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Military Quotes

We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors.

-- Sun Tzu
Life in the U. S. Army11273 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War IOn April 30, 1918 I was drafted in the service of the U. S. Army and sent to Camp Dix N. J. For further use. We had a fine trip passing over the Erie R.R. To Binghamton (NY) where I saw Mrs. Oxford and Helen who were the last people I saw who I was any way acquainted with for nearly a year. From Binghamton to Stroudsburg (PA) over the DL & W RR stopping for half an hour at Scranton (PA) where we replenished our stock of joy water we stopped only for perhaps fifteen minutes at Stroudsburg where we owned the town during that stay.
From Stroudsburg to Camp Dix (NJ) we travelled the P.R.R. And on stopping at Phillipsburg I was elected by a popular vote to purchase some more wet goods which I was ready to do so I bought six bottles of beer and after an argument with Mr. Bartender over the payment I took a chance and confiscated two quarts of perfectly good Mt. Vernon whiskey which was readily consumed between there and camp where we arrived about three AM.

After detraining we were taken to a large building where we were made to strip and pass a petty inspection and get vaccinated also a typhoid inoculation after which we dressed and had a cup of dishwater called coffee after that we were escorted to quarters which were tents attached to Co. E, 303rd Engineers.

When we were organized in our new homes we were sent to a supply room and received three blankets and a mess outfit then our first army meal which consisted of oatmeal, dry bread and coffee of course we turned up our nose at it, but we saw times after that when it would have tasted like a six courser at Delmonico's.

Then came our first hitch at soldiering which was pounded at us for the rest of the day and when night came I for one was sick, tired, and disgusted with myself and everyone else but it was no ones fault but my own.

Reveille came at Six A.M. Talk about your sore arms mine was as big as a stovepipe and could hardly move it no sympathy was offered so we were kept drilling and along with examinations physical and mental we were busy most of the time we were with the 303rd for about six days and were transferred on account of this outfit going over seas.

We are now in Co. I, 59th Pioneer Infantry and the routine was the same with squads right, left etc. Along with details and another shot in the arm. We stayed in this outfit until May 20 during our stay the boys got split up Foltz going to the 310th Inf, Weldon to 309th MG Batt, Collins to the 313th Supply train, Caulkins to 312th Sanitary train, Waggoner to the 312th Infantry, O'Connor to the 308th FA, and Heffernone to the 307th FA the rest of us stayed together for a time.

Now we are in the 22nd Co. 153rd Depot Brigade with the meanest bunch of snots that ever walked they had the world beat when it came to overbearing things went along as usual when on May 30th we were told to pack up as we were going to another camp we were sorry to leave as Koskie, May, Havens and Smithy were left behind on account of sickness and in the meantime sold my suit of civilian clothes to a 'sheiny' for $3.00.

We entrained about midnight June 7th on the PRR not all went to sleep we awakened in a railroad yard and it was Philadelphia from there on it was daylight so we all enjoyed the trip nothing of note happened until we arrived in Baltimore where another lad and myself stole a case from an Express truck when opened was found to contain twelve perfectly good quarts of 'Old Grand Dad' whiskey which was readily consumed by our particular friends we agreed that Baltimore was a first class town we then started on to Washington where we were served sandwiches and coffee by the Red Cross but only saw very little of the town we then were switched to the R.F & P.R.R. To Richmond where sandwiches and iced tea was handed out by the Red Cross then over the A&W to Camp Lee Va where were assigned to Co. D 148th Infantry.

The 148th Infantry was a Unit of the 47th Brigade, 37th Division composed of the Ohio National Guard some of them had seen service on the Mexican border and the rest had been in training for a year at Camp Sheridan Ala. The officers used us fine as well as the rest of them.

The routine of duty was altogether different from what we had been used too, the first thing was medical examination change of clothing from Khaki to wool issued pack and carrier cartridge belt canteen bayonet and scabbard, rifle etc and were taught the use and care of same. Then came target practice which we all enjoyed along with sham battles, practice in trench warfare which was very interesting. Then came an era of inspections which occurred several times a day until June 18th when we were given orders to pack barrack bags which we did and on June 19th we started on the first lap of our journey to France.

The Regiment started about 4:00 PM for City Point Va. The place where Gen Grant had his headquarters during the Siege of Richmond in the Civil War we embarked about 8:00 PM on o river boat and sailed the James River to Newport News where we were given sandwiches cookies and coffee by the Red Cross.

