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Title: A Doctor in France, 1917-1919: The Diary of Harold Barclay
Author: Barclay, Harold
Language: English
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1917 · 1919


1917 · 1919

The Diary of


Lieutenant-Colonel American Expeditionary Forces

New York
Privately Printed

Copyright 1923 by Helen Barclay
Printed in the United States of America


Harold Barclay, son of Sackett Moore and Cornelia Barclay Barclay, was
born in New York City, August 14, 1872. At Cazenovia, N.Y., his parents
had their country home and there by the beautiful Lake of Cazenovia he
spent his early years and grew up with that great love for the country
and dislike of cities which lasted all his life.

He entered Harvard University (class of 1897) but left after the first
year as he wished to go to Europe. After traveling a few months he
went to Germany to study music. He had a beautiful voice and was a
natural musician, and so great was the encouragement he received from
his teachers that for some time he considered making music his life
work. But other counsels prevailed and he finally chose the career of a
physician--a choice which his great success fully justified.

In 1899 he graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons. He
had, however, found time to serve his country in the Spanish-American
War, when he acted as medical assistant in Troop A, United States
Volunteers in Porto Rico.

In April, 1906, he married Helen Fuller Potter, daughter of the Rev.
Dr. Eliphabet Nott Potter.

During all these busy years, his love of music and travel continued
and always when possible his holidays were spent in European travel or
scientific studies in France or Germany.

When in 1917 America entered the World War, Dr. Barclay received a
commission as captain and went overseas in the Roosevelt Hospital Unit.
Promoted to Major in February, 1918, he was later transferred to the
42nd (Rainbow) Division, in which he served during the heavy fighting
at Château-Thierry and St.-Mihiel. In November, 1918, he became a
Lieutenant-Colonel and was ordered home January 2, 1919.

Dr. Barclay was traveling with his wife in France when his sudden death
occurred at Biarritz in the summer of 1922.


_With the Roosevelt Hospital Unit_


_June 30th._ At last, after six weeks' waiting and more or less
uncertainty of the time of departure, the call has come in the form of
"Confidential Order No. 5" from the War Department. Hustle into uniform
and report for duty to Major Hansell at Roosevelt Hospital. We are told
to go home and report again Sunday, July 1st.

_July 1st._ It really looks like business. The courtyard of the
Hospital is full of enlisted men having their outfits handed out to
them. The whole dispensary is littered with coats, trousers, blankets,
etc. The men are having identification discs given them and are packing
their kits and rolling blankets. They are really a fine-looking lot
of men, and from their general appearance a good many college men are
among them.

We are told that we are really going to sail the following morning,
and that we must go home, pack and have everything on the pier (Pier
60) before sundown that night. Max is packing my things for me--an
officer's trunk, a Gladstone bag and a canvas roll with poncho blankets
and a "Gold Medal" canvas cot. We hustle them down to Pier 60 and
leave them standing there with a feeling that they will not be seen
again, as the whole pier is a mass of motor trucks and boxes of every
description. We are to sail on the S.S. "Lapland" on the south side of
the pier. The "Baltic" has just docked and is discharging cargo at a
tremendous rate. The rattle of the winches is deafening and there are
literally hundreds of stevedores at work.

With a silent farewell my baggage is left, and then back to the house
where Helen and I lunch and start for Mt. Kisco for the afternoon.

One still feels terribly conscious and queer in uniform. My memory
keeps going back to the days when Rob and I enlisted for the Spanish
War, a thousand little details keep coming up that I had long
forgotten. Camp Alger and its chaos, Newport News, and the transport
"Mississippi" and all its horrors.

_July 2nd._ The order was to assemble at the Hospital at eight a.m. I
got there at 8:20 and everything was stirring. There is really nothing
for the majority of the officers to do. Rolfe Floyd is the busy one.
The regular Army men, Major Hansell in charge, and his Adjutant,
Captain Trinder, seem most efficient. They have really handled the
whole affair wonderfully, never once getting excited and every one
asking them hundreds of foolish questions. The amateur soldier is
really a horrible thing. No one can appreciate the difference between
military and civil life who has not tried them both.

The enlisted men leave on sight-seeing coaches at 9:30, after a
preliminary line-up in the courtyard, and cheers for Colonel Mackay and
every one connected with the outfit. The officers get down as best they
can, so I go down in Dr. Dowd's motor with Floyd, arriving on the pier
at ten a.m.

The "Lapland" has been painted war gray and is fitted with a new
mine-sweeping device, of which more later. There was quite a crowd of
people down there to see us off. Mrs. Vanderbilt, Clarence Mackay,--and
dozens of others whom I do not know. Except for the uniforms and the
gray paint on the ship, it seems just like a summer vacation trip. Our
baggage is wonderfully handled and everything put on board in the same
manner as in peace times. We are supposed to sail at twelve sharp. The
heat is intolerable. Our staterooms are fine; No. 33, upper deck room.
My lot was first cast with the Chaplain, but I told him McWilliams and
I were old Spanish War veterans, and so he let McWilliams bunk with me.

At one o'clock we are still at the pier. Two hundred and sixty-five,
or some such number, of cots have not appeared and our indefatigable
Quartermaster Ward will not leave without them, so sweat on, and the
poor devils who came down to the pier wait on!

About three thirty the cots are stowed on board, the whistle sounds
long blasts, the hawsers are cast off, and the thud of the great
engines begins. The crowd rush down to the end of the pier, where many
have waited since nine thirty in the morning apparently without any
lunch. They must be nearly dead.

The thrill of other voyages comes back so vividly to my mind as the
great ship slowly warps out into mid-channel, but I am alone now and
all is so different, yet it is hard to realize it and I cannot help
feeling it must be a great big holiday--the harbor seems so bright, gay
and peaceful. We steam at a snail's pace down the bay, and in front of
the Battery the ship seems to float for ten minutes or so, the engines
just turning over. Officers, nurses and men gaze on the tall buildings
as if they were things of stupendous beauty. Each man seems to identify
some building that he knows about, or has worked in. I know none of
them, and try to locate the Barclay Building, but cannot.

Finally we slip by the Battery, Governors Island and into the Lower
Bay. The waters seem crowded with shipping, the Dutch and English flags
being especially in evidence. There is one converted German steamer
flying the American flag. The "Vaterland" was lying quietly at her pier.

The glasses Mr. Bird gave me were a source of great fun in trying to
pick out the details of the ships. They practically all had stern guns,
and the Dutch ships had great spears of national colors all over their
sides. Off Tompkinsville, or rather St. George's, Staten Island, we
passed the Dreadnought "Kansas," her decks crowded with jackies in
white duck. She looked awfully spick and span.

Just below Tompkinsville we went through the opening in the net. One
could see distinctly the large buoys that marked its position, and the
small blocks that separated it. At the opening a Monitor lay anchored
and there were several motor-boats, of about forty to sixty feet long,
with big markings of "S.P. No. so and so." It was the first real
realization of war I had felt, and it gave one quite a little thrill.

Steaming more rapidly down the channel now and passing numerous
tugboats apparently commandeered for patrol duty. Finally the pilot
boat comes in sight and the pilot slips down the side into the little
rowboat. Full steam ahead is given and we at last feel the motion of
the long Atlantic sweep.

_July 3rd._ First day at sea and beautiful weather! The food and
service are excellent. The whole ship is run in the usual routine
manner, and it is increasingly hard to believe that the sea is filled
with pirates bent on our destruction, or that we are on war bent. The
nurses have taken off their street uniforms and donned summer girl
clothes, which further adds to the delusion of a holiday excursion.

At noon General Headquarters are established in the foyer on Deck
4, with typewriters clicking away. There is much issuing of order
and proclamation. McWilliams is made officer of the day and totes a
cumbersome revolver lent him by Floyd and which is the badge of office.

Captain Trinder, the Adjutant--a bully fellow full of punch and
go--gave the officers a talk on some of the elements of their duty in
the lounge room, and was listened to with marked attention as every one
is keen about mastering the details of his work.

Thousands of questions are asked about the most elementary details,
because we are an absolutely ignorant lot as far as the military end is
concerned. What little drill knowledge I picked up in the Troop or in
the Spanish War has absolutely vanished.

An edict has been put out from G. H. Q. that no rum is to be sold on
board and we are reduced to ginger ale and soda water. I managed to
pinch just one cocktail the first night, and it was good.

The afternoon dragged along. We were ordered to get out life-preservers
and carry them with us wherever we go. This is an absolute rule and we
cannot be separated from them for an instant. The officers and men walk
around with the preservers strapped to their backs, carrying them even
to meals, where one kicks them under the table between one's feet while

The rubber suits were gotten out and fixed on. I don't believe they can
ever be adjusted in a general excitement which is bound to ensue in a
smash-up, and then besides if there is any leak in the rubber, such as
a pin prick, they would slowly fill with water. I shall depend on the
old life-preserver.

The night is wonderful. Officers and nurses sit on deck singing. And
they sing well. A beautiful full moon.

_July 4th._ My turn as officer of the day which, among its other
duties, entailed dragging around "Rollo" Floyd's Colt automatic,
and this blunderbuss grew heavier each hour of the day, so that by
night-time it weighed nothing less than a ton. Was given a detail of
twenty men out of which I appointed, as per instructions, two Acting
Sergeants, one day and one night; two guards were assigned to Q. M.
Ward; three to Headquarters and six to prison guard. It being a holiday
the Headquarters and Q. M. guard were dismissed at noon, the prison
guard being the only one maintained.

Visiting our only prisoner, I found him to be a clean-cut, alert man
of apparently more than average intelligence. I made the poor devil as
comfortable as possible, but was obliged to go through his baggage in
search of any incriminatory evidence and to take any weapons away from
him. These consisted of three razors, which were turned over to H. Q.
Thompson, the prisoner, is, I believe, an actor--probably a super. He
expressed a strong desire for a bible, so sent him the Chaplain later.
He thanked me very profusely for this. I exceeded orders and allowed
him to be on deck four hours, instead of two, as the day was stifling
and his cabin not the coolest place in the world.

At night all singing was stopped as they say sound carries for a long
distance over the water.

The life boats have all been swung out and men assigned to them. I am
commanding officer of boat No. 21, starboard side, or the alternate No.
22, port side. Which boat is launched depends upon which side we are
struck and how the ship lists.

Being the Fourth of July the dinner had an extra course and a few extra
British and American flags about. In the evening we assembled in the
Second Cabin for a smoker, only no one was allowed to smoke as all
ports being closed you could cut the atmosphere. However, cigars and
cigarettes were passed around and, I suppose, were used later. We had
the usual burst of song, but it was such a beautiful warm night with
a full moon that every one hurried on deck. I made my last round at
eleven p.m. and turned in for a sound night's sleep.

_July 5th._ Another wonderful, hot day with only a mere ripple on the
ocean. I turned over the old shooting iron to Floyd, and was jolly well
glad to be rid of it. We have boat drill at ten a.m. I am captain of my
boat. The orders are that in case of torpedo we man the starboard side
first; if the ship is so listed that we cannot launch that side we take
the port side. My boats are 21 starboard and 22 alternate port. I have
three lieutenants and fifteen men besides certain members of the ship's
crew. My boat is farthest astern; we are cut off from all commands on
the bridges, and if we have to go over will practically have to work on
my own initiative.

At four p.m. the stern gun fired three practice shots at a smoke
target. The target was allowed to float about a mile leeward. The
first shot was over, but the second and third were bull's-eyes. It was
very pretty to see the shell ricochet. It made thin splashes in the
water. In one it was markedly deflected to the left.

No smoking on decks after nightfall, and the smoking-room is so hot
with everything locked up that one rather went without than sit
indoors. It was a beautiful moonlit night and Russell and I sat on
deck till twelve p.m., then turned in where I found McWilliams snoring

_July 6th._ An uneventful day. Trinder is drilling the officers for an
hour each afternoon. The parson tried to talk philosophy with me in
the cabin. I was tired and these old sex problems bore me to death.
He has just read one volume of Havelock Ellis and heard a lecture on
psycho-analysis and is full of it. I told him the only philosophy I had
was "live and let live," and all this analysis of a man's daily action
was a damned bore as far as I was concerned. He left me in a huff. He
is just bristling with uplift, but on the whole a good fellow.

Turned in about eleven and read "Captains Courageous" for a couple of
hours, but got dreaming about subs and could not sleep. The ship's
company on the whole seem more or less concerned, but all keep
cheerful. My only hope is, that if anything happens, I won't lose my

_July 7th._ A cold, gray day, but a very pleasant change after the past
six days of suffocation. General inspection in flannel shirts at nine
a.m., and it was cold standing around. It was the first time I had
seen the men all drawn up together and they looked well. The parson is
peeved. He would hardly speak to me this morning, but it will probably
wear off in time. This is an awfully good, tame crowd. There is none
of the old freebooter spirit we had in '98. All older is probably the
answer. But even the younger men are very quiet.

The nurses had a party. There were shrieks of laughter until late in
the night.

_July 8th._ No drills nor work to-day. It is cloudy and very cold. At
ten forty-five Divine Service on deck. All the enlisted men, nurses
and officers were present. The service was quiet, impressive and very
earnest. The tension is growing hourly.

At five p.m. all the boat commanders were summoned to Colonel Winter's
room to talk over final arrangements for boat personnel. They have not
swung my boats out yet, although I have spoken several times to Trinder
about it. They say that part of the ship is so much lower that if a sea
kicked up they would have to swing them in again. I certainly have a
mean station.

At four p.m. we officers had a voluntary drill. I got a good bath
afterwards. It may be the last for several days, as it is suggested
that no one wants to get caught with clothes off. A good many men are
sleeping partially dressed to-night. The rumor is, to-morrow we _wear_
preservers, not _carry_ them, and the time at meals is to be reduced to
a minimum. We all sat around in the smoking-room this afternoon. The
conversation was largely on submarines and army life. Colonel Winter
tried to put a bit of cheer into things with a few stories, but it was
hard. Outside the moon is trying to struggle out, the sea is dead calm,
and the ship is bleak as perdition. No ports or ventilators are allowed
to be opened. Fortunately, it is cold.

_July 9th._ A day really of terrible suspense. We are in the danger
zone. The life-boats have been partially lowered over the side. Every
conceivable precaution is being taken. The nurses' suits are all laid
out on deck. Every one is strung up to the breaking point. All the
enlisted men have been moved up. Many are sleeping on deck.

About five p.m. the Captain began his zig-zag course, making
wide sweeps every five or ten minutes. There were rumors that a
torpedo-boat would turn up late this afternoon, but now, at eleven
p.m., there is nothing in sight. And with it all it is the most
beautiful night ever conceived. A little moon half on the wane came
peeping up out of a bank of clouds, about ten thirty, making its silver
path of light and doubtless silhouetting us clearly against the sky.

Passed a small freighter lower on the horizon before dinner. Everything
is scanned with most suspicious glances and carefully shunned. Well,
here it goes for a few hours' sleep, or an attempt at it, for it's up
at the first break of dawn.

_July 10th._ Jim woke me a little before four a.m. We went out on deck.
A beautiful morning with the sun just rising. Peck was there and Miss
Francis, the head nurse, had been sitting up all night. She looked it.
I took a few turns and then turned in till eight thirty.

Nothing of any particular interest, except we sighted another C. P.
boat with a torpedo-boat escort. It was curious to watch her. First she
was on one side and then the other. The zigzagging gets one completely
confused as to position.

About six this evening a speck on the horizon and we break our number
from the fore truck and in a few minutes we come in plain view of our
convoy. She is a torpedo-boat destroyer, No. 38, with the "Stars and
Stripes" flying astern. We had a feeling of great relief. We gave her a
hearty cheer. To bed now and clothes off.

_July 11th._ Woke up and climbed out on deck at three fifteen. Light
was just breaking and every one was on the qui vive. Watched the
serpentine for a bit and then turned in again and had a good snooze
till Eddie, the bath steward, routed me out for a plunge. Last wash on
board; we go dirty to-morrow, and then a good fresh-water tub and soap.

Our destroyer was changed during the night. The rumor is that 38 went
in assistance to some other ship that was below us in our vicinity.

There are surprisingly few boats seen--two sailboats, a trawler, and
one large steamer is preceding us. Just after lunch a large French
dirigible circled over us. She has been hovering around since early
morning, presumably looking for subs.

It is pack up to-night and if we have luck we shall land early in the
a.m. About eight p.m. we sight the lighthouse off the bar, but cannot
cross until high tide on account of the risk of striking a mine.

_July 12th._ On deck a little before seven when we cross the bar and
proceed slowly up the Mersey and drop anchor before the quay where
we wait for over two hours for the boarding officers. They arrive
after a long wait. Everyone is herded in the lounge where a captain
and three corporals go over all our papers and ask us if we carry any

We disembark at noon. Then a short walk through the town with Peck,
Russell, etc., hunting for a cable office. I suppose all my letters
will be censored out of shape as I wrote fully describing the voyage.

