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Title: Friends of France

The Field Service of the American Ambulance described by its members

Author: Various

Author of introduction, etc.: A. Piatt Andrew

Release date: July 12, 2014 [eBook #46261]

Language: English



E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Christian Boissonnas,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team



La France guerrière

Title Page

The Field Service
of the
American Ambulance
described by its members.

Boston and New York
Houghton Mifflin Company,
The Riverside Press—Cambridge



In appreciation
of all that their effort
in America
has accomplished for this
Service in France

[Pg vii]


Introduction A. Piatt Andrew xvii
Letters from Section Leaders   xix
I. The Organization of the Service Stephen Galatti 1
II. At the Back of the Front: Dunkirk and Ypres Henry Sydnor Harrison 6
III. The Section in Alsace Reconquise Preston Lockwood 21
IV. Last Days in Alsace Everett Jackson 51
V. The Section in Lorraine James R. McConnell 61
With an introduction by Theodore Roosevelt
VI. An American Ambulance in the Verdun Attack Frank Hoyt Gailor 89
VII. One of the Sections at Verdun Henry Sheahan 109
VIII. The Section in Flanders Joshua G. B. Campbell 117
IX. The Beginnings of a New Section George Rockwell 131
X. Un Blessé À Montauville Emery Pottle 136
XI. Christmas Eve, 1915 Waldo Peirce 139
XII. The Inspector's Letter Box 148
Our ambulances—How the cars reach Paris—En route for the front—First impressions—The daily programme—Handling the wounded—The wounded—Night duty—Fitting into the life—Paysages de guerre—Soldier life—July 22 at Pont-à-Mousson—Incidents [Pg viii] of a driver's life—Three Croix de Guerre—From day to day—From another diary—Further pages—A night trip—An attack—Poilu hardships—Winter in Alsace—Weeks of quiet—Night—Morning—Stray thoughts—A gallant blessé—Perils of a blizzard—Poignant impressions—In the hospital—New quarters—The poetry of war.
Champagne, 1914-1915 227
XIII. Four Letters from Verdun 232
Tributes and Citations 252
Members of the Field Service 337


[Pg xi]


La France Guerrière Frontispiece
Dunkirk, May, 1915 6
An American Ambulance in Flanders 10
An American Ambulance in Ypres 12
Soldiers marching by American Ambulances in a Flemish Town 14
Americans in their Gas-Masks 16
The Col de Bussang—the Gate to Alsace Reconquise 22
Supplies for the Soldiers being carried on Mules over the Vosges Mountains 24
At a Valley "Poste" (Mittlach) 24
American Drivers in Alsace 28
A "Poste de Secours" in the Valley of the Fecht 30
Sharing Meals at a "Poste" 30
La Terre Promise 36
The Harvard Club of Alsace Reconquise 42
Winter Days in Alsace 54
Effect of German Shells in Alsace (Thann) 58
On the Road to Hartmannsweilerkopf, December, 1915 58
Shells breaking on the Côte-de-Mousson 70
Watching an Aeroplane Duel in Pont-à-Mousson 70
In Front of a "Poste de Secours" 74
An American Ambulance Driver 74
On the Road to Bois-le-Prêtre [Pg xii] 78
Fontaine du Père Hilarion, Bois-le-Prêtre 78
Loading the Ambulance 94
At a "Poste" at the Very Front 104
Soldiers of France 110
Americans in their Gas-Masks in front of the Bomb-proof Shelter outside of the Headquarters 118
A "Poste de Secours" in Flanders 122
Waiting at a "Poste de Secours" 122
A Winter Day in Flanders 124
A Group of American Drivers in Northern France 128
The Cathedral in Nieuport, July, 1915 128
Some of the Members of Section IV 132
Approaching the High-Water Mark 134
"Poilus" and Americans sharing their Lunch 134
Richard Hall 144
Richard Hall's Grave 146
An Inspection Trip in Alsace 152
Within Sight of the German Trenches 154
Stretchers slung between Two Wheels on their Way from the Trenches 156
Evacuating a Hospital 158
Transferring the Wounded to the Train 158
The End of an Ambulance [Pg xiii] 166
Decoration of Carey and Hale 178
A Winter Morning 182
Alsatian Woods in Winter 182
The "Poste de Secours" near Hartmannsweilerkopf 186
Winter in Alsace 194
What Night Trips without Lights sometimes mean 212
The Dangers of the Road 212
Mule Convoy in Alsace 214
The "Poste" near Hartmannsweilerkopf after a Bombardment 214
One of our Cars in Trouble 216
Coffins in Courtyard of Base Hospital in Alsace 216
Richard Hall's Car after Shell landed under it 218
A "Poste de Secours" at Montauville 222
Saucisse above Verdun 232
At a Dressing-Station near Verdun 236
American Ambulance in Verdun 242
American Ambulance at a Dressing-Station near Verdun 246
A Corner of Verdun, July, 1916 250
Headquarters of the American Ambulance Field Service, 21 Rue Raynouard, Paris 276
Some of the Men of the American Ambulance Field Service at their Headquarters, 21 Rue Raynouard, Paris 278
The "Croix de Guerre" 278
The "Médaille Militaire" 330
"Vive la France!" 346

[Pg xiv]


Roger M. L. Balbiani 281
Edward Bartlett 281
William Barber 330
Leslie Buswell 283
Joshua Campbell 283
Graham Carey 285
John Clark 285
Edmund J. Curley 287
Benjamin Dawson 287
David B. Douglass 289
Luke C. Doyle 289
Brooke Leonard Edwards 291
Powel Fenton 291
Stephen Galatti 293
Halcott Glover 293
Richard Hall 295
Dudley Hale 297
Sigurd Hansen 297
Lovering Hill 299
Lawrence Hitt 301
George Hollister 301
Everett Jackson 303
Philip Lewis 303
Walter Lovell [Pg xv] 305
James R. McConnell 305
Douglas MacMonagle 307
William T. Martin 307
Joseph Mellen 309
Francis Dashwood Ogilvie 309
Waldo Peirce 311
Thomas Potter 311
Tracy J. Putnam 313
Beverly Rantoul 313
Durant Rice 315
George Roeder 315
Edward Salisbury 317
Roswell Sanders 330
Bernard Schroder 317
James Milton Sponagle 319
Henry Suckley 319
John Taylor 321
Edward Tinkham 321
Donald M. Walden 323
J. Marquand Walker 323
Victor White 325
Walter Wheeler 327
Harold Willis 327
William H. Woolverton 329

[Pg xvii]

Decorative Image.


Les États-Unis d'Amérique n'ont pas oubliés que la première page de l'histoire de leur indépendance a été écrite avec un peu de sang français. (Général Joffre.)

The following pages, written and edited in the course of active service in France, tell, however imperfectly, something of the experiences of a small group of young Americans who have not been inert onlookers during the Great War.

Few in number and limited in their activities, this little band of American ambulance drivers in France is of course insignificant when compared with the tens of thousands of young Frenchmen who crossed the ocean as soldiers and sailors to help America in 1777. To the valor and devotion of these Frenchmen we owe our very existence as an independent nation, and nothing that Americans have done for France during these last hard years of trial can be thought of—without embarrassment—in relation with what Frenchmen did for us in those unforgettable years of our peril from 1777 to 1781.

The little group of Americans told of in this book who, during the past two years, have dedicated valiant effort and, not unfrequently, risked their lives in the service of France, can best be thought of as only a [Pg xviii] symbol of millions of other Americans, men and women, who would gladly have welcomed an opportunity to do what these men have done—or more. For, notwithstanding official silence and the injunctions of presidential prudence, the majority of Americans have come to appreciate the meaning, not only to France, but to all the world, of the issues that are to-day so desperately at stake, and their hearts and hopes are all with France in her gigantic struggle. They share with the world at large a feeling towards the French people of sympathy, of admiration, and, indeed, of reverence, such as exists towards the people of no other country; and millions of them, like these volunteers of the American Ambulance, have been tortured by a longing to have some share with the people of France in defending the ideals for which, as they feel, America has always stood, and for which France is now making such vast, such gallant, and such unflinching sacrifice.

The service to France of Americans, whether ambulance drivers, surgeons, nurses, donors and distributors of relief, aviators, or foreign légionnaires, when measured by the prodigious tasks with which France has had to cope during the past two years, has indeed been infinitesimally small; but their service to America itself has been important. They have rendered this inestimable benefit to their country. They have helped to keep alive in France the old feeling of friendship and respect for us which has existed there since our earliest days and which, otherwise, would [Pg xix] probably have ceased to exist. They have helped to demonstrate to the chivalrous people of France that Americans, without hesitating to balance the personal profit and loss, still respond to the great ideals that inspired the founders of our Republic. They have helped France to penetrate official reticence and re-discover America's surviving soul.

When all is said and done, however, the ambulanciers themselves have gained the most from the work in which they have taken part. It is a privilege even in ordinary times to live in this "doux pays de France," to move about among its gentle and finished landscapes, in the presence of its beautiful architectural heritages and in daily contact with its generous, sensitive, gifted, and highly intelligent people. Life in France, even in ordinary times, means to those of almost any other country daily suggestions of courtesy, refinement, and thoughtful consideration for others. It means continual suggestions of an intelligent perspective in the art of living and in the things that give life dignity and worth.

The opportunity of living in France, as these Americans have lived during the past two years of war, has meant all this and more. It has meant memories of human nature exalted by love of country, shorn of self, singing amidst hardships, smiling at pain, unmindful of death. It has meant contact with the most gentle and the most intelligent of modern peoples facing mortal peril—facing it with silent and unshakable resolve, victoriously resisting it with modesty [Pg xx] and with never a vaunting word. It has meant imperishable visions of intrepidity and of heroism as fine as any in the records of knight-errantry or in the annals of Homeric days.

Nothing else, surely, can ever offer so much of noble inspiration as these glimpses of the moral grandeur of unconquerable France.

A. Piatt Andrew
Inspector General of the Field Service
Decorative Image

Decorative Image
A la Françoise et Carrément

The publication of this book presents an opportunity of showing our appreciation of the extraordinarily successful work of A. Piatt Andrew in reorganizing and furthering the work of the Field Service of the American Ambulance.

Those of us who were in the service before his arrival and have continued to work under him have been able to judge the effects of his efforts, and to realize the amount of activity, patience, and tact necessary to overcome the numerous difficulties which presented themselves. It was through the confidence placed in him by the French military authorities that the small American squads, after reorganization to army standards, were allowed to take positions of trust at the front. As a result of his untiring efforts in America funds were raised and cars donated to continue and advance the work.

No more striking proof can be given of the change in value to the Army of our Service, and of the change in the attitude of the authorities towards it, than the recent request of the Automobile Service to the American Ambulance for other Sections. When Mr. Andrew began his work we were seeking an opportunity to widen our sphere of work. Now the efficiency and usefulness of the service are such that the Army has requested that it be increased.

We all owe much to Mr. Andrew: his devotion to the cause has inspired all those working with him.

Lovering Hill
Commander of Section III (Alsace)
Edward V. Salisbury
Commander of Section II (Lorraine)
H. P. Townsend
Commander of Section I (Flanders)

[Pg 1]




APRIL 1915-APRIL 1916

During the first eight months of the war the American Ambulance continually hoped to extend its work to an Ambulance Service actually connected with the armies in the field, but not until April, 1915, were these hopes definitely realized. The history, however, of these first eight months is important; its mistakes showed the way to success; its expectations brought gifts of cars, induced volunteers to come from America, and laid the basis upon which the present service is founded.

A gift of ten Ford ambulances, whose bodies were made out of packing-boxes, enabled the American Ambulance, at the very outset of the war, to take part in the transport service, and as more and more donations were made small squads were formed in an attempt to enlarge the work. These squads, each of five cars, were offered for service with the armies, but owing to their inadequate size were in every case attached by the Government to existing services well in the rear. So there were small squads at Saint-Pol, Amiens, Paris Plage, Abbeville, Merville, and Hesdin, attached to British or French [Pg 2] Sections, and they were engaged in evacuating hospitals, work which clearly could be better done by the larger cars of Sanitary Sections already attached to these hospitals.

In April, 1915, through the efforts of A. Piatt Andrew, who had then become Inspector of the Field Service, the French authorities made a place for American Ambulance Sections at the front on trial. A squad of ten ambulances was sent to the Vosges, and this group attracted the attention of their commanding officers, who asked that it be increased by ten cars so as to form it into an independent Sanitary Section. As soon as this was done, the unit took its place in conjunction with a French Section in an important Sector on the front in Alsace.

With this initial success a new order of things began, and in the same month a second Section of twenty cars was formed and was stationed, again in conjunction with an existing French service, in the much-bombarded town of Pont-à-Mousson.

In the meantime, two squads of five cars each had been working at Dunkirk. These were now re-enforced by ten more and the whole Section was then moved to the French front in Belgium, with the result that at the end of the month of April, 1915, the Field Service of the American Ambulance had really come into existence. It comprised three Sections of twenty ambulances, a staff car, and a supply car—Section Sanitaire Américaine No 1, as it was called, stationed at Dunkirk; Section Sanitaire Américaine [Pg 3] No 2, stationed in Lorraine; and Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3, in the Vosges.

The story of the next year is one of real achievement, in which the three Sections emerged from the test with a record of having fulfilled the highest expectations of proving their utility to France. Section 1, having given an excellent account of itself in the long-range bombardments and air-raids at Dunkirk, was rewarded by being intrusted with important work in Belgium at Coxyde, Nieuport, Poperinghe, Elverdinghe, Crombeke, and other postes de secours in that Sector of the French front.

Section 2 had to win recognition in a region already served by a French Sanitary Service and to which it was attached to do secondary work. The Section not only accomplished its own work, but made it possible for the French Section to be withdrawn, taking over the postes de secours on the line, and finally becoming independently responsible for an area renowned for its continual heavy fighting.

The record of Section 3 is slightly different. It first successfully took over the existing service, and then, pushing on, opened up to motor transport hitherto inaccessible mountain postes de secours.

With the three Sections thus established, it is interesting to note why they have been a recognized success so shortly after their possible usefulness was appreciated.

In the first place, an admirable type of car was selected. Our light Ford ambulances, stationed as [Pg 4] they were in Belgium, in Lorraine, and in Alsace, faced three separate transportation problems. At Dunkirk they found the mud no obstacle; at Pont-à-Mousson they outgeneralled the ravitaillement convoys; in the Vosges they replaced the mule. They were driven, too, by college men or men of the college type, who joined the service to be of use and who brought to the work youth and intelligence, initiative and courage. There have been to date in the Field Service 89 men from Harvard, 26 from Yale, 23 from Princeton, 8 from the University of Pennsylvania, 7 from Dartmouth, 6 from Columbia, 4 from the University of Michigan, 4 from the University of Virginia, 18 American Rhodes scholars from Oxford, and representatives of more than thirty other colleges and universities. Twenty-eight men have already been cited and awarded the croix de guerre.

In November, 1915, at the request of General Headquarters, a fourth Section, made possible through the continued aid of generous friends in America, took its place in the field. In December, 1915, Section 1 was moved to the Aisne. In January, 1916, Section 3 was transferred to the Lorraine front, in February Section 2 was summoned to the vicinity of Verdun at the moment of the great battle, and in March definite arrangements for a fifth Section were completed.

So April, 1916, finds the three old Sections still on duty at the front, the fourth already making its [Pg 5] reputation there, and a fifth being fitted out. Confidence has been gained; we have learned our parts. The problem of the future is, first, to maintain efficiency, and at the same time to be ready to put more cars and more men in the field. Our vision is to play a larger rôle in behalf of France, and with the continued coöperation of the donors of ambulances and the same spirit of sacrifice on the part of the men in the field, it should be realized. [1]

Stephen Galatti
Assistant Inspector

[1] Since the writing of this chapter three more Sections have gone into the field and an eighth is in process of formation. More than fifty American colleges and universities have been represented, and more than fifty members of the service have received the Croix de Guerre or the Médaille Militaire. (November, 1916.)

End of Chapter Decoration

[Pg 6]



In June, 1915, it was the pride of the Section in Flanders, Section 1, to feel that it had come closer to war than any other division of the American Ambulance. In June, 1916, the point of pride is to know that those first intense experiences have long since been duplicated and eclipsed. The competitive principle does not enter, naturally; the significance is that in this twelvemonth the service of the Americans has been steadily extended and vitalized. And in attempting to express here something of the whole through one of its parts, I need only suggest that the initial adventure in the North, comprehending in a few crowded weeks a fairly full range of experience behind the lines, perhaps still stands as typical and illustrative of all the rest.


In Dunkirk we witnessed, and within our powers tried to cope with, what yet remains, I believe, the most sensational artillery exploit in history. It is remembered that the little cars of the Americans often ran those empty streets, and pursued those deafening detonations, alone. Here, at our base, we shared the life of a town under sporadic, but devastating, bombardment; forward, in Elverdinghe, we shared the life of a town under perpetual, and also devastating, bombardment; still further forward, in Ypres, we beheld [Pg 7] a town bombarded from the face of the earth in a single night. We shared no life here, nor yet in Nieuport, for there was none to share. In the salient around Ypres, we played for many days our small part in that vast and various activity forever going on at the back of the front. Here we saw and learned things not easily to be forgotten: the diverse noises of shells going and coming, of arrivées and départs; the stupendous uproar of the "duel" before the charge, which makes the deepening quiet of a run-back come like a balm and a blessing; the strange informality of roadside batteries, booming away in the sight of peasant families and every passer; the silence and the stillness, and the tenseness and the busyness, of night along the lines; the extreme difficulty of hiding from shrapnel successfully without a dug-out; the equal difficulty of driving successfully down a shell-bitten road in darkness like ink; the glow against the sky of a burning town, and the bright steady dots of starlights around half the horizon; the constant straggle of the evicted by the field-ambulance's front-door, and the fast-growing cemetery at the back-door; the whine and patter of bullets by the postes de secours and the business-like ripple of the machine-guns; the whir of Taubes, the practical impossibility of hitting them from the ground, and the funny little bombs sometimes dropped by the same; the noises made by men gone mad with pain; the glorious quiet of men under the acetylene lamps of the operating-table; "crowd psychology," and why a regiment becomes a "fighting [Pg 8] machine," and how tender hearts are indurated with a toughening of the skin; the high prevalence of courage among the sons of men; drawbacks of sleeping on a stretcher in an ambulance; the unkemptness of Boche prisoners; life, death, and war, and the values and meanings thereof.

Such things, as I know, passed into the experience of Section 1, in Flanders. And these things, and more, have similarly passed into the experience of scores of young Americans since, in their life and service behind the lines of France.

It is the composite experience which the following pages narrate; it is the composite service which the mind holds to with most satisfaction. We were the Service Sanitaire Américaine: a proud title, and we wished, naturally, to invest it with the realest meaning. That in this year 1915-16, the American service has been rendered efficiently and even valuably, this volume as a whole attests, I think. That it has been rendered with the requisite indifference to personal risk is also, I hope, supported by the record. A transient in the service, who by no means bore the burden and heat of the day, may be permitted, I trust, to say these necessary, or at least these interesting and pertinent, things with complete detachment.

I remember the hour of Section 1's "baptism of fire." We stood in the lee (or what we hoped was the lee) of the Petit Château at Elverdinghe, while German shells whistled over our heads and burst with [Pg 9] a wicked crash about the little church, the typical target, a couple of hundred yards away. (What interest we felt when a fragment of shell, smoking hot, fell almost at our feet, and what envy of the man who gathered in this first memorable "souvenir"!) We were just down from Dunkirk; we were greener than the grass that blew; and that the novel proceedings were acutely interesting to us will never be denied. Perhaps each of us secretly wondered to himself if he was going to be afraid; certainly all of us must have wished, with some anxiousness, that those strange whistles and roars would turn themselves another way. And still, when the young Englishman who ran the ambulance service there appeared at that moment and asked for two cars to go down the road to Brielen (which was to go straight toward the trouble), it is pleasant to remember that there was no lack of volunteers, and two of my companions were cranking up at once. There was never any time later, I am sure, when the sense of personal danger was so vivid in the minds of so many of us together.

Every ambulance-driver must have his bad quarters of an hour, no doubt—and some of the worst of them may concern, not himself at all, but his car or his wounded. And if it is said that these young Americans, amateurs and volunteers, have acquitted themselves well in sometimes trying circumstances, there is no intention to over-emphasize this aspect of their service. A volume might be written on the developmental reactions—all but mathematical in their [Pg 10] working—of war-time. Nor does it seem necessary to add that the risk of the ambulanciers, at the worst, is small in comparison with that of those whom they serve, and from whom in turn they get their inspiration—the intrepid youths in the trenches.

We came to know these youths very well—the gallant and charming poilus who have so long carried the western front upon their shoulders. We sincerely admired them; and on them largely we formed our opinions of France, and of the war generally, and of war.


From the standpoint of observation, indeed,—and doubtless it is observation one should try to record here,—I believe we all felt the peculiar advantage of our position to have been this, that we mingled with the soldiers on something like equal terms. We were not officers; we were not distinguished visitors dashing up in a staff-car for an hour of sight-seeing. We were rankers (so far as we were anything), and we were permanent; and in the necessities of our work, we touched the life of the common fighting man at every hour of the day and night, and under almost every conceivable circumstance. We were with the poilus in the hour of rout and disaster; we were with them in the flush of a victorious charge brilliantly executed. We crawled along roads blocked for miles with them, moving forward; we wormed into railroad stations swamped with the tide of their wounded. Now we heard their boyish fun, and shared their jokes in the fine free days off duty; and now we heard, [Pg 11] from the unseen well of the jolting car, their faint entreaty, Doucement, doucement! We saw them distressed by the loss of their precious sacs, or elated by the gift of a button or a cheese; we saw them again, in silence and the darkness beside the Yser, very quiet and busy, with the ping and whine of many rifles; and again we found them lying on straw in dim-lit stables, bloody and silent, but not defeated. Now they gave us tobacco and souvenirs, and told us of their gosses, and helped us tinker with our cars, about which some of them, mechanicians in happier days, knew so much more than we did; and now they died in our ambulances, and sometimes went mad. We saw them gay, and we saw them gassed; we found them idling or writing letters on the running-boards of our cars, and we found the dark stains of their fading lives upon our stretchers; we passed them stealing up like stalwart ghosts to action, and we left them lying in long brown rows beside the old roads of Flanders.

And to me at least it seemed that the dominant note and characteristic quality of the poilu, and all his intense activity, was just a disciplined matter-of-factness, a calm, fine, business-like efficiency, an utter absence of all heroics. Of his heroism, it is superfluous to speak now. My observation convinced me, indeed, that fortitude is everywhere more common and evident, not less, than even rhapsodical writers have represented. There seems literally no limit to the powers of endurance of the human animal, once he is put to it. Many writers have written of the awful groanings [Pg 12] of the wounded. I must say that, though I have seen thousands of wounded, the groans I have heard could almost be counted upon the fingers of my hand. Only once in my experience do I remember seeing any signs of excitement or disorder. That was in the roads around Poperinghe, in the first threatening hours of the second battle of Ypres. Once only did I get any impression of human terror. And that was only a reminiscence, left behind by women and children in the tumbled empty houses of Ypres. But in all the heroism, unlimited and omnipresent, there is observed, as I say, little or no heroics. That entire absence of drum and fife, which strikes and arrests all beholders at the front, is significant and symbolic. These men muster and move forward to the risk of death almost as other men take the subway and go downtown to business. There are no fanfares at all, no grand gestures, no flourishes about the soul and "la gloire."

It is true, no doubt, that the ambulance-driver views the scene from a somewhat specialized angle. His principal association is with the sequelæ of war; his view is too much the hospital view. Yet, it must be insisted, he becomes quickly and strangely callous on these points; and on the whole would be less likely to overstress the mere horrors than someone who had not seen so much of them. On the other hand, as I have suggested, he has extraordinary opportunities for viewing war as a thing at once of many parts and of a marvellously organized unity.


Personally I think that my sharpest impression [Pg 13] of war as a whole came to me, not along the postes de secours or under the guns at all, but at the station place in the once obscure little town of Poperinghe, on the 23d of April, 1915.

That, it will be remembered, was a fateful day. At five o'clock on the afternoon before (everybody was perfectly specific about the hour), there had begun the great movement now known as the Second Battle of Ypres (or of the Yser). The assault had begun with the terrifying surprise of poison-gas; the gas was followed by artillery attacks of a ferocity hitherto unequalled; Ypres had been wiped out in a few hours; the Germans had crossed the Yser. Thus the French and English lines, which were joined, had been abruptly pushed back over a long front. That these were anxious hours for the Allies, Sir John French's report of June 15 (1915) indicates very plainly, I think. But they were far from being idle hours. To-day the whole back country, which for weeks had swarmed with soldiers, was up. For miles around, Allied reserves had been called up from camp or billet; and now they were rushing forward to stiffen the wavering lines and stem the threatening thrust for the coast.

At three o'clock on this afternoon, I stood in Rue d'Ypres, before the railway station in Poperinghe, and watched the new army of England go up. Thousands and thousands, foot and horse, supply and artillery, gun, caisson, wagon and lorry, the English were going up. All afternoon long, in an unending [Pg 14] stream, they tramped and rolled up the Flemish highroad, and, wheeling just before me, dipped and disappeared down a side-street toward "out there." Beautifully equipped and physically attractive—the useless cavalry especially!—sun-tanned and confident, all ready, I am sure, to die without a whimper, they were a most likely and impressive-looking lot. And I suppose that they could have had little more idea of what they were going into than you and I have of the geography of the nether regions.

This was on my left—the English going up. And on my right, the two streams actually touching and mingling, the English were coming back. They did not come as they went, however. They came on their backs, very still and remote; and all that you were likely to see of them now was their muddy boots at the ambulance flap.

Service Sanitaire as we were, I think Section 1 never saw, before or since, such a conglomeration of wounded as we saw that day at Poperinghe. Here was the rail-head and the base; here for the moment were the Red Cross and Royal Army Medical Corps units shelled out of Ypres; here was the nervous centre of all that swarming and sweating back-of-the-front. And here, hour after hour, into and through the night, the slow-moving wagons, English, French, and American, rolling on one another's heels, brought back the bloody harvest.


The English, so returning to Poperinghe gare, were [Pg 15] very well cared for. By the station wicket a large squad of English stretcher-bearers, directed, I believe by a colonel of the line, was unceasingly and expertly busy. Behind the wicket lay the waiting English train, steam up for Boulogne, enormously long and perfectly sumptuous: a super-train, a hospital Pullman, all swinging white beds and shining nickel. The French, alas, were less lucky that day. Doubtless the unimagined flood of wounded had swamped the generally excellent service; for the moment, at least, there was not only no super-train for the French; there was no train. As for the bunks of the station warehouses, the hôpital d'évacuation, they were of course long since exhausted. Thus it was that wounded tirailleurs and Zouaves and black men from Africa, set down from ambulances, staggered unattended up the station platform, sat and lay anyhow about the concrete and the sand—no flesh-wounded hoppers these, but hard-punished men, not a few of them struck, it was only too manifest, in the seat of their lives. This was a bloody disarray which I never saw elsewhere, and hope never to see again. Here, indeed, there was moaning to be heard, with the hard gasp and hopeless coughing of the asphyxiés. And still, behind this heavy ambulance, rolled another; and another and another and another.

On my left was the cannon fodder going up; on my right was the cannon fodder coming back. The whole mechanics of war at a stroke, you might have said: these two streams being really one, these men the [Pg 16] same men, only at slightly different stages of their experience. But there was still another detail in the picture we saw that day, more human than the organized machine, perhaps, and it seemed even more pathetic.

Behind me as I stood and watched the mingling streams of soldiers, the little square was black with réfugiés. Farther back, in the station yard, a second long train stood steaming beside the hospital train, a train for the homeless and the waifs of war. And presently the gate opened, and these crowds, old men and women and children, pushed through to embark on their unknown voyage.


These were persons who but yesterday possessed a local habitation and a name, a background, old ties and associations, community organization, a life. Abruptly severed from all this, violently hacked off at the roots, they were to-day floating units in a nameless class, droves of a ticket and number, réfugiés. I walked up the platform beside their crowded train. A little group still lingered outside: a boy, a weazened old man, and three or four black-clad women, simple peasants, with their household goods in a tablecloth—waiting there, it may be, for the sight of a familiar face, missed since last night. I asked the women where they came from. They said from Boesinghe, which the Germans had all but entered the night before. Their homes, then, were in Boesinghe? Oh, no; their homes, their real homes, were in a little village some twenty kilometres back. And then they fixed [Pg 17] themselves permanently in my memory by saying, quite simply, that they had been driven from their homes by the coming of the Germans in October (1914); and they had then come to settle with relatives in Boesinghe, which had seemed safe—until last night. Twice expelled and severed at the roots: where were they going now? I asked the question; and one of the women made a little gesture with her arms, and answered, stoically: "To France"—which was, as I consider, the brave way of saying, God knows. As the case seemed sad to me, I tried to say something to that effect; and, getting no answer to my commonplaces, I glanced up, and all the women's eyes had suddenly filled with tears.

And outside the English were still going up with a fine tramp and rumble, nice young clerks from Manchester and green-grocers' assistants from Tottenham Court Road.

I have never forgotten that the very last soldier I carried in my ambulance (on June 23, 1915) was one whose throat had been quietly cut while he slept by a flying sliver of a shell thrown from a gun twenty-two miles away. But it will not do, I am aware, to over-emphasize the purely mechanical side of modern war, the deadly impersonality which often seems to characterize it, the terrible meaninglessness of its deaths at times. Ours, as I have said, was too much the hospital view. That the personal equation survives everywhere, and the personal dedication, it is quite [Pg 18] superfluous to say. Individual exaltation, fear and the victory over fear, conscious consecration to an idea and ideal, all the subtle promptings and stark behavior by which the common man chooses and avows that there are ways of dying which transcend all life: this, we know, must have been the experience of hundreds of thousands of the young soldiers of France. And all this, beyond doubt, will one day be duly recorded, in tales to stir the blood and set the heart afire.

And the fine flourish is not altogether wanting even now. As some offset to the impression of pure blood and tears, let me quote a document showing that the courage of France still sometimes displays itself with the dash of purple. Before me is a copy of the official proclamation of the Mayor of Dunkirk, posted through the town after the stunning surprise of the first bombardments. It runs as follows:—


Les Bombardements que nous venons de subir ont fait surtout des victimes dans les rues.

Je recommande ESSENTIELLEMENT aux habitants de s'abriter dans les caves voutées et de ne pas se fier même à des écarts de tir assez longs pour sortir.

Dunkerquois, nous avons à supporter les risques de la guerre, nous les supportons vaillamment.

Notre ville peut avoir à payer son tribut au vandalisme de nos ennemis comme d'autres villes, NOUS GARDERONS HAUT LES CŒURS.

Les ruines seules seront allemandes, la terre restera française [Pg 19] et après la VICTOIRE, nous nous retrouverons PLUS FORTS, PLUS RESOLUS ET PLUS FIERS QUE JAMAIS.


[2] [Translation]

People of Dunkirk:

The bombardments to which we have been subjected have caused many casualties in the streets.

I most emphatically urge all persons to seek shelter in vaulted cellars, and not to trust even to intervals in the firing long enough to go out.

People of Dunkirk, we have to put up with the hazards of war, and we are doing so courageously.

Our city may have to pay its tribute to the vandalism of our foes, like other cities; we will keep our hearts serene and high.

The ruins alone will be German, the soil will remain French, and after the Victory, we shall meet again, stronger, more determined, and prouder than ever.

Vive Dunkirk forever, and Vive la France!

And the best part of this ringing manifesto, as it seems to me, is that it is all quite true. Dunkirk will live long, and so will France; and after the victory the citizens will find themselves, we cannot doubt, prouder and more resolute than ever.

In the immense burden which France is bearing, the sum of the service of the young Americans has been, of course, quite infinitesimal. As the most generous and sympathetic persons are always quickest to appreciate the intentions of sympathy from others, it is pleasant to know that the French, characteristically, have not been unmindful of even this slight thing. But, it is truly said elsewhere, the real gainers from this relationship have been the Americans. Not only is this true; it seems to me there can be no surprise in it. There can be hardly any of these [Pg 20] men who did not set out from home, however unconsciously, for his own good gain; hardly one who did not feel that if he could but touch this memorable making of history with however small a hand, if he could but serve in the littlest this so memorable cause, he would have a possession to go with him all his days. Quorum parva pars fuerunt; and—from the little Latin all schoolboys remember—hæc olim meminisse juvabit. This is theirs; and it is enough. But should any of them covet another reward than what they carry within themselves, I think they have it if this log-book of their Service seems to show that within their powers they have deserved the fine name here bestowed upon them, the Friends of France.

Henry Sydnor Harrison

End of Chapter Decoration

[Pg 21]



"Mon corps à la terre,
Mon âme à Dieu,
Mon cœur à la France."

The trenches in this part of the Vosges are cut along the brows of heights which directly overlook the Rhine Valley. From these summits can be seen, beyond the smoke which deepens the mist above the famous cities of Mulhouse and Colmar, the shadowy boundary of the Black Forest and the snow-topped mountains of Switzerland. A few yards behind the mouths of the communication trenches are the first dressing-stations, everywhere and always one of war's most ghastly spots. Paths make their way from these dressing-stations down the mountain-sides until they become roads, and, once they have become roads, our work begins.

Nowhere else are foreign soldiers upon German soil. Nowhere else, from Ypres to Belfort, do the lines face each other in a mountain range of commanding summits and ever-visible village-dotted valleys. Nowhere else can one study in history's most famous borderland both war and one of those problems in nationality which bring about wars. And surely nowhere else are Detroit-manufactured automobiles competing with Missouri-raised mules [Pg 22] in the business of carrying wounded men over dizzy roads.

Until our light, cheap cars were risked on these roads a wounded man faced a ten-mile journey with his stretcher strapped to the back of a mule or put on the floor of a hard, springless wagon. Now he is carried by hand or in wheelbarrows from one half to two miles. Then in one of our cars there is a long climb followed by a long descent. And over such roads! Roads blocked by artillery convoys and swarming with mules, staggering likely as not beneath a load of high-explosive shells! Roads so narrow that two vehicles cannot pass each other when both are in motion! Roads with a steep bank on the one side and a sheer drop on the other! Roads where lights would draw German shells! Roads even where horns must not be blown!


Indeed, these roads seem to stand for our whole work. But they do not by any means represent our whole work, and it is necessary, if one wants to convey a comprehensive idea of our life, to begin at our base. This is a village twenty-five miles to the rear, but strategically located in relation to the various dressing-stations, sorting-points, base hospitals, and rail-heads which we serve, and, in this war of shipping-clerks and petrol, one of those villages which is as much a part of the front as even the trenches themselves. It is a "little, one-eyed, blinking sort of place." It is not as near to the fighting as some of us, particularly adventurous humanitarians fresh [Pg 23] from New York and Paris, desire. But, picturesquely placed on the banks of the Moselle and smiling up at the patches of hollow-streaked snow that, even in late July and August, stand out on the tops of the Ballon d'Alsace and the Ballon de Servance, it is a lovely, long-to-be-remembered spot and every one in the Section quite naturally speaks of it as "home."

We are billeted in some twenty-five households as if we were officers, although our rations are the rations of a common soldier and our Section rules are unfailingly to salute officers and even to make ourselves scarce in hotels and cafés frequented only by officers. Our lodgings range from hay-lofts to electrically lighted rooms; but the character of our welcome is always the same—pleasant, cordial, to be counted upon—"You are doing something for France and I will do what I can for you."

One of the fellows, for instance, is quartered over a café. It is a little place, dirty and unattractive. Before the war an American tourist dropping into this café would probably have been sold a bad grade of vin ordinaire and been charged too much for it. But the other day the chap who is billeted there was a little under the weather and I took his breakfast to him in his room. I found the café full of customers who had not been served. The woman of the house was upstairs giving her ambulancier américain a cup of that great Vosges remedy, linden tea. I inquired about lunch. But it was no use, there was nothing [Pg 24] for me to do. She was going to fix him some lunch if he felt like eating it, and his dinner, too. Was not her husband away fighting and had not her eldest son been marked down as missing ever since his company took a German trench last June?

Perhaps it is not surprising that we should be so received in a town where we have been living now for six months, where we are the best patrons of the biggest hotel, the most valued customers of half the shops. But this hospitable reception is by no means confined to our base. Everywhere we meet with a courtesy and with a gratitude which bring with them a very satisfactory sense of doing something worth while and having it appreciated.

Imagine, for instance, a small town surrounded by mountains that, sloping gently up from its main street and railway station, are checkered for some distance with houses, green fields, and straggly stone walls, while hidden in their tree-covered summits are trenches and batteries of 75's, and here and there hotels where before the war tourists stopped and to which now the wounded are carried. But on this day a thick gray mist hangs over the town like a half-lowered curtain. The guns rest because the gunners cannot see. The mist hides entirely the tops of the mountains, gives the generally visible houses and stone walls a dim, unshaped appearance, and makes hardly noticeable a procession of gray motor ambulances coming out from the tree-line and making their way down into the town.

At a Valley Poste.

[Pg 25]

Around the railway station is a group of temporary tents, where the wounded are given by the ladies of the Croix Rouge a cup of coffee or a glass of citron and water before being packed into the train sanitaire to begin their long journey to the centre or south of France. The ambulances evacuating the hospitals draw up among these tents under the orders of the sergeant in charge. Four or five French ambulances arrive and are unloaded. Then a smaller car takes its place in the line. It has a long, low, gray body with two big red crosses painted on either side. Beneath the red crosses are the words "American Ambulance," and a name-plate nailed to the front seat bears the words "Wellesley College."

The driver, after clearly doing his best to make a smooth stop, gets down and helps in lifting out the stretchers. One of the wounded, as his stretcher is slid along the floor of the car and lowered to the ground, groans pitifully. He had groaned this way and sometimes even screamed at the rough places on the road. So the driver's conscience hurt him as he pulled some tacks out of his tires and waited for the sergeant's signal to start. It was his first day's work as an ambulancier. He could still see every rock and every rut in the last mile of the road he had just driven over and he wondered if he really had been as careful as possible.

But he was saved from reproaching himself very long. An infirmier tapped him on the shoulder and, telling him that a blessé wished to speak to him, led [Pg 26] him to one of the tents. It was the man about whom he had been unhappy, now more comfortable, although evidently still suffering.

"You are very kind, sir," he said in English that might have been in other circumstances quite good, and disclosing a lieutenant's galons as he gave his right hand to the driver. "You drive carefully. I know, for I have a car. I don't like to cry—but I have two broken legs—anything hurts me—but it is really decent of you fellows to come way over here—it really is trop gentil...." And the driver went back to his car marvelling for the first of many times at the sense of sympathy which had made that pain-stricken officer think of him at all.

One wet night not long ago, the writer was stopped en route by a single middle-aged soldier trudging his way along a steep road running from a cantonment behind the lines to the trenches. Embarrassed a little at first and pulling at his cap, this man said that he had heard in the trenches of the American Ambulance; that a friend had written back that he had been carried in one of them; that this was the first time that he had had an opportunity of shaking hands with one of the volontaires américains. Then, as I leaned over to say good-bye, he shook both my hands, offered me a cigarette, shook both my hands again, saying, "une jolie voiture," and, pointing towards where in the black distance came the rumble of guns, "Perhaps you will bring me back to-morrow."

[Pg 27]

If that man, by the way, had asked me for a lift, as is usually the case when you are stopped like that on the road, my orders would have been to have refused him, to have said, "C'est défendu" and to have driven on. The Hague Conventions forbid carrying any soldiers in ambulances except those who are wounded and those in the service sanitaire. It is, putting it mildly, unpleasant to have to refuse a man a ride when he is wearily facing a long walk and you are spinning by in an empty ambulance. It is doubly unpleasant when you feel that this man would do anything for you from pushing your car out of a ditch to sharing a canteen. And yet, whenever we have to perform this disagreeable duty, the conversation usually ends with a "Merci quand même."

Indeed, discipline in a French soldier seems to be able to maintain itself remarkably from within. Officers and men mingle probably more unrestrainedly than in any army in the world. A soldier when talking to an officer does not stand at attention after the first salute. Privates and officers are frequently seen in the same room of a hotel or café, and sometimes even have their meals in messes that are scarcely separated at all. But these encroachments upon military formalism seem to go no deeper than the frills of efficiency. Orders are obeyed without "reasoning why," and, as in all conscript armies, the machinery of punishment is evolved to uphold authority at all cost. Officers have wide and immediate [Pg 28] powers of punishment, and the decisions of courts martial judging the graver offences are swift, severe, and highly dreaded.

But, returning for the moment to Saint-Maurice, we park our cars in the public square, on a hillside, along the fence of the curé's yard and against the walls of an old church, where their bright red crosses flame out against the gray flaking stone, and, on a cold morning, it is always possible to save a lot of cranking by pushing them down the hill. About half the Section on any given day are to be found at the base and "in bounds," which means the square, the hotel where we have our mess, or the room where one is billeted. These men compose the reserve list, and are liable to be called at any minute when they must "roll," as we say, instantly. The rest of the Section are on duty in detachments of from one to eight cars and for periods of from twenty-four hours to a week at various dressing-stations, sorting-points, field hospitals, and so forth. The men on reserve are used to reinforce these places, to fill up quickly trains sanitaires, to rush to any one of a half-dozen villages which are sometimes shelled.


Often, when the fighting is heavy, not a man or a car of Section 3 is to be found at Saint-Maurice. The repair car even will be driven to some crossroads or sorting-point where our ambulances bring the wounded from several dressing-stations. And Mr. Hill will be away in the staff car dropping in upon the widely separated places where his men are working [Pg 29] to see that all is going well or to know the reason why.

Mr. Lovering Hill, at the outbreak of the war, was practising law in New York City. He had been educated at Harvard and in Switzerland, and, speaking French as well as English, and thoroughly understanding the French temperament and people, he immediately enlisted with the American Ambulance of Neuilly as a driver. In six months he was promoted to the rank of squad leader, and, since last July, ranking as a first lieutenant in the French army, he has been in charge of the work of Section Sanitaire No 3, succeeding Mr. Richard Lawrence, of Boston, who had been compelled to return to the United States. Mr. Hill believes in never letting the reins of discipline drag, and yet he gets along famously with all except those who have a habit of recalling in some way that they are volunteers.

A French lieutenant and an official interpreter are also attached to the Section. We are partly under the control of the Sanitary Service and partly of the Automobile Service. The French personnel are a link between the Automobile Service and our unit, and they are busy from morning until night keeping abreast of the required reports, for five-day reports must be made on the consumption of gasoline, the number of miles run, the number of wounded carried, the oil, carbide, and spare parts needed, the rations drawn, and, in great detail, any change in personnel.

[Pg 30]

There are no orderlies or mechanics attached to our Section and each driver is responsible for the upkeep and repair of his own car. We do as much of this work as possible in the square where we park our cars. So we patch tires, scrape carbon, and change springs while the church bell rings persistently and mournfully for masses and funerals and while the people who sit and watch us from their shop windows laugh at our language as much as if they understood it.

In general charge of this work and of a blacksmith shop that we have turned into a workroom is a so-called Mechanical Department composed of the two drivers who know the most about automobiles. And so successfully has the system worked out that, laymen though most of us be, none of our "Chinese Rolls Royces" or "Mechanical Fleas"—as an English Red Cross corps in the neighborhood has nicknamed our Fords—has been so severely "punished" that its repair has been beyond the power of its driver instructed and assisted by the Mechanical Department.


We receive the one sou a day, which, in addition to allowances to wife, if any, and to children, if any, is the wage of a French poilu. We draw, as has already been mentioned, an ordinary soldier's rations: plenty of nourishing but rather solid bread, which, with the date of its baking stamped upon it, comes in big round loaves that we hold against our chest and cut with our pocket knife in true poilu fashion; rice or potatoes, generally rice; coffee, sugar, salt, and [Pg 31] sometimes fresh meat, but ordinarily canned beef, called by the French private singe, or monkey meat. At our own request we get the cash equivalent of our wine and tobacco allowances, and this is used to help defray the expenses of having our food cooked and served in the best hotel the town offers. But with these exceptions—French tobacco especially may be put in the category of acquired tastes—we take and eat everything that is given to us with a very good grace. And although it is possible, especially at Saint-Maurice, to add variously and cheaply to this diet at one's own expense, it probably is a fact that those of the Section who, in a spirit of "playing the game" all the way through, have stuck to the rations weigh more and feel better than when they first took the field, in spite of the constant drenchings one gets and the stretches of work without sleep.

