French permissionaires; only Americans were on the train.”

Two days later each man was relating his experiences:

=The base-ball man from San Francisco=: “Yes, I arrived in Paris without
a sou. I saw you fellows scatter in all directions, and did not know
what to do with myself. Two French ladies came along and invited me home
with them. They paid all my expenses and gave me this five franc note
and a sack of food to eat on my way back.”

=Percy=: “That New York Sun man, Grundy, found five of us at the Cafe de
la Paix. He ordered dinner. It cost him 120 francs. That was the best
dinner I ever ate, but, Lord, I wish I had the money it cost!”

=Nelson=: “Yes, my patron almost threw a fit when I blew in, but the
best of the house was at my service, good bath, clean underclothes—don’t
know where they came from, or whom they belonged to. But they insisted
on my keeping them.”

=Morlae=: “Yes, I was up at the Embassy, saw Frazier and he told me....”

=Bob Scanlon=: “My friends were out of town but left word that I should
have the best there was. So I went up to Place Pigalle and inquired for
a girl I knew, Susie, and they fished out a man six foot high!”

=Dowd=: “Yes, that Frenchman was splendid. When he learned we were
Americans he invited us to the banquet given by the American Chamber of
Commerce at the Palais d’Arsay. There was just one table of us soldiers
of the Legion and two long tables of men from the American Ambulance.
The Frenchmen were glad to see us—the Ambulance men did not seem glad at

“‘How is that,’ said an American visitor, speaking to a well-dressed,
manicured doctor, ‘are there many Americans in the Legion?’

“‘I don’t know.’

“‘Well, aren’t there a good many of our boys there?’

“‘There may be, but, of course, WE don’t know them.’”

=Idaho Contractor=: “Yes, you fellows can talk about what you ate. When
I got over to Place Clichy, it was 9 o’clock. Madame was closing up—all
she had left was beans and vinegar. I had had no vinegar for ten months.
Beans must be bad for the stomach. My appetite went wrong just the time
I needed it most. I did not enjoy myself at all.”

=Van Vorst=: “Yes, I went over to Pickpus and saw the American
Ambulance. They looked very nice and clean but did not recognize the
dirty soldiers from the Legion, but the French officers did.”

=Bouligny=: “I missed everything, did not know there was anything doing
any place. Thought the 4th was on Sunday; didn’t know they were holding
4th on the 5th.”

=Narutz=: “Yes, I had a bully time. Met some old friends at the American
Express Company’s office.”

=Seeger=: “I heard Sweeney was promoted to a lieutenancy.”

=Capdeville=: “What do you think I am carrying this American flag for?
Of course, I am going to use it.”

=Delpesche=: “What are all you fellows carrying in those packages? You
look like a lot of farmers who just received a consignment from

=King=: “Yes, we bought this dollar stuff cheap, just 98 cents and

                               CHAPTER IX
                              OUTPOST LIFE

In front of Croane, where, in 1814, Frank and Hun fought for mastery,
one hundred years later, the same nations again battled.

The elaborate, naturally drained trench system of to-day was not.
Instead of the horizon blue, the French soldier wore the old red
pantaloons and dark blue coat. Occasionally new blue uniforms were sent
to the front, which, wet a couple of times—the new dyes not
holding—quickly become drab. Torn clothes, ripped, crawling through
barbed wire, are held together by finer wires. New York Heralds and
Daily Mails wrapped around socks to help keep in the heat, warm not
alone the cockles of the heart, but the soles of the feet. No smoking
cook-kitchen, with steaming kettles filled with tasty food followed our
ranks on march. Soup dishes and kettles are carried on knapsack, as in
the days of Napoleon. At the end of a long march, at bivouac time, if
the commissary has not made connection weary soldiers throw their
kettles away. If caught, eight days in prison, they welcome as relief.

The Germans held Croane—the French and Germans, alternately, occupied
the village of Croanelle, dominated by the fortress of Croane. This was
before the days of the present heavy bombardment, and many of the
deserted houses were still intact, beds unmade, dishes yet upon table,
furnished, but vacant. Cattle, tied to mangers, lay dead in their stabs.
In cellars, where combatants had tunneled through to connect, the dead
of both sides lay impaled on bayonets. One Frenchman’s teeth were at a
German’s throat, locked in combat, even in death.

Out between the lines lay the unburied dead, in all shapes and
conditions of rot, settled in the mud, half buried in open shell holes.
Dried fragments of uniforms flapped on barbed wire through which the
wounded had crawled into sheltered corners and died. No need to tell a
patrol when, in winter darkness, as he stepped on a slippery substance,
what it was—he knew. In the spring grass grew around and through these
inanimate shapes. Rats and dogs waxed fat as badgers.


From the day the 2d Regiment went into Croanelle till it was relieved,
six months later, no German soldier who set foot in the shallow trench
went back. Our regiment, repeatedly reinforced, was kept at full


  (Reverse side reads)

Americans there endured pain and suffering, the depth of which
Washington’s Army at Valley Forge never reached. Those old Continentals
had nothing in discomfort on these modern heroes in front of Croane.
Washington’s Army, in their own country, had access to the necessities
of life. They held communion with their fellows. These later-day
Americans, under the hardest discipline in the world, were cut off from
civilization. They were back to the age of barter and exchange. Money
would not buy goods—there was nothing to be bought—but if one man had a
little tobacco, and another man a pair of socks, they would swap.

No furloughs were granted the first ten months. Every letter was
censored. Packages of comforts, sent by friends, were stolen or
confiscated en route. They were in a foreign country, whose language
many could not speak. They had left good, comfortable homes for these
holes in the ground, called trenches by courtesy, where one waded to his
post on guard, rifle in hand, and carried a wisp of straw or a piece of
plank on which to lie to keep from sinking into slime and slush, which
covered his clothes with mud and filled his bones with rheumatism.

It was near midnight, the relief was in the basement of a shot-up
chateau. The guard, on a scaffold, peering through loopholes made in a
stone wall, was watching Rockwell sentinel at the advance output and
alongside. They saw him stop, heard a familiar sound (the striking of a
grenade cap), but it was in the rear. Suddenly Rockwell yelled, “Aux
Armes.” Metteger, the burly Alsatian corporal, ran out, just in time to
catch the explosion of a German grenade, and was killed. Rockwell,
standing between the grenade and the corporal, was so thin the charge
missed him and lodged in the fat man. Simultaneously, the guard at the
wall heard a rush, a noise, a rattle of musketry from behind, and turned
about face. The relief rushed out of the basement. The Germans, caught
between two fires; cursing, disappeared into the darkness.

When the guard turned to repel the attackers, they jumped from the
scaffold to the ground. Capdeville’s hair was singed by a bullet, a ball
went through Soubiron’s cartridge belt. When Brooks, the cockney
Englishman, jumped, another Englishman, Buchanan, fell on him, pushed
his face into the ground and filled his mouth with mud. Brooks struck
out and hit Buchanan, who tried to get away to chase the Boche. “You
blankety, blank, blank.” Biff! biff! biff! “You will, will you?” The two
Englishmen were still fighting when the guard came back. Buchanan had
discovered that some one had made his gun unworkable, tramping mud into
the magazine. He stopped and had it out with Brooks.

It was at La Fontenelle and Ban de Sapt, La Viola and Viola Nord,
opposite St. Marie aux Mines, in reconquered Alsace, among the Vosges on
the Franco-German frontier. Seven long, weary months we spent among
those perpendicular mountains, with sunburned base and snowy, dripping
tops. Dog trains carried provisions in winter. Pack mules clamber in
summer, wearing breeching to keep from slipping down hill.

The continuous snows of winter, and the ceaseless flow of water down the
middle of the trench in summer, while it also dripped from the roof of
the dugout, and seeped up from the ground below, dampened both clothes
and spirits, as we carried wet blankets and our misery about, up among
the clouds of mist, in drizzles, sleet, snow and the intense cold. A
sieve was a water-tight compartment compared to those shut-up dugouts.

The constant bombardment often changed so completely the topography of
the mountains, one could hardly be sure when daylight came that he was
the same man, or in the same place, as he was the night before.

We were beyond civilization. Not a flower, a garden, a cow, a chicken, a
house with a door or window, or roof, not a civilian or a woman was to
be seen. All work or fight, no recreation, it was a long, continued
suffering. We had the Boche part of the time, bad weather all the time.

The trenches were so close together we fought with grenades instead of
rifles. The wire in front, thrown out loose from the trench behind, was
all shot up. The trench itself from continued bombardment was thirty or
forty feet across the top, with just a narrow path down the middle,
where one walked below the ground level. The hills were a wilderness of
craters, blown out trenches with unexploded shells about.

Crosses leaning over dead men’s graves, were littered with ragged, empty
sandbags, while pieces of splintered timber, tangled wire, mingled with
broken boulders and lacerated tree trunks of all lengths and thickness.
Holes grew now where trees had stood. Roots and stumps, upturned,
replaced splintered branches and scorched, withered leaves. A few
straggling, upright trunks, eighty to one hundred feet in the air, were
festooned with sections of blown-up barbed wire.

The towns belonged to the dead, wholly deserted by civilians, with even
the old women gone. Roofless, doorless, windowless ruins, twisted iron
girders and fantastically broken walls, stood out against the sky,
grimly eloquent, though silent, monuments of kultur.

Face to face with death, what is in a man comes out. I shall never
forget one, who, right name unknown, came from Marseilles. We used to
call him “Coquin de Dieu.” He had some system whereby he got extra
wine—even at the front. That additional cup or two was just enough to
make him happy and start him singing. Handsome as a woman, he looked the
careless, reckless ne’er-do-well. During a terrific bombardment, I was
sent to relieve him, out between two German outposts, one eight, the
other fifteen yards away. Instead of going to the safety of the sap in
the rear, that Frenchman insisted on staying with me. Germans broke into
the French trench at the adjoining post, and went to the right. Had they
come left, we would have been the first victims.

There was little Maurice, just twenty, who had been through the whole
campaign. When dodging shells, he could drop quicker than a flapper and
come up laughing every time.

Maribeau, eighteen, only a boy, always objected to throwing grenades.
“No, I won’t—I promised my mother and my father I would not become a
grenadier and I won’t.” One night during a Boche grenade attack, he and
everyone else had to work for self-preservation. He liked it and became
a splendid bomb thrower.

Was with Renaud, an old 170th boy, and Marti, on post, during a Boche
bombardment and attack. Marti was killed by a grenade. A crapouillot
fell into the trench behind. I was pretty busy throwing grenades, but
caught a glimpse of a stray sergeant pulling Renaud under cover. Several
days later, noticing a haversack hanging on the side of the trench, I
wondered why it was there so long, also whose it might be. Inside was a
piece of bread and a flat tin plate perforated by shell and splinters.
Scribbled on the plate was the name, “Renaud.”

Big, strong, impulsive, was my marching companion, Peraud. He loved his
wife and hated war. When thinking about war his face had so deadly an
expression, no one dared disturb him. When his thought was of his wife,
he looked a glorified choir boy. Once in Lorraine, during repose, he and
his companion, Perora, a theological student, invited me to a church to
hear the curé lecture on Jeanne d’Arc. While the student and the curé
conversed, Peraud rang the bell which brought the soldier congregation.

Marching behind him, Indian file, through the trenches one dark night, I
missed the barrel of his rifle against the sky line, and stopped just in
time to prevent falling on top of Peraud, who had stumbled into a sap
filled with the slush and slime that run from the trench bottoms. It
wasn’t necessary to watch the rifle after that. I could follow by the

It was in the trenches I first met him. Boche bombardment had knocked
out the wooden posts that braced the sides of the trench. Dirt had
fallen in and dammed the running water. We were detailed to walk, knee
deep, into the horrible slush, and bring those dirty, dripping posts, on
our shoulders, to dry land. Suddenly he stopped, took a look and asked:
“Comrade, what was your business in civil life?” “I was engaged in
commerce. And you?” “Me? I am an artist.”

Our sergeant spoke a little English. He was a good sort, who, owning a
garage in civil life, had met many Americans and thought they were
decent enough to invite acquaintance. One afternoon, during a
bombardment, he, Peraud, Perora, Rolfe and Tardy were in a sap. Too
careless to go below, they stood on the top step, in the doorway,
sheltered from behind and on both sides. There was just the four-foot
square opening in front. A shell dropped into that opening, killed four,
and left Tardy standing alone. He was a brave soldier before, but no
good after that.

Peraud and Perora had been bosom friends. They came from the same
neighborhood, were wounded and sent to the same hospital, both changed
into the 163d Regiment. Together they were killed by the same shell.

Comrade Deporte was an old 170th man. Names, being indexed
alphabetically, always, at the end of a long march, Bowe and Deporte
were put on guard, with no chance to cool off after packing the heavy
sacks up the mountain side. Our cotton shirts, soaked with perspiration,
felt like a board as the body rapidly cooled during the silent,
motionless guard.

Deporte was a revelation in human nature. Unselfish, he did the most
arduous and often unnecessary work without a murmur. We were always
together on guard and frequently drew the bad places. Once, during a
five-hour bombardment, isolated, impossible to get relief to us, he did
not complain. Another time, hearing a suspicious noise in front, I threw
a grenade. We got such an avalanche in return it almost took our breath
away—and Deporte laughed! Home on furlough, he overstayed his leave five
days and drew sixty days prison. He smiled—it was sixty days on paper!

One fine day we two were taken out in front during a bombardment.
Captain Anglelli, with two holes in his helmet where a sniper’s bullet
went in and out at Verdun, explained the situation to Deporte:

“You have the grenades?”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“You see this hill?”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“It is higher than that trench.”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“You can throw into there?”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“The Boche will come through there.”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“You can hit him, he cannot reach you.”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“The American will stay with you?”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“Bomb hell out of them!”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“Hold them there and we will bag them.”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

Smiling, the captain patted Deporte on the shoulder. Deporte, looking
squarely into his eyes, grinned back. They understood each other, those
two. It was not superior ordering inferior. It was man to man.

I should like to tell all that happened that afternoon. It was the
wind-up of a week’s bombardment, and we had a ripping time dodging about
to avoid being maimed for life. We held a mountain top on the frontier.
The Germans had the peaks opposite, where they had planted their heavy
artillery. When the French drove back the invading Germans, the lines
stopped within bombing distance—about thirty yards. We had the upper
line, they the lower. We could throw grenades on them, but it was hard
for them to reach us. So they planted their line with trench-mortars
that throw aerial torpedoes, crapouillots and bombs the size of a
stovepipe, also others which resemble a two-gallon demijohn. They came
slow. We could see them—the wide-nosed torpedoes coming direct, the
stovepipes hurtling end over end.