Major Keating met us at the wharf. He is the officer in charge of
embarkation, a perfect type of the English gentleman. Lunch on ship and
are entrained for Southampton direct, much to our disgust, for every
one was hoping for at least one day in London. The nurses are held over
in Liverpool for a tea or something; every one is most courteous.

The train was scheduled to leave at two thirty p.m., but when made up
did not have sufficient room for officers, so three-quarters of an hour
delay while another first-class carriage is hunted up, but every one
takes it very casually and Major Keating chats very pleasantly with
us all. Finally the extra carriage arrives and we are loaded. Men are
loaded third class and we go first. Everything is conducted in an
orderly fashion with an eye to comfort. But it seems so strange to be
here and traveling under these conditions and in uniform.

The train travels slowly with numerous stops, by Crewe, Stafford,
Birmingham. At each stop all the men pile out and rush for the
refreshment counter, much to the confusion of the placid females
who try to attend to them in their leisurely fashion. They call for
American drinks which the ladies have never heard of. A struggle with
the money. I know they think we are a bunch of lunatics.

The liquor laws are very strict and appear very sensible. They allow
the sale of liquors and beer for two hours in the middle of the day and
for one half hour in the evening. No flasks can be sold from Thursday
night till Monday, so no man can take a supply home for consumption
over Saturday and Sunday.

At a little after midnight we reach Southampton and are met by
General Balfour and his staff. The General has charge of the port of
Southampton and is responsible for practically all the embarkation of
troops and supplies for the seat of war.

The General conducted us personally to the Northwestern Hotel where we
had the most comfortable quarters. A cold supper was waiting and the
closing law was waived. I had a good pint of ale. It was good after a
long hard day of travel.

The country was as wonderful as ever, but in place of the flower
gardens one saw nothing but vegetables. We came down via Oxford and
saw many stretches of the Thames. It made me homesick because of the
pleasant days spent at Maidenhead with Helen in 1914.

Will now continue with our arrival. The poor enlisted men were marched
three and a half miles to a camp which they reached at three a.m. Floyd
and Cave accompanied them.

_July 13th._ It was ten o'clock when I awoke. The first real night's
sleep in over a week. Wonderful beds and a good bath made everything
bright. Breakfast with Martin on war bread (whole wheat) and coffee,
with usual accompaniments of boiled milk. Sugar is doled out like gold.

Some of the officers went up to see the men in camp, but I toddled
around the town and saw the old wall. It seems that the "Mayflower"
sailed from here, and there is a monument to Elder Brewster of Scrooby
and John Alden and others of that merry party. After that wandered
around town, bought some puttees and a penknife. Met some of the others
and lunched at the "Dolphin," a typical old-time inn.

The food laws are really strict, but then one gets all one needs. The
meat allowance per meal is something like five ounces as it comes from
the butcher, which means about three and a half ounces when served.

At three p.m. embarked on the tender which is to take us out to the
hospital ship which is to run us across to Havre. We first run across
to another quay where we are to pick up the nurses who are due to
arrive at five forty-five. While waiting, General Balfour came down
again in his little yellow car and showed us the medal struck off in
Germany to commemorate the sinking of the "Lusitania." On the front
side was a ship going down by the bow, with guns and aeroplanes on
hand. On the reverse side was the Cunard ticket office with a skeleton
selling tickets. The exact inscription I cannot remember, but it meant
the desire for gain on the Cunard's part was the only consideration for
selling tickets.

The nurses arrive in a flurry of excitement, having had the time of
their lives. They were given the freedom of the theaters at Liverpool
and were cheered as they entered, and a lunch at the Savoy where they
all agreed they were wonderfully fêted. Interesting stories of our
ocean voyage were told them by Major Keating after we left.

It seems that the destroyer No. 38 sunk a sub two hours before meeting
us. They also confirmed the report that the "Coyote" was sunk sixteen
miles ahead of us at one thirty a.m. It also seems that Pershing's
force was attacked by what is said to be a veritable sub flotilla, and
why none was sunk was just devilish good luck.

Steam about four miles down the harbor to the "Grand Tulley Castle."
She is officially E-812, as all the boats are numbered now; the former
names having been painted over. She was formerly in the African trade.
Quarters are somewhat cramped, but she is as clean and comfortable
as one could wish. There is an operating theater on the forward main
deck, and between-decks are converted into wards. She is in command
of Major W. V. Robinson, R.A.M.C. The officers are all very agreeable
men and are doing everything to make us comfortable. No one can begin
to realize what England is doing who has not seen the activity of
Southampton. Just after we got on board two big transports passed us
loaded with troops, it was said, for Mesopotamia.

_July 14th._ All day at anchor. No one allowed to leave the steamer.
The papers came on board in the morning. Towards sundown two more
transports leave again filled with troops.

We all jumped overboard for a swim in the afternoon. Concert in the
evening by the men of the ship with ours. Every one seemed to have a
good time.

The sunset was wonderful and the twilight lasted for nearly two hours.

_July 15th._ Still at anchor with no news of our departure. Major
Robinson tried to get permission for the officers to visit Nutley
Hospital, but only succeeded in getting it for six, so the high ones
went--and said it was very interesting.

At four p. m. weigh anchor, put out the mine-sweeper and are off,
escorted by two torpedo-boats which put out from Portsmouth. We pass
through the nets and around the Western part of the Isle of Wight.
Through the glasses Cowes looks absolutely deserted; the bath houses
are pulled back on the beach and, although it is a Sunday in midsummer,
one cannot see a child playing on the sands. This is equally true of
the beaches around Southampton, of which there are five or six.

It is blowing a hard gale from the south. Orders are--sleep in clothes
and wear life-preservers. The run is considered dangerous. There are
many mine-sweepers at work around us.

_July 16th._ We dock at the old Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
pier, most of which is turned into a hospital. More waiting and while
we wait a trainload of wounded arrive and are carried in litters aboard
the ship. I hear no complaint. Most of the men are smoking cigarettes.

After several hours of cooling our heels we are told to go to the Hotel
Moderne by the French Commandant. Havre is entirely taken over by
the British. Most of the tram-cars are run by Tommies and the city is
policed by them. The men doing police duty walk in pairs, wear a red
band around their hats and have a brassard on the arm with "M. P." and
are a fine looking lot. The Moderne is an easy third-rate hotel. Am
rooming with McWilliams.

In the early evening the Commandant calls again and tells us we are to
proceed to Vittel by a slow train. It is most disappointing as I had
hoped for a few days in Paris, especially as we had been sidetracked
from London. At the instigation of Major Bruce we proceeded to the
État Major of the Havre district, who finally agreed to telephone
to American headquarters at Paris. The answer comes that our orders
are absolute; that we were to embark at eight p. m. The train would
leave at nine p. m. and we would be approximately forty-eight hours en
route--no arrangements for sleeping or anything. The officers for which
I arrange had packages of two eggs, 400 grams of bread and 100 grams
of cheese. So we start off. A few Red Cross Frenchwomen and some men,
together with the French Commander and a file of about twelve soldiers
come down to see us off. The soldiers present arms, the Red Cross
ladies hand us a small nosegay of sweet peas, a small box of grapes is
entrusted to Henry Cave, and the train snorts out. The men go third
class, the nurses second class, officers first class, and we all go
like hogs!

While at Havre, Russell, McWilliams, James and a few others motored
over to Étretat and saw Brewer, Darrach and his crowd. They are
delightfully situated. Saw Sally Strain and had a little chat with her.
Paul Draper was working in the outfit as an orderly. They took their
hospital over from the English who had everything working well and had
established a good precedent.

_July 17th._ In the words of the prophet, "The hell of a night." We
tried to doctor the seats so one could lie down, but your head would
always come out lower than your feet and there was little use in
trying. About two hours was the average, with a cold-gray-dawn feeling
as if one had been on an all-night debauch. There was no use trying to
wash, because there was nothing to wash in or with.

We opened the emergency package and had breakfast of hard-boiled eggs,
black bread and cheese. About six a. m. we pulled in to St. Lazaire
Station in Paris and in ten minutes were out again. Then backing and
filling for an hour when we landed at Noisy-le-Sec, nine kilometers
from Paris. There we were told by the lieutenant we had missed our
connection and would remain till two thirty.

Noisy-le-Sec is a poor working suburb of Paris. Just why we could
not have been left in Paris to have a comfortable breakfast is
probably unknown, except that when two alternatives are presented--a
comfortable, convenient one, or an uncomfortable, inconvenient
one--the rules of the game seem to be always to take the more
inconvenient of the two. There is apparently a lack of any definite
plan for us.

We foraged around Noisy, got a good bath and managed, for an exorbitant
price, to obtain a fair déjeuner in a small workingman's restaurant
which was filled with military.

As one travels through the country the results of the war are very
apparent. The countryside is deserted and only women are seen working
in the fields. It's women, boys and old men. The lovely flowers that we
formerly saw in such profusion are scarcely seen now. In spite of the
shortage of labor, however, the fields are all well planted.

Constant trains filled with soldiers are passing northward, and at
every station we stop there are a number waiting to join their commands
or coming home on leave. During the afternoon we jogged along at about
twenty-five kilometers an hour with frequent long stops. At seven
o'clock some more brown bread and cheese. I had gotten a bottle of red
wine during our few minutes' stop in Paris which helped things along
nicely. Then about ten we settle down for our second night.

_July 18th._ Every one woke up feeling pretty ragged. Goodness knows
how the nurses stand it as well as they have, because they stick their
noses out in the cold gray dawn looking pretty fresh.

At Troyes last night some Canadian nurses came down to meet the train.
The station was simply packed with soldiers.

Well, ten thirty a. m. and the miserable, dirty old train draws into
Vittel, and it was with some pleasure that I saw the end of the
rat-hole we had lived in for thirty-eight hours.

Met by a French officer. They knew we were coming, but had no orders
what to do with us, so we are bundled through a deserted town to the
Hotel Vittel Palace, which is an annex of one of the larger hotels
and has been serving as a military hospital. Well, the least said
about this place the better. No towels, no toilet articles or looking
glasses. There is one bathtub at the end of a long corridor which we
all have to use. No one to clean it out. In fact, nothing is done and
the whole place, in spite of the fact it is a hospital, is filthy.
McWilliams, James, Stillman and I have one room which could hold two in
a pinch. Nowhere to store anything. The mess is horrible. It is in the
old ballroom surrounded with beds. We sit on hard benches. Breakfast is
hard bread, no butter and some horrible liquid called coffee without
sugar--worse than anything we had during the Spanish War.

_July 20th. Vitell._ Just kicking around. No orders. There is a rumor
we are to move about twenty miles from here into barracks which are now
under construction. Anything to get out of here.

The French are most polite. The men all salute us in the streets,
several men and women coming up and talking to us. When Russell,
James, Stillman and myself went to a neighboring hotel for a good lunch
we were given a good round of hand-clapping as we walked into the
dining-room. I shouted in return, "Vive la France." Many officers have
come up and spoken to us. I have never tried to talk French so hard in
my life and that which I do speak is simply awful, but they take it in
good part and try and help me out.

This morning in watching the tennis I asked a Frenchman where I could
get racquets and balls. He brought up an English captain (Lucas),
who explained everything to me and insisted on introducing me to a
Frenchwoman, Madame Somebody, who, he said, played a good game, so
have a date to play with her at five p. m., consequently have rummaged
to get a pair of tennis shoes, but there is nothing big enough for
me, except a pair of dirty brown canvas sneakers, and I have to wear
my long military trousers. I hate doing things when I have not the
appropriate clothes.

I went out this afternoon trying to make some arrangement at the
different hotels for an officers' mess, but they want ten francs which
is too much as practically all the men are living on their pay. The
English do well for their men and officers. They give a good mess and,
I think, clothing allowance, for they all seem to be on Easy Street.

Well, here goes for the tennis!

The tennis was good fun. The two women played very well, but the
men--first one and then a younger fellow took up the game--were not
much good.

Dined at the hotel with Russell.

_July 21st._ Tried to get some white duck trousers to play tennis in,
but no luck, so shall have to stick to the old army ones unless I can
manage to borrow a pair.

Captain Ward turned up just after we had finished lunch. He looked dead
beat, said he had an awful time as neither the French nor English
Government had any orders concerning him. They crossed the Channel on
a ship loaded with troops and horses. They said the French had treated
them much better than the English.

Majors Robert Bacon and McCoy were here this morning looking over the
place. There are rumors that Pershing may make it his headquarters.

Peck, Hansell and Trinder motored over to Contreville. They reported
that it was a smaller place and not nearly so attractive. They go to
Gondrecourt, which I understand is the Divisional Headquarters of
General Sibert.

The order came to-day that we were to wear the belt and shoulder piece,
the same as the English officers. It will make our shabby uniform look

Russell and I are trying to get leave for seventy-two hours to get to
Paris. I hope it can be done as I want very much, in spite of the
expense, to see what is going on.

Ward brought a little mongrel fox-terrier puppy with him from Havre.
My, but it made me want to see Bluffie.

I had a wonderfully vivid dream last night. I dreamt I was back in
Cazenovia, riding old Jonnis, the horse, and that we had just been
discharged from the Spanish War, and that all this rotten business was
over. I could not imagine for some minutes where I was on awakening.
But it gives me the creeps, as the men are already making arrangements
for the winter.

_July 22nd._ Was made mess officer and spent the whole afternoon
running around the épicier shops buying eggs, coffee, etc. Prinzen is
the chief cook. Eggs are scarce--three francs per dozen. The men were
getting pretty hungry.

I obtained permission to go to Paris, so am leaving on the one p.m.
train with Russell. Packed my valise and am off. It is good to get
away from the crowd and to be free, even for a few hours.

We arrive in Paris at ten p. m. There were very few taxis, but we
managed to secure one and went to the Ritz. Paris is absolutely dark; a
dim light flickers every two blocks, but the streets are so dark in the
interim that it is with difficulty you can see people approaching. At
ten as we drove down the Rue de la Paix and into the Place Vendôme it
was absolutely deserted save for two girls. This is not metaphor, but

After depositing our bags we groped our way along the Rue de Rivoli and
into the Place de la Concorde. Three belated private limousines sneaked
past us as if they were ashamed to be out so late. Otherwise, silence
and darkness. It was as if the hand of death had suddenly closed down
on the whole world and left one with an eerie, creepy feeling. A lone
gendarme was standing under a feeble lamp. He seemed glad to see us. I
counted eight lamps burning in the place and that was all. The change
was profound, almost terrible. I shall be glad to get to the hotel and
in my room and turn on all the lights.

_July 23rd._ A wonderful night twixt clean, snowy white sheets, a rack
full of white clean towels and a porcelain tub all my own and hot
water. If any man with soul so dead cannot appreciate what that means,
let him follow the U. S. A. for three weeks. If he goes in the field
under canvas he is lucky, but if he is thrust in dirty hotels that have
been used as hospitals for three years, heaven help him, because no one
else will, and certainly not the U. S. A.

Sent a note to Gabrielle Dorziat saying I was in town and asked her to
dine with me, but when I called she had gone to Épernay for a few days.
I was awfully sorry not to have seen her.

Spent the whole morning tearing around with Russell. The Embassy,
Morgan, Harjes, American Express, etc. We went to Army Headquarters
at 21 Rue Constantin where I tried to present a letter to Colonel
Bradley, the M. O., but we found Medical Headquarters are at 10 Rue
Ste. Anne. Bradley was away, but we saw Mr. Ireland, Colonel. He is the
king-pin of the show. He gave us the depressing news that we would in
all probability be permanently stationed at Vittel. Called on Lillie
Havemeyer. She was moving to a new apartment at No. 38 Avenue Gabriel.
All was chaos, but she gave me a warm welcome and asked me to lunch
with her at Laurens the next day. Later I went to see Henry Clews.

Henry has a charming hôtel with a lovely garden. A fountain with ducks
and goldfish. A nice sleepy cat was watching the pigeons, and a bulldog
was watching the cat. The peace and quiet were wonderful. We had tea in
the garden. Henry was very quiet and just what his view of the whole
situation is it was hard to gather. He was very hospitable and asked
me to make my headquarters there any time I was in Paris.

We dined at the Tavern Royal with a quart of sweet champagne. But the
best of all was a couple of cocktails at Maxim's beforehand. The Maître
d'Hôtel was very loquacious and told us most impressively that America
had come in none too soon because France was at the end of her tether.
This is what we heard everywhere.

Paris by day appears on the surface very much as when we left in
September, 1914. The streets are crowded with uniforms of every
description and every now and then an American one, but as yet they are
very much in the minority.