The hours of our meals—served by the untiring, red-cheeked Fanny—are a little more American than military for those taking their turn on the reserve list "at home." But Mr, Hill's rule requires military punctuality on penalty of washing the dirtiest car in the square. This is also the punishment inflicted upon any one who does not get his car properly ready for morning inspection, who is not in his room by nine o'clock, who has any trouble on the road from an insufficient supply of "gas" or oil, who is tardy in handing in reports, or breaks in any way the rules from time to time posted in the mess-room.

[Pg 32]

"In a word, you are military and not military, but I am going to pay you the greatest compliment in my power, by treating you as I would any French soldiers under my command," the Commandant in charge of the Automobile Service of the army to which we are attached said to us on one occasion. And it has been the clear purpose of our two chiefs—first Mr. Lawrence and now Mr. Hill—to live up to the responsibilities of that compliment. This is mainly done by example and through the force of a very real esprit de corps, but washing another man's car has been found a useful daily help for daily disciplinary needs.

Away from our base, in our nomadic dressing-station-to-hospital existence, we are often pretty much "on our own." This part of our life begins in a valley reached through a famous pass. Starting from the valley of the Moselle easy grades along a splendid highway crowded with trucks, staff cars, wine carts, and long lines of yellow hay wagons, bring one to a tunnel about three hundred yards in length. In the middle of this tunnel is a low white marble stone with a rounded top that until a year ago last August marked the boundary between France and Germany. To an American driving an automobile in the dim tunnel light this stone is simply something not to be hit. To the French who have fought so bravely that it may no longer stand for a boundary it is a sacred symbol. I have seen the [Pg 33] eyes of returning wounded glisten at the sight of it. I have heard companies of chasseurs, as they passed it going to the trenches, break into singing or whistling their famous Sidi-Brahim march.

Beyond this tunnel the road, wrapping itself around the mountain like a broad, shining ribbon, descends into a fertile commercial valley in sweeping curves sometimes a kilometre long: on one side are high gray rocks where reservists seem to hang by their teeth and break stones; on the other, a sheer drop into green fields, behind the tunnel-pierced summit, in front the red-roofed houses of several Alsatian villages nestling against yet another line of mountain-tops. And along this road we have made our way at midnight, at daybreak, in the late afternoon, running cautiously with wounded and running carelessly empty. We are at home, too, in the villages to which it leads, with the life-size portrayals of the Crucifixion that are everywhere, even in fields and nailed to trees in the mountains, with the gray stone churches and their curious onion-shaped towers and clamorous bells.

The appearance of an American Ambulance in the villages is no longer a novelty, sentries let us pass without a challenge, school children do not any more rush over to us at recess time, or soldiers crowd around us and say to one another, "Voilà la voiture américaine." And we have friends everywhere: the officer who wants to speak English and invites us so often to lunch with him, the corporal of engineers [Pg 34] who was a well-known professor, the receiving sergeant who was a waiter at the Savoy Hotel in London, the infirmier who was in charge of the French department of one of the largest of New York's publishing houses.

But cooks are the people we cultivate the most assiduously. It is forbidden to leave your car and eat in a café. Besides, the time of day when we are hungriest is the time—maybe midnight or early morning—when no cafés are open or when we are marooned on some mountain-top. For single cars and small wandering detachments there are only informal arrangements for "touching" rations. So we depend upon the good-will of the chief cooks and we seldom go hungry. But the stanchest sustainer of every American Ambulance driver presides over the kitchen of the largest sorting-point in the valley. We call this cheery-voiced, big-hearted son of the Savoy mountains, who before the war washed automobiles in Montmartre, "Le Capitaine," "Joe Cawthorne," "Gunga Din." He is never tired or out of spirits. He never needs to sleep. It will be a rush period. We will leave our ambulances only to get gasoline, oil, and water while the wounded are being discharged. "Le Capitaine," too, will be up to his neck in work, cooking a meal for a hundred people, hurrying out at the médecin chef's order, soup for thirty and tea for twenty more—and still he will find time to run out to our cars with a cup of coffee and a slice of cheese. The only occasion on record [Pg 35] of anything from "Joe Cawthorne" but a word and a smile of cheer was once when one of the fellows, who felt that to his coffee he owed his escapes from sleeping at the wheel and running off the bank, and therefore his life, returned to America, first giving "Le Capitaine" an envelope with some money in it. "Jamais, jamais" he said, returning the envelope and viciously picking some flies out of his coffee chaudron.

There is no place like the front for the Long Arm of Coincidence to play pranks. I have known two university football stars to meet for the first time since their gridiron days on a shelled curve of a narrow road—each in charge of an ambulance and each down in the road driving some wandering cows out of their way. I have known two young men to celebrate the Fourth of July on their voyage over to do ambulance work, in a way that drew forth the gentle rebukes of a Protestant minister who happened to be a passenger on the same boat. They left him on the docks at Liverpool and, along with his advice, he passed out of their minds until two months later one of them met him in a general's car in Alsace. He stopped and told this fellow that he was preaching a series of sermons at the front and invited him to come and hear him the next Sunday in a near-by town, adding that among other things he thought he would touch upon the question of "War and Temperance."

Speaking of the Fourth of July reminds me that [Pg 36] on the national French holiday of the Fourteenth of July, I saw General Joffre in never-to-be-forgotten circumstances. He was spending this day in Alsace, and when early that morning I approached a little village in an empty ambulance, I was stopped by a sentry and, after being asked if I had wounded aboard, told that General Joffre was making a speech in the town square and that I would have to wait until he had finished before I could get through.


Of course I at once left my ambulance and ran to the square, knowing how rarely one ever saw quotation marks after the Généralissime's name. I was, however, too late to hear what he had to say, for, laconic as ever, he had finished speaking when I came within earshot. Opposite a gray brick church was a line of eight flag-bedecked automobiles, six for the Généralissime and his staff and two for emergencies which, I am told, is the way he always travels. General Joffre himself, standing on the ground and surrounded by officers ablaze with decorations, was listening to fifty little Alsatian girls singing the "Marseillaise." They were finishing the last verse when I arrived, and when their sweet childish voices no longer rang out in contrast to the brilliant but grim surroundings, General Joffre, stepping out from among his officers, held one of the prettiest of the little girls high in his powerful arms and kissed her twice. The next day driving through this town again I noticed the following sign:—

[Pg 37]

Le Général Joffre,
Généralissime des Armées de la République
a déjeuné dans cette maison.
Le 15ème Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins occupant cette région.
Délivrée par lui le 7 Août 1914.

Alsace has been for forty years German territory. For forty years young Alsatians have been forced to learn German in the schools, to serve in the German army, to be links in the civil and military chains which bound them to the Kaiser's empire. A few days ago I took the photograph of an Alsatian girl standing in the doorway of her home, which she said she was going to send through Switzerland to her brother in the German army "somewhere in Russia." But French hearts doubtless beat under many a German uniform, and those of us who have lived in Alsace are confident that re-annexation by France will not be a slow or a difficult process. Alsace has been tied to France by something which forty busy years have not found a way to change. The armies of the Republic have been received with an open hand and an open heart. I know of a fine field hospital organized and staffed entirely by Alsatian ladies happy to be nursing wounded French soldiers. I know of Alsatian boys, at the outbreak of the war not yet old enough to have commenced their German military training, who are to-day volunteer, and only volunteer, French soldiers.

We have drawn our impressions of Alsace chiefly from five or six towns in a commercial valley. They are subject to long-range shelling and bombs dropped [Pg 38] from aeroplanes. Indeed, my first day in Alsace was spent in the yard of a hospital contrived out of a schoolhouse. Our cars were parked beneath the windows of one of its wings, and all day long one heard the pitiful moans of a mother and her two little daughters who had been wounded the night before when the Germans had dropped half a dozen shells into the town where they lived.

But these towns seem to be, on the whole, cheerful, prosperous places. Soldiers resting from the trenches flirt the time away with bilingual Alsatian girls. Horns, claxons, and the hum of motors make in the little mountain-smothered streets the noises of Broadway or Piccadilly. The cafés and stores are full from morning until eight o'clock, when all lights must be put out.

Nothing is taken by the soldiery without being paid for, a fact that was brought sharply home to me on one occasion. We needed wood for the kitchen-fire of a little dressing-station hidden on a tree-covered mountain-top. I picked up an axe and started to get some exercise and the wood for the fire at the same time; but the cook excitedly told me that not even in that out-of-the-way place, unless he had the proper military authorization, would he dare cut down a tree, because the commune must be paid for, every twig of it.

But, interesting as these towns are, it is beyond them that we do our most useful work. I am writing, [Pg 39] as it happens, at a dressing-station between the artillery and the infantry lines where two of our cars are always on duty. The driver of the other car, eight months ago, was in charge of a cattle ranch in the Argentine, and last May, a passenger on the ill-fated Lusitania, was rescued after four hours in the water. He is on his back tightening bolts underneath his car, and a hole in the left sole of his projecting shoes tells of hours with the low speed jammed on, for this is the way we have to drive down as well as up hill.

We are at one end of a valley which, opening gradually, runs into the basin of the Rhine. Our two ambulances are backed up against a hay-loft dressing-station among a little group of houses frequently mentioned in the communiqués. At this minute the place is as peaceful as any Florida glade; it does not seem possible that war can be so near, so completely hushed. There is little military in the appearance of a few stretcher-bearers, dressed in the discarded clothes of peace, throwing stones into an apple tree; there is not a gun to be seen; there is not a sound to be heard unless you listen to catch the splash of a mountain stream or the tinkle of the bells tied around the necks of the cows grazing high up on a green but ladder-steep mountain-side. Coming down the road towards me is a little barefooted boy driving a half-dozen cows to where some girls are waiting in a pen to milk them. A little later, when my companion and I sit down to dinner with the young [Pg 40] médecin auxiliaire in charge of the post, there will be some of this milk on the table.

But long before dinner-time the whole surrounding aspect may change as if by black magic. Tree-hidden batteries, some only a hundred yards away and some on the tops of neighboring and surrounding mountains, may speak together with their "brutal lungs" until the echoes, rolling and accumulating, make a grand, persistent roar. Even trench-weary soldiers will unconsciously duck their heads and stand ready to run to the bomb-proofs if the answering German shells begin to fall close to them. After dark the wounded will arrive, carried on stretchers, rested on men's shoulders, or pushed in wheelbarrows, to the hay-loft where a doctor, working almost entirely without anæsthetics, treats such cases as the doctors in the trench dressing-stations passed without attention.

By this time also, on a night when many wounded are arriving, six or eight more American ambulances will be summoned by telephone. There will be no headlights used; only a great swinging of lanterns and much shouting back and forth in French and English. Although the firing after dark will not be so general, one or two batteries will continue to break out sharply every few minutes. One of our squad leaders will be on hand as driver in charge of the situation. "Are you ready to roll?" he will call to somebody as the doctor comes up and speaks to him. A dark figure standing by a car will lean over and [Pg 41] spin a crank, an engine will sputter and pour forth smoke, for we must use a double supply of oil on these grades. Then an ambulance will back up to the door of the barn and the driver, leaving his engine throttled down, will help in lifting the stretchers.

To go from this place to the sorting-point behind the lines to which the wounded are taken is the worst run we have. It means almost always wondering if your car will make the grades, if you acted properly in letting yourself be persuaded to take three wounded instead of the specified two. It means coming upon comrades en panne and lending a hand or hurrying on with the distress signal, stopping to pour water into your boiling radiator, halting to pass convoys, arguments, decisions, "noms-de-Dieu," backing to a wider place, wheels that nearly go over the edge, pot-bellied munition-wagons that scrape off your side boxes, getting into a ditch and having to be pulled out by mules or pushed out by men.

It is a journey fraught with worry, for there is always the danger of delay when delay may mean death and is sure to mean suffering for the wounded in your car. And sometimes when, with bad cases aboard, you are stuck and can't get out until somebody turns up to help you, it is unbearable to stay near your car and hear their pitiful groans.

But the down part of the journey is full of more acute dangers. You are at the mercy of your brakes. If they fail you, there is only the bank. A quick turn [Pg 42] of the steering-wheel and you are all right; that is, there will be only a cruel shaking-up for the men you are carrying and a broken radius rod or perhaps a smashed radiator. But this is better than going over the bank and better than running amuck through a train of mules with their deadly loads of explosives.

Only during the last two months have we been able to use the first ten kilometres of this road at all. Even now for the climbing part of the journey we take none but the more seriously wounded, leaving the rest to be carried in light wagons pulled by mules, until they get to some mountain-top relay-point where our cars are stationed. Most of these relay-points are very close to one or several French batteries. Some of them are established in the midst of thriving cantonments buried in the woods and within sight of the German trenches on a sister mountain-top. Others, farther removed from the enemy lines and higher above the level of destruction, are on summits suitable only for the biggest of the French guns and reached in turn only by the very long-range German guns.


Such a place is a mountain-top at which we feel almost as much at home as at our base, for eight of our cars are always on duty at this place, each man serving for a week at a time, and one man being relieved every day. It is one of those plateau-shaped eminences which are mentioned in geographies as distinguishing the Vosges from the Alps and the Pyrenees. It is treeless through exposure to the [Pg 43] wind, and its brow slopes gradually towards the French side, with a succession of cuplike hollows tenanted by brush-covered bomb-proofs and dug-outs and horse-sheds. Other than topographical concealments are also employed; gray horses are dyed brown and groups of road-builders when at work in some particularly exposed place carry, like the army that went against Macbeth, umbrellas of branches.

We are housed here in a long, low shack built against the side of the crest. Violent storms sometimes take the roof off this shack with the consequent drenching of the surgeon in charge, ourselves, a half-dozen stretcher-bearers and as many mule-drivers. Bunks are built crosswise against the side of the walls, and over some of these bunks the words "Pour Intransportables" are written. The rest, however, are occupied by people on duty here, for it is merely a relay-point, and the wounded, unless unable to stand a further journey or arriving by mules in numbers greater than we can handle, are merely changed from one mode of conveyance to another and given such attention in passing as they may need.

When one of the beds for intransportables is occupied, it generally means that the man dies in a few days and is buried close by, a corporal of stretcher-bearers, who was before the war a Roman Catholic missionary in Ceylon, borrowing from one of us a camera to take for the dead man's family a photograph of the isolated grave marked with one of those [Pg 44] simple wooden crosses from which no mile of northern France is free. Deaths of this sort are peculiarly sad. Anybody who has nursed in the wards of a military hospital will tell you how soldiers, seasoned in trenches that high explosives and mines and hand-grenades have turned into shambles, will grow gloomy when one man in their ward dies. It is the same way with these single deaths and lonely funerals at the front.

Generals, of course, stand for the "larger issues" of the war; it is their decisions that figure in to-morrow's communiqués. But at the front, doctors represent destiny in a much more picturesque way: it is no use putting these blessés in an ambulance; death will close over them quite as gently here as twenty kilometres farther to the rear. This man's rheumatism demands that he be sent to Lyons or Marseilles; that one has five days in a base hospital and is in the trenches for the next death revel. A business-like surgeon pronounces his judgments in a ghastly poste de secours,—it is nothing compared with "strategical necessities,"—it will have no place beside announcements of yards of trenches taken and yards of trenches lost,—and yet, it is life or death for some brave soldier and all in the world that counts for some family circle.

These mountain-tops are often for weeks on end bathed in a heavy mist varied by rainstorms. At [Pg 45] such times when there is no work to do,—and very frequently there are no wounded to carry for twenty-four hours or more,—the surgeon, ourselves, the brancardiers, and the mule-drivers, close in around the stove. One of these brancardiers, or stretcher-carriers, was transferred after being wounded at the battle of the Marne from the front-line troops to the Service Sanitaire, and before the war he had served five years in the Foreign Legion in Africa. His stories of this period are endless and interesting, and, after listening to them for a week, we all go back to our base calling soldiers nothing but poilus; coffee, jus; wine, pinard; canned beef, singe; army organization, système D. There is also a good deal of reading done by many of the Section on the rainy days of no work. It is part of the daily relieving man's unofficial but well-understood duties to bring along any magazines and newspapers that he can get hold of, and generally, too, books gradually accumulate and grow to be considered as a sort of library that must not be taken away. Indeed, at one poste de secours our library consists at present of two or three French novels and plays, "The Newcomes," a two-volume "Life of Ruskin," "Tess of the D'Urbervilles," and "Les Misérables."

When a group of men are on duty at an isolated poste de secours like this, they take turns in carrying the wounded who may arrive, the man who has made the last trip going to the bottom of the list. [Pg 46] And there is something comfortable about feeling that you are the last to "roll" on a stormy night when every plank in the little hut rattles and groans, when the wind shrieks in the desolate outside, when the sinister glare of the trench rockets gleams through the heavy blackness like a flash of lightning, and the wet mule-drivers who borrow a little of your fire shake their heads and pointing towards the road say, "Un mauvais chemin" And then, as you settle a little deeper in your blankets and blow out your lantern and assure yourself for the last time as to where your matches are and how much gasoline you have in your tank, you are pretty apt to think, before you go to sleep, of the men a little way off in the rain-soaked trenches.

They are certainly not very far away. Only over there on the next ridge where the shells are exploding. They have been there, you know, without relief for ten days. You remember when they marched up the mountain to take their turn. How cheery and soldierlike they were! Not one of them, like you, is sleeping in blankets. They won't, like you, go back to-morrow to a pleasant dinner, with pleasant friends, in a pleasant hotel, and out of sound, too, of those awful guns. Some will come back and you will carry them in your ambulance. And some will never come back at all. Well....

"Did I leave that spark-plug wrench under the car? God knows I can never find it on a night like this and I change a plug every trip!"

[Pg 47]

"Wake up! Don't talk in your sleep!"

"What, is it my turn to roll? Wounded?"

"No, Steve is en panne halfway down the mountain."

And you begin to take things in with one of the Section's sous-chefs leaning over your cot with the news that the first man on the list has a load of wounded and has met with an accident. The others are waked up too. Some are left to take care of such other wounded as may arrive and the rest form a rescue party. Two ride in the rescue ambulance; two more probably walk. The wounded are moved from the broken-down car to the other ambulance, and then daylight finds three or four of us rain-drenched and mud-smeared, changing a brake-band or digging into a carburetor.

The arrival of the relieving car at one of those posts on a rainy day, when every one of us is to be found within twenty feet of the stove, means a demand in chorus for mail and after that for news, especially Section gossip from Headquarters, which means who has had to wash cars and who has broken down en route.

"Number 52 runs like a breeze now. I drove it yesterday and it climbed the col on high with two wounded," the newcomer will say, producing some contribution to the mess.

"And last night, there was a call for three cars at midnight. Didn't any of the wounded come this way? [Pg 48] So-and-So had magneto trouble bringing back his first load. He said Henry Ford himself could not have started the boat. So the repair car went out at four o'clock this morning."

"That boy certainly has his troubles. Do you remember the time he had two blow-outs and four punctures in twenty-four hours and then had all his brake-bands go at once? It was two miles he ran to get another car to take his wounded."

"He looked low when he came in about breakfast time," somebody else will put in.

"I tell you he will use too much oil. It goes through these old cars like a dose of salts," a third will add.

On bad days the discussion will go on this way until time for the next meal. But on clear days during summer and early autumn weather, we have stayed indoors very little. The air is champagne-like and the view on all sides magnificent. It is possible, also, from a number of these eminences to follow in a fascinating fashion the progress of artillery duels, and, with a good pair of glasses, even to see infantry advancing to the attack. When the cannonading is heavy the whole horizon pops and rumbles and from the sea of green mountains spread out before you rise puffs of shrapnel smoke, flaky little clouds about the size of a man's hand and pale against the tree-tops, as one thinks of death as pale. They hover, sometimes too many at a time to count, above the mountains and then sink down again into the general greenness. The [Pg 49] sky, too, is generally dotted with these same little flaky clouds when aeroplanes are abroad. And aeroplanes are abroad every fair day, for they are seldom or never hit and brought down, although the anti-aircraft guns, especially when hedging them in with "barrier fire," seem to limit their activities.

Soldiers, as I have said, march by these posts on their way to and from the trenches. Whenever they are allowed to break ranks near our cars they crowd around us with little bottles in their hands asking for gasoline to put in cigarette lighters which they make out of German bullets. Most of these men belong to battalions of Chasseurs Alpins, and I do not suppose there are any finer soldiers in the world than those stocky, merry-eyed men from the mountain provinces of France, with their picturesque caps and their dark-blue coats set off by their horison-blue trousers. They are called, indeed, the "blue devils," and when the communiqués say, "After a heavy shelling of some of the enemy heights in the Vosges our infantry advanced to the attack and succeeded in taking so many of the enemy trenches," it is probably the Chasseurs Alpins who have led the way in the face of the hand-grenades and machine-gun fire and the streams of burning oil that, in this country especially, make the "meaning of a mile" so terrible.

One of our Section who was compelled to return to America the other day took with him as his single keepsake a crumpled photograph with a signature [Pg 50] scrawled in one corner. It was of a sous-officier of a famous battalion of Chasseurs Alpins. His heavy pack was jauntily thrown over his shoulders; his berret was rakishly tilted to one side; and on his breast gleamed the green and red ribbon of the Croix de Guerre, the crimson of the Légion d'Honneur, and the yellow of the Médaille Militaire.

You could find no better symbol of the laughing gallantry, the sturdy strength, and the indomitable courage of France.

Preston Lockwood

Chasseur Alpin 1915.
Chasseur Alpin 1915

[Pg 51]



By December 20, the approximate date of the beginning of the French attack upon the German positions on Hartmannsweilerkopf, the headquarters of Section 3 of the American Ambulance had been moved temporarily to a place called Moosch. Here was located a large modern hospital to which the wounded were brought from the dressing-stations in the mountains, two or three kilometres behind the lines of advance trenches. From this hospital the blessés were moved into the interior as fast as their condition would permit. It was the duty of the small American Ford ambulances to bring the wounded from these mountain stations down to the hospital at Moosch.

Moosch, a typical Alsatian town, consisting of a few large buildings, the "Mairie," the church, a hotel or two, and perhaps a weaving mill, about which are clustered the homes and stores and cafés or combination of these latter, is situated in the valley of the river Thur. This valley runs up, and west or slightly north of west, to the divide, between the Moselle River and the Thur, this divide making the old boundary between French and German territory; and down in a south of east direction until the mountains end and we enter the plain that forms part of the drainage basin of the Rhine. Moosch is about [Pg 52] halfway down this valley and about twelve kilometres from the front, which was on the last row of hills before the beginning of this plain.

The valley itself ranges from one to two kilometres in width and the green forest-clad mountains rise on each side to a height of three hundred to four hundred metres. In the floor of the valley were orchards, open fields, and small towns. Down the centre of it was the broad road which continued up and over the divide into France. It formed, aside from an aerial tramway that the French constructed over the divide especially for this war, the only avenue of traffic for the supplies of ammunition, guns, food, etc., for the armies that were situated in this district. As a consequence it was night and day a scene of activity throughout its entire length. Down the valley this road had two important branches, one at a point six kilometres from Moosch and another at eight. Both these branches followed the course of small creeks that feed the river Thur, up and up the small valleys through which the streams flowed, then turned up the mountain-side and climbed to the top of one of the larger hills. One route was used for traffic ascending, the other for all descending, except for any that was required by Red Cross Stations or artillery posts along the way. In this manner much passing of the up and down streams of wagons, mules, motor trucks, etc., which would have been well-nigh impossible on these steep, narrow roads, was avoided.

[Pg 53]

On the mountain-top was a small space, somewhat cleared of the forest growth, where three roads met, two that have already been mentioned and another that went over one shoulder of the mountains and down to an advance poste de secours, practically under Hartmannsweilerkopf itself. In one angle of the "Y" formed by these roads were a few roughly constructed buildings for taking care of the wounded, cooking, etc., and in another nothing but the steep slope of the mountain with a cabin or two tucked close against it amid the pine woods. In the last angle was a small graveyard where lay the men who had died from wounds there at the station or had been killed during the bombardment of some local artillery post or of the road. Next to this graveyard was a limited parking-space for the ambulances, and beyond this the cosy little building, the poste de secours, where the French stretcher-bearers and American drivers ate and slept together when not at work.

This place was popular among the Americans, at first, at least, before the Germans captured a colonel with telltale maps upon his person, and their guns began to find and make uninhabitable a spot that had once seemed a secure retreat. Up in the fresh air and ozone of the pine woods, it was hard, in spite of the graveyard near by and the ever-passing stream of ammunition wagons or pack trains, not to think of this place as a pleasant vacation ground. The Frenchmen, too, were wonderful companions, playful as boys of ten, and kind and generous to a fault. [Pg 54] After a snowstorm, unless there was a great deal of work, there was sure to be a tremendous snow battle in progress, and the Frenchmen, old territorials some of them, forty to fifty to sixty years of age, would be as hard after one another as boys in their mimic wars. Their generosity went so far as surrendering their bunks to the Americans while they slept out in the ambulances. At times the little poste de secours would be a scene of revelry, the professional entertainer taking part in the programme of the evening with the country songster. More often, however, the Frenchmen were busy and the Americans would amuse themselves with some deep, protracted argument or read the latest book on the war that some kind friend had sent to a member of the Section. At night the little hut had its bunks filled to overflowing, but sleeping was generally good, unless your bedfellow happened to be a soldier dreaming of battle or a mule-driver dreaming of swearing at his mules. At night there were always one or two interruptions, especially whenever an ambulance-driver was wanted. Those who were sent to call him always succeeded in waking the whole lot of sleepers before finding the man whose turn it was to "roll."


This "night rolling," as it is called, is not the easiest thing to do by any means. The road, steep and narrow and rough at any time, would in snowy or rainy weather cause an occasional sinking of the heart to the best of drivers. To these difficulties was added the necessity of passing the slowly descending trains [Pg 55] of ammunition wagons and mules. On one stretch of road no lights were permitted, as they would have disclosed its location to the Germans. On nights when there was no moonlight and heavy mists enshrouded the mountains, it was a trying nerve strain to come down this bit of road. The history of every car would be full of stories of narrow escapes from running into wagons, mules, or men, or running over the edge of the road or against the side of the hill. These difficulties and trials, however, weren't what would occupy the mind when the German shells began breaking near; they lose their importance entirely. One can get used to the blind driving on a dark night, but never to the high-explosive shells. Even on the floor of the valley where the road is level, the thrills might not cease, for here it has been a common experience to run into an unlighted wagon or to be smashed by a heavy, ponderous motor truck. Perhaps it would be a mere matter of getting ditched in the effort to get out of the way of the latter. But with the Ford this was never a serious trouble, as eight or ten men, and they were always to be had in a few moments on any part of the road, could quickly lift it out and put it on the road again. Out of the most severe smash-ups the Fords have emerged supreme and in every case proved the statement that a "Ford car can be bent but not broken."

At the hospital the wounded would be taken out, new blankets and stretchers put in, the gas tank filled, and the car sent up the mountain again to wait [Pg 56] for more blessés unless it was time for the driver to turn in and get a bit of sleep.

During the day a call would very often mean a trip down the other side of the mountain to the advance posts nearer Hartmannsweilerkopf. While day driving hasn't the terrors of night driving, yet the road near these two posts and the posts themselves were more often the object for German fire, and it was with a little feeling of dread that one went there. The road down to it was exceedingly steep in places and few cars could make the return trip with a full load. There never was any anxiety about stalling, however, for a little assistance from eight or ten soldiers would send the car on its way again. Many a time a driver would unconsciously arrive at the posts at a time of bombardment and be told to leave his machine and hurry to an abri. An abri is a cave or dug-out in the side of the mountain offering protection against the German shells. All along the mountain roads these little places of refuge began to appear after the Germans had learned how to drop shells consistently near these routes, and to see them thus was a real comfort to the mind whenever the whistle of a shell sounded unpleasantly loud and near. These caves were not always in a finished state, as a big broad-shouldered driver learned to his discomfort and the vexation of his two comrades. They were taking a look at Hartmanns from a portion of the road whence it can be seen, when the portentous sound of the flying shells began which kept coming [Pg 57] nearer and nearer. The Americans turned and ran up the road to one of these abris, the big man leading. He darted for the cave entrance, but his body was just too big and he was wedged tightly between the stone sides, while his two comrades pounded on his back clamoring for admittance. He decided it was more comfortable and safe flat against the rocks in front of the car, and safer, too, than in a hole the entrance to which might so easily be closed.

One was not always compelled to be conscious of such unpleasant things as bursting shells. At slack periods when neither side was firing, and the traffic was not too heavy up and down the roads, the trip up and over the mountains could be one of the pleasantest of rides. Sometimes after a snowstorm the mountain forest scenes were magnificent, and there was the occasional wonderful expanse of view over valley and plain below. Away off on the German side could be seen the town of M—— which was brightly illuminated at night. The Germans seemed indifferent to the fact that these lights were a great temptation to the French gunners. As far as known, the latter seldom yield to this temptation to bombard civilians despite the fact that the Germans were shelling towns, needlessly it seemed, in the territory held by France. Many pleasant rides after the attack, in the warm sunshine of the spring days that came in January, will stay in the minds of the drivers, a contrast to the rushing trips taken in slush and mud and snow during the height of the attack.

[Pg 58]


The time spent in Moosch at the hospital was nearly always a period of activity and interest. There were sure to be minor repairs needing attention, tire-changing to be done, and often more difficult matters to attend to, such as eliminating the knock in an engine, changing brake-bands, or putting in a new rear axle. The hospital itself looked across the valley to the hills beyond, upon one of which was anchored a small sausage-shaped balloon, such as is used all along the French line for observation purposes. One hundred metres back of the hospital rose the hills forming the other side of the valley. On the slope of one of these was the rapidly growing graveyard where the bodies of the soldiers who had died at the hospitals were laid. Among them was the body of Richard Hall, the young American ambulance driver who lost his life during the attack, when his machine was struck by a shell on the road up the mountain. On the east side of the hospital passed a small road that led up to the graveyard, and beyond this was an open field where an aero bomb fell with disastrous results to one fowl and to the windows of the hospital on that side. In the hospital yard on this side were put the ambulances needing repairing, and in rush times part of the other side of the yard was also required. Here was rather a good-sized building, the front end of which was the morgue and the other end the laundry. Behind it was a small shelter where the bloody stretchers were cleaned. It was in these surroundings, with the rows [Pg 59] of coffins on one side and the stretcher-cleaning on the other, that much of the repair work was done during the height of the attack. Here, too, would form the military funeral processions that went with the bodies to the graveyard on the hill. Two funerals a day of one to five coffins was the regular schedule in the busy days of the attack. One of the most intensely interesting sights was the gathering of the whole regiment, of those who were left after the attack, about this graveyard to give a last formal salute to their departed comrades.

Hardly a day passed during the period of the attack when the village was not shelled, and when it was clear, the German aeroplanes would appear and drop their bombs or smoke signals, or seek to destroy the observation balloon of the French, descending as near to it as they dared. One of the prettiest sights of the war is to see the little tufts of cloud appear near the course of the speeding machine whenever the shrapnel bombs burst. The cloudlets formed by the French shells are white, by those of the Germans, black. It was surprising how difficult it seemed for gunners to get anywhere near the aeroplanes. They would pepper the sky in every direction except near the moving spot they were trying to hit. At rare intervals both German and French machines were up, and their manœuvring for an advantage was always interesting. The interest, however, in this sort of thing changes after a few bombs have been dropped and their terrific effect seen.

[Pg 60]

Such is the general story of the activity and life of the Section's last months in Alsace. Its details would include many stories of tight squeezes, of break-downs and troubles in hot places, of the carrying of soldiers driven mad under the strain of war, of having men die in your car on the way to the hospital, of short side trips right up amidst the French artillery stations, and always of the patient, quiet suffering of the French soldier. There would be stories of the days when the car would have "moods," and refuse to make the grades as it ought, and then again of times when nothing was too much for the engine to do.

After the attack we were moved from Alsace farther inland, and after some wandering from place to place through a country that had been the scene of much fighting in the earlier part of the war, and through villages almost completely destroyed by the Germans, we were sent to a town near Nancy—Tantonville—to do ambulance work for the hospitals situated within a twenty-five-kilometre radius and to wait until our cars could be overhauled and repaired. [3]

Everett Jackson

[3] This Section subsequently rendered heroic service in the great battle of Verdun, and has since been sent to Salonica to serve with the French army of the Orient. (November, 1918).

[Pg 61]



Though desolation stain their foiled advance,
In ashen ruins hearth-stones linger whole:
Do what they may they cannot master France,
Do what they can, they cannot quell the soul.
Barrett Wendell


I very cordially call attention to this account of the work of one of the field sections of the American Ambulance in France, told out of his own experience by a young man, a graduate of the University of Virginia, who has been driving an ambulance at the front. The article came through Hon. A. Piatt Andrew, formerly Assistant Secretary of the United States Treasury, and for two years treasurer of the American Red Cross. Mr. Andrew has taken an active part in the organization of the work. He writes that many American college graduates are engaged in the field sections, and that they and others "have been working for months with a devotion and courage which have commanded glowing tributes of gratitude and admiration from many French officers." In a second letter Mr. Andrew states that the faithful Mignot (spoken of in this article) was killed when the Germans bombarded the headquarters of the field section.

Every young man just leaving college—from Harvard, from Yale, from Princeton, from Michigan, Wisconsin, or California, from Virginia or Sewanee, in short, from every college in the country—ought to feel it incumbent on him at this time either to try to render some assistance to those who are battling for the right on behalf of Belgium, or else to try to fit himself to help his [Pg 62] own country if in the future she is attacked as wantonly as Belgium has been attacked. The United States has played a most ignoble part for the last thirteen months. Our Government has declined to keep its plighted faith, has declined to take action for justice and right, as it was pledged to take action under the Hague Conventions. At the same time, it has refused to protect its own citizens; and it has refused even to prepare for its own defence. It has treated empty rhetoric and adroit phrase-making as a substitute for deeds. In spite of our solemn covenant to see that the neutrality of unoffending nations like Belgium was not violated; our solemn covenant to see that undefended towns were not bombarded, as they have been again and again bombarded in France, England, and Belgium, and hundreds of women and children killed; our solemn covenant to see that inhuman and cruel methods of warfare—such as the use of poisonous gas—were not used, we have, in a spirit of cold, selfish, and timid disregard of our obligations for others, refused even to protest against such wrongdoing, and, with abject indifference to right, the professional pacifists have spent their time merely in clamoring for a peace that should consecrate successful wrong. What is even more serious, we have wholly failed to act effectively when our own men, women, and children were murdered on the high seas by the order of the German Government. Moreover, we have declined to take any effective steps when our men have been murdered and our women raped in Mexico—and of all ineffective steps the last proposal to get Bolivia and Guatemala to do what we have not the manliness to do was the most ineffective.

But there have been a few individuals who, acting as individuals or in organizations, have to a limited extent by their private efforts made partially good our governmental shortcomings. The body of men and women for whom Mr. Andrew speaks is one of these organizations. I earnestly hope that his appeal will be heeded and that everything possible will be done to continue to make the work effective.

Theodore Roosevelt

[4] The account of the American Ambulance in Lorraine by Mr. J. R. McConnell was printed in the Outlook for September 15, 1915, and is reprinted here by kind permission of the editors of that journal. The introduction by Theodore Roosevelt and the drawing by M. Bils also originally appeared in the Outlook and are republished here. (Editor's Note.)

A small field ambulance with a large red cross on each of its gray canvas sides slips quickly down the curving cobblestone street of a quaint old French frontier town, and turns on to the road leading to [Pg 63] the postes de secours (dressing-stations) behind the trenches, which are about two kilometres distant. The driver is uniformed in khaki, and is in striking contrast to the hundreds of blue-gray-clad soldiers loitering on the streets. A group of little children cry out, "Américain," and, with beaming smiles, one of them executes a rigid though not very correct salute as the car goes by. A soldier yells, "Good-morning, sir!" another, "Hello, Charley!" and waves his hand, while others not gifted with such an extensive command of English content themselves with "Bonjour!" and "Camarade!" The little car spins on past companies of tired, dusty soldiers returning from the trenches, and toots to one side the fresher-looking sections that are going up for their turn. A sentinel stands out in the middle of the road and makes frantic motions with his hand to indicate that shrapnel is bursting over the road ahead. "I should worry," comes from the driver, and the car speeds serenely along the way.

It is an ambulance of the Section Sanitaire Américaine, Y, the squad that has just been cité à l'ordre de l'armée (honorably mentioned in despatches).

The drivers of these cars are all American volunteers: young men who, for the most part, come from prominent families in the States. All parts of the Union seem to be represented. The Sections are composed of from fifteen to twenty-five cars each, and are under the direction of a Section commander. While the cars are allotted to the Sections by the American [Pg 64] Ambulance Hospital, directed by its officers, and in part supported by the organization, they nevertheless become an integral part of the Sanitary Service of the French army, to which they are assigned as soon as they enter the war zone. The cars and conducteurs, as the drivers are called, are militarized, and all general orders come from the French medical officers. The French Government supplies the gasoline, oil, and tires, and the personnel of the Sections are housed and fed by the army. They are given the same good food and generous ration that the French soldier receives. Attached to each Section is a French non-commissioned officer who attends to various details and acts as interpreter. Section Y is favored by the addition of an army chef, and the Section commander's orderly has been put in the general service of all the members.

It is forbidden to give the location of any of the active units of the French army, and as this restriction holds good for Section Y, which is at the very front, I cannot give any details that would indicate the point in the line where the Section is stationed. I believe it is allowable to say that the town is very old and possesses a rare beauty. I have never seen a place that could boast of such a number of exquisite gardens or such a lovely encircling boulevard. The surrounding hilly country is charming and pregnant with the most romantic historical associations. Its reputation as a history-making region is certainly not suffering at the present.

The Americans are quartered in a large building [Pg 65] that had not been occupied since the mobilization in August, 1914. There are countless rooms already furnished, and those on the first floor have been cleaned up so that now the Section, which consists of twenty-four men, has "all the comforts of home." There is a large mess-hall, kitchen, writing-room, library, general office, dormitory, and a good, generous vaulted cellar of easy access. This last adjunct is important, for the town is one of the most frequently bombarded places in the line, and very often big shells that wreck a house at one shot make it advisable to take to the cave. The atelier of the armurier (armorer's work-shop), with its collection of tools and fixtures, now serves as a perfect automobile repair shop. There is also running water, and at first we had both gas and electric lights; but shells have eventually put both systems out of commission. Naturally the telephone line gets clipped every few days, but that is essential, and so it is quickly repaired. Behind the headquarters is a gem of a garden containing several species of roses, and, as fortune would have it, new wicker chairs. At first it all seemed too good to be true. It did not seem possible that such an amazing combination of comforts could exist in the war zone, and still less so when one looked down the street and saw the German trenches in full view on the crest of a hill fourteen hundred yards distant, where at night rifle flashes are seen. To Section Y, that had hibernated and drudged along at Beauvais some thirty-five kilometres behind the line until April, it was a realization [Pg 66] of hopes beyond belief. Of course, as far as the comforts are concerned, all may change. Any minute orders may arrive that will shift us, and then it may mean sleeping on straw, occupying barns or any available shelter; but while the present conditions obtain we beg to differ with Sherman!

A French Motor Ambulance Section had been handling the wounded of the division to which our squad was attached, and we at first supplemented their work. To start with, French orderlies went out with the American drivers on calls to show them the working of the system, but after two or three days the Americans fell into the work as if it had been a life's practice, and, in spite of a lack of conversational ability, managed to evacuate the wounded without a hitch. The Americans did their work so well that they obtained the entire confidence of the authorities, and in a few weeks the French Section was transferred to another post. It speaks very well for Section Y that all of the work of one of the most important points in the line was entrusted to it alone.

In addition to the actual carrying of wounded, there is a remarkable amount of detail office work; for every report, request, or order has to be made in triplicate, and it keeps the commander of the Section, his assistant, and the maréchaux des logis, supplemented by a corporal and telephonist, very busy running the business and executive end. Then, in addition to the proper despatching of the regular and special services, there are hundreds of delicate situations to handle: [Pg 67] requests of the authorities, the satisfying of numerous officers, and the reception of the various dignitaries who come to visit the much-heralded American Section. It is only on account of the exceptional ability and capacity of our diplomatic commander, "Ned" Salisbury, of Chicago, that the Section has been entrusted with such vital responsibilities and that it has been able to perform them with such success.

All the men in the Section had been billeted at houses in a town eight kilometres below, where they slept when not on night duty; but when the French Section was ordered away, a number of the men elected to move up to the advance point, and were given excellent quarters in the various vacated residences of the town. Why, instead of just rooms they had suites, and the commander has an apartment in the show place of the town! It is surrounded by extensive walled grounds which have been made into a ravishing garden of flowering shrubs and trees; little lily-covered, iris-bordered lakes, masses of roses, beds of poppies, and in one sylvan nook is a flower-covered fountain fashioned of great rough stones whose tinkling waters tumble in glittering cascades between riots of vivid-colored plants and dense walls of variegated verdure. To see our commander sitting in his Louis XV furnished rooms, which, by the way, have an excellent trench exposure, reminds me strongly of those paintings which depict generals of 1871 disporting themselves in the splendor of a commandeered château.

[Pg 68]

From all the foregoing it must not be imagined that Section Y has a sinecure, or that strolling around gardens is a habit. Far from it. The regular daily service is arduous enough in itself, for one is either on duty or on call all of the time; but there are times following an attack when the men rest neither night nor day, when one gets food only in snatches, and frequently days at a time will pass when one is on such continuous service that there is never a chance to undress. Then there is the other aspect, the ever-present danger of being killed or wounded that one is under at the front, for Section Y works and lives in a heavily shelled area. But we will not talk of that, for it is unwise to think of such a thing when facing it. There are times, however, when one is forcibly reminded, and when it takes a great amount of will power to remain calm and perform one's duty.

The mention of shell fire to one who has never experienced it brings to mind, in a vague sort of way, an association with danger, but that is all. To us who have seen its effects—the hideously mangled killed and wounded, the agonized expressions and streams of fast-flowing blood, the crumbling of solid houses into clouds of smoke and dust; to us who hear the terrible tearing, snarling, deep roar of great shells as they hurtle down the air-lanes towards us to detonate with a murderous, ear-splitting crash, flinging their jagged éclats for a half-mile in all directions, and sometimes killing French comrades near us; to [Pg 69] us who live and work within shell range, not knowing when we too may be annihilated or maimed for life, it seems a very real and terrible menace, and for that reason to be banished from our thoughts.

In spite of the danger, the Americans render their service with fidelity at any and all times. A French captain once remarked that, no matter how much the town was being shelled, the little field ambulances could be seen slipping down the streets, past corners, or across the square on their way to and from postes de secours back of the trenches. I remember one day that was especially a test of the men. The town was being shelled, and it happened that at the same time there were many calls for cars. The Germans were paying particular attention to the immediate surroundings of the headquarters, and the shells were not falling by any time-table known to us. A call came in, and the "next man" was handed his orders. He waited until a shell burst and then made a run for it. Several cars had been out on calls and were due to return. There was no way of giving them a warning. We heard the purr of a motor, and almost immediately the sing of a shell very close to us. There was an instant of anxiety, an explosion, and then we were relieved to see the car draw up in line, the driver switch off his motor and run for our entrance. He held his order card in front of him as he ran. Just as he entered another shell hit near by. It reminded me strongly of a scene in a "ten-twenty-thirty" martial play. All the hero needed was some fuller's earth [Pg 70] to pat off his shoulders when he came inside. There were several entrances of this sort during the afternoon, and one shell, landing just in front of us and nearly on top of a passing motor lorry, resulted in the addition of the French driver and his aid to our little wall-protected group. It was a day when the shelling seemed to be general, for shrapnel and small 77 shells were also bursting at intervals over and in a little town one passes through in order to avoid a more heavily bombarded outer route on the way to the postes de secours. It was magnificent descending the hill from the postes that afternoon. To the left French 75 shells were in rapid action; and one could see the explosion of the German shells just over the crest of the long ridge where the batteries were firing. It was a clear, sparkling day, and against the vivid green of the hills, across the winding river, the little white puffs of shrapnel exploding over the road below were in perfect relief, while from the red-tiled roofs of the town, nestling in the valley below, tall columns of black smoke spurted up where the large shells struck. Little groups of soldiers, the color of whose uniforms added greatly to the picture, were crowded against the low stone walls lining the road to observe the firing; and one sensed the action and felt the real excitement of the sort of war one imagines instead of the uninteresting horror of the cave-dweller combats that are the rule in this war.


