Take up our quarrel with the foe. To you from failing hands we throw. The torch; be your to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die. We shall not sleep, though poppies grow. In Flanders fields.
Many many, testified of seeing the vision of "The Christ of the Battlefield." (Psalm 91:7) Sometimes he was seen as a giant figure carrying a soldier in uniform cradled in His arms. I saw Him too. Tall, in white, in a brilliant glow of white light."
World War I (also known as the First World War, or the Great War, was a conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918. Chemical weapons were used for the first time, the first mass bombardment of civilians from the sky was executed, and some of the century's first genocides took place during the war. No previous conflict had mobilized so many soldiers, or involved so many in the field of battle. Never before had casualties been so high.
World War I was also a war of change, a last blow to the old order in Europe to pave way for the new. Dynasties such as the Habsburgs, Romanovs, and Hohenzollerns, who had dominated the European political landscape and had roots of power back to the days of the Crusades, all fell after the four-year war. Many of the events and phenomena that would dominate the world of the twentieth century can trace their origins to this war including Communism, World War II and even the Cold War.
World War I proved to be the decisive break with the old world order, marking the final demise of absolutist monarchy in Europe. It would prove the catalyst for the Russian Revolution, which would inspire later revolutions in countries as diverse as China and Cuba, and would lay the basis for the Cold War confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States. The defeat of Germany in the war and failure to resolve the unsettled issues that had caused the Great War would lay the basis for the rise of Nazism, and thus the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
On April 6, 1917, the United States declared that a state of war with Germany existed and then began the greatest phase of John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, General of the Armies of the United States career. Four weeks after the war declaration General Pershing received a telegram from his father- in-law, Senator Warren, asking him how well he knew French. He responded that he spoke it quite fluently. A few days later he received a letter from the Senator saying that Secretary of War Newton D. Baker had called him up to ask him about the general's French. Meantime a telegram arrived from Major General Hugh L. Scott intimating that Pershing might command American troops in France. General Pershing was summoned to Washington and soon after his arrival was appointed to command the American Expeditionary Force.
Here is how it was in the words of a soldier whose honorable discharge, says: AEF, Hill 204, Aisne, Aisne-Marne, Meuse-Argonne, St. Mihiel, north of Verdun. He was wounded in action Sept. 30, 1918, and paid in full, including bonus: $124.95.Galen Hunt. Often Left Behind-But Never Forgotten: The Military Wives Website Gold Star Moms
MY OWN KINSMEN ACCORDING TO THE FLESH
My parents, William Chester Hunt the son of Thomas Anderson Hunt) and Margaret Elizabeth Burger Hunt (daughter of James Madison Burger and Selinda Jane Ridenour) met in 1897, and were married by Abraham Wolf. My father's branch of the family lived in Northern Ireland, where they worked as coopers or barrel makers. In America, my father's father was a shoemaker in Newburg, and Independance, Preston County, Virginia. It was in Iowa, while employed as the teacher of a country school, that my father met my 16 year old mother. He was interested in astronomy, but didn't see how he could earn a living at it. In college he took a pre-medical course. While waiting to earn money to return to med-school, he taught school in Iowa for two years.
My mother was born in Republic County, Kansas. My mother's family were of French and German descent. She is pictured at the far right in the back row of the photograph on the left. During the 30 years War, our German Berger/Wetzstein family fled up the Rhine River in small boats called scows. It was a journey of about 6 weeks, traveling mostly by night to avoid detection. On one side were the campfires of the French troops and on the other the Imperialist armies. Upon reaching Rotterdam, they were assisted by relatives, lived and obtained work for passage to the New World. My ancestors, lived originated in Kehl, Mosbach, Offenburg, Baden; Germany, and Alsace, France. One of our ancestors, Peter Wetzstein immigrated to Pennsylvania on the sailing ship "The Samuel" in 1732, with his wife Elizabeth and 6 year old daughter Magratha. The journey to America took 8-12 weeks depending on the winds and weather.
Hans Michael Berger came down the Rhine to the New World taking an "Oath of Allegiance" to King George in the state of Pennsylvania on Sept. 5, 1730. In the next 25 years, at least 25 members of the Burger family came to Pennsylvania. Peter and Elizabeth Wettstein came to America with their 6 year old daughter aboard the ship the Samuel in 1732. Samuel Burger was born on October 24, 1792. He had an older brother named Abraham. The family moved to Iowa, where they farmed. My mother died when she was 21, and my father married my step-mother Alice Rodabaugh.
My mother's people settled in Pennsylvania between 1715-1725. Father's people came first to Maryland and in 1780 went up the Potomac River and then settled in the hilly country of Virginia, called Hacklebarney. His father, Thomas Anderson Hunt was a Civil War vetern. He enlisted in April-May 1862, in the Seventh Iowa Infantry, I Company. While he was away at war, and his wife was left with the 4 small children, southern bushwackers raided the home. They were probably looking for money. They killed a neighbor named Renee. Thomas was later transferred to the medical unit, and cared for wounded soldiers. He was honourably discharged, and returned home, yet with some sight impairment.
In 1841 both families moved to territorial Iowa. Mother's people took the last homestead in Jefferson County, and father's father bought a partially improved place in Davis County, both in Iowa.
On the morning of May 22 1898, in a 7X9 log cabin within the village limits of a tiny community called "Chequest, Iowa," I was born. The most that it had as a town was a tiny general store with a post office. It was also in "Turkey Scratch" for a school district, and "Hacklebarney" Township. Mail was brought over from Bloomfield, for it was in Davis County.
When I was born in this log cabin, the nearest phone was in Bloomfield, which was the county seat. Nobody wanted one--for you could only call a couple people in in town. You could not call out from there.
But things moved fast in those days. My father had built a barn before I was born. After I was born he built a two story house across from the front end of the log cabin. In this log cabin, my father and all his brothers and sisters were born--9 in all. It was close quarters for a large family. My brother born three years later, was born in this frame house. These two were connected by a covered passageway, and the log cabin became a place for storage of all the odds and ends.
THE WAR YEARS
In Spring of 1912 when I was 13 my father and Uncle Sam Burger, my mother's oldest brother had joined in buying some 1500 acres in Central Alberta, Canada. We all moved up there. We were only there for a year and we came back. My father rented a place and in spring we moved back to our own place. When I passed the 8th grade examination, I had shown a weakness in grammer and arithmatic. My father and step mother had decided on a sacrificial thing. A Professor Harkness retired from college teaching, had a private school of his own. My step mother had studied with him. It was decided I should study with him a year before entering high school. By Christmas I had made up the deficiencies, and I was put to the study of book-keeping, algebra, and a Greek and Latin grammer.
HIGH SCHOOL IN FAIRFIELD, IOWA
My father wanted me to go to the local high school but I insisted on Fairfield, the country seat, where I had studied with Professor Harkness. I pointed out the advantage of the Carnegie Library, better teachers, and better equipment. So in autumn 1914, I entered highschool at Fairfield, Iowa. Summers were spent helping on the farm. Prices were good and the farm prospered. My father and step mother accepted the extra expense my room and board away from home had made necessary.
The courses were prepared along two lines. One was a mechanical or trade course planned particularly for those who would not continue schooling. The other was a classical course planned for those who intended to continue schooling, including of course, Latin. I chose the classical course to serve as a foundation for the study of Law.
My father said farm workers had gone to work in the war industries and he could not get help on the farm. Over his protests I decided school could wait. I would have to help and I quit and returned home! Working on the farm this summer had a special intensity, but I could not know it was my last year on the farm. I started back to Fairfield High again the the fall of 1917, but my heart was not in it. Emotionally I was all wrapped up in the war which the U.S. had entered on April 6, 1917. I had asked my father's permission to go during the summer. But he would not give his permission. I did not expect him to do so. I was needed on the farm. On February 10, 1917, our home built at the close of the Civil War burned. Priceless home spun woolen, walnut dyed winter blankets burned, and our last buffalo robe. Since our country was supplying the nations of war, help was expensive and scarce. Even here, men were being called to the colors. Money had to be paid for an education, and my help was needed on the farm. It was natural then, that schooling should wait. Over my father's (William Chester Hunt's) protestation, I quit school and came home.
THE GREAT CRUSADE FOR DEMOCRACY
In the latter part of May 1917, some boys I had known enisted in the navy. My father objected to my going because there had been no call for volunteers and so, as he said, there was no real need for my going yet. During the summer the building and farming went on.
When I returned to school in the fall of that year, war preparations were going on at a rapid rate. We all thought of it as the Great Crusade for Democracy. It was to be a war to end war. Embued with these ideals, school again became a secondary matter. I took my books and clothing home from school, but none of the family were there for me to bid goodbye. I took the train back to Fairfield that same evening and the next day enlisted in the infantry branch of the service at Burlington, Iowa, at the age of 19. My mother's youngest sister Sadie Price sent me a small New Testament which I read faithfully. And I carried it throughout the war.
JEFFERSON BARRACKS: ST. LOUIS, MO.
So I enlisted in the military service on November 3rd, 1917; was sent to St. Louis, and after Christmas at Jefferson Barracks, was assigned to Company "B" of the Fourth Infantry. The enlistment contingents were being assembled at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Mo., and my introduction to military discipline began. Rookie drill without arms, parade, camp guard, and kitchen police followed each other in what gradually became a monotonous routine.
Yet there were things of interest about it all. In one of our mess halls 6400 men sat down at the same time to eat together. In the kitchen there were big steam kettles about six feet deep and eight feet across. They were shoveled full of beans, for instance, water run over them with a hose, and the steam turned on. Or perhaps stew or boiled beef filled the kettles. Dishes were washed by mechanical means and stored in steam healed dryers. Two men laid the board at each table, supplied the food, and did the cleaning up. The mess sergeant directed the operations from a central position in the hall by a whistle and a megaphone. Through the megaphone would come the words: "Come and get your plates," "Come and get your coffee." "Come and get your beans," and the work went on.
For a half day at a time in a little closed room in the basement a dozen men sat peeling onions while the tears streamed from their eyes. The onions came rolling down a shute from a box car. The men sat on each side of the shute peeling the onions which were placed in a different shute and the waste pushed along. In an adjoining room some 25 men under similar conditions were peeling potatoes. It takes a lot of potatoes to feed 6400 men.
Then came the day when we thought we were on a shipment to the Philippine Islands. We were issued equipment such as mess kits, blankets, etc., and two or three days were spent in cleaning and pooishing bayonettes, rifles, etc. The evening before we were to leave, some of the men told the story of their prospective journey to their friends in St. Louis. That was the report. At any rate the freshly cleaned and polished equipment was turned in and the men shipped back to duty. The activity of spies, and the necessity of concealing the movement of troops may have accounted for the change in plans. (Photo-Left) is from an enlisted man-1917.
(The Jefferson Barracks Enlistment Record for Corporal Galen Hunt contains a list of the items issued to him: 1) A flannel shirt 2) Pair of wool breeaches 3) Belt-Waist 4) Pair of leggins 5) Stockings-4 pr. 6) Drawers-2 pr. 7) Pair of shoes 8) Coat-Wool 9) Overcoat 10) Poncho 11) Set of ornaments-collar 12) Helmet-steel 13) Cap-Overseas 14) Hat-Service 15) Gloves plus other items.)
TRANSFERRED TO CHARLOTTE, NC
"And I don't know where I'm going but I'm on my way
For I belong to the Regulars I'm proud to say.
And I'll do my duty-uty night or day
I don't know where I'm going but I'm on my way
About the middle of December, some two weeks later, the older residents around the barracks were again put on shipment. They were taken out of the kitchen before the regular time for relief and the cleaning and polishing of equipment was again begun, but there was no rumor as to our destination. This time we were put into old passenger cars and by special train taken down through Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia, brought up along the coast to Charolotte, North Carolina and assigned to what had recently become the Third Regular Army Division, Fourth Infantry, Companies B & C.