_July 24th._ Lunched with Lillie Havemeyer and Freddy. The afternoon,
more errands, a lemonade at Fouquet's, and dinner with Mrs. Duryea in
the evening. A very pleasant home dinner, just four--a Miss Carrol
making the fourth. In the evening M. Robinson came in. He apparently
had the affairs of France on his shoulders.

I left early and walked down the Champs Elysées. It was very dark.
People were sitting on the benches and strolling about. It is
practically all one can do after nine in the evening.

_July 25th._ We left Paris in the early morning and after nine hours
of sweltering heat and dust found ourselves back in the same old
place--grimmer than ever. It was hard to get in the dirty old bed after
the clean white sheets of the Ritz, and come down to one dirty towel
till you could get another, always a matter of uncertainty. I began my
struggles with the mess again.

Coming down on the train we met a Dr. Water with the Johns Hopkins
unit. He had been making a tour of the hospitals. He said they had come
over with the first expeditionary force and had been at St. Nazaire for
some time, and while there they had witnessed the disembarkation of
all the American troops. He estimated them at about fifty thousand.
I played head waiter at evening mess, trying to get the men who
are working as waiters licked into shape, and in consequence got

_July 26th._ The mess again. Am trying to arrange prices so that we
can buy a little cheaper, but it is difficult. Excessive charging
can be brought to the attention of the authorities, but every one, I
suppose, tries to ring in a few extra sous. However, I am getting the
tradespeople to submit prices and shall buy from the cheapest.

All the men are working at their French. It is quite funny to see
them, and their accent is something terrific. The French are very
good-natured and many of them sit in the garden and give lessons for
pure love.

Time drags very much.

_July 27th._ A day of absolute inactivity. There are no golf or tennis
balls, so there is absolutely nothing to do except lie about and try
and talk French. I spent the morning sitting in the garden in one of
the twenty-five-centime armchairs. A few, not more than three or four,
demi-mondaines arrived, and they are at least a little more refreshing
to look at than the old rheumatics.

I am struggling with the food problems. The coffee we get is rotten,
in spite of the fact we buy the best. The French are a curious lot.
I tried to stimulate competitive bids on food prices, but they show
absolutely no desire or interest in obtaining our trade. In America
every tradesman in town would be after our trade; here they are
absolutely indifferent and hardly take the trouble to submit prices.

_July 28th._ Hot as hell and nothing to do. No tennis or golf balls can
be had. Up at eight, breakfast, talk to the greasy cook, look at greasy
meat, go to greasy stores and buy greasy food. Such is the day for
which Uncle Sam pays us $7 per day and expects you to cough up at least
$4 for food and clothes.

C'est la vie!

_July 29th._ Cooler, overcast. There is a rumor of tennis balls being
procurable. Also about twenty pages of directions regarding mail
censorship, etc. All of which was duly read and all the information
which could be derived therefrom was that you could mention the
weather, the state of your health, and there it ended. No date, nothing
on letterhead, signature in a certain corner, and a thousand other
things. About five hundred letters and postal cards were returned this
morning marked "Improper to forward." The French term is "Achamement."

_July 30th._ Cloudy and later raining. A violent thunder-storm Sunday
night. This is the first rain since leaving U.S.A.

Major Hansell started classes on Field Service Regulations. We are to
have it two hours every morning, with an hour of drill in the p. m.
In addition, individual officers have been assigned special subjects
to report on. I have been given "Demography in so far as it relates
to the Vital Statistics of the Army." This is to be summarized and
reported upon from an article by Lieutenant-Commander Weston P.
Chamberlain. In the evening Russell and I gave Ward, Trinder, Hansell
and Peck a dinner at the Grand Hotel. Such things may seem trivial but
they mean much. Still no definite orders and simply marking time.

_July 31st._ Making up mess statement. Trinder, Floyd and Steiner went
to Nancy this morning to get funds for pay day tomorrow. The enlisted
men are much excited at the prospect of getting money. They have all
patronized the café freely, buying candies, chocolates and cigarettes.
Candy is in great demand. Even the officers are consuming it in great
amounts. It seems strange to see men using it in such amounts. I went
to the candy shop in the Arcade to get some this morning, and the woman
was practically sold out.

Two of the men go to Paris to-day at one p. m. to bring down a
motor-truck and the two mascot dogs that were given to the Unit. They
have been given a large number of commissions, among them one for
tennis and golf balls.

_August 1st._ After two days' hard rain a beautiful clear day. It dried
sufficiently in the afternoon for some fine tennis. The box of athletic
goods has been opened and it was a real pleasure to get a good racquet
and some new balls.

Russell, Stillman and myself dined at the Grand. At nine p. m. the
French officers tendered us a reception. We all sat around a long
table. Sweet champagne and a pyramid of cake were served with French
and American flags stuck in them. Major L---- made a speech of welcome
in French, then read a translation which somebody had evidently made
for him; his attempts at pronunciation nearly choked the poor man, for
he mopped the sweat from his brow and drained his glass at a gulp. At
the conclusion a toast to the American and French Armies was drunk.
Then Hansell arose and read a very nice little speech which Widener
attempted to translate, but all the jokes fell as dead as Cæsar

The surprising thing was that among our men only one can speak French
and only a few understand anything. The French were no better off.
Still we struggled along, and all had, or seemed to have, a good time.
The party broke up by our singing the "Marseillaise" in English and
then "Oh, Say, etc." and finally "Way Down upon the Swanee River." The
French tried to respond, but broke down and explained they never sang
like that.

Cave did not come home till one o'clock. Great excitement!

Pershing and some of his staff came in the Grand while we were there.
He is an exceedingly fine-looking man.

_August 2nd._ Just one month to-day since leaving home.

Collected my mess funds to-day from the men, paid cooks and strikers.
I hope I can manage the accounts. It is a fussy, nasty job. They are
not going to let us eat here much longer, so we will try and make
arrangements with one of the hotels. I shall be glad at least to eat
outside of this filthy place.

_August 3rd._ Nothing but rain.

_August 4th._ Rain in showers all day. Tried to get a walk in the
afternoon, but torrents of rain drove us to cover.

Moved to the Lorraine Hotel for our mess. This cuts me out of much

_August 5th._ Rain. Separated from the Lorraine mess and am taking my
meals separately on the Terrace. It costs a franc fifty extra, but the
peace is well worth it.

In the evening a trainload of wounded arrived. There were over two
hundred and fifty--sixty stretcher cases, the remainder gas and minor
injuries, principally involving the extremities. Our men marched up to
the station and the new ambulances were drawn up on the siding. The
train pulled in packed with the wounded. They were all very quiet and
uncomplaining. I questioned several men. They came from Hill 304. They
said there was a new gas used there, which when launched was invisible,
producing no fumes and not creating any injury until the body comes
in contact with water. Thus a man getting wet or washing his face the
next day would receive a skin burn. If this is true the gas-mask would
afford but little protection. On coming back to the hotel I saw many
burns of the extremities; they had marked conjunctivitis. The stretcher
cases seemed mostly wounds of the extremities.

In talking with the French, and this observation is borne out by
others, it seems that on the whole they are taking the war in a very
matter-of-fact spirit, and the blood-thirsty desire to extract the last
sou from our soldiers is the same as in the old tourist days.

_August 6th._ Bright and clear! Oh, what a relief, after a miserable
week of drenching rain, in which all one's clothes are damp and soggy
and the feet are never dry.

It is rumored--in fact, Major Hansell told me last night--that it is
more than probable that we will ultimately be quartered in barracks at
Chaumont. The high command have motored over there this morning to look
over the ground.

_August 9th._ Nothing of any particular event. The days have been fine.
We have had our morning classes each day. Some of these classes are
fairly interesting, but the majority are rather dull. Russell and I
left the mess for a few days, but everywhere we went the French made
some attempt to do us.

Several days ago we had definite orders we were to move to
Chaumont--going into barracks. Chaumont is a town of fifteen thousand
and at least will be more pleasant than this dirty little place.

After lunch I applied to Major Hansell to be temporarily detailed for
field service. He did not seem adverse to the idea and told me to
bring the matter up later. I certainly want to see active service. This
present situation is not my idea of an able man's job, but something
that can be carried on by "any old person." I should like to get where
there is a little "red blood" and hear the last of the damned old
laundry and ice plant and whether the nurses got in on time or not.

_August 12th._ Still waiting and doing nothing. Yesterday the men
played the officers at baseball, the latter winning 2-1. It was a
surprisingly good game. In the evening the first real instalment of
letters from home.

I was officer of the day Friday. On making my ten o'clock rounds found
not a single light in the village streets and only one or two small
groups of people going home. It was a wonderful night, the wind just
whispering gently through the tree tops. I walked a bit in the park.
Nothing but silence. One might have been in a deserted village. On
coming in one could see the gun flashes toward Nancy, but we were too
far away to hear the sound. I stood on the balcony a long time watching
them. It all seemed so strange. All peace and tranquillity here and
forty miles away men struggling and battling for their lives.

Today No. 6 Field Hospital came over and played our men at baseball.
Score 6-10 in favor of Roosevelt. The special interest of the game, as
far as the French were concerned, was the yelling and shouting of the
enlisted men, who simply outdid themselves playing Indian.

There is a young fellow, Le Sieur by name, who escaped two weeks ago
from a German prison in Mayence. He and a friend forged passports and
boarded a train for Switzerland. It was their third attempt. The first
two were failures. He is here on a thirty days' leave with his mistress.

Some officers came over with the baseball team from Gondrecourt. They
are a fine-looking lot of men. They are as disgusted with their lot
as we are with ours. Everything is apparently at sixes and sevens, but
at least they are apparently having much more activity and are able
to move about the country and see things. I am terribly keen to be
transferred into a Field Ambulance.

The Chaumont question is all up a tree. Apparently the French are not
willing to turn the buildings over to us. At first they say, "Come
on and we will do all in our power," then when you come, the path is
strewn with every kind of petty annoyance.

I felt very proud of the United States to-day when I saw the
Gondrecourt crowd. They certainly were a bully looking lot.

_August 14th._ My birthday. Rain. Yesterday we motored over in the
ambulances to Bezoisir where Finney is located with Base 18. He is a
delightful man and I enjoyed a nice little chat with him. He is much
disgruntled, both personally and on the situation as a whole. In the
first place he is at odds with ---- ----, and in the second place, the
whole organization is all at sea. He thinks the Government is sending
over hospitals in greater number than there is any immediate demand
for; that they are furnished with no adequate quarters and given no
work. In the third place, Finney thinks that the whole system is
wrong; that where the best results are to be accomplished is close
to the firing line, where the cases can be seen comparatively early;
that there should be less handling and transportation of the wounded.
The French are already trying to do this by cutting out some of their
clearing hospitals.

We lunched at Neufchâteau, a small town of about, I should say, five
thousand inhabitants, very charmingly situated in the valley with a
small stream--I think the Meuse--running through it. We visited one
very picturesque old church on a high rock. There was some military
activity in the town, as it was on the main line. We also saw some
German prisoners working with an armed guard.

In the afternoon played some tennis and then we gave the French
officers a return champagne and cake supper. A terrible ordeal. I
struggled with Genevet, who is the best appearing of the lot. He was
sick and hard to talk to, and I simply could not squeeze any French
out. After we got started the men came in and sang. The hotel guests
were tremendously interested in this and crowded into the room to watch
us. The men let it go in good old college fashion, and I am sure they
regarded us as a lot of semi-maniacs, although they all enjoyed it

_August 15th._ Stillman, Russell and James gave me a fine birthday
dinner at the Grand last night. It was mighty nice of them and we
all had a good time. We opened up with sherry and bitters, Burgundy
and two bottles of "fiz" and came home feeling comfortable. Old Mc
was in bed. We pretended we were drunk and he dressed us down. In
spite of the extra liquid, woke up feeling in fine form. Sunshine
with tropical showers, but it is getting colder all the time. Great
excitement to-day; we are going to Gondrecourt to hear a lecture on war
surgery by Major Claude Bernard. We arrived there at three p. m. via
Neufchâteau, then about fifteen miles further on to G. A dirty, sloppy
little village simply packed with troops. On the road over, just as we
were coming in, a tropical downpour, which was followed by brilliant
sunshine five minutes later.

Gondrecourt is simply packed with men, geese and chickens. All seemed
tumbling one over the other. All the officers and men that can be
are billeted on the town, and consequently the little courts have
improvised tables and racks for guns and accouterments. Besides, the
6th Ambulance Company has division hospitals. On the outskirts other
regiments are encamped. We did not go outside the town, so did not see
the latter.

Claude Bernard spoke in English. He was a clean-cut Frenchman of the
best type, with a sense of humor. He spoke of the best disposition to
make of the wounded. Experience is teaching them over here that the
nearer the front the main hospital is, the greater its efficiency. It
seems ridiculous that our best men should remain in the rear only for
the old cases, while the younger and less experienced should have all
the real work. Our Government is discussing breaking up or reorganizing
our present system, and very logically so. It means three to four
stages for a wounded man, whereas, if he can be received within twelve
hours in a field hospital, there ought to be 80 per cent. better
results. At least, so says Bernard.

My great fear is that we shall be broken up and that I will be sent
inland to take care of a lot of uninteresting sick. And I want to see
the real thing and not sit back twisting my thumbs.

On the way back we stopped at Domremy, the town where Jeanne d'Arc was
born, and saw the little church where she made her First Communion. In
a park right across the way is an old house with the upper story done
over, which is supposed to be her home. It is a museum with busts and
pictures of her. I doubt if any of the original house is standing, for
in the wall is a small, worm-eaten bit of timber covered over with
wire netting, which is apparently all that remains of the original
structure. The church is of the simple village type without anything of
special interest, other than its historical association.

We made rapid time home and got back in time to brush off some dust
before dinner. Peck told me to-night that I would be sent up in advance
to start the mess at Chaumont. This probably means Saturday or Sunday.

Higgins broke his leg yesterday. Haberman, the man with the
pneumothorax, is no better to-day. They had the priest in yesterday.

_August 19th._ How can I tell all that has happened in the past three
days? I left Vittel two days ago in the ambulance with four sick men
on stretchers and a nurse. We jogged along through pleasant country,
via Neufchâteau to here, where we arrived at about three thirty
p.m.--fifty-three miles or thereabout. The country is charming, but
cold stone barracks like prison cells, a great bare court over which
dust swirls in clouds, covering the clothes, hands and face--in five
minutes boots and gaiters are white--it drifts through into the rooms,
covering beds and furniture and clothes. And then a blazing, dazzling
sun, fairly blinding as it is reflected from the white earth. Only one
little scrap of green can be seen in the whole surroundings, and that
is toward the west. We are in the new Artillery Barracks, which, since
the beginning of the war, have been partially used as a hospital. We
are taking it over in part from the French, with the understanding that
later we will be in whole charge.

The country itself is beautiful. Situated as we are on the crest of
a hill, by going outside the compound on the east and west is an
extensive view, stretching away for miles over the valley on each side.

Well, I arrived here and all was chaos. We got some beds up, and I
slept in a large cell alone, without a hook to hang anything on. No
toilet or bathing facilities. Chaumont is two kilometers away, and
if one were marooned on a desert island the isolation could not be
greater. My job is the mess--always the mess. No kitchens except the
general ones. No sinks, but I scratched around. We buy through the
French. The endeavor is to keep down the prices.

The rest of the crowd turned up late last night, and we pulled off a
good dinner in spite of many difficulties. Our same crowd is together

Captain Edmond Schwander, formerly an apothecary de première classe,
is the Quartermaster in charge of the barracks. He is a real live
proposition, and seems to be a mighty nice fellow.

Now we have the job of fitting up our rooms for the ordinary
conveniences of life. Also, it is up to me to get maids to take care of

I took two meals at the French officers' mess. It was most amusing.
A little room over an apothecary shop in town. I cannot describe the
scene, but it was reminiscent of some of the scenes from "Trilby." The
room was plastered in posters--some proper and some more improper--and
the conversation was equally mixed. I was sorry to leave them and come
out here.

We walk at least two hundred yards for our baths, across the court in
full view of an admiring crowd--and here is when I take my first one.

_August 20th._ Mess! Mess! Mess! All is mess! New Job! Care of
officer's quarters. Boss of four old ladies, three teeth among
them--one has none--total sum of ages--four hundred years.

Telegram calling Peck and Russell to French front to observe. In town
with the motor-cycle to do some shopping. Home! The orchestra is
pounding away with a vengeance, surrounded by an admiring crowd of
invalids--some healthy ones.

Broke the crystal on my nice little watch--otherwise, life a blank. No
sensations except hunger. No emotions except disgust.

The French officers gave our officers a champagne breakfast at eleven
a.m. this morning from which all returned in genial spirit. Such is
life in Chaumont.