It is difficult to take any one day's work and describe it in the attempt to give an adequate picture [Pg 71] of the routine of the American Section, for with us all days are so different. The background or framework, the schedule of runs, the points of calling, the ordinary duties, are more or less the same; but the action and experiences, which add the color, are never alike. There are days at a stretch when the work might be called monotonous, were it not for the fact that there is a continual source of pleasure in feeling that one is being of service to France, and that one's time is being spent in relieving the suffering of her brave wounded soldiers.

Six-thirty is the time for bread and coffee, and the long table in the flag-decorated mess-room begins to fill. Mignot, our comrade orderly, is rushing to and fro placing bowls in front of those arriving, and practising on each the few English expressions he has picked up by association with us. Two men of the Section enter who look very tired. They throw their caps or fatigue hats on to a side table and call for Mignot. They have been on all-night service at M——, the hamlet where the most active postes de secours are located.

"Much doing last night?" asks one of the crowd at the table.

"Not much. Had only sixteen altogether."

"Anything stirring?"

"Yes; Fritz eased in a few shrapnel about five-thirty, but didn't hurt any one. You know the last house down on the right-hand side? Well, they smeared that with a shell during the night."

[Pg 72]

"By the way," continues the man in from night service, addressing himself to one across the table, "Canot, the artilleryman, was looking for you. Says he's got a ring for you made out of a Boche fuse-cap, and wants to know if you want a Geneva or Lorraine cross engraved on it."

The men in the Section leave the room one by one to take up their various duties. There are some whose duty it is to stay in reserve, and these go out to work on their cars. Others are on bureau service, and they remain within call of the telephone. Two leave for D——, a town eight kilometres below, where their job is to evacuate from the two hospitals where the wounded have been carried down the day and night before. This town, too, suffers an occasional bombardment, and wounded are left there no longer than necessary. They are taken to a sanitary train which runs to a little village a few kilometres below, which is just beyond the limit of shell fire.

Sometimes our cars are called upon to evacuate to X——, which is a good many kilometres distant. The splendid road runs through a most charming part of the country. Just now everything is in bloom, and the gentle undulating sweep of highly cultivated fields is delineated by plots of yellow mustard plants, mellow brown tilled earth, and countless shades of refreshing green, while near the tree-bordered road one can see stretches of waving wheat dotted with the flaming red of poppies and the delicate blue of [Pg 73] little field flowers. On those trips it does not seem possible that war is near; but on high, sharply outlined against the deep-blue sky, is a sausage-shape observation balloon, and looking back through a little window in the car one sees the bandaged and prostrate figures of the wounded occupants.

There are only two cars on service at M—— during the usual run of days, for unless there is an attack comparatively few wounded are brought down from the trenches to their respective regimental postes de secours in the village.

Down the single, long street of this town, which had been changed from a quiet country hamlet to a military cantonment, strolls a motley collection of seasoned soldiers. The majority are uniformed in the newly adopted light bluish-gray; some few still carry the familiar baggy red trousers, black anklets, and long, dark-blue coat with conspicuous brass buttons. The sapeurs and artillerymen wear dull green-and-yellow splotched dusters that make them almost invisible in the woods and impart the most striking war-working appearance to them. There is the cavalryman in his light-blue tunic with pinkish trimmings, and his campaign cloth-covered helmet, from the crest of which flows a horse-tail plume. Here and there are the smartly dressed officers with their variously colored uniforms designating their branch; but their gold galloons of rank do not show conspicuously on their sleeves now, and the braid on their caps is covered. Some wear the splotched duster [Pg 74] which hides their identity entirely, and others are dressed in serviceable thin brown uniforms which bear hardly any insignia. In front of four or five of the low masonry houses a Red Cross flag is hung. These mark the postes de secours where the wounded are bandaged and given to the ambulances. An American car is backed up in front of one, and the khaki-clad driver is the centre of interest for a group of soldiers. Some he knows well, and he is carrying on a cheerful conversation. It is surprising what a number of French soldiers speak English; and there are hundreds who have lived in England and in the States. Some are even American citizens, who have returned to fight for la belle France, their mother country. I have met waiters from the Café Lafayette, chefs from Fifth Avenue hotels, men who worked in New York and Chicago banks, in commission houses, who own farms in the West, and some who had taken up their residence in American cities to live on their incomes. It seems very funny to be greeted with a "Hello there, old scout!" by French soldiers.

"Well, when did you come over?" asks the driver.

"In August. Been through the whole thing."

"Where were you in the States?"

"New York, and I am going back when it is over. Got to beat it now. So long. See you later."


A few companies of soldiers go leisurely past on their way up to the trenches, and nearly every man has something to say to the American driver. Five out of ten will point to the ambulance and cry out [Pg 75] with questionable but certainly cheerful enough humor, "Save a place for me to-morrow!" or, "Be sure and give me a quick ride!" Others yell out greetings, or air their knowledge of English. "Hello, Charley!" heads the list in that department, and "Engleesh spoken" runs a close second. Some of the newly arrived soldiers take us for English, and "Camarade anglais" is in vogue; but with old acquaintances "Camarade américain," cried in a very sincere tone and followed by a grip of the hand, has a very warm friendship about it. Yes, you make good friends that way. Working along together in this war brings men very close. You find some delightful chaps, and then ... well, sometimes you realize you have not seen a certain one for a week or so, and you inquire after him from a man in his company.

"Where is Bosker, or Busker?—I don't know how you pronounce it. You know, tall fellow with corporal's galloons who was always talking about what a good time he was going to have when he got back to Paris."

"He got killed in the attack two nights ago," replies the man you have asked.

And you wonder how it happened exactly, and what he looks like dead.

Some days it is very quiet up there at the postes de secours—even the artillery to the rear is not firing overhead; and at other times it is rather lively. Soldiers will be sauntering up and down the long street, collecting in groups, or puttering around at some [Pg 76] task, when suddenly there is a short, sharp, whistling sound overhead and a loud detonation as the well-timed shrapnel explodes. The aggregation does a turning movement that for unison of motion could not be excelled, and packs against the houses on the lee side of the street. There are some who do not bother about such a comparatively small thing as shrapnel, and keep to their course or occupation. I have seen men continue to sweep the street, or keep going to where they were heading, in spite of the fact that shrapnel whistled in at frequent intervals. I have also seen some of these immovable individuals crumple up and be still.

One evening the firing was so heavy that every one had sought the protection of the walls, when down the street came a most gloriously happy soldier. He was taking on up the street carrying a bottle, and at every explosion he waved his free arm and a wild yell of delight issued from his beaming face. It appeared to entertain him hugely, as if a special fireworks exhibition had been arranged on his behalf. It always seems to be that way. A sober man would have been killed on the spot.

With shells it is a very different story than with shrapnel. One can avoid the latter by backing up against a house, but the shells are apt to push it over on you. When the deeper, heavier whistle of a shell is heard, it sounds a good deal like tearing a big sheet of cloth. Men do not brave it. They know its hideous effects, and take to the nearest cellar or doorway. [Pg 77] The first one or two that come in, if well placed, often claim victims. A group of soldiers will be talking or playing cards in front of a house. There is a swish; the shell hits the hard road in front of them, and the jagged éclats rip into the little crowd, sometimes killing three or four of them. The soldiers who find themselves at a greater distance have time to throw themselves flat on the ground, and it is seldom that the singing fragments do not pass well overhead.

It is quite remarkable that none of the Americans have as yet been hurt at X——, for the evacuation of the wounded goes on regardless of the shelling. Often the escapes have been very close. Just yesterday ten big shells came in, killed six men and wounded forty others, and yet our two cars on duty there escaped without being hit. One day, following an attack, the firing was rather frequent. Nearly all of the ambulances were lined up in the village waiting for the wounded to be brought down. Our commander was talking to one of his drivers when a shell exploded on the other side of a wall behind him. He walked down the street to give instructions to another man. A shell hit the roof of a house there and covered the two with débris. He started to return, and as he passed a certain house a shell went right into it. They seemed to be following him. It frequently happens that an ambulance will be running down the street and a shell hit a house just behind or in front of its course. Now and then one's breath [Pg 78] will stop when a car is enveloped in the clouds of dust and débris coming from a shell-hit house, and start again when from the haze the driver emerges dirty but smiling. Of course, the cars have been hit. A shell tore off the front top of one ten inches from the driver's head, but as yet no member of the American Section has been hurt.


A kilometre up the climbing, winding road is a lone poste de secours in the woods just off the highway. The approach and the place itself are often shelled. There have been times when the drivers were under a seriously heavy fire on night duty; times when trees have been shattered and fallen across the road and huge craters made in the soft earth of the adjacent fields. A kilometre beyond is still another point of call, and from there one can look directly into one of the most fought-over sections of ground in the long line from the sea to Belfort. It is a bit of land that before the war was covered with a magnificent forest. Now it is a wilderness whose desolation is beyond description. It is a section of murdered nature. The black, shattered things sticking up out of a sea of mounds were at one time great trees. There are no branches on the split trunks now. No green can be seen anywhere. Where the trenches ran there are but series of indentations, jumbles of splintered trench timbers, broken guns, rusty fragments of shells, strips of uniforms and caps, shoes with a putrid, maggot-eaten mass inside. It does not seem possible that life could ever have been [Pg 79] there. It looks as if it had always been dead. What testimony to human habitation remains is but mute and buried wreckage.

This last poste de secours is in the very line of fire, but then there are bomb-proofs near by and one can find shelter. One must be careful running up to this poste, for new and very deep holes are continually being blown in the road and there is danger of wrecking the cars.

Section Y has performed its duties so well that the work of an adjacent division has been given to it, and in a few days now the little cars will roll past the last-mentioned poste de secours over to the exposed plain beyond and into the zone of its newly acquired activities.

The American cars literally infest the roads in the day. They buzz along on calls to the postes, return from evacuations, and keep so busy trying to accelerate the work that a casual observer might imagine that a whole division had been annihilated overnight. A car with three stretcher-cases in the back, a slightly wounded soldier sitting on the seat next to the driver, and a load of knapsacks piled between the hood and the fenders, starts down from the poste de secours, spins on through a village full of resting troops, and turns on to the highway leading to the evacuation hospitals at the town eight kilometres below. At first the holes in the walls and houses along the way, and the craters in the fields where the marmites had struck, made one continually conscious of the possibility [Pg 80] of a shell. Now one does not think about it, save to note the new holes, observe that the older ones have been cemented up, and to hope that an éclat won't hit you at those exceedingly rare times when a shell bursts ahead or behind. The closest call so far on that stretch of road was when a 210 hit eleven feet to the side of one of our cars, but failed to explode. Of course there is a chance that even at that distance the éclat might take a peculiar course and miss one; but the chances are that if that shell had gone off one of our men would have been minus several necessary portions of his anatomy.

The work at night is quite eerie, and on moonless nights quite difficult. No lights are allowed, and the inky black way ahead seems packed with a discordant jumble of sounds as the never-ending artillery and ravitaillement trains rattle along. One creeps past convoy after convoy, past sentinels who cry, "Halte là!" and then whisper an apologetic "Passez" when they make out the ambulance; and it is only in the dazzling light of the illuminating rockets that shoot into the air and sink slowly over the trenches that one can see to proceed with any speed.

It is at night, too, that our hardest work comes, for that is usually the time when attacks and counter-attacks are made and great numbers of men are wounded. Sometimes all twenty of the Section cars will be in service. It is then that one sees the most frightfully wounded: the men with legs and arms shot away, mangled faces, and hideous body wounds. [Pg 81] It is a time when men die in the ambulances before they reach the hospitals, and I believe nearly every driver in the Section has had at least one distressing experience of that sort.

Early one morning there was an urgent call for a single wounded. The man's comrades gathered around the little car to bid their friend good-bye. He was terribly wounded and going fast. "See," said one of them to the man on the stretcher, "you are going in an American car. You will have a good trip, old fellow, and get well soon. Good-bye and good luck!" They forced a certain cheerfulness, but their voices were low and dry, for they saw death creeping into the face of their comrade. The driver took his seat and was starting when he was asked to wait. "Something for him," they said. When the car arrived at the hospital, the man was dead. He was cold and must have died at the start of the trip. The driver regretted the delay in leaving. Why had they asked him to wait? Then he saw that the ambulance was covered with sprigs of lilac and little yellow field flowers. The men knew the car would serve as a hearse.

Once an American ambulance was really pressed into service as a hearse in a very touching funeral. A young lieutenant, the son of a prominent and influential official, had been killed in a gallant action. The family had been granted permission to enter the lines and attend the funeral. The young officer, who but a few days before his death had won his commission, was held in the deepest affection by his company, and [Pg 82] they arranged that, as something very special, he should have a hearse. A car from Section "Y" was offered, and went to the church in the hamlet back of the trenches. The soldiers literally covered the ambulance with flowers and branches, and then stood waiting with the great wreaths they had brought in their hands. The little group emerged from the partly wrecked church, and the flag-covered coffin was slid into the car. The cortège, headed by a white-robed priest and two censer boys, wound slowly down the tortuous path that the troops follow on their way to the trenches.

The mother was supported by the father, a venerable soldier of 1870, who limped haltingly on his wooden leg. Back of the two came the lieutenant's sister, a beautiful girl just entering her twenties. The captain of the company was at her side, then followed other officers, and the silent, trench-worn soldiers behind. The funeral halted on the hillside near a grave dug beneath the branches of a budding apple tree. The coffin was pulled from the ambulance and lowered into the grave. And the mother knelt at the side, sobbing. The old father, who struggled to suppress his emotion, began a little oration. His voice trembled, and when at intervals he tried to say, "Vive la France!" it broke and great tears ran down his face. The soldiers, too, were crying, and the American's eyes were damp. Behind, a battery of 75's was firing—for on no account must the grim details of the war be halted—and at every deafening shot and swish of [Pg 83] the shell tearing overhead the girl shivered, huddled close to the captain, and looked in a frightened way at the soldiers around her. In her small, thin shoes and black wavy dress she seemed strangely out of place in those military surroundings.

The Americans have a faculty of adapting themselves to any service they may be called upon to perform, and many times they undertake on their own initiative various missions that are not in exact accord with their military duties. They very often transport dead civilians after a bombardment. Though nearly every one takes to the caves when a bombardment starts, the first shells that come in frequently kill a number of people who have not had time to get to shelter. In the past few weeks nearly all the civilians have left the dangerous town, and it is seldom now that soldiers and the residents—men, women, and children—are found mixed up in pitiful dead groups.

During one bombardment, some time ago, however, a considerable number of women and children were killed. A couple of the American ambulances were on the spot immediately after, and the men were silently going about their sad work. The little children who cry out to us as we pass were gathered around holding to their mothers' trembling hands. They said, "Américain," when they saw the khaki uniforms, but their tone was hushed and sad instead of loud and joyous, and had a surprised note, as if they had not expected to see the Americans at such a task.

[Pg 84]

In one place a large crowd of people had gathered around an ambulance in front of a baker's shop. In the upper part of the building was a great irregular hole that included a portion of the roof, and inside the freshly exposed stone rims the interior of a room with shattered furniture could be seen. Below the huge rent on the gray face of the building was the fan-shaped design made by the shell's éclats. On the side-walk were the bodies of two women and a soldier. A vivid red pool had formed around them and was flowing into the gutter. For some reason the gray dust covering the motionless black dresses of the women seemed to make the picture very much more terrible. The face of one of the women had been torn away, but her hair and one eye, which had a look of wild fear glazed in it, remained. As the stretcher the woman had been placed on was carried to the car a yellow comb fell out of her bloody hair and dropped on the white-shod foot of a young girl standing near. The child pulled up her skirts with a disgusted look and kicked the comb off into the street.

It took the Americans a long time to learn the value of prudence. At first during the bombardments they would rush to the street as soon as a shell landed and look to see what damage had been done. Then, when some éclats had sizzed uncomfortably close to their persons, they became a little more discreet and waited a while before venturing out. Ten days ago, during a bombardment with the large 210 shells, a few of the Americans were gathered at the entrance to the courtyard [Pg 85] of our headquarters to observe the shells hitting in town. It was all very well until quite unexpectedly one hit the eaves of the building at a point about thirty yards from the group and carried away with its explosion about twenty feet of that part of the structure. Fortunately, the éclat took a high course, but great building stones crashed down and blocked the roadway. The Americans were unharmed save for a thick coating of mortar dust, but that experience has discounted the popularity of orchestra seats during an exhibition in which shells larger than 77's appear.

One of the men was twenty-five yards from a 210 high-explosive projectile when it carved a great crater in the ground and killed two French Red Cross men near him, and he, for one, has no overpowering desire, after that murderous, crushing, breath-taking explosion, for any intimate personal research work into the effects of other large-calibre shells.

Even now the members of Section Y have much to learn. They still persist in remaining in their chairs in the exposed garden when aeroplanes are being fired at directly overhead, when balls of shrapnel have repeatedly dropped into the flower-beds, and when one man was narrowly missed by a long, razor-edged fragment of a shrapnel shell. And this has not even the excuse of a desire to observe—for the novelty of these performances has long since passed—and one hardly ever glances upward. They won't even move for a German Taube, though it might at any minute drop a bomb or two. As a matter of fact, [Pg 86] however, explosives dropped from German machines are comparatively harmless.

When a certain great stone structure on the water's edge is being shelled, the men off duty adjourn to the shore for the entertainment. They know the various schedules the shells run on, and time their arrival. The German guns firing them are so far off that the report cannot be heard. There is a deep, bass, tearing roar, closely followed by another, for they come in pairs; then two huge columns of water hurtle into the air for a hundred feet, accompanied by two heavy detonations. The bleacher-occupying Americans—they have installed a bench to sit on—then jump up and scurry for a wall that affords protection against the éclats that sing back from the shells. In a second there is a rush for the hot chunks of metal, while the natives emerge from their shelters to collect the fish that have been killed by the terrific concussion—and fish à la bombardement is served to us the next day!

For some reason or other the German prisoners—and the Lord knows there are enough of them these days—still remain a subject of humorous interest to the Americans, while the Boches, as the Germans are called, stare at us in wild-eyed amazement, flavored with considerable venom, thinking us British and wondering how we got so far down the line.

No matter how long the war lasts, I do not believe that the members of Section Y will lose any of their native ways, attitudes, or tastes. They will remain just as American as ever. Why, they still fight [Pg 87] for a can of American tobacco or a box of cigarettes that comes from the States, when such a rare and appreciated article does turn up, and papers and magazines from home are sure to go the rounds, finding themselves at length in the hands of English-reading soldiers in the trenches. I never could understand the intense grip that the game of baseball seems to possess, but it holds to some members of the Section with a cruel pertinacity. One very dark night, a few days ago, two of us were waiting at an advanced poste de secours. The rifle and artillery fire was constant, illuminating rockets shot into the air, and now and then one could distinguish the heavy dull roar of a mine or torpille detonating in the trenches. War in all its engrossing detail was very close. Suddenly my friend turned to me and, with a sigh, remarked, "Gee! I wish I knew how the Red Sox were making out!"

Well, there may be more interesting things in the future to write of the Americans serving at the front, and, again, their work may become dull. But it makes no difference to the Section. The men will do what is asked and gladly, for there is no work more worth while than helping in some way, no matter what, this noblest of all causes. One does not look for thanks—there is a reward enough in the satisfaction the work gives; but the French do not let it stop at that. The men from the trenches are surprised that we have voluntarily undertaken such a hazardous occupation, and express their appreciation and gratitude with almost embarrassing frequency. "You [Pg 88] render a great service," say the officers, and those of highest rank call to render thanks in the name of France. It is good to feel that one's endeavors are appreciated, and encouraging to hear the words of praise; but when, at the end of an evacuation, one draws a stretcher from the car, and the poor wounded man lying upon it, who has never allowed a groan to escape during a ride that must have been painful, with an effort holds out his hand, grasps yours, and, forcing a smile, murmurs, "Merci"—that is what urges you to hurry back for other wounded, to be glad that there is a risk to one's self in helping them, and to feel grateful that you have the opportunity to serve the brave French people in their sublime struggle. [5]

James R. McConnell

[5] This Section, after ten months' service at Pont-à-Mousson, has worked for eight months in the Verdun Sector during the great battle. (November, 1916.)
End of Chapter Decoration.

[Pg 89]



"Our artillery and automobiles have saved Verdun," French officers and soldiers were continually telling me. And as I look back on two months of ambulance-driving in the attack, it seems to me that automobiles played a larger part than even the famous "seventy-fives," for without motor transport there would have been no ammunition and no food. One shell, accurately placed, will put a railway communication out of the running, but automobiles must be picked off one by one as they come within range.

The picture of the attack that will stay with me always is that of the Grande Route north from Bar-le-Duc, covered with the snow and ice of the last days of February. The road was always filled with two columns of trucks, one going north and the other coming south. The trucks, loaded with troops, shells, and bread, rolled and bobbled back and forth with the graceless, uncertain strength of baby elephants. It was almost impossible to steer them on the icy roads. Many of them fell by the wayside, overturned, burned up, or were left apparently unnoticed in the ceaseless tide of traffic that never seemed to hurry or to stop.

[6] This article was printed in the July issue of the Cornhill Magazine, and is reproduced by permission of the author and the publishers of the Cornhill.

[Pg 90]

All night and all day it continued. Soon the roads began to wear out. Trucks brought stones from the ruins of the battle of the Marne and sprinkled them in the ruts and holes; soldiers, dodging in and out of the moving cars, broke and packed the stones or sprinkled sand on the ice-covered hillsides. But the traffic was never stopped for any of these things. The continuous supply had its effect on the demand. There were more troops than were needed for the trenches, so they camped along the road or in the fields. Lines of camions ran off the road and unloaded the reserve of bread; the same thing was done with the meat, which kept well enough in the snow; and the shells, which a simple camouflage of white tarpaulins effectually hid from the enemy airmen.

At night, on the main road, I have watched for hours the dimmed lights of the camions, winding away north and south like the coils of some giant and luminous snake which never stopped and never ended. It was impressive evidence of a great organization that depended and was founded on the initiative of its members. Behind each light was a unit, the driver, whose momentary negligence might throw the whole line into confusion. Yet there were no fixed rules to save him from using his brain quickly and surely as each crisis presented itself. He must be continually awake to avoid any one of a thousand possible mischances. The holes and ice on the road, his skidding car, the cars passing in the same and opposite directions, the cars in front and behind, the cars broken [Pg 91] down on the sides of the road—all these and many other things he had to consider before using brake or throttle in making his way along. Often snow and sleet storms were added to make driving more difficult. Objects six feet away were completely invisible, and it was only by watching the trees along the side of the road that one could attempt to steer.

I was connected with the Service des Autos as a driver in Section No 2 of the Field Service of the American Ambulance of Neuilly. We had the usual French Section of twenty ambulances and one staff car, but, unlike the other Sections, we had only one man to a car. There were two officers, one the Chief of Section, Walter Lovell, a graduate of Harvard University and formerly a member of the Boston Stock Exchange; and George Roeder, Mechanical Officer, in charge of the supply of parts and the repair of cars. Before the war, he was a promising bacteriologist in the Rockefeller Institute. Our Section was one of five which compose the Field Service of the American Ambulance, and are located at various points along the front from Dunkirk to the Vosges. The general direction of the Field Service is in the hands of A. Piatt Andrew, formerly professor at Harvard and Assistant Secretary of the United States Treasury. He has organized the system by which volunteers and funds are obtained in America, and is the responsible link between the work of the Service and the will of the French authorities.

In each of the five Sections there are twenty drivers, [Pg 92] all Americans and volunteers. Most of them are college men who have come over from the United States to "do their bit" for France and see the war at the same time. Certainly our Section was gathered from the four corners of the "States." One, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, had worked for two years on the Panama Canal as an engineer; another, an Alaskan, had brought two hundred dogs over for the French Government, to be used for transportation in the Vosges; a third was a well-known American novelist who had left his home at Florence to be a chauffeur for France. There were also two architects, a New York undertaker, several soi-disant students, and a man who owned a Mexican ranch that was not sufficiently flourishing to keep him at home.

The term of service required by the French authorities is now six months, though, of course, some of the men have been in the Section since the battle of the Marne. We all get five sous a day and rations as privates in the French army, which was represented in our midst by a lieutenant, a maréchal de logis, a mechanic, and a cook.

On February 22 our French lieutenant gave us our "order to move," but all he could tell us about our destination was that we were going north. We started from Bar-le-Duc about noon, and it took us six hours to make forty miles through roads covered with snow, swarming with troops, and all but blocked by convoys of food carts and sections of trucks. Of course, we [Pg 93] knew that there was an attack in the neighborhood of Verdun, but we did not know who was making it or how it was going. Then about four o'clock in the short winter twilight we passed two or three regiments of French colonial troops on the march with all their field equipment. I knew who and what they were by the curious Eastern smell that I had always before associated with camels and circuses. They were lined up on each side of the road around their soup kitchens, which were smoking busily, and I had a good look at them as we drove along.

It was the first time I had seen an African army in the field, and though they had had a long march, they were cheerful and in high spirits at the prospect of battle. They were all young, active men, and of all colors and complexions, from blue-eyed blonds to shiny blacks. They all wore khaki and brown shrapnel casques bearing the trumpet insignia of the French sharpshooter. We were greeted with laughter and chaff, for the most part, in an unknown chatter, but now and again some one would say, "Hee, hee, Ambulance Américaine," or "Yes, Ingliish, good-bye."

I was fortunate enough to pick up one of their non-commissioned officers with a bad foot who was going our way. He was born in Africa, which accounted for his serving in the colonials, though his mother was American and his father French. From him I learned that the Germans were attacking at Verdun, and that, to every one's surprise, they were trying to drive the [Pg 94] point of the salient south instead of cutting it off from east to west. As we were passing along, one of his men shouted something to him about riding in an ambulance, and I remarked that they all seemed in a very good humor. "Oh yes," he answered; "we're glad to be on the move, as we've been en repos since autumn in a small quiet place south of Paris." "But it means trouble," he added proudly, "their sending us up, for we are never used except in attacks, and were being saved for the summer. Six hundred have been killed in my company since the beginning, so I have seen something of this war. Now my regiment is mixed up with two others, and altogether we make about four thousand men."

As we talked, I realized that his was a different philosophy from that of the ordinary poilu that I had been carrying. Certainly he loved France and was at war for her; but soldiering was his business and fighting was his life. Nothing else counted. He had long since given up any thought of coming out alive, so the ordinary limitations of life and death did not affect him. He wanted to fight and last as long as possible to leave a famous name in his regiment, and to add as many citations as possible to the three medals he had already gained. He was the only man I ever met who was really eager to get back to the trenches, and he said to me with a smile when I stopped to let him off, "Thanks for the lift, mon vieux, but I hope you don't have to carry me back."


After that we rode north along the Meuse, through [Pg 95] a beautiful country where the snow-covered hills, with their sky-lines of carefully pruned French trees, made me think of masterpieces of Japanese art. In the many little villages there was much excitement and activity with troops, artillery, and munitions being rushed through to the front, and the consequent wild rumors of great attacks and victories. Curiously enough, there were few who thought of defeat. They were all sure, even when a retreat was reported, that the French were winning, and that spirit of confidence had much to do with stopping the Germans.

At about six in the evening we reached our destination some forty miles northeast of Bar-le-Duc. The little village where we stopped had been a railroad centre until the day before, when the Germans started bombarding it. Now the town was evacuated, and the smoking station deserted. The place had ceased to exist, except for a hospital which was established on the southern edge of the town in a lovely old château, overlooking the Meuse. We were called up to the hospital as soon as we arrived to take such wounded as could be moved to the nearest available rail-head, which was ten miles away, on the main road, and four miles south of Verdun. We started out in convoy, but with the then conditions of traffic, it was impossible to stick together, and it took some of us till five o'clock the next morning to make the trip. That was the beginning of the attack for us, and the work of "evacuating" the wounded to the railway stations went steadily on until March 15. It was left [Pg 96] to the driver to decide how many trips it was physically possible for him to make in each twenty-four hours. There were more wounded than could be carried, and no one could be certain of keeping any kind of schedule with the roads as they then were.

Sometimes we spent five or six hours waiting at a crossroad, while columns of troops and their equipment filed steadily by. Sometimes at night we could make a trip in two hours that had taken us ten in daylight. Sometimes, too, we crawled slowly to a station only to find it deserted, shells falling, and the hospital moved to some still more distant point of the line. Situations and conditions changed from day to day—almost from hour to hour. One day it was sunshine and spring, with roads six inches deep in mud, no traffic, and nothing to remind one of war, except the wounded in the car and the distant roar of the guns, which sounded like a giant beating a carpet. The next day it was winter again, with mud turned to ice, the roads blocked with troops, and the Germans turning hell loose with their heavy guns.

In such a crisis as those first days around Verdun, ammunition and fresh men are the all-essential things. The wounded are the déchets, the "has-beens," and so must take second place. But the French are too gallant and tender-hearted not to make sacrifices. I remember one morning I was slapped off the road into a ditch with a broken axle, while passing a solitary camion. The driver got down, came over, and apologized for the accident, which was easily half [Pg 97] my fault. Then we unloaded four cases of "seventy-five" shells that he was carrying, and put my three wounded in on the floor of his car. He set out slowly and carefully up the ice-covered road, saying to me with a smile as he left, "Don't let the Boches get my marmites while I'm gone." For some time I sat there alone on the road, watching the shells break on a hill some miles away to the north, and wondering when I could get word of my mishap back to the base. Then a staff car appeared down the road making its way along slowly and with difficulty, because, being without chains, it skidded humorously with engine racing and the chauffeur trying vainly to steer. There was a captain of the Service des Autos sitting on the front seat, and he was so immaculately clean and well groomed that he seemed far away from work of any kind. But when the car stopped completely about halfway up the little hill on which I was broken down, he jumped out, took off his fur coat, and using it to give the rear wheels a grip on the ice, he swung it under the car. As the wheels passed over it, he picked it up and swung it under again. So the car climbed the hill and slid down the other slope round the curve and out of sight. It was just another incident that made me realize the spirit and energy of the French Automobile Service. But the captain had not solved any of my difficulties. He had been too busy to notice me or wonder why an American ambulance was sprawled in a ditch with four cases of shells alongside.

[Pg 98]

I had been waiting there in the road about two hours when another American came by and took back word of my accident and of the parts necessary to set it right. Then about noon my friend came back in his camion to take up his cases of shells and report my wounded safe at the railway station. We lunched together on the front seat of the camion on bread, tinned "monkey meat," and red wine, while he told me stories about his life as a driver. He had been on his car then for more than twenty days without leaving it for food or sleep. That morning his "partner" had been wounded by a shell, so he had to drive all that day alone. Usually the two men drive two hours, turn and turn about; while one is driving, the other can eat, sleep, or read the day before yesterday's newspaper. The French camions are organized in sections of twenty. Usually each section works in convoy, and has its name and mark painted on its cars. I saw some with elephants or ships, some with hearts or diamonds, clubs or spades, some with dice—in fact, every imaginable symbol has been used to distinguish the thousands of sections in the service. The driver told me there were more than ten thousand trucks working between Verdun and Bar-le-Duc. There is great rivalry between the men of the several sections in matters of speed and load—especially between the sections of French and those of American or Italian cars. The American product has the record for speed, which is, however, offset by its frequent need of repair.

[Pg 99]

My friend told me about trips he had made up as far as the third-line trenches, and how they were using "seventy-fives" like machine-guns in dug-outs, where the shells were fired at "zero," so that they exploded immediately after leaving the mouth of the gun. The French, he said, would rather lose guns than men, and according to him, there were so many guns placed in the "live" parts of the Sector that the wheels touched, and so formed a continuous line.

As soon as we had finished lunch he left me, and I waited for another two hours until the American staff car (in other surroundings I should call it an ordinary Ford touring-car with a red cross or so added) came along loaded with an extra "rear construction," and driven by the Chief himself. It took us another four hours to remove my battered rear axle and put in the new parts, but my car was back in service by midnight.

That was a typical instance of the kind of accident that was happening, and there were about three "Ford casualties" every day. Thanks to the simplicity of the mechanism of the Ford, and to the fact that, with the necessary spare parts, the most serious indisposition can be remedied in a few hours, our Section has been at the front for a year—ten months in the Bois-le-Prêtre, and two months at Verdun—without being sent back out of service for general repairs. In the Bois-le-Prêtre we had carried the wounded from the dressing-stations to the first hospital, while at Verdun we were on service from the [Pg 100] hospital to the rail-heads. In this latter work of évacuation the trips were much longer, thirty to ninety miles, so the strain on the cars was correspondingly greater. As our cars, being small and fast, carried only three wounded on stretchers or five seated, our relative efficiency was low in comparison with the wear and tear of the "running-gear" and the amount of oil and petrol used. But in the period from February 22 to March 13, twenty days, with an average of eighteen cars working, we carried 2046 wounded 18,915 miles. This would be no record on good open roads, but with the conditions I have already described I think it justified the existence of our volunteer organization—if it needed justification. Certainly the French thought so, but they are too generous to be good judges.

Except for our experiences on the road, there was little romance in the daily routine. True, we were under shell fire, and had to sleep in our cars or in a much-inhabited hay-loft, and eat in a little inn, half farmhouse and half stable, where the food was none too good and the cooking none too clean; but we all realized that the men in the trenches would have made of such conditions a luxurious paradise, so that kept us from thinking of it as anything more than a rather strenuous "camping out."

During the first days of the attack, the roads were filled with refugees from the town of Verdun and the country north of it. As soon as the bombardment started, civilians were given five hours to leave, and [Pg 101] we saw them—old men, women, and children—struggling along through the snow on their way south. It was but another of those sad migrations that occur so often in the zone des armées. The journey was made difficult and often dangerous for them by the columns of skidding trucks, so the more timid took to the fields or the ditches at the roadside. They were for the most part the petits bourgeois who had kept their shops open until the last minute, to make the town gay for the troops, who filed through the Promenade de la Digue in an endless queue on their way to and from the trenches. Most of them had saved nothing but the clothes on their backs, though I saw one old woman courageously trundling a barrow overflowing with laces, post-cards, bonbons (doubtless the famous Dragées verdunoises), and other similar things which had been part of her stock-in-trade, and with which she would establish a Verdun souvenir shop when she found her new home. There were many peasant carts loaded with every imaginable article of household goods from stoves to bird cages; but no matter what else a cart might contain, there was always a mattress with the members of the family, old and young, bouncing along on top. So ubiquitous was this mattress that I asked about it, and was told that the French peasant considers it the most important of his Lares, for it is there his babies are born and his old people die—there, too, is the family bank, the hiding-place for the bas de laine.

[Pg 102]

All the people, no matter what their class or station, were excited. Some were resigned, some weeping, some quarrelling, but every face reflected terror and suffering, for these derelicts had been suddenly torn from the ruins of their old homes and their old lives after passing through two days of the heaviest bombardment the world has ever seen.

I did not wonder at their grief or terror when I had seen the town from which they fled. Sometimes it is quiet, with no shells and no excitement; at others it is a raging hell, a modern Pompeii in the ruining. Often I passed through the town, hearing and seeing nothing to suggest that any enemy artillery was within range. But one morning I went up to take a doctor to a near-by hospital, and had just passed under one of the lovely old twelfth-century gates, with its moat and towers, when the Germans began their morning hate. I counted one hundred and fifty shells, arrivées, in the first quarter of an hour.

After making my way up on the old fortifications in the northeastern quarter, I had an excellent view of the whole city—a typical garrison town of northern France spreading over its canals and river up to the Citadel and Cathedral on the heights. Five and six shells were shrieking overhead at the same time, and a corresponding number of houses in the centre of the town going up in dust and débris, one after another, almost as fast as I could count.

During this bedlam a military gendarme strolled up as unconcerned as if he had been looking out for a [Pg 103] stranger in the Champs Elysées. He told me about a dug-out that was somewhere "around the corner," But we both got so interested watching the shells and their effect that we stayed where we were. The gendarme had been in the town long enough to become an authority on bombardments, and he could tell me the different shells and what they were hitting, from the colored smoke which rose after each explosion and hung like a pall over the town in the windless spring air. When the shells fell on the Cathedral—often there were three breaking on and around it at the same time—there sprang up a white cloud, while on the red tiles and zinc roofs they exploded in brilliant pink-and-yellow puffs. The air was filled with the smell of the burning celluloid and coal-tar products used in the manufacture of the high explosive and incendiary shells. It was very impressive, and even my friend the gendarme said, "C'est chic, n'est-ce pas? It is the heaviest rain we have had for several days." Then he pointed to the left where a column of flame and smoke, heavier than that from the shells, was rising, and said, "Watch them now, and you'll understand their system, the cochons. That's a house set afire with their incendiary shells, and now they will throw shrapnel around it to keep our firemen from putting it out." And so they did, for I could see the white puffs of the six-inch shrapnel shells breaking in and around the column of black smoke, which grew denser all the time. Then two German Taubes, taking advantage of the smoke, came over [Pg 104] and dropped bombs, for no other reason than to add terror to the confusion. But the eighty firemen, a brave little band brought up from Paris with their hose-carts and engine, refused to be confused or terrified. Under the shells and smoke we could see the streams of water playing on the burning house. "They are working from the cellars," said the gendarme. It was fortunate there was no wind, for that house was doomed, and but for the fact that all the buildings were stone, the fire would have spread over all that quarter of the town despite the gallantry of the firemen.

The bombardment continued steadily for about two hours and a half, until several houses were well alight and many others completely destroyed. Then about noon it stopped as suddenly as it had started. I wanted to go down and watch the firemen work, but the gendarme, who had produced an excellent bottle of no ordinary pinard, said, "Wait a while, mon vieux, that is part of the system. They have only stopped to let the people come out. In a few minutes it will start again, when they will have more chance of killing somebody."


But for once he was wrong, and after waiting with him for half an hour, I went down to the first house I had seen catch fire. The firemen were still there, working with hose and axe to prevent the fire from spreading. The four walls of the house were still standing, but inside there was nothing but a furnace which glowed and leaped into flame with every [Pg 105] draught of air, so that the sparks flew over the neighboring houses, and started other fires which the firemen were busy controlling. These pompiers are no longer civilians. The black uniform and gay brass and leather helmet of Paris fashion have been replaced with the blue-gray of the poilu, with the regulation steel shrapnel casque or bourguignotte. The French press has had many accounts of their heroism since the beginning of the attack. Certainly if any of the town is left, it will be due to their efforts among the ruins. There are only eighty of them in the town. Half of them are men too old for "active service," yet they have stayed there for two months working night and day under the shells, with the strain of the bombardment added to the usual dangers from falling walls and fire. They are still as gay and eager as ever. Their spirit and motto is the same as that of every soldier and civilian who is doing hard work in these hard times. They all say, "It is war," or more often, "It is for France."

I left them saving what they could of the house, and walked on over the river through the town. It is truly the Abomination of Desolation. The air was heavy and hot with the smell of explosives and the smoke from the smouldering ruins. Not a sound broke the absolute quiet and not a soul was in sight. I saw two dogs and a cat all slinking about on the search for food, and evidently so crazed with terror that they could not leave their old homes. Finally, crossing over the canal, where the theatre, now a heap [Pg 106] of broken beams and stones, used to stand, I met an old bearded Territorial leaning over the bridge with a net in his hand to dip out fish killed by the explosion of the shells in the water. He did not worry about the danger of his position on the bridge, and, like all true fishermen, when they have had good luck, he was happy and philosophical. "One must live," said he, "and it's very amiable of the Boches to keep us in fish with their marmites, n'est-ce pas, mon vieux?" We chatted for a while of bombardments, falling walls, and whether the Germans would reach Verdun. He, of course, like every soldier in that region, was volubly sure they would not. Then I went up on the hill towards the Cathedral, by the old library, which was standing with doors and windows wide open, and with the well-ordered books still on the tables and in the shelves. As yet it is untouched by fire or shell, but too near the bridge to escape for long.

I continued my way through streets filled with fallen wires, broken glass, and bits of shell. Here and there were dead horses and broken wagons caught in passing to or from the lines. There is nothing but ruins left of the lovely residential quarter below the Cathedral. The remaining walls of the houses, gutted by flame and shell, stand in a wavering line along a street, blocked with débris, and with furniture and household articles that the firemen have saved. The furniture is as safe in the middle of the street as anywhere else in the town. [Pg 107] As I passed along I could hear from time to time the crash and roar of falling walls, and see the rising clouds of white stone dust that has settled thickly everywhere.

The Cathedral, with its Bishop's Palace and cloisters,—all fine old structures of which the foundations were laid in the eleventh and twelfth centuries,—must, from its commanding position overlooking the town, be singled out for destruction. I watched ten shells strike the Cathedral that one morning, and some of them were the terrible 380's, the shells of the sixteen-inch mortars, which make no noise as they approach and tear through to the ground before their explosion.

The interior of the Cathedral, blurred with a half-inch layer of stone dust, is in most "unchurchly" disorder. Four or five shells have torn large holes through the roof of the nave, and twice as many more have played havoc with the chapels and aisles at the side. One has fallen through the gilded canopy over the high altar and broken one of the four supporting columns, which before were monoliths like those of St. Peter's at Rome. Of course, most of the stained-glass windows are scattered in fragments over the floor, and through the openings on the southern side I could see the ruins of the cloisters, with some chairs and a bed literally falling into them from a room of the Bishop's Palace above.

This destruction of the Cathedral is typical of the purposeless barbarity of the whole proceeding. The [Pg 108] wiping out of the town can serve no military purpose. There are no stores of munitions or railway communications to be demolished. Naturally there are no troops quartered in the town, and now all extensive movements of convoys are conducted by other roads than those leading through the town. Yet the bombardment continues day after day, and week after week. The Germans are sending in about £5,000,000 worth of shells a month. "It's spite," a poilu said to me; "they have made up their minds to destroy the town since they can't capture it; but it will be very valuable as an iron mine after the war." [7]

Frank Hoyt Gailor

[7]] Since the writing of this chapter, five Sections of the Ambulance have been sent to the vicinity of Verdun: Section 3 to the region about Douaumont; Section 4 to Mort Homme; Section 8 to the neighborhood of the fortress of Vaux; Section 2 to the immediate neighborhood of Verdun; and Section 1 to the region of Fort Souville and Fort St. Michel.
End of Chapter Decoration.

[Pg 109]




It gave us rather a wrench to leave Pont-à-Mousson. The Section had been quartered there since April, 1915, and we were attached to the quaint town and to the friends we had made. The morning of our departure was warm and clear. Walking along the convoy, which had formed in the road before our villa, came the poilus, and shook hands with each conducteur. "Au revoir, monsieur." "Au revoir, Paul." "Bonne chance, Pierre!" We took a last look at the town which had sheltered us, at the scene of the most dramatic moments in our lives. Above the tragic silhouette of a huddle of ruined houses rose the grassy slopes of the great ridge crowned by the Bois-le-Prêtre, the rosy morning mists were lifting from the shell-shattered trees, a golden sun poured down a spring-like radiance. Suddenly a great cloud of grayish white smoke rose over the haggard wood and melted slowly away in the northeast wind; an instant later, a reverberating boom signalled the explosion of a mine in the trenches. There was a shrill whistle, our lieutenant raised his hand, and the convoy swung down the road to Dieulouard. "Au revoir, les Américains! "[Pg 110] cried our friends. A little, mud-slopped, blue-helmeted handful, they waved to us till we turned the corner. "Au revoir, les Américains!"


We left Pont-à-Mousson imagining that our Section was in for a month's repairing and tinkering at the military motor park, but as we came towards B. our opinion changed. We began to pass file after file of troops, many of them the khaki-clad troupes d'attaque, bull-necked Zouaves, and wiry, fine-featured Arabs. A regiment was halted at a crossroad; some of the men had taken off their jackets and hung them to the cross-beam of a wayside crucifix. On the grass before it, in the circle of shade made by the four trees which pious Meusian custom here plants round a Calvaire, sprawled several powerful-looking fellows; one lay flat on his belly with his face in his Turkish cap. Hard by, in a little copse, the regimental kitchen was smoking and steaming away. A hunger-breeding smell of la soupe, la bonne soupe, assailed our nostrils. Quite by himself, an older man was skilfully cutting a slice of bread with a shiny, curved knife. The rooks eddied above the bare brown fields. Just below was a village with a great cloud of wood smoke hanging over it.