Third Division (Regular Army) The division insignia of the Third Division consists of three white stripes which stand for the three operations in which the 3d Division took part, the Marne, St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne. The blue stands for the loyalty of those who placed their lives on the altar of self-sacrifice in defense of American ideals of liberty and democracy. The division is known as the Marne Division.
Commanding Generals: Major-General Joseph T. Dickman, November 28, 1917 to February 26, 1918; Brigadier General James A. Irons, February 27 to March 18, 1918; Major General Joseph T. Dickman, April 12 to August 31, 1918; Major General Beaumont B. Buck, August 31 to October 17, 1918; Brigadier General Preston Brown, October 17 to November 11, 1918.
The 4th Infantry Division was formed at Camp Greene, North Carolina on November 19, 1917, to begin its long tradition of service to our country. Filled with draftees, the Fourth Division, whose insignia had been adopted by its first commanding general, Major General George H. Cameron, became known as the "Ivy" division. Its insignia consisted of four green ivy leaves joined at the stem and opening at the four corners of a square on a khaki background. The Division also derived its numerical designation from the Roman numeral IV, (4 and IV mean the same thing) hence the nickname "Ivy" division. Also, in the language of flowers, ivy means "Steadfast and Loyal" - the division's motto.
The men were congratulating themselves (until we turned north) on their good fortune in going south to spend the winter.
But at Charlotte, a week was spent in sleeping on the ground or on army cots with the temperature between zero and thirty below. The last night before the departure, over a foot of snow fell and camp was broken and tents were rolled in the snow. The camp had been in the pine forest and the days were mostly spent in cutting wood which was practically all consummed that night. In each tent four men tried to sleep for two hours while the other four poured wood into the small tent stoves in regular shifts. We didn't freeze, but we didn't get much sleep either.
CAMP STUART, CHARLOTTE, NC
Our new camp, Camp Stuart at Newport News, Va, was much better for there were new unpainted barracks with large stoves that kept the buildings warm. The whole camp had been built by the government with the most haste and maximum waste. An intensive period of drill and a tightening down of discipline began to make it clear to us what army discipline would be like. Early in January our hero was made a private first class and a month later was made a corporal. Napolean, look now to your laurels.
The question now became, when do we set sail? A great deal of interest was taken in each unit leaving, and reasoning from the amount of time they spent in camp, the attempt was made to approximate the time Fourth Infantry, attached to other outfits, and was sent to France. The remainder of the regiment were transferred to Quarentine Camp, and finaly sent to France on the Madawaska, April 15th. As the coast line receded behind us into deepening darkness, we were wondering if we should ever see it again.
KEEPING THE FLAME OF LIBERTY BURNING: ENROUTE TO FRANCE
"Land of song said the warrior bard
though all the world betrays thee
one sword at least thy rights shall guard
one faithful harp shall praise thee."
The Madawaska had been a German Government official boat, but had been interned by the United States when we entered the war. It was in good shape and seaworthy, but small and was overcrowded with the number of men which had been placed aboard her. It sailed up the coast and joined it's convoy of 12 other transports just out of New York. A single battle cruiser escorted the convoy most of the way across. But one night the cruiser disappeared and the Mosquito Fleet took it's place as a guard through the submarine zone.
Time was whiled away on board with songs and stories, regular "Abandon Ship" drill, frequent inspection of men and equipment, posting, maintaining and relieving our own guard, and the rest of the time was our own. No one was allowed to throw anything of any description overboard, and each guard was ordered to shoot at any lights or fires, suh as matches or flashlights, which might be shown. Garbage was dumped overboard just at dusk. Every precaution was taken to prevent "Subs" from finding us, and to prevent the activity of any possible spy in our own forces. German or Austrian naturalized citizens and German sympathizers were eliminated before we started.
Each troop transport had two guns at the bow and two at the stern. The Mosquito Fleet was composed of small fast boats also equipped with three inch guns, and supplied with torpedoes and depth bombs. The convoy stopped about mid-ocean and spent two days in target practice. Our gunners could, about one in five, hit an imitation of a submarine periscope as far as the eye could make it out. This target was trailed by one of the boats while some one of the others shot at it.
A few days later Mosquito Fleet left us and a torpedo boat destroyer accompanied us into port at St. Nazaire, France, where we arrived April 29th. The soldiers were transferred to an old camp there supposedly built by Napoleon. It was over-run with rats and cooties. By degrees we were becoming accostomed to worse conditions.
Two days in this camp were enough, and it was a relief to take the train for a day and a half ride to Colombey Dus Eglise in northwestern France. It was a weary and dreary group of soldiers that trooped into Colombey one Sunday morning from a ten mile hike with pounds and pounds of surplus equipment. It was taken from us when we reached Colombey. The object seems to have been to make the men responsible for it until we reached our destination.
At Colombey a very intensive period of training was begun. The men worked and drilled day after day, usually with only a bacon sandwich and a canteen of water for the midday meal; nor did they get much more for breakfast or supper. We hiked four miles with full equipment every day and dug a line of trenches over a mile long and seven feet deep, mostly in broken lime-stone, on these "iron rations."
While this work was going on, reveille sounded at half past five. At six we were marching with full field equipment as though we were never coming back. There was a light breakfast consisting of two or three strips of bacon, and a cup of coffee. At dark when we returned the ration was a little more, and there might be a fried egg.
After two weeks of this kind of training that put about one fourth of our company on the sick report, we started one warm sunny morning on the five mile hike to our trenches. The sick ones were hauled along. There was to be no return this time. After the day's work in digging in the trenches, we took up defensive positions in them and waited for darkness.
The night was spent in posting guards, attacking the trenches, defending the trenches, learning the use of flares and rockets, and every possible thing was done to make the mock war realistic. At day break the order was given to pitch tents and go to sleep. At nine o'clock orders were given to prepare to march. The kitchen had been brought up in the early morning hours, and the best meal given to us we had received in France. It was Decoration Day."
At two o'clock patriotic addresses were given by the colonel, major, and our Captain in succession. At four o'clock we slipped into our pack harness, shouldered our rifles and set off on a four mile hike under the hor sun for the railroad switch (no station) to take the train to the front. The cars were boldly marked "40 men, 8 horses," and we were wondering why we were so fortunate as to be men subjected to such packing. The cars were narrow, about six feet wide; the packs were placed around the car for pillows, and we did our best to rest and sleep. A good share of the time was spent sitting in the car door singing popular songs.
That night sometime we emerged from the little boxes and the train departed because we were within reach of the German shells. We followed the road for a few miles. Quite suddenly two shells passed across in front of us and burst in a clump of bushes on our right. We thought for a moment that we on the road were the target. After a few more miles on the road we at last started off through the brush. At about two o'clock in the morning, we made camp as best we could, and went to sleep under the sighing branches of the forest. The pounding of the guns and the flash of the star shells marked the direction of the front, and made us all conscious of the grim business of war and the part we were to play. We had entered a wood vacated the the artillery that morning. Under date of June 5th in my notes there is a statement that German planes came over and destroyed an observation balloon. There were no American planes at the front at that time. The French planes gave chase and several planes came down, but we were too far away to see how the scrap came out.
THE BELLEAU WOODS
"We're not making a sacrifice.
Jesus, you've seen this war.
We are the sacrifice."
The night of the 14th, the move was made that put us into the front at Belleau Woods. The men were ordered to load rifles, but not to fire except in case of orders. But one of the boys on guard became nervous and shot at a stump. The Germans thought it was an attack and signaled for a barrage. It was, after that a night of fireworks, all the result of a mistake, and neither side wanted it for both sides of "No Man's Land" wanted a rest.
The next morning we were surprised to catch a glimpse of the enemy with bared heads, sleeves rolled up, and towels in hand. It seems the French and Germans were in the habit of washing each morning at a little stream between the lines. All these little signs were for us to come and do likewise. At last they started to file down to the stream. They appeared a little nervous that we did not show similar indications of a desire to clean up. But the Americans were not on a camping trip. A little scattering of machine gun fire sent them scurrying for cover. None were killed or hurt and there was no washing at the stream after that.
That evening we received orders to get shovels at a certain place and report to another place to dig first line trenches. We did not know that a part of the social procedure here was a morning and evening barrage. A German aviator had seen us and sent back word. The heavens opened and an ocean of shell fire and gas came down upon us. No one in our group was killed, but the First Aid man dug fragments of shell out of a dozen or so of backs, and there were two or three serious cases of gas. The war was very much in earnest, for the Germans knew who faced them across the stream. It was not long until the enemy were saying: "The Americans kill everybody!"
Under a little clump of bushes a dugout had been made. Here was our batallion headquarters. The same evening barrage brought down half a dozen big shells upon this clump of bushes. There were rumors that two of the enemy dressed as American soldiers and speaking English had, the same afternoon come behind our lines and asked the location of this headquarters. One of the boys told of pointing it out to two men in uniforms speaking an uncertain English. The Major was away at the time; but one of our company officers, Lieutenant Ball, was so perforated by shell fragments that every bone in his body seemed to be broken. He died a few hours later. Another of our company officers was perforated by fragments from a rifle grenade. His coat looked like a window screen. Several other men there at the time were killed and a dozen were wounded.
FRENCH MOROCCAN TROOPS
On our immediate right were French Moroccan troops. They were fierce looking fellows with filed teeth, and iron rings in their noses and ears. We were told that it was quite a task to teach them to wear uniforms at first, for they threw it all away. They killed almost every German on outpost at night. We received French rations, but no wine. Neither they nor ourselves had meat. We wondered where they got meat, but our wondering ceased when we found German bodies with the fleshly part of the legs cut off. Our prisoners asked not to be turned over to these black men.
ENGLISH WAR PRISONERS IN GERMAN SHELL FACTORIES
We were much interested in the number of shells that came over, but did not explode. I have counted five or six of them in succession that did not go off. It was said one of them was opened and in it was no explosive, but only a note "From Tommy." The inference was that English war prisoners were made to work in German shell factories and somehow were keeping the explosives out. I was walking on a path through the woods when a small shell crashed through the trunk of a tree within ten feet of me. My heart was in my mouth as I fell to the ground and crawled away. The tree fell, but the shell never exploded.
In a ravine a little to our left was a village of about a dozen houses, The French had escaped from it with only their lives. We took the village from the Germans and captured 25-30 drunken prisoners.
About the 20th of June, we were moved to the right as a temporary relief for the Marines, and another American division came up on our left. It looked as if their slogan: "The Marines never retreat," had been literally true. The ground was covered with dead bodies.
About the 24th of June we were put back into the support line and replaced by a new American Division. About this time we were changed from French rations, short of the wine, to American rations. The change was welcomed. It was impossible to drill in the dense woods, so time passed in eating and sleeping. Here we got our first bath at the front. We washed our clothes in a nearby stream.
Because we were within reach of the shells, dugouts were made and roofed over with logs covered with twigs which had been piled in the woods two or three years by the peasants. In spite of the shell fire which often killed their stock the peasants stuck to their little farms. They missed the twigs, complained to headquarters, and the bound twigs were taken back. A patch of meadow was cut by us to bed our tents, but this too was discovered and the hay had to be carried back. We felt the French should be a little more reasonable so long as the amounts taken were so small. They depended upon us to protect their lives and everything they had. The Germans would respect neither.