In the neighborhood of 10:00 AM June 20th we embarked on the US Transport Susquehannawhich before the war was a German freighter called the Rhine belonging to the Hamburg American line. I was never able to find the exact dimensions of it but it had quarters for about four thousand officers and men in addition to the ships crew and had four six inch and four one pound rifles on either end of the boat for protection.

On June 22nd about 6:30 PMwe started for France and I for one felt rather blue as we saw the U.S.A. Fade away in the distance and the Virginian Capes was the last US land I saw for nine long months.

The morning of the 23rd we joined a Convoy from New York making Twelve transports and Four battleships the trip was made in ideal weather. There was lots of seasickness and I was made to pass coal for three days for spitting on the deck and calling the ships Captain a son of a -----. On July 1st a fleet of Submarine chasers met us and on July 5th we sighted land we arrived in Brest Harbor about 3:00 PM and I was among Twenty Five picked from the Company to assist in unloading the boat we got on shore the morning of July 7th.

We hiked to Camp Pontanezeu on the outskirts of Brest named after Pontanezeu Prison built during the Reign of Napoleon the buildings are built of stone surrounded by a wall of the same material, windows being heavily barred as well as all entrances one building has implements for execution but was only permitted to look through windows at it. I also got acquainted with a pretty Briton named Yvonne Marijou on a visit to her home I was treated Royal. This camp was in its infancy at this time only about one thousand tents in the camp and on account of dry weather was very dusty.

After a three day stay we entrained in 3rd Class Italian coaches and started a ride to somewhere the coach was divided into five apartments for eight men each but we make ourselves rather comfortable in spite of crowded conditions. This trip gave us a fine chance to look over the country and the principal cities we passed through were Fennes, Laval, Le Mans, Tours, Orleans, Nevers and Dijon and on July 13th we detrained at a small hamlet in Dep't of Vasges and hiked about five miles to a town called Rozier. In the meantime July 11th my 21st Birthday will never be forgotten as to how and where it was spent.

We stayed in Roziers for eleven days and had all kinds of Officers teaching us how to use hand and rifle grenades Automatic rifles machine guns of all discription as well as one pounder cannon and lots of target practice with rifle and pistol as well as Bayonet exercise. We were also introduced to red and white wines and had a chance to mingle with and study the people my $1.12 which I had on my arrival in this country had increased to over Seven dollars due to selling bread for two bits a hunk.

At retreat the evening of July 23rd we were told to pack up and be ready to move at a moments notice and about 2:00 AM, July 24th entrained at Damblaine in the box cars which had the signs 8 Chevaux - 40 Hommes (8 horses - 40 Men) and away we went passing through Nancy and Toul and about noon we detrained at Gerberviller in the Dep't of Et Mosrlle the town of which I will describe later. We had nothing to eat since the night before but had to hike about fifteen miles to a village called Domptail where supper was ready on out arrival and all were ready to eat.

At this town we all had a chance to get an idea of the distruction of the country and were quite astonished at the way buildings were destroyed by shell fire which was nothing compared with what we saw later our stay here was one night and a day.

From this time on all movements were made under cover of darkness with a 10 mile hike to a patch of woods somewhere in the same Dep't where we stayed for the day and as soon as darkness came we started and were met by guides who escorted us to a place called Herberviller which was on the front line this was July 28th a great many of us not three months in the Army yet we spent the rest of the night in houses the one I stayed in had only half a roof no windows and we had to sleep on a stone floor.

The next evening we took the front line trenches relieving Co. A 305th Infantry 77th Division they stayed with us for two days until we made ourselves acquainted with the lay of the land our home was a dugout which had accomodations for about fifty men and was about fifteen feet under ground we pitched our pup tents under a small grove of pine trees. Ross McDaniels and I bunking together I was unfortunate enough to have my thumb nail torn off so I was selected to become a messenger boy there was very little happened during out stay patrol work and outguard the chief duties it was more of a school than anything else.

On Aug 11th we were relieved by the 2nd Batt 148th Infantry and went to Baccarat where we were given a delousing which was a bath clean underclothing and other clothing as was needed we spent the day in Haxo Barracks and the following night went to Gelacourt about three miles away.