Late in the afternoon we were assigned quarters in the barracks of B.


[Pg 111]


At B. we found an English Section that had been as suddenly displaced as our own. Every minute loaded camions ground into town and disappeared towards the east, troops of all kinds came in, flick, flack, the sun shining on the barrels of the lebels, a train of giant mortars, mounted on titanic trucks and drawn by big motor lorries, crashed over the pavements and vanished somewhere. Some of our conducteurs made friends with the English drivers, and swapped opinions as to what was in the wind. One heard, "Well, those Frenchies have got something up their sleeve. We were in the battle of Champagne, and it began just like this." A voice from our American West began, "Say—what kind of carburetors do you birds use?" New England asked, "How many cars have you got?" And London, on being shown the stretcher arrangements of our cars, exclaimed, "That ain't so dusty,—eh, wot?" Round us, rising to the full sea of the battle, the tide of war surged and disappeared. At dusk a company of dragoons, big helmeted men on big horses, trotted by, their blue mantles and mediæval casques giving them the air of crusaders. At night the important corners of the streets were lit with cloth transparencies, with "Verdun" and a great black arrow painted on them. Night and day, going as smoothly as if they were linked by an invisible chain, went the hundred convoys of motor lorries. There was a sense of something [Pg 112] great in the air—a sense of apprehension. "Les Boches vont attaquer Verdun."


On the 21st the order came to go to M. The Boches had made their first attack that morning; this, however, we did not know. At M., a rather unlovely eighteenth-century château stands in a park built out on the meadows of the Meuse. The flooded river flowed round the dark pines. At night one could hear the water roaring under the bridges. The château, which had been a hospital since the beginning of the war, reeked with ether and iodoform; pasty-faced, tired attendants unloaded mud, cloth, bandages, and blood that turned out to be human beings; an over-wrought doctor-in-chief screamed contradictory orders at everybody, and flared into crises of hysterical rage.

Ambulance after ambulance came from the lines full of clients; kindly hands pulled out the stretchers, and bore them to the wash-room. This was in the cellar of the dove-cote, in a kind of salt-shaker turret. Snip, snap went the scissors of the brancardiers, who looked after the bath,—good souls these two; the uniforms were slit from mangled limbs. The wounded lay naked in their stretchers while the attendant daubed them with a hot soapy sponge; the blood ran from their wounds through the stretcher to the floor, and seeped into the cracks of the stones. A lean, bearded man, closed his eyes over the agony of his [Pg 113] opened entrails and died there. I thought of Henner's dead Christ.

Outside, mingling with the roaring of the river, came the great, terrible drumming of the bombardment. An endless file of troops were passing down the great road. Night came on. Our ambulances were in a little side street at right angles to the great road; their lamps flares beat fiercely on a little section of the great highway. Suddenly, plunging out of the darkness into the intense radiance of the acetylene beams, came a battery of 75's, the helmeted men leaning over on the horses, the guns rattling and the harness clanking, a swift picture of movement that plunged again into darkness. And with the darkness, the whole horizon became brilliant with cannon fire.


We were well within the horseshoe of German fire that surrounded the French lines. It was between midnight and one o'clock, the sky was deep and clear, with big ice-blue winter stars. We halted at a certain road to wait our chance to deliver our wounded. It was a mêlée of beams of light, of voices, of obscure motions, sounds. Refugees went by, decent people in black, the women being escorted by a soldier. One saw sad, harassed faces. A woman came out of the turmoil, carrying a cat in a canary cage; the animal swept the gilded bars with curved claws, and its eyes shone black and crazily. Others went by pushing baby carriages full to the brim with knick-knacks [Pg 114] and packages. Some pushed a kind of barrow. At the very edge of earth and sky was a kind of violet-white inferno, the thousand finger-like jabs of the artillery shot unceasing to the stars, the great semi-circular auréole flares of the shorter pieces were seen a hundred times a minute. Over the moorland came a terrible roaring such as a river might make tumbling through some subterranean abyss. A few miles below, a dull, ruddy smouldering in the sky told of fires in Verdun. The morning clouded over, the dawn brought snow. Even in the daytime the great cannon flashes could be seen in the low, brownish snow-clouds.

On the way to M., two horses that had died of exhaustion lay in a frozen ditch. Ravens, driven from their repast by the storm, cawed hungrily in the trees.


We slept in the loft of one of the buildings that formed the left wing of the courtyard of the castle. To enter it, we had to pass through a kind of lumber-room on the ground floor in which the hospital coffins were kept. Above was a great, dim loft, rich in a greasy, stably smell, a smell of horses and sweaty leather, the odor of a dirty harness room. At the end of the room, on a kind of raised platform, was the straw in which we lay; a crazy, sagging shelf, covered with oily dust, bundles of clothes, knapsacks, books, candle ends, and steel helmets, ran along the wall over our heads. All night long, the horses underneath us [Pg 115] squealed, pounded, and kicked. I see in the lilac dawn of a winter morning the yellow light of an officer's lantern, and hear the call, "Up, boys—there's a call to B." The bundles in the dirty blankets groan; unshaven, unwashed faces turn tired eyes to the lantern; some, completely worn out, lie in a kind of sleepy stupor. A wicked screaming whistle passes over our heads, and the shell, bursting on a near-by location, startles the dawn.

The snow begins to fall again. The river has fallen, and the air is sickish with the dank smell of the uncovered meadows. A regiment on the way to the front has encamped just beyond the hospital. The men are trying to build little shelters. A handful of fagots is blazing in the angle of two walls; a handful of grave-faced men stand round it, stamping their feet. In the hospital yard, the stretcher-bearers unload the body of an officer who has died in the ambulance. The dead man's face is very calm and peaceful, though the bandages indicate terrible wounds. The cannon flashes still jab the snowy sky.


The back of the attack is broken, and we are beginning to get a little rest. During the first week our cars averaged runs of two hundred miles a day. And this over roads chewed to pieces, and through the most difficult traffic. In one of the places, there was a formidable shell gantlet to run.

This morning I drove to B. with a poilu. He [Pg 116] asked me what I did en civil. I told him. "I am a pâtissier," he replied. "When this business is over, we shall have some cakes together in my good warm shop, and my wife shall make us some chocolate." He gave me his address. A regiment of young men marched singing down the moorland road to the battle-line. "Ah, les braves enfants!" said the pastry cook.

Henry Sheahan

End of Chapter Decoration

[Pg 117]



The Section which is here designated as the "Section in Flanders" has at least two distinguishing characteristics. This was the first Section of substantial proportions to be geographically separated from the "American Ambulance" at Neuilly and turned over to the French army. Until it left "for the front" our automobiles had worked either to and from the Neuilly hospital, as an evacuating base, or, if temporarily detached for service elsewhere, they had gone out in very small units.

Secondarily, it has the distinction of having been moved about more frequently and of having been attached to more diverse army units than any other of our Sections. During the first year of its history, it was located successively in almost every part of Flanders still subject to the Allies: first at Dunkirk and Malo, then at Poperinghe and Elverdinghe, then at Coxyde and Nieuport, then at Crombeke and Woesten, Then after a full year in Flanders it was moved to Beauvais for revision, and since then it has worked in the region between Soissons and Compiègne and subsequently in the neighborhood of Méricourt-sur-Somme.

During most of the time the men have been quartered in barns and stables, sleeping in lofts in the hay [Pg 118] or straw, or on stretchers on the floor, or inside their ambulances, or, during the summer, on the ground, in improvised tents in the open fields.

The opportunities for comfortable writing have been few, and no complete story of the Section's experiences has ever been written. The following pages give only glimpses of a history which has been crammed with incidents and impressions worth recording.

The Section's story began in the cold wet days of early January, 1915, when twenty men with twelve cars left Paris for the north. We spent our first night en route in the shadow of the Beauvais Cathedral, passing the following day through many towns filled with French troops, and then, as we crossed into the British Sector, through towns and villages abounding with the khaki-clad soldiers of England and her colonies and the turbaned troops of British India. The second night we stayed at Saint-Omer, the men sleeping in their cars in the centre of the town square, and the third morning, passing out of the British Sector once more into the French lines, we arrived in Dunkirk where our work began.


We were at once assigned to duty in connection with a hospital established in the freight shed of a railway station, and from then on for many a long day our duty was to carry wounded and sick in a never-ending stream from the station, where they arrived from the front by four or five daily trains, to the thirty or more hospitals in and about the city. [Pg 119] Every school, barrack, and other large building in the town (even the public theatre) or in the neighboring towns within ten miles of Dunkirk, seemed to have been turned into a hospital. Our work was extremely useful, the Section carrying scores and scores of sick and wounded, day after day, week in and out. The first incident of an exciting nature came on the second day.

We were nearly all at the station, quietly waiting for the next train, when high up in the air there appeared first one, then three, and finally seven graceful aeroplanes. We watched, fascinated, and were the more so when a moment later we learned that they were Taubes. It seemed hard to realize that we were to witness one of the famous raids that have made Dunkirk even more famous than the raider Jean Bart himself had ever done. Explosions were heard on all sides and the sky was soon spotted with puffs of white smoke from the shells fired at the intruders. The rattle of the mitrailleuses and the bang of the 75's became a background of sound for the more solemn boom of the shells. A few moments later there was a bang not thirty yards away and we were showered with bits of stone. We stood spell-bound until the danger was over and then foolishly jumped behind our cars for protection.

This incident of our early days was soon thrown into unimportance by other raids, each more interesting than the last. One of them stands out in memory above all the rest. It was a perfect moonlit night, [Pg 120] quite cloudless. Four of my companions and I were on night duty in the railway yard. About eleven the excitement started, and to say it commenced with a bang is not slang but true. Rather it commenced with many bangs. The sight was superb and the excitement intense. One could hear the whirr of the motors, and when they presented a certain angle to the moon the machines showed up like enormous silver flies. One had a delicious feeling of danger, and to stand there and hear the crash of the artillery, the buzzing of the aeroplanes, the swish of the bombs as they fell and the crash as they exploded, made an unforgettable experience. One could plainly hear the bombs during their flight, for each has a propeller attached which prevents its too rapid descent, thus insuring its not entering so far into the ground as to explode harmlessly. To hear them coming and to wonder if it would be your turn next was an experience new to us all. The bombardment continued for perhaps an hour and then our work began. I was sent down to the quay and brought back two wounded men and one who had been killed, and all my companions had about the same experience. One took a man from a half-demolished house; another, an old woman who had been killed in her bed; another, three men badly mutilated who had been peacefully walking on the street. An hour later all was quiet—except perhaps the nerves of some of the men.

About this time our work was enlivened by the appearance of the one and only real ambulance war dog [Pg 121] and the official mascot of the squad. And my personal dog at that! I was very jealous on that point and rarely let him ride on another machine. I got him at Zuydcoote. He was playing about, and as he appeared to be a stray and was very friendly, I allowed him to get on the seat and stay there. But I had to answer so many questions about him that it became a bore, and finally I prepared a speech to suit all occasions, and when any one approached me used to say, "Non, madame, il n'est pas Américain, il est Français; je l'ai trouvé ici dans le Nord." One day a rosy-cheeked young lady approached us, called the dog "Dickie" and I started my speech. "Il ne s'appelle pas Dickie, madame, mais Khaki, et vous savez il est Français." "Je sais bien, monsieur, puisqu'il est à moi." I felt sorry and chagrined, but not for long, as a moment later the lady presented him to me.

We will skip over the humdrum life of the next few weeks to a night in April when we were suddenly ordered to the station at about 1 a.m. It was, I think, April 22. "The Germans have crossed the Yser" was the news that sent a thrill through all of us. Would they this time reach Calais or would they be pushed back? We had no time to linger and wonder. All night long we worked unloading the trains that followed each other without pause. The Germans had used a new and infernal method of warfare; they had released a cloud of poisonous gas which, with a favorable wind, had drifted down and completely enveloped the Allies' trenches. The tales of this first gas attack [Pg 122] were varied and fantastic, but all agreed on the supprise and the horror of it. Trains rolled in filled with huddled figures, some dying, some more lightly touched, but even these coughed so that they were unable to speak coherently. All told the same story, of having become suddenly aware of a strange odor, and then of smothering and choking and falling like flies. In the midst of all this had come a hail of shrapnel. The men were broken as I have never seen men broken. In the months of our work we had become so accustomed to dreadful sights and to suffering as to be little affected by them. The sides and floor of our cars had often been bathed in blood; our ears had not infrequently been stirred by the groans of men in agony. But these sufferers from the new form of attack inspired in us all feelings of pity beyond any that we had ever felt before. To see these big men bent double, convulsed and choking, was heartbreaking and hate-inspiring.


At ten o'clock we were ordered to Poperinghe, about twenty miles from Dunkirk and three miles from Ypres, where one of the biggest battles of the war was just getting under way. The town was filled with refugees from Ypres, which was in flames and uninhabitable. Through Poperinghe and beyond it we slowly wound our way in the midst of a solid stream of motor trucks, filled with dust-covered soldiers coming up to take their heroic part in stemming the German tide. We were to make our headquarters for the time at Elverdinghe, but as we approached [Pg 123] our destination the road was being shelled and we put on our best speed to get through the danger zone. This destination turned out to be a small château in Elverdinghe, where a first-aid hospital had been established. All round us batteries of French and English guns were thundering their aid to the men in the trenches some two miles away. In front of us and beside us were the famous 75's, the 90's, and 120's, and farther back the great English marine guns, and every few seconds we could hear their big shells passing over us. An automobile had just been put out of commission by a shell, before we reached the château, so we had to change our route and go up another road. The château presented a terrible scene. In every room straw and beds and stretchers, and mangled men everywhere. We started to work and for twenty-six hours there was scarcely time for pause. Our work consisted in going down to the postes de secours, or first-aid stations, situated in the Flemish farmhouses, perhaps four hundred or five hundred yards from the trenches, where the wounded get their first primitive dressings, and then in carrying the men back to the dressing-stations where they were dressed again, and then in taking them farther to the rear to the hospitals outside of shell range. The roads were bad and we had to pass a constant line of convoys. At night no lights were allowed and one had to be especially careful not to jolt his passengers. Even the best of drivers cannot help bumping on the [Pg 124] pavements of Belgium, but when for an hour each cobble brings forth a groan from the men inside, it is hard to bear. Often they are out of their heads. They call then for their mothers—they order the charge—to cease firing—they see visions of beautiful fields—of cool water—and sometimes they die before the trip is over.

At Elverdinghe the bombardment was tremendous; the church was crumbling bit by bit. The guns were making too great a noise for sleep. About 4 p.m. we started out to find something to eat. A problem this, for the only shop still open was run by an old couple too scared to cook. No food for hours at a time gives desperate courage, so on we went until we found in a farmhouse some ham and eggs which we cooked ourselves. It was not altogether pleasant, for the whole place was filled with dust, the house next door having just been demolished by a shell. However, the machines were untouched, although a shell burst near them, and we hurried back for another night's work.


The following morning we decided to stay in Elverdinghe and try to get a little sleep, but no sooner had we turned in than we were awakened by the order to get out of the château at once, as we were under fire. While I was putting on my shoes the window fell in and part of the ceiling came along. Then an order came to evacuate the place of all its wounded, and we were busy for hours getting them to a place of safety. Shells were falling all about. One great [Pg 125] tree in front of me was cut completely off and an auto near it was riddled with the fragments. For two weeks this battle lasted. We watched our little village gradually disintegrating under the German shells. The cars were many times under more or less heavy artillery and rifle fire and few there were without shrapnel holes.

The advantage of our little cars over the bigger and heavier ambulances was demonstrated many times. On narrow roads, with a ditch on each side, choked with troops, ammunition wagons, and vehicles of all sorts moving in both directions, horses sometimes rearing in terror at exploding shells, at night in the pitch dark, except for the weird light from the illuminating rockets, the little cars could squeeze through somehow. If sometimes a wheel or two would fall into a shell hole, four or five willing soldiers were enough to lift it out and on its way undamaged. If a serious collision occurred, two hours' work sufficed to repair it. Always "on the job," always efficient, the little car, the subject of a thousand jokers, gained the admiration of every one.

To most of the posts we could go only after dark, as they were in sight of the German lines. Once we did go during the day to a post along the banks of the Yser Canal, but it was too dangerous and the General ordered such trips stopped. These few trips were splendid, however. To see the men in the trenches and hear the screech of the shells at the very front was thrilling, indeed. At times a rifle bullet [Pg 126] would find its way over the bank and flatten itself against a near-by farmhouse. One was safer at night, of course, but the roads were so full of marmite holes and fallen trees that they were hard to drive along. We could only find our way by carefully avoiding the dark spots on the road. Not a man, however, who did not feel a hundred times repaid for any danger and anxiety of these trips in realizing the time and suffering he had saved the wounded. Had we not been there with our little cars, the wounded would have been brought back on hand-stretchers or in wagons far less comfortable and much more slow.

Finally the second battle of the Yser was over. The front settled down again to the comparative quiet of trench warfare. Meanwhile some of us were beginning to feel the strain and were ordered back to Dunkirk for a rest. We reached there in time to witness one of the most exciting episodes of the war. It was just at this time that the Germans sprang another surprise—the bombardment of Dunkirk from guns more than twenty miles away. Shells that would obliterate a whole house or make a hole in the ground thirty feet across would fall and explode without even a warning whistle such as ordinary shells make when approaching. We were in the station working on our cars at about 9.30 in the morning, when, out of a clear, beautiful sky, the first shell fell. We thought it was only from an aeroplane, as Dunkirk seemed far from the range of other guns. The dog seemed to know better, for he jumped off the seat of my car and [Pg 127] came whining under me. A few minutes later came a second and then a third shell. Still not knowing from where they came, we got out our machines and went to where the clouds of smoke gave evidence that they had fallen. I had supposed myself by this time something of a veteran, but when I went into the first dismantled house and saw what it looked like inside, the street seemed by far a safer place. The house was only a mass of torn timbers, dirt, and débris. Even people in the cellar had been wounded. We worked all that day, moving from place to place, sometimes almost smothered by dust and plaster from the explosion of shells in our vicinity. We cruised slowly around the streets waiting for the shells to come and then went to see if any one had been hit. Sometimes, when houses were demolished, we found every one safe in the cellars, but there were many hurt, of course, and quite a number killed. The first day I had three dead and ten terribly wounded to carry, soldiers, civilians, and women too. In one of the earlier bombardments a shell fell in the midst of a funeral, destroying almost every vestige of the hearse and body and all of the mourners. Another day one of them hit a group of children at play in front of the billet where at one time we lodged, and it was said never to have been known how many children had been killed, so complete was their annihilation.

For a time every one believed the shells had been fired from marine guns at sea, but sooner or later it was proved that they came from land guns, twenty or [Pg 128] more miles away, and as these bombardments were repeated in succeeding weeks, measures were taken to safeguard the public from them. Although the shells weighed nearly a ton, their passage through the air took almost a minute and a half, and their arrival in later days was announced by telephone from the French trenches as soon as the explosion on their departure had been heard. At Dunkirk a siren was blown on the summit of a central tower, giving people at least a minute in which to seek shelter in their cellars before the shell arrived. Whenever we heard the sirens our duty was to run into the city and search for the injured, and during the succeeding weeks many severely wounded were carried in our ambulances, including women and children—so frequently the victims of German methods of warfare. The American ambulance cars were the only cars on duty during these different bombardments and the leader of the Section was awarded the Croix de Guerre for the services which they performed.


In the summer a quieter period set in. Sunny weather made life agreeable and in their greater leisure the men were able to enjoy sea-bathing and walks among the sand dunes. A regular ambulance service was kept up in Dunkirk and the surrounding towns, but part of the Section was moved to Coxyde, a small village in the midst of the dunes near the sea between the ruined city of Nieuport and La Panne, the residence of the Belgian King and Queen. Here we worked for seven weeks, among the Zouaves and the [Pg 129] Fusiliers Marins, so famous the world over as the "heroes of the Yser."

Then once more we were moved to the district farther South known as Old Flanders, where our headquarters were in a Flemish farm, adjacent to the town of Crombeke. The landscape hereabout is flat as a billiard-table, only a slight rise now and again breaking the view. Our work consisted in bringing back wounded from the vicinity of the Yser Canal which then marked the line of the enemy's trenches, but owing to the flatness of the country we had to work chiefly at night. Canals dotted with slow-moving barges are everywhere, and as our work was often a cross-country affair, looking for bridges added to the length of our runs. Here we stayed from August to the middle of December, during which we did the ambulance work for the entire French front between the English and the Belgian Sectors.

Just as another winter was setting in and we were once more beginning to get hordes of cases of frozen feet, we were ordered to move again, this time to another army. The day before we left, Colonel Morier visited the Section and, in the name of the Army, thanked the men in glowing terms, not only for the work which they had done, but for the way in which they had done it. He recalled the great days of the Second Battle of the Yser and the Dunkirk bombardments and what the Americans had done; how he had always felt sure that he could depend upon them, and how they had always been ready for any service however [Pg 130] arduous or dull or dangerous it might be. He expressed officially and personally his regret at our departure.

We left on a day that was typical and reminiscent of hundreds of other days we had spent in Flanders. It was raining when our convoy began to stretch itself out along the road and it drizzled all that day. [8]

Joshua G. B. Campbell

[8] This Section has since added several important chapters to its history, having served successively on the Aisne, on the Somme, at Verdun, and in the Argonne. (November, 1916.)
End of Chapter Decoration.

[Pg 131]



The night before we were to leave we gave a dinner to the officers of the Ambulance. There were not many speeches, but we were reminded that we were in charge of one of the best-equipped Sections which had as yet taken the field, and that we were going to the front in an auxiliary capacity to take the place of Frenchmen needed for the sterner work of the trenches. We might be sent immediately to the front or kept for a while in the rear; but in any event there were sick and wounded to be carried and our job was to help by obeying orders.

Early the next morning we ran through the Bois-de-Boulogne and over an historic route to Versailles, where, at the headquarters of the Army Automobile Service, our cars were numbered with a military serial and the driver of each was given a Livret Matricule, which is an open sesame to every motor park in France. Those details were completed about ten o'clock, and we felt at last as if we were French soldiers driving French automobiles on the way to our place at the front.

About thirty kilometres outside of Paris the staff car and the camionnette with the cook on board dashed by us, and upon our arrival at a quaint little village we found a café requisitioned for our use and its [Pg 132] stock of meat, bread, and red wine in profusion at our disposal. In the evening we reached the town of Esternay and there again found all prepared for our reception. Rooms were requisitioned and the good people took us in with open arms and the warmest of hospitality, but one or two of us spread our blankets over the stretchers in the back of our cars, because there were not enough rooms and beds for all.

The next morning was much colder; there was some snow and later a heavy fog. Our convoi got under way shortly after breakfast and ran in record-breaking time, for we wanted to finish our trip that evening. We stopped for lunch and for an inspection which consumed two hours, and starting about ten o'clock on the last stretch of our journey, drove all afternoon through sleet, cold, and snow. At seven o'clock that night we reached Vaucouleurs, had our supper, secured sleeping accommodations, and retired. Our running orders had been completed; we had reached our ordered destination in perfect form.


Several days passed. We were inspected by generals and other officers, all of whom seemed pleased with the completeness of our Section. Yet improvements they said were still possible and should be made while we were at the park. We were to take care of a service of evacuation of sick in that district and at the same time try out a "heating system." The Medical Inspector issued orders to equip two ambulances and report the results. Our Section Director designed a system which uses the exhaust of [Pg 133] the motor through two metal boxes, which arrangement warmed the air within the car and also forced the circulation of fresh air. This was installed in two cars and found to be very satisfactory, for in all kinds of weather and temperatures the temperature of the ambulances could be kept between 65° and 70° Fahrenheit.

We were at this place in all six weeks, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Our work consisted of evacuating malades, and at first it offered a fine opportunity of teaching the "green ones" how to care for their cars. But we were all soon put on our mettle.

The outlying country was full of lowlands and streams which in many places during the hard rains covered the roads to such a depth that the usual type of French cars could not operate. Our car suspension was high, and we were able to perform a service the other cars had not been able to do. We established, too, a standard for prompt service, and during the weeks we were there it never became necessary that we delay a call for service on account of "high water." We left this district for other work with a record of never having missed a call, and the promptness of service, day or night, was often a matter of comment by the French officials connected with this work. During the high water, certain posts accustomed to telephone for an ambulance would ask for an American Ambulance Boat, and the story was soon about that we had water lines painted on the cars as gauges [Pg 134] for depths through which we could pass. I was once in the middle of a swirling rapid with the nearest "land" one hundred yards away. But I had to get through, because I knew I had a pneumonia patient with a high fever. I opened the throttle and charged. When I got to the other side I was only hitting on two cylinders, but as mine was the only car that day to get through at all I boasted long afterwards of my ambulance's fording ability.

We were always looking forward to being moved and attached to some Division within the First Army, and, as promised, the order came. Our service in this district was completed, and on the morning of January 5 our convoi passed on its way to a new location. Our work here included postes de secours that were intermittently under fire, and several of the places could only be reached at night, being in daylight within plain view of the German gunners.

Here again we remained only a short time. Without any warning we received an order one evening to proceed the next day to Toul. This we knew meant 7 a.m., for the French military day begins early, and so all night we were busy filling our gasoline tanks, cleaning spark-plugs, and getting a dismantled car in shape to "roll."


The trip to Toul was without incident, and when we drew up at the caserne, which proved to be our future home, we reported as ready for immediate work. The next day five cars were sent to a secondary poste de secours about ten kilometres from the lines and two [Pg 135] cars farther forward to a first-line poste de secours. The rest of the ambulances formed a reserve at our base to relieve daily those cars and take care of such emergency calls as might come in day or night. Then as soon as we proved our worth, we were given other similar points on the lines, and gradually took over the work of the French Section working with the next Army Division.

To-day we have our full measure of shell adventures, night driving, and long hours at the wheel. But these are, of course, only the usual incidents of life at the front. We, too, the whole Section feels, will have our Second Battle of the Yser, or our attack on Hartmannsweilerkopf, and we are as eager as any soldier to prove what our men and cars can do in the face of such emergencies. [9]

George Rockwell

[9] Shortly after this was written, the Section was sent to the Verdun sector, where for five months it has worked in the vicinity of Mort Homme and Hill 304. During this period one of its members, Edward J. Kelley, was killed, and another member, Roswell Sanders, was gravely wounded. (November, 1916.)
End of Chapter Decoration.

[Pg 136]



"Un blessé à Montauville—urgent!"
Calls the sallow-faced téléphoniste.
The night is as black as hell's black pit,
There's snow on the wind in the East.
There's snow on the wind, there's rain on the wind,
The cold's like a rat at your bones;
You crank your car till your soul caves in,
But the engine only moans.
The night is as black as hell's black pit;
You feel your crawling way
Along the shell-gutted, gun-gashed road—
How—only God can say.
The 120's and 75's
Are bellowing on the hill;
They're playing at bowls with big trench-mines
Down at the Devil's mill.
Christ! Do you hear that shrapnel tune
Twang through the frightened air?
The Boches are shelling on Montauville—
They're waiting for you up there!
"Un blessé—urgent? Hold your lantern up
While I turn the damned machine!
Easy, just lift him easy now!
Why, the fellow's face is green!"
"Oui, ça ne dure pas longtemps, tu sais." [Pg 137]
"Here, cover him up—he's cold!
Shove the stretcher—it's stuck! That's it—he's in!"
Poor chap, not twenty years old.
"Bon-soir, messieurs—à tout à l'heure!"
And you feel for the hell-struck road.
It's ten miles off to the surgery,
With Death and a boy for your load.
Praise God for that rocket in the trench,
Green on the ghastly sky—
That camion was dead ahead!
Let the ravitaillement by!
"Courage, mon brave! We're almost there!"
God, how the fellow groans—
And you'd give your heart to ease the jolt
Of the ambulance over the stones.
Go on, go on, through the dreadful night—
How—only God He knows!
But now he's still! Aye, it's terribly still
On the way a dead man goes.
"Wake up, you swine asleep! Come out!
Un blessé—urgent—damned bad!"
A lamp streams in on the blood-stained white
And the mud-stained blue of the lad.
"Il est mort, m'sieu!" "So the poor chap's dead?"
Just there, then, on the road
You were driving a hearse in the hell-black night, [Pg 138]
With Death and a boy for your load.
O dump him down in that yawning shed,
A man at his head and feet;
Take off his ticket, his clothes, his kit,
And give him his winding-sheet.
It's just another poilu that's dead;
You've hauled them every day
Till your soul has ceased to wonder and weep
At war's wild, wanton play.
He died in the winter dark, alone,
In a stinking ambulance,
With God knows what upon his lips—
But on his heart was France!

Emery Pottle

End of Chapter Decoration.

[Pg 139]



In one of the most beautiful countries in the world, the Alsatian Valley of the Thur runs to where the Vosges abruptly end in the great flat plain of the Rhine. In turn a small valley descends into that of the Thur. At the head of this valley lies the small village of Mollau where is billeted the Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3. It has been through months of laborious, patient, never-ceasing trips from the valley to the mountain-tops and back, up the broadened mule-paths, rutted and worn by a thousand wheels and the hoofs of mules, horses, and oxen, by hobnailed boots and by the cars of the American Ambulance (for no other Section is equipped with cars and men for such service), up from the small Alsatian towns, leaving the main valley road to grind through a few fields of ever-increasing grade on into the forest, sometimes pushed, sometimes pulled, always blocked on the steepest slopes by huge army wagons deserted where they stuck, rasping cart-loads of trench torpedoes on one side, crumbling the edge of the ravine on the other,—day and night—night and day—in snow and rain—and, far worse, fog—months of foul and days of fair,—up with the interminable caravans of ravitaillement, supplies with [Pg 140] which to sustain or blast the human body (we go down with the human body once blasted), up past small armies of Alsatian peasants of three generations (rather two—octogenarians and children), forever repairing, forever fighting the wear and tear of all that passes,—up at last to the little log huts and rudely made postes de secours at the mouth of the trench "bowels,"—a silent little world of tethered mules, shrouded carts and hooded figures, lightless by night, under the great pines where is a crude garage usually filled with grenades into which one may back at one's own discretion.

Day after day, night after night, wounded or no wounded, the little ambulances plied with their solitary drivers. Few men in ordinary autos or in ordinary senses travel such roads by choice, but all that is impossible is explained by a simple C'est la guerre. Why else blindly force and scrape one's way past a creaking truck of shells testing twenty horses, two abreast, steaming in their own cloud of sweaty vapor, thick as a Fundy fog? Taking perforce the outside, the ravine side, the ambulance passes. More horses and wagons ahead in the dark, another blinding moment or two, harnesses clash and rattle, side bolts and lanterns are wiped from the car. It passes again; C'est la guerre. Why else descend endless slopes with every brake afire, with three or four human bodies as they should not be, for cargo, where a broken drive-shaft leaves but one instantaneous twist of the wheel for salvation, a thrust straight into the bank, smashing [Pg 141] the car, but saving its precious load? C'est la guerre.

The men in time grow tired as do the machines. A week before Christmas they rested quietly in their villages—a week of sun and splendid moon, spent tuning up their motors and gears and jogging about afoot after all their "rolling." A lull in the fighting, and after three weeks of solid rain, nature smiles. The Section had been ordered to leave shortly, and it was only held for a long-expected attack which would bring them all together for once on the mountains in a last great effort with the Chasseurs Alpins and the mountains they both loved.

On December 21st the mountain spoke and all the cars rolled upwards to the poste of Hartmannsweilerkopf,—taken and retaken a score of times,—a bare, brown, blunt, shell-ploughed top where before the forest stood, up elbowing, buffeting, and tacking their way through battalions of men and beasts, up by one pass and down by another unmountable (for there is no going back against the tide of what was battle-bound). From one mountain slope to another roared all the lungs of war. For five days and five nights—scraps of days, the shortest of the year, nights interminable—the air was shredded with shrieking shells—intermittent lulls for slaughter in attack after the bombardment, then again the roar of the counter-attack.

All this time, as in all the past months, Richard Nelville Hall calmly drove his car up the winding, shell-swept [Pg 142] artery of the mountain of war,—past crazed mules, broken-down artillery carts, swearing drivers, stricken horses, wounded stragglers still able to hobble,—past long convoys of Boche prisoners, silent, descending in twos, guarded by a handful of men,—past all the personnel of war, great and small (for there is but one road, one road on which to travel, one road for the enemy to shell),—past abris, bomb-proofs, subterranean huts, to arrive at the postes de secours, where silent men moved mysteriously in the mist under the great trees, where the cars were loaded with an ever-ready supply of still more quiet figures (though some made sounds), mere bundles in blankets. Hall saw to it that those quiet bundles were carefully and rapidly installed,—right side up, for instance,—for it is dark and the brancardiers are dull folks, deadened by the dead they carry; then rolled down into the valley below, where little towns bear stolidly their daily burden of shells wantonly thrown from somewhere in Bocheland over the mountain to somewhere in France—the bleeding bodies in the car a mere corpuscle in the full crimson stream, the ever-rolling tide from the trenches to the hospital, of the blood of life and the blood of death. Once there, his wounded unloaded, Dick Hall filled his gasoline tank and calmly rolled again on his way. Two of his comrades had been wounded the day before, but Dick Hall never faltered. He slept where and when he could, in his car, at the poste, on the floor of our temporary kitchen at Moosch—dry blankets—wet [Pg 143] blankets—blankets of mud—blankets of blood; contagion was pedantry—microbes a myth.

At midnight Christmas Eve, he left the valley to get his load of wounded for the last time. Alone, ahead of him, two hours of lonely driving up the mountain. Perhaps he was thinking of other Christmas Eves, perhaps of his distant home, and of those who were thinking of him.

Matter, the next American to pass, found him by the roadside halfway up the mountain. His face was calm and his hands still in position to grasp the wheel. Matter, and Jennings, who came a little later, bore him tenderly back in Matter's car to Moosch, where his brother, Louis Hall, learned what had happened.

A shell had struck his car and killed him instantly, painlessly. A chance shell in a thousand had struck him at his post, in the morning of his youth.

Up on the mountain fog was hanging over Hartmann's Christmas morning, as if Heaven wished certain things obscured. The trees were sodden with dripping rain. Weather, sight, sound, and smell did their all to sicken mankind, when news was brought to us that Dick Hall had fallen on the Field of Honor. No man said, "Merry Christmas," that day. No man could have mouthed it. With the fog forever closing in, with the mountain shaken by a double bombardment as never before, we sat all day in the little log hut by the stove, thinking first of Dick Hall, then [Pg 144] of Louis Hall, his brother, down in the valley....

Gentlemen at home, you who tremble with concern at overrun putts, who bristle at your partner's play at auction, who grow hoarse at football games, know that among you was one who played for greater goals—the lives of other men. There in the small hours of Christmas morning, where mountain fought mountain, on that hard-bitten pass under the pines of the Vosgian steeps, there fell a very modest and valiant gentleman.

Dick Hall, we who knew you, worked with you, played with you, ate with you, slept with you, we who took pleasure in your company, in your modesty, in your gentle manners, in your devotion and in your youth—we still pass that spot, and we salute. Our breath comes quicker, our eyes grow dimmer, we grip the wheel a little tighter—we pass—better and stronger men.


Richard Hall was buried with honors of war in the Valley of Saint-Amarin, in the part of Alsace which once more belongs to France. His grave, in a crowded military cemetery, is next that of a French officer who fell the same morning. It bears the brief inscription, "Richard Hall, an American who died for France." Simple mountain people in the only part of Germany where foreign soldiers are to-day brought to the grave many wreaths of native flowers and Christmas greens. The funeral service was held in a little Protestant [Pg 145] chapel, five miles down the valley. At the conclusion of the service Hall's citation was read and the Cross of War pinned on the coffin. On the way to the cemetery sixteen soldiers, belonging to a battalion on leave from the trenches, marched in file on each side with arms reversed. The médecin chef spoke as follows:—


C'est un suprême hommage de reconnaissance et d'affection que nous rendons, devant cette fosse fraîchement creusée, à ce jeune homme—je dirais volontiers—cet enfant—tombé hier pour la France sur les pentes de l'Hartmannsweilerkopf.... Ai-je besoin de vous rappeler la douloureuse émotion que nous avons tous ressentis en apprenant hier matin que le conducteur Richard Hall, de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3, venait d'être mortellement frappé par un éclat d'obus, près du poste de secours de Thomannsplats où il montait chercher des blessés?

A l'Ambulance 3/58, où nous éprouvons pour nos camarades américains une sincère amitié basée sur des mois de vie commune pendant laquelle il nous fut permis d'apprécier leur endurance, leur courage, et leur dévouement, le conducteur Richard Hall était estimé entre tous pour sa modestie, sa douceur, sa complaisance.

A peine sorti de l'université de Dartmouth, dans la générosité de son cœur d'adolescent, il apporta à la France le précieux concours de sa charité en venant relever, sur les champs de bataille d'Alsace, ceux [Pg 146] de nos vaillants soldats blessés en combattant pour la patrie bien-aimée.

Il est mort en "Chevalier de la Bienfaisance"—en "Américain"—pour l'accomplissement d'une œuvre de bonté et de charité chrétienne!

Aux êtres chers qu'il a laissés dans sa patrie, au Michigan, à ses parents désolés, à son frère ainé, qui, au milieu de nous, montre une si stoique douleur, nos hommages et l'expression de notre tristesse sont bien sincères et bien vifs!

Conducteur Richard Hall, vous allez reposer ici à l'ombre du drapeau tricolore, auprès de tous ces vaillants dont vous êtes l'émule.... Vous faites à juste titre partie de leur bataillon sacré!... Seul, votre corps, glorieusement mutilé, disparait—votre âme est remonté trouver Dieu—votre souvenir, lui, reste dans nos cœurs, impérissable!... Les Français n'oublient pas!

Conducteur Richard Hall—Adieu! [10]

[10] "Translation


"We are here to offer our last, supreme homage of gratitude and affection, beside this freshly dug grave, to this young man—I might well say, this boy—who fell yesterday, for France, on the slopes of Hartmannsweilerkopf. Do I need to recall the painful emotion that we all felt when we learned yesterday morning that Driver Richard Hall, of the American Sanitary Section No 3, had been mortally wounded by the bursting of a shell, near the dressing-station at Thomannsplats, where he had gone to take up the wounded?

"In Ambulance 3/58, where we cherish for our American comrades a sincere affection based upon months of life in common, during which we have had full opportunity to estimate truly their endurance, their courage, and their devotion, Driver Richard Hall was regarded with peculiar esteem for his modesty, his sweet disposition, his obligingness.

[Pg 147] "Barely graduated from Dartmouth College, in the noble enthusiasm of his youth he brought to France the invaluable coöperation of his charitable heart—coming hither to gather up on the battlefields of Alsace those of our gallant troops who were wounded fighting for their beloved country.

"He died like a 'Chevalier de la Bienfaisance,' like an American, while engaged in a work of kindness and Christian charity!

"To the dear ones whom he has left in his own land, in Michigan, to his grief-stricken parents, to his older brothel who displays here among us such stoicism in his grief, our respect and our expressions of sorrow are most sincere and heartfelt.

"Driver Richard Hall, you are to be laid to rest here, in the shadow of the tri-colored flag, beside all these brave fellows, whose gallantry you have emulated. You are justly entitled to make one of their consecrated battalion! Your body alone, gloriously mutilated, disappears; your soul has ascended to God; your memory remains in our hearts—imperishable!—Frenchmen do not forget!

"Driver Richard Hall—farewell!"

End of Chapter Decoration.

[Pg 148]


Start of Chapter Decoration.


This chapter is made up of excerpts from letters and diaries written by men in the Field Service, which, in one way or another, have found their way into Mr. Andrew's office. They are presented as a series of snapshot views taken by men in the course of daily work and no attempt has been made to weave them into a connected narrative.

Soldier Writing.

Our Ambulances

A word about the structure of the small motor ambulances as perfected by our experience during the war. Upon the chassis as received from the States is built a strong, light ambulance body of tough wood and canvas. The design provides for the utmost economy [Pg 149] of space, and although the cubical contents are perhaps not more than half of that of the body of an ordinary ambulance of the kind constructed to carry four stretchers, the typical cars of the American Ambulance can carry three. Two stretchers stand on the floor of the car and the third is supported under the roof by a simple and ingenious contrivance designed by one of the Section leaders to meet the special needs of the service. When not in use this mechanism folds up and rests flat against the sides of the ambulance, and with a couple of seats added, which can be fixed in position immediately, the car is transformed in a moment into an ambulance for four sitting cases. In addition to these room has been found, by means of specially constructed seats placed by the driver, for three more sitters, making a total of three lying and three sitting cases for each trip. In emergency as many as ten wounded men have been carried at one time, the inside of the car being crowded to its capacity, and the foot-plates and mud-guards serving as extra seats.

An ambulance loaded like this is an interesting sight. The driver seems almost buried under his freight; he has not an inch of room more than is necessary for the control of his car. Covered with mud, blood-stained, with startlingly white bandages against their tanned skin; with puttees loose and torn, heavy boots, shapeless uniforms gray from exposure, and with patient, suffering faces still bearing the shock and horror of bombardment, the wounded roll slowly from the postes [Pg 150] de secours to shelter and care, shivering, maybe, in the cold and grayness of dawn, but always with a hand to help each other and a word of thanks to the driver.

A. P. A.

Soldier Standing.

How the Cars reach Paris

Towards the end of February three of us went down to Havre to unpack eight cars which had just arrived. In three days the work was done, and as I was one of the first drivers to get to work, I was able to choose the car I liked best for the trip down to Paris. Unfortunately it rained steadily during our passage through Normandy, so that we could not appreciate to the full one of the most beautiful countries in the world. After spending the night in Rouen, we set out for Paris, which was reached in good time, my only mishap being a puncture.

[Pg 151]

In Paris I drove the little car, with its soap-box body, as a light delivery wagon to do odd jobs in town, to give driving lessons, to carry fellows going to the front as far as the station, and other similar tasks, for some two weeks, when it went to the carriage-builders. As it happened, this particular carrossier, who had not been employed by the American Ambulance before, turned out the best and strongest bodies for the five cars I was interested in, among which was the one presented by St. Paul's School.

Henry M. Suckley

Soldier in North-African Uniform.

En route for the Front

It appeals to the French people that so many Americans are standing by them in their tragic hours. The little that we in America have actually done seems small, indeed, compared with the size of the situation, [Pg 152] but its main object and its main effect are to show to the people of France that we believe in them and in the justice of their cause; that we still remember what they did for us in the darkest hour of our own history; and that, as members of a great sister Republic, our hearts and hopes are with them in this most unnecessary war. All day long, wherever we have stopped, people have come out and offered us flowers and fruit and food and friendly greetings, very much as our ancestors of a hundred and forty years ago must have offered them to the compatriots of Lafayette.

Lieut. Duboin          Mr. Andrew          Mr. Bacon           Dr. Gros          Mr. Hill

Our trip has been full of touching and appealing impressions crowding one upon the other. As our picturesque convoy ran through the little villages, and we stopped here and there for some one to clean a spark-plug or mend a tire, children crowded around us, and asked questions about America, and we often got them to sing the "Marseillaise" or some of the topical songs of the moment about "Guillaume" and the "Boches" (people in France seldom speak of the Germans as such, they call them simply "Boches" which seems to mean "brutal, stupid people"). After a long, hard drive we reached Saint-Omer about eleven. The hotels were full, the restaurants were closed, and no provision had been made either for our food or our lodging. So we wheeled into the public square and slept on the stretchers in our ambulances—without other food than the chocolate and crackers we had in our pockets. All day yesterday, as we [Pg 153] ran past the quaint towns and villages, we could hear the great cannon on the front booming like distant thunder. It is hard to realize that for five hundred and more miles these cannon are booming day after day all day long, and often throughout the night.

A. P. A.

Soldier Standing.

First Impressions

After a few more short delays (inseparable from times and states of war), the Section at last found itself within a mile of one of the most stubbornly contested points of the line. In a little town not far from the front they came in swift progression into hard work, bombardment, and appreciation by the army.