Some half a mile to the rear, an Italian battery of nine inch guns pounded away back of the enemy lines. Every twenty minutes at night there was a concussion that made the sides of our tents flap with it's force. We became accustomed to it, and slept soundly every night. Yet so tense were our nerves that the snap of a twig awakened us. The line of observation balloons was about a half mile to the rear. Every few evenings, a German aviator would make an attempt to fly over and fire them by dropping incendary bombs upon them. Sometimes he succeeded, and made the return to his own lines before the French planes could take up the air defence. At this time, American planes were just beginning to make their appearance in the front. Those German aviators were not above taking a few shots at the balloon observers who would be floating down to earth defenceless in their parachutes.
One evening two of the German aviators were lucky enough to get three of the observation baloons, or "sausages" as they were sometimes called, and get back to their own lines in apparent safety. Of course they were targets for machine-gun fire from the moment they crossed our lines. To avoid anti-aircraft shells, they flew close to the ground.
THE MARNE RIVER VALLEY
On the morning of July 4th, I awoke with a start. The first sargeant was coming down the line waking the boys and telling them to roll their packs. The Italian battery to the rear which was usually firing every twenty minutes was firing about every five. I jumped up, dressed, and started waking the boys all around. We took positions in the trenches some 300 yards away and waited for the dawn. Enemy shells were falling all around, but we were no target for our line of trenches had been carefully camoflaged with sod. We then learned for the first time that we were the first line, and only a line of machine guns along the Marne bank was between us and the German lines.
American artillery fire seemed to have broken up the attack for we saw no Germans, and about two o'clock in the afternoon we returned to our camp and dugouts. Things fell into the former routine and we made up the sleep we had lost.
About July 8th we moved farther forward and took a position along the ridge overlooking the Marne Valley. About half way down the slope from the ridge to the river, a line of trenches was dug. We worked from eleven till three, covered the fresh dirt with straw from the grain fields, and spent days in idleness. The night of Saturday July 13th, I took charge of about 50 men, and we strung loose barbed wire entanglements along in a line through the thickets and from tree to tree in the wooded places. We had to work between flashes of star shells which the enemy shot into the air from time to time for they made it nearly as light as day. When the light broke, we hid behind obstructions or fell prone until it had gone out. We drew no shells or machine gun fire, and at daybreak returned to cover.
Our location on the hills fringing the valley over-looked the city of Chateau Thierry on the Marne River. My own bed was at the base of a rock 12 or 15 feet high and nearly over a water main running from the reservoir to the city which was across the river and in the possession of the enemy. There were a few buildings on our side of the river from which we were able to rake the streets with machine gun fire. About a half mile to our right was a small village consisting of a church and some dozen houses. Our line of trenches lay between the village and our dugouts, running through the village itself. We patrolled to a point about half a mile beyond the village.
One night with seven or eight men I had reached the distant point of our patrol. For about 100 yards the path lay along the face of a small cliff. There was a high bank on one side and a gradual slope on the other which was steep and difficult to climb. Before reaching the bank we heard the whiz of of a shell and ran aside off the path. We waited and soon the next shell broke further down the path against the bank. They must have thought they were chasing us in. We then started down the path stopping where each shell had hit until the next one plowed into the bank ahead. The next day a ticker, (telegraph instrument) was heard and found buried in the leaves in a thicket close by.
Sunday night, July 14th, we were digging in the trenches. I looked at my watch. It was 12 o'clock. I picked up a shoval and started to dig. Instantaneously the sky back of the hills across the river became alive with flashes. In about a minute shells and trench mortars were breaking all around us. Everyone stopped digging and looked into each other's faces with consternation. We dropped our shovals, grabbed our rifles and kept our heads low. Back to the dugouts boys said the Captain. We jumped out of the trenches and started our hill dropping to the ground every time a shell came close.
At the Captain's orders two men were posted in a well concealed, well protected place where the thicket on the hilltop ran down the slope to a point. The noise and excitement made sleep impossible so I spent my time at the observation post watching developments.
THE MIRACULOUS WIND CHANGE
At nine o'clock the noise stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Smoke from smudge fires came rolling down the slope from the other side for there was a gentle breeze from across the river. They were attempting to fill the valley with smoke. The smoke took on a greenish-yellow hue in the sunlight showing that part of the smoke was poison gas. The smoke was to conceal their movements, and the gas was to make our machine gunners put on their gas masks. They could not then see so well. Things were proceeding admirably for them.
But then the Unseen Warrior turned the tables on them. The wind which had been gently blowing form their lines suddenly changed and began to blow strongly from our own. A cheer went up. The smoke and gas went rolling up the hill over their lines. Now they must work with their gas masks on and we breathe clear, pure air. In just a few minutes we could see the river, and a moment later the scurrying figures of the enemy. Our machine gunners shot until until they ran out of ammunition or their guns became red hot and jammed.
Rifle grenadiers tried to blast out the American Machine gunners, while others paddled boats up the river and bound them together to make a pontoon bridge. Five or six boats were fastened toether when an American shell dropped in their midst. When the smoke blew away there was neither boats nor men. Four times the bridge was tried and just as surely as the wrath of God came a big American shell to burst them to pieces. I marveled at the unerring accuracy of those gunners.
Seeing this plan could never succeed, the boats were loaded with men and started for the American bank. But machine gunners with their fire sank boats and slaughtered men by the hundreds. Neither could this plan succeed. They then attempted to swim the river but not one of the enemy reached our bank. About half a mile to our right they wiped out enough machine gun emplacements to get about 100 men across. They were all captured by men of our division but of another regiment within a half mile of the river bank. The attack soon faltered and failed. It was the last German offensive.
By eleven o'clock that morning of the 15th, silence reigned along the Marne. I returned to my home at the foot of the Rock. In the ravine below me tops of trees were blown off and there was hardly a step of ground ten feet square that did not have at least one shell hole.
At about two o'clock we went to dinner. While we were eating one of the boys came running down to tell us that the Y.M.C.A man was gone. We had been paid just before coming up and the enterprising Y secretary had taken advantage of the of the quiet of the situation to at the front to charge us four prices for everything he had to sell. Sure enough, the door was swinging on it's hinges and no one was in sight. Already the place had been raided and his complete stock was gone. In the road before the door lay an unexploded shell 8 to 10 inches across. I can imagine how he must have felt when that object came hurtling through the air and landed before his door.
When we returned to the kitchen our lieutenant told me to take the squad and make a circle two or three miles across to see what damage the shelling had done. About a mile behind us there was a small ditch that ran diagonally up to our line coming to the top of the ridge about two miles to our right. The bed of the stream was now dry. There were only occasional trees and bushes along the bank. Some part of our division had been placed along in the stream bed. They had scooped our small holes in the bank for a safe place to sleep. Since there was no cover, it had been an easy matter for the German aviators to see that the men were as thick as flies along that ditch. They had given the ditch an extra amount of shelling, and since the range to the ditch was easily measured the shelling had been horribly effective.
We walked up the ditch to the top of the ridge past hundreds of dead bodies. It was hard to believe that any of them had escaped. We examined a great number to see if any of them were alive. Apparently the wounded had been removed. We saw some men against a bank and walked over to talk to them. Concealed there in the brush was a large cave and many of the wounded had been removed here. We asked if there was anything we could do. They said they had gathered all the food from the kitchens that had not been ruined by the gas and had carried it here. It was only a matter of time until the ambulance could be gotten up and the men removed.
We walked on up the small ravine. There is a reaper whose name is death and he had certainly scattered scenes of horror here. In many places legs and arms were blown from the bodies. Some of the men had taken refuge in their holes in the bank. Their brains had been blown against the bank and some of their bodies had been blown in two. There were holes in chests and faces where shell fragments two or three inches across had torn their way through flesh and bone. Blood spots and burned places on the ground showed where the shells had fallen and what had been the result.
The Germans had thought we had an observation post in the belfry of the church in the village to our right. The first few shells took off the belfry and almost blew the church to pieces. The position of our company was shifted to our right and now the wine cellars in the village became our dugouts. There was no shelling and very little rifle or machine gun fire. The days were quiet and only an occasional star shell broke the tranquility and stillness of the night. Both sides seemed busy removing the wounded and burying the dead. The Marne River ran with blood and bodies bobbed in the current.
But the stillness was not for long. At sundown July 19th, all hell broke loose. American fury descended upon the German lines. We thought the Germans had given us a severe bombardment, but it seemed of little consequence compared to the rain of shells which were falling across the river. One could read a newspaper by the flash of our guns. It was nearly impossible to hear the voice of the man at ones side because of the awful roar. All night long it lasted and there was hardly an answering shell from the opposite lines.
MAPS, DRAWINGS, BLUEPRINTS
About seven the next morning the firing stopped. An airplane flew low across the brow of the hill across the river, but there was no challenging shot. The ground across the Marne was deserted. The American engineers threw a pontoon bridge across the river and we made a temporary camp on what had been the German side. The Captain told me to take a squad and hike a few miles into the German lines. We walked about six miles and came back with three sacks full of maps, drawings and blueprints, letters and postcards and other things that seemed to be of importance. We met no resistence but we found smoldering fires, tables with food, and in one cellar dugout under a house we found a woman's finery. A regular house had been established here. Some of the prisoners captured later said the Kaiser had been on the hills to see the German hosts go forward during the bombardment the Germans gave us the 15th.
The evening of the day we crossed the river about sundown we started up the river running along the Marne River which ran diagonally into the German lines. We passed through several villages and had gone up the river for nearly 10 miles when small artillery suddenly opened up on us from the ridge. Several of our men were more or less seriously wounded by flying bits of shell. We carried them back about a hundred yards to a gravel pit and waited for darkness. About nine o'clock a truck came up and we started it back with our wounded. About ten o'clock we crept into the next village and took refuge in the wine cellars.
The next morning we knew what was coming. The men threw away everything they thought they could get along without. I kept only my pack, tent half, two blankets, rifle, pistol and ammunition and threw away surplus clothing, an extra canteen of water and rations. We were given a light breakfast and taken to the far edge of town. The road here turned away from the river and ran more nearly straight into the German lines. Just beyond the town the road lead across a hollow abut 70 or 80 yards wide. The Germans had placed a machine gun a little distance up the hollow that covered the road in an attempt to hold up our advance.
It was necessary to get some men across the hollow and atack them from the opposite side. It was our task to cross to the other side of the hollow for that purpose. We started across single file about ten or fifteen feet apart. The bullets began to crack. We had not gone half way from the shelter of the buildings when the man ahead of me ducked his head and I saw that a bullet had torn through his coat collar but without hitting him. A few steps further a bullet went through my own pack with enough force to turn me momentarily facing up the hollow. About 20 to 25 feet short of the embankment of the opposite side I passed the body of the boy who had marched at my side for seven monthes.
Already the pallor of death was on his face. The bullet had gone through his temples just back of his eyes. The blood on his hands indicated that he instinctively put his hands to his head. When I reached the protection of the bank on the other side I looked back but he was lying as he had fallen. Two or three others had joined him in death and a wounded man was crawling off into the woods leaving his pack in the road. We scaled the banks and crawled through the ripened grain. We were still the target but the color of our uniforms blended with that of the grain. We stopped at the edge of the grain from which we could see the machine gun posts and fired a few shots. A band of Americans broke from a thicket on the hill opposite, and with a whoop and a yell descended upon the nest. Some of them were taken prisoners but not until a couple of bloodthirsty Yankees had pushed a bayonet through several of them. There were five or six of the enemy in this nest.
A German had been killed by a shell a few feet from where I lay so I crawled over and opened his pack. There was a blanket, some rations, a few loaded shells and a post card of a scene in Germany with a phrase and a name. It might be of some value to our intelligence so was left in the pack.