These visible shells are only good for short range. We dodged them, but
they kept us constantly on the move. The captain’s trench was flattened
out—no need to watch that any more. The bombardment increased. Long
range artillery from the mountains joined the short range mortars. The
black smoke and noise from the Jack Johnsons and the yellow smoke from
bursting shrapnel did not attract our attention from those three-finned
torpedoes and hurtling crapouillots.

We would dodge for one but a half dozen might drop before we could look
around. Deporte was buried by one explosion. I had to pull him out of
the dirt. A big rock came flying down the trench, then a piece of timber
four feet long. Two pieces of metal fell on my helmet which I picked up
and have yet. They were burning hot, not iron or steel, but copper and

At a shout in front, we grabbed grenades and saw to the left a crowd of
men running toward our lines, French and German. Later we learned how
eighteen Frenchmen went over to the German blockhouse across the way,
gave the forty occupants a chance to surrender, of which eleven took
advantage. Revolvers and bombs finished the others. Two Frenchmen, both
my friends, were wounded.

The Germans did not seem to like it. They got more angry and threw all
kinds of metal at our dodging heads. An orderly rushed around the corner
and yelled: “Fall back, orders from the capitaine.” He scurried away. We
found a sap. I was thirty feet down when I looked up and saw Deporte
standing at the opening unbuttoning his vest. Steam and perspiration
formed a circle around him, such as is seen about an aeroplane flying
high against the sun. About thirty feet down into that sap the steps
turned a right angle, then again changed direction. We sat beyond the
second turning, lighting a candle as fast as the inrush of air, made by
the bursting shells, blew it out. A couple of hours later, when we
looked for the hill we had held, it was gone. Immense craters yawned
where had been our regular trenches. The rows of trenches were as waves
of an angry sea, while the ground between was pitted and scarred beyond

                               CHAPTER X
                            CHAMPAGNE ATTACK

The night before the attack of September 25, 1915, Bouligny and I went
over to Battalion C. He picked up a piece of cheese that Morlae had.
Munching away, he demanded, “Where did you get this?”

“In Suippe.”

“I thought we were forbidden to go out.”

“We are.”

“How did you get by?”

“I told the sentry I did not speak French, showed him my old Fourth of
July pass, and walked through.”

Bouligny said: “Well, we will eat this cheese so they’ll have no
evidence against you.”

Morlae replied: “We shall need somebody to help carry the load we have
stacked up.”

“What have we got?” inquired Casey.

“Two canteens of wine instead of one.”

“Good,” said Casey.

“And 250 rounds of cartridges instead of 120,” called Nelson.

“And a steel helmet, instead of a cloth cap,” from Dowd.

“And four days’ reserve of food instead of two,” added King.

“And a new knife for the nettoyers” (moppers-up), put in Scanlon.

“And a square white patch of cloth sewed on our backs, so our own
artillerymen can recognize and not blow us up,” finished John Laurent.

“I’d rather be here, leaning against this tree,” said Chatcoff, “than in
little old New York, backed against a telephone pole, trying to push it
into the North River.”

“Yes,” agreed Seeger, “this is the life. The only life worth living is
when you are face to face with death—midway between this world and the

For one week the Legion had marched each night fifteen kilometers to the
front, dug trenches and returned to camp in the early morning. Again
that night we went out, and daylight, September 25, found us established
in a badly demolished trench from which we emerged at the time set for
the attack, 9:15.

The four hours between daylight and the attack were passed under a
furious bombardment. Many were killed or wounded while we waited to go
over the top.

The French had, unknown to the Germans, brought up their 75 cannon and
dug them down in another trench 25 yards behind us. The din was
terrific. Smoke screens and gas shells nearly blinded us. Men were
uneasy and dodged. The captain caught a fellow flopping. “Here, you
young whelp, don’t you know that noise comes from our own guns behind?”

Pera, a Tunis Jew, tore open his first aid bandage and we filled our
ears with cotton to deaden the noise.

The attack was carried out by seven long lines of soldiers advancing two
yards apart, each line about 100 yards behind the other.

The Colonials and Moroccans had the first line, the Legion the second.
Owing to the Germans’ concentrated fire on our trenches and on the
outlets, each man did not get out two yards from the next. Frequently
the other man was dead or wounded. But the objective was the Ferme
Navarin, and at 10:30 it was in our possession.

A soldier’s life, while of some concern to himself, to an officer is but
a means to an end. It is offered, or given, to get results. The best
officer obtains the most results with the least loss. Some give wrong
orders and sacrifice their men. Others seem to grasp every opening for
advancement and gain the objective with very little loss.

In the first run to the outlet the slaughter was terrible. Stretcher
bearers carried a continuous stream of wounded with bloody bandages on,
silent, motionless, pale-faced, dirtily-clothed men, whose muddy shoes
extended over the edge of the stretchers.

Nearer the front line, the worse the carnage. Dead were lying so thick
soldiers walked on upturned faces grazed by hob-nailed shoes. Side
trenches were filled with wounded, waiting transportation. Some, injured
in the hand, held it up watching the blood flow; others, hurt in the
leg, were dragging that member along. Holding onto their stomachs were
those whose blood was running down over their shoes. At one corner
leaning against two corpses lay a young soldier, smooth shaven,
curly-hair, mustache trimmed, his face settling into the soft, creamy
whiteness of death, a smile on his lips.

My mind flashed over to Madam Tussaud’s wax figure exhibition in London.

Two Moroccans stopped. One pulled off his vest and found a blackish red
bruise on his chest. His comrade said: “It is nothing, come along.” The
other fell over, dead. A Zouave, with back broken, or something, unable
to get up, eyes rolling into his head, twisted his body in agony. The
doctor, walking away, said: “No chance. Leave him; blood poison.”

The Germans had a sure range on the outlet. Wounded men, walking back in
the trench, were jostled and knocked about by strong, running men,
forcing themselves to the front. Shells were falling all around as we
ran into “No-Man’s-Land.” Machine guns were out on the slope,
“rat-tat-tat-tat,” a continuous noise. Men lying behind guns, rifle
shooting, working, cursing, digging trenches, throwing dirt, making

At every corner stood calm, square-faced, observing officers directing,
demanding, compelling. What are such men in civil life. Why do we never
see them?

In the open I stopped and took a quick look around. The only man I knew
was Crotti, an Italian. He spoke in English: “Where is the Legion?” The
officer overheard. His face changed. He did not like that alien tongue
just then, but understood, and smiling, said: “The Legion is there.”

They were crawling up a shallow trench, newly made in open ground, at an
angle of 45 degrees from us. We did not try to force our way back into
the trench against that crowd, so kept out on top and joined our
comrades, who laughed when they saw us running in from where the Boche
was supposed to be.

The man alongside puts on his bayonet as the order is passed down the
line to go over on command. The officers snap out: “Five minutes, three
minutes, one minute, En Avant!” The Colonials, the Moroccans and the
Legionnaires, all mixed up, arrive about the same time. Up, and over the
Boche line trench. Where is the wire? It has been blown away by
artillery. Instead of deep, open trenches, we find them covered over!
Swarming we go up on top the covered trenches then turn and throw bombs
in at the port-holes from which the Germans are shooting. Boches run out
at the entrances, climb from the dugouts, hands in air, crying,

More grenades inside and more German prisoners. The first line men keep
going. German dead lie all about. German equipment is piled around; we
pass the wounded, meet the living enemy. A running Zouave met a Boche,
who goes down with the Zouave’s bayonet in his chest. The Zouave puts
his foot on the man, pulls out the bayonet, and keeps on his headlong

An old, grey-haired Poilu met a Boche in square combat, bayonet to
bayonet. The old man (his bayonet had broken) got inside the other’s
guard, forced him to the ground, and was choking him to death when
another Frenchman, helping his comrade, pushed the old man aside in
order to get a sure welt at the Boche. The old man, quick as a cat,
jumped up. He thought another German was after him and recognized his
comrade. The German sat up and stuck up his hands. The Frenchmen looked
foolish—it would be murder! Half a dozen Germans just then came from a
dugout. That old man took his ride with the twisted, broken bayonet,
picked up a couple of German casques, and, lining the prisoners up, took
them to the rear. Prisoners all about. One big German officer
surrendered with a machine gun crew who carried their own gun. Unwounded
prisoners lugged their wounded comrades on their backs while others
limped along, leaning on comrades. Many had broken, bruised heads.
Prisoners bore French wounded on stretchers. The dead lay in all
directions, riddled, peppered by the 75’s, mangled with high explosives,
faces dried-blood, blackened.

Behind the first line, into the newly-made communication trenches,
noticed where dirt had been thrown to the bottom of the trench, walking
on dead Germans’ grazed faces bristling whiskers, partially covered with
loose dirt, so that their bodies were not noticed by comrades going to
the front. Continued bombardment, more dead. Germans running, equipment
strewn everywhere, black bread, cigars, many casques, more dead, broken
caissons, dead horses, cannon deserted—their crews killed, Boche shells
in lots of three lying about in wicker baskets. Trenches full of dead,
legs, arms and heads sticking out.

We followed the Germans into a maze of gas and got my eyes and lungs
full. Then felt weak and comfortable. The Luxemburg corporal came along
and pulled me out. Dropping behind, we finally came upon the Legion,
waiting in a communication trench to flank the Germans. A wonderful
Legionnaire, with the face of a Greek god (shot in the stomach), came
hobbling along on a stick. He sat down and renewed an acquaintance with
the corporal which had been started at Toulouse.

Over the top again. A backward glimpse showed the wounded man hobbling
behind us, back again to the front. I noticed the Legionnaires running,
chin forward, bayonet fixed, greatly bunched, and thought the Germans
could not miss hitting so many men. So, being the last man in the
company, I kept running along the outside. The corporal was killed going
over. He fell into a shell hole among a lot of German wounded and dead.
We were ordered to turn to the right, down this trench. I, the last man,
became first.

Blinded with gas, I blundered along, bayonet fixed, finger on trigger,
stumbling over dead and wounded Germans, bumping into sharp corners of
the trench, on into another gas maze, and across the second line trench.
Someone pulled my coat from behind and I discovered that our men were
going down that cross trench. So I fell in about the middle of the
company, pumped the gas from my stomach, and by the time I was in shape
again orders came that we should hold this trench, which had gradually
filled with our men.

It had rained all day. Racing through the trenches, dirt fell into the
magazines of our rifles. It makes one furiously angry when the magazine
will not work. I grabbed a rifle laying alongside a man I thought dead.
He was very much awake. He quite insisted on using his own gun. The next
man was dead. He had a new rifle. I felt much better.

It was impossible to stay in that crowded trench. I found a large shell
hole in the open, eight feet deep, with water in the bottom. With shovel
and pick, I dug out enough on the side of the crater to find dry ground
and tried to sleep. I was awakened by officers who wished to make me go
into the trenches. I did not understand French. Those officers insisted
I did. Of course, I did not. I knew they wanted the nice, comfortable
place I had constructed for themselves. So, paid no attention, but
covered up my head and tried to sleep. I could not. Then remembered
something—I had eaten no food for twenty-four hours. So soaked hard tack
in the water at the bottom of the shell hole, dined, and then went to
sleep in spite of the rain, the bombardment, and the homeless officers.

Next day made another attack over the top. Got into a Boche machine gun
cross-fire; orders were to dig down. Noticed a large shell crater about
20 yards to the left, where a half dozen Poilu were laying in comfort
below the earth level and fairly safe. Was crawling toward them on my
stomach, with nose in the ground, when I felt the earth shake
(impossible to hear in the never-ending cannon roar), looked up, and
about 80 or 100 feet in the air, when they had rested on a teeter after
going up and before coming down,—I saw a number of blue overcoats, and I
looked over to the shell crater and saw it was larger, fresher and
empty. However, I crawled over there and stayed till darkness relieved

Those men were in comparative safety, while I was out in the open and
exposed, yet they were killed, and I lived to tell about it. Soldiers
naturally become fatalists, and will not be called till the shell comes
along with his number on. They see a shell fall, a cloud of dirt and
dust goes up—no damage done. Another shell falls,—a man stood there,—he
goes up,—he was in the wrong place, at the wrong time,—and out of luck.
Why worry? There are too many shells, and the one that gets you is the
one you will never see. If it does not get you right then it is time
enough to worry,—if it does you won’t need to worry.

On September 28, the Legion attacked the Bois Sabot or wooden shoe, a
wooded eminence protected by fifty yards of barbed wire entanglements,
stretched, tree to tree, behind which bristled three rows of machine
guns. About four o’clock, the Legion lined out to attack in a long row,
a yard apart. The Germans watched our formation, their guns trained on
the first wire, and waited.

Finally, the Colonel said to a Sergeant, “Here, you take this section.
Go over and wake them up.” No one was anxious. The rifles of the Boche
could be seen above their trenches. But Musgrave said, “Let’s go over
and stir them up and see what kind of a show they put up.” The section
went, 35 or 40 men. Just two, both Americans, Musgrave and Pavelka, came

That attack lasted all night. Daybreak was coming. All the officers had
been killed, except a little squeaky voiced Lieutenant. He was afraid to
give the order to retreat. But, daylight in sight, he finally said,
“Gather up the wounded and go back to the trench we left.” The dead were
left in rows by hundreds, as thick as autumn leaves, each man on his
stomach, face to the foe.

Artillery was then brought up. Two days later, we again attacked. The
wire and the whole mountain top had been blown away. The Germans we met
were either dead, wounded or dazed.

                               CHAPTER XI
                             LIFE IN DEATH

“If a man die, shall he live?” Aye—and that more abundantly!

We know that “except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it
abideth alone: but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Nature is
constantly demonstrating Life as the manifestation of Death. Nature’s
laws are the laws of God, to whom are all people subject. So, man, is
passing his progress, into a higher, or lower, form of spirit
continuance—as he may have chosen and prepared.

They do not die,—who instil love of country, and the highest degrees of
patriotism, in those who live.

The materialistic profiteer, who shirks his duty, and fattens on the
soldier’s blood,—will die and pass away as a clod. But the soldier whose
inspiring deeds will warm the blood of future generations has started a
flame that will burn forever.

When the materialist has cashed his coupons, he will find the money
won’t keep his body from being eaten up by the maggots. It may buy him a
tombstone, but not the respect of loyal patriots who are willing to give
their all, in order to live up to the traditions of those gone before.

Stocks and bonds have a market value—but Honor and Liberty are beyond

Spiritual life and power are of far greater value than vast material

It was the materialism of the Kaiser that started this war. He cannot
stop it. Why? Because he is confronted by the millions of dead bodies on
the battlefields of France whose spirits demand they shall not die in
vain. He is confronted by the spirit of Jeanne d’Arc,—by the awakening
spirit of 76.