The morning of Aug 14th I was among thirty to be picked to go to Regimental headquarters at Hablainville where we studied the operation of light artillery and the building of Camoflage under a French officer of the 40th French Artillery also the building of dugouts and underground passages it was a rather profitable stay for me as French soldiers could not buy cigarettes and tobacco at the GM C.A. Canteen. For one Franc six packs of Mecca cigarettes could be obtained five of which would be given the the soldier and one for myself it would also include a bottle of wine so when five packs were in store the Franc would go in my pocket for the cigarettes and I would be one franc ahead. I also learned a great deal of the language which was a great help.

The morning of Aug 29th we were sent back to Gelicourt to the Company and the night of the 30th hot our first pay which was 140 Francs 40 Centimes and most of us went to Baccarat found lots of women wine and song and we were all rather unpresentable when we returned and on out arrival were placed under arrest three of us Finger, Carter and myself sneaked out and got away with it.

The day of the 30th we dug practice trenches all day and we felt quite tired when night came and had the pleasure of seeing an Allied aviator bring down a 'Jerry' machine also a 'Jerry' bring down an allied observation balloon it was very thrilling. The night of Aug 31st we started for the front line again and this time things were rather lively my thumb had healed so I had a hand in the numerous skirmishes which took place several of the boys got slightly wounded but no serious casualties occured we were relieved Sept 14th by the 75th French Infantry.

We went to Agerailles a town possibly ten miles back of the line where we rested for one whole day and then we went back to Domptail which was full of Italian soldiers they were a fine looking lot of men and were very well kept we only stayed over night and then back to Gerberviller where we had a chance to look over the town which was very much destroyed what buildings were left were pecked up with bullets very few had glass in the windows I obtained some views of the place some of which I have now and above all the 'Gerries' left the brewery standing and therefore very good beer which was enjoyed by all mostly to excess.

Soon things were ready and we entrained again and started for somewhere passing through Nancy, Toul, Commercy, and Bar Le Due detraining at Mussey in the Dep't of Mense and hiked along a tow path to Fains where we stayed for two days.

On Sept 19th we took a truck ride French trucks driven by Indo Chinese to the vivinity of Avocourt where we were taken into Bois De Parois where we lived on our Corned Bill and hard tack along with what blackberries we could for three days when the Kitchen and supply wagon rolled up got us a warm meal in fact several and we were again issued the Iron ration consisting of corned Bill and hard tack when on Sept 25th we were ordered to reduce packs and get ready for the Grand Opening after an unusually big supper we were ordered to fill canteens see that rifles and ammunition was in order after dark we moved toward the front and were halted about midnight the four cooks, John Rhinehart, Scott Dolby, Carl Francis, and Ernest Drake brought us up hot coffee and hard tack which tasted very good.

Shortly after this the Barrage started.

For one who has never had the opportunity to witness a barrage has little idea of what it is like it was my first time and I hardly knew which would be most appropriate to cry or laugh.

At 3:30 A.M. The outfit took a front line position waiting for word to 'go over the top' which came with daybreak this was Sept 26 with the exception of a little machine gun fire little resistance was offered and the advance was four miles according to information received later.

The 27th at daybreak the advance started again minus artillery preperation the town of Ivoiry was taken after a four hour fight resulting in rather heavy casualties among them 1st Lieut Herbig of D Co., Capt Bunge of Co. A, 1st Lieut Barnett Battalion Ajt. And Lieut Basel of Co. B., were all hit the two former we never heard of and the latter killed outright we advanced to a ridge in back of the town but on account of poor support was unable to hold it so retired to a covered position we ate the last of our rations and laid down for the night.

The 28th we began again and on coming to the village which was taken the day before shells began to drop thick and fast wounding a great many on searching the village a 'Jerry' was found in the church tower with telephone connetion to the German Artillery he gave no more information on arriving at the top of the hill we found a piece of light Artillery which Sgt. Chas Taylor, 'Marty' Griffin and Corp Raymond Moore turned around and fired what ammunition was left in the town of Curgis demolishing the church tower and damaging several buildings we stayed on the hill that night going to bed hungry.