We turned back and climbed the hill behind us. Our arrival at the crest was greeted with a spray of machine gun bullets from a place we could not locate. Again we became the target and it was someone elses job to race upon them from behind. Trees were scarce and after all, a tree could only hide one man. I lay down in a slight depression in the ground and studied the landscape around me. One of the boys decided to leave his tree and join me in the depression. A Kansas Swede preferred that tree to his smaller one. A sudden hatful of bullets came over the top of the hill. The Swede collapsed between the trees with an agonized "Wow" a bullet between the intestines.
The little Italian by my side wanted to crawl over and give him a drink of water. I assured him the man was ded but gave consent. He came back in a moment saying that the man "was dead." Another spray of lead barked the trees and one bullet struck the bank above our heads and filled our faces with dirt. In a few moments the boys signaled us from across the ravine. Another nest was captured. Thus the work went on.
The Germans were withdrawing and the machine gun nests were sacrificed to hold up our advance. The nests were thick and the loss on our side a little too severe. A few more nests were located and captured under cover of darkness. We were now in a forest area and it was a matter of feeling out the points of resistance while our artillery was brought up.
The Thirtieth Infantry on our right had pushed forward and taken a line of dugouts along the crest of a hill. The Germans had located machine gun nests so as to sweep the hillside behind our men. We had to make contact with the Infantry and patrol the intervening distance to prevent the enemy from placing machine guns behind our lines. The Captain prepared a duplicate message and gave the copies to another man and myself. We were to take a dozen men each. He gave us the general direction and we set out. As a matter of fact, I took three men and he took five.
I took the designated direction and had gone perhaps half a mile when we came to a ravine lined with dugouts hollowed into each bank. I had an uncomfortable feeling we could not pass by them without investigation. Two men were put on one bank and one on the other. I got down in the bed of the ravine and started up the hill glancing into the dugouts as I walked along. I was tense with fear and was prepared to shoot at the slightest provocation. One opening ahead was closed by a curtain which waved in and out in the breeze. My sixth sense (spirit) told me there was something in there. I could imagine eyes watching our every move. As I approached the curtain I took my rifle in my left hand and drew my pistol. At the door I pushed the curtain aside with the point of my bayonet and struck my 45 in the door.
At my consternation a little yellow dog of mongrel breed dashed out and jumped on my legs like a long lost friend. Cold sweat ran from every pore. I was so weak I sat down in my tracks. A dog! I had not seen one for monthes and nothing was farther from my mind. There was nothing else there.
At the end of the ravine we came upon the remains of a kitchen. Smoke curled upward from a smoldering fire, and an alarm clock ticked away from a broken branch on a tree. One of the boys suggested taking the alarm clock, but I feared it was connected to a mine. The camp was systematically cleared and the clock could not have been left by accident.
We came to the edge of the woods and saw our destination on a tree-covered hill about a quarter of a mile away. Our entrance upon open ground was greeted with the crack of bullets and the put-put-put of a German machine gun. We were soon back in the shelter of the trees. It looked as if it would not be easy to get across. One of the boys pointed out that there was a shallow ravine leading up the hill that wou;ld give us some protection. The main ravine was a few hundred yards below us. We walked in the edge of the woods, then down the ravine and up the shallow ditch to the top.
DELIVERING THE MESSAGE
We passed a shell hole about ten feet across with a dead mule and two dead Germans in it. The hole was partially filled with water, and the whole mess was a seething mass of maggots. Even the air was suffocating with rottenness. When we reached the top we asked some of the boys for headquarters and were directed to the extreme left of the line of dugouts. Here we found the other group of men. A Captain came out with a message and handed it to the leader of the group and received my own. He read it, said one message was enough, and we went back together. Thereafter this distance was patrolled every twenty minutes.
That evening just at dusk I was making the trip with seven or eight men. The Germans were shelling the top of the hill. While we were walking along the line of dugouts a big shell came whizzing through the air. We ran to right and left off the road and fell to the ground. It exploded up the road a distance and we continued our trip. When we reached headquarters we learned that a group of men had been assembled to go back for food and ammunition. The shell had fallen among them as they stood abaout the door. The ground was strewn with quivering bleeding flesh. The Captain stood before the blood and brain splattered door and stared dumbly unable to fully comprehend what he saw before him. Some of the boys were helping the wounded. I thrust the message into the Captains hand and turned to see what I could do to help. A moment later I looked up and he still stood holding the message in his hand.
"Is there an answer?" "Yes, just a moment," and he disappeared inside. When he came out I asked if we could aid some more, but he replied that we had better hurry back. We did so.
The next day we were still idling, waiting for the artillery to prepare our advance. We moved up about a mile and waited in the edge of the woods. Because it was impossible to remove them, the enemy were compelled to sacrifice a few pieces of artillery and shells. A small crew was left with the gun to keep firing shells. At the last moment they removed a small complex attachment that would prevent the guns being used and escaped. While we were in the edge of the woods, these "searchers" as we called them, kept dropping around us. We kept behind the trees, but a long interval between shells would give us courage and we gathered into groups to talk.
The random searching shells continued to fall now and then, but the men stuck more closely to some sort of protection.
SHELL ATTACK & INJURED
After a rather long interval of about fifteen minutes, there came three shells at about two or three ninute intervals. The first one fell far up the line in our advance, perhaps 50 or 60 yards. The next one fell short of the edge of the woods by about the same distance. Our groups entirely scattered when this firing began and selected trees of suitable size for protection. The third one of the shells came crashing through the tree tops and exploded before it hit the ground. I was in charge of the guard over what food supplies we had and was going about my duties, being caught by this third shell away from any protective tree. When the shell exploded, I had only time to make a dive for a tree and dropped to my knees. A big heavy shell fragment, some three or four inches across, struck me in the head and I toppled forward.
One of the men in my company, Sargeant Stone, said: "They got Hunt!" I lay there for a couple of minutes and one of the boys then walked over. He saw a deep crease cut in my steel helmet which he then removed. He felt a knot on my head but saw no blood. Realizing I was still alive, he gave me a drink of water and I came to with a weak feeling and a bursting headache, but nothing more serious. I was a good deal shaken by this and felt sick and weak and promptly lay down on the ground for the rest of the afternoon. The shell which damaged me so much also killed one man whose name I can no longer recall and wounded one another.
Our platoon lieutenant had been standing on my left when the shell came crashing through. A yellow streak (The lieutenants raincoat was yellow) disappeared down through the woods. The next time we heard of him was several monthes later when he was in the hospital with a severe case of shell shock. His leaving demoralized the men somewhat, for one of the sargeants shot himself in the foot and went back to the hospital with an accident story.
After dark I sent an attachment back for prepared food for the men. The supplies that I had with me consisted wholly of canned tomatoes and canned corn. The rest was with the kitchen.
By morning I felt somewhat better and preferred to stick to the boys I knew rather than to leave them. This one was the worst day we were to have. After breakfast came out of the ravine which we had followed and walked through a patch of thickly sprouted stumps, the branches as high as our heads., to the edge of the patch. Before us was open ground, a meadow. The woods in which we had been, extended along on our left. To our right was a fence and a little farther ahead a grain field on the other side of the fence. About nine o'clock our line started forward.
The Germans had dug a series of machine gun emplacements along another fence about a quarter of a mile ahead. But of course we didn't know it then. An enemy airplane sailed close to the ground dropping a signal flare. We were so much taken by surprise at this, nobody thought to shoot at it. I suppose he had given our location to the enemy. After we had gone about a 100 yards from the bushy thicket, a machine gun opened up directly before us. Our first platoon was on the advance at the right; the fourth being on our left. The third platoon was back of four and the second was back of us. We rushed forward at a run while the fourth was firing. Then we lay down and fired while they advanced. This procedure is called "platoon rushes." The platoons behind could not fire because of our positions ahead of them.
We covered about 150 yards more within 50 yards of machine gun emplacements when the bullets became too thick as the other enemy machine guns began firing. The first platoon was rushing with me on the extreme left. Six or seven men were hit at practically the same time and our platoon line faltered and broke. When the line fell to the ground and took up the fire, those behind crawled up and also began.
The chaut-chat guns of a French manufacturer were not very effective. While they fired faster than our rifles, I think every one of them jammed in twenty to thirty minutes of firing.
But our firing did not last long for the bullets became too thick and each man was more concerned about his safety and did not expose himself more than he had to. One of the boys raised his helmet on the end of his rifle and it was promptly perforated like a sieve. There was nothing to do but hug the ground and pray in that awful blast. When the firing started, "A" Company, in the woods on our left, fell back to the original line. "C" Company, over the fence, fell back to the brushy thicket. But we could not get back over that open ground. We had to take it.
About two thirds of the meadow drained towards the forest and I was lying on the edge of the slope. The machine gun which I had thought was before us, seemed to be at the left and the bullets raced down my backbone like a chill. Once they shot through my coat sleeve and once grazed my helmet. I had not yet recovered from the headache of the day before. I tried to see the enemy but I could not. Debating, with not much else to do, on my chances of getting out, I decided that if I were a spectator, I wouldn't risk a nickle.
If I must die, I wanted it to be somewhere else, and I started to crawl up toward the fence from the woods. But I didn't want to get shot in the rear, so I went backward like a lobster. I heard something coming end over end through the air and hugged as close to the ground as I could, hoping I was no thicker than a bookmark. There was an explosion, and I raised my head. The air was full of dirt and grass. I reached my arm forward and hooked my fingers in the hole. It had been a rifle grenade fired from the edge of the woods.
It seemed best to let them think they had finished me so they would turn their attention somewhere else. I lay still for some twenty minutes, then I wriggled on. But they soon found I had changed my position, for I heard another one. The thought went through my mind that I couldn't be lucky enough to escape two. It exploded, and I lay still for another twenty minutes. I crawled not over three feet when I stuck my toe in the hole.
The weather was sunny and unbearably hot at times. Then the occasional cloud would float over with the bottom out. We were drenched to the skin. The rain gave us some advantage but the bullets flew just the same. It is a problem to drag the rifle as I must, and keep the mud off it ready to use. It was even more hazardous to comply with the requirements of nature. By 2:30 o'clock I was over the slope and near the fence and was not so easily visible from the woods. Some of the boys who had been all this time lying in the same position, saw my purpose was to crawl back and made preparations to follow me.
In a shell hole by the fence I found one of our lieutenants. He asked me if I had gotten the message to fall back to the woods. I answered that I had not. He said he asked the boys to pass the word along. I replied that the boys had probably been busy with their own troubles. With some misgivings about exposure, I crawled over to the ridge under the fence and heaved a sigh of relief when I found myself in the tall grain. When the boys following me had crawled through, I advised them to stay scattered out, for a group of them would be a better target than scattered individuals.
I later found that the machine gun at the left which had caused me so much agony was in a big tree, swung to a limb. No wonder he could see me so well. He worked havoc in the fourth platoon which was next to the woods and was further ahead than we were. A corporal in the fourth platoon finally located him and brought him down.
My troubles were not over merely because I had the protection of the grain. I could see the stalks of ripe grain lop as the bullets came tearing through. There were six of us who started to crawl out. Three were killed, one was severely wounded, myself sightly, and one got out without even a scratch. His equipment was a stretcher and I suggested him leaving it lay. A young Polish boy was in the group and I suggested him leaving his pack behind. He replied he would not. Another one of the boys said he had some letters from his girl in it. He tried the plan of running on his hands and knees and dropping flat when the Germans saw the activity in the grain and started to shoot. But one time he did not drop quickly enough and a bullet struck him through the neck.
The bullets were lopping the grain around us as we crawled along. I left boys behind and dragged myself along through the grain. Since it would be so easy to crawl in the wrong direction, I stuck my head up once in a while to see where I was going, but got down again as quickly as I could. I crawled parallel to our lines because I thought I could stay in the grain and get all the way back to the woods by way of a ravine at the foot of the hill. But I came to the edge of the grain and looked out upon a road. I crawled along fifteen to thirty feet away. Again I came to the edge of the grain.