These spirits are hovering around, stimulating, inspiring the living to
yet nobler deeds of heroism.

Indomitable, incorruptible, they flock to the living who fight to the
death, and every death brings forth another living soldier.

America, sunk in materialism, now hearkens to the call of her

The spirit of Washington, Hamilton, Greene, Lafayette, Rochambeau,
Lincoln, Sherman and Grant is calling us to the post of duty.

The stern hand of fate has elevated us to a level from which we can see
the great ideals we have forgotten—Honor, Patriotism, Equality.

Those are the level foundation on which democracy rests,—not on wealth
and inequality.

We must stamp out materialism and save the soul of America.

While we are making the world safe for democracy, let us make democracy
safe for the world.

While the soldier kills the German junker with the bullet the civilian
must kill off the political and profiteering junker with the ballot.

Instead of Safety First, we must place America First.

                              CHAPTER XII
                       THE 170TH FRENCH REGIMENT

When we Americans went into the 170th, Seeger, Morlae, Narutz and others
stayed with the 2nd Legion, which two weeks later was merged with the
1st Legion. Narutz remarked, in his philosophic manner, “The 170th is a
regiment volante, always used in quick, double action work. Their
specialty is bayonet attack. I am too old to go steeple chasing over
barbed wire, in a ripped up country, with not one hundred yards of solid
ground, then twenty yards of nothing, a 70 pound sack on my back, a two
dollar thirst in my stomach and Boche machine guns in front. Believe me,
the Legion is quite swift enough. I know what this is and will stick to
what I have and am used to—what I have not had, I might not like.”
Seeger, as usual, silent, mystic, indomitable, appeared not to listen.
His thoughts were in the clouds. He had made up his mind to stay. That
settled it—no explanation necessary.

Of the Americans who changed, but three, Sergeant Capdeville, Sergeant
Jacobs and Lieutenant Mulhauser remain. The Colonel, of that date, is
now General Polalacelli.

The 170th is a notable regiments. Time and again have its members been
complimented by General Joffre. They are his children, his pride. Never
were they called upon when they failed to make good. They have rushed
into almost certain extermination and came out alive. Anointed with
success, they fear nothing. They have charged into a cataclysm of
destruction, which swallowed up whole companies, and returned with a
battalion of German prisoners.

Against all opposition, they prevail. Spite of death, they live, always
triumphant, never defeated. Theirs is an invincibility—a contempt of
peril, which only men who have continually risked and won can have. In
the confusion and complications of battle, they are masters in
obstruction and counter-attack. They have been torn, shocked and churned
about—but they have arrived. Faces burning in zeal, exalted for the
cause they serve, stimulated by the companionship of kindred spirits,
they heedlessly dash to victory, or, the sunset—for the secret of
victory rests in the hearts of the combatants.

We turned directly about and went with this new regiment, back to the
front line. We relieved our own old regiment, the Foreign Legion. Eight
men, all Americans, were together in one squad. Inside of a week, only
three were left. That is, there were but three, when I was sent away for

We were in a captured German headquarters with equipment, ammunition,
war debris, dead men and killed horses, strewed about. Along the edge of
a hill was a German graveyard. About two hundred German soldiers, killed
in a previous engagement, were buried there. German batteries, on the
opposite hill top, kept bombarding their lost position, hoping to drive
the French captors out. They shot up those dead Germans—the atmosphere
grew pungent—the stench penetrated every corner. It settled heavy on the
lungs. It was impossible to get away from it. It was in late October,
1915. The only time food or water could be sent up was during the night.
Coffee was chilled by morning. During the day, as usual, we slept in the
bottom of the trenches with shoes and cartridge belts on. At night the
regular program was,—patrol, guard, digging trenches, placing barbed
wire, bringing up ammunition and supplies, with always that dreadful

One morning, October 19, 1915, looking over at the Boche, I saw a
shrapnel burst overhead. A second after a bullet embedded itself in my
forehead. Some time later, feeling foolish for having been caught as
shortstop for a German hit, I heard Bob Scanlon say, “You lucky fool.
You lay rolled up warm in those Boche blankets all morning, while I was
up, trying to find a place to heat the coffee. Now, you will go south,
where it is warm, and I shall have to stay here and freeze.”

                              CHAPTER XIII
                        163RD AND 92ND REGIMENTS

Returning to the front I was sent as a reinforcement to the 163rd who
had just come from Verdun, where they had one battalion captured by the

After a few days rest while they were getting reinforcements and new
clothing and equipment we were sent up to the front where with the
exception of ten days when we went to Laveline to be refitted again (but
two men left in my squad). My company, the 7th, were in the first and
second line trenches for seven continuous months.

In the 163rd I saw a French regiment at its best. The Legion is composed
of men from all countries. The 170th are from many French regiments and
sections. The 163rd all came from southern France. They saw alike,
understood one another and worked together. Kind and considerate, they
were a band of ideal brothers. They took pleasure in having an American
feel at home. They made sure that he got his share of clothing, rations
and duty. He, noticing those little courtesies, in his appreciation,
became a better soldier.

What I liked about this regiment was the supreme contempt the officers
had for the Boches—and could not but admire how easy they slipped things
over on Fritz.

Owing to the even character of the men, it was not necessary to have as
strict discipline as in the Legion. Here the soldiers were more
content—more companionable—were all veterans—many wounded bad enough so
they could not have remained in a regiment of attack,—yet steady and
dependable, and almost invaluable, where the enemy’s trenches were about
thirty yards away,—and the two forces were in constant touch with each

In the winter of 1916-17 weakened by rheumatism, after fighting in three
active first line regiments, I was finally sent to the 92nd
Territorials, a working regiment, then in a near-by sector.

These grand-dads, from forty to fifty-five years of age, the debris of
“Papa” Joffre’s old army, were all physically unfit—yet, not old enough
to die. The object in holding them together was to have a reserve—in
order to use what few ounces of strength they still had.

Officers and doctors were considerate and very kind. But, even that
could not keep a number of the men from caving in as Nature’s limit was

One night at Bussang, after unloading coal in a snowstorm, my wet cotton
gloves were as stiff with frost as were my knees with rheumatism. Quite
fed up, I went to the doctor, determined to thrash the matter out with
him. “Yes,” he responded, “I know you are not in condition, but, we are
hard pressed now. We must use every ounce of energy we have.” I quit
knocking, stuck it out a few days longer, then went to pieces.

Such is soldier life. He starts out strong and full of pep, fit to serve
in the Foreign Legion, the best in France. Then in the 170th, graded the
fourth. Then to the 163rd, a good trench regiment. Then to the 92nd
Territorials, a working regiment. Then to hospital—transferred back to
the Legion—to be invalided home.

                              CHAPTER XIV
                             HOSPITAL LIFE

In 1915 there were 6,400 hospitals in France and 18,000 doctors. During
large offensives the wounded arrived in Paris at the rate of thirty
trainloads per day. In Lyons at one time there were 15,000 wounded men.
At Verdun 28,000 wounded men were treated in one hospital during a 25
day period. In the spring of 1918, 40 per cent of the entire French Army
had been killed, captured or hopelessly mutilated. Of the 60 per cent
remaining at that time there were 1,500,000 wounded and crippled men in
the hospitals of France. With the exception, as far as known, of the
American Hospital at Nice and the Scottish Woman’s Hospital at Royemont,
both of which maintain themselves, the pay for care and attendance of
each patient which comes from the French Government is limited to one
franc, 25 centimes per day (22½ cents). The balance is made up by the
Red Cross, individuals and communities, according to the largeness, or
smallness, of the views and pocketbooks of those who assist.


[Illustration: SERBIAN MEDAL]

Hospitals are of two classes. They are in or out of the army zone. The
Army Zone is a piece of land under strict military law, extending,
possibly, twenty miles back from the trenches.

Ordinarily, weekly Red Cross trains carry the evacuated wounded, or
disabled, soldiers from the Army Zone to the interior. During a general
engagement trains wait, are filled with wounded from ambulances, and
sent away immediately as soon as filled.

A limited number of these decorations were presented by S. A. R., the
Prince Regent of Serbia, to President Poincaré of the French Republic,
for distribution to officers and men for distinguished and brilliant
conduct under fire. Two were allotted the 163rd Regiment of the Line—one
for an officer, the other to a private.]

The hospital in the Army Zone, necessary for military reasons, is not
looked upon with favor by the common soldier. It is too military. He has
his fill of red tape and regulations. He wants to forget there ever was
a war, or that he ever was a soldier. He regards discipline as he does
lice, and medicine and bad neighbors. It may be necessary to put up with
them but he does not wish to do so any longer than necessary.

If he must have a nurse, he does not want a limping, growling, medically
unfit man. He prefers placing his suffering-racked body, injured by the
hand of hate, where it can be nursed back to health with kindly
ministering love.

The sick soldier does not want to be pestered or bothered. He prefers to
be left alone. He does not wish a nosing uplifter to come and tell him
what he shall do, and what he shall not do. He had enough orders in the
army. Because he wears a uniform, he is none the less a man. He may not
be rich. But riches are no passport to heaven. He has only contempt for
lively humbugs, who ape superiority, and try to push something down his
throat which he does not want.


In the Army Zone hospital, supposed to be sick, he is not allowed
outside except under certain conditions, and then in charge of a nurse.
When convalescent, he is quarantined in the Eclopes. Here, rather than
moon his time away, and to keep from going stark crazy, he asks to be
sent back to the front.

In the hospitals of the interior, he gets much more liberal treatment.
If able, he may wander about, without a chaperon, in the afternoons. He
will buy a red herring and walk up the middle of the street eating it.
Four men go into a shop, buy five cents worth of cheese, and each pays
for his own wine.

Store windows have an irresistible attraction for him.

Post cards hold his gaze for hours.

A whistling small boy brings him to a full stop. He has not heard such a
happy sound for a long time. He blesses the little fellow for showing so
much cheer in the midst of suffering.

After several days, he notices people stare at him a good deal. Yes, he
limps too much. Every step brings pain. He senses their kindly sympathy
but, somehow or other, resents it. So, he goes out into the country,
where, while he rests in the lap of Nature, the warm sun helps the
doctors coax the poison from the wound, rheumatism from the joints, and
shock from the system.

Away from the front, away from the busy haunts of men, all through
France, in chateaux, in old convents and high schools, in sisters’
hospitals, conducted by the Union of Femmes de France, the Society of
Dames Francaises, and the Society Secours aux Malades and Blesses
Militaires, under the kindly treatment of those unswerving, unflinching
nurses, he recovers his strength, then goes to the front for Freedom or
Glory Immortal.

I shall not forget the many little courtesies received in the French
hospitals at Saumur, Montreuil-Ballay, Remiremont, Pont de Veyle and
Bourg. Suffering unites the sympathetic. Pain is the barometer that
tests the human fiber. The soldier, who has been through the fire with
his fellows, who has been wounded, as they were, who suffered, as they
did, has an established comradeship that endures. He was interested in
them and they in him. When he is low and the day ahead looks dark and
dreary, he can feel their sympathy. Probably no word is spoken, but he
knows the whole ward is pulling for him. He does not want to disappoint
his friends. He rises to the occasion. That sympathy means the
difference between life and death.

In the early days of the war, flowers, cigarettes, reading matter and
luxuries, were showered upon wounded soldiers. Gradually, as private and
public interests demanded attention, visitors were compelled to work for
themselves, or for the State.

The faithful, never-tiring nurses patiently remain at their posts, color
washed from their cheeks, hands worn, seamed by labor, dark eyes,
flashing like stars of a wintry night, unceasingly, they work to bring
back to health those who almost died for them. In their sweet, white
uniforms, suppressing their own troubles with a jolly smile, they greet
and welcome the mud-stained, lousy, dirty poilu and give him an
affectionate word—far more efficient, a much better tonic, than

                               CHAPTER XV
                              AN INCIDENT

Early spring, 1916, at Boulogne, dressed, as a French poilu, I stepped
off the channel boat from Folkstone, and, hurrying to the railroad
station, learned that the express would not leave for Paris till 8
o’clock—a wait of five hours.

The day was cold. Snow was blowing around the street corner. The raw sea
breeze cut to the marrow. Buttoning a thin overcoat, still crumpled from
going through the crumming machine, sure sign of hospital treatment, I
walked about aimlessly. “Fish and chips.” Yes, that was what I wanted. I
wasn’t hungry, but it must be warm inside. It was also the last chance
for some time to indulge in finny luxuries. Lots of water in those long,
narrow trenches, skirting “No-Man’s-Land,” but no fish. Grinning, I
recalled one cold, heart-breaking morning, when an unseen German yelled

“Hello, Français, have you the brandy?”

“No, have you?”

“No, we have not; but we have the water!”

We knew that—for we had just drained our trench into theirs.

I took my time and when not picking fish bones gazed, reflectively, at
the miserable weather outside. I chatted in English with British Tommies
and exchanged a few remarks in French with the little waitress. At the
cashier’s counter, a stranger, dressed as an English private soldier,
rasped out, in an aggressive, authoritative voice.

“Here! You speak very good English.”

In spite of not liking his tone, I responded, “Oh, I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Well, I know. You speak as good English as I do.”

“I don’t know that you have any monopoly on the English language.”

“You don’t know, eh, you don’t know? I would like to know what you do

”Well, I know something you don’t.”

“What’s that?”

“I know enough to mind my own business.”

After a few seconds dead silence, the Englishman said, “Who are you?”

“That’s my business.”

“It’s my business to find out.”

“Well, find out.”

“Let me see your papers.”

“I will not.”

“If you don’t let me see your papers, I will take you up to the Base

“You won’t take me any place—understand that?”

I paid the frightened little waitress. The English Tommies were taking
eyefulls instead of mouthsfull. I was angered. I was minding my own
business. Why could not the Englishman mind his. The more I thought of
it, the warmer I got. Turning to him I said, “You not only don’t mind
your own business, but you don’t know where you are. You are in France,
where soldiers are treated as men.”

Half an hour later, the Englishman, accompanied by a Frenchman in
uniform, stopped me in the street. The Frenchman spoke,—

“Good day, mister.”

“Good day!”

“Will you show me your papers, if you please?”

“Who are you—are you a policeman?”


“What right have you to see my papers?”

“I belong to the Bureau.”

“The Bureau of shirkers?”

“No, the Bureau of the Place.”

“Well, I will show them at the proper time and place.”

A small crowd had collected. A poilu, covered with trench mud, asked,
“What is the matter?”

“Oh, this fellow wants to see my papers.”