The 29th we up and at it again I drank the last of my water took a mouthful of raw coffee and sugar which was breakfast fourteen French tanks came up and we were to take the town that day anti tank guns put the tanks out of commission and a box barrage around us inflicting severe losses those out of Co. D were 1st Lieut Taylor, 'Del' Parnell, Ralph Cannon, Stanly Gurniak, Ernest Johnson killed and Sgt 'Ben' Owens, Sgt Fred Baker, Sgt Fred Pennypacker, Corporals Chatwood, Sands, Long, Vickey and Carter and numerous privates whose names I cannot remember we stayed there until night fall tired, hungry, thirsty, sick and exhausted during the fore part of the night most of us not on outguard looked after wounded.

The 30th was the same thing for one my throat was parched so with another mouthful of sugar and coffee we tried to take the town with no result so we slept again the best we could.

Oct 1st we were off again and had more severe losses after the severe fighting the town of Aergis was taken and we were relieved that night by an outfit of the 32nd Division.

After arriving at a point some 25 miles from the line we were given a blanket roll and were allowed to pitch pup tents in the open during which we were given one meal and a canteen of water which tasted better than any I had ever had before the meal consisted of corned beef baked up with onions and potatoes with hard tack it was a rather watery mixture and tasted like chicken we also had coffee.

In the morning of Oct 2nd when we lined up for breakfast there was a very small line and none had realized how many had been killed or wounded until then out of 190 men in the Co. Five days before we could account for 98 faces in the mess line that morning and it sure made us feel rather glum.

After a three day stay we were loaded in trucks and taken to a place called Ugny I never was able to find where it was located but anyway only stayed three days and were again loaded in trucks and the 7th found us under shell fire again. Oct 8th we were on the front line again this time on the St. Mihiel salient where we relieved the 89th Division 356th Infantry it was supposed to be a quiet sector but was real lively accomodations were poor having one man dugouts 'Hap' McCoy and I fixed one so it would hold two it was about seven ft. Long, five ft. Wide, and four and one half ft. Deep we stole bread sacks and hay so it was lined and quite comfortable after four days the 3rd and 4th platoon was attached to Co. H and sent to a dangerous position with no shelter and rain every day and to top it all off most of us had the dysentery from drinking bad water but we had to stick it out until the night of Oct 18th we were relieved by the112th Infantry 28th Division and hiked through mud up to our shoe tops to St Benoit which is in the Dep't of Meurthe where we rejoined the company we then hiked to Pannes a distnce of five miles where we were told to make ourselves as comfortable as we could.

At daybreak we were loaded into trucks and taken to Foug where we received another two months pay mine was 184 Francs 60 Centimes and some were permitted to go to Toul about four miles distance where we enjoyed a fair time but altogether too many M.P.'s posted to have any amount of fun we also recieved about Sixty replacements troops of the 344th Infantry 86th Division.

On the morning of Oct 21st we loaded again and started for somewhere again passing through Verdun, St Minnbould, Chalon Sur Marne, Epermay, Chateau Thierry, Meaux, Paris, Beanvais, Amiens, Boulogne, Calais, and Dunkerque over in Belgium to a place called Poperinghe where we detrained and went to an English Camp named Camp Dirty Bucket and it was rightly named for it was the dirtiest military establishment I ever saw we stay here two nights and one day which was long enough to give us a first class dose of cooties.

The billets were built of corrugated iron built in semi-circular shape concrete floors no windows each had bunks for twenty five men.

The morning of the 24th we started on a hike of about 35 miles and we had began to see what was meant by Flanders mud the roads were very bad and on this hike we passed through Gpris where the first gas attack of the war was launched by the 'Jerries' I imagine at one time it was a beautiful city and it was a shame to see the way it was demolished not a liveable building in it almost everything being laid low in this city was the famous Cloth Hall which had the History of Belgium in painting and also a cathederal which from the looks of what was left must have been an enormous building. All along the road were sights to behold. Barbed wire entanglements, trenches, Gunpits, Pillboxes (concrete machine gun nests) which were buily by the Jerries, tanks that had been stuck in the mud, and the while country a mass of shell holes, woods laid low, and what not I cannot tell. On coming to a crossroad one would see a sign ici Oastcappel, Polecappel, meaning here is the names of the respective villages which were only a few piles of brick where the said village was that night after covering perhaps 25 miles we were told to pitch tents and it was hard work finding a place dry enough to do it after we were organized we had a supper of beans, hard tack, tomatoes and coffee and after nothing to eat all day tasted real good.