BULLET THROUGH THE SHOULDER
Before me was a hay field with the grass hardly tall enough to hide me. I decided to take a chance and crawled zigzag through the grass. After I had gotten too far from the grain to start back, I discovered I had again become a target. On my zigzag course I would turn a corner and my enemy would tear up the earth at my heels. The corners seemed to be the only place in the grass he could see that I had been. I feared he would see me at the corner and determined to make a circle. But this was my undoing. He saw me then for sure. A swarm of bullets struck all around my head. My eyes and mouth were full of dirt. I expected to see my teeth go flying any minute. I wished he would quit. One bullet went through the muscles of my shoulder.
At last he stopped. I was busy for a while getting the dirt out of my mouth and rubbing at my eyes so I could see. I rolled over on my back and put in my hand to see what damage he had done to me. My shoulder was bleeding, but I was not badly hurt. I thought I had better see what I could do about my enemy. I noticed one little spot where the grass was much taller than the average for a meadow. I attended to my rifle and rolled over to the spot. On the little mound this side of the farm house were some bushes which seemed to be a likely hideout from the enemy. I guess he had been reloading, for now there was a movement in the bushes and I saw the heavy end of the gun swing and point toward the rest of our Company. Now I knew where he was. I was furious as I poured bullet after bullet through the bushes around him. I waited for some more shooting from the end of his gun, but I saw no evidence of activity.
I crawled cautiously on for another half hour. All this time shells were falling over our heads toward the ammunition dump at regular intervals.There were no more bullets. I was only about 100 yards from our starting line for the day and was entirely worn out. I only thought I didn't care if they did shoot. I couldn't crawl any further. I was so weak I could hardly stand. Still I drew no fire and I walked the rest of the distance and into the woods. Here were some men seated around a pile of dirt they had thrown up for protection.
"Who are you?" I asked them. They were "C" Company. I asked them if they knew where "B" Company was. They did. I asked where the Major was and if he knew what "B" Company's predicament was. He had been running madly around trying to do something for us but was helpless without artillery. I have never been able to understand why "A" Company, in the woods, did not push on to rescue us, for they had the protection of the trees.
I was interested in food and started out to get some. About half an hour down through the woods I came upon a little village and in an old shed on the outskirts nearest the line, some soldiers, probably "C" Company, had just finished eating. I asked a Major for something to eat. He referred me to the Mess Sargeant and he told me to see the Captain. The Captain brought me back and said for the Sargeant to give me something to eat. The obliging Mess Sargeant brought out a milk bucket nearly full of the old reliable vegetable called "Army beans." The fat little Polish cook smiled good naturedly when he saw I had lowered the level in the bucket very perceivibly.
I told him of our situation and hazarded a guess that probably it would fall to me to organize a new "B" Company. He mentioned that an orderly from "B" Company had been there a couple of times that afternoon. I was surprised for I had imagined the possibility of my being the only survivor.
By 10 o'clock that evening we assembled a bare 60 men andone officer as compared with the 280 men and five officers we had at nine o'clock that morning. We had, of course, lost a few men earlier. One remaining lieutenant called us together. He pointed out that we had our section to the front to carry forward and protect. He said if we captured any more prisoners to do with them as we pleased, but to remember that men to take back prisoners could no longer be spared from the line. We interpreted this to mean that no more prisoners were to be taken.
Our Captain had come to us from "C" Company, where he'd played a part at Belleau Woods. On this fatal day he'd been with us less than a month. He was in the edge of the woods when the men the men had gone forward that morning and was felled by about three bullets when the firing started. He was hit some 12-19 times altogether. He would close his eyes, a pain would pass over his face and he would say: "I got another one." We never saw him again.
One of our orderlies was Rassmusen. In carrying orders from the batallion headquarters to the Captain, he would stand boldly upright and salute. The Captain advised him to keep down because he wanted Rassmusen to last the rest of the day. Rassmusen was killed in the early afternoon.
One of our lieutenants came walking into the First Aid Station holding his jaw. "What's the matter with you?" an officer asked him. He took his hand away and his jaw fell upon his chest. He had been shot through the jaw bone.
By 11 o'clock that night the remaining 60 of us were marched out of the little French courtyard where we had been gathered and about midnight we threw our bodies on the ground for a little rest. In the meantime a one-pound artillery was rushed to our relief. In a short time they scattered the machine gun nests and the heavies dropped shells beyond la Charmel to prepare the way for our advance.
"I went through dangers an angel would wonder at. I came out of the battle several times with bullet holes in my clothes. A shell splinter near opened my head like a cleaver. Only the steel of the helmet saved my life. Sometimes it was a long city block from me to the nearest men. Artillery shells several times exploded too near me for comfort.
On the 30th of September 1918 a big shell exploded in my face. I should have been blown to pieces; but only a fragment pierced my thigh. In a cold near freezing rain that left me numb, I lay on the ground of the battlefield. Gas shells broke nearby. The rain and my rain and mud caked blouse or jacket reduced the poisonous concentration of the phosgene gas: but I got some gas burns in my lungs. Through a long hospitalization I began to mend: but my prospects of a very satisfactory recovery were remote. I was discharged from Camp Dodge and sent home in poor physical condition, having just begun to lay aside the crutches for a cane."
THE ENEMY AMMUNITION DUMP
Not much was done the following day. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon we marched into an area the enemy was using for an ammunition dump. Ot was assumed to contain 100,000 projectiles, all of them for large caliber guns. The main part of the ammunition was on the enemy's side of the dump. All night long they had been dropping shells into it and once they succeeded in setting off a pile of them which had been stacked like cordwood. The force of the explosion threw 150 to 300 pound shells all over that six acre plot. We had emptied some depressions in the ground of remaining shells and slept in them.
The next morning we made a trip back for a half mile for breakfast. When we had finished, we went up to explore what had been so fatal for us--the German line. We approached it by a flank movement down a ravine and then rushed the farmhouse. I went inside and upstairs, stepped up to the window and waved my hand to the rest of the Company. They all came over. Then we took time to look around while we were on the way. Behind the bushes by the farmhouse we found the machine gunner in the pit from which we had been caused some anxious moments. There was a bullet hole through his helmet on both sides and a belt of cartridges about half fed through the machine gun. We went upstairs in the farmhouse and entered the room that had looked out over the meadow with it's crawling bodies the day before.
In the window was a machine gun still ready for action. On the floor were emptied shells and three bodies. The room was practically bare except for the horrors of war, but tacked to the white washed wall was a little iron rosary. We went out of the building and walked up the line to the next machine gun emplacement. One of the boys jumped down to examine the bodies for information for military value and a couple others walked to the next pit. We heard an exclamation of surprise and astonishment and went over.
One of the boys said: "Why that one is only a kid!" He had jumped down to search his papers or letters next to the body, it was a woman! Her left hand was handcuffed to the base of the gun. How had she gotten there? Was she the wife of one of the soldiers and had slipped off somehow to be with him in battle? Or was she the kind of a girl, afire with patriotic zeal, who, like her comrads had given her life for the cause?
We walked up the line to the woods and started in the edge of the woods about a quarter of a mile further on. After sundown, we formed the line, ran a quarter of a mile diagonally to the right across an open patch, through the rain of shells and ran something over 200 yards diagonally to the left along the furrow at the edge of the field with machine gun bullets cracking past our ears.
The furrow ended at the house of the ridge above La Charmel which lay about two thirds down the hill. An american machine gun by the side of the house was spraying bullets on the hillside beyond the town and occasionally exchanging a duel with an enemy machine gun on the hillside to the left of the town. When we entered the town itself, we were surprised to find our own engineers in the streets. They had wired the town with communication lines before it had been evacuate by our enemy and even under our own shell fire.
The town had not been a pleasant place to stay. The machine gun on the hill left of the town was in a position to fire up and down the streets one way, while a machine gun on a hill behind the town could cross fire on the streets the other way. We crept along the sides of the buildings and darted across the streets to houses on the other side while bullets fell at our feet and chipped the corners of the doors as we hurried through. We gained the opposite side of town and looked through a battered window at a beautiful chateau across the street. Some men from another Company were there.
We watched some Germans with Red Cross bands around their arms carrying something on a stretcher covered with a blanket across an open field toward a clump of bushes some 200 yards away. Our Captain studied them carefully through his glasses. He did not like the looks of what they were doing.
"Are any of you fellows marksmen?" he asked. A typical looking Kentucky mountaineer hung a liquid irregular patch on the wall and stepped forward. At the Captain's direction, he took careful aim and brought one of the stretcher bearers to the ground. The Captain through his glasses saw a machine gun tumble out from under the blanket. Of the five or six men in the little party, I cannot recall that any of them reached the bushes.
During the night, artillery were rushed in position and pound guns had destroyed or forced the evacuation of the machine gun nests we had located. The morning was cold and misty. After breakfast we left the town, crossed over the ravine and continued on down the road. Progress was not rapid because we were apparently waiting for the artillery to gain more advanced positions. As we moved along a few hundred yards at a time to wait some half hour, snipers in the woods at our right were trying to pick officers from our ranks. A troop of French cavalry were combing the woods for them.
After noon the damp fog had risen and we advanced about two miles when we contacted the enemy again. They began shelling us with small guns. Our goal was another village some half mile away when we were to be relieved for a rest.
The assault on the village was carried out successfully and I do not remember that we lost any men. In order to hold our portion of the front the men were marched so far apart, they were hard to hit.
As soon as we had forced the evacuation of the village, the enemy dropped shells into it without mercy. Machine guns had been placed to cross fire the streets and it was another hot place to be. Another detachment of men came up from the rear and tried to carry the line beyond the town only to fall back to the town with severe losses. When they fell back to the town we felt we would have to help them carry the line forward, and dig in for a position they could hold. About 5 o'clock they tried again without us and gained a ridge beyond the town capturing the troublesome machine gun nests.
THE DELOUSING STATION
We were relieved one of the early days of August. Shells were still falling in the village and as we reassembled to fall in the rear, we began to wonder if it were not as safe to advance on the village against the enemy as to get back from it. We turned from the position from which we had started the advance on the village where we were met by a group of trucks and carried back to La Charmel, shells falling around us all the way. In La Charmel we spent the night. The following morning we were again carried by truck back to the river. We had begun to feel greatly relieved and well out of danger. Imagine our consternation, as we approached the river over a ridge, to hear the big shell whining through the air and see a column of smoke rise at the bank of the river. A building was near the place where the shell had burst. A little conversation among the group and we understood that the building was a delousing station for which we were bound.
Early August 1918
We were relieved one of the early days in August. Shells were falling in the village and as we reassembled to fall in the rear, we began to wonder if we were not as safe to advance on the village as to get back from it. We turned from the position from which we had started the advance on the village where we were met by a group of trucks and carried back to La Charmel, shells falling around us all the way. In La Charmel we spent the night. The following morning we were again carried by truck to the river. We had begun to feel greatly relieved and well out of danger. Imagine our consternation, as we approached the river over a ridge, to hear a big shell whining through the air and see a column of smoke rise at the bank of the river. A building was near the place where the shell had burst. A little conversation among the group and we understood that the building was the delousing station for which we were bound.
Five or six shells fell as we descended the hill. Supplies had been brought up by train and a group of cars were standing on the track. They were being unloaded by stevadores. When we had come close enough so we could see what they were doing, another big shell came over the hill and burst alongside the the car among the stevadores. The men were in a panic. They would dart out of the smoke to look around only to put up their arm and dart back again into the smoke. When the smoke had blown away and we had come nearer to them, we saw two or three of them were lying still upon the ground. Some of them were rather severely wounded. There were about a dozen in all.