“Well, haven’t you got them?”


“Let me see them.”

At the first glance he saw the Foreign Legion stamp.

“Ha, ha, la Legion! I know the Legion, come along and we will have a
litre of wine.”

So, we two walked away and left the crowd disputing among themselves. I
remarked to the Englishman, who had stood silently watching, “I told you
before, you were too ignorant to mind your own business. Now, you see
you are.”

The wine disposed of, we parted. Looking back, I saw the Englishman
following a hundred yards behind. He crossed the street and stood on the
opposite corner. He stopped three English officers and told his little
tale of woe. They crossed, in perfect time, spurs jingling, and bore
down, three abreast, upon me, the pauvre poilu, who did not salute.

“You have come from England, where you have been spending your


“Have you your convalescence papers with you?”

“Of course.”

“You must excuse me; but, would you mind showing them?”

“Certainly, with pleasure.”

After scanning them, one said to the other, “They look all right.” No
answer. “They look all right, don’t they, Phil?” No answer. The junior
officer, a Lieutenant, conducted the examination. Of the other two older
men, one turned his head away, looking down the street, the other gazed
at the Lieutenant with a peculiar, almost disgusted expression.

I then asked, “By the way, is it the business of the English in France
to demand the credentials of French soldiers? What right has that man to
interfere with me?”

“You must show your papers to the military authorities.”

“Is that man a ‘military authority’?”

The Lieutenant looked round and not seeing the disturber, turned to
Phil, “Where is he?”

“Oh, I don’t know. He said something about going to get the military
police. Let’s go.” The Lieutenant, turning to me, said, “It is all
right. You may go and tell that man we said you were all right.”

I did not move, but stood at attention and saluted while the officers
walked away.

I didn’t know who “that man” was, nor yet the name of “we,” but I didn’t
care. Half an hour later “that man” arrived with English soldiers, or
military police, headed by a newly made Corporal and a Scotch veteran
who radiated intelligence with dignity and self-respect.

After walking, captive, a few minutes, I asked, “Where are we going?”

“To the Base Court.”

I thought I was a sucker, playing the Butt-in-ski’s game. Throwing my
back against the wall, I answered,—“If you want to take me to the Base
Court, you will have to carry me.”

A long silence followed, and a crowd collected. The English corporal
started to bluster. I demanded,—“What business have you to interfere
with me?”

“We have orders to make you show your papers.”

“Who gave you those orders?”

The Corporal did not answer. The Scotchman turned to him and said,—“Who
is that damned fool that is always getting us into trouble?”

The Corporal responded,—“I don’t know,—he gave me a card. Here it is.”

I looked over the Corporal’s shoulder and read, Lieutenant P——n.

The Scotchman asked,—“Don’t you have to show your papers?”

“Yes, to those who have the right to see them.”

“Who are they?”

“The gendarmes, the commissaire, and the proper officials.”

Then, that smooth Scotchman slipped one over on me,—“Look here, soldier,
don’t be foolish. Think of yourself and look at us—we would look like
hell getting into a row with a French soldier, with this crowd about,
wouldn’t we? If you don’t want to go to the English court, let’s go to
the French commissaire and get the damned thing over with.”

I replied, “You are engaged in a lovely business, aren’t you? You permit
German officers, who are fighting in the German army against Great
Britain, to retain their titles in the English House of Lords; and you
come over to France and arrest your ally, the French common soldier.”

“We had to mind orders, ma lad, ’E don’t doubt ye’re a’ richt.”

The Corporal put in, “I’m not so sure about that.”

I replied, “I bet you’re making a trip for nothing.”

“What will you bet?”

“Oh, I don’t know—a glass of beer.”

“Good, that’s a go,” said the Corporal. “Ah’ll help ye drink it,” said
the Scot.

The Commissaire examined my papers closely. Turning to the Corporal, he
asked, “What have you brought this man here for?”

The Corporal replied, “He speaks very good English and not very good

The Commissaire observed, “I don’t know about his English, but he speaks
better French than you do.”

“We don’t know who he is.”

The Commissaire responded, “This man is a soldier of France, an American
citizen, a volunteer in the Foreign Legion. His papers show that, and
his identification badge confirms it. The papers also state he was
wounded in the forehead. Look at that scar! The papers show he is
returning to his regiment. Here is his railroad ticket. What do you want
with him? What charge do you enter against him?”

The Corporal looked uncomfortable. The Scotchman walked away. The
Commissaire came around the table and shook hands with me. In horror,
the Corporal whispered, pointing to the Commissaire, “He is a Colonel!”
and started to walk away. I called out, “Here, where are you
going—aren’t you going to buy that beer?”

After buying, the Corporal hurried off. I followed more slowly, watched
half a dozen English soldiers in animated conversation with the
Corporal, the Scotchman and the Lieutenant Buttinski.

I studied the pantomime for some time, then wandered about, till my
train was ready to start for Paris. Seeing Lieutenant P——n looking
through the iron railing, I waved him farewell; but he did not respond.
A Frenchman would have either waved his hand or shook his fist!

                              CHAPTER XVI
                           NATURE’S FIRST LAW

The American soldier in France finds new scenes, new conditions, new
customs. Unconsciously he compares life back home with his new
experiences, often to the latter’s disadvantage. He sees things he does
not like, that he would change, that he could improve. But, what does
appeal to him as perfect is the large number of small farms (53 per cent
of Frenchmen are engaged in agriculture) with the little chateaux, built
upon miniature estates, exquisitely tended, artistically designed, that
give joy to the eye and food for the stomach. These beautiful homes
encourage thrift, they show him, often, the better way.

Pride of possession makes the Frenchman patriotic, national. When the
enemy struck France, they struck him. He rushed to the frontier to meet
invaders who sought to subdue him and destroy his happy home. From a
cheerful, mirth-loving man, he has become serious and morose. Not now
does he sing or laugh any more. He has been treated unjustly. An
overwhelming power tried to force on him something he will not have. He
does not bluster—he waits. He does not scold—he works. When the time
comes—he acts.

To the non-land-owning German industrial slaves, driven by the strong
hand of Autocracy, he says,—“You shall not enslave us. If you have not
the brains to free yourselves, we shall free you, whether you wish it or
not.” To the robbers’ cry for peace (so they can legalize their stolen
loot) the French soldier replies,—“Yes, when justice has been done,
justice to the wronged, the oppressed, the raped. Justice is obtained by
regular procedure in a criminal court, not by negotiation between
equals. Arbitration is not possible between a crazy man and the woman he
has assaulted. The mad man must be caught and properly judged. If
insane, he should be confined, if not, he must be punished.”

As civilians become city broke, soldiers become army broke. Instead of
walking in mobs, they move in rows. Near the front, from marching in
companies, they advance in sections. These disintegrate, when an
apparently stray shell comes along. Units become individuals of
initiative and intelligence, adaptable to sudden, strange environment.
Necessity supersedes the regular book of rules. Books are printed,
orders given, to regulate ordinary conditions.

The soldier’s conditions under fire are neither ordinary nor regular.
Instinct tells him when to brace, when to duck. He knows an order to
stand up or lie down won’t stop that shell, put his cocoanut back, or
reassemble his family tree. So, he does what he thinks best. He may obey
or disobey the order, and save or lose his life. The man who gave the
order may die because he did, or did not, obey.

A good soldier can generally kick off unnecessaries as fast as a poor
officer can load them on. He runs light before the wind. Instead of
wearing himself out as a hewer of wood and a hauler of water, he saves
his strength for the enemy.

A luminous watch on the wrist, a compass in the pocket, a 2×6 box, with
toilet necessaries, are his private stock in trade. The other sixty
pounds are regular army. He always hangs onto his gun, cartridges,
bombs, little shovel, and tin hat. He doesn’t want tight-fitting shoes,
but prefers them a size or two large. He doesn’t buckle his belt
regulation style. Instead of buckling his cartridge belt in front, he
fastens it on the side, so he can slide the cartridge boxes around,
where they won’t gouge into his body when he sleeps. He covers his rifle
with oil. He wipes out his mess tin with dry bread crumbs. He does not
gormandize before a long march, or fill up on cold water. He keeps his
feet in good condition. He covers up his head when asleep, so the rats
won’t disturb him. He keeps his rifle within reach, and is always ready
to move at a moment’s notice.

One day, he may have eaten up the regulation hand-book of rules, for
breakfast, dined comfortably on regimental orders, and, going to sleep,
with taps blowing in his dome, dreamed sets of fours and double time.
Next day, he wakes up, to find by actual experience that, while plans
are made and ordered, everything is actually gained by opportunity,
individuality, initiative.

He may pass years in peaceful climes, going like a side-walk comedian,
through the empty mummeries of a Broadway spectacular production. Put
under shot and shell, he just knows he is a soldier, who must keep his
feet warm and his head cool.

The Poilu is first, first on outpost, first at the enemy, first in his
home, first in the affection of his country. From the ranks of the poilu
the officers are drawn. He is the Foundation. He honors France, France
honors him.

When, in 1914, he, with the original Tommy Atkins, turned at the Marne,
attacked fifty-two army corps of well-equipped, well-drilled, rapidly
advancing, victorious Huns, outnumbering him 8 to 5, and drove them back
with his bayonet (for some regiments had no cartridges), he saved not
only France, but England, America and civilization.

During the terrible year of 1915, it was the bare breast and naked
bayonet of the poilu and the little French 75 that halted superior
forces of the enemy, flanked and aided by longer-ranged, heavy
artillery, Zeppelins, liquid flame and aeroplanes.

Remember, German casualties, the first year of the war, were 3,500,000

For eight continuous months, he was adamant, behind Verdun. One million
men (600,000 Germans and 400,000 French) were incapacitated within the
three square mile tract that guards the entrance to that historic town,
where, a century before, Napoleon kept his English prisoners. Here, the
poilu sent the German lambs to glory as fast as their Crown Prince could
lead them to the slaughter.

With face of leather, his forehead a mass of wrinkles, which hurt
neither the face nor his feelings—a man as careless of dress as the
French poilu, naturally, doesn’t care whether his clothes fit him or
not,—he goes his fine, proud way. His once happy countenance, now
saddened by suffering, will yet light up in appreciation. A little
kindness makes him eloquent. Strong in the righteousness of his cause,
he does not bow his head in sorrow, or bend in weakness. He stands
upright, four-square to the world. He has lived down discomfort. He
cares nothing for exposure or starvation. He has seen what the brutes
have done in the reconquered villages he passed through. He is
determined they shall not do it in his home, or, if his home is in the
invaded territory, he declares they shall pay for the damage. Animated
by the spirit of justice, ennobled by the example of St. Genevieve, of
Jeanne d’Arc, of Napoleon, inspired by the courage and devotion of the
wonderful women of France, supported by a united country, he knows he is
fighting for self-preservation and a world’s freedom.

He closed, locked, barred the door at the Marne. Now he guards the gate.
He makes no complaint and asks no favors. With almost certainty of death
in front, trouble in his heart, body racked by fatigue, with dark
forebodings of the future, bled white by repeated onslaughts, he remains
at his post and does his duty, without a murmur.

French officers are real, improved property, not vacant lots. They are
leaders, not followers. Ordinary people see what goes on before their
eyes. The French officer is not an ordinary person. Anything that is
happening, or has happened, his quick mind connects with something else
a mile away—not yet arrived. When it comes along, it has already been
met; and he is waiting for the next move. His special study is the
German Military Manual, his specialties concentration and initiative.

He will grasp another man’s opportunity, tie a double knot in it, and
have it safely stowed away, before the bungler misses it. He discounts
the future, beats the other man to it and arrives with both feet when
not expected—just before the other is quite ready. Endowed with
foresight, farsight, secondsight and hindsight, he sees all about and
far away in front. Every isolated movement is noticed. He connects it up
with some future possible development, eventuality or danger.

Men of other nations may have delusions about German organization and
system, but the French officer has none. He has beaten Fritz, time after
time. He knows he can do it again; and, if there is any one thing he
especially delights in, it is to throw a wrench into that ponderous,
martial machinery and break Kultur’s plans. Germans are lost with no
rule to follow, and their head-piece won’t work. They are at the mercy
of the man who makes precedents, but who does not bother to follow them.

Many a soldier has an aversion to saluting officers—it looks like
servility. We do it with pleasure in France, as a token of respect. The
French officers at the front do not insist upon it, and often shake
hands after the return salute. Mon Capitaine is the father of his
company, the soldiers are mes enfants (my children). They go to the
captain when they have a grievance, not as a favor, but because it is
their right; and he grants their request—or gives them four days in
prison, as the case demands, with a smile. Soldiers accept his decision
without question. The French officer does not mistake snobbishness for
gentility or braggadocio for bravery. In the attack, he takes the lead.
In the trench warfare he shares dangers and discomforts with his men.

It is a great honor to be an active French officer. He is there because
his achievements forced him upward. He has climbed over obstacles, and
been promoted on account of merit, not through influence. He holds the
front, while the inefficient, the aged, or crippled, are relegated to
the rear.

The soldier pays with his hide for the civilian’s comforts. The
civilian, in turn, apes the soldier, presents a military bearing, in
khaki coat, with swagger stick, a camera, a haversack and Joiners’
decorations. While the citizen works (or shirks) to sustain the soldier,
he is either using his strength on the front, or building it up in the

An enthusiastic, spirited volunteer, gradually becomes a silent, sober,
calculating veteran. His days have been troubled. His nights knew no
peace. Recognizing discipline as the first principle of organization,
that it is necessary to have individual obedience, for a group to act
harmoniously, he submits. On the front, he finds—himself.

Half a dozen men are taking comfort in the shelter of a dugout. The next
instant, five are one hundred feet in air, snuffed out, torn into atoms.
But one is left, staring, mouth open. The others, swift arrivals at
Kingdom Come, went so quickly into the great Beyond, they never knew or
felt the shock.

So with the rum ration low and the water high, the morning bright in
sunlight, surroundings dark with death, one’s thoughts spring from the
mind. Words fill the mouth. One grasps his pencil to catch burning
impressions that flood his brain. He might as well try to tell his
grandmother how to raise babies as to think straight! He reaches out and
connects up, apparently isolated, strings of thought. He links a chain
of circumstance bearing on destruction’s delirious delusions that now
rocks the foundations of the world, which reacts on and affects every
civilization, person, and individual on earth.