_August 24th._ Back to barracks after three days' absence. Monday last
they brought in fifteen hundred patients in the twenty-four hours. Jim
Russell and Peck had gone, and finally, in sheer desperation, I got on
one of the ambulances and rode in to town. They were just finishing
unloading and Peightel was talking through an interpreter with the
Médecin Chef in charge of the train. The Médecin was asking him if he
could not make a trip with him and personally see the hospital at the
front. Trinder was standing by and thought it would be a good thing,
but was sure that Hansell could not put it through. I told him I would
go with him. Trinder said, "Go and see what Hansell will say." So back
we rushed. Hansell, like a trump, said "Yes." So back we went over
the bumpy old road, pitch dark, and found some "big gun" Major, who
telephoned to St. Dozier, the military headquarters of the zone of
the interior. Got permission, then walked back, threw a few things in
a valise and carried it between us to Chaumont Station. It was about
eleven o'clock then and everything had pretty well settled down for the
night. We found the Commissaire de Gare was expecting us, and he had
written out for us directions or orders to proceed to St. Dozier and
report to the Commissaire Regulatrice, and she had been informed of
our coming and would tell us what to do.

After many vicissitudes, as daylight was just breaking, the train
pulled out, and about an hour later when we reached Robert Espagne
the sun was coming up over the hilltop, the little town lay below in
the valley with the mist still hanging over the river. On the right,
explosions were heard, which we later found were from a party of
recruits practising bombing. From the same hill two years ago the 6th
Division of Artillery made a stand and drove back the Germans in their
drive on Bar-le-Duc. If they had cut that line and taken Bar-le-Duc
it would have divided the French Army. This was in the days of the
Marne. The old Guard Communal, whom we met on the road, told us in a
most vivid and simple manner how the Boche shells were pouring over
the woods and how the French stood their ground. Later he went out and
found a German flag.

Beyond Robert Espagne we were in the zone of the active army--miles
of wagon trains going both ways and smothered in a cloud of dust.
At Rivigny we entered on the military railroad, the regular line to
Verdun having been cut on the Verdun drive. Also a little later we
caught constant glimpses of the Voie Saire on the road that supplied
Verdun after the railroad had been cut. There were still thousands of
motor-trucks going both ways. Now and then soldiers' graves dotted the
fields or lay along the lines of the railroad. The French had a helmet
hanging on the cross, the Boche a little wooden fencing around it,
which will soon break down and mean that many a poor chap will lie in
an unknown grave in foreign soil. At Rivigny, or just beyond, here and
there a half-destroyed village, or perhaps just the church. It seemed
always the church that was marked.

At Évers the village was practically wiped out.

Then as we approached Fleury toward sunset the air was alive with
aerial activity. Planes were constantly flying one way or the other.
The French can tell the difference between their machines and the
Boche, by the hum of the motors. And now as far as the eye can reach,
a long line of observation balloons. We could easily see twelve or
fifteen, and as the train pulled in there was a terrific bombing, with
dozens of little balls of white smoke in the clouds and a dozen aeros
circling in that vicinity. The men cried "bloins," which meant that
there was a Boche plane trying to get through.

The air was dead calm. The cotton balls slowly turned from white
to black and then faded away. Suddenly a burst of flame which shot
precipitately to earth, and murmurs of delight from the officers
standing about. The Boche had been winged and fallen to earth.

We went through the hospital. I was not much interested. Salle de
Tirage, where the cases were sorted--Salle d'Opération--Salle du
Stérilisation--Salle du Pansement et Tisane. But it was all dealing
with wreckage, and one wanted to go on and up where men were living and

As dusk came on, flash, flash, some small, some large. Great blasts
from a Vulcan's furnace that lit the skyline from horizon to horizon,
and through the still night the constant purr drifted back.

The motors kept pouring back from the front, each with a load; driver
covered with dust, its contents a mass of dust, grimed and plastered
on, often with blood, but the eyes flashed--for they had been _there_.

Captain Félix Melin was shot through the shoulder circling the right
side of Hill 304. His arm was in a sling, his coat hung about his
shoulders, blood spattered down trousers and over suspenders, but
he was the Real Thing. Several men of his Company file down the
gangway into the train--soldiers of the 9th Company of the 303rd
Regiment--they were his men and he had led them! A handshake and
a pat on the back were waiting for each man. From all the line of
wreckage--tired, weary men--never one word of complaint, but on all
sides friends met, or members of the same command met and compared
experiences. Many were going back for the second, third and fourth
time--all had been out in the heart of things, and were coming back for
repairs to make the trip again.

Finally we got our load and started back, but just before leaving,
the cry of "Boche Aéroplane" was heard. All lights went out. The
plane passed over us, then we went crawling back with our load. St.
Dozier again, Montdidier, Brienne. There the men were fed meat,
bread, wine and cheese. Piney, Troyes and Mesgrigny, where they were
all discharged. It was with much regret that I saw Melin go, and his
Lieutenant Broule. They were the best.

Then back to Troyes where we gave Major Costacy and his Adjutant
Aubert a dinner at the hotel, and opened a bottle of "fiz." I
proposed drinking it with dinner, but they seemed horrified with the
idea and said it was for dessert only. So we had white wine first
and then "fiz." They enjoyed it and mellowed out. It improved my
French tremendously, and when we had finished dinner and gone across
the street to the Café for coffee, I was talking fluently on war,
petticoats, and soaring prices. However, we all walked out to the
train, two kilos outside the town, singing the "Madelon." We climbed
into our little compartment which seems like home now.

The Adjutant Aubert--I can't describe him. But to me he was fascinating
and I could not keep my eyes off him. A face like Christ, with a full
beard, even white teeth, a calm, serene face, but with an eye that
flashed hell-fire when he spoke. Ten years in Algeria, through all the
North African campaigns, and covered with a mass of decorations. Cora
seemed the only thing in life he cared for. Cora was a fox-terrier
picked up in the streets of Chaumont and Cora was everything to him.
She followed him everywhere, slept on his bed, and he watched over her
like a baby.

During the night we pulled into Joinville and then into Chevillon,
where the train pulled into a siding for further orders. We took the
train back to Chaumont and came down through a beautiful valley into
the town, arriving just in time for lunch at the France. Then back to
barracks. Jim and Peck had returned and we exchanged experiences, which
were about the same.

Trinder and Hansell have gone to Paris for their examinations for
promotion. I spoke to Hansell about being transferred to a regiment,
and he said he would try and arrange it. I want to get into the real
thing and be with real men, and not sitting around here just taking
care of sick people.

_August 27th._ Life has settled down to the same old routine. A violent
thunder-storm last night, but fine and clear and much cooler to-day.
The weather has been fine now for the past ten days.

Hansell and Trinder are coming back to-night and we are preparing a
spread for them--cocktails, sweet champagne. I have been tearing all
over town to find some gin, which I finally accomplished at la maison
of M. Henry, who was well stocked with every kind of wine.

There has been a lot of kick about the food. The men seem to be always
hungry--an enormous breakfast and then howls for more lunch--then tears
when the bill comes. I had a meeting two nights ago and told them they
could have what they wanted, but they would have to pay for it. They
finally voted a French breakfast, which began this morning. I did not
come down till late, but I was told they were a doleful lot. However,
they will get used to it later. Nothing but housekeeping. It takes from
two to three hours to get the work straightened out.

_August 30th._ The dinner was quite a success. Every one limbered up,
and laughter, loud and plenty, was the order of the night. Since then
nothing worthy of note.

At last I have an orderly and he is working on my books. And perhaps
life will now be pleasanter.

_September 3rd._ The golden morning sun came pouring in the window
this morning and Trinder came smashing in the door at six thirty a. m.
demanding the key of the storeroom.

Yesterday we took a nice walk, climbing the heights on the west bank of
the Marne.

I went to Colonel Hansell this morning and asked permission to resign
from the job of the mess. He immediately granted my request. To-night
at dinner he made a very pretty little speech, thanking me for my work
under very trying circumstances and calling for three cheers for the
retiring mess officer, which were given with a hearty good will. It was
a most courteous thing, and I was deeply touched. What a relief to
have the thing off my shoulders!

I walked to town with my wash and felt like a boy out of school. Cave
joined me and we went down to the new headquarters. Everything was
humming with activity. Tents line the road on both sides. Motors and
motorcycles are flying in all directions. Engineers stringing wires
and newly-made majors swaggering about, greatly impressed with their
own importance, all looking very debonair and rather foolish. They
are rather a fine-looking lot on the whole, the Western type easily

We lunched peacefully at the Hotel France.

Peck told me Bradley had asked for teams to go to the front for a two
weeks' tour of duty and McWilliams had chosen me as a team mate. Hurrah!

_September 13th._ Haven't written. Little to write about. The evening
of the 10th, Kildare and I walked along the canal to a little town
called Luzy. There we made a find in the form of a nice, good-natured,
well-nourished woman who keeps a little restaurant near the station.
She cooked us a good omelet with potatoes and salad, with plenty of
bread and good butter. Eating it in the court in front of the house,
it was all right, and fired me with a sporting spirit of adventure and
a bit of life in the open away from all this chaos and turmoil. So, on
returning, I proposed to the room that we take a walking trip. Henry
James was the only one who took me up and so the next morning, having
obtained permission, we started with no definite destination other than
to get lunch at Luzy with Madame and then push on to any old place.

Madame at Luzy told us that Nogent-la-Haute was an interesting old town
about fifteen kilometers away, so we started off with full stomachs
to reach it. We strolled along the canal with its sides lined with
beautiful Lombardy poplars. The afternoon was hot, but, other than an
occasional fisherman who never seemed to catch anything, there were no
signs of life alongside the canal. The Marne babbled over the stones,
here and there turning a water-wheel, and great gray cattle grazed
peacefully in the meadows, and we breathed a deep breath of freedom,
and joy of the open road crept into my bones. It seemed once again
that care and responsibility had rolled away and that I was a boy with
nothing to do but to wander where the spirit willed.

Then an idea struck us. How nice it would be to board a canal-boat
and just idle along with it. But none came. Then a plan for taking
a train and going to Belfort and from there out to the French, but
at the station the timetable said the last train that day had gone,
and then again the distance was given as one hundred and fifty-four
kilometers, much too far in the short time at our disposal. So finally
it was decided, at Faulein, to take the little narrow-gauge road to
Nogent-la-Haute. So narrow-gauge it was; and it puffed up hill for
twelve kilometers to a snug little village perched on a high rock
surrounded with gardens and the biggest pine-trees I have ever seen.
The tower of an old castle spoke of seigneurial days when "barons held
their sway."

I looked forward to a nice, quiet, cozy little dinner and a good sleep
and a morning's loaf, strolling about the town to the wonderful view
from the great precipitous height on the west. But nothing of the sort.
As we descended from the train a dozen urchins cried, "Les Américains!"
and in half the time it takes to write it, a dozen more sprang up,
taking up the cry, so that walking along the main street there was a
troop of urchins crowding about us and from the windows heads appeared,
the whole town coming to life. The urchins ran into the hotel and told
Madame "les Américains" were on the threshold. Madame rushed out all
a-flutter and courtesied us in. Mother and sister courtesied. Were we
spending the night? Did we eat? We assured her we ate and were spending
the night. Then, what would we eat and where would we eat it? This
latter point was unfortunately settled by the chief permanent boarder,
acting as a delegate and asking the honor of having us join them. There
was no alternative. We simply had to dine with them, and we marched
bravely in.

Talk! My God! My God! There was no end to it! Words rolled out
in avalanches. Special brands of red wine were ordered, coffee,
liqueurs--but always talk. Now, if you are not a professor of the
French language and you are tired after a day's tramp, and if it is up
to you to appear half intelligent (for James was lucky enough not to
speak a word of French and so it was up to me), it is exhausting. Those
moments were like sitting on a chair and having hot needles stuck all
over one's body.

Talk! Talk! The war! Every one had a son or brother, or at least a
brother-in-law, killed or wounded. We were doctors, so a minute account
of their deaths or how they acted after they were wounded. Then what
the war had done to them, and what they had done to the war. Then
politics. What America would do. How independent the Americans were.
They smoked cigarettes with their meals. They only smoked them half
through, etc., etc., etc.

It seems we were the first Americans since one Gillette, of
safety-razor fame, had established a factory there some twelve years
ago. Gillette! Gillette! We heard all about razors till I wished
Gillette shaved into fragments. We must see the factory in the morning.
We must visit Collin's surgical instrument emporium.

At seven thirty in the morning they were on the job, but we stayed in
our room and watched the market going on in the public square.

_September 14th._ A fine driving rain and a beautiful cold in the head,
and all the rooms have a dampness that drives to the bone. Finished my
twenty-four hours as O. D. at nine this morning--nothing happened.

_September 16th._ Time drags interminably. It is a glorious day, but
absolutely nothing to do, either in the way of play or work. I feel as
if my brain were jellifying, or that if something did not happen I must
simply run away. Army life! It squeezes every inch of individuality
out of a man. Its rules are those of the Medes and Persians, and no
blue-black Presbyterian could be more strict in their observance. In
the fighting line it is all right, but in the "administering angel" job
it is Hell.

The men are playing baseball and the Frenchmen Rugby football. James,
Cave and myself lunched at the France, but it was deadly. The streets
contain only old women with few teeth and look bedraggled out of all

_September 20th._ Tuesday night Kilbane and I dined at the Signal Corps
quarters. They are in the Château of Chaumont, down under the hill.
It is a wonderful little place, resplendent with a hundred memories,
for the place was built by Louis XV for a hunting lodge, and, to all
appearances, remains unchanged to-day. It is built on a court, only two
stories high, and much of the old fittings still remain. The garden
is overgrown with weeds and the flowers are sadly neglected, but in
spite of everything one's imagination harks back to former times, for
the atmosphere is all there. As we were shown around by Major Dodd it
seemed almost sacrilegious to turn it over to the unappreciative hands
of officers.

Colonel Churchill was the Commanding Officer. He impressed me very much
as a gentleman and a personality of much charm.

_September 24th._ Two glorious autumn days with wonderful sunrises and
sunsets. Only small bunches of clouds are appearing, which in all
probability means trouble for tomorrow.

Everybody is getting very restless and unless something happens to
break the calm tranquillity of the daily routine, something is going to
blow up. Saturday the officers played the Johns Hopkins unit at Bazoirs
and, although they were beaten, they came back full of enthusiasm over
the good times they had and the hospitality shown them.

Last night a telegram saying, "War Department offers you commission
gastro-enterologist, rank Captain, base hospital here. Only thirty-two
appointments. Will you accept if transfer possible. Cable immediately."
I answered, "Prefer France."

I do not want to leave now because, in spite of the awful waste in time
and money, the game is just beginning, and I want to see it through.

There is a rumor that Brewer will be here for lunch. I hope so, as it
means a little news of what is going on around us. Steiner and I are
planning to go to Troyes for Saturday night for a bit of a change.

_September 25th._ Brewer arrived about noon and after lunch recounted
his adventures at the front. They were exciting and they all had narrow
squeaks. He was on the British lines East of Ypres and while he was
there the Evacuation Hospital was bombed three times.

Darrach was asked to join in a poker game one night. He said he was
tired and did not want to play as he had been operating all day,
but they kept urging him and as he was ahead of the game he finally
consented. They had not been playing fifteen minutes when there was a
terrific crash. Darrach went out to see what had happened and found
a bomb had fallen squarely on his tent. Nothing remained but a few
fragments of his overcoat; there was a hole six feet deep and about ten
feet in diameter.

A few moments later, when Brewer was in bed, a second crash followed by
a shower of fragments. He rushed out and was told some of his nurses
were hurt. A bomb had fallen right in front of the kitchen, blowing it
to splinters. A fragment had struck Miss McDonald, his former operating
nurse, just below the right eye, and fragments of shell wounded two
others. There were seventy people wounded that night.

He then went on to recount many little instances of life in an
Evacuation Hospital. How the officers finally dug themselves in. They
did not like to do it at first, as they were all new at the game and
no one wanted to show that he was nervous. They heard Boche avions
passing overhead frequently, and at those times they would climb
in the dugouts. O---- had a narrow escape. They heard bombs in the
neighborhood. He rushed in his tent for his helmet. His servant was
there and as soon as they found it they both rushed out. As they ran
along, the servant about twenty feet in advance, crash--and the servant
was wafted off the face of the earth.