The morning of the 25th we started again after a breakfast of hot Corned beef and hard tack we had no water and could not get any about noon we arrived at Gits and were taken to some German Barracks where dinner was waiting the kitchen having gone ahead there were numerous people in this place and we were treated fine we stayed here two days and started again.

About three P.M. we hauled in Pitthersa a large city fine stores with nothing to sell the 'Jerries' having taken everything of value we stayed here over night.

The morning of the 28th we went to Thiell another large city where we stayed for a couple of days and found it the same as the former. From this city one would see the flash of guns, flares etc and our replacements of course were anxious to hear about it we told them that we would soon be in the thick of it but they wouldn't believe it on the night of Oct 30th we were issued out a case of corned beef and the customary two boxes of hard tack the older men knew what was coming but the youngsters laughed as we told them they had better write home if they wished.

About 10:00 PM of the 30th we were told to roll packs and get ready to move at once as we went the rumble of guns came closer and at midnight all was still we went into a barn at a village called Ham and were told to reduce our packs taking a blanket if we wished about 3 AM the 31st the 3rd and 4th platoons of which I was a member moved out under command of Lieut. Little and while passing through Olsene we had to wear masks account of mustard gas we got out of our course and I was told to go back to Regimental headquarters with Sgt. McCoy to find out where we were to go. Capt. Baker told us and also to hurry as the fun would start at 5:30 A.M. We went in an old house after joining the detachment found out where we stood we were on the road just getting ready to start to the line when the Barrage started it seemed as though every gun on the Flanders Front started the same time the new men commenced to fire questions but the only consolation they received was to shut up and keep going which all did and had not gone far until Sgt. Chas Taylor got three fingers torn off . After arriving we were attached to the 54th French Infantry where all of us had the worst shelling we had so far received anywhere our duty was to act as combat Laison keeping communications between the French and US lines and to close up any gap that would open up between them we didn't encounter much heavy fighting but were under shell fire most of the time this drive took us thru the city of Cryshanten which was a very nice looking town numerous prisoners were taken and when they were being taken to the rear the people flocked about us hugs and kisses were plentiful and in fact I never saw such grateful people in my life it was nearing night and we got cut off from Lieut. Little so were under orders of the French Lieut. Who had us drop back about one mile where we dug in for the night.

On Oct 31st we were awakened before daylight had breakfast of Corned beef, Hard tack, and raw turnips which were very plentiful and soon the barrage started again so we started with it the people on seeing us would come out give us bread, fruit, cheese etc so we were not hungry at one point where we were temporarily held up by machine gun fire Sgt. Moore and I went ahead about 100 yds to see if we couldn't obtain a canteen of water at first we could not enter the house but finally were admitted after they were sure we weren't 'Jerries' we asked for water and both canteens were filled wth the best wine I ever drank they also gave us bread and butter, cheese some apples and after thanking them we joined the detachment again we encountered very little fighting that day had lots to eat and drink and at night arrived at the banks of the Escaut River we were dismissed from the French and at daylight came to and we all held a little consultation.

The morning of Nov 1st Runners were sent out to find if possible where the rest of the Company was located in the meantime we assisted the 136th MG Battalion who had suffered heavy losses by helping man the guns carrying ammunition looking after wounded etc. About noon two of the Runners came back saying that they had found Battalion Headquarters and had an order from Major Conelly to report to him at once which we did he gave us a guide and sent us to the company on arriving we found numerous faces missing. There was little to do only keep under cover for we were then being held in reserve and was awaiting orders to move across river which was eventually accomplished without our aid.

The night of Nov 4th we were relieved by the 4th French Chasseurs or 'Blue Devils' and started back th Thielt where we were promised a long rest arriving at daylight we immediatly went to bed.

We were awakened at dinner time and found that Lieut. Hess had been killed as well as well and Valais, Peterson, White, Bianchi and McLean those wounded were Capt. Frisgour, Sgt's Antz, Long, Walker and Dunlap, also Chas Taylor, Corporals Torbert, McManus, Reynolds and a few others I do not remember the losses were not near as great as on the Mense-Argonne offensive but bad enough. The morning of the 6th we were paid for one month I received about 90 Francs and drinks of all Kinds could be obtained so along with Crap and poker it was made to go farther.

Things went on like this until the following night when we were taken to a place and given a bath, clean underclothing a new pair of pants and a shirt the first bath since August and believe me it was needed.