After such assistance as we could render, we went to the delousing station where we gave up our uniforms, took a delousing and sterilizing bath and put on uniforms which had been deloused by steam, some of them with bullet holes and blood spots still upon them. After two hours we had had our noonday meal and were reloaded into the trucks and taken further to the rear.
THE VILLAGE OF MENAUCOURT
By stages of riding and hiking we came to a little town called Menaucourt, about 20 miles from the enemy lines. We spent about 4 days in pup tents not far from Menaucourt. These four days we had nothing to do but clean and polish up our equipment and eat. Nearly everyone in the Company had a severe case of diarrea and everybody was about half sick.
I can still recall a couple of the evenings lying on the grassy slope watching the French people going about their evening chores. I can remember also on one of these nights, Jimmy Hamilton and I walked over to the next village where the houses were badly scarred and chipped from the bullets.
When we were moved to Menaucourt and the following day enough boys from the eastern states and around New York came to our Company by assignment to fill us up to war strength: 280 men and 7 officers. Some of the boys had not yet been in the army two weeks.
These were pleasant days in August. In the mornings we would come to the call of "Fall out without rifles or belts." We would march from the town about half a mile up the barge canal, shed our clothes and spend a couple hours swimming and paddling in the water. In the afternoon we would gather together with rifles and belts. On alternating afternoons we would start from the town and go through the motions of capturing the surrounding hills and on the other afternoons we would climb the hills and go through the motions of capturing the town.
The barge canal crossed the river at the town over a high bridge. We spent evenings watching the barges pass through the locks. I made friends with a little four year old French girl named Marie. She was being taught to read and she felt it was her duty to teach me to read since I could not read as well as she, that is in French.
ST. MIHIEL SECTOR: SEPTEMBER 1918
And so the time passed into September. The raw recuits we had with us needed some discipling and training and we needed rest. About the middle of September we were loaded onto trucks and taken by train to the rear of the St. Mihiel Sector. We advanced by comfortable marches up toward the Hindenburg Line.
Since our detachment was classified as a shock division we anticipated that we were to be taken over a section of the line in another drive. There was rather bad discipline among the men. Some of them were rather frankly "fed up." While there were only some sixty of us remaining from the July drive, there must have been ten of these survivors who were absent without leave. (AWOL) portions of the time.
I remember one of the boys by the name of "Pop" had been gone about ten days. He turned up one morning with the Company but without any kind of battle equipment, having only a pair of signal flags. For his breach of discipline he was reprimanded and put under guard with instructions that when we went into action he was to be driven straight up to the front and not allowed to have a weapon except that of someone who had fallen. If he attempted escape, he was to be shot by the guard.
On the Marne we had been accustomed to fighting our way over the rolling and often rugged rough terrain. Our transfer to the St. Mihiel Sector gave us a different kind of topography. Here the ground for the most part was level to very gently rolling. We advanced the last ten miles up to the St. Mihiel line between the hours of eleven and three at night, hiking from one dense thicket or forest to spend the day in another thicket or forest.
The purpose of our concealment was to hide the movement of our troops from sight by the enemy aviaion observers. From six to eight hundred feet in the air, a group of men walking Indian file across a grassy plot make a trail that is very visible and shows on photographs. It is only necessary to continually compare the photographs to determine where a great number of men had been hiking across a grassy area. This had to be continually borne in mind.
THE FAMED HINDENBURG LINE
The famed Hindenburg Line at St. Mihiel had for more than two years proved invulnerable to the French. The Germans had had adequate time to prepare deep dugouts, often times lined with concrete. The trenches themselves were often concrete floored or walled. Concrete machine gun emplacements had been carefully prepared. Therefore the St. Mihiel line could be held very effectively by a small number against an offensive number very much greater.
Tactics used on the Hindenburg Line were such as a certain type of shell, five to six inches in diameter, being so timed as to explode sic to ten feet underground. Such a shell falling near a trench or dugout would collapse it like an egg shell. Striking an open ground it would lift an area four to six hundred square feet without producing very much of a shell hole or crater.
With the bombardment of a rather large number of these kind of shells along with the usual number of "whiz bangs" and "schrapnel" the St. Mihiel Sector was not seriously contested. Russia was now out of the war and that made it possible for Germany to mass her whole army on the Western Front. In many cases the German soldiers were of the classes last to be called, such as men over 50 and youthes 15 to 17.
The 33rd Division, composed of the Illinois National Guard, and the 42nd Division called the "Rainbow Division" composed of Iowa and Pennsylvania National Guard, were combat troops and were on the Front Line as we regulars were brought up. We supposed that these combat units would be relieved and we would take over their places to carry the line forward, being relieved in turn by these combat or defensive troops after our objective was obtained.
TENTING ON THE OLD CAMPGROUND
The night before the drive started I remember very well that our own battalian was camped upon a hillside. Our artillery, were in action the whole of the night. The noise however did not prevent us from sleeping. From the fact that we were camping here on the hillside, it became more and more doubtful whether we would move up to go over the top. The high command evidently decided that resistence would be so light the national guard units would be adequate.
So the next morning we followed along about a mile behind them until four o'clock in the afternoon. It was certainly different kind of battle from our baptismal fire on the Marne. On the Marne it seemed as if there were hardly a spot of ground 20 feet square but what there was a shell hole and an area not so very much larger would disclose a bloody spot on the ground, portions of bloody uniforms torn to pieces by shells. At the St. Mihiel Sector we would go a quarter of a mile before seeing in the distance a rifle with it's bayonet stuck in the ground to mark the place of a fallen soldier, either German or American. There weren't many of them and statistics will bear out the statement that the loss of life in the St. Mihiel Sector was very light.
At four o'clock in the afternoon, when the National Guard units had obtained their objective, they dug in and we were allowed to return and camp about 7 o'clock in the evening on the same hillside where we had camped the night before. Some of the men started to sing "Tenting Tonight On The Old Campground" until the whole hillside rang with the refrain. It seemed pretty good to us that we were for once all back together after battle "tenting on the old camp ground."
DEAD MAN'S HILL
In the following days we were by easy stages worked over to the Verdun front. Verdun was also very level ground. It had been taken and retaken any number of times by both sides. The relatively level terraine was marked by a unique hill which arose from the level plain. Because of it's obvious military value, it was shelled continuously by the side out of possession of it. In the fall of 1917 it was reported in the papers that 17 feet had been shot off the top of "Dead Man's Hill." By the 26th of September more feet had been shot from it.
We worked toward the line. New York National Guard units were before us. The Verdun drive which ended in the collapse of the German cause began on the 26th of September. Again we were in support, but the fighting here was not like that on the St. Mihiel Sector. For four days we camped in about the same location or advanced a mile or two at a time.
By the 30th of September the poorly trained officers and their consequently poorly trained men had become badly scattered. Here occurred one of those "Lost Batallion" stories in which the battalion had advanced to fire into the line and the Germans could effectively prevent their retreat while deliberately sniping them off a man at a time. Medical supplies and food were dropped to them from aerial planes to enable them to hold out against capture as long as possible. Also, here and there officers having been killed, or leadership taken over by non-commissioned officers or even privates in many cases, the men penetrated in groups into the German lines, dozens or companies cpm[rising the groups, so that all of them were more or less in the same situation as the Lost Batallion."
To rescue these men from their obviously serious position, it was impossible to prepare the ground for us with a barrage. It would have to be a day-light advance which would cost us a great many men but would save the lives of many of the men who had become scattered and isolated. Consequently on the night of the 29th of September, we rolled our packs and hiked up about 7 miles ready for our advance the next day. Then it was a matter of lining upbehind them and relieving the groups as we got to them.
The Germans, knowing the location of their own troops, were not handicapped as we were. At 12 o'clock the line was formed and as soon as we had taken our places, observation balloons detected what we were about to do and the shells began to fall. Having a box of hardtack crackers, a can of corned beef hash, and a can of corned beef, I sat down to eat what I felt surely would be my last lunch for some time and perhaps forever. I say this because I felt for the first time very certain I would either be killed or wounded. Thinking possibly that in case of being severely wounded it might not be possible for me to get food, I saved the can of corned beef for such an emergency. The gormandizing I had done permitted me to dispose with the maximum of weight that I could spare from my pack.
A shell came over and struck the ground about 75 feet away. Shell fragments fell among us to the ground. One large shall fragment passed between one of the men's legs, numbing his leg and tearing the tail out of his raincoat. Nevertheless, he was not severely hurt and after being exercized by a couple of the men, his leg felt well enough so that he was ready to go with us at one o'clock.
Promptly at one o'clock our Captain jumped from the ground and blew his whistle and we were off. The shells now began to fall ten times as fast and bullets cracked over our heads. Within twenty minutes we had gone over the hilltop and down into a ravine. Here there were some loose horses, and as the shells began to fall on them, the horses were frightened into terror, uttering some of those unearthly screams as horses have been known to do in battle and nowhere else.
In the ravine was a branch railroad that ran diagonally into the German lines. On our left was what remained of the city of Verdun and "Dead Man's Hill." Some French tanks had taken up positions before us just before we had started. By the time we reached the railroad we had left them behind because they had stopped or because they had deliberately deserted us.
EXPLOSION & GAS ATTACK
"I looked over Jordan and What did I see? A band of angels coming after me..."
Many many, testified of seeing the vision of "The Christ of the Battlefield." (Psalm 91:7) Sometimes he was seen as a giant figure carrying a soldier in uniform cradled in His arms. I saw Him too. Tall, in white, in a brilliant glow of white light."
Along this railroad the preceeding American troops had dug little pockets for protection. But the Germans, knowing the railroad to the inch, used anti-aircraft shells to burse over the railroad and down into the men's faces. It was the impossibility of the men to follow this railroad that caused them to follow anyone who would lead them into the German lines. We did not stop at the German railroad track but ascended the hill. At the top of the little rise across the tracks I had been giving a Polish boy thunder for showing timidity about the shells. Consequently I did not hear one of them that dropped just in front of him, he being some twenty feet behind me.
The force of the shell was so great I am satisfied I hit six to ten feet away. I felt the rush of air past my face. I had at the moment no feeling of pain of any kind. But discovering myself on the ground,I tried to get up. Then I discovered to my consternation, my whole left leg was entirely numb. I glanced down to see the blood trickling down from the hole in my rain coat. I threw back the coat to see my whole left thigh and uniform wet with blood.
Realizing that struggle would not only make me bleed the more, I slipped out of my pack and lay there on the ground using it for a pillow to wait until some one came along with a stretcher or some other method could be devised to help me back to First Aid.
I was conscious then of a sharp pain and warm sensation of nothing more serious than being strung by a bee. I lay there for ten to fifteen minutes by which time the boys had disappeared into the next hollow. White fleecy clouds of the showery kind were sailing over with holes in them here and there of blue sky. I looked back across the track where other men had fallen. Two shells fell there, one of them very close to some three dead or wounded, I don't know which. One of them I thought to be dead. A white heavy vapor followed immediately afterward and burned with a blue flame all over two of these men, and from the yelling one of them was doing, I knew he was not dead but was too severely wounded and could not get away. The nature of these shells I did not know, for I had never seen anything of this kind before. I supposed it was some kind of liquid fire.
But something happened very soon that galvanized me into action. Two shells fell not more than twenty feet from me and shell fragments and rock rained around me. I was frightened. I left my pack, rifle and sack of hand grenades and crawled down the hill for such protection as the railroad track with it's small embankment might afford.