He looks at things from an angle different from that of the civilian. He
has a new conception of life. He is not the same person he was before
the war. No longer does he smell the flowers, eat the fruit, or dwell in
the home of civilization. He has lived, like a beast, in a hole in the
ground, and slept in a seeping dugout with the rats and the lice. He has
seen his companion go over the top, killed off, like germs, changed from
a human comrade into a clod. He has lived long between two earthen
walls, the blue sky above, a comrade on each side, with Fritz across the

It was a narrow prospect. His point of view was limited; but he knew,
that while apparently alone, he and his comrades were links in that
strong, continuous chain of men who keep back the enemies of Freedom.
Behind that chain are others, bracing, reinforcing,—artillery, infantry,
aviators, reserves, money, provisions and ammunition, flocking to his
aid from America, from Great Britain, from the uttermost parts.

Those larger operations in the rear affect him but indirectly. The
details in front are of vital interest. They mean life or death. Every
alteration in the landscape demands closest investigation. Boys do not
play, nor old women gabble, in No-Man’s-Land. Nothing is done without a
reason, and, for every change, there is a cause. An unusual piece of
cloth or paper is scrutinized by a hundred men, while a suspicious
movement empties their guns.

The soldier acquires the habit of noticing little things. He sees a
small, starved flower, struggling for sunshine and strength, alongside
the trench. He wonders why it chose such an inhospitable home. Next day,
there is no flower, no trench—just an immense, gaping hole in the torn

He watches the rats. Why are they so impudent and important? He grows so
accustomed to them, he does not even squirm, when they run across him in
the darkness at night. He knows they have enough camp offal and dead
men’s bodies—they do not eat the living. He watches the cat with
interest. She is an old timer and has seen regiments come and go. Her
owners are in exile—they have no home—the Germans took it. So, pussy, a
lady of sense and good taste, dwells with the French soldiers. He looks
at her long, lanky frame and wishes for some milk to give her, to
counteract the poison of the rat food. A shell comes along. Pussy runs
into the dugout, but comes out again to be petted. Another shell, again
she scurries away. Kitty does not like shells any more than do humans.

War is the great leveler. Deplored as pitiless destroyer, it more than
equalizes, a creator of good. It annihilates property, kings and
thrones; but it produces men. It taps hitherto unseen springs of
sympathy and mutual helpfulness, where thrived formerly but the barren
waste of self-sufficiency. It unmasks the humbug and reveals the
humanitarian. It teaches individual self-lessness. The cruelties of the
oppressor are overcome by love for the oppressed. The dominance of
wickedness is brought low by sweet charity for its victims.

                              CHAPTER XVII
                          THE INVADED COUNTRY

I have seen the German under many conditions. In the early days of the
war, I used to listen to his songs—sung very well. But, he does not sing
now. I have watched the smoke rise, in the early morning, as he cooked
his breakfast. I have dodged his flares, his grenades, and his
sentinels, at night. I have heard his shovels ring as he dug himself
down, and have listened to his talk to his neighbor. I have seen him
come up on all fours, from his dugout, crying “Kamarad”; and I cannot
say, that, as a common soldier, he is a bad fellow.

The brutality seems to start with the sous-officer. It gets more refined
and cruel as rank goes up. I have noticed the dazed, hopeless expression
of pregnant women at Sillery-Sur-Marne. They stayed under fire of the
guns, rather than carry their grief into safety. They emerged from their
Calvary, with faces as of the dead, impassive, masklike, hiding scars of

I talked with a young woman shop-keeper at Verpeliers. The Germans had
been in her house—slept on the floor, thick as sardines in a box. They
ate up her stock and did not pay. Was she not afraid? She laughed a
happy laugh. “What me, Monsieur, afraid? I am Francaise. What do I care
for those swine? The sous-officers tried to make me give in. They
pointed guns at me, and tried to pull me along with them when the French
returned. I screamed and fought. Four of my lodgers are where those
crosses are at the bend of the road. The others are prisoners. I am
paid, all right, and am satisfied.” “Yes,” she continued, “they charged
our old men with being in telephonic communication with the French Army.
Twelve were arrested, marked with a blue cross on the right cheek, and
have not been heard from since. Two, M. Poizeaux, aged 47, and M.
Vassel, 78 years old, were brought back and shot the same evening.”

At Rodern, in reconquered Alsace, where the natives spoke German, the
streets were marked in German letters, German proclamations were on the
walls, and German money was current, I sat with Tex Bondt, in a low
Alsatian room, by candle light. The heavy family bed was let into a wall
and screened off by a curtain, the floor was of stone, the furniture
primitive. A short, squat woman was bewailing her misfortunes. This
mother had six sons and three daughters. Three boys mobilized with the
German Army. Two were killed. The other is on the Russian front. Of the
three, who ran away, and joined the French army, one was killed and two
wounded. Two of her girls, nurses in the German Army, were killed during
a bombardment. As she listened, I watched emotion come and go in the
eyes of the remaining daughter.

In the hospital at Montreuil-Ballay, I met an old man, wounded in the
arm. The wound would not knit. Unable to sleep, weeping relieved him. He
said, “My wife and I were at home near Lille, in bed one night. The
Germans broke in the door, came upstairs, jabbed me with a bayonet and
made me get out. I kept going and joined the French Army.”

“And your wife, what of her?”

“I don’t know, I have neither seen nor heard from her from that day to

Again, in the hospital at Pont de Veyle, a young man on a neighboring
cot told me, “Yes, I am from the invaded country. My name is La Chaise.
Before the war, my father was Inspector General of railroads for the
Department of the North, with headquarters at Lille. When the Germans
advanced he was taken prisoner. I ran away, joined the French Army, and
my mother and sister were left at our home. A German Colonel billeted
himself in the house. He liked my sister,—she was very beautiful. This
is her photograph, and these are tresses of her hair when she was twelve
and eighteen year of age. This is her last letter to me. One night the
Colonel tried to violate my sister. She screamed, my mother ran in, shot
him twice with a revolver and killed him. The sentry entered, took my
mother and sister to prison; and, next morning they were lined up
against a wall and shot.”

One night at Madame’s,—the bake-shop across the road from the hospital
at La Croix aux Mines, with Leary, an Irishman, Simpson, a New
Zealander, and an Englishman who was in charge of the Lloyds Ambulance
service, we listened to Madame.

“Yes, the Germans descended on us from the hilltops like a swarm of
locusts, ate and drank up everything in sight, hunted us women out of
our houses into the road and told us it was our last chance for liberty.
We ran and the Germans followed. We did not know we were being used as a
screen, that we were sheltering the Boche behind. The French would not
shoot at us but they got the Germans just the same, from the flank. I
shall never forget our selfishness. All we thought about was getting to
our French friends, and we were covering the advance of our enemies! If
we had known, we’d have died first.”

The Englishman, who had been in the retreat from Mons, drawled
out,—“Yes, you Americans think the Germans are not bad people. I used to
think so, too, but when I listened to the Belgians telling how some
little girls were treated, though I felt they were telling the truth, it
was too horrible to believe. So three of us Red Cross men went out one
night,—where they told us the girls were buried. We dug them up; and,
let me tell you, no person on earth will ever make me associate with a
German again.”

At Nestle, they carried away 164 women. The official German explanation
was that they should work in Germany, while the cynical officers said
they would use them as orderlies. On August 29, 1914, when the Germans
entered the city, a mother of seven children was violated by three
soldiers. Later, she was knocked down and again assaulted, by an
officer. Five inhabitants were lined up against a wall to be shot, when
a French counter-attack liberated them.

In the spring of 1917, at Vraignes, in the invaded district, the Germans
told the people they were to be evacuated. After the inhabitants had
gathered their personal belongings, they were driven into the courtyard,
stripped and robbed of their possessions. Twenty-four young women were
carried away from this town of 253 population.

At Le Bouage, a suburb of Chauny, before the Germans retreated, the
French refugees were lined up a distance of two kilometers on the
Chauny-Noyon road and kept there, in a pouring rain, four hours. Even
the invalids were carried out on stretchers. German officers passed
along the line and picked out thirty-one young girls and women, one an
invalid girl, thirteen years of age, and carried them away with the
retreating army. Of the remainder within two weeks after fifty persons
succumbed from the exposure.

On February 18th, at Noyon, when the Germans were compelled to retreat,
in addition to burning, wrecking and looting, they carried away by force
fifty young girls between fourteen and twenty-one years of age. They
looted the American Relief store, dynamited the building, then turned
the canal water into the basement.

From Roubaix, Turcoing and Lille 25,000 civilians were deported.

“These slave raids commenced, April 22, 1916, at 3 o’clock in the
morning. Troops, with fixed bayonets, barred the streets, machine guns
commanded the roads, against unarmed people. Soldiers made their way
into the houses, officers pointed out the people who were to go. Half an
hour later, everybody was driven, pell-mell, into an adjacent factory,
from then to the station, whence they departed.” Taken from the Yellow
Book, published by the Minister of War, dated June 30, 1916.

At Warsage, August 4, 1914, the day Belgium was violated, three
civilians were shot, six hanged, nine murdered.

At Luneville, eighteen civilians were killed, including one boy of
twelve, shot, and an old woman of ninety-eight, bayoneted.

At Liege, twenty-nine civilians were murdered, some shot and others
bayoneted—yet others burned alive.

At Seilles, fifty civilians were killed.

At Audenne, August 20 and 21, 1914, 250 civilians were killed, according
to French records, while General Von Bulow, over his own signature, in a
written order to the people of Liege, dated August 22, says that he
commanded the town to be reduced to ashes and ordered 110 persons shot.

The process of terrorism is invariably the same:—First, the crushing
blow of invasion, followed by pillage, rape and murder; then, when the
victims are paralyzed, crushed in spirit, shocked to the heart’s core,
obnoxious regulations are published and enforced to prevent their

At La Fontenelle, Ban de Sept, and many other villages along the front,
manure had been thrown into the wells, the fruit trees were cut down,
the copper was taken from coffins of the dead, the farm houses were
demolished, and all property was taken away or destroyed. One would not
pay $10 for the whole outfit of a peasant farmer’s home: table, a half
dozen chairs, a bedstead in the corner, a crucifix hanging on the wall,
a marriage certificate and a picture of the virgin, yet all was gone.
The ammunition trains that came up from Germany went back loaded with
such poor people’s belongings. Nothing left, an old woman’s bonnet on a
dung-heap, a baby’s shoe in a corner, a broken picture frame or
two—that’s all.

Talk about forgiving the Germans! Robbing the poor, the destruction of
property, possibly may be forgiven. Property can be replaced. But, the
systematic, deliberate ruin of non-combatant, innocent women and
children, is a crime against civilization that can never be forgiven or
forgotten. For generations to come, the German will be treated as an
outlaw. He will be shunned—worse than a beast. Unclean, he will have to
purge himself before he may be again accepted in the society of decent
women and men.

Think of those fine-grained, sensitive French girls, compelled to live
with brutes—generally surly, often drunk, who have killed their
husbands, their brothers, their fathers! They have broken all the rules
of war. They have outraged every decency. They are so sunk in the abyss
of shame that they know neither respect for the living nor reverence for
the dead.

                             CHAPTER XVIII
                              LOVE AND WAR

Love and war go together. War destroys the body but love lives on with
the soul. Love and war have transformed the hitherto seemingly
empty-pated, fashionable woman to an angel of mercy. Socialists have
developed into patriots, artisans have become statesmen,
good-for-nothings are now heroes, misers have grown to be

Man, missing woman’s ministrations at the front, turns instinctively to
her when opportunity offers. Hard, fierce, unyielding to his fellows, he
relaxes in her sheltering affection. He is but a boy grown. He wants to
be petted, coddled, civilized again.

The woman realizes he has suffered for her. He knows what she has
sacrificed for him. War has brought them together, brushed aside false
pride and hypocrisy and revealed refreshing springs of patriotism and
love out of which flows a union of hearts and hopes that only those who
suffer, sacrifice and endure together can realize.

The man is better for having been a soldier. He is self-reliant,
stronger in mind and body. Through discipline he has become punctual and
dependable. All snobbishness, fads and isms are now out of him. He is
more tolerant and charitable. He recognizes the value of women’s work in
the home, in the hospital and in the munition factory. As a
representative of her country, whose uniform he wears, he carries
himself more proudly, more uprightly.

What a soldier is to the army, a home is to the nation. The home is safe
only so long as is the country. With foreign invasion, all values become
nothing. The woman, the man, the home, the country are interwoven.
Beyond lie the right to live their lives, personal liberty,
representative government, the preservation, yes, even the propagation
of the race.

To check that on-coming German tide which threatened to wipe away
everything he holds dear, the soldier has fitted himself into that
surging, bending, human wall. Behind it, under the shadow of death,
woman works and waits, in a quiet that knows not peace—often in
vain—filled with care and dread, ever striving to be calm, she hides her
heart’s pain.

Ancestors died for the liberty his flag represents. Posterity must enjoy
the same freedom. So, he bridges the gap, shoulders the load and becomes
a better lover, husband, father. Having learned his obligation to the
nation, he is a better citizen for all time. One man’s daughter loves
and marries another’s son and they become one. War tears them apart. He
goes to the trenches. She keeps the home fires burning. Love holds them
together while he fights to protect and preserve, she works to support
and maintain.

That man is not yet whose pen can do justice to the incomparable woman
of France. She is a wonderful combination of heart, head and health. The
women of colder climes love with their minds. The French woman with her
heart. She gives all, regardless of consequences.

Cynical critics may have their cool sensibilities shocked at the sight
of a well-turned ankle, crossing a muddy street. That is as near as they
get to the sweet creature they outwardly condemn, but secretly approve.
She plays square and wants to love as well as be loved. She gives love
and is loved in return. While the woman who wants something, but gives
nothing, instills her selfishness into others.

The selfish person loves him or herself and gives no love to friend,
family or country. The unselfish woman absorbs love, and, as a flower
its perfume, scatters fragrance. She inspires the noblest sentiments of
loyalty and patriotism. She places herself and her best beloved upon the
altar of her country. It is always she who has given most, who is
willing to give all.

Mere man notices her dainty figure, her happy disposition, her cheery,
outspoken manner, her charm and goodness of heart, the utter absence of
vulgarity and ill-temper. Her tears are shed in solitude. Laughter is
for her friends. He admires her at a distance, because she is sheltered
in the home until marriage. The French man must pass the family council
before becoming an accepted suitor. He consults them in his business
ventures. His troubles become theirs when Mademoiselle changes to Madame
and is his comrade as well as a continued sweetheart. She devotes her
whole time and attention to him. Her clever, home-making instinct is
combined with good business sense. She is a valuable partner in life’s
great enterprise.

One of the most beautiful sights in France is, on a Sunday afternoon the
poilu home on furlough, satisfied to drink a bottle or two of wine with
his family, and rest. He did not want to see anyone else. But she
insists he must see grandmother and sister-in-law, drop into the cafe
and inquire about old comrades, then, enjoy a walk out into the country.