(On the hill in the background)

Pont-à-Mousson is in a district in which low hills, many of them covered with thick woods, lie along the valley of the Moselle. Down towards the river, on [Pg 154] both banks and at right angles to it, stretch the interminable lines of trenches, east and west; batteries of guns crown the adjacent hills for two or three miles back from the trenches, alike in the enemy's country and that of the French; and intermittently, day and night, these batteries defy and seek to destroy each other, the valleys echoing with the roar of their guns and the sharp scream of shells high overhead. Back of the trenches for several miles every village is full of soldiers resting or in reserve; the roads are filled with marching troops, horses, mule trains, baggage wagons, guns and ammunition carts. At every crossroad stand sentries with bayonets. After sunset the whole country is dark, no lights being permitted, but the roads are more crowded than by day, as it is under cover of night that troops and guns are generally moved. The whole country near to the active lines is one great theatre of war. Everywhere are sights and sounds forbidding a moment's forgetfulness of the fact. Yet—and it is one of the most curious and touching things one sees—the peasant life goes on but little changed. Old men dig in their gardens, women gather and sell their vegetables, girls stand in the evenings at their cottage doors, children run about and play in the streets. Often, not more than two miles away, a desperate attack may be in progress. Between the concussions of the cannon throwing their missiles from the hills over the village can be heard the rattle of rifle-fire and the dull pop-pop-pop of the mitrailleuses. In an hour or two, scores, maybe [Pg 155] hundreds, of wounded men, or lines of prisoners, will file through the village, and at any moment shells may burst over the street, killing soldiers or women indifferently, but the old man still digs in his garden, the girl still gossips at the door.

J. Halcott Glover

The Daily Programme

About 6 o'clock those sleeping at the caserne get up and dress, rolling up their blanket-rolls, and coming into the dining-room for coffee at about 6.30. Towards 7, the men who have slept at the different postes arrive. After coffee, ambulances which are to be stationed elsewhere for service as required, leave the caserne. Men on day duty see to their cars and await calls by telephone which are received by our French assistant. Particulars are entered by him upon a printed slip and given to the driver next in turn to go out. On the driver's return, this slip is handed in with the number of wounded carried and the figures are entered in our record book. At 11 o'clock everybody comes in for déjeuner. The dining-room—a large apartment capable of holding three times our number—has been pleasantly decorated with festoons and flags by our orderly, Mignot. The afternoon is taken up in evacuating wounded to Belleville, bringing in fresh wounded as required, or, in slack moments, in reading, writing, or sleeping. We have a little garden and easy-chairs, and, considering [Pg 156] the state of war and the very close proximity of the enemy, it is remarkable that we should have so many luxuries. At 6 we have dinner, after which men who are to sleep at Dieulouard go off for the night. By 9 the rest of us have generally turned in. One car every night waits at Montauville, and, should there be too many wounded for one car to convey, as many more are as required are summoned by telephone. During severe attacks, all cars may be called for: in which case one man is appointed to take charge of arrivals and despatches at Montauville, leaving drivers free to come and go with as little delay as possible.

J. H. G.

Handling the Wounded


The wounded are brought by the army brancardiers direct from the trenches to one or other of the postes de secours established in the villages behind the trenches and are carried on stretchers slung between two wheels. Two men convey them. They usually come two or three kilometres over rough tracks or open fields from the lines where they fell. The work of the brancardiers is exhausting and dangerous, and enough cannot be said in their praise. This war being one of barbarous weapons, the condition of the wounded is often terrible. Shells, shrapnel, hand-grenades, and mines account for most of the injuries, and these are seldom clean wounds and often very serious. The wounded arrive, after rough dressing on [Pg 157] the field, sometimes so covered with blood and dirt as to be unrecognizable. Often they are unconscious, and not unfrequently they die before adequate help can be got. One hears few utterances of pain, and no complaints. Stretchers are carried into the poste de secours, where a doctor examines the wound and re-dresses it if necessary; the blessé is then brought out and given to us. Our cars can carry three stretcher cases or five or six sitting; only the most seriously injured can be allowed the luxury of lying down. Our business then is to convey them gently, and as fast as is consistent with gentleness, to hospitals. Here the wounded receive further treatment; or, if their case is hopeless, are allowed peacefully to die. The following day, or perhaps several days afterwards, if the wounded man is not fit to travel, he comes into our hands again, to be carried to the trains sanitaires for evacuation to one of the many hospitals throughout France.

J. H. G.

The Wounded


One would like to say a little about the wounded men, of whom we have, by this time, seen some thousands. But it is difficult to separate one's impressions: the wounded come so fast and in such numbers, and one is so closely concerned with the mechanical part of their transportation, that very soon one ceases to have many human emotions concerning them. And [Pg 158] there is a pitiful sameness in their appearance. They are divided, of course, into the two main classes of "sitting" and "lying." Many of the former have come down on foot from the trenches; one sees them arrive in the street at Montauville looking round—perhaps a little lost—for the poste de secours appointed for this particular regiment or company. Sometimes they help one another; often they walk with an arm thrown round some friendly shoulder. I have seen men come in, where I have stood waiting in the poste de secours, and throw themselves down exhausted, with blood trickling from their loose bandages into the straw. They have all the mud and sunburn of their trench life upon them—a bundle of heavy, shapeless clothes—always the faded blue of their current uniform—and a pair of hobnailed boots, very expressive of fatigue. They smell of sweat, camp-fire smoke, leather, and tobacco—all the same, whether the man be a peasant or a professor of mathematics. Sometimes, perhaps from loss of blood, or nervous shock, their teeth chatter. They are all very subdued in manner. One is struck by their apparent freedom from pain. With the severely wounded, brought in on stretchers, it is occasionally otherwise. If it is difficult to differentiate between man and man among the "sitting" cases, it is still more so with the "lying." Here there is a blood-stained shape under a coat or a blanket, a glimpse of waxy skin, a mass of bandage. When the uniform is gray, men say "Boche" and draw round to look. Then one sees the [Pg 159] closely cropped bullet head of the German. One might describe the ghastliness of wounds, but enough has been said. At first, they cause a shudder, and I have had gusts of anger at the monstrous folly in man that results in such senseless suffering, but very soon the fatalism which is a prevailing tone of men's thoughts in this war dulls one's perceptions. It is just another blessé—the word "gravement," spoken by the infirmier, as they bring him out to the ambulance, carries only the idea of a little extra care in driving. The last we see of them is at the hospital. At night we have to wake up the men on duty there. The stretcher is brought into the dimly lighted, close-smelling room where the wounded are received, and laid down on the floor. In the hopeless cases there follows the last phase. The man is carried out and lies, with others like himself, apart from human interest till death claims him. Then a plain, unpainted coffin, the priest, a little procession, a few curious eyes, the salute, and the end. His grave, marked by a small wooden cross on which his name and grade are written, lies unnoticed, the type of thousands, by the roadside or away among the fields. Everywhere in the war zone one passes these graves. A great belt of them runs from Switzerland to the sea across France and Belgium. There are few people living in Europe who have not known one or more of the men who lie within it.

J. H. G.

[Pg 160]

Night Duty

A few days after our arrival at the front I had my first experience of a night call. It was very dark and we had to feel our way forward. Nothing gives one a stronger sense of the nearness of war than such a trip. The dark houses, deserted streets, the dim shape of the sentry at the end of the town, the night scents of the fields as one passes slowly along them, are things not to be forgotten. We strained our eyes in the darkness to avoid other vehicles, all, like our own, going without lights. In those days, not being so well known as we are now, the sentries challenged us: their "Halte-là" in the darkness brought us frequently to an abrupt stop. As we drew near the trenches we heard the guns very clearly, and saw over the crest of a hill the illuminating rockets with which both armies throw a glare over their attacks. They throw a greenish and ghastly light over the country, hanging in the air a few seconds before falling. At our destination everything was dark. We left the cars in the road and went up under the trees to the poste de secours. Here we found some men sleeping on straw, but had to wait close upon two hours before our wounded were ready. From time to time a battery of 75's startled us in the woods near by. At last in a drizzling rain we came back to quarters, passing several small bodies of soldiers marching silently up to the trenches. Another night, remaining near the trenches till half-past four in the morning, I saw the wounded brought in, in the gray of dawn, from a series of attacks and [Pg 161] counter-attacks. I had been waiting in one of the postes de secours, where, by candlelight, particulars were being written down of the various wounded. The surgeon, in a long white linen coat, in many places stained with blood, was busy with his scissors. Many wounded lay on straw round the room, and at rare intervals one heard a groan. The air was warm and heavy, full of the smell of wounds and iodine. A window was opened, the light of morning making the candles dim and smoky, and it was pleasant to go out into the cool air. The wounded being brought in looked cold and wretched. There were many who had been hit in the face or head—more than one was blind.

I overheard a few words spoken between a brancardier and a wounded man who—rare sign of suffering—was weeping. "You will be safe now—you are going to your wife," spoken in tones of sympathy for comfort, and the reply: "No, no, I am dying."... Later, as the sun was rising and lifting the blue mist in the hollows of the hill, I watched some shells bursting in a field; a brown splash of earth, a ball of smoke which drifted slowly away.

J. H. G.

Fitting into the Life

During the months of May, June, and July the Section, increased in number to twenty cars, broke all records of the American Ambulance. The work was [Pg 162] so organized and men brought such devotion to their duties that it may be said that, of all the wounded brought down from daily and nightly fighting, not one was kept waiting so much as ten minutes for an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

Where, before the coming of the American cars, ambulances came up to the postes de secours only when called, and at night came after a delay occasioned by waking a driver sleeping some miles away, who thereupon drove his car to the place where he was needed, the American Section established a service on the spot, so that the waiting was done by the driver of the ambulance and not by the wounded. The effect of this service was immediate in winning confidence and liking, of which the members of the Section were justly proud. Their swift, light, easy-running cars were a great improvement on the old and clumsy ambulances which had served before them. In the early days, when these old ambulances were working side by side with ours, wounded men being brought from the trenches would ask to be carried by the Americans. That the latter should have come so far to help them, should be so willing to lose sleep and food that they should be saved from pain, and should take the daily risks of the soldiers without necessity or recompense seemed to touch them greatly. It was not long before the words "Ambulance Américaine" would pass a man by any sentry post. The mot, or password, was never demanded. And in their times of leisure, when others were on duty, men could eat with [Pg 163] the soldiers in their popotes and become their friends. Many of them have become known and welcomed in places miles apart and have formed friendships which will last long after the war.

J. H. G.

Paysages de Guerre

I went early one morning with one of our men, by invitation of an engineer whose acquaintance we had made, up to the part of the Bois-le-Prêtre known as the Quart-en-Réserve. We started at three, marching up with a party going up to identify and bury the dead. The sites of all the trenches, fought over during the winter, were passed on the way, and we went through several encampments where soldiers were still sleeping, made of little log houses and dug-outs, such as the most primitive men lived in. It was a gray morning, with a nip in the air; the fresh scents of the earth and the young green were stained with the smoke of the wood fires and the mixed smells of a camp. After a spell of dry weather, the rough tracks we followed in our course through the wood were passable enough; the deep ruts remaining and here and there a piece of soft ground gave us some idea of the mud through which the soldiers must have labored a few weeks before. And it is by such tracks that the wounded are brought down from the trenches! Small wonder that when the stretcher is laid down its occupant is occasionally found to be dead. In about half [Pg 164] an hour, nearing the top of the hill which the Bois-le-Prêtre covers, we noticed a change both in the scene and in the air. The leafage was thinner, and there was a look, not very definable yet, of blight. The path we were following sank deeper, and became a trench. For some hundreds of yards we walked in single file, seeing nothing but the narrow ditch winding before us, and bushes and trees overhead. With every step our boots grew heavier with thick, sticky mud. And a faint perception of unpleasant smells which had been with us for some minutes became a thing which had to be fought against. Suddenly the walls of our trench ended, and in front of us was an amazing confusion of smashed trees, piles of earth and rock—as though some giant had passed that way, idly kicking up the ground for his amusement. We climbed out of the remains of our trench and looked round. One had read, in official reports of the war, of situations being "prepared" by artillery for attack. We saw before us what that preparation means. An enlarged photograph of the mountains on the moon gives some idea of the appearance of shell-holes. Little wonder that attacks are usually successful: the wonder is that any of the defenders are left alive. The difficulty is to hold the position when captured, for the enemy can and does turn the tables. Here lies the whole of the slow torture of this war since the open fighting of last year—a war of exhaustion which must already have cost, counting all sides, more than a million lives. The scene we looked [Pg 165] round upon might be fittingly described by the Biblical words "abomination of desolation." Down in the woods we had come through, the trees were lovely with spring, and early wild flowers peeped prettily from between the rocks. Here it was still winter—a monstrous winter where the winds were gunpowder and the rain bullets. Trees were stripped of their smaller branches, of their bark: there was scarcely a leaf. And before us lay the dead. One of the horrible features in this war, in which there is no armistice, and the Red Cross is fired upon as a matter of course, is that it is often impossible to bury the dead till long after they are fallen. Only when a disputed piece of ground has at last been captured, and the enemy is driven well back, can burial take place. It is then that companies of men are sent out to pick up and identify. Of all the tasks forced upon men by war, this must be the worst. Enough to say that the bodies, which were laid in rows on the ground awaiting their turn to rest in the sweetness of the earth, were those of men who fought close on two months before. I pass over the details of this awful spectacle, leaving only two things: one of a ghastly incongruity, the other very moving. Out of a pocket of a cadavre near to me I saw protruding a common picture post-card, a thing of tinsel, strange possession for one passed into the ages. And between two bodies, a poppy startlingly vivid, making yet blacker the blackened shapes before us....

J. H. G.

[Pg 166]

Soldier Life

The main street of Montauville gives, perhaps, a characteristic glimpse of the life of the soldier on active service, who is not actually taking his turn in the trenches. He is under the shade of every wall; lounges in every doorway, stands in groups talking and laughing. His hands and face and neck are brown with exposure, his heavy boots, baggy trousers, and rough coat are stained with mud from bad weather. He laughs easily, is interested in any trifle, but underneath his surface gayety one may see the fatigue, the bored, the cynical indifference caused by a year of war, torn from every human relationship. What can be done to humanize his lot, he does with great skill. He can cook. Every cottage is full of soldiers, and through open doors and windows one sees them eating and drinking, talking, playing cards, and sometimes, though rarely, they sing. In the evening they stand in the street in great numbers, and what with that, the difficulty of making ears accustomed to shrapnel take the sound of a motor horn seriously, and the trains of baggage wagons, ammunition for the guns, carts loaded with hay, etc., it is not too easy to thread one's way along. In our early days here curiosity as to who and what we were added to the difficulty, crowds surrounding us whenever we appeared, but by this time they are used to us, and not more than a dozen at once want to come and talk and shake hands.


Perhaps the most interesting time to see Montauville [Pg 167] is when, after a successful attack by the French, the German prisoners are marched through the village. These, of course, without weapons and with hands hanging empty, walk with a dogged step between guards with fixed bayonets, and as they pass, all crowd near to see them. Almost invariably the prisoners are bareheaded, having lost their caps—these being greatly valued souvenirs—on their way down from the trenches. They are housed temporarily, for interrogation, in a schoolhouse in the main street, and when they are lined up in the school-yard there is a large crowd of French soldiers looking at them through the railings. Afterwards, they may be seen in villages behind the lines, fixing the roads, or doing similar work, in any old hats or caps charity may have bestowed upon them.

J. H. G.

July 22 at Pont-à-Mousson

On Thursday, the 22d, we had a quiet day. In the evening several of us stepped across to the house where Smith and Ogilvie lived, to have a little bread and cheese before turning in. They had brought some fresh bread and butter from Toul, where duty had taken one of them, and these being our special luxuries, we were having a good time. Coiquaud was at the Bureau and two or three of our men were in or about the caserne. There were nine of us at the house at the fork of the road, which, no doubt, you remember. Suddenly as we sat round the table there came [Pg 168] the shriek of a shell and a tremendous explosion. The windows were blown in, the table thrown over, and all of us for a second were in a heap on the floor. The room was full of smoke and dust. None of us was hurt, happily, except Holt, who had a cut over the right eye, and who is now going about bandaged like one of our blessés. We made a scramble for the cellar, the entrance to which is in a courtyard behind the house. As we were going down the stairs there followed another shell, and quickly on top of that, one or two more, all very near and pretty heavy. We stayed in the cellar perhaps ten minutes, and then, as I was anxious to know how things were at the caserne, I went up and, letting myself out into the street, ran for it, seeing vaguely as I passed fallen masonry and débris. The moon was shining through the dust and smoke which still hung a little thick. When I got to the caserne, the first thing I heard was Coiquaud crying, "Oh! pauvre Mignot!" and I was told that the poor fellow had been standing, as was his wont, in the street, smoking a pipe before going to bed. He was chatting with two women. Lieutenant Kullmann's orderly (I think they call him Grassetié) was not far away. The same shell which blew in our windows killed Mignot and the two women, and severely wounded Grassetié, who, however, was able to walk to the caserne to seek help. He was bleeding a good deal from several wounds; had one arm broken; his tongue was partially severed by a fragment which went through his cheek. He was taken immediately, [Pg 169] after a rough bandage or two had been put on, to try to check the loss of blood from his arm, where an artery appeared to be severed, to Ambulance No 3 at Pont-à-Mousson, whence he was afterwards taken to Dieulouard and to Toul. He will probably recover. [11] A boy, the son of our blanchisseuse, who was wounded at the same time, will, it is feared, die. As I was told that Mignot still lay in the street, I went out again, and saw him lying, being examined by gendarmes, on the pavement. He seems to have been killed instantaneously. The contents of his pockets and his ring were taken from the body by Coiquaud and handed to me: they will, of course, be sent to his wife. He leaves two children.... Poor Coiquaud, who had shown great courage, became a little hysterical, and I took his arm and led him back to the caserne. When we all, except those who had left with Grassetié and some who had taken Mignot's body to Ambulance No 3 (there was such confusion at the time and I have been so constantly occupied since I don't yet know exactly who took that service), collected at the Bureau, our jubilation at our own escape—if the shell had travelled three yards farther it would have killed us all—was entirely silenced by the death of Mignot, for whom we all had a great affection. He served us well, cheerfully from the beginning, honestly and indefatigably. He was a good fellow, possessing the fine qualities of the French workman to a very high degree. A renewed bombardment broke [Pg 170] out about this time, and we went down to the cellar. A shell striking the roof of one of our houses knocked in all our windows. I think we may all honestly confess that by this time our nerves were rather shaken. I was specially anxious about the cars in the barn, including the Pierce-Arrow and the Hotchkiss. One shell falling in the midst of them would have crippled half our cars—and if an attack on Bois-le-Prêtre had followed...! Our telephone wires were broken, so we were isolated. Lieutenant Kullmann and I decided, after consultation with all our men who were present, to report the situation to the médecin divisionnaire. So long as our men kept in the cellar they were safe enough. The Lieutenant and I left in the Peugeot brought by him to the Section, our leaving chancing to coincide with the arrival of four or five fresh shells. It was nervous work driving out; fragments of tiles and of shells—the latter still red-hot—fell about us but without hitting us. After seeing the médecin divisionnaire we returned to the caserne and spent the rest of the darkness in the cellar. From time to time more shells came, but soon after daybreak the firing ceased.

[11]He died soon after.

In the morning we were very anxious for a while about Ogilvie. He had, unknown to the rest of us, gone to sleep at Schroder's and Buswell's room, and in the night two more shells struck his house, one of them penetrating right through to the cellar, making complete wreckage there. Some of us spent a little time looking in the débris for his body.

[Pg 171]

You would have been very moved if you could have been present at poor Mignot's funeral. We did what we could for him to show our respect, and I concluded I was only carrying out what would be the wishes of the American Ambulance by authorizing the expense of a better coffin and cross than he was entitled to in his grade in the army.

At eight in the evening as many men as were off duty went to Pont-à-Mousson to attend the funeral. A short service was read in the chapel of the Nativité. There were four coffins: Mignot's, covered with a flag and with many flowers, and those of three civilians, killed on the same evening. It was a simple and impressive ceremony: the dimly lighted chapel, the dark forms of some twenty or thirty people of Pont-à-Mousson, our men together on one side, the sonorous voice of the priest, made a scene which none of us can forget. Colonel de Nansouty, Commandant d'Armes de Pont-à-Mousson, and Lieutenant Bayet were present; and when the little procession was formed and we followed the dead through the darkened streets and across the Place Duroc, they walked bareheaded with us. At the bridge the procession halted, and all but Lieutenant Bayet, Coiquaud, Schroder, and the writer turned back, it being desired by the authorities that only a few should go to the cemetery. We crossed the river and mounted the lower slope of the Mousson hill. Under the trees in the cemetery we saw as we passed the shattered tombs and broken graves left from the bombardments, which even here [Pg 172] have made their terrible marks. In a far corner, well up on the hillside, the coffin of Mignot was laid down, to be interred in the early morning. We walked quietly back in company with Lieutenant Bayet, and were at last free to rest, after so many hours of unbroken strain.

J. H. G.

Image of a Drummer.

Incidents of a Driver's Life

On the 3d of May No 6 went back on me for the first time. I was returning from Toul when the car broke down in half a dozen different places at once. I could not fix it, but would have reached Dieulouard on three cylinders if it had not been for a steep hill. Twice No 6 nearly reached the top, only to die with a hard cough and slide to the bottom again. On account of this hill I was forced to walk fourteen kilometres to Dieulouard for help. The next night I had [Pg 173] my first experience at night driving. A call came in at half-past nine to get one wounded man at Clos Bois. McConnell, driver of No 7, went with me. We neither of us had ever been there, so it was somewhat a case of the blind leading the blind. It made little difference, however, as the night was so black that nothing but an owl could have seen his own nose. We felt our way along helped by a distant thunderstorm, the flicker of cannon, and the bursting of illuminating rockets, picked up our wounded man, and were returning through Montauville when we were stopped by an officer. He had a wounded man who was dying, the man was a native of Dieulouard and wished to die there, and the officer asked us to carry him there if the doctor at Pont-à-Mousson would give us permission. We took him. He had been shot through the head. Why he lived at all I do not know, but he not only lived, but struggled so hard that they had to strap him to the stretcher. When the doctor at the hospital saw him, he refused to let us carry him to Dieulouard because the trip would surely kill him and he might live if left at the hospital. Whether he did live or die I was never able to find out.

Carlyle H. Holt

Our life here is one of high lights. The transition from the absolute quiet and tranquillity of peace to the rush and roar of war takes but an instant and all our impressions are kaleidoscopic in number and contrast. The only way to give an impression of what [Pg 174] takes place before us would be a series of pictures, and the only way I can do it is to describe a few incidents. Sometimes we sit in the little garden behind our caserne in the evening, comfortably drinking beer and smoking or talking and watching the flash of cannon which are so far away we cannot hear the report. At such times, the war is remote and does not touch us. At other times, at a perfectly appointed dinner-table, laden with fresh strawberries, delicious cakes, and fine wine, and graced with the presence of a charming hostess, the war is still more distant. Pont-à-Mousson, moreover, is rich in beautifully conceived gardens of pleasant shade trees, lovely flowers, and tinkling fountains. Lounging in such a place, with a book or the latest mail from America, the war is entirely forgotten. Yet we may leave a spot like that and immediately be in the midst of the realities of war. One evening, about seven-thirty, after the Germans had been firing on Pont-à-Mousson and the neighboring villages for some hours, I was called to Bozeville. This village, which is on the road to Montauville, is a small cluster of one-story brick and frame buildings constructed in 1870 by the Germans for their soldiers. When I reached this place it was on fire, and the Germans, by a constant fusillade of shrapnel shells in and around the buildings and on the roads near them, were preventing any attempt being made to extinguish the fire. To drive up the narrow road, with the burning houses on one side and a high garden wall, thank Heaven, on the other, hearing every few seconds [Pg 175] the swish-bang of the shells, was decidedly nervous work, anything but peaceful. After picking up the wounded, I returned to Pont-à-Mousson, where conditions were much worse. At this time the Germans were throwing shells of large calibre at the bridge over the Moselle. To reach the hospital to which I was bound, it was necessary to take the road which led to the bridge and turn to the left about a hundred yards before coming to it. Just as I was about to make this turn, two shells struck and exploded in the river under the bridge. There was a terrific roar and two huge columns of water rose into the air, and seemed to stand there for some seconds; the next instant, spray and bits of wood and shell fell on us and around us. A minute later I turned into the hospital yard, where the effect, in the uncertain and fast-fading light, was ghostly. Earlier in the evening a shell had exploded in the yard and had thrown an even layer of fine, powder-like dust over everything. It resembled a shroud in effect, for nothing disturbed its even surface except the crater-like hole made by the shell. On one side of the yard was the hospital, every window broken and its walls scarred by the pieces of shells; in the middle was the shell-hole, and on the other side was the body of a dead brancardier, lying on his back with a blanket thrown over him. He gave a particularly ghastly effect to the scene, for what was left of the daylight was just sufficient to gleam upon his bald forehead and throw into relief a thin streak of blood which ran across his head to the [Pg 176] ground. Needless to say I left that place as quickly as possible.

Another scene which I do not think I will soon forget happened in Montauville. It was just after a successful French attack and shows war in a little different light, with more of the excitement and glory which are supposed to be attached to battle. Montauville is a straggly little village of one- and two-story stone and plaster houses built on the two sides of the road. It is situated on a saddle which connects one large hill on one side of it with another large hill on the other side of it. It is used as a dépôt and resting-place for the troops near it. On this particular day the French had attacked and finally taken a position which they wanted badly, and at this time, just after sunset, the battle had ceased and the wounded were being brought into the poste de secours. The tints of the western sky faded away to a cloudless blue heaven, marked here and there by a tiny star. To the south an aeroplane was circling like a huge hawk with puffs of orange-tinted shrapnel smoke on all sides of it. In the village the soldiers were all in the streets or hanging out of the windows shouting to one another. The spirits of every one were high. They well might be, for the French had obtained an advantage over the Germans and had succeeded in holding it. A French sergeant entered the town at the lower end and walked up the street. At first no one noticed him; then a slight cheer began. Before the man had walked a hundred yards, the soldiers had formed a lane [Pg 177] through which he strode. He was a big fellow, his face smeared with blood and dirt and his left arm held in a bloody sling. On his head was a German helmet with its glinting brass point and eagle. He swaggered nearly the entire length of the village through the shouting lines of soldiers, gesticulating with his one well arm and giving as he went a lively account of what happened. Some one started the "Marseillaise" and in a few minutes they were all singing. I have heard football crowds sing after a victory and I have heard other crowds sing songs, but I have never heard a song of such wild exultation as that one. It was tremendous. I wish the Germans could have heard it. Perhaps they did! They were not so far away, and the sound seemed to linger and echo among the hills for some minutes after the last note had been sung.

Our work here on this sector of the front is about three kilometres in length. We do it all, as there are no French ambulances here. We usually carry in a week about eighteen hundred wounded men and our mileage is always around five thousand miles. The authorities seem to be pleased with our work and we know that they have never called for a car and had to wait for it. At any rate, we have had the satisfaction of doing the best we could.

C. H. H.

[Pg 178]

A Soldier.

Three Croix de Guerre

Several bombardments have taken place near the first-aid posts and hospitals where our cars are on duty. On the 6th, the Germans bombarded a road that runs along the top of a ridge several hundred yards from the post at Huss. One of the first shells landed on a farmhouse just below the road, in which some Territorials were quartered, killing three of them and wounding five others. Two of our men, accompanied by the médecin auxiliaire of the post, immediately drove their cars over to the farm and rescued the wounded while the bombardment was still going on. As a result of this prompt and courageous action on their part, all three men were cited in the order of the division and will receive the Croix de Guerre.

P. L.


[Pg 179]

Soldier Resting.

From Day to Day

October 26. The head of the Sanitary Service of the French Government, accompanied by three generals, made a tour of inspection of all the units in this Sector to-day. Mr. L——, accompanied by Lieutenant K——, went to B——, where a formal inspection was held. Mr. L—— was thanked as Section Commander for the service rendered by Section Sanitaire Américaine No 2. The remarks were exceedingly complimentary. General L—— and the médecin divisionnaire, who accompanied the party as representatives of the Sanitary Service in this Sector, added their compliments to those of General L——.

November 14. We had the first snow of the season to-day. All the morning it snowed and covered the fields and trees with a thick coating of white. In [Pg 180] the roads it melted and they became stretches of yellow slush.

B—— broke his arm cranking his car this morning. He will be out of commission for three weeks, so the surgeon who set it informed him.

November 16. We received a phone message in the morning asking us to go to the "Mairie" to meet a high official. Four of us went over. A number of large cars were drawn up in the Place D——. One bore the flag of the President of France. We were to meet Poincaré. We formed a line inside the sandbag barricaded arcade. The President and his entourage passed. He stopped in front of us. "One finds you everywhere," he said; "you are very devoted." Then he shook hands with each of us and passed on. We wandered on down the arcade to watch the party go down into the shelled area of the town. A sentry standing near us entered into conversation. He addressed himself to Pottle: "Did he shake hands with you?" he asked. "Oh, yes," replied Pottle. "Hell," said the sentry; "he isn't a bit proud, is he?"

November 25. Thanksgiving—and we celebrated it in the American style. We had purchased and guarded the turkeys, and they were prime. C—— did wonders with the army food, and it is doubtful if any finer Thanksgiving dinner was eaten any place in the world than the one we enjoyed two thousand yards from the Huns.

[Pg 181]

November 26. An enemy plane, flying high above us this morning, was forced to make a sudden descent to a height of three hundred metres from earth. He was either touched by shrapnel or his mixture froze and he had to seek a new level. He passed very low over us. One of the Frenchmen attached to our Section fired at him with a rifle, but did not get him.

November 30. B—— was shelled and a few stray shots were sent into town and on the troop roads near us.

Under S—— the meals have been sumptuous repasts and we marvel at the change.

The writer, with two others of the Section, was crossing the Place —— after dark. As we passed the breach in the sandbag barricaded roads made by Rue ——, we were lighted up by the yellow glare coming from the shops next to the "Mairie." The sentry there on duty saw us. "Pass along, my children, and good luck—you are more devoted than we are," he cried to us.

I was startled by the voice out of the darkness and the surprising remarks. I glanced towards the sentry's post, but the light blinded me and I could not see him. From his voice I knew he was old—one of the aged Territorials.

"Oh, no!" I answered, for lack of anything better to say.

"Yes, you are. We all thank you. You are very devoted," he said.

[Pg 182]

"No, not that, but I thank you," I said; and we were swallowed up in the darkness. Then I was sorry one of us hadn't gone back to shake hands with the kind-hearted old fellow. It seemed to me that it was the spirit of France speaking through him, voicing as usual her appreciation for any well-intentioned aid, and that we should have replied a little more formally.

James R. Mcconnell

Man in North African Garb.

From Another Diary


November 13. A bad number and a grim day for 168. At daybreak one blessé, one malade, to Moosch. Brake loose as an empty soap-bubble. Endless convoy of mules appeared at bottom of hill. Tail-enders received me sideways or full breach—couldn't stop—didn't think to put on reverse, so did some old-fashioned line-plunging. Heard cases crack, men [Pg 183] swear, mules neigh, but heard no brake taking hold. Tried to stop later, but only succeeded in doing so by dragging against bank, which was so straight car rubbed along like an old elephant scratching its cutlets, and padlocks, keys, tools, side-boxes removed like flies. Incidentally a young army on the way up the hill—a few casualties if I had not stopped. Tornado of rain. A big tree had fallen across the road this morning—just got under it—had been chopped down on the way back. Nothing doing since, but frightful weather—good chance to write in diary—most devilish wind in p.m. Walked over to Bain-Douches in the evening to see Hartmann's by night by star bombs, but weather too bad and saw no bombs. The valley of the Rhine so near our feet—impossible to realize that somewhere between us and that flat vast plain, with all its villages alight at night, were both lines of trenches—yet the trees only moved in the wind and the only noise the batteries to the rear.

November 14. Got up about an hour earlier than any one else, looked out to find trees covered with snow—most splendid. The two Fords snowed into the background. Built fire for sleeping sluggards. Took two "birds" and one brancardier down the hill—brakes refused to work—used reverse successfully—no mules slaughtered or even touched—oxen in the way, of great service—dropped my men at Moosch. Blow-out just pulling into Wesserling [Pg 184] with two malades—let 'em walk—put on new tube—also blew out—ran into hospital—put on new tire—no lunch.

November 15. Cold and clear, mountains amazingly fine—was orderly. Tried to move an eight-story Boche stove with Carey from wall to centre of room where heat might radiate more effectually—weight two tons—toppled like Tower of Pisa. I held it one second saving Carey's life after imperilling it first—just got out before the whole damn shooting-match crashed to floor a mass of broken cast-iron, broken baked clay, and ashes. With great patience and science utilized lower stones still standing by fixing top, shortening pipe, etc. Now in centre of room where one can sit, talk, read, etc. Two vain trips with Carey to see Burgomaster to report catastrophe.

November 17. Snowing to beat hell. All hands to Bussang to evacuate hospital—minus usual sumptuous repast. Fenton moved rear roller of his boat in usual dashing style—came around the corner a minute later with conservative momentum and received from master-mechanic a severe dissertation on over-speeding, etc., standing on his own ruins as he spoke. Got late to Krüth—found Douglass there—then eased victuals into us at the "Joffre"—six eggs in my inner tube. Took three frozen feet to Bussang. We slipped as skating-rink camions stuck all along the line—snow packed in hard. 168 ran poorly on [Pg 185] way back—slow going on slippery road—the col magnificent—trees loaded with fresh snow.

December 3. To Thoms—enormous amount of heavy artillery on the road—eternal convoys of mules on way up. Kept getting stuck—finally got through—found Galatti—terrible weather, road sea of mud, mountain torrents across it. In the afternoon we each took down a load of four—difficult driving—so tired when we got to Moosch. We had dinner there. My carbide worked feebly, so G. followed with electric lights to show me the way. On steep grade after zigzag I stuck—backed into bank. G. thought he had callé'ed his wheel, but voiture rolled downhill into the gutter. An hour's hellish pushing, cranking, etc., of no avail. Finally I got out a trench spade and dug away bank and he backed—some tringlots came by and we pushed him up. Next assault was on steep turn. G., having burned out his electric lights trying to get out of gutter, went ahead of me with his barnyard lantern on bowsprit. He missed the road. I slowed up and we rested side by side, neither daring to lift the toe on the brake. Finally G. backed into a frightful hole—got out, callé'ed my voiture, and we went in and routed up some charbonniers in some log cabins off the road—two cabins full—got out of bed with most charming grace and pulled the car out and we finally got back—three hours from Moosch to there—très tired, tous les deux.

[Pg 186]

December 7. Hung around expecting to leave early to-morrow—took a contagious call in Hall's car, mine being chargée, to Wesserling, where at the end of the valley between the mountains three avions were flying around—two French, one German. The sky clear for once and, lit by sun about to sink over Ballon d'Alsace, was studded with white shrapnel puffs—while the German puffs were flaked into black clouds. On the way to Bussang with my contagious passed Hill who yelled, "We stay."

Waldo Peirce

Further Pages

January 9. Took Maud [the name of his car] out in the morning with Hill at the wheel.—Went first to Moosch then back by Urber to test hill. Maud pronounced fit for military burial after Hill's autopsy. In p.m. made inventory of Mellen's old car to take out to-morrow. Bad dreams at night about Thoms.


January 10. Nightmare of last night not up to actuality. Got up with Mellen's car at Thoms after sticking first short of watering-trough. Cate and I had a stake to plant at the place where Hall fell and start a cairn of stones. At watering-trough, just as I started up, a shell lit near and caused a rush of air by my head. As we planted the stake and gathered stones shells whistled round. Mellen's car a heller to crank. Arrived at Thoms finally sweating blood [Pg 187] under my steel casque in spite of temperature—about zero. Found Suckley, Phillips, Carey and Cate present. Carey and Phillips went to Paste for wounded—Suckley to Herrenfluh—Cate and I left alone. Shell No 1 arrives—every one to abri—Cate and I stay outside in kitchen. Bombardment of about half an hour or three quarters—can't judge. Last shell sent window, door, and stove in on us and blew us off the bench. Peeped into the next room. All blown to hell—shell had landed just to right of entrance.... A very low p.m. Rice came tearing up from Henry's a minute or so after the bombardment. I saw one hundred yards of messed-up wire moving mysteriously down the road—was attached to Rice's car. He hurdled scalloped tin, etc., where tringlots had been killed. Cate coolest man in Christendom—was reading account of sinking of Lusitania when last shell arrived—just at part where torpedo struck.... When some wounded came in on mules I parted with extreme pleasure.

W. P."

[Pg 188]

Soldier Standing Up.

A Night Trip

The most anxious drive I ever had in a checkered automobiling experience was in the evening of September 30. It was at a new post in the mountains, not far from Hartmannsweilerkopf. I was there for the first time when a call came from —— (a station just behind the lines where a shower bath is established). It was dusk already, but I knew no better than to start. The road is new since the beginning of the war; it follows the steep route of an old path and no lights are allowed on it for fear the Germans might locate and shell it. It is narrow, winding, and very steep, so steep that at places at the top of a descent it looks as if the road ended suddenly. There was barely enough twilight through the mass of trees to allow me to see the pack-mules returning from the day's ravitaillement, but I finally made my way to the post.

[Pg 189]

I was given a poor, blind soldier to carry back. What a trip he must have had. If it was trying for me, it was worse for him.

It was now dark, a moonless, starless night in the woods. When I started back, I could seldom see the road itself. I had to steer by the bank or by the gaps in the trees ahead. Occasionally I would feel one of the front wheels leave the crown of the road, and would quickly turn to avoid going over the precipice, but with all this I had to rush the grades which I could not see, but could only feel.

At last the machine refused a hill and stalled. I knew that there were steeper hills ahead, worse roads and thicker woods. I decided that a German bullet would be better than a fall down the mountain-side, and so I lit one of my oil lamps. Some passing soldiers gave me a push and by the flickering light of the lantern I felt my way more easily back to the post. I was glad to arrive.

Tracy J. Putnam

[Pg 190]

Soldier Looking Away.

An Attack

A few more hours and the steady line of ambulances began its journey downward to crawl up again for another load, always waiting. We deposited our wounded at the first hospital in the valley—there the British took them and moved them on towards France. During that first night and day the wounded men could not filter through the hospital fast enough to let the new ones enter. Always there were three or four Fords lined up before the door, filled with men, perhaps dying, who could not be given even a place of shelter out of the cold. And it was bitterly cold. The mountain roads were frozen; our cars slipped and twisted and skidded from cliff to precipice, avoiding great ammunition wagons, frightened sliding horses and pack-mules, and hundreds of men, who, in the great rush, were considered able to drag themselves to the hospitals unaided.

[Pg 191]

I was on my way to the nearest post to the lines on the afternoon of the 27th when I was ordered to stop. Shells were falling on the road ahead and a tree was down across it. I waited a reasonable time for its removal and then insisted on going on. At that time I had never been under fire. For two kilometres I passed under what seemed like an archway of screaming shells. Branches fell on the car. At one time, half stunned, half merely scared, I fell forward on the wheel, stalled my engine, and had to get out and crank up, with pandemonium around me. Then I found the tree still down. For an hour I lay beside my car in the road, the safest place, for there was no shelter. We were covered with débris. Then dusk came, and as we must return from that road before dark, I tried to turn. The road was narrow, jammed with deserted carts and cars, and with a bank on one side, a sheer drop on the other. I jerked and stalled and shivered and finally turned, only to discover a new tree down behind. There could be no hesitating or waiting for help—we simply went through it and over it, in a sickening crash. And then our ordinary adventures began.

John W. Clark

There we had lived and eaten and sometimes slept during the attack. The soldiers of the ——th had practically adopted each and all of us, giving up their bunks and their food and wine for us at all times and sharing with us the various good things which had [Pg 192] come from their homes scattered from the Savoie to Brittany. No lights were ever shown there; no shells had fallen anywhere near. On January 8, the first ones came, shrapnel and asphyxiating gas. Four men were killed. One of the brancardiers came out and stood in the road, unsheltered, to warn any American car that might be coming up. A car broke down and I took 161 up that afternoon. We climbed the road among the shells, and near the top a man was struck just in front of us. I picked him up and on the way down again we went through a running fire. Two days later our hut up there was struck and demolished. So we moved.

J. W. C.

Soldier Standing in Trench.

[Pg 193]

Poilu Hardships

The work during the past month has put an unusual strain upon every part of our cars. But it saves the wounded hours of painful travel, and is appreciated in the most touching manner by men as brave and uncomplaining as ever did a soldier's duty, who have more to face than is probably generally realized. All the horrors of modern war are known here—high explosives, burning oil, asphyxiating gases, and in addition it is no gentle country to campaign in. There are long marches and hard climbs, where the wind blows cold, and it rains, and soon will snow, for days at a time.

It is, indeed, a privilege to see the courage and good cheer of the men who are facing these things. The ravitaillement may be delayed; their allotted period in the water-soaked trenches may be doubled, or trebled, and yet it is always "Ça ne fait rien." It is a keen satisfaction to think that your work will help to make the horrors of cold weather a little less painful for such as they.

D. D. L. Mcgrew

[Pg 194]

Soldier Standing, Leaning on His Rifle.

Winter in Alsace


We now received our first taste of winter, and my first experience made me put more faith in the rumors of large falls of snow than an American likes to concede to any country but his own. I was sent to our regular station at the poste de secours at Mittlach. It was the farthest away, up the mountain to Treh, along the bare crest for five kilometres and then twelve more on a winding, narrow road to the valley of Metzeral. There was little work then, and the car that I was to relieve got a trip late that night in what was, even at Mittlach, a terrific rainstorm. The next morning it continued raining, but I could see the peaks of the mountains covered with snow; still no wounded, so I waited, a little anxious, as no relieving car had arrived. Late in the afternoon, just after dark, the familiar sound of a Ford brought me out of [Pg 195] the poste de secours, and I found Rice, with his car covered with snow which even the rain hadn't yet melted. His story was of helping the car I had relieved, all morning, in their efforts to pull it on to the road from which a heavy ammunition wagon had pushed it, neither vehicle being able to stick to the icy road. Farther on he had met continual snow-drifts. His eagerness to bring me chains, my only chance of getting up, persuaded him to keep on, and he eventually got through with everybody's help on the road. We decided to wait until the storm was over, our only alternative, and proceeded to make ourselves as comfortable as we could, which means a stove, somewhere to sleep, and plenty to read and smoke. It was four days before the snow let up and we had visions of a long and lonely winter, but as soon as the storm broke we started up, and, as it proved, in the nick of time, as the five kilometres along the crest were again swept by snow and sleet and drifts were beginning to form. The Mittlach service had to be abandoned after this, although in late November and early December a car could go through, but it was impossible to assure the service and it was found better to have sleighs and wagons do the work.

Stephen Galatti

The cold has been intense during the last few days and breaking the ice to wash is a usual morning performance. A temperature of 5° below zero Fahrenheit does not facilitate starting a Ford ambulance that [Pg 196] has been standing out all night; in fact, almost every morning it takes about fifteen minutes to start each car with the aid of hot water, hot potiers, and other appliances that the inventive genius of our various drivers supplies.

On either side of you a wilderness of snow. Take your eyes off the road and you seem to be in the great forests of a new country. Look back on the road and turn sharply to avoid the first of a convoy of brand-new American tractors, or a maze of telephone wires with their red-and-white labels which have been pulled from their supports by the snow. The great rocks and banks resplendent with their coating of ice, the trees, the snow, the occasional deer, fox, or rabbit contrast strangely with the road—the narrow, winding, mountain road serving for almost all forms of traffic, save the railroad, known to man. Mules, mules, mules, always mules, with their drivers hanging on to the beasts' tails.

H. Dudley Hale

Image of Soldier.

[Pg 197]

Soldier Standing Up.

Weeks of Quiet

With the change of conductors No 170 has fallen upon evil times. She has carried meat and bread for the Section, and even coal; she has run through miles of snowstorm to bring relief to those who were suffering from toothache, scarlatina, or mumps; and she has patiently borne permissionnaires from hospital to railroad station; but the shriek of shot and shell has become entirely unfamiliar to her ears. At first it was the fault of the conductor, who had never conducted before reaching Bordeaux, and only some half-dozen times between leaving Bordeaux and arriving in Alsace. He was not adjudged capable of conducting up any mountain in general nor up the slopes adjoining Hartmannsweilerkopf in particular. He went up once or twice without 170, to inspect and experience, but it is an experience of which a little goes a long [Pg 198] way when not prompted by duty. Afterward it was the fault of those who sit in the seats of the mighty, and still is, and apparently will remain so; but at no time was 170 to blame.