The morning of Nov 8th we packed up and went to Deynze where we stayed until dark and upon the line we went once more the 1st Battalion was withdrawn and held for the Division reserve so we saw practically no fighting until the night of Nov 10th when we were sent up and entrenched on the west bank of the Escaut River in the vicinity of Syugau where it was almost certain death to stick ones head above the trench the place I was stationed was under a willow tree with an automatic rifle trying to get a little snooze expecting to go across the river the following morning but instead the armistice went in effect and all fighting stopped.

We hardly knew what to do with ourselves for a while it seemed rather queer to not hear the screech of a shell or the sharp reports of rifles and machine guns.

Tents were pitched in a nearby field the farmers furnishing straw to floor them with and we could have fires, smoke or anything else after dark.

On the morning of Nov 17th we started on a hike for Germany with the French making about 15 miles to a place called Dikilvenue where the company slept in a brewery and in the morning started on another hike to Borsbeke where we stayed for two days.

The morning of Nov 21st fifteen men were picked from each company and turned over to Capt Hance of Co H who informed us that we were to be taken in trucks to Brussels where we were to act as escort to the Belgian Royal Family on their entry to the city for the first time in four.

In due time trucks came and about 8:00 PM found us in Kokeburg a suburb of Brussels where we were billeted in a school house for two nights and a day we had a good chance to see this place and were treated fine by all who we came in contact with.

On the 23rd we left all unnecessary equipment and formed for the parade we marched eight abreast the streets being unusually wide whenever we halted we were given beer, cigars, cigarettes etc. Which was soon stopped as it was giving the parade a bad appearance about 1:00 PM we arrived at Belgium Army Barracks which the Germans had used as a base Hospital where we had dinner and were given leave until 7:00 AM the next morning and believe me we used it everything was free from beer to I know what not treated in a Royal fashion and Palmer, Woodson and I had three of the prettiest girls I ever laid eyes on and they were good company one could not have asked for a better time than us three fellows with the lady friends it reminded me of times in the states.

Brussels was the prettiest city I was ever in and the way we were treated being shown around to everything from a dive up to a Kings Palace and not costing a cent.

The next day found us on our way again feeling very good as well as hilarious from a Barrel of Rum which was sent us by some good hearted Samaritan our stay will not soon be forgotten we received many souveniers as well as giving all the coat buttons and Ammunition we dared we hiked about 25 miles to a place called Ninove.

The 25th we were loaded in trucks and started to rejoin the outfit. Having about a half hour in Ralst, Termoude, and Ghent joining the Company at Pyghun where we stayed until Dec 4th we spent Thanksgiving Day at this place and had for dinner, Mutton, potatoes, rice, bread and coffee and mighty thankful to get that.

The morning of Dec 4th we started for France Via hobnail express and Shanks Pony making fifteen miles to the city of Isighun where we stayed over night the next morning to Staden about twenty miles and the next day to Postuletern a distance of thirty one miles but we had no packs to carry so were really not very tired the next day took us to Rexepoide France a distance of about 18 miles where we stayed for ten days drilling etc in accordance with orders.

Dec 17th after a ten day stay in that place we moved to a small hamlet called Bisseziele in the Dep't of Nout where we had a long stay Gannon and myself went out to find a room the barn being too crowded we found a place over a saloon where accomodations for six could be had so 'Dad' Moore, Embree, Gannon, Wentworth, 'Steve' Loon and myself went there were Six beds in the room where the Lady of the place Mme.

Taccoen her three daughters Jeanne, Agnes and Germania, her sons Desire` a boy of twelve and Giry another home on furlough from the 8th French Chasseurs, and us Six slept together the Lady and girls had Sheets aroung their beds ours was open they seemed to think but little of it and were without a doubt the best French people we had met and used us fine. During our stay I was taken with the tonsilitis and Jeanne took as good care of me as if I were a member of the family we also got paid day before Xmas so we had Jeanne's mother cook up Steak, French fried, coffee etc which we had taken pains to steal from the Kitchen and the night was spent in high living as could be found. These people made our Christmas as fine as possible us six living upstairs drinking Cognac and Champagne in the Kitchen while the others had to put up with Wine and beer for Xmas dinner we had Roast beef, mashed potatoes with brown Gravy, rice pudding, Bread and Coffee with an Orange a piece for desert we stayed here until Jan 16th 1919 when we left for the Le Mans Area before leaving Jeanne gave me her picture which I have in an album now.