In the gathering twilight Madame conducts her straggling brood home, her
hands full of flowers, her eyes full of love—the little doll-like
children, with long, flowing hair, romping nearby. The poilu has lost
that dark, brooding look. That little touch of Nature and the woman
diverted his mind from suffering and revived his sentiment. She sent him
back to the front with a smile on her lips—hiding the dread of her

The thought of peace is ever with her—she longs for it. But her
conscience will not permit her to ask it. She thinks of the thousands of
graves that dot the hillsides with the cross at the head. She will
suffer the torments of hell rather than that they shall have died in

Their little savings have been used up. The clothes are worn thin. She
works, slaves to keep the wolf from the door. She manages to send an
occasional five-franc note to her poilu. She labors in munition
factories, the tramways, the postal service, in the fields, replacing
the man, while cows and dogs do the work of the horses, who, like the
men, are on the front. She wears wooden shoes and pulls hand-carts about
the street. She drives the milch cow that plows the land, cleans the
cars and wipes the engines on the railroad, cooks the food and nurses
the wounded and sick in hospitals, does clerical work in the commissary
department and military bureaus—chasing out the fat slackers who were
strutting in the rear.

In spite of all, she retains her feminacy. She is still as alluring, as
good a comrade, as cheerful and gay, outwardly, as though her body was
not racked by fatigue, her heart choked with sadness. Occasionally she
forgets herself. The mask falls off and trouble stares through the
windows of her soul. Catching that look in the eyes of his nurse, a
soldier exclaimed: “Cheer up! It will be all right after the war.” She
replied: “After the war? There will be no ‘after the war.’ You’ll be
dead, I’ll be dead. We shall all be dead. There’ll be no ‘after the

Many French girls have deliberately married mutilated cripples to cheer
and to help them earn their living. A beautiful young woman, gazing into
the eyes of her soldier, said: “Why should we not? They lost their legs
and arms for us—we cannot do too much for them.”

Does the poilu appreciate this? Does he? What if he did lose one leg for
such a woman? He would give the other with pleasure!

On furlough one evening, eating supper in my favorite cafe in Paris, I
observed a most horribly repulsive object. He had once been a poilu, but
a shell battered his face so that it resembled humanity not at all. His
nose was flattened out. His skin was mottled and discolored. A hole was
where the mouth had been. Both eyes were gone and one arm was crippled.
He sat and waited for food. Madame came from behind the counter and
looked on. A fat boy, repulsed and sickened, forgot his appetite and
gazed, unconsciously stroking his stomach, fascinated by that mutilated

A very beautiful girl, whose face might pass her into Heaven without
confession, left the well-dressed gourmands with empty plates. She went
and served the unfortunate one. She cut his meat and held his napkin
that caught the drippings. She was so kind and gentle and showed such
consideration, I asked her:

“Is that the proprietor?”

“Oh, no.”

“Your husband or sweetheart, perhaps?”

“I have none.”

“Who was he?”

“Un pauvre poilu.”

Again, we were in a peasant woman’s farmhouse. She wore wooden shoes,
without socks. Just home from work in the fields, she asked two
convalescent soldiers to help drink a bottle of wine, and we sat and
talked with her.

“Yes,” she said, her dark eyes shining with pride, “my husband was a
soldier, too. He is now a prisoner in Germany. This is his photograph.
Don’t you think he looks well? He was a machine gunner in Alsace. He did
not run away when the Germans came, but stayed and worked the gun.”
Then, speaking of a well dressed little girl sitting on my Egyptian
comrade’s knee: “He has never seen her—she is only two years old and
thinks every soldier is papa.”

Hanging from the roof was a row of dried sausages. Pointing to them she
said: “Yes, I send him a package every week and never forget to put in a
sausage. Don’t you think from the photograph he looks well?”

In the stable were two milch cows and a young heifer. Indicating the
latter, she said: “He has not seen her, either. When he comes home I am
going to kill her, faire le bomb, and ask all the family.”

The look of pride changed into a haunted, painful, far-away gaze: “Oh,
dear, we shall all be women! Except my husband and Francois, my brother,
all our men are dead—four of my brothers! Francois is the last. The
Government sent him from the front to keep the family alive. Don’t you
think France was good to us to do that?”

When in hospital I met the grand dame from the nearby chateau. She
harnessed her own horse and drove through the rain, on a wintry morning,
to play the organ at early mass. She nursed a ward in the hospital
through the day and returned home alone in the darkness to make her own

“Oh,” she said, “I don’t mind it, I do what I can. I was not brought up
right or I could be of more use. Before the war, we had fifteen
servants. They are now at war. We have only two left, a half-wit and a

“Do you know,” she said, “I have never heard the English marching song
‘Tipperary.’ I just love music. In Tours the other day, I saw it on
sale, my hand was in my pocket before I knew. But I happened to think of
our brave soldiers; they need so many things”—

Noticing the troubled look on the usually serene countenance of a very
good friend, I asked her: “Why those clouds?”

“Oh,” she replied, “they have just called Gaston to the colors. His
class is called up. You know how I have pinched and saved to bring that
boy up right. Now, he must go and I cannot make myself feel glad. I
ought to feel proud, but I cannot. I don’t feel right. Every time I look
at him I think of my husband and his one leg.”

During the early days of the war I was out with my landlady, whose
calculating instinct in the matter of extra charges separated me from
all my loose change. Going past the Gare d’Est Paris we noticed a crowd
about a French soldier. He had a German helmet in his hand. Walking up
to him, she said:

“What is that?”

“A German helmet, Madame.”

“Did you get that?”

“Yes, Madame.”

“Did you get it yourself?”

“Certainly, Madame.”

“Here, take this, go back and get some more.” She passed her pocketbook
over to the poilu.

The soldier stared; the crowd stared; but the soldier was a
thoroughbred. Crooking his elbow and sticking the helmet out on his
index finger, he bowed:

“Will Madame give me pleasure by accepting the helmet?”

Would she! Boche helmets were scarce in those days. Beautiful
Mademoiselles in that crowd would have given their souls to possess such
a treasure! Neither they nor I know Madame. Her eyes looked level into
those of the soldier as she demanded:

“You are not a Parisian?”

“No, Madame.”

“To what province are you going?”



“At six o’clock tonight.”

“Have you a wife?”

“Yes, Madame.”

“Will you do something for me?”

“With the greatest pleasure!”

“Well, keep that casque in your hand until you arrive in Brittany. Then
give it to your wife. She will always love you for it and your children
will never forget such a father!”

Walking away, Madame dropped into a silent mood. I looked at her
curiously. Was she sorry she had given away her money? Did she regret
not accepting that highly-prized helmet, or was she thinking of the
pleasure that gift would give the soldier’s wife?

Suddenly she turned and said: “Well, one thing is certain.”

“What is certain?”

“You will have to pay my car fare home.”


The self-sacrifice and devotion of the women permeates the
atmosphere—from the lowest to the highest. It is contagious. It is
evident, even to a stranger, and it restores his faith in human nature.
She is the other half of the poilu. He excels in courage and fortitude.
She completes him with an untiring zeal.

One beautiful, romantic feature of French army life is the adoption of
soldiers by god-mothers. In one instance, a girl fifteen years of age,
having enough money, adopted a half dozen. One of them proved to be a
Senegalize, who wished to take the young lady back to Africa to complete
his harem!


  Famous French War Cross

    The star denotes an individual citation, “John Bowe, an American
    citizen, engaged in the active army, who in spite of his age (past
    the limits of military service) has given an expression of the most
    absolute devotion. Upon the front since the 9th of May, 1915, he has
    always volunteered for the dangerous missions and the most perilous

The uncertainties and possibilities of the situation distract the
soldier’s mind from his real, staring troubles. His thoughts are
directed into pleasant channels. The lady sends him little comforts,
extra food, or money and, maybe, invites him to spend his furlough at
her residence. She always does, if he is from invaded territory. If they
prove congenial, friendship sometimes ripens into love and love into
marriage. It relieves the lonesome isolation of the soldier, and gives
the woman a direct, personal interest in the war.

In the spring of 1916 I stood at the Spouters’ Corner in Hyde Park,
London, where Free Speech England allows its undesirables to express
themselves. Here the authorities classify, label and wisely permit each
particular crank or freak to here blow off surplus gas. If suppressed,
it might explode or fester and become a menace.

In French uniform I was listening to the quips of a woman lecturer who
really was a treat. “Yes,” she cried out, “Mr. Asquith has asked us poor
people to economize. Instead of spending three shillings a day, we must
only spend two; and our average wage is but a bob and a half. The high
cost of living is nothing to the cost of high living. When Mr. Asquith
pushes that smooth, bald head of his up through the Golden Gates, St.
Peter will think it is a bladder of lard, and lard is worth two
shillings per pound. So he will ‘wait and see’ if he can use it at the
price.” (English call Asquith Mr. “Wait and See.”) “Yes,” she continued,
“I try to be careful to make things last as long as possible. Instead of
buying a new petticoat, I now change the one I have wrong side out and
make it last twice as long.”

I was absorbing these subleties when a French lady, dressed in velvet
and furs, noticing my faded blue uniform, stepped up, excused herself,
and asked if I were not a French soldier, and would I have a cup of tea
with her?

Thus, I found my god-mother.

One year later, again on furlough, passing through London, I called on
my good friend and was invited to accompany her to church. After a long
prayer, so long as to excite my curiosity, she whispered: “I used to
come here every Sunday and pray for you. In this seat, at this part of
the ceremony, I prayed you would come back again. I wanted you here with
me today so I could show you to God. Now I am content. He will take care
of you.”

Opening her prayer-book, she took out a piece of paper and pressed it
into my hand. It was an extract from a London newspaper, which told of
my being decorated by the French Government. I had not told her, and was
not aware the news had been in the London papers. At the house, later,
Captain Underwood, one of Rawlinson’s invalided veterans, who was in the
retreat from Antwerp, inquired: “Did our friend show you the paper?”


“Well, she bought that newspaper one night and came here crying out,
‘See what my poilu has done, and he never said a word to me about it!’
When you blew in, she made us promise we would not mention it till after
you came back from church.”

                              CHAPTER XIX

Democratic Government is the direct opposite of the German system. In
America the individual is superior to the state, on the principle that
man was born before the state was organized. He was then first, endowed
by Nature with certain inalienable rights, such as life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness.

He organized a government to make those rights secure with the state as
servant—not master of his destiny. The public official is just the
people’s hired man. He is not paid to give, or to permit, one set of
individuals to gain advantage. He must enforce equality, and see that
every citizen has equal rights with equal opportunities. Where rights
are equal, privileges must be. Where then is inequality of rights then
is inequality of privilege. The burden, shirked by the privileged class,
is thrown upon those whose rights have been usurped, making their load
doubly heavy.

In time of peace, preparedness is the premium paid for war insurance.
During war, impartial, obligatory military service is based on equality
of men.

The danger to democratic institutions lies not in the people, but in
those that prey upon them, who, having obtained unfair privilege, not
satisfied, continually grasp for more. We have seen what inequality has
done to the Germans and we do not want it in America.

This war should sound the death knell of the professional politician.
The trimmer, carrying water on both shoulders has schemed for power
white others worked. Afraid of losing votes, he did not stand up for the
right. He goes into the discard, replaced by men of ability and courage.
Leaders of the people will remove the inefficient tool of privilege.

War is a habit breaker? It is a series of jolts. The start of the war
was a jolt. The day of peace will be another. Just as one trench is
wiped out and another made, some day we shall wake to find frontiers
gone, the whole map of Europe changed, with the people ruling where were
kings. Nothing will be the same. Old thoughts, ideas, beliefs,
prejudices, humbugs—social, political and religious, will have been
thrown into the melting pot. The bogus will disappear and only Truth

French Law and Equality are based on natural justice. That the people
have won and are the basis of their liberty. The magistrates, the judges
of duty, the legislators, are the means used to secure these liberties.

They maintain that men are born and should live, free, with equal rights
and duties, that social distinction should be founded, not on wealth or
nobility, but on public benefits to the community, that honors should be
given to the most able, to the most faithful, without distinction of
wealth or birth.

Rights are, liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression.
Liberty is a natural right. Force, time, circumstance shall not abolish
it. It is not liberty to do its own will, regardless of others.
Individual liberty stops, where the rights of the community commence.
The object of political association is the preservation of rights.

The principle of sovereignty rests in the people, as expressed through
their representatives. The Law is the written expression of the people’s
will. It is the guarantee of rights to all. All citizens need the law.
All are eligible to be honored by dispensing or enforcing its

All shall pay toward the administration of Government, and all shall
fight to maintain it. No man shall be stopped or delayed except by law.
Those who issue arbitrary or unlawful orders shall be punished. All men
are accepted as innocent till proved guilty. A man has a right to
express his opinion and religious convictions, provided they are not
contrary to law.

The law, on its part, does not interfere with dogmas or schisms, but
assures to each man liberty of expression and action, to think, and
speak, write and circulate, that which he believes true. This free
expression of ideas makes Public Opinion, which is for the advantage of
all, not for the exclusive use of some few to whom it may be confided.
It is the safeguard of independent and does not make for oppression.
Public Opinion creates the Law, which, in turn, becomes the guarantee of
the people.

All law-makers, dispensing agents, public servants, must make a report
of their administration when called on for it by the people. The rights
of men are absolutely guaranteed by the laws being rigorously applied,
impartially. Those, who, elected to power, use that power for their own
private ends, rather than for the good of all, are punished.

Behind the army and the woman, are the Cabinet, the Senate, and the
Chamber of Deputies—the leaders of thought and action. The people, as
thus represented, are the supreme power, the army is subordinate. France
is a people with an army. Germany is an army with a people. Democratic
France insists on equality, even in military life. It will not permit an
officer to grant himself, or his friends, furloughs which are denied
private soldiers. As the private soldier may be court-martialed for his
sins, so may the general officer, who, through drunkenness, inefficiency
or treachery, sacrifices his men or betrays the people. He is not
whitewashed, or taken from the front and given an appointment in the
rear—kicked upstairs instead of down. He is given his sentence and
compelled to serve it.

No brutal or surly officer can chain a private soldier to an artillery
wagon like a dog. No drunken officer can hurl insults at him. Hanging
over the heads of all, like the suspended sword of Damocles, is French
equality, which insists on results, not excuses. It falls on brutality
and inefficiency. Consequently, French officers are invariably gentlemen
and treat their men as such.