We left Alsace one morning early in February when the valleys were filled with tinted mist and the snowy hill-slopes were glowing pink with sunrise, and we hated doing it. Various reasons have been offered for our departure by various persons in authority,—but none of them satisfactory and convincing,—and we still look back upon it as the Promised Land. We formed a convoy of twenty-three cars, in which 170 was placed immediately behind the leader—an arrangement to which twenty-one persons objected. Every time the side boxes came open and the extra tins of gasoline scattered over the landscape, or when the engine stopped through lack of sympathy with the engineer, three or four cars would manage to slip by. It was a sort of progressive-euchre party in which 170 never held a winning hand. No one concerned had the least idea whither we were headed. The first night we spent at Rupt, where there is an automobile park. We took it on hearsay that there was an automobile park, for we left the next morning without having seen it; but when two days later we joined the Twentieth Army Corps—the Fighting Twentieth—at Moyen, we were reported as coming straight from the automobile park at Rupt. Consequently we were assumed to be ready for indefinite service "to the last button of the last uniform," and when we had explained [Pg 199] that mechanically speaking our last uniform was on its last button the Fighting Twentieth shook us off.

However, we spent a week at Moyen—in it up to our knees. The surrounding country was dry and almost dusty, but Moyen has an atmosphere of its own and local color—and the streets are not clean. Yet to most of us the stay was intensely interesting. It lies just back of the high-water mark of German invasion, and the little villages and towns round about show like the broken wreckage tossed up by the tide—long streets of roofless, blackened ruins, and in the midst the empty skeleton of a church. The tower has usually been pierced by shells, and the broken chimes block the entrance. Nothing has been done to alter or disguise. The fields surrounding are pitted with shell craters, which have a suggestive way of lining the open roads; along the edge of the roads are rifle pits and shallow trenches filled with a litter of cartridge boxes and bits of trampled uniform and accoutrement, blue and red, or greenish gray, mixed together, and always and everywhere the long grave mounds with the little wooden crosses which are a familiar feature of the landscape. It lacks, perhaps, the bald grim cruelty of Hartmannsweilerkopf, but it is a place not to be forgotten.

From Moyen we moved on to Tantonville, a place not lacking in material comforts, but totally devoid of soul; and from there we still make our round of posts—of one, two, or four cars, and for two, four, [Pg 200] or eight days. In some, the work is fairly constant, carrying the sick and second-hand wounded from post to hospital and from hospital to railroad; in others, one struggles against mental and physical decay—and it is from the latter of these in its most aggravated form that the present communication is penned.

At Oëlleville, we saw the class of 1916 called out,—brave, cheerful-looking boys, standing very straight at attention as their officers passed down the line, and later, as we passed them on the march, cheering loudly for "les Américains"—and so marching on to the open lid of hell at Verdun. The roads were filled with soldiers, and every day and all day the troop-trains were rumbling by to the north, and day after day and week after week the northern horizon echoed with the steady thunder of artillery. Sometimes, lying awake in the stillness of dawn to listen, one could not count the separate explosions, so closely did they follow each other. The old man who used to open the railway gate for me at Dombasle would shake his head and say that we ought to be up at Verdun, and once a soldier beside him told him that we were neutrals and not supposed to be sent under fire. I heard that suggestion several times made, and one of our men used to carry in his pocket a photograph of poor Hall's car to refute it.

There was a momentary thrill of interest when a call came for four cars to Baccarat—a new post and almost on the front; there was an English Section there in need of assistance, and we four who went intended [Pg 201] to "show them how." But it seemed that the call had come too late and the pressing need was over; the last batch of German prisoners had been brought in the day before and the active fighting had ceased. We stepped into the long wooden cabin where they waited—the German wounded—and they struggled up to salute—a more pitiful, undersized, weak-chested, and woe-begone set of human derelicts I hope never to see again in uniform; and as we stood among them in our strong, warm clothes, for it was snowing outside, all of us over six feet tall, I felt suddenly uncomfortable and ashamed.

The officer in charge of the administration said that a car was needed to go down the valley to Saint-Dié, but we must be very careful for Saint-Dié was under bombardment. Once we were startled at lunch time by an explosion near the edge of town. Three of us stepped to the door. We were eating the rarity of blood sausage and the fourth man kept his seat to help himself from the next man's plate. As we looked out there came a second explosion a little farther off, and then in a few moments a telephone call for an ambulance, with the news that a Taube had struck a train. When I reached the place the train had gone on, carrying ten slightly wounded to Lunéville, and I brought back the other two on stretchers—one a civilian struck in a dozen places, but otherwise apparently in excellent health and spirits; the other was a soldier in pretty bad shape. It must have been excellent markmanship for the Taube, since we had seen [Pg 202] nothing in the clear blue sky overhead nor heard the characteristic whir of the motor, and yet both shell craters were very close to the tracks. In Alsace they were constantly in sight, but seldom attacked and almost never scored a hit, while the French gunners seemed perfectly happy to fire shrapnel at them all afternoon with the same indecisive result. One could not even take the white shrapnel clouds as a point of departure in looking for the aeroplane—though the French artillery is very justly famous for its accuracy of fire. In this instance as in all air raids the success scored seemed pitifully futile, for it was not a military train, and most of the wounded were noncombatants. It had added its little unnecessary mite of suffering, and of hatred to the vast monument which Germany has reared to herself and by which she will always be remembered.

W. Kerr Rainsford

Soldier Standing Up

[Pg 203]


You can little imagine how lonely it is here under the black, star-swept sky, the houses only masses of regular blackness in the darkness, the street silent as a dune in the desert, and devoid of any sign of human life. Muffled and heavy, the explosion of a torpedo inscribes its solitary half-note on the blank lines of the night's stillness. I go up to my room, and sigh with relief as my sulphur match boils blue and breaks into its short-lived yellow flame. Shadows are born, leaping and rising, and I move swiftly towards my candle-end, the flame catches, and burns straight and still in the cold, silent room. The people who lived here were very religious; an ivory Christ on an ebony crucifix hangs over the door, and a solemn-eyed, pure and lovely head of Jeanne d'Arc stands on my mantel. What a marvellous history—hers! I think it the most beautiful, mystic tale in our human annals.

Silence—sleep—the crowning mercy. A few hours go by.


"There is a call, Monsieur Shin—un couché à——"

I wake. The night clerk of the Bureau is standing in the doorway. An electric flashlight in his hand sets me a-blinking. I dress, shivering a bit, and am soon on my way. The little gray machine goes cautiously on in the darkness, bumping over shell-holes, guided by the iridescent mud of the last day's rain. I [Pg 204] reach a wooded stretch——phist! a rifle bullet goes winging somewhere. A bright flash illuminates the road. A shell sizzles overhead. I reach the poste de secours and find a soldier in the roadway. More electric hand-lamps. Down a path comes a stretcher and a man wounded in arm and thigh. We put him into the wagon, cover him up, and away I start on my long, dark ride to the hospital, a lonely, nerve-tightening ride.

Stray Thoughts

The voice of war is the voice of the shell. You hear a perfectly horrible sound as if the sky were made of cloth and the Devil were tearing it apart, a screaming undulating sound followed by an explosion of fearful violence, bang! The violence of the affair is what impresses you, the suddenly released energy of that murderous burst. When I was a child I used to wander around the shore and pick up hermit crabs and put them on a plate. After a little while you would see a very prudent claw come out of the shell, then two beady eyes, finally the crab in propria persona. I was reminded of that scene on seeing people come cautiously out of their houses after a shell had fallen, peeping carefully out of doorways, and only venturing to emerge after a long reconnoitring.

I am staying here. It was my design to leave at the beginning of the year, but why should I go? I am very happy to be able to do something here, very proud to feel that I am doing something. In times to come [Pg 205] when more Americans realize their lost opportunity, there will be many regrets, but you and I will be content. So wish me the best. Not that there is anything attractive to keep me here. To live continually under shell fire is a hateful experience, and the cheerless life, so empty of any domesticity, and the continuous danger are acid to any one with memories of an old, beloved New England hearth and close family ties and friendships. To half jest, I am enduring war for peace of mind.

How lonely my old house must be when the winter storms surge round it at midnight. How the great flakes must swirl round its ancient chimney, and fall softly down the black throat of the fireplace to the dark, ungarnished hearth. The goblin who polished the pewter plates in the light of the crumbling fire-brands has gone to live with his brother in a hollow tree on the hill. But when you come to Topsfield, the goblin himself, red flannel cap and all, will open the door to you as the house's most honored and welcome guest.

A fusée éclairante has just run over the wood—the bois de la mort—the wood of the hundred thousand dead. And side by side with the dead are the living, the soldiers of the army of France, holding, through bitter cold and a ceaseless shower of iron and hell, the far-stretching lines. If there is anything I am proud of, it is of having been with the French army—the most devoted and heroic of the war.

H. Sheahan

[Pg 206]

Cavalry Soldier.

A Gallant Blessé

I was stationed at one of our postes de secours the other night during a terrible rainstorm. The wind does blow on top of these mountains when it begins! About bedtime, which is at 7.30 (we eat our dinner at 4.30—it is pitch dark then), a call came from one of our postes three kilometres nearer the line. There was a captain wounded and they asked me to go for him. I cannot speak French well, but I made them understand. The poste is at the foot of the mountain, hidden from the Boches by the trees in the woods only. At night we cannot use lights, for the Germans would see us easily, and then there would be a dead American in short order. Of course, I told them I would go, but it would be dangerous for the blessé. I could jump out in case I should run into a ravine, but I could not save the man on the stretcher if anything happened. They understood, and, after about half an hour, we heard another knock on the cabin door, and they brought the captain in—four men, one on [Pg 207] each corner of a stretcher. They put him on the floor, and in the lantern light of the room (made of rough timbers) one could see he was vitally stricken by the death color of his face and lips. He had his full senses. It was my duty then to take him down the opposite slope of the mountain to the hospital. I started my car and tried to find my way through the trees in the dark. The wind was almost strong enough to blow me off the seat, and the rain made my face ache. The only light I had was that of the incendiary bombs of the French and the Germans at the foot of the hill, about one and a half kilometres away. These bombs are so bright they illuminate the whole sky for miles around like a flash of lightning. I must admit my nerves were a little shaken, taking a dying man into my car under such conditions, almost supernatural. It did seem like the lights of the spirits departing mixed with the moaning wind and the blackness of the night, and the pounding of the hand-grenades in the front lines so near. They gave me another blessé with the captain. This man had been shot through the mouth only, and was well enough to sit up in back and watch the captain. I could use my lights after I had passed down the side a short distance out of sight of the lines. We must run our motors in low speed or we use up our brakes in one trip. All the poor capitaine could say during the descent was "J'ai soif," except once when he requested me to stop the car, as the road was too rough for him, and we had to rest. When we reached the hospital, I found a bullet had struck one [Pg 208] shoulder and passed through his back and out the other shoulder. He also had a piece of shell in his side. A few hours before he had walked back from the trenches into the woods to see a position of the Germans; they saw him—and seldom does a man escape when seen at fairly close range. He was vitally wounded. I climbed up the mountain watching the fire-flashes in the sky, feeling pretty heavy-hearted and homesick, but with strengthened resolve to help these poor chaps all I possibly could.

The next day I had another trip from the same station on the mountain to the same hospital at five o'clock in the afternoon—then dark as midnight. The sisters told me the capitaine was better; the ball had not severed the vertebra and there was hope for him. They told me also that the general had arrived and conferred upon him the Cross of the Légion d'Honneur. It was reassuring to hear that he was better and had distinguished himself so well, and I went back up the trail this night with a lighter heart. I had felt really guilty, for I did not have a thing in my car to give him the night before when he asked me to stop the car and said, "J'ai soif." Never did I want a spoonful of whiskey more and never have I regretted not having it more. I could not give him water—he had some fever; besides, though there are many streams of it running down the mountain, no one dares to touch it. Water is dangerous in war-time, and we have all been warned against it.

I was called the next morning for the same trip and [Pg 209] when I reached the hospital at eight o'clock it was still raining—now for three days! I met Sœur Siegebert in the hall—carrying her beads, her prayer-book and a candle. She is one of the good nuns who always gives me hot soup or tea with rum in it when I come in cold, wet, and hungry—and many times I and the others have blessed her! My first question was: "Comment ça va avec le capitaine ce matin?" All she said and could say was "Fini." He had passed out a short time before I got there. He was only thirty years old, tall and handsome, and they say he led a whole battalion with the courage of five men.

A little later I stepped into the death chamber in a little house apart from the hospital. It was cold, wet, and smelled strongly of disinfectant, just as such places should, and in a dim, small room lighted by two candles, upon a snowy white altar made by the nuns, there he lay on a bier of the purest linen beautifully embroidered, whiter even than the pallor of his features and hands, and as I came near him the only color in the room was the brilliant touch of red and silver in his Légion d'Honneur medal, which was pinned over his heart. His peaceful expression assured me he was happy at last, and made me realize that this is about the only happiness left for all these poor young chaps I see marching over these roads in companies for the trenches, where their only shelter is the sky and their only rest underground in dug-outs. When they go into the trenches they have [Pg 210] a slim chance of coming out whole again, and they pass along the road in companies with jovial spirits, singing songs and laughing as though they were going to a picnic. I see them come back often, too; they are still smiling but nearly always in smaller numbers. What can they have in view when they see their numbers slowly but surely dwindling! I marvel at their superb courage!

Luke C. Doyle


Perils of a Blizzard

The other night, just as I was going to crawl in, three blessés arrived from the trenches, another was down the road in a farmhouse waiting for the médecin chef; he was too badly wounded to go farther. They asked me to take the men to the hospital at Krût, which is back over the mountains twenty miles, and of course I said I would. I dressed again (I hated to because it was warm in the little log shack and it had begun to rain outside); I lit my lantern, and went out to the shelter where the cars were, got my tank filled with gas, and my lights ready to burn when I could use them. It was so black one could see nothing at all. We put two of the blessés on stretchers and pushed them slowly into the back of the car; the other sat in front with me. We did this under the protection of the hill where the poste de secours is located. When one goes fifty yards on the road beyond the station there is a valley, narrow but clear, which is in full view of the trenches, and it is necessary to go [Pg 211] over this road going and coming. In the daytime one cannot be seen because the French have put up a row of evergreens along it which hides the road. I started and proceeded very carefully, keeping my lantern under a blanket, and we soon arrived at the house where the other blessé was waiting for the doctor. It was a typical French farmhouse, little, old, and dirty inside, and white outside. I pushed in the door and stepped down into the flagstone kitchen. On the floor lay the chasseur on a stretcher, his face pale under the lamplight from the table. The médecin chef was bending over him injecting tetanus (lockjaw) anti-toxin into his side, and with each punch of the needle the poor fellow, already suffering from terrible wounds, would squirm but not utter a word. The soldiers stood around the tiny room, their heads almost touching the brown rafters above. We took the man out to my car on the stretcher, carrying the light under the coat of one of the stretcher-bearers. If the Germans see a light moving anywhere in the French territory, they will fire on it if they think it near enough. I started up the mountain with my load of wounded. On either side of the road the French guns at certain places pounded out their greetings to the Boches, and the concussion would shake the road so that I could feel it in my car. I could light my lights after about a mile, so I proceeded slowly up the mountain in low speed. The heat from my motor kept the blessés and myself warm. About halfway up, we ran into the clouds and it [Pg 212] became so foggy one could scarcely see; farther up it became colder and began to snow. I had no chains on my car (none to be had). They need so many things here, if they only had the money to buy them. I thought of the time you and I got stuck at Princeton, and it worried me to be without chains, especially since I had three helpless men inside and one out. I kept climbing up and the higher I went the more it snowed and the harder it blew. Near the top it became veritably blinding—snow, sleet, and wind—a typical northeasterly American blizzard. The little car ploughed on bravely; it stuck only once on a sharp turn, and by backing it I was able to make it by rushing it. I could not see the road, the sleet was blowing into my face so and the snow was so thick. At last I reached the summit and the wind was so strong there it actually lifted my car a little at one time. On one side of the road was a high embankment and on the other a ravine sloping down at least one thousand feet. I was scared to death, for without chains we were liable to skid and plunge down this depth. The snow had been falling all day, and it had drifted in places over a yard deep. Twice I took a level stretch to be the road, but discovered my mistake in time to back up; the third time was more serious; I plunged ahead through a drift which I thought was the road, and finally I stuck and could move neither way. I could not leave these men there all night wounded, and the blizzard did not stop, so my only means was to find help. I walked back to what [Pg 213] I thought was the road and kept on toward a slight, glimmering light I could see in the right direction. It was an enclosure for mules which haul ammunition over the mountains, and I felt safe again, for I knew there were a lot of Territorial soldiers with them. I hauled them out of bed; it was then 10.30. They came with me and pushed me back on the road, also pushed me along—ten of them—until they got me on the descent, and from there on the weight of my car carried me down through the drifts. I arrived at the hospital at 12.30 and was the happiest man you have ever seen to get those poor fellows there safely.

I was sent back to Mittlach the next day to get four more wounded. They were what are called assis, not couchés, fortunately, because the snow on top of Trekopf had been falling and drifting all day and night. When I got to the top of the mountain and started down, the roads had been broken and beaten down by munition wagons and were like a sheet of ice. I started down without chains, and with all my brakes on the car began to slide slowly down the road. It slid toward the edge of the ravine and the two front wheels went over; it stopped, I got it back on the road, and turned the radiator into the bank on the other side and tried tying rags on the rear wheels to keep the car from going down, when a big wagon with four horses came down the hill behind me. It was so slippery that the horses started to slide down on their haunches, and, with brakes on, the driver could not stop them. The horses came on faster and they slid [Pg 214] into the rear of my car, pushed it along for about six feet, and then nothing could stop it. It started down the road. I yelled to the wounded, "Vous, jetez vous." They understood and piled out just in time. The car ran across the road and plunged down into the ravine. There was a lot of snow on the side of the ravine, and it had piled up so that it stopped the car part way down, and it was not injured very much. It took nine men and as many mules to pull it out. Now that the snow has come, I think our service to Mittlach will have to be abandoned.

L. C. D.


At Tomansplatz the other day an officer and I started for ——, one of our postes. We took a short cut over a high hill from which one could look easily down on ——, where all the fighting had been going on. There is a path over this hill which is hidden by trees, and on the top is a long boyau to pass through so as to keep out of sight of the Germans in clear weather. When we reached the top, we stepped out of the path to get a view of the valley, and it was wonderful looking down on the French and German trenches, and to see the hill all shot to pieces and the trees broken to stubs—living scars of the fighting that had gone on. We did not get by unseen, for the Germans are always on the job. They have observation posts in the trees, hard to be seen, but easy to see from. There was a lot of firing going on, and we could see the French shells landing in the German lines. I [Pg 215] had a premonition that something was going to happen and stepped behind a tree. I heard particularly one big gun fire, and wondered if by any chance it was meant for us. It took only three or four seconds to confirm my suspicion, for the shriek of a shell came our way. As they often pass high over our heads and we are familiar with the sound, I was still in doubt, when it burst not fifty yards away. We did not wait to investigate further, but jumped for the boyau when another shriek was heard, and we were just in time, for the shell burst not far behind us. We could tell when they were firing at us, for we could hear the gun fire,—it sounded like a 150 mm., which is about 6-inch bore,—then came the shriek, and then the bursting. It certainly is a strange, unwelcome sound when you know you are the target. We ran down the boyau toward the back of the hill for all we were worth, and they followed us, but we did not stop to look or listen, we almost rolled down the other side of the hill, but it was to safety, thank Heaven. The only thing that happened to me was a scratch on the back of my hand. Never again! The sensation of shells coming at one is novel but nauseating, and I keep away from the lines from now on.

I must tell you that we have received a citation, and Colonel Hill's brother the Croix de Guerre for the work we did during the attack of October 15 to 19. Two more citations and we receive, each one, the Croix de Guerre.

L. C. D.

[Pg 216]

Poignant Impressions

I had a wild ride last night in the rain. A German shell landed in a town only two kilometres from the front and killed four civilians and wounded one woman. I had to go and get her. For two kilometres the road runs over a slight rise in the plain, in full view of the Germans. It is all screened off with brush cut and stuck up along the side toward the lines, but here and there the brush was blown down by the terrific wind which came with the storm. We could not use lights, but we did not need them, for, though it was raining like fury, the Germans were sending up illuminating bombs which lighted up the country for miles around. They are the most fascinating yet weird things you have ever witnessed. This ball of fire rises from the trenches to a height of one hundred feet, and then floats along slowly through the air for a quarter of a mile, illuminating everything around. At one time one came directly for us, and we stopped the car and watched it. At the roadside stood a huge crucifix, and, as this ball of fire approached, it silhouetted the cross, and all we could see was the beautiful shadow of the figure on the cross rising from the earth against the weird glow of white fire. It seemed like the sacrifice of Calvary and the promise of success for poor France.


We did not dare to use our low speed for fear the Boches would hear us, so we tore over this road on high, rushing past the bare spots, afraid of being seen. The illuminating bombs are used for this purpose [Pg 217] only; the one which came toward us went out before it reached us, for which we were grateful. We got the woman. She had to have her arm amputated.

December 27

We have had very strenuous times, as a big attack has just taken place and the wounded have come in so fast and so badly cut up they could not give them the care they would like to, as everything is so crowded. The Germans lost a lot of trenches, and almost two thousand of them were taken prisoners. They have been shelling the French lines and towns constantly; since the 22d, our cars have been more or less under fire. We moved our quarters about six kilometres nearer the line and bring the wounded in to the hospital three times a day. The Germans shelled this place,—why we do not know, for there is nothing military here but the hospital, and why should people of any intelligence and feeling wish to shell a hospital?

One of our men was killed on Christmas Day and we are terribly broken up over it. He was going from this hospital to the poste we go to daily over a road up the mountain. At four o'clock Christmas morning one of our boys started up this road, which goes up and up with no level place on it. He passed the middle of the journey when he thought he noticed a wagon turned over about forty feet down in the ravine. He went to a point where he could stop his car, took his lantern, and walked back. He found one of [Pg 218] our Fords so demolished it could not be distinguished. The top of the car was up in a tree and so were the extra tires; there was nothing on the ground but a chassis. He saw no one around, but on going down a little farther, he saw a bundle of blankets which we always carry for the wounded, and, on walking up to it, he found one of our fellows, Dick Hall. He was lying on his side with his arms fixed as if driving and in a sitting position, cold and rigid. He had been dead a couple of hours. Walter, who found him, went back up the road for assistance, and, while there, Hall's brother came along in his car and asked what the matter was and offered his assistance. Walter told him his brakes were not working and he was fixing them, so Hall, knowing nothing of his brother, passed on up the mountain, got his load of wounded, and took them to the hospital.


In the Hospital

January 1, 1916

This brings the war home to us! This and the suffering and torments of the wounded make me sick at heart. I have seen them suffer particularly since this last attack, as I am a blessé myself—and am in a French hospital. It is only a slight arm wound; the bone is cracked a little, but not broken. I am here to have the piece of shell drawn out and am assisting these poor wounded all I can. I was sent to the poste we have nearest the lines, on the other side of the [Pg 219] mountain and hidden in the woods. The trenches begin at this poste. The poste itself is an abri, a bomb-proof dug-out in the ground. The roof and supports are made of timbers a foot or more thick, over these are placed two feet of heavy rock and again two feet of earth. When I got there the Germans began bombarding, and fired shells into these woods and into this poste for almost five hours. I never want to see another such bombardment; it was frightful. I saw shells land among horses, smash big trees in half within ten and twenty yards. I saw three men hit; one had his face shot away. The poste became so full of wounded we had to stand near the doorway, which is partly protected by a bomb-proof door. It was not exactly safe inside, for the shells, if big enough, when they hit such an abri often loosen the supports, and the roof, weighing tons, falls in and buries people alive. A man in the same room with me in the hospital here was in an abri not far from where we were when it was struck; the roof fell and killed three men who were with him and he was buried for an hour. A shell struck a tree not eight feet off from where we were standing and smashed it in half; it fell and almost killed one of two brancardiers (stretcher-bearers) who were carrying a dead man past the door. A piece of the éclat hit the other brancardier in the head and killed him. The man standing beside me had his hand shot off, and I got hit in the elbow. Three pieces went through my coat, but only one went into the arm. If I had not been standing against the door I might have [Pg 220] fared worse. I was carried with two other wounded by one of our fellows up the steep mountain road to our second poste. They were bombarding that road as well as the poste. We could see the sky redden from the flash of the guns below and we could hear the shells shriek as they came toward us, and the éclat not too far away. Twice we started the Ford on the way up; it stalled and took five precious minutes to get it going again. The force of one explosion knocked the fellow with me over when he walked ahead to try and make out the road. We stuck in the road twice, not daring to pass a wagon conveying munitions. We could not make the hill, it was so steep, and we had to seek men to push us. It was pitch-black and we could not use our lights. This with two gravely wounded men on our hands rather took the nerve out of us. We finally got back to headquarters and found them bombarding there, one shell having struck not far from the hospital.

January 20

I am still in the hospital, but am glad to say my arm is almost quite well again. It does take time. The bombardment by the Germans of all our former postes has become pretty nerve-racking. The house we took for the attack has been hit twice. We had moved out only the day before. They struck a schoolhouse close by and killed a nun and wounded three harmless children. Our cars have been hit by scraps of shell, but fortunately when none of the men were in them.

[Pg 221]

The suffering of the men in this hospital and the cries in the night make it an inferno. Though I am glad I can help a little, I must say it is on my nerves.

In this hospital—which is one of the best—they need very badly beds for men who have had their vertebræ broken. These men live from two to six months in a frame on their backs all the time. This is the way they spend the last months of their lives. We have three men in this condition now, and each time they are moved it takes at least four men to change them and they suffer terribly. The special beds I speak of are made on pulleys with bottom and sides which can be opened for washing and service purposes. They cost forty dollars and France cannot afford to buy them, as she has so many needs. If you could raise some money for this purpose, you would be doing these poor fellows the last favors they will have on this earth and help them in their suffering.

L. C. D.

[Pg 222]

Soldier Sitting.

New Quarters

August 6, 1915

I was delighted to see "Doc" to-day. He arrived yesterday evening from Paris, but I was on M—— duty, so we did not meet until this morning. We had a long talk and I told him the story of the fatal 22d; the recital of it only seems to have reimpressed me with the horror of that night.


We are now quite comfortably settled in our new quarters, a house never shelled until just after our occupation of it, when we received a 77 a few feet from our windows. I do not know why it has been spared unless the Boches were anxious not to destroy a creation so obviously their own. Architecturally it is incredible—a veritable pastry cook's chef d'œuvre. Some of the colors within are so vivid that hours of darkness cannot drive them out of vision. There is no piano, but musical surprises abound. Everything you touch or move promptly plays a tune, even a [Pg 223] stein plays "Deutschland über alles"—or something. Still the garden full of fruit and vegetables will make up for the rest. Over the brook which runs through it is a little rustic bridge—all imitation wood made of cast iron! Just beneath the latter I was electrified to discover a very open-mouthed and particularly yellow crockery frog quite eighteen inches long! A stone statue of a dancing boy in front of the house was too much for us all. We ransacked the attic and found some articles of clothing belonging to our absent hostess, and have so dressed it that, with a tin can in its hand, it now looks like an inadequately clad lady speeding to her bath-house with a pail of fresh water.

Last night "Mac" and I were on night duty at M——, and when we arrived at the telephone bureau—where we lie on stretchers fully dressed in our blankets waiting for a call (the rats would keep you awake if there were no work to do)—we were told that they expected a bad bombardment of the village. "Mac" and I tossed up for the first call, and I lost. "Auberge Saint-Pierre, I bet," laughed "Mac." That is our worst trip—but it was to be something even more unpleasant than usual. About eleven o'clock the Boches started shelling the little one-street village with 105 shrapnel. In the midst of it a brancardier came running in to ask for an ambulance—three couchés, "très pressé." Of course, I had to grin and bear it, but it is a horrid feeling to have to go out into a little street where shells are falling regularly—start [Pg 224] your motor—turn—back—and run a few yards down the street to a poste de secours where a shell has just landed and another is due any moment.

"Are your wounded ready?" I asked, as calmly as I could. "Oui, monsieur." So out I went—and was welcomed by two shells—one on my right and the other just down the street. I cranked up No 10, the brancardier jumped up by my side, and we drove to our destination. I decided to leave the ambulance on the left side of the road (the side nearer the trenches and therefore more protected by houses from shell-fire), as I thought it safer on learning that it would be fifteen minutes before the wounded were ready; and luckily for me, for a shell soon landed on the other side of the road where I usually leave the ambulance. My wounded men were now ready; it appeared that one of the shrapnel shells had entered a window and exploded inside a room where seven soldiers, resting after a hard day's work in the trenches, were sleeping—with the appalling result of four dead and three terribly wounded. As I felt my way to the hospital along that pitch-black road, I could not help wondering why those poor fellows were chosen for the sacrifice instead of us others in the telephone bureau—sixty yards down the street.

However, here I am writing to you, safe and sound, on the little table by my bedside, with a half-burnt candle stuck in a Muratti cigarette box. Outside the night is silent—my window is open and in the draught the wax has trickled down on to the box and [Pg 225] then to the table—unheeded—for my thoughts have sped far. To Gloucester days, and winter evenings spent in the old brown-panelled, raftered room, with its pewter lustrous in the candlelight; and the big, cheerful fire that played with our shadows on the wall, while we talked or read—and were content. Well—that peace has gone for a while, but these days will likewise pass, and we are young. It has been good to be here in the presence of high courage and to have learned a little in our youth of the values of life and death.

Leslie Buswell

Two Soldiers in Front of Bombed Building.

[Pg 226]

The Poetry of War

We have had much talk to-night about the probable effect of the war upon art and literature in different countries, and gradually the discussion shifted from prophecy to history and from the abstract to the concrete, and narrowed down to the question as to the best poem the war has already produced. In France enough verse has been inspired by the war to fill a "five-foot shelf" of India-paper editions, but we all had finally to admit that none of us was in a position to choose the winner in such a vast arena. Among the short poems in English, some voted for Rupert Brooke's sonnet which begins:—

"If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England."

But nothing that any of us has seen is more inspired than the verses which poured from the heart and mind of a young American in the Foreign Legion here in France. His name is Alan Seeger, and the poem was written in, and named from, the region in which his regiment was stationed. It is called "Champagne, 1914-15," and was printed in the North American Review for October, 1915.

[Pg 227]

CHAMPAGNE, 1914-15

In the glad revels, in the happy fêtes,
When cheeks are flushed, and glasses gilt and pearled
With the sweet wine of France that concentrates
The sunshine and the beauty of the world,
Drink, sometimes, you whose footsteps yet may tread
The undisturbed, delightful paths of Earth,
To those whose blood, in pious duty shed,
Hallows the soil where that same wine had birth.
Here, by devoted comrades laid away,
Along our lines they slumber where they fell,
Beside the crater at the Ferme d'Alger
And up the bloody slopes of La Pompelle,
And round the city whose cathedral towers
The enemies of Beauty dared profane,
And in the mat of multicolored flowers
That clothe the sunny chalk-fields of Champagne.
Under the little crosses where they rise
The soldier rests. Now round him undismayed
The cannon thunders, and at night he lies
At peace beneath the eternal fusillade....

[Pg 228]

That other generations might possess—
From shame and menace free in years to come—
A richer heritage of happiness,
He marched to that heroic martyrdom.
Esteeming less the forfeit that he paid
Than undishonored that his flag might float
Over the towers of liberty, he made
His breast the bulwark and his blood the moat.
Obscurely sacrificed, his nameless tomb
Bare of the sculptor's art, the poet's lines,
Summer shall flush with poppy-fields in bloom,
And Autumn yellow with maturing vines.
There the grape-pickers at their harvesting
Shall lightly tread and load their wicker trays,
Blessing his memory as they toil and sing
In the slant sunshine of October days.
I love to think that if my blood should be
So privileged to sink where his has sunk,
I shall not pass from Earth entirely,
But when the banquet rings, when healths are drunk,
And faces, that the joys of living fill,
Glow radiant with laughter and good cheer,
In beaming cups some spark of me shall still
Brim toward the lips that once I held so dear.

[Pg 229]

So shall one, coveting no higher plane
Than Nature clothes in color and flesh and tone,
Even from the grave put upward to attain
The dreams youth cherished and missed and might have known.
And that strong need that strove unsatisfied
Toward earthly beauty in all forms it wore,
Not death itself shall utterly divide
From the beloved shapes it thirsted for.
Alas, how many an adept, for whose arms
Life held delicious offerings, perished here—
How many in the prime of all that charms,
Crowned with all gifts that conquer and endear!
Honor them not so much with tears and flowers,
But you with whom the sweet fulfilment lies,
Where in the anguish of atrocious hours
Turned their last thoughts and closed their dying eyes,
Rather, when music on bright gatherings lays
Its tender spell, and joy is uppermost,
Be mindful of the men they were, and raise
Your glasses to them in one silent toast.
Drink to them—amorous of dear Earth as well,
They asked no tribute lovelier than this—
And in the wine that ripened where they fell,
Oh, frame your lips as though it were a kiss.

Alan Seeger

[Pg 230]

Laurel Wreath.

[Pg 231]

Head of Page Decoration.

JULY 4, 1916

Yet, sought they neither recompense nor praise,
Nor to be mentioned in another breath
Than their blue-coated comrades whose great days
It was their pride to share, ay! share even to death.
Nay, rather, France, to you they rendered thanks
(Seeing they came for honor, not for gain),
Who, opening to them your glorious ranks,
Gave them that grand occasion to excel,
That chance to live the life most free from stain
And that rare privilege of dying well.

From a poem written by him in memory of American Volunteers fallen for France, upon the occasion of a memorial service held before the Lafayette-Washington statue on the Place des États-Unis in Paris, May 30, 1916.

[Pg 232]





In the Hills of France,
June 23, 1916

Dear Mother,—

Your two letters of May 23d and June 4th have both arrived in the last week, but I have been too busy and too sleepy to answer them. They have given us a very important work as well as a dangerous one,—to evacuate the wounded about one and a quarter miles from the first-line trenches,—and since we have been here, about a week, our little ambulances (holding five wounded) have carried some hundreds of men. We are quartered in a town about four miles away from the front, which the Germans take pleasure in shelling twice a day. About fifteen minutes ago, while we were at breakfast, they dropped two shells, "150's," which landed four hundred yards away; but I seem so used to running into danger now, that it hardly affects me at all. We got here a week ago, on Friday, and on Saturday morning I made my first trip to our poste de secours on a French machine. The first part of the drive is through the valley, where there is a beautiful winding river, and some pretty old towns. There you begin an ascent for about two miles on a road which is lined with French [Pg 233] batteries and quite open to the view of the Germans, who have a large observation balloon only a mile or two away. Consequently the road is fired over all the time, so you feel that a passing shell might at any moment fall on you. Just this morning, about four o'clock, three shells went over my machine and broke in a field near by. When one reaches the top of the ascent, there is a piece of road, very rough and covered with débris of all kinds—dead horses, old carts and wheels, guns, and confusion everywhere. This road leads to an old fort where our wounded are, and on this road the German fire is even worse. Well, this first morning, just before we arrived, the Germans began a bombardment which lasted five hours. The shells landed all around us, but we finally got in safely. It was altogether the most awful experience I have ever been through. We discovered a small tunnel holding three of our cars, and here I waited five hours without any breakfast, hearing the roar of the shells—they make a noise like a loud, prolonged whistle—and then hearing the French batteries answer with a more awful roar, because nearer. To add to the interest, two or three gas shells exploded near us, which made our eyes water. Luckily we had our gas masks with us, but we had got it in our faces before we could put them on. Meanwhile, the wounded were being carried in from the first-line trenches by the stretcher-bearers who, by the way, are some of the real heroes of the war. The time came for us to go out into the open in order [Pg 234] to let the other cars get in after us. As you may imagine, it was an awful moment for us; however, we went along slowly but surely, and finally we got down the hill, away from all the noise and danger. It was worth while, though, for we were carrying many wounded with us. For a week we have been doing this work and are all still alive; and we have to our credit about seven hundred wounded men. The French are, of course, very appreciative of our work. I wish that I could describe things more fully, but I am too much "all in." I am well in spite of the excitement, but tired to death of the horrors, the smells, and the sights of war. We will be here but a few days more and after this will be given an easier place for a while; so you need not worry after receiving this. I am glad to have gotten a taste of real war, though, so as to know what it really means.

Your affectionate son,

[Pg 235]


August 9, 1916

Dear K.,—

It is quiet and cool to-night; the moon is shining just as it will with you a few hours later, for it is now 9.15 here, and only 3.15 with you. Last night it was quiet and I slept from half-past nine till seven! The night before, however, the guns roared all night long and increased in vigor up to six o'clock in the morning. We were waked up a little after five o'clock by the scream of a shell which hit somewhere back of us. The house shook amid the roar, as it always does whenever there is much firing.

We are quartered in one of the farmhouses belonging to the château, which is now a hospital. You remember, no doubt, the French farmhouses: a blank wall on the roadside with only an entrance to the courtyard, a dark kitchen, a few bedrooms, and a loft with a few sheds out back. The loft is divided into two parts. We sleep up in the loft on stretchers propped up from the floor by boxes or our little army trunks. Some don't prop up their stretchers, but I find it better to elevate mine, as the rats run all over the floor and incidentally over you if your stretcher rests on the floor. The fleas seem more numerous near the floor, and there are spiders, too. I've been pretty well "bit up," but yesterday I soaked my blankets in petrol and hung them on the line in the courtyard for an airing, so I think I've left the vermin behind. I also sprayed my clothes, especially my underwear, [Pg 236] with petrol, which doesn't make much for comfort, except in so far as the animals are baffled. We are better off than the other Sections, though, for our house is very commodious, and we have a river to swim in every day. The river is quite near by, so it is no effort to bathe.

We carry the wounded from the château to the trains. Some trips are about seventeen kilometers one way, and others are more. As the roads are well used, they are rather bumpy, so you have to go very slowly. You do not dash at full speed with your wounded! It is slow work, for, in addition to the necessity for making the trip as easy as possible for the blessés, you have to dodge in and out among the transports, which usually fill up the roads. There is a steady stream going and coming, horses, mules, and auto-trucks. You never saw so many of either one of the above. Thousands of each kind. You well know the dust on the roads. We have to drive ahead regardless of the clouds of dust, so you can imagine what sights we are when we get back to our farmhouse. Scarecrows, each one. The dust is powdery and comes off easily, however, so you can get comfortable in a short time. There is no lagging or loafing; you blow your whistle and the driver of what's ahead of you gives you six inches of road and you squeeze through and take a chance that the nigh mule on the team coming the other way doesn't kick.


The blessés are a quiet lot, especially after you give them cigarettes. I always pass around the cigarettes [Pg 237] before starting, for then I'm sure those en derrière will be quiet. Every now and then you have a "hummingbird," that is, a blessé who is so hurt that the least jar pains him and he moans or yells. You can't help him any, so you just have to put up with it. However, I don't like "hummingbirds," for you feel that you hit more bumps.

I went to a show down in town where some of the soldiers are en repos. It was wonderful, for there, right within range of the Boche guns, the soldiers were giving one of the best musical shows I have ever seen. Among the actors—men who only a little while before were in the trenches—were professional musicians, singers, and actors. It was not amateurish—in fact, it was highly professional. The theatre was fitted up more or less like the stage at the Hasty Pudding Club at Harvard (an amateurish back, however), but everything else savored of the real Parisian touch. Among the audience were generals, colonels, under-officers, poilus, and five of us (we were invited, inasmuch as we had lent some of our uniforms for the actors). The soldiers who could not get in thronged the courtyard and cheered after every song or orchestra piece. The orchestra was made up of everything in a city orchestra, including a leader with a baton. You see each regiment is bound to have professional men in it and they get up the shows. (I saw my cap walk out on the stage on a fellow with a little head, so it didn't even rest on his ears, but rather on his nose). On the whole, it was one of the [Pg 238] greatest and most impressive sights I've seen, and on top of it all, there was a continuous firing in the near distance. Imagine it, if you can!

We have a cook, a chambermaid,—one of the poilus who is quartered here, too, and who earns a few sous on the side by serving us,—also a French lieutenant who is really the head of the Section, a maréchal de logis, and a few other French retainers. They sleep in the same loft with us. Every night they chatter very late and kid each other about the fish they caught or did not catch during the day in the river. They laugh and giggle at each other just like kids. They are awfully amusing. All the poilus who are en repos fish, although there are only minnows around here. I asked several to-day how many they caught, and they said they were only fishing to pass the time. I guess it's a great diversion, for they all do it. They all bathe, too, every day. We go in with them, the mules and the horses; probably somewhere else the Boches are bathing in the same river. Such is life, but we are extremely lucky to get a chance to wash at all and I'm afraid when we move from here, for we shall soon be moved to poste duty, we shan't have the comforts such as are found here.

I mentioned poste work in the last paragraph.

There are two kinds of work for ambulances—evacuating and poste de secours work. The former consists in removing the blessés from the back hospitals to points where they are put on the trains. The poste de secours work is going up to the point where [Pg 239] the blessés are dragged from the trenches and carrying them back to the above-mentioned hospitals. Of course, the poste work is the liveliest and the most dangerous. We shall be sent up to do that within a week or so, as they shift about: several months of poste work and then several months of evacuating. The Section had done its turn at poste de secours before I joined it; it has also been evacuating from here quite a while, so we shall no doubt be sent out nearer the front pretty soon. That's what we are here for. We are not a great distance from the lines now; in fact, shells have come over us and landed right across the road, but when we move, it will mean the most dangerous of work, for the roads are full of shell holes, no doubt, and wild shells get loose now and then. I'll write you again soon, but now I'm going to bed,—that is, roll up in my blankets on my stretcher, for there is an early call for to-morrow morning. Early call means getting your machine over to the château at six o'clock, all ready for the day's work. It's great fun and I am awfully glad to be here. Moreover, there is a satisfaction to realize that you are helping. The French are very appreciative, from the poilu up to the highest officers. Oh! I forgot to mention, in describing our billet, that flies and mosquitos are abundant. We all have mosquito nets which we put over our heads in the evening, making us all look like the proverbial huckleberry pie on the railroad restaurant counter. The poilus around us have adopted our methods, and you see them sitting [Pg 240] around looking for all the world like Arabs in the distance. Before closing I might mention also that besides fishing to pass the time, the poilus en repos catch foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits, and other animals and train them. There are two of the cutest little foxes I have ever seen over across the road in one of the courtyards. They play around and are just like little collies until we show up; then they scamper and get behind a box or a stove and blink at us. We tried to buy one of them, but the owners are too fond of them to let them go.

Well, good-night and best love to you and G.

As ever,
(Charles Baird)

Have not seen George Hollister yet, as he is in Section 3. Maybe I'll run across him later.

[Pg 241]



S. S. Américaine No. 3,
July 3, 1916

Dear ——

I never meant to let so long a time go by without more than a postal or so. We are back, far back, of the lines in repose with the tattered remains of our division. I have a lot that is worth while writing about, but make allowances if it comes disconnectedly. We have just come back from two weeks at Verdun! Our cars are battered and broken beyond a year's ordinary service. Barber, though seriously wounded, is on the road to recovery. No one else was more than scratched.

The Section we relieved told us what to expect. It began strong. The first night the fellows worked through a gas attack. I was off duty and missed out on one disagreeable experience. One has to breathe through a little bag affair packed with layers of cloth and chemicals. The eyes are also protected with tight-fitting isinglass, which moists over and makes driving difficult. The road was not shelled that night, so it might have been worse. The second night was my go. We rolled all night from the poste de secours back to the first sorting-station. The poste was in a little town with the Germans on three sides of the road and all in full view, which made daylight going impossible. The day work was evacuating from sorting-stations to field hospitals. There our work stopped. English and French sections worked from [Pg 242] there back to the base hospitals. The road ran out through fields and a little stretch of woods, French batteries situated on both sides the entire way; that is what drew the fire. Four trips between dusk and dawn were the most possible. The noise of French fire was terrifying until we learned to distinguish it from the German arrivées. It is important to know the difference, and one soon learns. The départ is a sharp bark and then the whistle diminishing. The arrivées come in with a slower, increasing whistle and ripping crash. In noise alone it is more than disagreeable. The poste de secours was an abri in a cellar of four walls. Of the town there was scarcely a wall standing: marmites had done their work well. The road was an open space between, scalloped and scooped like the moon in miniature. We would drive up, crawling in and out of these holes, turn around, get our load and go. When the place was shelled, we had time to hear them coming and dive under our cars. The drive back was harrowing. One was sure to go a little too fast on a stretch of road that felt smooth and then pitch into a hole, all but breaking every spring on the body. I'll never forget the screams of the wounded as they got rocked about inside. At times a stretcher would break and we would have to go on as it was. Of course we would have to drive in darkness, and passing convois of artillery at a full gallop going in opposite directions on either side. Each night a bit more of tool box or mud guard would be taken off. Often I found myself in a wedge where I had to back and go forward until [Pg 243] a little hole was found to skip through, and then make a dash for it and take a chance. One night there was a thunderstorm with vivid lightning and pitch darkness. The flash of guns and of lightning were as one and the noise terrific. That night, too, the road was crowded with ammunition wagons. But worst of all, it was under shell fire in three places. Traffic became demoralized because of the dead horses and wrecked wagons smashed up by shrapnel. All our cars were held up in parts of the road. There is no feeling of more utter helplessness than being jammed in between cannon and caissons in a road under shell fire. No one was hit that night. Two of the men had to run ahead and cut loose dead horses in order to get through....