All day and all night shells were passing over them. Also he told us an
authentic story of one of his patients who was wounded in a charge, the
wound proving to be a compound fracture of the thigh. He crawled into
a shell-hole where he met another man with a compound fracture of the
arm. They remained there using their rations and water. Then the man
with the arm crawled out and brought in food and water from the dead
that were lying about them. And so they existed until the forty-ninth
day. On that night the arm man failed to return and was never seen
again. So the leg man waited two more days, catching some water in
his helmet, and then realized he must get out or starve. So starting
in the direction in which he knew the British lines to be, he crawled
across no-man's-land when, to his surprise, he came up to a trench and
found it filled with Germans. He then realized that this trench had
been built while he was lying out there and to get home he must cross
it. So he waited for a time, until a moment when there were no Germans
near him, and jumped it landing on his good leg. Crawling further he
at last arrived in front of his own trench where he was seen and a big
fusillade opened. He escaped this and finally by yelling in English
they realized it was one of their own men and he was taken in. This was
after fifty days. Brewer states the story has been corroborated in all
details and is true.

Stillman has sent McWilliams a letter in which he says there are
altogether too many shells flying around and very little to do.

I am looking forward to the day when we will get up there and see some
of these things for ourselves.

Later the order came. It reads that we report in Paris at nine a. m.,
Saturday, September 29th, report to the 2nd Army, British Expeditionary
Force for a period of fourteen days.

_September 27th._ _Paris._ McWilliams and I came on last night,
leaving Chaumont at five thirty reaching here ten p. m. The city was
better illuminated than the last time I was here. We are stopping at
the Continental Hotel--not as nice as the Ritz and more expensive. The
breakfast room here this morning was filled with ambulance drivers,
doctors and nurses.

Called on Henry Clews and Lillie Havemeyer. Both out.

Paris to-day looked actually down at the heel.

_September 28th._ The following medical clinics are held at Paris:
Heart Diseases--Hop. St. Antoine Vacquez; General Medicine--Hop. Cochin
Vidal; General Medicine--Hop. Cochin Chauffard.

Lunch with Lillie Havemeyer. Called on Dorziat and met General Brook,
who is a son of Lord Warwick. D. asked him to give me letters to some
of the officers with the Second Army Corps, which he has promised to

Last night was a real party. McW. and I started out for dinner, met two
British officers at Henry's bar. We had a few, and then went around
to Géney's for dinner. It was fine. We all sat down in a little room.
Dinner was served at seven thirty to all. There were several very nice
girls in the party and we had a very jolly evening.

Dined with Henry Clews to-night.

_September 29th._ Reported at nine a. m. at Medical Headquarters, 10
Rue Ste. Anne, and there got our orders. We leave at one fifteen for
Amiens. Spend the night there. The following morning proceed to Albert,
arriving at six fifty-five a. m. There report to the Liaison Officer at
Headquarters, 2nd British Army, and then to Director of Medical Service
at the same place. A pass has been issued to us and so we are all ready
for whatever comes.

Saw Pool and Colonel Winter, who was very cordial. Now to pack and

We packed up, caught one fifteen train, and a few minutes before six p.
m. pulled into Amiens.--On July 30th, 1914, Helen and I spent the night
here and met Sir Seymour King in the Hotel Rhin. How well he conceived
the magnitude of the whole thing. That evening after dinner he said,
"This will be a veritable Armageddon, in which you will be eventually
involved." And here we are now after three years and two months.

McWilliams and I dined at the Hotel Rhin and sat in the garden. How
memories come back. The dinner was poor and the price high.

Just before dinner we visited the Cathedral. The carving on the outside
and inside is piled high with sandbags and was invisible. There were
absolutely no lights in Amiens and the streets were simply crowded with
Tommies. We managed to get a nasty room in the Belford near the station.

_September 30th._ We were called at four forty-five a. m. after a
horrible night of little sleep from screeching railroad whistles, and
in the dark hurriedly shaved and dressed. The porter brought a cup
of coffee and slice of bread, for which they had the nerve to charge
two francs. Then carrying our own bags we started for the station. In
spite of the early hour the place was crowded, both with military and
civilians. It was pitch black, but the train was found and we all piled
in and started for Albert. As day dawned a thick mist prevented any
range of vision, but just before reaching Albert it began to lift and
ruins of villages, or villages partly in ruins, could be seen. Then the
train pulled in.

The station was full of shell-holes, in fact, half demolished--but we
stored our baggage in a shed and started down the street to find the
Liaison Officer. But the city was in ruins. The walls were pockmarked
by machine-gun fire and only about one in ten habitable. And then as
we turned a street corner we saw the Cathedral, or rather the shell of
what it once was. From the top of the shell-shattered tower the Virgin
and Child were suspended at right angles, the Child extending far out.
As the mist lifted the sun struck the gilding. It was like a miracle
and one fairly gasped. We were all much impressed and somewhat awed,
for there was silence for some minutes afterward.

The Cathedral was totally destroyed, only the four walls and tower
standing, and large holes through all the walls. For blocks around
there, no houses were left standing and only a block of stone and a
few piles which marked doorstep and entrance hall. Some houses had no
roofs and some roofs had no house, but remained suspended when all
the remaining structure had gone. It was like wandering through some
recently excavated city.

At Albert one first comes in contact with English efficiency and
there is only one word to express it, and that is "Marvelous." The
gaping windows and doorways of shattered houses are wired across to
keep out marauders. The streets are fairly polished, signs posted
in English--regarding roads, officers' quarters and different staff
traffic guards, but above all, one is amazed at the wonderful neatness
and order.

After wandering about for about an hour we finally found the S.F.C.,
Rest House and Mess-Room. The roof was gone and the whole top story,
but that was boarded up and a little mess-room made, and around the
garden, which had been cleaned up, were rooms for stray officers. We
got the first good breakfast there I have had since leaving home. The
touch of England was everywhere. A Sergeant received you and gave you a
check in the hall. There is a parlor and reading-room, etc. Certainly
they know how to do things. But writing this twenty-four hours later,
what we admired then we marveled at now. For that same hand of quiet
efficiency is everywhere. No wonder they are the most wonderful
colonizers of the world. But more of this later.

There was no Liaison Officer, so we went to Medical Headquarters
(D.D.M.S.), and speaking about D.D.M.S., one needs a dictionary to
understand these initials. Everything is initialed. I am struggling to
get on to them, but it is very confusing to a beginner.

From D.D.M.S. we were sent forward in two ambulances, one for baggage
and one for ourselves. We left Albert on the Bapaume Road, and now
all power of description fails. One looks with mixed awe, wonder and

The battlefield begins on all sides. As far as the eye can see are
trenches, shell-holes and graves. The country is one vast barren
stretch. Scarcely a tree remains. Not a habitation is left standing.
Barbed-wire entanglements run across the country for miles.

On all sides English soldiers are working, cleaning and salvaging the
French lumber and wrecked building material and remaking the roads. The
sites of previous hamlets are marked by a sign in many places, and by
signs and bricks and a few remnants of walls. In other places literally
not a fragment remains of what once was a little French village.

Words can never paint a picture of what unfolds before the eye. You
feel that at the top of the near crest this desolation must end and
life begin again, but it goes on and on, mile after mile, a dreary
waste of torn-up ground and blighted tree stumps.

And the English. No words can tell of their wonderful efficiency and
sanitation. Water-tanks, horse troughs, latrines, water for washing,
water-tanks where canteens may be filled, manure dumps where all manure
is collected and covered with earth to keep flies away. It all speaks
for wonderful order and efficiency.

At crossroads a traffic man stands to regulate vehicles.

Crosses of white, crosses with the tricolor of France, and black
crosses, mark the graves of English, French and German, respectively.
Here and there little cemeteries of white crosses are scattered through
the fields where they have been able to collect their dead.

Fifteen kilometers to Bapaume, which is a mass of wreckage, and on to
Battencourt. Here we met Colonel Westcott, who looked us over, and
then shipped us to the 2/1 Field Ambulance of the 62nd Battalion at
Fevreuil. We get out here, our baggage is unloaded and we enter our
shelter. Now a shelter is a round piece of corrugated iron with a
wooden floor and serves for winter quarters.

_October 1st._ I sha'n't attempt to describe a Field Ambulance
personnel. Everyone has explained it to me and that is sufficient,
because I didn't understand it and probably never shall. Only, it is in
three sections and each section is in three parts, so we are part one
of second section. Thus 2/1.

We are comfortably quartered and the men are all nice fellows. The
colonel is on leave and Captain Pope is in command. The officers are
all fed up on the war as they have been at it since the start and have
all seen trench service.

All morning we rode around with the Sanitary Officer inspecting camps
and sanitation in general. The English make a separate sanitary service
under trained sanitary men and not doctors. In the course of the
morning we met Major English, a charming fellow, not over thirty, who
took us over his battalion of Lewis guns. They had just come back the
night before, but quiet, order and cleanliness reigned everywhere.
Truly a remarkable people.

In the afternoon we motored over to Péronne with the same Sanitary
Lieutenant (Hafflin), and again a vast track of devastation as far
as the eye could reach in all directions--trenches, barbed wire and
graves. Literally, not a habitable house left standing. Péronne has
a school of sanitation where the men are detailed for two or three
days for instruction in general camp sanitation. It is a remarkable
institution. Every bit of waste material is utilized. Petrol cans make
wonderful stoves. Boxes are sawed up into latrine covers, wash benches,
meat-safes. Tin cans are cut up and reshaped into many utensils. Hinges
are improvised from bits of leather, pieces of tin and wire. It has all
been carefully worked out and nothing left to chance. Then again all
wagons, bits of equipment, harness, etc., are groomed with just as much
care and attention as they would be at home. Autos are washed, shined
and polished. It is all simply a marvel.

Péronne is a mass of wreckage like everything else. Evidently a once
charming little Cathedral lies in a mass of wreckage, and on the
doors of the Hôtel de Ville is scribbled in chalk "Eintritt fur 40
Sanitatespersonnel." The destitution of the Cathedral is so complete
that it must have been blown up.

_October 3rd._ Yesterday morning about nine o'clock we started
for Écoust-Longatte, going out in the motor ambulance about four
kilometers. We were fitted out with steel helmets and two gas-masks,
the second as an emergency in case anything happens to the first.
After going about two kilometers there is a sign "No traffic beyond
this point." Here the steel helmet is adjusted and the gas-mask drawn
up in front, the bag opened and everything made ready for immediate
adjustment. Then over about a two-kilometer stretch of road in full
view of Fritz and under the range of his guns. The road is lined with
small dugouts. Here and there empty shells are hung, to be rung in case
of a gas attack. The condition of the wind is noted on boards as "Wind
dangerous" or "Wind safe" depending upon the point of the compass from
which it blows.

We crossed the two kilometers on the crest of the ridge. On all sides
not a sign of life. This absence of all visual signs of life is almost
appalling, for on all sides as far as the eye can reach not a cat is
seen. Yet there is the creepy feeling that some one is always watching

At Écoust is A. D. S. (Advance Dressing Station) in the cellar of a
ruined brewery. The men sleep, eat and live at least twelve feet below
the ground. At the doors are two sets of curtains soaked in a solution
of hexamine to be lowered on the sounding of the gas alarm, also with
apparatus standing near to keep them sprayed with the same solution.
After speaking with the officer in charge we set out on foot through
Longatte, which is a small suburb of Écoust. Here the road for a
strip of two hundred yards is in view of Fritz and it is camouflaged
with wire netting to which small particles of green cloth are tied.
We passed two enormous mine pits in the center of the road which the
Germans blew up on their retreat to the Hindenburg Line. Bullecourt
could be seen about three miles in front of us. All that remains now
is a pile of white rubbish. The English line runs up to the suburbs of
this town.

Now, at this point we took to the communication trench. It is called
Bullecourt Avenue, and we followed it for about three miles. It is
just wide enough to walk in and the floor is covered with duck boards.
And now shells begin screaming overhead. The first desire was to duck,
but it is surprising how soon one grows accustomed to the sound. In a
quarter of an hour we paid but little heed to them. Occasionally we
passed little groups of men working their way back, when one or the
other of us had to stand and flatten ourselves against the side and
squeeze past. Twice we met groups of officers on inspection. One was
General Lord Harnbleu. In about twenty or thirty minutes we came to a
trench running at right angles. This was Railway Avenue, paralleling
the railway embankment. In front of this were only outpost points, so
we were practically in the front trench and about fifty yards from the
Boche at places.

The most surprising thing was the few men that one saw. At intervals
of about one hundred feet were sentries while scattered along in little
bunches of two or three were men eating or sleeping. Every here and
there gun points or men stationed with Lewis guns or Victor automatic.

The sunshine was warm and pleasant, so we stood around, chatted, looked
at the maps and looked at the German positions through the periscope. A
wonderful thing, because it was absolutely similar to peeking through a
hole in the embankment. Not a sign of life from the Boche, except the
constant whiz of shells both coming and going, but they all appeared
to be dropping on our left. Every little distance were deep dugouts,
twenty-five to thirty feet under ground and well timbered. On this
line were two Regimental Dressing Stations. It was like living in a
mine shaft. There were quarters for officers, officers' mess. The men
cook their own food and get good hot stuff. What cannot be cooked is
brought up in large cans built on the principle of thermos bottles.

From Railway trench into Tower trench, where we inspected another R.
D. S., and then back to the railway embankment. From one line of this
trench where the ground sinks there is an open road leading back to
Écoust. Captain Pope said that Fritz seldom troubled small numbers
of men walking back and that this road was frequently used by the
stretcher-bearers. So we started back over it and after about one
hundred yards one could turn and look full into the German trench with
its wire entanglement in front of it. Standing there I fully expected
to be fired at, but nothing happened, although our shells were breaking
on his parapets not four hundred yards to the left, throwing up big
columns of dirt. So we spread out and started along the two-mile

The whole ground was pocked with shell-holes, a fallen aeroplane was
lying there, a dead horse, but all the bodies had been apparently
gathered in as I saw none. All the time shells kept screaming overhead.
Some English battery would fire a salvo, and then Fritz would reply,
trying to find out where our guns were.

We finally reached the A. D. S., had lunch at three thirty, and then
climbed out on an old crumbling wall and watched one of our batteries
shell Fritz's trench. It was a fascinating sight to see the shells
throw clouds of earth in the air. I walked home with the Padre, Michael
Moran, an R. C., a bully fellow. On our left was Vaux. Like all the
rest it was a heap of rubble. Below was Beaumont Hamil. All this
country was the scene of the wildest, bloodiest fighting of the war.

Below I note some of the Boche's tricks and his ways as given by the
British Padre, Reverend Michael Moran of West Riding Field Ambulance:

Dugout Traps--

Branch in front of dugout connected with mines.

Spade wired to mine.

Pictures, vases, helmets, fountain pens, books on tables, nails in
wall, loose boards in floor, things on verge of falling, and piano
connected with wires; clocks connected with mines, bells connected with
mines timed to go off by a rod in acid.

Mining of churches and other buildings which have not been touched.
This was pulled off at Bapaume where sacristy was left untouched.
When French Mission collected vestments, bombs had been connected and
exploded, killing eleven.

Bombs up chimney with fire all ready to light.

Slip trench with false bottom letting men through on spikes.

Church furniture used to make crosses for German men.

Poisoning wells and roots of young trees. Some trees left sawn halfway

Poisoned wine bottles, one out of several poisoned.

Left perfect latrines. First time chain pulled, exploded.

Tank traps, making hole before the tank. The crater is also mined.

Party of Boche went around with English motor-car inspecting dumps.
Spoke English perfectly. Few days later dumps blown up. Boche also use
English aeroplanes.

Not safe to walk over grass or earthy grass as bombs are strewn

Bombs in potato-mashers.

Boche military police on duty for five weeks in English front.

Smoke bombs to blind tanks. Barrage of gas shells before our batteries,
so gunners have to work twelve to fifteen hours in gas-masks.

Town hall at Bapaume blown up three days after occupation by British
troops, due to acid bombs.

Umbrella left in stand attached to a mine.

Gas clouds sent every ten yards apart in bunches of three (three each
ten yards).

German deserter's family at home deprived of rations and separation

Boche found carrying machine-guns on stretchers to lines.

_October 4th._ The above facts were given by the Padre last night from
notes he had made. He has been in the thick of the fighting and has
gone right along with his men all the time.

Yesterday morning rode around with Lawson (Quartermaster) visiting the
Ordnance and Army Service Corps (Captain Bateson) dumps. Then to the
water head where the water is supplied to this section. Lunch, and
after that the Padre, McWilliams and I started out in the ambulance
for Vaux--a mass of wreckage. The Padre took us in a garden of a
once-château. The grounds were overgrown with weeds, but flowers still
struggled out of their old beds. The château was a pile of bricks,
beautiful trees were half cut through and left to die. Nothing but two
gateposts and a small segment of the outbuildings were left standing.
Such wanton destruction is simply appalling to see. About one hundred
and fifty shells were dropped on Vaux last night and from the edge of
the town one is fairly in sight of the German lines. The Padre lived in
the garden during the bombardment, and we saw the dugout that he and
his servant had built.