Every country has its slackers, its pacifists, its millionaires, its
religious fanatics, who do not scruple to use their isms, wealth and
special privilege to undermine the fabric of a government which compels
them to bear their share of duty. Consequently, civilian leaders must be
strong, determined, resolute men, who swerve not from the good ahead,
who will neither tolerate special pleadings nor permit incapacity. They
know that, prevented by continually changing officers, graft conditions
cannot become established, also, that all around experience begets
perfection. Soldiers’ lives must not be sacrificed at the front while
profiteers fatten in the rear.

If this war has demonstrated any one thing, it is that those who “born
to rule” have not the capacity to do so. Filling places of public trust,
through accident of wealth, or birth, or political expediency, at the
outbreak of hostilities—that cunning, calculating fraud on democracy,
the political machine—appointed or elected to serve the people, scheming
for partizan advantage, really blocked national effort and actually,
through inaction and obstruction, aided the enemy.

Incapable of mastering a new set of circumstances, persisting in playing
the new game according to the old rules, those appointed failed. Others
took up the burden. From the ranks of men rose the leaders of thought
and action, stepping, climbing, pushing over the incompetents of title,
money and birth, who, unable to save themselves, now accept salvation
from those whom they have hated, despised, oppressed.

Advancing in spite of obstacles—the more opposition, the better, the man
worthy to lead, clarified by adversity, true to form, takes the public
into confidence, talking, not in commonplace generalities, but concrete
truths, Lloyd George of England, Hughes of Australia, Briand, Clemenceau
and Viviani of France, Kerensky of Russia, Veneviolis of Greece, Sam
Hughes of Canada, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson of America, strong,
upright and brave men, who scorn the bended knee and itching palm, are
hated by the professional politician and the piratical profiteer.

Every man, who has courage to stand for the right and denounce the
wrong, becomes a mark for bricks thrown at his devoted head—by shirkers
who won’t protect their own—by rascals who have been looting the
public—and by traitors who would betray their country. These leaders
have terrific opposition in their fight against systematized,
anti-national organizations. It is the duty of every citizen, in times
of national danger, to support the Government, regardless of party.

                               CHAPTER XX

German Government is founded on the principle that the State is superior
to the individual. Being superior, it is not subject to that code of
honor, that respect for decency, which binds men of different races,
religions and countries and distinguishes man from the brute.

The Reichstag of Germany is supposed to be the popular assembly. In
reality, it is the bulwark of wealth. Under this system, man belongs to
property, not property to man. Voters, who have paid one-third of the
total income tax, elect one-third of the electors, who choose one-third
of the Reichstag. Voters who pay the next third do likewise, and the
same system applies to the last third. In 1908, 293,000 voters chose the
first third; 1,065,240 selected the second third, and 6,324,079 elected
the last third. Thus, 4 per cent of the voters elected the first third,
14 per cent the second, and the last third, 82 per cent—all the poor
people were thrown together and controlled by the other two-thirds, or
18 per cent.

In free countries, the State exists for the benefit of the individual.
In Germany, the individual lives exclusively for the State. He has no
right to free speech, free thought, the pursuit of happiness, nor even
to existence itself, unless the Kaiser sees it to his advantage to
grant, or permit, those luxuries.

In case a popular measure slipped through the Reichstag, it would have
to be voted upon by the Bundesrath—a secret upper house appointed by the
princes—not the people, of each separate State of the German Empire.
Each State votes as a unit. No amendment can pass the Bundesrath if
fourteen out of the sixty-one votes are cast against it. The Kaiser,
representing Prussia, holds seventeen votes, and three for
Alsace-Lorraine. So, the individual German voter’s work is carefully
nullified by this system, over which he has no control. He is outvoted
by wealth in the Reichstag. The Reichstag is outvoted by the aristocracy
of the Bundesrath. This, in turn, is outvoted by the Autocracy of the

Autocracy, aristocracy and wealth compose the Board of Strategy and
officer the army. The army is superior to the Reichstag. It is outside
of and above the law, within the country but not responsible to it. It
is not an army of the people, it is the Kaiser’s army.

So the Bundesrath, the Reichstag, the Board of Strategy, the controlled
newspapers and political professors, extending down from the throneroom
to the kindergarten, are meshes in the net that entangles man whose
rights they have usurped. Through that system, the child is caught in
infancy, given Kultur with mother’s milk, then taught to spy upon family
and neighbors; he listens to political professors at school, political
parsons at church. The more he informs the further he advances, till he
reaches the army, where docility and obedience and respect for authority
are instilled into him till he can have neither original ideas nor
independent thought.

He is told he is under no obligation to observe elementary decency, that
there is no honor among men or nations. He is taught to hate, not to
love, to depend on might, not right, and to work for war instead of
peace. The French, the British, the Americans are only human, but the
good Kaiser is divine, and the German is a super-man, chosen by God to
rule the world. The “good Kaiser” was chosen by God to dominate the
German race, who are to conquer the world, and the German super-man,
under the Kaiser, is to obtain that domination through war.

A woman who has compassion in her soul for the unfortunate has no right
to live. Pity is not German. Miss Cavel had pity in her heart, even for
German wounded, for homeless Belgians. So she was executed.

The wounded in hospital ships were torpedoed without warning, murdered
by unseen hands reaching out from the darkness, and the perpetrators
were promoted for gallantry.

After robbing and burning the towns of northern France and Belgium they
turned around and demanded an indemnity, having picked the victim’s
pocket, they asked for his money. They robbed the priceless libraries to
preserve the books. They drove, the vanquished victims into slavery to
protect them from laziness, and raped woman to save her virginity. The
French, English or American who rapes a woman, desecrates a church, or
murders innocent women and children, knows he commits a crime—the German
lacks such consciousness.

So, unchecked, uncontrolled, responsible to no one, they are wild beasts
at large. Backed by an army of 11,000,000 men, they tried to overwhelm
peace-loving Europe. They overran Luxemburg. They turned the garden of
France into a desert. They could see in Belgium only the nearest road to
France. Subject to no restraint, responsible to no one, their passion
for power, for money, for lust, recognized no authority, contract, nor

Their ungovernable tempers became inflamed at the slightest opposition
and they do not scruple to commit the most odious crimes upon the
unfortunate people in their power. Repression, terrorism, theft, rape
and murder are elevated into virtues and rewarded with honors. By brute
force they override decency, freedom, arbitration and liberty. Murderers
at bay, they fight to keep from being executed.

And, as the German people were compelled to work for them in time of
peace, now they must die for them in time of war.

Such is the German Government.

At The Hague Convention, 1907, the following were agreed to and signed
by Germany.

ARTICLE 24. “It is forbidden to kill or wound an enemy who has dropped
his arms or has no means of defense, and who surrenders at discretion.”

ARTICLE 46. “The honor and the rights of the people, the lives of the
family, the private property must be respected.”

“August 23, 1914, at Gomery, Belgium, a German patrol entered the
ambulance, fired upon the wounded, killed the doctor and shot the
stretcher bearers.” Part of a deposition of Dr. Simon, in Red Cross
Service, 10th Region.

“The night of the 22d (August, 1914), I found in the woods at 150 yards
to the north of the crossroads, formed by the meeting of the large
trench of Colonne with the road of Vaux de Palaneix to St. Remy, the
bodies of French prisoners shot by the Germans. I saw thirty soldiers
who had been gathered together in a little space, for the most part
lying down, a few on their knees, and all mutilated the same way by
being shot in the eye.” Affidavit of a captain of the 288th Infantry.

“We saw there an execution squad. Before it lay, on the slope of the
side of the road, fifty bodies of French prisoners who had just been
shot. We approached and saw one hapless Red Cross man who had not been
spared. A non-commissioned officer was finishing off with revolver shots
any who still moved. He gave us, in German, the order to point out to
him those of our men who still breathed.” Report of Dr. Chou, who was
captured and repatriated. He related the above to a Danish physician,
Dr. De Christmas.

“I saw a British prisoner killed by a sentry at point blank range,
because he did not stop at the command. Another British soldier was shot
by a sentry with whom he had a discussion. The shot broke his jaw; he
died next day.” Report of Sergt. Major Le Bihran, narrating conditions
at Gottingen.

The French Government has the note book of a German soldier, Albert
Delfosse of the 111th Infantry of the 14th Reserve Corps. “In the forest
near St. Remy, on the 4th or 5th of September, I encountered a very fine
cow and calf, dead, and again, the bodies of French men, fearfully

Order of the Day, issued by General Stenger near Thiaville, Meurthe and
Moselle, August 26, 1914:

“After today we will not make any prisoners; all the prisoners are to be
killed; the wounded, with arms or without arms, to be killed; the
prisoners already gathered in crowds are to be killed; behind us there
must not remain any living enemy.”


                                  The Lieutenant commanding the Company,
                                  The Colonel commanding the Regiment,
                                  The General commanding the Brigade,

General Stenger was in charge of the 58th Brigade, composed of the 112th
and 142d Bavarian Infantry. Thirty soldiers of these regiments, now
prisoners, have made affidavits to this, signed with their own names,
which are in the possession of the French Government.

The attack of September 25, 1915, brought the French within two
kilometers of Somme-py. Lying in the trenches under the furious
bombardment, we considered the diary which was found on the German
soldier, Hassemer, of the 8th Army Corps, when they captured the town in
1914: “Horrible carnage; the villages totally burned; the French thrown
into the burning houses; the civilians burned with all the others.”

I have many times been at St. Maurice, Meurthe and Moselle, where I saw
and pondered over, fire-blackened houses and somber-faced, solitary
women. The tall chimney of a demolished manufacturing plant stands guard
over desolation. From the diary of a Bavarian soldier of the German
army, evidence written by the perpetrators, the following is quoted:
“The village of St. Maurice was encircled, the soldiers advanced at one
yard apart, through which line nobody could get. Afterward the Uhlans
started the fire, house by house. Neither man, nor woman, nor child
could get away. They were permitted to take out the cattle because that
was a drawing out method. Those that risked to run away were killed by
rifle shot. All those that were found in the village were burned with

In the first lot of exchanged English prisoners returned from Germany
was a Gloucester man shot in his jaws, his teeth blackened and broken.
Pointing to where his chin had been, he told me: “That is what they did
to me—what they did after I was taken prisoner and was wounded in four
places and unable to move. A Boche came along, put his rifle to my face
and pulled the trigger. But that wasn’t anything to what they did to my
comrade. He was lying in his blanket seriously wounded, and a Boche ran
a bayonet into him sixteen times before he died.”

In the clearing house hospital at Lyons I saw two old comrades meet, one
wounded, from the front, the other from a German prison camp. “Yes,”
said the latter, with a peculiar, vacant expression in his eye. “Yes, I
was crucified. I was hung from a beam in the middle of the camp for two
hours, hands tied together over my head, in the form of a cross, body
hanging down till my feet were eighteen inches above the ground.”

“Is that true?” I demanded.

“True, look at these arms. Ask those comrades over there. I swear it, I
will write it down for you.”

He wrote the above statement and signed his name, Gandit, Pierre, 19th

August 28, 1914. “The French soldiers who were captured were led away.
Those seriously wounded, in the head or lungs, etc., who could not get
up, were put out of their misery, according to orders, by another shot.”
An extract from the diary of a German soldier, Fahlenstein, 34th
Fusiliers II Army. The original is in the hands of the French

At Ethe, finding twenty wounded men stretched out in a shed, unable to
move, they burned the shed and roasted them alive.

At Gomery a temporary, first aid hospital was captured. A Boche sergeant
and a group of soldiers rushed in, assaulted the doctor in charge and
burned the building. The wounded men, some of whom had had amputations
that same morning, maddened by the flames, jumped out of the windows
into the garden, where they were bayonetted by the waiting fiends. Dr.
De Charette, Lieutenant Jeanin and about one hundred and twenty wounded
French officers and men were butchered. This hospital was under command
of Dr. Sedillat.

“The Russians were treated like beasts, but among those emaciated,
ragged creatures, the most miserable of all, the most cruelly used of
all are the British. They were always the last and the worst served. If
ill, they were always the worst cared for. When they had no more
clothing to sell to buy food, they came to the hospital utterly
exhausted, stark naked, and died of hunger. It was a sight to pierce the
heart.” Report of Dr. Monsaingeon, of the French Medical Service, on
conditions at Gustrout in 1914 and 1915. Confirmation furnished the
French Foreign Officers and printed in “Treatment of French Prisoners in

The following letter, written by Officer Klent, 1st Company, 154th
German Infantry Regiment, was published in the “Jauersches Tageblatt,”
Harmonville, September 24, 1914: “We reached a little hollow in the
ground, where many red breeches, killed and wounded, were lying. We
bayonetted some of the wounded and smashed in the skulls of others.
Nearby I heard a singular crushing sound. It was caused by the blows one
of our 154th men was raining on the bald skull of a Frenchman. Our
adversaries had fought bravely, but, whether slightly or severely
wounded, our brave Fusiliers spared our country the expense of having to
nurse so many enemies.”



  This furlough, in spite of its “sans prolongation,” has been

                              CHAPTER XXI
                              THEIR CRIMES

We must make it absolutely impossible for the wild beast to break out
again. Our living ought to know the crimes committed in the name of
Kultur, in order to take the necessary precautions against their
recurrence. To our martyred dead, we have a sacred duty, that of

A little book was published at Nancy under the patronage of the Prefect
of Meurthe, G. Simon, Mayor of Nancy, and G. Keller of Luneville, aided
by the Mayors of the following towns, located at or near the battle
front: Belfort, Epinal, Nancy, Bar-le-Duc, Chalons, Chateau-Thierry,
Nelien, Beauvais, Baccarat, Luneville, Gerbiveller, Momemy,
Pont-a-Mousson, Verdun, Clermont, Semaise, Rheims, Senlis, Albert.

It is a record of robbery, rape, repression and murder that will taint
the German blood for generations, from Prince Eitel Fritz, the son of
the Kaiser, who looted the Chateau Brierry Avocourt, down to the under
officers, who searched private residences, which, open to the captors,
it was forbidden to lock. It is a record of shame and dishonor, of
brutal force, without a saving element of mercy. They struck their
helpless victims singly, in groups, in hecatombs.

Individually, they followed the systematic teaching of organized
butchery. The world knows about the murder of Miss Cavell, the Red Cross
nurse; of Eugene Jacquet, the Freemason; of Captain Fryatt, the civilian
sea-captain. This little book records the death of many others, innocent
martyrs to the same glorious cause.

At Foret the public school teacher refused to tread the French flag
underfoot and was shot.

At Schaffen, A Willem was burned alive, two others were interred alive.
Madame Luykx and daughter, twelve years of age, refuging together in a
cave, were shot. J. Reynolds and his nephew of ten years were shot, out
in the street.