Barber's car was hit the next night. He had stopped and was crouching by it, which probably saved him. Subsequently the Germans corrected their range on the road by the sight of the car, and on our last run it was level with the ground. The bodies of the wounded he was carrying mingled with the wreckage. That night was the climax of danger. Things eased off a bit after, but the strain was telling and our driving was not so skillful. Next to the last night I collided with a huge ravitaillement wagon coming at full gallop on the wrong side of the road. The entire front of the car went into bow knots, but I landed clear in safety. This occurred under the lee of a cliff, so we went in search with wrecking car the next day. After twenty hours she was running again, shaky on her wheels, but [Pg 244] strong in engine. She goes to Paris soon for shop repairs. Poor old Alice! A wrecked car in so short a time. Patched with string and wire and straps, she looks battle-scarred to a degree. Her real battle souvenirs are five shrapnel balls embedded in the roof and sides. I don't believe in collecting souvenirs, but these I could not help!

There were humorous incidents; that is, humorous when we look back on them, safely in camp. One goes as follows: Three cars running out to the poste about thirty yards apart. The whistle of shells and a great increase in speed in the cars. (Somehow speed seems to give the feeling of more security.) Road getting too hot—shells falling between the cars as they run. First car stopped short and driver jumped about thirty feet into a trench by the roadside. Landed in six inches of water and stayed. Car No. 2 stopped, but not short enough to prevent smashing into tail-board of No. 1. Driver made jump and splash No. 2 into trench. Ditto for Car No. 3 (me). Whistle and bang of shell, crash of hitting cars, and splash of falling men in water. Here we remained until the "storm blew over."

I am mighty glad we are through and out of it all. Whatever action we go into again, it cannot be harder or more dangerous than what we have been through. That will be impossible. I don't know yet whether I am glad or not to have had such an experience. It was all so gigantic and terrifying. It was war in its worst butchery. We all of us lost weight, but health [Pg 245] and morale are O.K., and we are ready for more work after our repose. When you read this, remember I am out of it and in less dangerous parts....

The French military is giving half of us forty-eight hours permission for the Fourth of July. We are going for a two days' spree in Paris!

My debits to date are one letter from mother of the 7th; one shirt, chocolate, and corduroy suit.

I would rather you didn't pass this letter around much. It is too hurried and slapdash, and I may have quite different opinions after we have calmed down a bit.


P.S. Barber was given the Médaille Militaire—most coveted of military honors.

[Pg 246]


——France, June 30

Dearest "folks at home," abroad—and Grandma!

Four nights ago I had a pretty narrow escape. I can mention no names here, but this is the gist of the story:—

I was driving my car with three wounded soldiers in it along a road that was being shelled. Well, I got in the midst of a pretty hot shower, so I stopped my car and got under it. A few minutes later I supposed it was blowing over, so I got out. I had no sooner done so than I heard one of those big obus coming, the loudest I had ever heard. I ran to the front of my car, crouching down in front of the radiator. When it burst it struck the car. My three soldiers were killed. I was hurt only a little. I am not disfigured in any way. It just tore my side and legs a bit.

The French treated me wonderfully. I succeeded in getting the next American Ambulance driven by Wheeler (a great boy) who took me to the City of —— where our poste is. Here I was given first aid, and the Médecin chef personally conducted me in an American Ambulance, in the middle of the night, to a very good hospital. They say I have the best doctor in France—in Paris.


Well, I woke up the next day in a bed, and have been recuperating ever since. Every one is wonderful to me. General Pétain, second to Joffre, has stopped in to shake hands with me, and many are my congratulations, [Pg 247] too, for above my bed hangs the Médaille Militaire, the greatest honor the French can give any one. Really, I am proud, although I don't deserve it any more than the rest. Please excuse my egotism.

Mr. Hill and my French lieutenant come to see me every day, and some of the boys also. They joke around here, saying that I am getting so well that they have lost interest in me and must move on. In three or four days I go to the hospital at Neuilly where I can have every comfort.

Of course you won't worry about me. I will be just as good as new soon, and really this is true.

The Germans peppered the life out of my car. No one goes over the road in daylight, but the fellows brought me back the next day a handful of bullets taken from it, and said they could get me a bushel more if I desired them.

A——, I got your letter; it was great. The first one that I have received from some one who has heard from me.

F——, thanks for the $——. I am sorry I have made you so much trouble about the prescription. It is just my shiftlessness.

For three days I was not allowed to eat or drink and could hardly move in bed. My spirits were high, too. I will try to write better and take more pains.


[Pg 248]

July 10, 1916

Well, I am here at Neuilly! This is a wonderful hospital and they do treat you great! I am just getting back to normal and have no temperature. The doctors here are the best in the world....

Now I want to ask your advice or permission. When I get well, in two or three weeks, how would you like it for me to spend a week resting in some suburb of London? I would just take a room there and live and sleep. I have read so much about life in England that I am dying to try it and I think it would do me good. I don't think the cost would be heavy and I will consider it a go if you cable me a loan for the trip.

When my wounds heal up, which they are fast doing, I will be just as good as new, no scars at all. I am very happy here and hope every day that you are as happy and never worry about me. I surely have given you a lot of trouble and anxiety, and hope that I will do always as you say after this. The best of my experience is that I have never once regretted this great trip, and I think I have done a small part of a great work, and my Médaille shows what the French think of my services. I will throw aside modesty for the moment. It is given for discipline and valor, and by the way, what amuses me, there is an annual pension of one hundred francs. I have been treated wonderfully since I had it given me. The French keep me in official quarters and give me officer's grub, which is [Pg 249] about one hundred per cent better than the soldiers'. I am having some wonderful experiences....

I am still continuing my diary, and I assure you it is full of thrills. I am the only ambulance boy who has been given a Médaille, and I am told that Mr. Balsley, an American aviator, is the only other American who has it. Well, enough of this conceit.

Excuse writing; written in great haste in bed.

Please cable me some money if you will permit me to go to England for a week. Perhaps I can get —— to go with me.

Lots of love to all; my best to Grandma.


[The following paragraphs are from a letter written to the family of William Barber by his Section leader, Lovering Hill.]

... William was wounded on the night of the 27th of June while bringing back wounded from the poste de secours.

It was a dangerous road, and seeing some shelling on the road ahead of him, he had stopped to await its cessation. He was about to start up again when a shell fell a few feet away, many small fragments of which struck him, one large one striking him a glancing blow on the side. He ran back a few yards and was picked up by one of his comrades who brought him to the dressing-station at Verdun, where I was at the time. There his wounds were dressed; one of them proved to be serious.

[Pg 250]

I got in touch at once with the Médecin divisionnaire, who is the chief of the Service de Santé of our Division, who immediately took charge of the case and personally accompanied your son in the ambulance which brought him to Vadelaincourt—the nearest surgical ambulance, twenty-five kilometers back. There he awakened a very well-known Parisian physician and surgeon, Dr. Lucas Championière, who operated at once.

As soon as I could leave my work, at six o'clock the next morning, accompanied by our French lieutenant, I went to Vadelaincourt to see William, who was just coming to from the anæsthetic. The doctor told me it was serious because the fragment had cut into the peritoneum, but without injuring the intestine—the danger being in the chances of peritonitis setting in; that he could tell me in forty-eight hours whether there would be the danger of this complication. On your son's insistence, and on my own judgment, I decided not to cause you needless anguish by cabling until his case should have been judged. On the third day I was told he was out of danger, so I advised William to cable you, and I cabled his brother myself.

One of his other wounds consisted in a small splinter that lodged in his lung, but this was not considered by the doctor to be the cause of any concern, the only wound which might have dangerous consequences being the abdominal one.


The Section was moved away shortly after, so that [Pg 251] July 1st was the last day on which I saw him, but I have telephoned for news daily, and have been always told he was doing well.

Before closing I wish to tell you how courageous he has been throughout, not only after he was wounded, when he showed the most splendid pluck, but before, when he was doing really dangerous work with enthusiasm and coolness. The French authorities have recognized this in awarding him the Médaille Militaire, the highest medal for military valor in France.

End of Chapter Image.

[Pg 252]


Armées de l'Est

État-Major Général

G. Q. G., le 24 Mai 1916


Le Général Commandant en Chef à Monsieur Piatt Andrew, Inspecteur Général du Service aux Armées de l'hôpital Américain de Neuilly

Je vous remercie vivement pour votre offre d'une nouvelle section automobile, qui va porter à cinq le nombre de vos formations sanitaires aux armées.

Je tiens à vous exprimer ma satisfaction de l'œuvre accomplie par vos volontaires qui n'ont cessé, en toutes circonstances, de faire preuve de courage, d'endurance et de dévouement.

Les bons résultats donnés par votre organisation sont dus, pour une bonne part, à votre activité et votre zèle inlassables.

Agréez, Monsieur, l'expression de ma considération très distinguée.

[Pg 253]


Armies of the East

General Staff

Grand Headquarters, 24 May, 1916

The General Commanding in Chief to Monsieur Piatt Andrew, Inspector General of the Field Service of the American Hospital of Neuilly.

I thank you warmly for your offer of an additional automobile section, which will increase to five the number of your sanitary units with the army.

I desire to express to you my satisfaction with the work performed by your volunteers who have unremittingly, under all conditions, given proof of their courage, endurance, and devotion.

The excellent results achieved by your units are due in large measure to your own untiring activity and zeal.

Accept, Monsieur, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.

[Pg 254]

République Française

Ministère de la Guerre

Sous-Secrétariat d'État du
Service de Santé Militaire

1ère Division Techn.

Paris, le 31 octobre 1915


Mon attention a été appelée sur les services éminents rendus au Service de Santé par la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 2, que vous dirigez, et particulièrement sur le zèle et le courage avec lequel elle a porté secours à nos blessés, dans la région de Pont-à-Mousson.

J'ai appris avec plaisir que votre formation dans son ensemble, et la plupart de ses membres à titre particulier, avaient été cités à l'ordre du jour de la 73ème Division de Réserve.

Je me fais un devoir d'adresser à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 2, les sincères remerciements du Département de la Guerre.

(Signé)          Justin Godard

Monsieur Salisbury
Chef de la Section Sanitaire Automobile No 2


République Française

War Department

Office of the Under Secretary
Military Sanitation Service

First Technical Division

Paris, 31 October, 1915


My attention has been called to the eminent services rendered to the Sanitation Service by American Automobile Sanitary Section [Pg 255] No. 2, which is under your direction, and especially to the zeal and courage with which it carried succour to our wounded in the Pont-à-Mousson district.

I have learned with pleasure that your unit as a whole, and the greater number of its members, have been mentioned in the orders of the day of the 73rd Reserve Division.

I make it my duty to extend to American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2, the sincere gratitude of the War Department.

(Signed)          Justin Godard

Monsieur Salisbury
Commanding Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2.

[Pg 256]

République Française

de la Guerre

Sous-Secrétaire d'État

Paris, le 23 mai 1916


Je connais et apprécie la part très active que vous et vos amis avez pris aux propagandes faites en Amérique, depuis le début de la guerre, en faveur de la cause du Droit que défendent la France et ses Alliés. Je sais, en particulier, vos efforts pour aboutir à la manifestation de la sympathie de vos concitoyens pour nos vaillants soldats, par une coopération effective et pratique à la tâche du Service de Santé français. Aussi je tiens à vous exprimer, d'une façon spéciale, toute la satisfaction que donnent à mon Département, depuis leur entrée en service aux Armées, les Sections sanitaires automobiles de l'Ambulance américaine.

Grâce non seulement à leur excellent organisation matérielle, mais encore et surtout au dévouement courageux du personnel d'élite que nous a envoyé votre Pays pour les diriger, ces Sections contribuent, de la façon la plus heureuse, à atténuer les souffrances de nos blessés, en abrégeant les heures si douloureuses qui s'écoulent entre le moment où le soldat tombe sur le champ de bataille et celui où il peut recevoir, dans des conditions convenables, les soins qu'exige son état.

Veuillez donc agréer, pour vous, Monsieur, et transmettre à vos amis d'Amérique l'assurance de ma profonde gratitude, pour l'œuvre que vous avez si parfaitement [Pg 257] conçue et réalisée, et dont vos compatriotes continuent d'assurer l'entretien en personnel et en matériel, avec autant de vaillance que de générosité.

Agréez, Monsieur, l'assurance de ma considération distinguée.

(Signé)          Justin Godard

Monsieur Piatt Andrew



of the

Paris, 23 May, 1916.


I know and value highly the very active part that you and your friends have taken in the propaganda carried on in America, ever since the outbreak of war, in favour of the cause of Right, which France and her Allies are defending. I know, in particular, of your efforts to arrive at a manifestation of the sympathy of your fellow citizens for our gallant soldiers, by effective and practical coöperation in the work of the French Sanitary Service. Therefore I am desirous of expressing to you, with special emphasis, the perfect satisfaction which the Automobile Sanitary Sections of the American Ambulance have given my department since they first entered the service of our armies.

Thanks not only to their excellent material organization, but beyond even that, to the courageous devotion of the picked personnel which your country has sent us to lead them, these Sections are contributing in the most gratifying fashion toward lessening the sufferings of our wounded by shortening the agonizing hours that elapse between the time when the soldier falls on the battlefield and that when he is able to receive, under suitable conditions, the care that his condition demands.

Pray, therefore, Monsieur, accept for yourselves and convey to your friends in America the assurance of my profound gratitude for the work which you have planned and carried on so perfectly, and of which your compatriots continue to ensure the support, both in personnel and in supplies, with no less gallantry than generosity.

Accept, Monsieur, the assurance of my distinguished consideration.

(Signed)     Justin Godard

Monsieur Piatt Andrew

[Pg 258]

République Française

des Députés

Paris, le 6 août 1915

Monsieur le Directeur,—

J'ai l'honneur de vous remercier, au nom de la Commission d'Hygiène publique, des soins éclairés et dévoués que l'Ambulance Américaine prodigue à nos blessés de Pont-à-Mousson.

Dans les tristes heures que nous vivons, il nous est particulièrement doux de savoir que des mains amies s'empressent autour de ceux des nôtres qui si courageusement versent leur sang pour la défense de notre Pays.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur le Directeur, l'assurance de ma haute considération.

(Signé)          Le Président
Dr. H. Doizy

Dr. H. Doizy
Maison de Convalescence
Sarcelles (Seine et Oise)


République Française

of Deputies

Paris, 6 August, 1915

Monsieur le Directeur,—

I have the honor to thank you, in the name of the Commission of Public Health, for the enlightened and devoted attention which the American Ambulance is lavishing upon our wounded at Pont-à-Mousson.

In the distressing hours that we are passing through, it is particularly sweet to us to know that friendly hands are zealously employed about those of our troops who are shedding their blood so fearlessly in defence of our country.

Pray accept, Monsieur le Directeur, the assurance of my distinguished consideration.

(Signed)      The President
Dr. H. Doizy

Dr. H. Doizy
Convalescents' Home
Sarcelles (Seine et Oise)

[Pg 259]

Détachement d'Armée
de Belgique


1er Bureau

Au Q. G. le 5 mai 1915

Le Général Putz, Commandant le Détachement d'Armée de Belgique,

à Monsieur Andrew, Inspecteur du Service des Ambulances de l'Hôpital Américain


Mon attention a été appelée sur les précieux services rendus au détachement d'Armée de Belgique par la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine qui lui est attachée.

Cette Section a du, en effet, concurremment avec la Section Anglaise, assurer l'évacuation d'Elverdinghe sur Poperinghe de nombreux militaires blessés au cours des récents combats. Malgré le bombardement d'Elverdinghe, des routes qui y accèdent, et de l'Ambulance même, cette évacuation s'est effectué nuit et jour, sans interruption, et dans d'excellentes conditions de promptitude et de régularité.

Je ne saurais trop louer le courage et le dévouement dont a fait preuve le personnel de la Section et je vous serais obligé de vouloir bien lui transmettre mes félicitations et mes remerciements pour l'effort physique considérable qu'il a si généreusement consenti, et les signalés services qu'il a rendus.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l'expression de ma considération très distinguée.

(Signé)  Putz

[Pg 260]


Detachment of the Army
of Belgium


1st Bureau

Headquarters, 5 May, 1915.

General Putz, Commanding the Detachment of the Army of Belgium, to Monsieur Andrew, Inspector of the Ambulance Service of the American Hospital.


My attention has been called to the valuable services rendered to this army by the American Automobile Sanitary Section, which is attached to it.

This Section did, in fact, in conjunction with the English Section, safeguard the removal from Elverdinghe to Poperinghe of numerous soldiers wounded in recent battles. Despite the bombardment of Elverdinghe, of the roads leading to it, and of the Ambulance itself, this removal was proceeded with, night and day, without interruption, and with particular efficiency as to speed and regularity.

I cannot possibly praise too highly the courage and devotion manifested by the members of the Section, and I should be obliged to you if you would kindly transmit to them my congratulations and my thanks for the great physical effort which they so generously consented to make, and for the notable services they have rendered.

Pray accept, Monsieur, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.

(Signed)    Putz

[Pg 261]

6 JUIN 1916


Le Général D. E. S. adresse ses félicitations au Personnel militaire et aux infirmières, de l'H. O. E. 20, pour le dévouement et le sang-froid dont il a fait preuve le 1er Juin, pendant le bombardement de Bar-le-Duc par les avions allemands, au cours duquel les Officiers et Hommes de troupe dont les noms suivent se sont fait plus particulièrement remarquer:

Les Militaires de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 2, qui restèrent tous à découvert pendant la durée du bombardement et se portèrent, à chaque bombe qui éclatait, au secours des victimes, sans souci du danger dont ils étaient menacés.

NO. 661, FOR 6 JUNE, 1916


General D. E. S. offers his congratulations to the military personnel and nurses of H. O. E. 20 on the devotion and sang-froid which they displayed on June 1, during the bombardment of Bar-le-Duc by German air-ships, in the course of which the officers and men whose names follow particularly distinguished themselves:

The military members of American Sanitary Section No. 2, all of whom remained exposed throughout the bombardment, and at every explosion of a bomb, hastened to the assistance of the victims, regardless of the danger with which they were threatened.

[Pg 262]

1ère Armée
73ème Division


1er Bureau

Au Q. G., le 20 juillet 1915

Ordre de la Division No 485

Le Général Commandant la Division cite à l'ordre:

"Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 2

"Composée de volontaires, amis de notre pays, n'a cessé de se faire remarquer par l'entrain, le courage et le zèle de tous ses membres qui, insouciants du danger, se sont employés sans répit à secourir nos blessés, dont ils se sont acquis la reconnaissance et l'amitié."

Le Général Lebocq
Commandant la 73ème Division
(Signé)       Lebocq


First Army
73rd Division


1st Bureau

Headquarters, 20 July, 1915

Divisional Order No. 485

The General commanding the Division "mentions" in general orders:

"American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2

"Composed of volunteers, friends of our country, has constantly attracted favorable notice by the enthusiasm, the courage, and the zeal of all its members, who, regardless of danger, have been employed, without respite, in rescuing our wounded, whose gratitude and affection they have won."

General Lebocq
Commanding the 73rd Division
(Signed)       Lebocq

[Pg 263]

VIIème Armée
66ème Division

6 novembre 1915

Le Général Serret, Commandant la 66ème Division d'Infanterie, cite à l'Ordre de la Division:—

"La Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3 et son Chef Mr. Lovering Hill

"'A de nouveau affirmé son inlassable dévouement en assurant avec une froide crânerie et dans des circonstances très correctes pendant les journées et les nuits des 15, 16 et 17 octobre 1915, dans une région difficilement practicable et en partie battue par le feu de l'ennemi, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés.'"


Seventh Army
66th Division

November 6, 1915

General Serret Commanding the 66th Infantry Division, "mentions" in general orders:—

"The American Sanitary Section No. 3, and its commander, Mr. Lovering Hill

"'Has demonstrated anew its unwearying devotion, by safeguarding with cool audacity and in perfect order, during the days and nights of October 15, 16, and 17, 1915, in a district in which such movements were very dangerous, and which was partly within range of the enemy's guns, the removal of numerous wounded.'"

[Pg 264]


Nancy, 4 juillet 1915

Le Préfet de Nancy à Ambulance Américaine, Pont-à-Mousson

En ce jour où vous célébrez fête votre indépendance nationale, à l'heure même où dans des rudes combats la France défend son indépendance contre un ennemi dont la folie de domination menace la liberté de tous les peuples et dont les procédés barbares menacent les conquêtes morales de la civilisation, vous adresse expression profondes sympathies françaises pour votre grande et généreuse nation, et je saisis cette occasion vous présenter nouvelles assurances gratitude émue populations lorraines pour dévouement admirable de tous les membres Ambulance Américaine de Pont-à-Mousson.



Nancy, 4 July, 1915

Prefect of Nancy to American Ambulance, Pont-à-Mousson

On this day when you celebrate anniversary your national independence, at the very hour when in hard-fought battles France defends her independence against a foe whose mad lust for world-domination threatens liberty of all nations, and whose savage deeds threaten moral conquests of civilization, I extend you profound French affection for your great and generous nation, and seize opportunity to offer renewed assurances heartfelt gratitude people of Lorraine, for admirable devotion of all members American Ambulance, Pont-à-Mousson.


[Pg 265]

VIIème Armée

66ème Division d'Infantie

Médecin Divisionnaire

Q. G., le 21 janvier 1916

Le Médecin Principal de 2ème Classe Georges, Médecin Divisionnaire de la 66ème Division d'Infanterie,
à Monsieur le Lieutenant Commandant la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3

J'ai pu voir à l'œuvre journellement depuis sept mois la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3 qui est à la disposition de la 66ème Division depuis près d'un an. Elle a eu à opérer constamment dans une région dont les routes sont particulièrement difficiles. Elle a eu à supporter à maintes reprises un travail absolument intensif de jour et de nuit, dû à diverses chaudes actions militaires ayant entrainé en quelques jours un chiffre élevé d'evacuations.

En toutes circonstances, tous et chacun ont fait leur devoir,—et plus que leur devoir,—avec un parfait mépris personnel du danger, avec une simplicité touchante, avec un imperturbable sang-froid n'ayant d'égal que l'empressement foncièrement généreux des secours inlassablement apportés.

La mort d'un conducteur tué à son volant, la blessure grave d'un autre conducteur contractée au cours de son service, témoignent encore bien plus que les citations à l'ordre du jour décernées à la Section et à un nombre élevé de ses membres, de la façon dont elle a compris ses devoirs et tenu à les remplir.

[Pg 266]

Au moment où cette Section, si bien dirigée par vous et par le lieutenant Lovering Hill, quitte la Division pour une autre destination, j'ai à cœur de lui adresser,—au nom de tous nos blessés et malades,—mes remercîments les plus vifs pour la façon véritablement admirable dont elle s'est acquittée de son service.

(Signé)       Georges


Seventh Army

66th Infantry Division

Divisional Medical Officer

Headquarters, January 21, 1916

Georges, Principal Physician of the Second Class, Divisional Medical Officer of the 66th Infantry Division,
to Monsieur le Lieutenant commanding American Sanitary Section No. 3.

I have had the opportunity daily for seven months to see at work the American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3, which has been at the disposal of the 66th Division for nearly a year past. The Section has had to operate constantly in a district where the roads are particularly bad. It has had on many occasions to work day and night under the greatest possible strain, due to the fact that successive fierce actions have necessitated a large number of removals in a few days.

Under all conditions one and all have done their duty—and more than their duty—with an absolute disregard of danger, with a touching simplicity, with an imperturbable sang-froid equalled only by the absolutely single-hearted zeal with which they have unwearyingly given their assistance.

The death of one driver, killed at his post, the severe wound of another driver received in the course of his service, bear even more eloquent witness than the citations in the orders of the day awarded to the Section and to a large number of its members, to the way in which they have understood their duties and striven to fulfil them.

At the moment when this Section, so ably led by you and by Lieutenant Lovering Hill is about to leave the Division for another field of operation, I have it at heart to offer to you all, in the name of all our wounded and sick, my warmest thanks for the truly admirable way in which you have done your work.

(Signed)       Georges

[Pg 267]

121st Division

S. P. 76

Le Médecin Aide-Major de 1ère Classe Rocher, Médecin-Chef du G. B. D.
à Monsieur le Lieutenant Commandant la S. S. A. A. No 7.

J'ai l'honneur de vous faire connaître que pendant toute la durée du dernier bombardement dans le secteur de Vic-Fontenoy, la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 1 a assuré le service souvent périlleux de l'évacuation des blessés avec sang-froid, zèle et dévouement. Tous vos conducteurs sont dignes d'éloge, et je signale particulièrement à votre attention le conducteur Woolverton, qui, malgré le bombardement très rapproché de sa voiture, a continué son service avec la plus belle assurance.

(Signé)         Dr. Rocher


121st Division

S. P. 76

Rocher, Assistant Physician of the 1st Class, Physician-in-Chief of the G. B. D.
to Monsieur the Lieutenant commanding the S. S. A. A. No. 7.

I have the honor to inform you that throughout the last bombardment in the sector of Vic-Fontenoy, the American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 1 safeguarded the often very hazardous process of removing the wounded, with coolness, zeal, and devotion. All your drivers are deserving of praise, and I call particularly to your attention Driver Woolverton, who, notwithstanding the bombardment very near his car, continued his service with the most splendid self-possession.

(Signed)         Dr. Rocher

[Pg 268]

Direction de l'Arrière

Service Automobile

Inspection Permanente
Régions de l'Est

Vittel, le 8 juillet 1916

Le Capitaine de Montravel, Inspecteur permanent des Services Automobiles des Régions de l'est à Monsieur Piatt Andrew, Inspecteur Général des Ambulances Américaines à Neuilly.

Cher Monsieur et ami,—

Vous savez combien je suis fier d'avoir été le premier à apprécier les vaillants jeunes gens que votre généreux pays nous envoyait, d'avoir pu obtenir l'envoi de votre première section sur la terre d'Alsace, et enfin de conserver comme un titre de gloire, le nom de "Père des Sections Américaines" que me donnèrent spontanément ces nobles jeunes hommes le jour où ils apprirent leur départ pour l'Alsace.

L'amitié sincere de leur infatigable Inspecteur Général m'est aussi bien précieuse.

Mes occupations m'ont empêché malheureusement de revoir vos courageuses sections qui ont si bien su prouver par leurs actes que j'avais raison lorsque, dès le début, je me suis porté garant pour elles. D'autre part, vos travaux absorbants vous ont obligé vous-même à espacer vos bonnes visites. Mais voilà qu'aujourd'hui votre aimable envoi renouvelle le souvenir de notre union étroite et en resserre encore les liens.

[Pg 269]

Merci donc de tout cœur, cher Monsieur et ami; souvenez-vous qu'à Vittel vous avez un arrêt obligatoire à chacun de vos passages, et que cet arrêt procurera une grande joie à

Votre entièrement dévoué
(Signé)       de Montravel


Headquarters of the Rear

Automobile Service

Permanent Inspection
Office of the Eastern District

Vittel, 8 July, 1916

Captain de Montravel, Permanent Inspector of Automobile Service in the Eastern District to Monsieur Piatt Andrew, Inspector-General of the American Ambulances at Neuilly.

Dear Monsieur and friend,—

... You know how proud I am of having been the first to appreciate the gallant young men whom your noble-hearted country sent to us, of having succeeded in having your first section sent to Alsatian territory, and, lastly, of bearing, as a symbol of honour, the name of Father of the American Sections, which was spontaneously bestowed upon me by those noble young men on the day when they learned that they were to go to Alsace.

The sincere friendship of their indefatigable Inspector-General is also very precious to me.

My duties have unhappily prevented me from visiting again your fearless sections, which have proved so conclusively by their deeds that I was right when, at the very beginning, I became their sponsor. On the other hand, your own absorbing tasks have compelled you to make your welcome visits very rare.... But to-day your pleasant message revivifies the memory of our close connection, and tightens its bonds afresh.

Thanks, with all my heart, dear Monsieur and friend; remember that you are bound to break your journey at Vittel whenever you pass through, and that such break will give great pleasure to

Faithfully yours
(Signed)       de Montravel

[Pg 270]

Groupement D. E.


1er Bureau

No 6369 B/1

S. C. No 6611

Au Q. G., le 1er Novembre 1916


Le Général Commandant le Groupement D. E. cite à l'ordre du Corps d'Armée:—

Section Sanitaire Américaine No 1

"Sous le commandement du lieutenant Robert de Kersauson de Pennendreff et de l'officier Américain Herbert Townsend, en Août et Septembre 1916, a assuré l'évacuation des blessés de trois divisions successivement dans un secteur particulièrement dangereux; a demandé comme une faveur de conserver ce service où officiers et conducteurs ont fait preuve du plus brilliant courage et du plus complet dévouement."

(Signé) Le Général Commandant le Groupement D. E.


Group D. E.


1st Bureau

No. 6369 B/1

S. C. No 6611

Headquarters, 1 November, 1916


The general commanding Group D. E. "mentions" in the orders of the Army Corps:—

American Sanitary Section No. 1

"Under the command of Lieutenant Robert de Kersauson de Pennendreff and of the American officer Herbert Townsend, in August and September, 1916, effected the removal of the wounded of three divisions successively in a particularly dangerous sector; has asked as a favor to be permitted to maintain this service, in which officers and drivers have given proof of the most brilliant courage and the most complete devotion."

(Signed) General commanding Group D. E.

[Pg 271]

2ème Armée

Direction du Service
de Santé du
Groupement E


En exécution des prescriptions réglementaires le Docteur du Service de Santé du 6me Corps d'Armée, cite à l'ordre du Service de Santé du 6me Corps d'Armée:—

La Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 1

"Sous la direction du Lieutenant Robert de Kersauson de Pennendreff, et des Officiers Américains, Herbert Townsend et Victor White, la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 1, composée entièrement de volontaires, a assuré remarquablement le service quotidien des évacuations en allant chercher les blessés le plus loin possible, malgré un bombardement parfois violent.

S'est particulièrement distinguée le 11 juillet 1916 en traversant à plusieurs reprises une nappe de gaz toxiques sous un feu intense sans aucun répit pendant 32 heures pour emmener aux ambulances les intoxiqués."

(Signé)     Toubert

Q. G. le 26 juillet 1916
Le Directeur du Service de Santé

[Pg 272]


2d Army

Headquarters of
the Sanitary Service
of Group E


In fulfillment of regulations the Physician of the Sanitary Service of the 6th Army Corps "mentions" in orders of the day of the 6th Army Corps:—

American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 1

"Under the direction of Lieutenant Robert de Kersauson de Pennendreff, and of the American officers, Herbert Townsend and Victor White, American Sanitary Section No. 1, composed entirely of volunteers, has been wonderfully efficient in the daily service of removing the wounded, going very long distances to fetch them, despite a bombardment sometimes of great intensity.

It especially distinguished itself on July 11, 1916, by passing through a sheet of poisonous gas again and again, without respite, under a sustained fire, for thirty-two hours, bringing the men prostrated by the gas to the ambulances."

(Signed)    Toubert

Headquarters, 26 July, 1916
Chief of the Sanitary Service

[Pg 273]

1er C. A. C.

Service de Santé

No. 5161

Q. G., le 19 juillet 1916

Le Médecin Principal de 1ère Classe Lasnet, Directeur du Service de Santé du 1er Corps d'Armée Colonial, au Lieutenant de Kersauson, Commandant la S. S. A. U. 1.

Au moment où la S. S. A. U. 1 est appelée à suivre une autre destination, le Directeur du Service de Santé adresse au Lieutenant de Kersauson et à tout le personnel de la Section ses chaleureuses félicitations pour le zèle, le courage et l'activité inlassables dont tous out fait preuve pendant leur séjour sur le secteur du 1er C. A. C.

Les Troupes Coloniales ont su apprécier le dévouement des volontaires Américains et elles leur en gardent une vive reconnaissance. C'est avec un profond regret qu'elles les ont vu partir et elles n'oublieront pas de longtemps les conducteurs hardis, habiles et empressés qui venaient enlever leurs blessés jusque dans les postes de secours les plus avancés.

(Signé)       Lasnet

[Pg 274]


1st C. A. C.

of the
Sanitary Service

No. 5161

Headquarters, 19 July, 1916

The Physician-in-Chief of the First Class Lasnet, Superintendent of the Sanitary Service of the First Colonial Army Corps, to Lieutenant de Kersauson, Commanding S. S. A. U. 1.

At the moment when the American Sanitary Section U. 1 is called upon to proceed to another field of action, the Superintendent of the Sanitary Service expresses to Lieutenant de Kersauson and the whole personnel of the Section his warm congratulations upon the unwearying zeal, courage, and activity of which one and all have given abundant proof during their stay in the sector of the First C. A. C.

The Colonial troops have not failed to appreciate at its true value the devotion of the American volunteers, and are profoundly grateful to them therefore. It was with deep regret that they learned of their departure, and they will not soon forget the fearless, skilful, and enthusiastic drivers who went even to the most advanced postes de secours to collect their wounded.

(Signed)       Lasnet

[Pg 275]


En exécution des prescriptions réglementaires le Directeur du Service de Santé du 6e Corps d'Armée, cite à l'Ordre du Service de Santé du 6e Corps d'Armée

La Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 8 pour le motif suivant:—

"Sous la direction du Lieutenant Paroissien, Robert Charles, et du Commandant Adjoint Américaine Mason, Austin Blake, la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 8, composée entièrement de volontaires, a assuré remarquablement le service quotidien des évacuations en allant chercher le plus loin possible les blessés, malgré un bombardement parfois violent.

"S'est particulièrement distinguée le 23 juin, en traversant à plusieurs reprises la nappe de gaz toxiques sous un feu intense sans aucun répit pendant plusieurs heures pour emmener au plus vite aux ambulances les intoxiqués."

Q. G. le 4 Août 1916
P. O. le Directeur du Service de Santé

[Pg 276]


In carrying out the prescribed regulations the Director of the Sanitary Service of the 6th Army Corps "mentions" in the orders of the day of that service

The American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 8, for the reason following:—

"Under the direction of Lieutenant Robert Charles Paroissien and of the American Deputy-Commandant Austin Blake Mason, the American Sanitary Section No. 8, composed entirely of volunteers, has been wonderfully efficient in the daily service of removing the wounded, going very long distances to fetch them, despite a bombardment sometimes of great intensity.

"It especially distinguished itself on June 23, by passing through the sheet of poisonous gas again and again, without respite, under a sustained fire, for many hours, bringing the men prostrated by the gas to the ambulances as speedily as possible."

Headquarters, 4 August, 1916
P.O. The Director of the Sanitary Service


As a result of the extension of the Field Service of the American Ambulance, the headquarters of the field ambulance sections have been transferred from the Lycée Pasteur, Neuilly-sur-Seine, to 21 rue Raynouard, Paris (XVI), and are installed in the beautiful premises generously placed at their disposal for the duration of the war by the Hottinguer family.


This house at Passy has, since the beginning of the last century, been the property of the family of Benjamin Delessert, the great philosopher, who founded the Caisse d'Épargne in Paris. On the extensive neighboring land belonging to him he established a refinery where beetroot sugar was made for the first time. The Emperor Napoleon, as an appreciation of this discovery, created him a Baron of the Empire and Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur.

There exist in the park at Passy three ferruginous springs, the waters of which were famous even in the seventeenth century. Madame de Sévigné speaks of them in a letter to her daughter, dated 1676. Later a thermal establishment was organized. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who lived on the edge of the park, speaks in his "Confessions" of taking the waters. Voltaire was also an assiduous visitor. From 1777 to 1785 Benjamin Franklin often came to take the cure, and walked in the shade of these wooded acres. It is even said that he made here his first experiment with a lightning-rod. More recently, history recounts that in this same spot Zola wrote his book "Pages d'Amour." The house was occupied for a long time by the Bartholdi family and was frequently visited by the great sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, given to the United States by France. A description of the place is given in a book on "Old Paris" by Georges Cain, and also in a book called "Paris," by André Hallays. The property belongs at the present day to the Hottinguer family and their descendants, heirs of the Delesserts.




[Pg 280]


BALBIANI, Roger M. L., Conducteur, puis chef d'une section sanitaire étrangère:—

"A déployé depuis plusieurs mois un grand dévouement; s'est particulièrement distingué du 22 Avril 1915 lors de l'attaque allemande au moyen de gazs asphyxiants et pendant les bombardements de Dunkerque."


BALBIANI, Roger M. L., Driver, afterwards in command of a foreign Sanitary Section: For many months past has displayed the most devoted courage; distinguished himself particularly on April 22, 1915, at the time of the German attack with asphyxiating gas, and during the bombardments of Dunkirk.


BARTLETT, Edward, Conducteur volontaire de la S. S. Américaine No 4:—

"S'est particulièrement distingué par son sang-froid, son courage et son dévouement en concourant, du 18 au 30 Juin 1916, aux évacuations des blessés des postes de secours, dans un secteur battu par l'artillerie ennemie."


BARTLETT, Edward, Volunteer Driver of American S. S. No 4: Distinguished himself particularly by his coolness, courage, and devotion, while assisting, between the 18th and 30th of June, 1916, in the removal of wounded from postes de secours, in a sector swept by the enemy artillery.

[Pg 282]


BUSWELL, Leslie, de la S. S. A. A., Conducteur très consciencieux, très dévoué et très courageux.

Se présentant pour toutes les missions dangereuses.

Conduite remarquable pendant le bombardement du 22 Juillet.


BUSWELL, Leslie, of the S. S. A. A. A most conscientious, faithful, and fearless driver. Offers himself for all dangerous duties. Noteworthy conduct during the bombardment of July 22.


CAMPBELL, Joshua, Conducteur. Engagé volontaire à la S. S. A. U. 1 depuis Janvier 1915:—

"A fait preuve en toutes circonstances d'un calme imperturbable et d'un absolu dévouement. A assuré le service des évacuations depuis le poste de secours de l'Eclusier sous plusieurs bombardements dans des conditions de rapidité parfaites et avec un extrême souci du confort des blessés.


CAMPBELL, Joshua, Driver. Volunteer in the S. S. A. U. 1 since January, 1915: Has given proof, on all occasions, of imperturbable coolness and undivided devotion to duty. Looked after the matter of removals from the dressing-station at l'Eclusier, during several bombardments, with the greatest possible speed, and with the utmost care for the comfort of the wounded.

[Pg 284]


CAREY, Graham, sujet Américain, domicilé à Cambridge (Massachusetts) États-Unis, sous-chef de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3:

"A affirmé son courage et son dévouement en allant spontanément recueillir, sous les obus, les blessés d'un corps de troupe, voisin de son poste d'attache, et en assurant leur évacuation immédiate."


CAREY, Graham, an American, living at Cambridge, Massachusetts, second in command of the American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3: Manifested his courage and his devotion to duty by going out spontaneously under a storm of shells, to collect the wounded of a detachment stationed near the post to which he was attached, and assuring their immediate removal to the rear.


CLARK, John, volontaire Américain de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3:—

"A donné depuis huit mois l'exemple d'une fidélité entière à son service. Pendant la période du 22 Juin au 2 Juillet a montré une intrépidité parfaite et a fait allègrement plus que son devoir dans des circonstances dangereuses."


CLARK, John, American Volunteer of American Sanitary Section No. 3: In the past eight months has set an example of absolute fidelity to duty. During the period from 22 June to 2 July, displayed perfect intrepidity, and readily did more than his duty in circumstances of great peril.

[Pg 286]


CURLEY, E. J., de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3, sujet Américain:—

"A de nouveau fait preuve d'un dévouement digne des plus grands éloges en assurant nuit et jour, pendant quinze jours, avec un parfait mépris du danger, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés sur une route de montagne constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis."


CURLEY, E. J., of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3, an American: Has again given proof of a devotion deserving of the highest praise, by safeguarding night and day, for a fortnight, with utter contempt of danger, the removal of many wounded over a mountain road constantly swept by the enemy's fire.


Le Volontaire Américain DAWSON, Benjamin, de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3:—

"A fait preuve à la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3 d'un entier dévouement en particulier au cours des mission dangereuses effectuées sous le feu de l'ennemi en Décembre-Janvier 1916 et pendant la période du 22 Juin au 2 Juillet 1916."


The American Volunteer, Benjamin DAWSON, of American Sanitary Section No. 3: Has displayed in the work of American Sanitary Section No. 3 absolute devotion to duty, especially in the execution of certain dangerous commissions under the enemy's fire in December, 1915-January, 1916, and during the period from 22 June to 2 July, 1916.

[Pg 288]


DOUGLASS, David B., de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3, sujet Américain: "A de nouveau fait preuve d'un dévouement digne des plus grands éloges en assurant nuit et jour, pendant quinze jours, avec un parfait mépris du danger, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés sur une route de montagne constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis."


DOUGLASS, David B., of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3, an American: Has again given proof of a devotion deserving of the highest praise, by safeguarding night and day, for a fortnight, with utter contempt of danger, the removal of many wounded over a mountain road swept by the enemy's fire.


Le Conducteur DOYLE, Luke C., de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3, sujet Américain: "A de nouveau fait preuve d'un dévouement digne des plus grands éloges en assurant nuit et jour, pendant 15 jours, avec un parfait mépris du danger, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés sur une route de montagne constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis."


DOYLE, Luke C., Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3, an American: Has again given proof of a devotion deserving of the highest praise, by safeguarding night and day, for a fortnight, with utter contempt of danger, the removal of many wounded over a mountain road swept by the enemy's fire.

[Pg 290]


EDWARDS, Brooke Leonard, Conducteur à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 1: "A montré le plus grande courage et un sang-froid remarquable en allant chercher des blessés dans un poste avancé. Sa voiture ayant été atteinte par plusieurs éclats d'obus en traversant une zone violemment bombardée, s'est arrêté pour réparer et a rempli sa mission jusqu'au bout en ramenant des blessés hors de la zone dangereuse." [12]


EDWARDS, Brooke Leonard, Driver, in American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 1: Displayed the greatest bravery and noteworthy coolness in going to take up the wounded in an advanced position. His car having been hit by several fragments of shell as he crossed a zone then under a heavy bombardment, he stopped to repair it and performed his mission to the end, bringing back a number of wounded men from the dangerous zone.

[12] This citation was approved and signed by General Joffre, General Nivelle, commanding the 2d Army, the General commanding "Groupement E," the General commanding the 127th Division, the Médecin Divisionnaire of the 127th Division.


Le Conducteur FENTON, Powel, de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3, sujet Américain:—

"A de nouveau fait preuve d'un dévouement digne des plus grands éloges en assurant nuit et jour, pendant quinze jours, avec un parfait mépris du danger, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés sur une route de montagne constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis."


FENTON, Powel, Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3, an American: Has again given proof of a devotion deserving of the highest praise, by safeguarding night and day, for a fortnight, with utter contempt of danger, the removal of many wounded over a mountain road swept by the enemy's fire.

[Pg 292]


GALATTI, Stephen, sujet Américain, Conducteur à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3:

"A pendant quinze jours assuré nuit et jour, sur une route de montagne difficile, et constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés, avec un zèle et un dévouement dignes de tous les éloges."


GALATTI, Stephen, Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3, an American subject: On a bad mountain road, constantly swept by the enemy's fire, safeguarded night and day, for a fortnight, the removal of many wounded, with a zeal and devotion deserving of the highest praise.