From there we walked down the Mareuil Road, no vehicle or horses are
allowed to show themselves on the northern end of the town beyond the
cross-road, as the Mareuil Road is in clear view of the enemy. Gun
batteries were placed every here and there, carefully camouflaged, as
is everything. Two dummy guns stuck out in one place. The gunners live
along the roadside in small shelters with sandbag roofs. In the hollow
were two six-inch guns, which were firing a salvo of one hundred rounds
each at a section of Boche trench which was pushed too near to ours.
The target was 7,500 yards away over the crest of a hill. They fired
at intervals of about two minutes, first one and then the other. The
crash was tremendous. After watching them working for a while till my
ears rang, returned to Vaux and then took the ambulance to the A. D.
S. on Mareuil sector. This was well fitted up. In the past twenty-four
hours under cover of the haze they had run a narrow-gauge track up to

Back at five p. m. for tea and then to the Bow Bells. This is a
Divisional theatrical troupe, or, as it is officially known, a
Divisional Concert Party, of 56th Division. It was wonderfully
dramatic, as it was held in a partially demolished barn. They gave
a capital show. Good voices. Two of the men were superb in their
impersonation of women's parts. The show begins at six p. m. and was
simply crowded. Tickets have to be booked up days in advance. We groped
our way home as no searchlights can be shown on cars and had dinner at
a little after eight. On the way back Very lights were constantly going
up from the lines. Think of a first-class performance in a battered
village, three miles away from a world war, and you can in fact surmise
some of the sensations one has in watching it in a battered barn filled
with nearly a thousand men and officers. And they appreciated it like

In the evening Padre, Mackenzie and Lawson told stories until one
thirty a. m. A bully day--

Our 'phone call is "Pork."

_October 5th._ Yesterday was comparatively quiet. It blew a hurricane
and in the afternoon rained hard. So we loafed about, gossiped, called
on some other messes, and in the evening dined with Captain Welsh 2/6
West Yorks. He gave us a bully dinner, and several young officers were
there--Captains Humphrey and Baker--they did not look twenty. Humphrey,
Welsh said, had a wonderful record for bravery. He had already been

There has been a terrific barrage on since eleven a. m. We could hear
the roar all through dinner, and constantly Very lights were being
put up. The night was pitch black and we lost our way in the mud and
darkness in trying to get to the 2/6.

This afternoon we went out with the Padre to A. D. S. at Eauze. We were
going out on the railway embankment toward St. Léger when they began a
pretty stiff bombardment (the English). Shells were hurled over from
all directions and the air fairly hummed. It stopped our trip and we
watched behind an old piece of wall the shells breaking on Bull-dog
Trench, the German front lines. Some were big 5·9's and they threw up a
perfectly enormous cloud of earth.

We had tea in the A. D. S. with House and Blackburn. It is their casual
conversation that gives one the real sidelights on the situation. Fox,
an Engineer, was standing a bit down the road when a shell broke near
him. He came sauntering in as if it had been a rose-fall. When things
quieted down we walked down the road and joined some of the Engineers
for a bit of gossip. Then home in the ambulance.

Took a short walk into a small German cemetery. Boche when he retreated
scratched off the number of the unit on every cross.

_October 6th._ Rain. Nothing doing. Bitterly cold.

_October 7th._ Bitter cold. Had ten blankets and still shivered. Went
to service this morning. It was one of the most impressive sights I
have ever seen. The Divisional Yorkshire Band. Most of the men were
going up the line and were in heavy marching order. It made shivers up
and down one's spine.

We move to 45 C. C. S. this afternoon. Shall be sorry to go.

_October 9th._ We moved to C. C. S. in a pouring rain and came into a
wallowing mud hole after dark. We got a real British reception and
were shown into a tent that contained nothing. "Have you a servant?"
was the first question. "We have not," was the answer. So they detailed
us the camp idiot. Mud, rain and a howling gale, and British stoicism.
They are not a bit like the nice bunch we left.

There is nothing doing here but some trench fever cases (P. N. O.).
There is absolutely nothing to do or see, so we hang around in the wet
and cold and shiver.

I am anxious to hear what became of the little Padre, because some of
the men were "going over the top" Sunday night, and he was going with
them. If it does not rain this afternoon, McW. and I will try and find
our way back there on foot for tea, as Colonel Lister said he would
send us back in the bus if we did.

I shall be glad to be back at Chaumont again.

_October 11th._ We are still at Casualty Clearing Station 45, and a
dreary hole it is. We tried to get away, but the D. D. M. S. would not
hear of it, so we must stay our week out.

I am officer of the day to-day and am actually running H. M. C. C. S.
45, having inspected, etc., a detail of H. M.'s forces this morning.

Tuesday we went to Greyvillers and saw C. C. S. 3. They seemed much
more alive there. And yesterday we were shown over C. C. S. 49, our

It has rained the greater part of the time, with patches of sunshine
here and there for short intervals.

Last night we went to Béhagnes to see the Pelicans' show. It was
wonderfully good, but not as interesting or amusing as Bow Bells at
the 56th Division. The Pelicans are the 62nd Division. We dined at the
Officers' Club there. There were somewhere between one hundred and
one hundred and fifty officers there, many fresh from the trenches.
They walked in--and drove in. There was a large well-patronized bar,
papers, and everything well appointed. At eight we went in to dinner,
and a very good one only not sufficient. Met Crab there and several
other officers I had met at the 2/1 West Riding. They were all most
agreeable. The Pelicans began at nine. We walked almost all the way
out and it was quite wonderful, as the battle-front was illuminated by
constant gun-fire and Very lights. It is hard to imagine that one is
only three or four miles away from it all.

During the performance last night the gun-fire was constant, and a
battery somewhere behind our tent has kept going constantly now since
four p. m. yesterday.

My duties as officer of the day are to inspect the camp detail,
outgoing men, censor letters, inspect kitchens, latrines, etc. Also,
I am in charge of Ward D. We shall leave Saturday morning at seven
forty-five. The British Army is all right, but this lot of men are
dead. I have yet failed to meet a British medical officer with any
range of vision. They are provincial to the last degree and thoroughly
self-satisfied. Those who have seen more of their work than I have
say that as a rule it is poor, but their cleanliness and general camp
sanitation is beyond criticism.

This C. C. S. is 3rd Army, 6th Corps. The C. C. S. are attached to the
Army. The Commander is F. G. Fitzgerald. He just returned from leave
early this morning.

_October 16th._ We left the C. C. S. Saturday morning after rather a
dreary week, as it was bitterly cold and raining every day.

The train from Achet-le-Grand was crowded. We met Pool and his crowd,
stopped over at Amiens for lunch, paying a second visit to the
Cathedral. Then down to Paris, arriving at the Hotel Continental about
five p. m. I dined alone at the Café de Paris, and then back to bed.

Sunday was beautiful, cool and clear, and a walk up to the Arc in the
morning was delightful. On the way down saw Dorziat for a half hour.
She was still in bed, although she said she was rehearsing daily.

Called on H. C. and L. Havemeyer, but they were both out, and so ended
the day.

Monday we started out for Chaumont, and so reached the old barracks
again. Everything just as we left it. Drew 226 francs travel allowance
this morning. To-morrow I am to take over three wards at Piercy.

_October 21st._ A truly interesting day. Saturday we heard that four
Zeppelins had been brought down, one near here. So this morning
the Colonel sent down to Headquarters and found that one was near
Bourbonne-les-Bains.--H. James, Schwander, Russell, Colonel and I went
down in the Marmon car. It was a beautiful ride. We came on the Zep.
about one mile outside Bourbonne. It had come down across a little
ravine, the nose almost resting on the road. It was almost intact, the
forward car only having been smashed. Some of the gas-bags and the
rear end of the body seemed to be cracked.

It was simply a marvelous bit of construction, and appeared like a
whale thrown up on land. Two hundred meters long and a wonderful frame
built of aluminum. The bombs had all been dropped. It was built like
a watch. I climbed into the forward car. The motor appeared intact
and the gauges and levers were all there just as they had been left.
It was all very wonderful. They had apparently lost their way and had
to come down on account of lack of petrol. The crew were all taken
prisoners. They tried to fire the machine, but were discovered in time
and prevented.

We drove on after that to Bourbonne for lunch. The place was packed
with French and Americans. Every one seemed to have come out to see the
sight. Going in we saw the two officers dressed in suits of leather.
One turned and smiled at us as we passed. Schwander got permission for
us to talk to the prisoners, but they had all departed for Dijon when
we had finished lunch.

On the way back we stopped and saw where the second had caught in the
tree tops. The forward car had been broken off by the contact and
fourteen men taken prisoners, but the remaining four got the Zep. going
again, and went along--to be captured later. The men captured first
burned the basket, but as we passed there was still a lot of wreckage
sticking in the trees.

Every one was hunting for souvenirs, and they pocketed bits of the
linen envelope and particles of fused metal, perfectly worthless
objects. The Sergeant who captured the first lot of Boches told us that
one of the officers had a bottle of poison that he was going to drink
if caught. But on second thoughts he presented it to the Médecin Chef,
saying he knew the French wine was good as he had lived two years in
Paris working in a motor factory.

Altogether we had a most delightful and interesting day's outing.

On the way back we passed nearly a hundred motors with officers and
men. The road was filled with peasants going on foot, bicycle, or in
their crazy little carts packed in so thick that the poor horse could
scarcely drag them. The excitement all through the countryside was

_October 28th._ Nothing of any particular interest during the past
week. Have charge of 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 wards, besides two
Sergeants' rooms.

To-day Floyd leaves for a tour of inspection of camp sites, and I have
charge of the building.

_October 30th._ One of the girls from Vittel honored me by a visit,
and while we were dining the military police rushed in and said there
was an impending air raid and that all men were ordered to quarters. I
thought I heard the hum of motors but was not sure.

We are trying to collect a "fee allowance" for fees given on the
"Lapland" and "Grand Tulley Castle." This is at B's instigation, as he
was much piqued that I collected 26 francs more than he did in travel
allowance on our trip to the British front.

Two letters from America arrived to-day, one posted July 26th, the
other August 6th. Some going!

It has poured rain steadily for two days now, and everything is wet and

Miss Sheriff has gotten the officers' lounge almost ready for occupancy.

_November 1st. All Saints' Day!_ And a wonderful clear day, not a cloud
in the sky and scarcely a breath of wind to scatter the falling leaves.
There was real joy in the air and everyone showed it.

In the morning Miss A. came. Miss A. is one of the Red Cross and is
rummaging around, God knows why, because she cannot speak French, nor
does she know anything of hospitals. I showed her through my wards,
but it was all Greek to her.

In the afternoon I started out on my bicycle. Rode to Noisy-sur-Seize
and then crossed the hills to Luzy. It was just sunset as I went over
the divide, and no one can describe the peaceful beauty of it all.
The church bells were tolling the Angelus, the long Angelus for the
repose of souls. Smoke curled up in thin, blue columns from the little
houses below in the valley, and the slanting rays of the sinking sun
lit up woods and meadows with a wonderful golden glow. It lasted for
a few minutes and slowly died out, and always the bells, ringing out
the fading day. I sat on the crest of the hill and watched the last
shadows, and then went on down into Luzy in the gray twilight, and so
on home.

The Padre (Burnett) was in the room, and a hot discussion was in
progress on the All Hallowe'en dance, which was given for all enlisted
men, nurses and officers.

_November 4th._ I am now senior medical officer, Floyd having been
called away to organize some hospital.

Major Lewis shot himself last night (suicide) down in the pretty little
château at Chamaronde. Alfred Stillman was called down. He found him
lying with the automatic revolver in his hand.

Peck and Cave have returned from the French front where they were
working for five weeks. They are full of it, saying they were treated

_November 8th._ The same old story.--Last night dined with Kilbane at
Luzy. Rain and general slow times.

_November 12th._ The times are absolutely uneventful, and the life is
monastic. Am taking over an American ward to-day. The Medical Chief
told me I was holding too many patients and I must discharge them. It
seems pretty rough, as there is hardly one that is fit to return to
duty in the strict sense, but he says France lacks man power and that
is their sacrifice. Their food in hospital is inadequate and miserably
prepared. It seems a poor economy, because if they were well cared for
they would be able so much sooner to return to duty. This is the first
day the sun has shone.

_November 24th._ We received over two hundred Americans and three
hundred and twenty odd French in the past forty-eight hours. The work
has been very severe--practically only Henry James and myself to do
it, as Martin and Peightel were both sent on other details. The C. O.
knew they were coming, but we had no official notification. Everything
was pandemonium, and still is. I made nearly seventy-five physical
examinations per day, besides having the general directions. It was
pretty strenuous and I don't think it is over yet.

Have been talking with Colonel Mitchell to-night. He is the head of
the U. S. Aviation--a bright, able man. He says Germany has won the
war from the military standpoint. The French man power is gone; Great
Britain has made too many blunders--and now the Italian business, which
was rather expected. It all certainly looks pretty dreary to me.

_November 28th._ Sergeant Hartman died of pneumonia and was buried
to-day. A full military funeral with the 101st Engineers Band. He is
the first one of us. It was very solemn and impressive. The Padre read
the service in Pavillion Raymond, and then his body was put on the
ambulance and we started for the cemetery, the band leading, then the
hearse, the body draped in the American flag and covered with flowers.
Twelve of the officers followed, Peck, Jim, Reed and self walking in
the first column of fours, the men followed, about sixty of them, and
then an ambulance with the nurses. We went down to the cemetery where
at least two hundred French were gathered. We stood at attention while
"Taps" were sounded, and then we turned and walked away, leaving him
alone in France, looking over the valley. He had done his bit and done
it well.

The corner of the little French cemetery is beginning to fill.

_November 29th. Thanksgiving Day._ From early morn every one has been
smacking his lips and thinking and talking and dreaming of food. We got
ours at one thirty. Of course, they had to ask in some of the 101st
Engineers, and they have been hanging around our rooms all afternoon
waiting for the dance. The dance is yet to come, but all is enthusiasm.
The 101st Band played in the compound in the afternoon. At present
there is a great hustle and bustle, hammering and knocking around in

My little sergeant leaves me to-night. A dapper little gentleman. I got
him in the dining-room and stuffed him full of turkey, red wine and
mince pie. He is a finely made fellow. In twenty days he returns to
the front. Ganthor is his name.

My new uniform has come home after a three months' struggle to get it,
and, of course, it does not fit.

Now for the dance!

_December 9th._ Thanksgiving has come and gone. The dance was generally
reckoned a great success. The 101st Band of Engineers was very fine,
but the punch put the punch in the evening, and it had plenty of spirit.

Since then things have moved along uneventfully. H. James and Calvin
Coulter left the next morning for Boulogne, so Martin and I have
practically carried on the medical service, aided by John Williams.
The officers' quarters have been running heavily, but no particularly
interesting cases anywhere.

Last night Jim Russell had a birthday and asked some of us down to eat
an exceedingly good ham, and we had champagne.

Life is becoming about as eventful as a monastery and goes on with
the same regularity. It is rounds, meals and a little reading, with an
occasional walk. Every one is coughing and snuffling. James and Coulter
are expected back to-morrow, and I hope about a week from to-day
we--Martin and self--will get off. If all goes well I hope to spend
Christmas in Paris.

_December 12th._ Martin and I leave Friday for Boulogne, spending
Saturday in Paris. James will be in charge of the medical service. It
will be very nice to get away, but I hope they give me back my function
as chief of the medical service when I return.

The French seem to make absolutely no preparation for Christmas. There
is not an extra ribbon hung in any shop, and in fact the only signs of
Christmas are the bundles in pink ribbon that keep arriving for the
men--they are many. I imagine pretty many are homesick.

Henry James and Coulter got back Monday from their trip to Boulogne.
Henry said it was well worth while and seems to have enjoyed it very

Every one is coughing. Bronchitis is rife, and is running a very
virulent course. An autopsy on one of the men yesterday showed the
bronchia to be filled with pus. This was especially true in the smaller
ramifications. They die from an apparent sepsis and are fine examples
of a purulent bronchitis. McW., James, Stillman are all coughing and
sneezing. Practically all the younger men have been in hospital with
bronchitis, or influenza. I fear that our sick reports are running, and
will continue to run, very heavy this winter, with a comparatively high

We had news yesterday that the Engineers of the line of communication
would not take half the building over, which means that we are going to
stay here and that the whole place will be run as a hospital.

Kilbane and Steiner left for Paris to-night to blow off steam.

_December 15th._ _Paris!_ Martin and I arrived last night and came to
the Wagram. This morning, it is not yet nine, we have had our "café
complet" in our rooms which are overlooking the Tuileries Gardens. The
Louvre and the Panthéon are golden tinged in the early sunlight. It is
like a spring morning and a great joy to be away from the routine.