Being weak from loss of blood, I crawled about half the way and stopped to get my breath. I looked back and saw that I had left a bloody trail behind me from dragging the wounded leg. The feeling of fright passed but I nevertheless crawled to the railroad embankment, up it's side and over the rails, tumbling into a little pocket which had been dug by the previous troops on the other side.
As I had been laying on the ground I could feel a scratchy sensation on the back of my leg although I did not investigate it to see what it was. My effort in crawling this distance had apparently forced the piece of schrapnel out of my leg, for I now felt it at the top of my legging. My leg was now bleeding on both sides.
I therefore took steps to apply some First Aid. I ripped into my bandage kit and was trying to get some bandage on my leg when a boy I knew came up to the railroad track. He enquired if I had been hurt and I assured him that I had, although I felt he could have recognized the situation. He had been nicked in the shoulder enough to numb his right arm and was seeking some kind of First Aid and was waiting until feeling would come back to his arm. He stayed to help me get the bandage on. Then he walked over to about 50 feet from where I lay and picked up a stretcher, it's bearer having been killed on the spot.
There I spent the next hour or more. The clouds got heavier and it began to rain. Since it was nearly the first of October it was a cold rain. At length feeling came back to the arm of my friend who was from my own Company. Then an officer came along and they decided to carry me away from the German lines about one half a mile along the track to where the officer said there was a dugout in which a number of wounded men had been placed from the preceeding outfit. When we arrived a big husky stuck his head out of the dugout and said: "You can't leave that man here! You'll have to take him to the next one!" The next one was another half mile along the track. In my moments of reflection, I now felt that I would be out of the war for a couple of monthes and I had what the soldiers called a real "blighty!"
At the dugout were a number of men and they quickly volunteered to carry myself and three or four other men to the next place. When we arrived there, that dug out was also too full for any more occupants.
THE FIRST AID STATION
German prisoners were then pressed into service to carry us still another half mile, most most of which was directly away from the German line along the road to the First Aid station. We finally reached this place about 7 o'clock. There was a hedge about 4 feet high on the side toward the German line and to the right, a little spot being opened along the road and to the back. By the roadside was a Red Cross flag. A part of the spot was covered by a tent which was also full of wounded men. There was no place to put us but on the ground. I was placed in a corner of the hedge and another man from my Company next to me and still another next to him. That was our position and situation as darkness fell.
I lay awake for what seemed hours. I still had my gas mask, buy on the stretcher it has been used as a pillow. As it grew cold, I slipped out of my army blouse and spread it over my face, for there were scattered showers.
Along about three o'clock I awakened with a start. I had resolved not to go to sleep because of a possible gas attack or because of possible capture. I still had my army pistol as my only weapon. It was so cold now that the ground seemed frozen in the hedge. I was numb all over from the cold. I arose up to listen for I thought I heard gas shells breaking. That truly was the case. I could hear a dull "plop," similar to that made by opening a carbonated beverage.
There was a breeze from the left and since the gas shells were breaking further down the hill, there did not seem to be any danger from the gas. Nevertheless, I realized they were dropping shells all over this section and there were plenty of good reasons for not going back to sleep. I debated putting on my gas mask and then decided I would do that as soon as I discovered any odors.
The man beside me had been wounded in the face and neck by a rifle grenade which had penetrated his throat. He told me that he could not sleep because he was too busy spitting blood. The other man next to him wasout of his head, cursing the Germans and praying to Mary by turns.
Soon I awakened again and I felt a burning sensation in my throat and my lungs seemed to be on fire. It was daybreak now and I raised up to look around. Some men had appeared from some place and were carrying dead men out of the tent and stacking them along the hedge like so much cord wood.
I shook the man beside me but he was as stiff as a board. I picked up a small rock and threw over at the man who had been raving in the night. He too was dead. Then I tried to hail the men to discover my throat so swollen I could not talk. Then I took another stone and threw over two or three men to hit another one. There was a movement and a head came out from under a rain coat. I was relieved that somebody was able to be awake besides myself. There had been 16 men outside the tent that night. When the dead had been carried away, there were six of us left.
We were interested in having something to eat but there was nothing to be had. My corned beef was in my pack one and a half miles to two miles away. It was the nearest food that I knew anything about.
The day dragged along. We fully understood an attempt would be made by the ambulances to reach us at dusk. It seemed wise then that the Red Cross flag was stuck in the ground there by the road so that the ambulance would not drive on to the German lines. We still could hear the firing up ahead, so we realized we were still within a mile of the trench lines.
THE AMBULANCES ARE COMING
Somehow there did not seem to be anything to be said even if I had been able to say it, so there wasn't much to do but lie there on the ground and watch the sun slide slowly across the sky. Later on in the afternoon it clouded up again and it began to rain. Then six o'clock came and we began to anticipate the coming of the ambulances. Until 6:30 the men who were wounded in the shoulder and were able to walk went over to the road and looked for their coming. About 6:30 one of the men said: "Here come the ambulances!" And we felt we were to be rescued at last.
They drove over that road 25 to 30 miles an hour.The first one stopped and the men jumped out. "How many are here?" he asked. "Six on the ground, unable to walk, and four in the tent able to walk," was the reply. The man said: "All right," and he and the driver, with as much haste as possible, picked us up and put us into the ambulance. The other ambulance came up. The men who were able to walk were told they would have to wait until the ambulances had gone down to the dugouts to pick up as many men as they could get there. One of the ambulances was used to carry men who were able to walk.
When we were loaded we stayed there about fifteen minutes waiting for the return of the ambulances. As soon as it was seen the ambulances were leaving the dugouts, our driver and helper jumped in and we started off. The appearance of the ambulances was discovered from the German "sausage" or observation balloons and German artillery sought to get the range. The reason for the haste was to get away and on the road before they should succeed. By the time they had the range, the other ambulances were coming and we were on the road driving to the rear on the three or four mile level stretch, all within sight of the enemy observation balloons, driving as if the devil were behind us.
Within half a mile they really had our range and shelled us all the rest of the way as long as we were in sight. The end of the amubulance was opened and I saw several times when a shell exploded between our ambulance and the one behind. I was even sure that they had hit the other ambulance several times only to be cheered by seeing it come dashing through the smoke.
The road was pretty badly damaged by shells in places and the drivers had to miss them. Otherwise the road was rough enough. It was pretty hard on us to ride at that speed over the rough roads and some of the boys yelled with the pain. I held my arm between my side and the side of the ambulance and personally had no objection to their driving fast.
It was about a twelve mile trip back to the first base hospital. We got off the level stretch and turned down a ravine where we were no longer within sight of the enemy and wound around by a circuitous road to reach a large camouflage tent well hidden from sight of aviators by the trees. There were nurses at this close distance to the front, and we were cheered by the presence of real women who spoke English. Here my bandage was changed and I was given some sort of stuff to smell to relieve the burning in my throat and lungs. On a request for food, we were told that there was no food to be had but that we would have to wait until we reached another base hospital another 20 miles to the rear. At length we had all received our preliminary going over. Then we heard that one of the ambulances had been hit by a shell and supposedly the wounded men and driver had all been killed.
When the ambulances were ready we were put on them again to be carried to the next base hospital. This place was a very large barn, or something of the kind. It was full of stretchers and cots with doctors and nurses about.
After my various hurts and bruises had been taken care of, I asked if I would like something to eat. By such means as I could, I let them know that I would be very interested in just that, since I had had nothing to eat in over 36 hours. One of the soldiers acting as an attendant brought me a bowl of cocoa. I'm sure it tasted better than anything I have ever tasted in my life. I must have still looked a little hungry to him, for he asked if I would like some more, and I got it.
We were given some blankets and my army blouse was taken from me. As we lay there in that large barn waiting for the ambulance again, the male attendant asked me if I would like my shoes taken off. I nodded. Now that some sort of sensation had come back to my legs , I was satisfied that there was something wrong with my feet. The shoes were loosened but wouldn't come off.
AS LEGAL ADVISOR TO ALBERT EINSTEIN DURING THE MANHATTEN PROJECT
Then as Abraham Wolf predicted, later I made some money and graduated in Law. For many years, I was a lawyer. During World War II, I served as legal advisor to Albert Einstein the Manhatten Project. The Manhattan Project is the code name for the US government's secret project that was established before World War II and culminated in the development of the nuclear bomb. The idea of forming a research team to create a nuclear weapon was endorsed in a letter than Einstein sent to Franklin Roosevelt, the president of America at the time. A month after the first bomb was tested, two nuclear weapons were exploded over Japan, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There were many reasons for this. The official reason is that it would immediately end the war, thus saving the lives of thousands of American servicemen. The lives of innumerable Japanese servicemen were spared as well.
A CAMPAIGN SECOND ONLY TO IWO JIMA & CLOSER TO HOME
The only campaign of World War II fought on North American soil took place in the Aleutian Island chain that stretches for a thousand miles south and west from Alaska. Although inhospitable due to ugly weather, craggy mountains, scant vegetation and remoteness, the islands became a strategic target of Japanese expansion and correspondingly important to the defense of the Western approaches to the United States.
The Aleutian Islands Campaign was a struggle over the Aleutian Islands, part of Alaska, in the Pacific campaign of World War II starting on June 3, 1942. A small Japanese force occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska, but the remoteness of the islands and the difficulties of weather and terrain meant that it took nearly a year for a large U.S. force to eject them. Mass graves believed to hold the remains of 2,300 Japanese soldiers killed on the Aleutian island of Attu during World War II have been confirmed.
Attu was one of the deadliest conflicts in the Pacific, second only to Iwo Jima. Japanese troops invaded Attu and the neighboring island of Kiska in June 1942, in the only occupation of U.S. land during the war. No one was living on Kiska, but the Japanese captured a small Aleut community when they seized Attu. Almost half of the 45 residents taken to Hokkaido, Japan, died during internment.
American forces arrived at Attu the following May, waging a 19-day campaign before they retook the island. Most of the fighting was hand-to-hand in 120 mph winds, driving rain and dense, damp fog. Of an estimated 2,500 Japanese troops on Attu, only 28 were taken prisoner. The others died in battle or committed suicide.
Attu, with a population of about 20 people, is 20 miles by 35 miles in size, and is located about 1,100 miles west of the Alaskan mainland. Japanese troops occupied the island in June 1942 but the following May U.S. forces retook the island. We lost 3,900 men at Attu, as many to cold and disease as to the enemy. Our poorly outfitted fighting men, wearing WWI helmets and inferior clothing, often took the better uniforms from the Japanese dead. They starved, ate thistle or tried to kill fish with hand grenades thrown into the sea.
Special Japanese military units conducted experiments on civilians and POWs in China. One of the most infamous was Unit 731 under Shir¨ Ishii. Victims were subjected to vivisection without anesthesia, amputations, and were used to test biological weapons, among other experiments. Anesthesia was not used because it was believed to affect results.
To determine the treatment of frostbite, prisoners were taken outside in freezing weather and left with exposed arms, periodically drenched with water until frozen solid. The arm was later amputated; the doctor would repeat the process on the victim¡¯s upper arm to the shoulder. After both arms were gone, the doctors moved on to the legs until only a head and torso remained. The victim was then used for plague and pathogens experiments.