At Sompius, an old man, Jacquimin, 70 years of age, was tied to his bed
by an officer and left there three days. He died shortly after his

At Monceau-Sur-Sambre they shut up the two brothers S. in a shed and
burned them alive.

At Momemy, M. Adam was thrown alive into the fire, then shot at with
rifles and Mme. Cousine, after being shot, was thrown into the fire and

At Maixe, M. Demange, wounded in both knees, fell helpless in his house,
and they set fire to it.

At Triancourt, Mme. Maupoix, 75 years old, was kicked to death because
not enough loot was found in her closet.

At Conis, Madame Dalissier, 73 years, who declared she had no money, was
shot through the body fifteen times.

At Rouyes, a farmer refused to tell where he got some French military
clothes. An officer shot him twice.

At Crezancy, M. Le Saint, 18 years of age, was killed by an officer
because some day he would be a soldier.

At Embermenil, Mme. Masson was shot because her servant, an idiot, gave
a wrong direction. The madame, pregnant, was made to sit on a chair
while they executed her.

At Ethe one hundred and ninety-seven were executed, among them two
priests, who were shot because they were accused of hiding arms.

At Marqueglise, a superior officer stopped four young boys, and, saying
that the Belgians were dirty people, he shot each one in succession. One
was killed outright.

At Pin, the Uhlans met two young boys, whom they tied to their horses,
then urged them to a gallop. Some kilometers away, the bodies were
found, the skin worn away from the knees, one with throat cut, both with
many bullet holes through the head.

At Sermaize, the farmer Brocard and his son were arrested. His wife and
daughter-in-law were thrown into a near-by river. Four hours later, the
men were set at liberty and found the two bodies of the women in the
water, with several bullet holes in their heads.

At Aerschot, the priest had hung a cross in front of the church. He was
tied, hands and feet, the inhabitants ordered to march past and urinate
on him. They then shot him and threw the body into the canal. A group of
seventy-eight men, tied three together, were taken into the country,
assaulted en route, and shot at and killed the following morning.

At Monchy-Humieres, an officer heard the word “Prussians” spoken. He
ordered three dragoons to fire into the group, one was killed, two
wounded, one of them was a little girl of four years.

At Hermeuil, while looting the town, the inhabitants were confined in a
church. Mme. Winger and her three servants, arriving late, the captain,
monocle in his eye, ordered the soldiers to fire. The four were killed.

At Sommeilles, while the town was being burned, the Dame X. with her
four children, sought refuge in a cave with her neighbor, Adnot, and his
wife. Some days later, the French troops, recapturing the town, found
the seven bodies, horribly mutilated, lying in a sea of blood. The Dame
had her right arm severed from the body, a young girl, eleven years of
age, had one foot cut off, the little boy, five years old, had his
throat cut.

At Louveigne, a number of civilians took refuge in a blacksmith shop. In
the afternoon the Germans opened the door, chased out the victims, and
as they ran out shot them down like so many rabbits. Seventeen bodies
were left lying on the plain.

At Senlis the mayor of the town and six of the city council were shot to

At Coalommiers a husband and two children testified to the rape of the
mother of the family.

At Melen-Labouche, Marguerite Weras was outraged by twenty German
soldiers before she was shot, in sight of her father and mother.

At Louppy le Chateau, it is the grandmother who is violated, and, in the
same town, a mother and two daughters, thirteen and eight years old,
were also victims of German savagery.

At Nimy, little Irma G., in six hours, was done to death. Her father,
going to her aid, was shot, her mother, seriously wounded.

At Handzaerne, the mayor, going to the aid of his daughter, was shot.

At St. Mary’s Pass, two sergeants of the 31st Alpines were found with
their throats cut. Their bayonets were thrust into their mouths.

At Remereville, Lieutenant Toussant, lying wounded on the battlefield,
was jabbed with bayonets by all the Germans who passed him. The body was
punctured with wounds from the feet to the head.

At Audrigny, a German lieutenant met a Red Cross ambulance, carrying ten
wounded men. He deployed his men and fired two rounds into the vehicle.

At Bonville, in a barn, a German officer shot in the eye nine wounded
French soldiers, who, lying stretched out, were unable to move.

At Montigny le Titcul, the Germans discovered M. Vidal dressing the
wounds of a French soldier, L. Sohier, who was shot in the head. M.
Vidal was shot at sight, then the wounded man was killed.

At Nary, they compelled twenty-five women to march parallel with them as
a shield against the French fire.

At Malinas, six German soldiers, who had captured five young girls,
placed the girls in a circle about them when attacked.

At Hongaerdi they killed the priest.

At Erpe, the Germans forced thirty civilians, one only thirteen years
old, to march ahead, while, hidden among the crowd were German soldiers
and a machine gun.

At Ouen-Sur-Morin, on Sept. 7, 1914, the Death’s Head Huzzars, the Crown
Prince’s favorite regiment, drove all the civilians into the Chateau,
then, sheltered by those innocents, they told the English, “Shoot away.”

At Parchim, where 2,000 civilians, French prisoners, were interned, two
prisoners, hungry, demanding food, were clubbed to death with the butt
end of rifles, while the young daughter of one of them was immediately
given eight days “mis au poteau.”

At Gerberviller, at the home of Lingenheld, they searched for his son, a
stretcher bearer of the Red Cross, tied his hands, led him into the
street and shot him down. Then they poured oil on the body and roasted
it. Then the father, of 70 years, was executed, along with fourteen
other old men. More than fifty were martyred in this commune alone.

Sister Julia, Superior of the Hospital Gerberviller, reports: “To break
into the tabernacle of the Church of Gerberviller the enemy fired many
shots around the lock, the interior of the ciborium was also

Statement of Mlle. ——, tried and acquitted for the murder of her infant,
in Paris.

“At Gerberviller, I worked in the hospital. Going to the church one
night, three German hospital stewards caught and assaulted me. I did not
understand their language. I thought they were men. I did not know they
were brutes.

“Yes, I killed the child; I could not bear to feel myself responsible
for bringing anything into the world made by the workings of a German.”

In Belgium alone, more than 20,000 homes have been pillaged and burned.
More than 5,000 civilians, mostly old men, women and children, with
fifty priests and one hundred and eighty-seven doctors, have been

At Timines, 400 civilians were murdered.

At Dinant, more than 600 were martyred, among them seventy-one women, 34
old men, more than 70 years of age, six children of from five to six
years of age, eleven children less than five years. The victims were
placed in two ranks, the first kneeling, the second standing, then shot.

The foregoing statements, vouched for by the most responsible
representative men in and near the invaded district, are some of the
cases continually being brought to public attention.

This evidence is accumulative, convincing, damning proof, it is
furnished by the bodies of the victims, by neighbor eye witnesses, by
devastated, homes, and by mutilated wrecks, who survived—some being
recaptured by French troops, others, repatriated as useless, sent back
to France via Switzerland.

These, and other crimes, are corroborated in the four reports of the
French Inquiry, in “Violations of International Law,” published, by
order of the French Foreign Minister, by the twenty-two reports of the
Belgian Commission, the reports of a German book published May 15, 1915,
diaries and note books found on bodies of dead German soldiers, wounded
men and prisoners. They are books of horror, but, books of truth,
glaring evidence of murdered men, misused women, ruined homes. Much of
them is actually furnished by perpetrators of the deeds. Comments are
unnecessary, words inadequate, cold print fails.

                          FROM A GERMAN DIARY

“The natives fled from the village. It was horrible. There was clotted
blood on the beards, and the faces we saw were terrible to behold. The
dead—about sixty—were at once buried; among them were many old women,
some old men and a half-delivered woman, awful to see. Three children
had clasped each other and died thus. The altar and vault of the church
were shattered. They had a telephone there to communicate with the
enemy. This morning, Sept. 2, all the survivors were expelled, and I saw
four little boys carrying a cradle with a baby five or six months old in
it, on two sticks—all this was terrible to behold. Shot after shot,
salvo after salvo—chickens, etc. all killed. I saw a mother with her two
children, one had a great wound in the head and had lost an eye.”


Into Europe’s seething cauldron of blood and tears, American youth have
been cast.

Patriotism, pride, resolutely demands that the Devil incarnate, who
stirs his awful mess of ghoulhash, shall perish.

Our national peril, the whole earth’s dire need, assembling the
Country’s selected young manhood, now make this a United States in
fact—probably, for the first time since Washington and Valley Forge.

I have tried to make you see war as I know it, war with no footballs,
portable bath tubs, victrolas nor Red Triangle Huts. Such blessings are
God-sends—more power to His messengers!


I met a company of the 18th U. S. Engineers swinging along the
tree-fringed macadamized highway toward the front. Clean-cut, well
dressed, smooth-shaven, happy and gay. It was a joy to see them. It made
a man feel proud to belong to the same race. They yelled a greeting in
broken French to the dirty Poilu, who responded in the latest American
slang, and marched away singing into the darkness, the words echoing
loud or low, as different sections took up the tune:

 “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
 He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
 He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword,
 His truth is marching on.”

Yes, Julia Ward Howe’s hymn is quite right. It sounds the keynote of
America’s part in this world’s greatest tragedy of all history.

They returned a month later, boys no longer, but men who had been
through the fire, and stood up to the grief. Tired, weary, chins pressed
forward; hands on the straps to permit free heart action, dust swirled
about the moving feet, and climbed up and settled on the stubby,
unshaven face, streaked with perspiration, which in turn rose and formed
an aura about the knapsack, as it bobbed up and down like a buoy on the
sea. From behind the dust-topped bristles flash the steely eyes of the

Such eyes! Not the calm, contemplative eyes of the sissy, but the
strong, fierce, exaltant eyes of the man who has fought, and won.

One month had changed him; the longer he is in the Army the greater the
change. Already he has seen there are things greater than fear, found
something greater than Life.

He has realized that in union there is strength, that soldiers by acting
together as a unit gain the objective, which brings the victory.

He wondered at the confidence of the French Poilu, and discovered that
behind that soldier is every man, woman and child, every ounce of
energy, every cent of money in France.

His mind wanders to his native land across the sea. True the Government
is behind him—but all the people are not behind the Government. The
International Socialist is still bent on destruction, and working for
Germany; the pro-German is hiding his galvanized Americanism behind Red
Cross and Liberty Loan buttons; the chatauquaized pacifist bemoaning
this “terrible bloodshed” is trying to dig himself into a hole, where he
can escape the U. S. draft. The foreign-language minister—exempted from
military service, the only privileged class in America—is still talking
denominationalism instead of patriotism; the Big Business banker, a
deacon in church, prays with the Methodist sisters, works hand in glove
with monopolists who have preyed upon the people, then offers 5 per cent
in competition with the Government 4-1/4 per cent. He wants to make a
profit for himself, rather than have the Government use the money to
feed and clothe the soldiers on the front. The prohibitionists, not
satisfied with war-time prohibition, with the control of liquor by the
Government, through the Food Administration, wants to further embarrass
the Government by agitating minor issues when every ounce of energy is
needed to win the war. They know the soldier will come back a broader
and wiser man, and they want to slip this legislation over in his
absence. Then there is the political lawyer who thrives on trouble, gets
fat on disaster, whose capital is wind, surplus hot air, whose services
are for sale for cash. Usually a trimmer who crawled on his stomach for
favors, he pledged himself in advance for votes. Backed by special
interests, these decoys play upon the passions and prejudices of men,
they array class against class, religion against religion, section
against section. Elected by the people whom they betray, the people in
return organize for protection, then the hypocrites wrap the robes of
loyalty about themselves, rush to the head of the procession, climb the
band wagon, seize the bass drum, and cry out: all those who don’t follow
are “drunken, dishonest or disloyal.”

Beclouding the main issue—of America’s danger—scheming for power while
soldiers die, too busy serving themselves, they have not time to serve
the nation, they cannot see that their day is past and that they must
give way to the men who will win the war—the soldier, the laborer, the

The living soldier is part of the Government, he sees through and past
the self-seeking tool or profiteer. He is not fooled by the political
machine. He is no longer Republican, Socialist or Prohibitionist—he is

Supported by the non-denominational Red Cross and Y. M. C A., he is no
longer Baptist, Methodist or Mormon—his religion is confined to Right
and Wrong.

That may be all right living; but what of the dead? Dead? Who are the
dead? Surely not the unselfish spirits who sacrificed their bodies on
the altar of freedom. Their deeds and glory are immortal. Are they,
themselves; anything less?

“They have passed into eternity,” we are accustomed to say. Eternity? Do
you limit eternity? Can you locate eternity’s beginning, eternity’s end?

Then shall we presume to think those noble spirits who went forward to
keep our own temporary abiding place safe for us a while longer, dead?

Water rises to its source—that is common knowledge. But, if we actually
cannot see the thing, we often rely on established mental habit,
prescribed for us, long since, by others.

The soldier, facing the truly big things of life, who learns to discard,
in emergency, the book of rules, cannot believe his comrade, whose
lifeless, torn body he left on the field, but whose spirit still
inspires him, dead. In the strong days of his youth, he remembers, now,
his Creator. He knows his absent comrade’s spirit lives—as does his own,
responding to that urge to victory! and he knows that they shall both
return unto God who gave them.

It is for us, still humanly on the job, to so manage that, when such
brave spirits come back, either to resume their interrupted tasks or to
take on greater, we shall have faithfully done our bit to make this old
world a better place in which to live and work.

Science, from her laboratory, reports that nothing is ever lost. Real
religion and science agree.


                           Transcriber’s Note

Errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been corrected, and
are noted here. The following issues should be noted, along with the
resolutions. The references are to the page and line in the original.

The document appearing on p. 247 has a caption which was incomplete.

  55.27    Descendent of General Israel Put[man/nam]      Transposed.

  64.12    a civil mining engine[e]r                      Added.

  67.21    held the mark[s]manship record in his regiment Added.

  103.28   was arrested in Paris by the genda[r]mes       Added.

  107.8    He later became Commissioner of Police at      Brazzaville?

  153.11   so that their bodies [was/were] not noticed    Replaced.

  180.11   [“]At the first glance                         Removed.

  185.21   I studied the pantomi[n/m]e for some time      Replaced.

  194.23   An enthusiastic, spirited volunte[e]r          Added.

  211.23   when Mad[a/e]moiselle changes to Madame        Replaced.

  237.4    They overr[u/a]n Luxemburg.                    Replaced.

  237.17   By brute force they over[r]ide decency         Added.

  241.8    a Bavarian soldier of the German[y] army       Removed.

  247.1    in spite of its "sans prolongation," has been  Missing.

  261.10   His truth is marching on.[”]                   Added.

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