_December 18th._ _Boulogne._ Mostly medical. Arrived here Sunday
night. In the arms of the English. General high prices and bad manners
prevail. Hotel Folkestone. We met Pool and Burt Lee in the dining-room
on arrival Monday. Saw Cushing and Harvard Unit, then No. 3 Canadian
and McCree, who showed us some of his chest work. Robinson of Harvard
Unit has been doing some good blood work.

Lunch with Colonel Evans at Stationary Hospital 14. Walk home along the
cliffs with a great dirigible balloon hovering over the sea. In the
afternoon Robinson read his paper on transfusions and the preservation
of blood.

Last night and again to-night Boche aeroplanes over the city and all
lights suddenly turned out about five p.m. The city was literally in
inky blackness, save for the pale flicker of the moon. Two wonderful
clear cold days. The atmosphere of the place is distinctly one of
depression. They all admit the situation is serious.

_December 24th._ We left Boulogne last Thursday and started for
Paris. The train was packed with "permissionaires" and all in a
very jolly humor. The trip was well worth while, because it gave
me many suggestions of the problems of war medicine. The crowd was
terrific when we arrived in Paris--no taxis, so we struggled with the
complications of the metro, finally reaching the Wagram.

Friday visited Vidal at Hospital Cochin. He had his clinic. We waited
for him and met him in his ante-room. He was most cordial. The man has
done a tremendous amount of literary work. There were volumes of it. He
is a thickset, forcible man of about forty-eight or fifty.

I lunched with Lillie H. that afternoon where she had Cross and a Miss
McCook, Y. M. C. A. In the evening dined with Henry Clews, who was in
good form and opened up in the old style. Saturday L. lunched with me
and in the evening I dined with Mrs. Stuart. Friday afternoon saw Madam
A., an American woman with a Dutch husband. P. wanted me to see her.
Stupid old thing, as deaf as a post.

Martin left me this morning. Am alone now till Wednesday or Thursday,
and then back again.

_December 27th._ Returned from Paris with S. Ground white with snow.
They all seemed glad to see me. Evidently Christmas was a great
success. A full round of drinks, and they say all were happy, the
Colonel included. The place is packed with patients. Y. M. C. A. tent
is up and for the present filled with cots--cots in the corridors, so
we are in now for a lively time.


_January 18th._ Since last writing nothing of great importance has
taken place.

My recommendation for a majority was sent to Washington about ten
days ago by Colonel Hansell. I hope it goes through and goes through
quickly. The snow has all disappeared and beautiful, glorious mud
reigns in its place. The Colonel is trying to jack up discipline--God
knows it needs it. I caught one man staggering home dead drunk and had
the pleasure of putting him under arrest. Blankets are being taken
and electric-light bulbs. The same old lazy American methods. Saw our
officers walking along the roads in their long coats, pretty sloppy
looking objects. You cannot make a soldier unless you dress him in a
soldierly fashion. The everlasting cry is we are a young country and
it takes us time to learn, but, damnation, does it take one hundred
and fifty years? Why could not our Government have attended to these
matters twenty-five years ago?

_February 1st._ Kilbane, Steiner and myself are off in the morning for
our seven days' vacation. We are going to Nice, motoring to Dijon where
we hope to be able to catch the train or rather get accommodations on a
train, as we hear everything is crowded.

Took my physical exam. for majority two days ago, Martin examining.

We have had a wonderful fifteen days of clear weather, half of
them quite summery, but for the most part the air is very damp and

_February 14th._ Back in Nice, with one day in Paris. We caught the
train from Dijon at one thirty a.m., and stood up the balance of the
night in the corridor as there were no seats--men and women stretched
out full length lying on the floor. Reached Marseilles at twelve noon
the next day, and stopped off for the balance of the day and night,
taking the express next morning. Beautiful country. Stopped at Nice at
the Hotel Negresco. First class. Perfect weather.

We have twelve new M. C. nurses and enlisted men. A perfect mob now,
but they seem a fairly decent lot. Same old job, except this time I am
to start some fool work on food with a test squad of fifty men. Cannot
make out any point to it, except they want to find out how much waste
there is in preparation of food.

_February 22nd._ Was sworn in as Major this morning by Colonel Island.

_February 28th._ Howard Peck died.

_March 1st._ Howard's funeral. 6th Artillery brass band, and all walked
down to the new American Cemetery. Poor Major Peck!

_March 2nd._ We heard two weeks ago that Alfred Stillman's brother was
killed while flying. Alfred has been in London, having left on receipt
of the news.

There are twelve new raw-boned Southerners added to our Unit since my
return from Nice.

This morning we sent two operating teams to American C.C.S. No. 1,
McWilliams among them. Armitage Whittman has taken Henry James's bed in
our rooms. He seems to be a nice fellow. Stuart Benson, Paul Draper,
Beekman Hoppin and Mrs. "Bordie" Harriman have all turned up at one
time or another.

_March 9th._ Alfred Stillman and I got a motor and rode out to American
C.C.S. No. 1, just north of Toul--a beautiful spring day and a very
pleasant trip. We lunched and dined at the Officers' Club, Neufchâteau,
which sports a fine bar.

_March 10th._ Last night some of the convalescent officers got two
motors and we went down and saw Elsie Janis. She told stories, sang
songs and danced for an hour and fifteen minutes. It was a delightful
performance, she was so perfectly natural and joked and talked with the

_March 14th._ Am leaving for Paris for two days to-night with Major

_March 23rd._ This has been an eventful day. In the first place,
Colonel Hansell and Major Peck went on their vacations and I was left
C.O., which entails many fussy details. Then this afternoon Colonel
Mitchell of the Flying Corps, who was recently a patient of mine at
the Officers' Pavillion, paid me a call, asked me to motor out to Hill
412 Aerodrome with him, and sent me off on an aeroplane flight with a
French pilot.

It was a wonderful sensation. We flew about twenty miles, circling over
Chaumont and the hospital. Words cannot describe it. It has all the
thrill of flying. The woods looked like little bunches of moss. We flew
over the Canal, which had the color of bright emerald. The Flying Corps
for me, if it wasn't for this cursed age.

_April 4th._ This is approximately the tenth day of the great battle.
For many days we have all been very anxious, but now a rapid feeling
of confidence has arisen that the enemy is held.

Have been Commanding Officer at the hospital for the past thirteen
days, the Colonel and Peck having taken their vacation in Nice.

_April 19th._ _Paris_--Medical conference. Hansell and I roomed
together. I heard the big gun go off twice, otherwise all was quiet.

Alexander Lambert asked me to dine with him. There were eight at
dinner--his wife, Major Strong and wife, and Colonel Island, also
Colonels Martin and Cummings of the English Army. While there Major
Thayer told me I was to be detailed to one of the Divisions as
Divisional Consultant. I was much pleased, as the news was a great
surprise, for among all the wire-pulling I hardly expected to have
anything good handed out unsolicited.

_April 25th._ Orders to proceed to Neufchâteau. Threw the necessities
in my old grip, rolled up the bedding and off in a Ford ambulance. Of
course, all haste was unnecessary, as when I got in Major Thayer was
away and Boggs, the Assistant Director of Medical Service, had gone to
Chaumont. Saw Finney, who invited me to lunch--one of those sweetly
solemn male luncheons where every one was afraid to say anything.

Later that day Boggs turned up and we talked over affairs. The
Consultant has charge and direction of all cases in his department. My
orders were in a measure vague, and I should imagine it was largely up
to me to create the position.

Spent the night at the Officers' Club and next day, Saturday, motored
with Finney and Boggs to C. C. S. No. 1 at Sevastepol where we lunched.
Saw Pool and McWilliams. The latter has gotten very fat. From there
we went on to Bucy, the 26th Division Headquarters, situated in a
charming old Norman château with beautiful grounds, and from the
terrace a superb view overlooking "Bocheland." It seemed a sacrilege
to desecrate the grounds. Guns were booming in the distance, and the
streets of the village were full of United States troops and transports.

For fifteen miles and more behind the lines, the French were digging
entrenchments and erecting barbed wire. They are evidently taking no

My original orders were not sufficiently comprehensive, so Sunday
returned to Chaumont with Brewer, and here I am (May 3rd) waiting
further orders before embarking on my new mission.

_May 6th._ The new mission was just on the point of materializing when
the 'phone rang and I was told, with Colonel Keller's compliments, to
"disregard my orders." I felt like one personally conducted to hell and
abandoned. Dumped for some reason. It was cruel. I debated for some
time and then walked down to H. Q. and saw K. All the satisfaction
obtainable was that the 2nd Division was coming out of the line and
that a general reorganization was pending and to sit tight for further
orders, which would surely come, and I would not be forgotten. Said he
was not at liberty to divulge their plans further, and then changed the
subject and talked about Colonel Reno's death by suicide, saying he was
his best friend and showing me a letter from his wife.

Moved our mess-hall over on the south end of the ground. Not much to
do, and every one depressed and gloomy. Cadwalader and Stillman having
their afternoon naps. Saw Major Flint last night at Hotel France--said
John Alsop was with him. Paul Draper regaled us yesterday with his days
of prosperity. It was a very wonderful story.


_With the 42nd (Rainbow) Division_


_November 18th._ It has been many months since I have attempted to
write anything, for the principal reason that shortly after the last
entry I was sent to the 42nd Division as Medical Consultant. The
Division was at Baccarat. At the time of my journey George E. Brewer of
New York was the Surgical Consultant, and for the first two weeks we
roomed together. Later I got a billet for myself over by the railroad.

It was a great relief to get away from the stuffy monotony of 15. The
country was beautiful, and the opportunity to roam around and enter
into the life of the war was very refreshing. We had a nice mess, not
far from our billets--Sanford, Sam Arnold, "Sister" Rennis (Y.M.C.A.),
I. N. Perry (Red Cross), Brewer and myself. Brewer was the cock o' the
walk. Henry Sanford was Division Neurologist.

We had an epidemic of what we called "three day flu"--really, I think,
grippe. Something like forty cases of pneumonia resulted from it. They
ran a very protracted course and the incidence of empyema was high.

While at Baccarat I took many little side trips with Brewer in his
motor. According to rules, I was entitled to a motor, but in spite of
constant efforts I never got it and it did much to cripple my work with
the Division.

Aside from gas attacks there was not much activity in the line. We had
several nasty gas attacks. Jaspar Coglan was gas officer and seemed
very efficient, but in spite of everything he did, they would get us in
much too large proportions.

I drove out almost every day inspecting the regimental aid posts. The
Division area was about twenty-five square miles. At one place where
there was a gap in the woods, the trees had been shot away; when the
Germans saw the dust of the motor they would put over a few shells,
but they always broke behind us. Although the line was comparatively
quiet, there was always more or less of a thrill in making these trips.

About the middle of June rumors began to spread. One, that we were
to move up north and that "big business" was soon to begin. Finally
officers from the 77th blew in to look the ground over, and then we
knew they were the relieving division and that we were to go. In a day
or two the jam in the street was terrific. 42nd moving out--77th coming

I motored in advance one morning, about the twentieth of June, to a
charming little French town--Châtel. We spent two days here. A pleasant
billet and days of real rest after a month's hard work.

The Division was slowly moving north to an unknown destination, some of
it by train (the infantry)--the artillery and other overland. We found
out that it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of Châlons, so
started on ahead. We were finally assigned to a sector, of which the
town of Souain was the center, about twenty-five kilometers north of
Châlons. Medical headquarters at Vardanay.

While there visited Châlons many times and had some excellent dinners
at the Hôtel Angleterre, which was afterward totally destroyed by a
bomb. Also had a most interesting lunch with General Gouraud, to whose
4th Army we were attached. General Gouraud sent us to Verdun, where
we were well entertained by Colonel Dehays, and lunched with General
Hirschauer, the Commander of the Army of Verdun. It was all wonderfully
interesting. The view from Fort St. Nicholas was grand, but we were
shelled heartily while enjoying it. The whole country is devastated.

The days were full of new and interesting experiences. The end of
June found me in a little peasant house at Vardanay across the way
from the church. Our mess was in a combination schoolhouse and café,
just to the right of the church. Madame Michel was the old lady
proprietor's name. I had a little room under the roof, papered with
daily newspapers. She had a nice little garden. After our mess we would
congregate there and discuss what news there was.

It was pretty evident that they expected Fritz to start his next
push somewhere in that neighborhood, as there were very extensive
preparations being made. Troops and guns were arriving in large
quantities every night, and all night long truck-loads of supplies
were rumbling by my billet. Bussy-le-Château, about twenty kilos to
our east, was chosen for our evacuation hospital, and two of our field
hospitals, together with Mobile No. 2 (Captain St. John) were installed
there. Walter Cannon came with a shock team, and I think we had either
ten or twelve surgical teams.

I made almost daily trips in to Souain and the different positions
held by our men. Toward the west (Rheims) there was almost constant
bombarding, and at night the sky was brilliantly illuminated with gun
flashes and rockets, but on our immediate sector there was almost an
ominous quiet. Our artillery put over a daily barrage, but scarcely a
shell came in.

Everything was ready, and still nothing happened. All sorts of rumors
were afloat, that the attack would probably develop elsewhere, etc.
In the evening after dark it was my habit to walk out on the plains
and watch the artillery at work. The night of the fourteenth of July
was cloudy, and it had been blowing a gale from the south all day. The
guns were all very active, some shells coming in. The gale blew so that
standing two hundred yards from the 155 mms. I could hardly hear the
report. Starting the homeward trip about eleven against the wind, it
almost made walking impossible. It seemed surely as if nothing would
happen that night.

I had just undressed and blown the candle out, when crash and a roar.
I knew what had happened and jumped from bed, pulling on a shirt,
trousers and boots, without stopping to lace them. Before I had
finished shells were dropping in Vardanay, many of them singing over
the roof. As I ran down the stairs poor old Madame Michel met me. I
sent her to the remains of the old Roman catacombs under the garden,
and walked out into the road after fumbling with the gate for what
seemed an age, trying to find the key and get it in the lock. While I
was fussing a house further down the street was struck and dust and
splinters dropped all over me.

I met Fairchild (D. S. Fairchild, Chief Surgeon, 42nd Division). His
motor was waiting, and we got in and started east toward Bussy. I
looked at my watch--it was twelve ten.

The roar of the artillery was so great that we had to yell to make
ourselves heard. Shells were flying over our heads, breaking on both
sides of the road. Where the road turned north for a few hundred yards
our motor suddenly stopped. The chauffeur managed to make it run again,
but as we waited shells were constantly screeching over our heads.

We reached Bussy in due time. The roads were crowded with all manner of
transport, and we crawled along, the only light being the gun flashes.

At Bussy all was ready. The first wounded began coming in about two a.
m. At the same time the Boche opened fire on the hospital. At first
the shots were wild, but with the break of day and probably aerial
observation, they began getting direct hits. After three or four
we decided to send nurses below and evacuate patients to dugouts,
and, after further consultation, to fall back on the other two field
hospitals and Evacuation 4 at Écury-sur-Coole. These had been prepared
in advance for just such a contingency.

The nurses left first. I took charge of the patients, and
superintended the loading of them on ambulances and got the whole lot
loaded in a little over an hour.

I had no leggings, in fact had nothing but trousers, socks, shirt and
jacket, so while we were waiting for transportation to move with, I
went in and Allison loaned me a razor with which I started to shave,
but while I was all lathered and had just commenced, they began
shelling again. I kept on, but had a good many nicks on my face, for I
could not keep my hand from jerking when they whizzed over. About five
minutes after I left the hut it was struck and completely demolished.

Got down to Écury in time for a bite to eat (lunched with Campbell),
then went back to Triage where I had been working all night. Short of
ambulances. Sent Fagely out to find trucks. He got some thirty Q. M.
trucks and pressed them into service. Majorie Nott and several other R.
C. women came on the scene, making coffee and sandwiches.

Wounded pouring in. Triage crowded. A. lost his head and was flying
around like a madman. Many necessaries lacking. Profanity flying.
Night. Dare not show a light. Promptly at ten p.m. air full of avions,
dropping twenty or more bombs on Châlons. Saw three large fires.
Wounded coming in all night. Six operating teams going, but not half
enough. They can't nearly handle the work, and too many men kept
waiting who need urgent attention.

Two p. m. Avions again over Châlons and us. More bombing. The sky full
of searchlights. Dawn. Almost dead. Two nights and a day, but the
wounded still coming in. At seven a.m. am relieved by some one. Go down
and climb in Spielman's bed and sleep till ten a. m., then go on duty.

Third night. Châlons bombed. Aviator flew over us. He could not have
been one hundred feet above the tents, and in the moonlight clearly
visible. He dropped two bombs. No one hurt. Don't remember how long
exactly we stayed here, but think it was eight or ten days. Châlons
bombed nightly.