The night of the 16th we left after having a farewell drink and kissing the women folks first on one cheek and on the other for Esquelbec where we entrained only 30 men to a car and bid good bye to Northern France in the meantime while waiting for the train to get ready a sheet was fastened on the side of the RR station and we saw a real American movie Dustin Farmer in "True Blue" it was much enjoyed by all.

This trip took us through Dunkerque, Calais, Bologne, Amiens, Rouen, Everuix and Alengon the biggest share of it being in daylight we detrained in La Hutte and hiked about five miles to Fyi where I and four others were billeted in an old mill.

This mill was built in the 18th Century and was still working all parts made of wood and still doing a good business.

There was not much going on the people being rather distant all except a Mr. Sanglinel who was a distiller and had a cognac still by a creek we made it a point to be friendly with him and found Cognac and coffee a very good drink several of us accepted invitations to his house where he had numerous different brands which were rather free and most of us were feeling in high spirits throughout our stay.

Not having a squad I was given a politician job looking after clothing slips and records of the platoon which I made take up most of my time being much nicer than drilling.

During our stay we were being re-epuipted with new clothing, shoes, rifles, belts etc. as was needed and every man was equipted in very good shape before leaving.

On January 28th we went to Alencon where we were reviewed by Gen. Pershing and staff. It was a miserable day and very cold we arrived back about 4:00 P.M. And until February 10th there was very little of note.

February 10th we went to Frisnay where we were doloused being taken both ways in trucks where we all imbibed rather freely in cognac and had an enjoyable time before we got back.

Things went on in the same hum drum manner until February 17 we hiked about twenty miles to Congi where we stayed over night our packs being hauled in trucks.

February 18th we took another hike to Courcemont where the lid was on tight we were paid for three months which was a lot of money for us to handle which netted me about 375 francs my pay being increased account of having been made a corporal sometime before but in spite of the M.P.s stationed there we had a good time there were several billiard tables which was a novelty as well as good stores. While there we had a Battalion inspection held on the grounds of a chateau which was said to have belonged to Anna Hill, Lillian Russell and others of note. It was a beautiful building but at this time badly in need of a cleaning up.

On Febuary 27th we were told to roll packs and fell out at once which we did and were split up into various detachments it made me feel rather sore to be separated from those boys whe I had been with for nearly nine months but we were homeward bound and that made a difference. We hiked about five miles to Bonnetable where we were placed in charge of Lieut. Thomas of the 148th MG Co.

We stayed here one night it was the largest French town we had hit and had quite a time in it. The morning of the 28th we hiked to Connere with other detachments where we entrained for Brest we had American cars which were equipted with air brakes, had an inside tiolet much larger than any other cars we had had. Fifty men to a car.

We arrived at Brest March 1st and were given breakfast at once in the embarkation mess hall and then back to Camp Pontanezau which was an altogether different place than of last July. We hardly knew the place we were quartered in squad tents and from that time on was inspections, delousing baths and the same thing over again. We received another months pay in real American green backs of $20.70 which was a treat after handling wall paper for sometime past. We exchanged our french money and I had all told $38.81.

On March 9th we were taken to the dock and embarked on the US Transport Louisville which sailed March 11th. We had a mean trip rough sea most of the time but best of all I wasn't sea sick and spent most of my time playing poker, crap etc. and on landing in the U.S. I had exactly $.60 (60 cents) The weather on this trip was not the best a rough sea most of the time but it was altogether different than before. The ship was lighted at night dancing on deck one could smoke after dark and have the general run of the ship.

It was the evening of the 21st that we sighted land the lights on some island the ship dropped anchor and we stayed all night docking the next morning and it was one happy bunch when we sailed past the statue of Liberty and happier still when we got on shore at Hoboken.

We were at once put on a river boat and went up the Hudson to Alpine landing where we went up the Palisades and over to Camp Merritt, NJ where more inspections and delousings were had and on March 31st we were put on board a train for Jersey City. Our arrival at the Erie Station at Jersey City we were loaded on a ferry and taken around the Battery to the Long Island RR station at Brooklyn where we entrained for Camp Upton.

After a series of inspections, lectures etc. we were discharged on April 4th and soon were homeward bound.
Note: by Pvt. Robert L. Dwight, 148th Infantry, 37th Division.


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