Many written reports and testimonies collected by the Australian War Crimes Section of the Tokyo tribunal, and investigated by prosecutor William Webb (the future Judge-in-Chief), indicate that Japanese personnel in many parts of Asia and the Pacific committed acts of cannibalism against Allied prisoners of war. In many cases this was inspired by ever-increasing Allied attacks on Japanese supply lines, and the death and illness of Japanese personnel as a result of hunger. However, according to historian Yuki Tanaka: "cannibalism was often a systematic activity conducted by whole squads and under the command of officers". This frequently involved murder for the purpose of securing bodies. For example, an Indian POW, Havildar Changdi Ram, testified that: "[on November 12, 1944] the Kempeitai beheaded [an Allied] pilot. I saw this from behind a tree and watched some of the Japanese cut flesh from his arms, legs, hips, buttocks and carry it off to their quarters... They cut it small pieces and fried it." In some cases, flesh was cut from living people: another Indian POW, Lance Naik Hatam Ali (later a citizen of Pakistan), testified that in New Guinea: the Japanese started selecting prisoners and every day one prisoner was taken out and killed and eaten by the soldiers. I personally saw this happen and about 100 prisoners were eaten at this place by the Japanese. The remainder of us were taken to another spot 50 miles [80 km] away where 10 prisoners died of sickness. At this place, the Japanese again started selecting prisoners to eat. Those selected were taken to a hut where their flesh was cut from their bodies while they were alive and they were thrown into a ditch where they later died. Perhaps the most senior officer convicted of cannibalism was Lt Gen. Yoshio Tachibana (Á¢»¨·¼·ò,Tachibana Yoshio), who with 11 other Japanese personnel was tried in August 1946 in relation to the execution of U.S. Navy airmen, and the cannibalism of at least one of them, during August 1944, on Chichi Jima, in the Bonin Islands. The airmen were beheaded on Tachibana's orders. As military and international law did not specifically deal with cannibalism, they were tried for murder and "prevention of honorable burial". Tachibana was sentenced to death, and hanged. Americans were referred as kichiku (mongrel beast or mongrelized apes.
After many assaults, Japanese leader Colonel Yamasaki was killed in an attack wave up Engineer Hill. Yet the Japanese did not surrender. As Samurais, they killed themselves, and their doctors killed the wounded.
Immediate deaths from the bomb are estimated to be about 100,000. This figure is astounding. However, it is comparable to the estimated number of casulaties that would have resulted from a Allied invasion of the Japanese home islands. However, the choice to drop the bombs on Japan is very controversial and there are many people that feel they were unneccsary, and that Japan would have surrendered anyway.
Undoubtedly, the atomic bomb is the most powerful destructive force that mankind has ever wielded. However, many scientists defend their participation in it's creation.
The Manhattan Project began as a small research program in 1939, which eventually employed more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion ($22 billion in present day value).
BURIAL IN CHICAGO
Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship. (Jonah 1:5)
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark:8:31)
At near noon on or about the 20th of May 1935, I was sitting in my law office at 30 West Washington Street in downtown Chicago. I was preparing a brief in a case. I heard one of the clerks in the outer office go out to lunch, and I worked on, not hearing her return. Somewhere after one o'clock I finished the brief and pushed back the books and papers on my desk. I leaned back in my chair, in the silence of the room, and heard only the clacking of the typewriter in the next room. God had often crossed my life with the precious reminders of His grace. I felt rather than saw at first, that there had been a change. I looked up. The little office room seemed filled with a light. I got up and looked out of the window which was 12 stories up, to see from where someone was shining a light into the room. I looked up and down each side, and saw nothing. I turned in surprise. The light was still there, and more intense. I leaned back in my chair. Then the light disappeared and was gone.
I pulled out a sheet of paper and left a message on my desk. It was to the effect that I would not be available until further notice, if anyone called. I had to give God a chance to speak to me. The tall buildings in downtown Chicago rise several stories above the street. They go down in the ground several. I went down in the first basement and there were too many signs of activity there. I went down a second story, and nothing seemed correct. There in the third basement I found a small room, bare with a small carpet and a ccouple of chairs. Down in the fourth basement were pipes, pumps, air conditioning. Anywhere here would be noisey. So I went and told my secretary that if anyone called, I would not be available. I would be away, and they could go home when they were finished.
I WILL PAY MY VOWS TO THE MOST HIGH
"Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. I will sacrifice unto theee with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is unto the Lord." (Jonah 2:6,9)
About nine o'clock that friday afternoon, I went down to that third basement and entered the room with two chairs and the tiny carpet. I knelt beside that chair in the dark and prayed. I sat on that chair and sought and fought for a quiet mind far from the concerns of this world. It was dark. It was quiet. I was alone. There was no food and drink. I sat there for hours. I heard slow moving footsteps coming down the hall, and the jingling of keys. Yes, he stopped. He inserted a key and locked me in. Then the footsteps moved away. I tried the door: I was locked in.
So I spent three days and three nights below the street level in the heart of the downtown business district district of Chicago--in silence--in the dark--all alone--with no food or drink. I could not possibly raise anyone. I found what I wanted, so I gave myself to it. I don't know how I passed the time, I only knew I grew tired to the point of collapse. But I was not hungry or lonely, or thirsty, or afraid of the dark. It was pleasant and restful. There was no disturbing sound. When I tried to pray, I broke out in an unearthly language, babbling what only God and I could understand. (Acts 2:1-4, Acts 2:38-39) To have answers I just had to wait. I prayed for hours. I sang and spoke to God in tongues. Time had no meaning. I was having some moments in eternity.
It seemed I was there for a year. I was not the same man coming out as when I went down. I did not want the same things any more. God had shown me that my money and property stood in my way, and I was losing my soul. God had given me the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I had given Him the total commitment of my life. I heard the shuffling footsteps; aand the jingle of keys. The key turned in the lock, and the footsteps moved away. I came out: and it was Monday morning. I do not know why these things happened to me. It was not in my plans, desires or intentions to be locked three days and three nights some 40 feet below the street level of the busy downtown business district of Chicago. I only wanted a couple hours in that basement, and a quiet undisturbed week in my apartment. All I can make of it is that God had other plans. When I was small we heard much of guardian angels, and of providences of God. He crossed my life with so many things to keep me from going to hell. God never gave me up! And now I am His and He is mine. I went home to rest and later back to my office. Since that event I have had an awareness that I was living in eternity. The old pressure was gone. I could live and work relaxed. I still had no day set in a call to preach, or to enter the mission field. The Devil is not likely to let my total commitmen to pass unnoticed. True faith is going to be tried. It was now time for me to be purged in the fires of affliction.
I am living in a never ending wonder of Eternal Life. Lord what do you want me to do? I walked over and caught the train and rode the 10 miles home. And I did not say a word to anyone. I went into my apartment and locked the door. Would God now call me to be a missionary? Would he call me to preach? Would I ever practice law again? Would I do nothing but church work? What effect would this experience have upon the rest of my life?
GALEN HUNT'S LAW OFFICE IN THE TEMPLE BUILDING
Galen Hunt continued to work for many years as an attorney, and in the 1940's his practice was located in the Chicago Temple Building at 77 West Washington Street, Chicago 2, Illinois and a photo of this historic skyscraper can be seen in the photo near the bottom of the page.
In the autumn of 2007 I received an email from a man who said he'd been going over his father's papers and discovered correspondance from Attorney Galen Hunt, when a family member was stationed in the military in Italy. He emailed me a scan of the envelope with the letterhead showing the office building. The building has since been purchased by the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple and is located in the heart of "the Loop", or downtown Chicago. It is directly across the street from Daley Plaza and the iconic Picasso sculpture. The Loop is what locals call the historical center of downtown Chicago. It is the second-largest central business district in the United States, after Midtown Manhattan. Bounded on the west and north by the Chicago River, on the east by Lake Michigan, and on the south by Roosevelt Road, the value of its real-estate shaped an architectural style dominated by high-rises. Notable buildings include the Home Insurance Building, considered the first skyscraper; the Chicago Board of Trade Building, a National Historic Landmark; and the Sears Tower, the tallest in the United States. Some of the historic buildings in this district were instrumental in the development of high-rises. Chicago's rational street numbering system originates in the Loop at the intersection of State Street and Madison Street.
GALEN HUNT'S DEATH & BURIAL IN THE MEMORIAL CEMETERY OF THE PACIFIC
In the face of tyrrany, Galen Hunt willingly and courageously put his own life on the line to set other men free. He wanted his life to make a difference. He was wounded in action in France. The 3rd Army Division, that he was in, was formed in 1917 and was part of the Allied Expeditionary Force during World War I where the division suffered over 11,000 casualties. When Galen Hunt left the battle field of France, he returned to school on crutches, with his lungs badly burned from phosgene gas. He attended Iowa State where he obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering. In 1932, Galen fulfilled his dream of becoming an attorney at law, graduating with his Doctor of Law degree from the University of Chicago,(See: The Sign of the Prophet Jonah Hits Chicago! and serving on the bar of Illinois and Alaska.
As a young man, he'd received a prophecy from Abraham Wolf, the man who performed his parents wedding ceremony, regarding service to Mashiach/Christ. He lived to fulfill this word from the Lord regarding his prophetic destiny. He came to know Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ as his great God and Saviour, and worked as a corporate attorney in Alaska and Hawaii. Galen Otto Hunt won the Purple Heart for bravery and the injuries he sustained in battle. Also known as the "Punchbowl", the cemetery lies in the middle of Puowaina Crater, an extinct volcano. It was officially dedicated on September 2, 1949, on the 4th anniversary of V-J Day. Of all the national cemeteries, this one has been described as the most beautiful and the most moving. See (The White Rose)
The cemetery consists of 112.5 acres in extent. Roughly translated, "Puowaina" means "Consecrated Hill" or °Hill of Sacrifice." The Punchbowl was the site of many secret Alii (Royal) burials. In the early 1800's the crater was an important stronghold for Oahu natives who tried in vain to resist the invading Army of Kamehameha when he unified the Hawaiian Islands in 1810. The kingdom established by Kamehameha existed until Queen Lilioukalani was deposed in 1893. Galen Hunt died in May of 1975 and his body was interred with full military honors at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.
The Great War Part II Memorial In Scarlet The American Doughboy ...It's been estimated that by 1918, 1 in 4 German shells was a "gas shell." Below is a description of the phosgene gas that Galen Hunt was exposed to.
Poison Gas: Asphyxiant
These are the poisonous gases. This class includes chlorine, phosgene and diphosgene. Chlorine inflicts damage by forming hydrochloric acid when coming in contact with moisture such as found in the lungs and eyes. It is lethal at a mix of 1:5000 (gas/air) whereas phosgene is deadly at 1:10,000 (gas/air) - twice as toxic! Diphosgene, first used by the Germans at Verdun on 22-Jun-1916, was deadlier still and could not be effectively filtered by standard issue gas masks.
The author, Alana Campbell, is a writer and artist-illustrator. She is married to Tom and they live in Washington state. The Campbells consider themselves blessed to have had family members who fought in World War 1. Alana Campbell's husband works with Jeff Pershing, a descendant of Col. Jack Pershing. They have traveled through France and visited the war memorials. We thank all of you, who pray for the Veterns of Foreign Wars and their families. God answers prayer.
RUSSIANS TUNNELING TO THE US
Official from the Russian Economy Ministry told reporters on Wednesday, April 18, that Russia plans to build the world's longest tunnel, a transport and pipeline link under the Bering Strait to Alaska, as part of a $65 billion project to supply the U.S. with oil, natural gas and electricity from Siberia.
The project, which Russia is coordinating with the U.S. and Canada, would take 10 to 15 years to complete, Viktor Razbegin, deputy head of industrial research at the Russian Economy Ministry, said. State organizations and private companies in partnership would build and control the route, known as TKM-World Link, he added.
A 6,000-kilometer (3,700-mile) transport corridor from Siberia into the U.S. will feed into the tunnel, which at 64 miles will be more than twice as long as the underwater section of the Channel Tunnel between the U.K. and France, according to the plan. The tunnel would run in three sections to link the two islands in the Bering Strait between Russia and the U.S.
Alana Campbell 5214 South 2nd Avenue, Everett, Washington 98203-4113
Telephone (425) 391-8487