About the sixth day returned to Vardanay. The house was locked and
Madame M. gone, but climbed in the window, got my belongings and put
them in the motor. The village was deserted, save for a few old women
and a child. They sat around the mouth of the cave and went below
whenever the shelling started. It was a pathetic sight. I left some
money with them, which surprised them more than the shells.

There is a lot of talk about the rotten way things were handled in
general. Not enough ambulances, nor general equipment, and such as we
had was antiquated.

About July 24th or 25th, orders to move. Where, no one knows. Started
cross country with field hospitals, going west.

Château-Thierry. Started in all over again. Night and day wounded
pouring in. Insufficient ambulances. Insufficient hospitalization. Not
an evacuation hospital on the scene till the main push is over. Two
field hospitals taking the brunt of the work. Transporting wounded in
trucks thirty-five kilometers clear to Commercy.

Pushed on with the troops to Épieds and later to Fère-en-Tardenois.
Much evidence that the Boche is beating a hasty retreat, from the
quantities of stores and munitions left behind.

Considerable bombing. Was almost caught on the road by three bombs
returning from La Ferté with Perry.

We pulled out the end of August and left for Bourmont near Chaumont.
En route spent three delightful days in a small French château in
Lysantry, five kilometers from La Ferté. The old caretaker cooked for
me and I ate under the trees. I hated to go.

We understand the Division gets thirty days' rest, but we get seven,
then orders to move. All night groping our way in the dark, arrive in
Longchamps at dawn in a drizzling rain. I knocked on the door of the
first house in the village and after a long pause was admitted by a
very old man. He had a fine spare room and without undressing I wrapped
myself in blankets and fell asleep. The old man was eighty-six and his
wife eighty-four. They lived there all alone.

Next day moved to Chatenois two kilometers away where headquarters
were. No news of probable destination. Three nights later another move,
this time to Germiny on the road to Toul, or rather just off it. Dirty
little place, but got a fair billet. Two nights here, then all night on
the road, arrived at Bicqueley in early morning and camped by roadside
thirty-six hours (B. is ten kilometers south of Toul). Later on to
Bruley. Rotten billets. The place is full of French and everything is
crowded. Rain and mud.

Probably the attack will be at St. Mihiel.

Saw a ghastly notice posted in the Y. M. C. A. to the effect that if
any of our men were taken prisoner and questioned to say nothing; that
torture would undoubtedly be used, and that such men would never be
allowed to return alive, no matter what they said. It ended by saying
let them meet Eternity with the knowledge they had done their duty. It
gave me a thrill as I read it.

At most of our stops I have been fortunate in finding French families
where I could get something to eat.

It is St. Mihiel. We move to Ansauville. The attack commences--I forget
the date. In fact, one seldom knows it. We are in advance of the
heavies, they firing over our heads. The show opens at one thirty a. m.
It is drizzling. The fire is very intense, but nothing like Souain.

By four p.m. the guns ease off and the men go over. Met Normand who
was in charge of Vittel, also a Major Finck, a fine man. They asked me
to billet with them. The whole place is shot to pieces and there is
scarcely any shelter to be found. We three, and sometimes a fourth
casual, sleep in a kitchen. It is about the only place that has half a

Later next day Normand and I pushed north with the advancing troops.
The roads were simply jammed, but we followed up, finally getting into
Essie. Every one is wild with enthusiasm, for the Boche is simply on
the run. Groups of German prisoners are constantly passing us on the
road down. Many have their knapsacks all packed, so must have been
expecting us. I counted over eleven hundred going through the fields.
They certainly make a most cheering sight.

We pass through several small towns, nothing but a mass of rubble now.
The balloons are all moving forward.

Essie is a mass of ruins. The 82nd Division is holding the place. None
of the transports have come up and there is still intermittent shelling.

The 42nd's triage is here in a cellar. We met and talked to a large
number of the liberated civilians. They were happy, but very quiet.
Most of them were old people. One woman had a baby by a Boche. Every
one pointed her and it out, but it was more in the spirit of historical
interest than anything else. An unfortunate accident. She clutched the
baby as if in her eyes it was a perfectly good infant.

Toward night we made our way back and the next day started for
Thiaucourt to help get out the civil population. The town was fairly
intact when we first entered it, but while we were there they started
up a violent artillery action. Soon buildings began to go. Most of the
shelling was for one of their ammunition dumps they had abandoned in
their precipitous flight. However, a little later the guns were turned
on the town.

We got out all the civilians without any casualties. I have heard
since that the place is completely wrecked. They kept on shelling it
intermittently until November 11th.

A few days later we went out to Pont-à-Mousson. (We referring to
Normand and myself.) The action had shifted more to the east, judging
from the intensity of the artillery action. We passed out along the
Thierry road. The lines had, of course, all pushed forward, but the
place was just lined with the old gun emplacements. As our road
gradually neared the Boche lines one could hear that a very heavy
duel was in progress. We continued to the cross-road which turns into
Pont-à-Mousson. Shells were dropping here every three minutes. We timed
them, and when one exploded, beat it, full steam ahead. Our batteries
were more terrifying than Fritz's, because they were on both sides of
the road and were going off right under your nose.

When we arrived in the town things were very active. We took shelter
in an abri for a time, but as most of the shells were passing over,
searching out our "heavies" behind the town, we decided to walk along,
across the river and climb into Mousson, a high conical hill where the
French observation post was. It was a long, hot pull with a constant
accompaniment of whistling shells, but when we got there it was well
worth while.

The post was on the very top in some partially demolished buildings,
the view from whence was superb. One, with the aid of the glass, could
see Metz distinctly, even reading the time on the Cathedral clock.

Five hundred yards across to the next hill was the German observation
post, but "noblesse oblige," they left one another alone. Below, across
the river, were three German towns with the peasants working quietly in
the fields, and right across the river was one of the Crown Prince's
many châteaux, untouched, although one of our 75's could have blown it
to fragments in five minutes.

As the gun-fire was likely to increase rather than diminish with
sunset, we started down the hill and back through Pont-à-Mousson.
The place was all but deserted, only a few Americans hanging around
the mouths of abris. We found our motor and driver, however, after
some little search, keeping careful lookout in the meanwhile where the
shells were falling. Just as we were leaving the town two 77's broke in
the road behind us, but doing no further damage than to cover us in a
cloud of earth.

Two days later ordered to move forward and accordingly took position
at Beaumont just behind Sains made famous by the stand of the Marines
earlier in the summer.

Beaumont was nothing but a mass of wreckage and mud. We pitched the two
field hospitals on the ground floor of all that remained of an old-time
château, while the officers lived in the abandoned French dugouts.
These were fairly comfortable, but infested with rats. The whole place
is a sea of mud and filth.

During most of the St. Mihiel drive we had fine weather, except the
first three days. The drive started September 12th, with the moon in
the first quarter, consequently we had great German aerial activity.
One evening a Boche plane was brought down by one of our men just at
sunset. Both Germans were killed. Every night planes flew over our
heads all night, but fortunately nothing fell near us.

      *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

On September 26th I was detached from the 42nd Division and sent as
Medical Consultant to the Justice Group of seven hospitals at Toul. H.
C. Madden (Lt.-Col.) was Commanding Officer--an efficient man. The work
here is purely medical and very tame after the Division. I was much
disappointed as Thayer had promised me the 3rd Army Corps.

Toul is a dreary place and the darkest corner of France I have found.
I have tried to organize the service, a thing requiring some tact, as
each hospital has an excellent chief of its own medical service.

On October 6th I got into Paris for the Red Cross medical meeting. It
was my first sight of real civilization since the previous April when I
hated the everlasting dreary nights. However, this time it did not make
much difference, as I was dog-tired and only too glad to turn in after
dinner. Spirits are brighter moreover with the continuing good news. ***

_The Last Salvo_

_November 11th._ _The last salvo was fired at eleven this morning!_
While I was in Paris called on L. There were two old chatterboxes there
who cackled about divorces and clothes. It gave me such a strange
sensation and seemed so unreal and trivial. I suppose the world must go
on in spite of war--"battle, murder and sudden death."

_November 18th._ Was commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel to-day and walked
down town and bought some silver leaves in the afternoon.

On November 3rd a telegram from Helen telling me that dear father had
died on the tenth of October. I had expected it, but it was a shock.

_November 24th._ Have just returned from what I hope will be the last
Paris medical meeting. I want to get home, and kicking about the city
is pretty dreary. Called on every one I knew. Saw Dorziat and Lucien
Guitry in "Samson" and supped at Maxim's.

Have applied for home, and am hoping with all my heart that it will go
through. Work over here is an awful anti-climax now.

_December 6th._ Toul. Called up Neufchâteau three days ago and spoke to
Major McLean. General Thayer, as usual, was not there. However, McLean
told me I would get my home orders. The same night Colonel Thornburgh
told me he had arranged matters so I could go, but now it was necessary
to wait for my rating card before the final orders could be issued, so
here I am, waiting.

Last night we went over to a musical show at the Marshal Ney Barracks.
It was very poor--absolutely devoid of imagination or humor.

This morning I got the motor after some scrapping and took Yocum,
Hodges and Kennon over to Metz. We went via Pont-à-Mousson. There
was a thick fog which practically obscured the views. As we passed
through Pont-à-Mousson I could not but think of the time I was last
there with Normand when shells were coming and going all the time. The
road was still fairly full of transports, but nothing like old times.
Pont-à-Mousson was more shot up than when I last saw it, and it was
almost deserted.

From there we soon ran into German territory, with old gun
emplacements, camouflage and ruined buildings all along the road.

Metz was gaily decorated with flags, and the streets were gay with
French and Americans, but the whole air suggested a conquered city.
Some shops had posted "Maison Française" on the door; painters were
rapidly changing the signs from German to French. The Hotel welcomed
one, but everywhere it was with the air of the conqueror. The people
were frightened and did not know what was going to happen. There
were only eight thousand real Alsace-Lorraines in the city, so an
intelligent German officer told me, and most of the "hurrahing" was
done from policy.

Boys and men were doing a thriving business in selling Boche souvenirs.
Iron crosses and belts being their specialty. And the Americans were
the victims, especially the large army who fought the war in swivel
chairs and are seeing the front for the first time.

In spite of all tales to the contrary, the shops seemed full,
especially the provision stores. Prices are very high. I saw plain
women's hats, that are generally seen at a store like Macy's piled by
hundreds in a box and selling for fifty cents, marked fifty and sixty
francs. There was no rubber, so bicycle tires were made of a steel
spring arrangement and one of rope. Shoes had wooden soles.

We had a very good plain dinner, but paid ten francs for what
ordinarily would have been about three marks. The beer was simply
bitter water.

Coming home we passed on the other bank of the Moselle and back through
Lorry, Fleury, Meiul-la-Tour, and so home, but the roads were all
deserted--so very different from my previous visits.

_December 12th._ Yesterday Fullerton (Major Robert Fullerton of St.
Louis) asked me to go to Montfaucon and Varennes with him. We started
this morning at eight a. m. in a drizzling rain and fog.

On our way out we went through Commercy, St. Mihiel and Verdun. The
latter looked much tidier than when I saw it in July with Brewer. Out
of Verdun through the Gate St. Paul into the beyond on the Montfaucon
road, the battlefield is still fresh. The destruction is worse than
anything I have so far seen. The earth for miles is torn with shells,
one hole knocked out and then the edge of that hole knocked into
another. Several of the holes were twelve to fourteen feet deep, and
thirty-five or forty feet across. Everywhere was wreckage; gunners'
positions, guns (77's), machine guns, clothes, rifles and quantities of
Boche ammunition; all the towns about were obliterated.

While we were waiting at the former Crown Prince's house, the owner
turned up after an absence of four years and three months. I wish I
could describe the scene. She was a plump little woman of fifty-five or
more. Two men friends drove her out from somewhere. We were standing in
the door when she descended from the old trap. She came in through the
mud and announced in a cheery voice that this was her old home. There
was a little tremor in her voice when she turned and said: "There was
the salle-à-manger, but gentlemen, as you see, it is all no more. We
left it at two a. m. September 2nd, 1914, and with it everything in my
life departed." Still the voice was cheery. "My husband, son-in-law and
two sons have been killed. My grandfather, who was buried over there
(pointing) has been turned out of his grave." She then looked around a
few minutes, gazing in a wistful way, then walked out the front door,
turned and looked back at the mass of wreckage. Her lips trembled, she
covered her mouth with her hand, and we heard a few soft sobs. Then she
quietly turned, pulled up her skirts and tramped out into the muddy

Cressy à Varennes. We passed through there on the way back. Like
the other neighboring towns it only exists in name. The same utter
desolation, shell holes, tin cans, wire, guns, shells, fog and rain.
Nothing can ever picture the dreary awfulness of it all. It looked as
if the sun had faded and we were at the end of the world, stepping into
the Infinite.

Back to Toul at seven and it was good to see a few lights burning in
the homes.

_December 13th._ Raining hard all day, but very warm and balmy.
Cornelia Landon and Rose Saltonstall of Boston are at our mess for
a few days. I asked Colonel Thornburgh to invite them, as they were
billeted here and sick. The Madame told me there were two sick
Americans down there, and I was much surprised to see little Landon.
Saltonstall is very bright and attractive. We don't see much of them,
for they only show up for lunch, playing in the evening.

It seems strange to be sitting December 13th with your window open,
enjoying the efforts of the moon to work through the clouds.

_December 15th._ Went to Neufchâteau on the excuse of seeing Thayer,
who was not there. A beautiful sunny day. Met Tommy Robertson at the
Officers' Club and had a fairly good representation of a real cocktail.

Landon and Saltonstall left this morning. I did not see them again,
but they left two nice little good-by letters.

_December 20th._ A bit colder. There was a flurry of snow yesterday,
but still, with the exception of a few days in October, there has been
no cold weather.

Took my daily walk up to the railroad track. Found the life of P. T.
Barnum among some old books and read hard for two hours.

Colonel T. has an attack of rheumatism, is in bed, and feels very sorry
for himself.

We take Christmas dinner at B. H. 45, that is unless I have the good
luck to get away before then. Every one is beginning to feel very
homesick and restless. I cannot realize that Christmas will be here in
four days. There isn't a suggestion of it in the air.

The children keep up a continual chatter in the next room, but strange,
it is rather pleasant than otherwise. If they would only not start the
squeaky old pump at seven in the morning!

_Christmas Eve, 1918._ It hardly seems possible that another year has
rolled by and Christmas is here again. One year ago to-night, and now
here again in Toul.

Goodall, Yocum and self went to Nancy this afternoon. In the evening
the Delatté children came in my room, played the piano and they danced.
I gave them some candy; then to supper.

Dinner was pretty sad. Never try and be gay, is a rule that should be
taught in childhood.

My landlady, is having "tea" at nine this evening, and I am expected to
join. The day started beautifully, but it is sleeting hard now. And mud

No signs of Christmas anywhere among the French, except Madame Delatté
asked me to go to Midnight Mass with her. She got confessed this
afternoon, and is ready now for another year of miserliness. Much to my
astonishment, she made me a brioche.

_December 28th._ Waiting! Waiting for orders to return. Cadwalader
called me up Friday and said he had received his, and that my name was
on the same paper, but nothing has come. It is very trying. Over three
weeks now in daily anticipation.

Yocum, Goodall and self went to Neufchâteau. Saw Finney, Boggs and
Longcape, but no one knew anything about what was happening. We lunched
and came back by way of Domremy, Jeanne d'Arc's birthplace. Then across
via Voucoleur to Colombey-la-Belle. Heavy fog and rain, as usual. There
were no lights on the machine, so we had to grope the last four miles

_New Years Eve._ By special invitation I was asked to see the old year
out with Madame De Salle, my neighbor of the next room. There was great
stirring about all afternoon in her rooms, and I could hear a stirring
of something in a bowl. Phillip, her son, age eight, came in to get me
at eight p. m., but I did not turn up till nine. When all the guests
were assembled, which was promptly at nine, we sat down, ate a piece
of dry sponge-cake, drank a small glass of white wine, then a little
coffee. Lieutenant Le Beau, Madame Gérard, the local teacher of the art
of piano-playing, a fat, healthy, false-toothed dame, Madame Ralling,
and her son waxing into manhood, down on his upper lip and a voice that
wabbled from treble to bass. At midnight we all kissed.

But this is all as nothing now, for it is January 2nd, 1919, and
at three fifteen p. m. this afternoon, after all hope of anything
immediate had vanished, received orders for home. Telegraphed H. and
leave for Paris Saturday, January 4th, en route for Angers and from
there to a port of embarkation.

_Printing House of_ WILLIAM EDWIN RUDGE _New York City_

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Doctor in France, 1917-1919: The Diary of Harold Barclay" ***

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