GLOVER, Halcott, sous-chef de Section à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 2:

S'est toujours distingué par son esprit de devoir, son dévouement, son calme absolu dans le danger et ses qualités d'organisateur. Conduite remarquable lors du bombardement du 22 Juillet. Toujours à son poste les jours d'attaque.


GLOVER, Halcott, second in command of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2: Has constantly distinguished himself by his sense of duty, his devotion, his perfect coolness in danger, and his talent as an organizer. Noteworthy conduct at the time of the bombardment of July 22. Always at his post on days of assault.

[Pg 294]


HALL, Richard, de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3.

Le Bon Samaritain qu'était Richard Hall avait pris la décision de voyager beaucoup de concert avec nous, sur notre route, pour tendre une main inlassablement secourable à ceux de nos compatriotes militaires que les hostilités actuelles auraient plongé dans le malheur. Il l'a fait depuis de longs mois avec la constante ténacité que vous savez.

Sur cette route un projectile ennemi l'a tué. Je salue bien bas sa dépouille en lui disant, à lui et à ses émules en dévouement, les membres de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3, mon sentiment de profonde et entière admiration au nom du Service de Santé de la 66ème Division.

Par ordre du Général commandant la 66ème Division, j'épingle à ce cercueil la Croix de Guerre Française avec citation à l'ordre de la Division.

26 Décembre 1915.


HALL, Richard, of the American Sanitary Section No. 3. The good Samaritan, Richard Hall, had determined to travel often with us, on our regular road, in order to extend an untiringly helping hand to those of our military compatriots upon whom the present hostilities had brought misfortune. He did this for many long months with the tenacious persistence that you know of.

On that road a German shell killed him. Reverently I salute his mortal remains, expressing to him and to his rivals in devotion to the cause, the members of American Sanitary Section, No. 3, my sentiment of profound and unstinted admiration, in behalf of the Sanitary Service of the 66th Division.

By order of the General commanding the 66th Division, I pin to this coffin the French Croix de Guerre, together with this mention in the divisional order of the day.

December 26, 1915.

[Pg 296]


HALE, Dudley, sujet Américain, domicilié à New York, États-Unis, Conducteur de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3:

"A affirmé son courage et son dévouement en allant spontanément recueillir, sous les obus, les blessés d'un corps de troupe voisin de son poste d'attache, et en assurant leur évacuation immédiate."


HALE, Dudley, an American, living at New York, United States, Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3: Demonstrated his courage and his devotion to duty by going out, of his own motion, under shell-fire, to pick up the wounded of a force near his station, and ensuring their immediate removal.


HANSEN, Sigurd, Conducteur volontaire de la S. S. Américaine No 4:—

"S'est particulièrement distingué par son sang-froid, son courage, et son dévouement en concourant, du 18 au 30 Juin 1916, aux évacuations des blessés des postes de secours, dans un secteur battu par l'artillerie ennemie."


HANSEN, Sigurd, Volunteer Driver of American S. S. 4: Distinguished himself particularly by his coolness, courage, and devotion, while assisting, between the 18th and 30th of June, 1916, in the removal of wounded from postes de secours, in a sector swept by the enemy artillery.

[Pg 298]


HILL, Lovering, Chef de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3:

"A de nouveau affirmé son inlassable dévouement en assurant avec une froide crânerie et dans les conditions très correctes pendant les journées et les nuits des 15, 16 et 17 Octobre 1915, dans une région difficilement practicable et en partie battue par le feu l'ennemi, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés."


HILL, Lovering, in command of American Sanitary Section No. 3: Has demonstrated anew his untiring devotion to duty by safeguarding, with cool audacity and in perfect order, during the days and nights of October 15, 16, 17, 1915, in a district where such movements were very difficult and which was partly within range of the enemy's guns, the removal of numerous wounded.


Le Lieutenant HILL, Lovering, Commandant la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3, sujet américain:

"A de nouveau affirmé son courage, son dévouement et son esprit d'organisation en faisant assurer et assurant lui-même, nuit et jour, pendant quinze jours, avec un parfait mépris du danger, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés sur une route de montagne constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis."


HILL, Lovering, Lieutenant Commanding American Sanitary Section No. 3, an American subject: Has demonstrated anew his courage, devotion to duty, and talent for organization by superintending and taking an active part in safeguarding night and day, for a fortnight, with utter contempt of danger, the removal of many wounded, over a mountain road constantly swept by the enemy's guns.

[Pg 299]


HILL, Lovering, de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3.

"Délégué de l'hôpital Américain de Neuilly à la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3, a montré une fois de plus, au service de la 129e Division, pendant les évacuations difficiles et dangereuses du 22 Juin au 2 Juillet, les plus belles qualités d'un chef, l'oubli de lui-même, un entier dévouement à son service et à ses volontaires."


HILL, Lovering, of American Sanitary Section No. 3: Ordered from the American hospital at Neuilly to American Sanitary Section No. 3, has shown once more, in the service of the 129th Division, during the dangerous and difficult "evacuations" of 22 June to 2 July, the finest qualities of leadership—forgetfulness of self, and absolute devotion to his duties and to his volunteers.

[Pg 300]


Le Volontaire Américain HITT, Lawrence, de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3:—

"S'est toujours distingué par son zèle et son dévouement et particulièrement du 22 Juin au 2 Juillet 1916 au cours de l'évacuation des blessés de la Division effectuée en dépit de bombardements constants et violents de la route et des postes."


The American Volunteer HITT, Lawrence, of American Sanitary Section No. 3: Has constantly distinguished himself by his zeal and devotion, and especially from 22 June to 2 July, 1916, during the removal of the wounded of the Division, which was safely effected despite constant and intense bombardments of the road and the stations.


HOLLISTER, George, Volontaire Américain de la S. S. Américaine No 3:—

"S'est toujours distingué par son dévouement et son entrain, particulièrement au cours des évacuations périlleuses du 22 Juin au 2 Juillet 1916 opérées par une route continuellement bombardée."


HOLLISTER, George, American volunteer in the American Sanitary Service No. 3: Has always distinguished himself by his devotion and his spirit, particularly during the dangerous removal of the wounded from June 22 to July 2, 1916, over a road under constant bombardment.

[Pg 302]


JACKSON, Everett, Volontaire Américain de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3:—

"Volontaire Américain de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3, volontaire pour toutes les tâches et en toutes circonstances; a rendu par son dévouement les plus grands services à la section pendant la période d'activité intense et dangereuse du 22 Juin au 2 Juillet."


JACKSON, Everett, American Volunteer of American Sanitary Section No. 3: American Volunteer of American Sanitary Section No. 3, volunteers for all tasks and under all circumstances; by his devotion rendered the most valuable service to the Section during the period of intense and dangerous activity, from 22 June to 2 July.


LEWIS, Philip, Conducteur à la S. S. U. 1:—

"Engagé volontaire, conducteur à la S. S. U. 1 depuis Mars 1916 se trouvant dans une localité soumise à un violent bombardement le 15 Juin 1916; a montré la plus grande bravoure et le plus absolu mépris du danger; a aidé à soigner les blessés et n'a consenti à s'éloigner que sur l'ordre formel des médecins après avoir pris dans sa voiture tous les blessés qu'elle pouvait contenir et qu'il a conduits dans les meilleures conditions à la formation sanitaire qui lui était indiquée.


LEWIS, Philip, Driver in S. S. U. 1: Volunteer, Driver in S. S. U. 1 since March, 1916, being in a locality subjected to a violent bombardment, on 15 June, 1916, displayed the greatest gallantry and utter contempt of danger, assisted in caring for the wounded and refused to retire except upon the formal order of the physicians, after he had taken in his car all the wounded it would hold and driven them under the best possible conditions to the Sanitary station to which he was directed.

[Pg 304]


LOVELL, Walter, sous-chef de Section à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No. 2:—

"A toujours fait preuve d'un moral remarquable; a toujours été un example de courage pour les autres conducteurs, et un précieux auxiliaire pour le Chef de sa Section."


LOVELL, Walter, second in command of the American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2: Has always given proof of a noteworthy spirit; has constantly set the example of courage to the other drivers, and has been an invaluable assistant to the commander of his Section.


McCONNELL, James R., Conducteur à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 2:—

"Conducteur engagé dès la première heure; animé d'un excellent esprit; a toujours fait preuve d'un courage et d'une hardiesse dignes des plus grands éloges."


McCONNELL, James R., Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2: Volunteered as a driver at the very beginning; inspired by praiseworthy zeal; has always given proof of a courage and fearlessness worthy of the highest praise.

[Pg 306]


L'automobiliste volontaire MacMONAGLE, Douglas, de la S. S. A. Américaine No 8:—

"Un obus étant tombé en plein poste de secours a conservé tout son calme et avec le plus grand dévouement a contribué sous un bombardement au chargement de trois blessés dont l'évacuation était urgente."


Volunteer automobilist Douglas MacMONAGLE of American A. S. S. No. 8: A shell having fallen in the middle of a poste de secours, he retained his self-possession, and with the utmost devotion, under bombardment, assisted in loading three wounded men whose removal was imperative.


MARTIN, William T., Conducteur à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine 2 depuis le mois de Décembre:—

"S'est toujours distingué par son dévouement extrême et par son esprit de devoir. S'est avancé avec sa voiture sous un violent bombardement pour ramener vers l'arrière plusieurs blessés. L'auto fut très endommagé par des éclats de shrapnell."


MARTIN, William T., Driver of the American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2, since December: Has constantly distinguished himself by his extreme devotion and his sense of duty. Drove forward in his car under a fierce bombardment, to pick up several wounded men and take them to the rear. The car was badly damaged by pieces of shrapnel.

[Pg 308]


MELLEN, Joseph, sujet Américain, conducteur à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3:

"A pendant quinze jours assuré nuit et jour, sur une route de montagne difficile et constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés, avec un zèle et un dévouement dignes de tous les éloges."


MELLEN, Joseph, Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3, an American subject: Safeguarded night and day, for a fortnight, on a difficult mountain road, constantly swept by the enemy's guns, the removal of many wounded, with a zeal and devotion worthy of the highest praise.


OGILVIE, Francis Dashwood, de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 2, conducteur depuis le début de la campagne:

"S'est toujours distingué par son esprit de devoir, son dévouement et son calme absolu dans le danger."


OGILVIE, Francis Dashwood, of American Sanitary Section No. 2, Driver since the beginning of the campaign: Has constantly distinguished himself by his sense of duty, his devotion, and his perfect coolness in danger.

[Pg 310]


Le volontaire Américain PEIRCE, Waldo, de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3:—

"Volontaire depuis Novembre 1915 à la Section Sanitaire Américaine; a pris part aux évacuations d'une Division en Décembre et Janvier 1915 et aux missions périlleuses du 22 Juin au 2 Juillet 1916. Maintes fois exposé à des bombardements violents, a été à deux reprises atteint au visage et au corps par des éclats d'obus pendant cette dernière période."


The American Volunteer Waldo PEIRCE, of American Sanitary Section No. 3: Volunteer since November, 1915, in the American Sanitary Section; took part in the removal of the wounded of a division in December and January, 1915, and in carrying out dangerous missions from 22 June to 2 July, 1916. Constantly exposed to intense bombardment, has been wounded twice, in the face and body, by fragments of shell, during the latter period.


POTTER, Thomas, volontaire Américain à la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3:—

"Volontaire infatigable, d'une énergie et d'un sang-froid exemplaires dans le danger."


POTTER, Thomas, American volunteer of American Sanitary Section No. 3: An indefatigable volunteer, of exemplary energy and composure in danger.

[Pg 312]


PUTNAM, Tracy J., sujet Américain, conducteur à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3:—

"A pendant quinze jours assuré nuit et jour, sur une route de montagne difficile et constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés, avec un zèle et un dévouement dignes de tous les éloges."


PUTNAM, Tracy J., Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3, an American: Safeguarded for a fortnight, night and day, on a difficult mountain road constantly swept by the enemy's guns, the removal of many wounded, with a zeal and devotion worthy of the highest praise.


RANTOUL, Beverley, conducteur volontaire Américain de la Section Sanitaire Automobile No 4:—

"A toujours fait preuve du plus grand sang-froid et d'un dévouement absolu aux blessés, en procédant à leur évacuation sur des routes fréquemment bombardées. S'est acquitté de certaines missions périlleuses avec beaucoup de calme et de courage, notamment le 30 Mars 1916 à Grosrouvres, au cours d'un bombardement, et le 10 Avril, à Xivray, où, allant chercher un blessé au poste de secours, sa voiture fut atteinte par des éclats d'obus.


RANTOUL, Beverley, American volunteer, Driver in Automobile Sanitary Section No. 4: Has always displayed the greatest coolness and entire devotion to the wounded, while assisting in their removal on roads frequently under bombardment. Acquitted himself of certain perilous commissions with great composure and courage, notably on 30 March, 1916, at Grosrouvres, during a bombardment, and on 10 April, at Xivray, where, as he was on his way to bring in a wounded soldier to the poste de secours, his car was struck by fragments of shell.

[Pg 314]


Le Conducteur RICE, Durant, de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3, sujet Américain:—

"A de nouveau fait preuve d'un dévouement digne des plus grands éloges en assurant nuit et jour, pendant quinze jours, avec un parfait mépris du danger, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés sur une route de montagne constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis."


RICE, Durant, Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3, an American: Has demonstrated anew a devotion worthy of the highest praise by safeguarding night and day, for a fortnight, with utter contempt of danger, the removal of many wounded over a mountain road constantly swept by the enemy's guns.


ROEDER, George, Conducteur à la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 2:—

"Depuis les premiers jours de la mobilisation a montré au service de la Croix Rouge une ardeur et un entrain qui ne se sont jamais ralentis."


ROEDER, George, Driver, of American Sanitary Section No. 2: Since the first days of mobilization has displayed in the service of the Red Cross a zeal and energy which have never slackened.

[Pg 316]


SALISBURY, Edward, Chef de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 2:—

"A fait preuve des meilleures qualités dans la conduite de sa section: infatigable, d'une volonté ferme et résolue, il a donné l'exemple du dévouement, de la bonté et du courage."


SALISBURY, Edward, Commander of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2: Has given proof of most excellent qualities in the management of his Section; indefatigable, with a firm and determined will, he has set a fine example of devotion, kindliness, and courage.


SCHRODER, Bernard, de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 2:—

"Conducteur engagé depuis le début de la campagne, n'a cessé de faire preuve de courage et de sang-froid. Toujours aux postes les plus dangereux, a fait admiration de tous le 22 Juillet à Pont-à-Mousson, où il a porté les premiers secours aux victimes du bombardement."


SCHRODER, Bernard, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2: Volunteered as Driver at the beginning of the campaign, and has constantly given proof of great courage and self-possession. Always to be found at the most dangerous posts, he aroused universal admiration on July 22, at Pont-à-Mousson, where he administered first aid to the victims of the bombardment.

[Pg 318]


SPONAGLE, James Milton, Mécanicien à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 1:—

"Le 11 Juillet 1916 est allé réparer une voiture restée en panne sur une route violemment bombardée; a accompli la réparation sous le feu de l'ennemi avec un sang-froid remarquable, s'est ensuite proposé pour conduire une voiture d'Ambulance et a aidé à l'évacuation des blessés pendant une période de bombardement intense."


SPONAGLE, James Milton, mechanic in American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 1: On 11 July, 1916, went out to repair a car left stranded on a road that was being violently bombarded; made the necessary repairs under the enemy's fire with notable composure; then volunteered to drive an Ambulance car and assisted in removing wounded throughout a period of intense bombardment.


Le Conducteur SUCKLEY, H., de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3, sujet Américain:—

"A de nouveau fait preuve d'un dévouement digne des plus grands éloges en assurant nuit et jour, pendant quinze jours, avec un parfait mépris du danger, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés sur une route de montagne constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis."


SUCKLEY, H., Driver, of American Sanitary Section No. 3: Has again given proof of a devotion deserving of the highest praise by safeguarding night and day, for a fortnight, with utter contempt of danger, the removal of many wounded over a mountain road constantly swept by the enemy's fire.

[Pg 320]


TAYLOR, John, Conducteur Américain de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 2:—

"Animé du meilleur esprit, plein d'entrain et de courage. Le 19 Décembre, étant de service à Montauville, un obus ayant explosé près du poste téléphonique, s'est porté au secours des blessés qu'il a aidés à relever, bien qu'il ait été lui-même légèrement contusionné. Le 20 Décembre, 1915, lors d'un bombardement violent de Pont-à-Mousson, s'est porté le premier au secours des blessés avec un réel mépris du danger."


TAYLOR, John, American, Driver in the American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2: Inspired by the most exemplary sentiments, full of "go," and courage. On December 19, being on duty at Montauville, and a shell having exploded near the telephone station, he went to the assistance of the wounded, whom he helped to remove, although himself slightly wounded. On December 20, 1915, during a violent bombardment of Pont-à-Mousson, was the first to go to the assistance of the wounded, with a genuine disregard of danger.


TINKHAM, Edward, Volontaire Américain de la S. S. Américaine No 3:—

"A constamment rendu par son inlassable dévouement les plus appréciables services; a pris part aux évacuations difficiles et dangereuses du 22 Juin au 2 Juillet 1916 opérées sous le feu violent de l'ennemi."


TINKHAM, Edward, American volunteer in the American Sanitary Service No. 3: Has constantly rendered by his untiring devotion most valuable services; took part in the difficult and dangerous removal of wounded from June 22 to July 2, 1916, under the violent fire of the enemy.

[Pg 322]


WALDEN, Donald M., de la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine.

"A toujours fait preuve de la meilleure volonté et s'est fait remarquer par son audace lors de l'attaque du 4 Juillet."


WALDEN, Donald M., of American Automobile Sanitary Section: Has constantly given proof of the greatest zeal, and drew attention to himself by his fearlessness during the assault of July 4.


WALKER, J. Marquand, sujet Américain, conducteur à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 3:—

"A pendant quinze jours assuré nuit et jour, sur une route de montagne difficile et constamment battue par les projectiles ennemis, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés, avec un zèle et un dévouement dignes de tous les éloges."


WALKER, J. Marquand, Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 3: Safeguarded for a fortnight, night and day, on a difficult mountain road constantly swept by the enemy's guns, the removal of many wounded, with a zeal and devotion worthy of the highest praise.

[Pg 324]


WHITE, Victor, S/Chef de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 1, le 3 Mai 1916, chargé d'évacuer les blessés d'un village violemment bombardé, a fait preuve de sang froid, de courage et du plus beau dévouement en chargeant rapidement sa voiture, et en la mettant aussitôt en marche, ne se souciant que de soustraire ses blessés à de nouveaux coups de l'ennemi.

Le Général MAZILLIER, Cdt. la 2ème Div.


WHITE, Victor, Second in Command of American Sanitary Section No. 1, on May 3, 1916, being ordered to remove the wounded from a village that was being heavily shelled, gave proof of coolness, courage, and the noblest devotion, by loading his car rapidly, and instantly driving away, thinking of nothing except to save his wounded from being hit again.

(Signed) General Mazillier
Commanding the 2d Division.


WHITE, Victor, Conducteur.

Engagé volontaire à la S. S. A. U-1 depuis Avril 1915; a montré en toutes circonstances beaucoup d'entrain, de courage et de sang froid. S'est particulièrement distingué lors de l'attaque allemande par les gaz le 22 Avril, des bombardements de Dunkerque et pendant les évacuations des postes de l'Eclusier et de Cappy (Février-Mai 1916).


WHITE, Victor, Driver. Served as volunteer in the S. S. A. U-1 since April, 1915; has displayed on all occasions much energy, courage, and self-possession. Distinguished himself particularly at the time of the German gas attack on April 22, during the bombardments of Dunkirk, and during the removal of the wounded from the stations of Eclusier and Cappy (February-May, 1916).

[Pg 326]


WHEELER, Walter, volontaire Américain de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 3:—

"S'est toujours proposé comme volontaire pour les missions les plus périlleuses et a particulièrement fait preuve, pour secourir les blessés d'un poste de recueil sous un violent bombardement, d'un élan spontané digne de tout éloge."


WHEELER, Walter, American volunteer, of American Sanitary Section No. 3: Has invariably offered himself as a volunteer for the most hazardous undertakings, and on one occasion especially gave proof of a spontaneous energy deserving of the highest praise, in assisting the wounded of a receiving post under a violent bombardment.


WILLIS, Harold, Conducteur à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 2:—

"A toujours fait preuve d'un courage et d'une hardiesse dignes des plus grands éloges, notamment pendant l'attaque du 4 Juillet, s'offrant pour aller chercher des blessés dans un endroit très périlleux, et eut sa voiture criblée d'éclats d'obus."


WILLIS, Harold, Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 2: Has always given proof of a courage and fearlessness worthy of the highest praise, notably during the assault of July 4, in volunteering to go after the wounded in a very dangerous spot; his car was riddled with fragments of shell.

[Pg 328]

WOOLVERTON, William H., Conducteur à la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 1:

"Sous un bombardement incessant a continué à assurer le service des évacuations sans la moindre hésitation. A un endroit particulièrement exposé, au moment où les obus tombaient avec violence, a arrêté sa voiture pour prendre des blessés qu'il a aidé à charger avec le plus grand calme, donnant ainsi preuve de courage et de sang-froid."

WOOLVERTON, William H., Driver, of American Automobile Sanitary Section No. 1: Under an incessant bombardment continued to superintend the removals without the slightest hesitation. At one specially exposed spot, where shells were falling in swift succession, he stopped his car to pick up some wounded men whom he helped to put aboard, with the utmost coolness, thus demonstrating his courage and self-possession.

[Pg 330]



[Pg 331]

Grand Quartier Général
des Armées

État Major

Bureau du Personnel
Au G. Q. G., le 17 juin 1916

ORDRE No 3234-D


La Médaille Militaire a été conféré au militaire dont le nom suit:—

Barber, William, Conducteur au Service de Santé d'une Division d'Infanterie:—

"Au cours des récentes opérations, s'est distingué par son courage et son sang-froid en assurant toutes les nuits l'évacuation des blessés sur une route continuellement bombardée par l'artillerie ennemie. A été grièvement blessé dans l'accomplissement de ses devoirs."

(La présente nomination comporte l'attribution de la Croix de Guerre avec Palme.)

(Signé) J. Joffre

Pour extrait conforme
Le Lt. Colonel
Chef du Bureau du Personnel

Sanders, Roswell S., has been awarded the Médaille Militaire, but his citation was received too late to be included in this volume.

(November, 1916.)

[Pg 332]


General Headquarters
of the Armies

Bureau du Personnel

General Headquarters, 27 June, 1916

Order No. 3234-D


The Médaille Militaire has been conferred upon the soldier whose name follows:—

Barber, William, Driver in the Sanitary Service of an Infantry Division:—

"In the course of recent operations has distinguished himself by his courage and coolness in safeguarding night after night the removal of the wounded over a road constantly bombarded by enemy artillery. Was severely wounded in the performance of his duties."

(The present decoration carries with it the conferring of the Croix de Guerre avec Palme.)

(Signed)      J. Joffre

A true copy:
The Lieutenant-Colonel
Chief of the Bureau du Personnel

[Pg 333]

The text of the citations of the following men was received too late to be included in the foregoing list.

[Pg 335]

Decorative Image.

In the presence of mortal conflict, where the fulfilment of their labor of friendship lies, the men whose names here follow have seen fortitude greater even than the courage of the wounded. They have beheld the strength of a people unified by sacrifice so complete that its individuals are unconscious of personal heroism. They have worked side by side with hundreds of thousands of men and women who in consummating this sacrifice have yielded, without measure of cost, their ambition and love, and challenged death—with dauntless resolution to save not only their country, but the principles of democracy for the whole world. France, invincible in her resistance, has issued no acclamation of glory, has sought no sympathy for the costliness of the onslaught, nor published denunciation of the enemy, but by intrepid manhood has won the honor of all nations.

These Americans, in their service of conservation, have gained immutable evidence of that spirit upon which the highest citizenship and patriotism depend. Whatever bitterness chance may bring into their futures, they at least can never lose faith in human nature—remembering the standard under which these days of their youth have been consecrated.

H. D. S.

[Pg 336]


(The abbreviations of names of colleges and universities represented in this list are as follows.)

A. = Ames P. = Princeton
Am. = Amherst P.S. = Pennsylvania State
B. = Brown Pa. = Paris
B.C. = Beloit Coll. Pitts. = Univ. of Pittsburgh
Bow. = Bowdoin St.P.S. = St. Paul's School
C.C. = Cooper Coll. Sew. = Sewanee
C.G.S. = Cornell Graduate School Sw. = Swarthmore
Cam. = Cambridge T.C. = Trinity Coll.
Co. = Columbia U.A. = Univ. of Arizona
Col.C. = Colorado Coll. U.C. = Univ. of California
Cor. = Cornell U.M. = Univ. of Michigan
D. = Dartmouth U.Mo. = Univ. of Missouri
F. = Fordham U.N. = Univ. of Nevada
G. = Groton School U.N.C. = Univ. of North Carolina
H. = Harvard U.N.D. = Univ. of North Dakota
H.-S. = Hampton-Sidney U.P. = Univ. of Pennsylvania
Ham. = Hamilton U.S.C. = Univ. of South Carolina
I. = Iowa U.U. = Univ. of Utah
J.H. = Johns Hopkins U.V. = Univ. of Virginia
L.C. = Lehigh Coll. V. = Vanderbilt
M.A. = Mass. Agricultural W.R. = Western Reserve
M.I.T. = Mass. Inst. Technology W.U. = Washington Univ.
N.U. = Northwestern Univ. Wab. = Wabash
New.C. = Newberry Coll. Wms. = Williams
O. = Oberlin Y. = Yale

[Pg 337]

It Is Good to Have Made Friends.
"It is good to have made friends among you, to have clasped some of your brown hands, to have walked a little along the road with you"


Name Entered Left Address Coll. Sec.
John R. Abbott July'16 Andover, Mass. 2
Eustace L. Adams Feb.'15 June'15 Newtonville, Mass. T.C. 3
Harry Adamson Jan.'16 June'16 Pittsfield, Mass. T.C. 4
Fred Hunter All April'15 Aug.'15 Allendale, S.C. H. [1]
Julian B. L. Allen Aug.'15 New York City St.P.S. 4
Charles Burton Ames Sept.'16 W. Newton, Mass. Am. 8
John Worthington Ames, Jr. Oct.'16 Cambridge, Mass. H. 2
A. Piatt Andrew
Inspector General
Dec.'14 Gloucester, Mass. P.-H. 1
Donald C. Armour April'16 Evanston, Ill. Y. 8,3
Kenneth L. Austin Mar.'15 Lausanne 4
Percy L. Avard July'15 June'16 New York 1
Charles Baird, Jr. July'16 New York H. 2,3
Roger M. L. Balbiani
Section Director
Oct.'14 Dec.'15 Paris 1
Alwyn Ball Nov.'14 Feb.'15 New York 1
William M. Barber May'16 Aug.'16 Toledo, Ohio O. 3
Norman L. Barclay { Nov.'14 July'15 New York Y. 2
Nov.'15 June'16
Edward O. Bartlett
Chief of Construction
Oct.'15 Florence, Italy B. 4 [2]
Frederick B. Bate
Mechanical Officer
Aug.'14 April'16 Chicago [3]
Frank L. Baylies Feb.'16 New Bedford, Mass. 1,3
James D. Beane July'16 Concord, Mass. 9
Wm. De Ford Bigelow July'16 Cohasset, Mass. H. 4
Malbone H. Birckhead April'16 New York H. 8
Percy A. Blair Jan.'16 Mar.'16 Kent, England H. 4
Arthur Bluethenthal May'16 Wilmington, N.C. P. 3
John E. Boit[Pg 338] May'16 Brookline, Mass. H. 2
Douglas T. Bolling Aug.'16 University, Va. U.V. 4
Robert Bowman { Sept.'15 Nov.'15 Lake Forest, Ill. Y. 1
Jackson H. Boyd April'16 Harrisburg, Pa. P. 8
Alfred M. Brace July'16 Green Bay, Wis. B.C. 9
Amos F. Breed Sept.'16 Brookline, Mass. H.
Michael Brenner Nov.'14. Sept.'15 New York 1
Leighton Brewer July'15 Sept.'15 New York 1
Charles H. Brown Oct.'15 Mar.'16 New York U.V. 4
John F. Brown, Jr. Nov.'15 Feb.'16 Readville, Mass. H. 1
J. Paulding Brown Sept.'14 May'15 Montclair, N.J. H. 1
Otto W. Budd Nov.'14 Oct.'15 San Antonio, Texas 1
Thomas B. Buffum Mar.'16 New York H. 8,3
Lyman T. Burgess May'16 Sioux City, Ia. D. 2
Robert G. Burleigh Feb.'15 Aug.'15 Hudson, Mass. U.N. [1]
Carleton Burr
Section Commander
Feb.'16 Boston H. 2,9
Leslie Buswell June'15 Oct.'15 Gloucester, Mass. Cam. 2
Victor B. Caldwell, Jr. June'15 Sept.'15 Omaha, Nebr. Y. 3
Joshua G. B. Campbell
Section Sous-chef
Dec.'14 New York 1
David Carb Feb.'15 July'15 Boston H. 1
A. Graham Carey
Section Sous-chef
Dec.'14 Cambridge, Mass H. 3
James L. Carson Jan.'16 April'16 Chicago 1
Philip T. Cate Oct.'15 Mar.'16 Boston H. 3
Walter Chrystie, Jr. June'16 Bryn Mawr, Pa. P.S. 9
Coleman T. Clark April'16 Westfield, N.J. Y. 3
John W. Clark Nov.'15 Flushing, L.I. Y. 3
Philip R. Clark Feb.'16 Mar.'16 Shelter Island, N.Y. 3
Charles R. Codman, Jr. { Mar.'15 July'15 Boston H. 3
Feb.'16 Aug.'16
Charles H. Cogswell Mar.'16. Sept.'16 Cedar Rapids, Ia. I. 4
George R. Cogswell June'16 Cambridge, Mass. H. 9
Samuel H. Colton, Jr. April'15 July'15 Worcester, Mass. Bow. 1
R. Folger W. Conquest June'16 Philadelphia U.P. 9
Sidney A. Cook Sept.'16 New Haven, Conn. Y-C.G.S. 2
William D. Crane Mar.'16 Sept.'16 New York H. 4
Charles T. Crocker April'16 June'16 Fitchburg, Mass. 8
Charles R. Cross, Jr. Feb.'15 Mar.'15 Brookline, Mass. H. 2
Tingle W. Culbertson Mar.'16 Sewickley, Pa. P. 1
Lawrence B. Cummings Aug.'16 Indianapolis, Ind H. 3,4
John E. Cunningham April'15 Aug.'16 Boston M.I.T. 1
Richard J. Cunninghame
Section Sous-chef
April'15 Nov.'15 Edinburgh [1]
Edmund J. Curley { Mar.'15 Aug.'15 New York H. 3
Oct.'15 Jan.'16
Enos Curtin Feb.'15 June'15 New York M.I.T.
Brian C. Curtis June'16 New York H. 9
Nicholson F. Curtiss [Pg 339] Dec.'15 Aug.'16 Cleveland W.R. 4
Edwin G. Cushing Mar.'15 Feb.'16 New York 4 [1]
William B. Dana June'16 Aug.'16 New Haven, Conn. Y. [2]
Colgate W. Darden, Jr. Aug.'16 Franklin, Va. U.V. 1
Wm. S. Davenport, Jr. July'16 Paris 9
Charles C. Davis Feb.'16 Boston H. 4
Mahlon W. Davis Jan.'15 Aug.'15 Brookline, Mass. 2
Alden Davison Feb.'16 Sept.'16 New York Y. 8
Henry P. Davison, Jr. June'16 Aug.'16 New York G. [2]
Benjamin F. Dawson June'15 July'16 Philadelphia U.P. 3
Harwood B. Day Sept.'15 Dec.'15 Providence, R.I. 1
Samuel G. Dayton Feb.'16 Aug.'16 Philadelphia P.-U.P. 4
William S. Dell July'16 Princeton, N.J. P. 4
Harry De Maine
Assistant to Inspector
Sept.'14 Roby, England [3]
Edward H. De Neveu July'16 Asnières, France Pa. 3
Clifford A. De Roode July'15 April'16 New York 1 [1]
Edward J. M. Diemer Mar.'16 New York 2
George Dock, Jr. May'16 St. Louis D. 2
Arthur G. Dodge April'16 Weatogue, Conn. Y. 8
David B. Douglass Jan.'15 April'16 West Newton, Mass. 3
Jerome I. H. Downes Sept.'15 Feb.'16 Brookline, Mass. H. 1
Luke C. Doyle Sept.'15 Feb.'16 Worcester, Mass. Y. 3
Vivian Du Bouchet Sept.'14 Feb.'16 Paris 2
Rex W. Dunlap Nov.'15 Feb.'16 Kansas City, Mo. Y. 4
Brooke Leonard Edwards Feb.'16 Philadelphia 1
Wm. K. B. Emerson July'15 Nov.'16 New York H. 3
George K. End Dec.'15 July'16 New York Sw.-Co. 1
Edwin H. English June'16 New Haven, Conn. Y. 9
Josiah W. Eno July'15 Mar.'16 New York 1
John N. d'Este Sept.'16 Boston H.
John E. Ewell Feb.'16 Washington, D.C. J.H. [2]
Charles S. Faulkner April'16 Oct.'16 Keene, N.H. 8
Samuel P. Fay May'15 Sept.'15 Boston H. 1
William P. Fay Sept.'15 Mar.'16 New York H. 2
Powel Fenton { Feb.'15 May'16 Philadelphia U.P. 3
Danforth B. Ferguson Sept.'14 Aug.'15 Brooklyn, N.Y. 2
Fearchear Ferguson Dec.'14 Aug.'15 New York 1
Pierre Fischoff April'15 Mar.'16 Paris 2 [1]
John R. Fisher May'16 Arlington, Vt. Co. 2
Charles H. Fiske, 3rd Aug.'16 Boston H. 3
C. Stewart Forbes Feb.'16 Sept.'16 Boston H. 4
Frederick M. Forbush April'16 Detroit 8
Eric A. Fowler Aug.'16 New York P. 4
Giles B. Francklyn June'15 Lausanne 1,3
V. Frank April'15 Paris [2]
Chas. J. Freeborn [Pg 340]
Section Commander
Mar.'15 San Francisco Y. [3]
George F. Freeborn
Equipment Officer
July'15 May'16 San Francisco [3]
Frank H. Gailor Dec.'15 April'16 Memphis, Tenn. Sew.-Co. 2
Stephen Galatti
Assistant General Inspector
Sept.'15 New York H. 3
Rufus W. Gaynor Sept.'16 St. James, L.I. Am. 1
Harold H. Giles July'15 Sept.'15 Colorado Springs P. 1
John L. Glenn Dec.'15 Jan.'16 Chester, S.C. U.S.C . [3]
J. Halcott Glover
Section Sous-chef
Nov.'14 Dec.'15 London 2
Robert R. Gooch Aug.'16 Charlottesville, Va. U.V. 4
John R. Graham Nov.'15 May'16 Philadelphia U.P. 2
John McC. Granger July'15 Nov.'15 New York F. 1
Roger Griswold Jan.'16 Sept.'16 Cambridge, Mass. H. 2
Edmund L. Gros
Chief physician
Aug.'14 Paris C.C. [3]
H. Dudley Hale Mar.'15 April'16 New York H. 3
Louis P. Hall, Jr.
Supply Officer
{ Dec.'15
Ann Arbor, Mich. D. 3
Richard N. Hall
(Killed in service)
June'15 Dec.'15 Ann Arbor, Mich. D. 3
Paul S. Haney Jan.'15 July'15 Quakertown, Pa. P. 1
Sigurd Hansen Nov.'14 Paris 1,4
Henry K. Hardon June'15 Sept.'15 New York H. 3
James W. Harle Feb.'15 Oct.'15 New York 2,1
Raymond Harper June'16 New York P. 2
William C. Harrington Oct.'16 Worcester, Mass. H. 4
H. Sydnor Harrison Mar.'15 July'15 Charleston, W. Va. Co. 1
J. Letcher Harrison June'16 Charlottesville, Va. U.V. 9
Willis B. Haviland Sept.'15 Jan.'16 Indianapolis A. 2
Bartlett E. Hayden Feb.'15 Oct.'15 Watertown, Mass. 1
John R. Heilbuth May'16 Paris 2
Walter H. Hellier June'15 Oct.'15 Boston Y. 2
Alex. R. Henderson June'15 Sept.'15 New York H. 3
Lovering Hill
Section Commander
Nov.'14 New York H. 3
Lawrence W. Hitt Jan.'15 Aug.'16 New York Cor. 3
William A. Hoeveler Feb.'16 Sept.'16 Pittsburgh Pitts. 2
George M. Hollister Feb.'16 Grand Rapids, Mich. H. 3
Carlyle H. Holt Feb.'15 Aug.'15 Hingham, Mass. H. 2
Thomas G. Holt Feb.'16 Sept.'16 Grand Rapids, Mich. Y. 2
Sidney Howard June'16 Oakland, Cal. U.C. 9
John F. W. Huffer Dec.'14 Sept.'15 Paris 2
J. Cowan Hulbert
Section Director
Feb.'15 Mar.'16 St. Louis W.U. 4 [1]
Oscar A. Iasigi [Pg 341]
Section Sous-chef
{ Jan.'15
July'15 Boston M.I.T. 1,8
Jerry T. Illich Dec.'15 May'16 San Diego, Cal. U.C. 3
Robert W. Imbrie Dec.'15 Washington 1,3
Henry G. Iselin Feb.'16 Genêts (Manche) France 2
John P. Iselin Sept.'16 Genêts (Manche) France 2
Everett Jackson Dec.'15 Colorado Springs Col.C. 3,8
Leslie P. Jacobs Mar.'16 Sept.'16 Laramie, Wyo. H. 8
Allan R. Jennings July'15 Jan.'16 Philadelphia H. 3
Walter Jepson July'16 Sparks, Nevada U.N. 9
Henry D. Jewett Aug.'16 West Newton, Mass. M.A. 4
Archibald B. Johnston April'16 July'16 Pittsburgh Cor. 3
Terence R. Johnston Feb.'16 Chicago M.I.T. 2,9
Henry S. Jones May'16 Brooklyn, N.Y. L.C. 1
Frederick S. Judson June'15 Nov.'15 New York 3
Edward J. Kelley
(Killed in service)
Aug.'16 Sept.'16 Philadelphia, Pa. 4
Dr. Owen Kenan May'16 Kenansville, N.C. U.N.C. 2
Peter L. Kent Dec.'14 New York Co. [1] [3]
Hugo A. Kenyon Sept.'15 Dec.'15 Peacedale, R.I. B. 1
Grenville T. Keogh April'16 Oct.'16 New Rochelle, N.Y. 8
James M. Killeen Oct.'16 Concord, N.H. D. 8
Arthur Kingsland June'15 Oct.'15 New York 3
Harold L. Kingsland
Section Sous-chef
Dec.'14 Oct.'15 New York Cam. 1
Paul B. Kurtz { Aug.'15 Nov.'15 Germantown, Pa. H. 1
Julian L. Lathrop Feb.'16 Aug.'16 New Hope, Pa. H. 1
Empie Latimer Nov.'15 July'16 Wilmington, N.C. P. 1
Richard Lawrence
Section Commander
Nov.'14 July'15 Groton, Mass. H. 3
George Lebon Oct.'16 Great Neck, L.I.
Robert R. Lester June'16 Kansas City, Mo. P. 9
David W. Lewis June'15 Nov.'15 Brooklyn, N.Y. H. 3
Philip C. Lewis Feb.'16 Aug.'16 Indianapolis, Ind. H. 1
Clark E. Lindsay Aug.'16 Charlottesville, Va.H.-S. 1
Howard B. Lines { Sept.'15 Dec.'15 Cambridge, Mass. D. 1,8
Robert Littell July'16 Sept.'16 New York G. [2]
John D. Little May'16 Malden, Mass. D. 1
Preston Lockwood
Assistant to Inspector
{ May'15
St. Louis W.U. 3 [3]
Walter Lovell
Section Director
Feb.'15 June'16 Newtonville, Mass. H. 2
Arthur E. Lumsden June'16 Chicago 8
George H. Lyman June'16 Boston H. 9
George A. McCall[Pg 342] Nov.'15 Aug.'16 Philadelphia U.P. 4
George B. McClary June'15 Oct.'15 Oak Park, Ill. D. 3
James R. McConnell Feb.'15 Dec.'15 Carthage, N.C. U.V. 2
Harold F. McCormick, Jr. July'16 Oct.'16 Chicago G. [2]
John H. McFadden, Jr.
Oct.'14 Philadelphia U.P. [3]
Donald H. McGibeny July'15 Nov.'15 Indianapolis Ham. 1
Dallas D. L. McGrew
Section Sous-chef
Jan.'15 July'15 Boston H. 3
Donald S. MacLaughlan Oct.'16 New York 2
Robert Maclay
Section Director
Aug.'14 Oct.'15 New York Co. 1 [1]
Logan McMenemy July'15 Dec.'15 Rockford, Ill. Y. 2
Douglas MacMonagle Dec.'15 Sept.'16 San Francisco U.C. 3,8
Francis W. MacVeagh July'16 Sept.'16 New York G. [2]
Jacques Magnin July'16 Paris 3
Francis P. Magoun, Jr. Feb.'16 Aug.'16 Cambridge, Mass. H. 1
Harold A. Manderson July'16 Portland, Maine Bow. 9
Kenneth Marr Dec.'15 July'16 Livermore, Cal. 2
Verne Marshall Feb.'16 Aug.'16 Cedar Rapids, Ia. Coe. 4
William T. Martin Nov.'14 Nov.'15 Burlington, N.J. Pitts. 2
Austin B. Mason
Section Commander
Mar.'16 Boston H.-T. 4,8
Robert Matter Sept.'15 Dec.'15 Marion, Ind. P. 3
Frank Mauran July'16 Aug.'16 Philadelphia Y. [2]
John Melcher April'15 Aug.'15 New York H. 3
Joseph M. Mellen June'15 Jan.'16 Garden City, N.Y. H. 3
Appleton T. Miles Oct.'16 Brattleboro, Vt. D. 8
Donald W. Monteith Feb.'16 June'16 New York 2
Rodman B. Montgomery { June'15 Sept.'15 Rhinebeck, N.Y. P. 2,4,3
H. Kirby Moore Aug.'15 Nov.'15 Philadelphia 3
John C. B. Moore June'16 Cambridge, Mass. H. 9
Lawrence S. Morris July'16 Albany, N.Y. H. 4
Philip R. Morse Aug.'15 Oct.'15 Chestnut Hill, Mass. H. 3
Robert T. W. Moss
Chief of Repair Park
Jan.'15 New York H. 2 [2]
Allan H. Muhr
Jan.'15 Paris [3]
Stephen I. Munger Sept.'16 Dallas, Texas V. 8
John K. Munroe May'16 Tuxedo Park, N.Y. H. 3
Albert Nalle June'15 Sept.'15 Bryn Mawr, Pa. P. 3
Basil K. Neftel Oct.'16 Larchmont, N.J. 8
David T. Nelson Dec.'15 April'16 Mayville, N.D. U.N.D. 1
Charles W. Nevin, 2nd Sept.'16 Philadelphia P. 9
Ogden Nevin April'15 July'15 Burlington, N.J. Y. 1
Winthrop P. Newman May'16 Orange, N.J. 2
Emory H. Niles June'16 Baltimore J.H. 9
John Oakman[Pg 343] Nov.'14 Feb.'15 New York Wms. 1
Leonard Ober June'15 Oct.'15 Baltimore P. 3
Francis D. Ogilvie
Section Sous-chef
Nov.'14 Lindfield, Sussex 2
James A. O'Neill Feb.'16 July'16 Jersey City, N.J. Co. 2
Earl D. Osborn July'15 Oct.'15 New York P. 3
Frederick R. Ostheimer Aug.'16 Paris 4
Henry B. Palmer June'16 New York H. 3
Joseph A. Parrott Sept.'16 San Mateo, Cal. Cam. 4
W. Barclay Parsons, Jr. July'16 Sept.'16 New York H. [2]
John G. Paul Aug.'16 Watertown, Fla. P. 4
Samuel H. Paul Feb.'16 Aug.'16 Chestnut Hill, Pa. 1
Waldo Peirce June'15 July'16 Bangor, Maine H. 3
J. R. Osgood Perkins Nov.'16 April'16 West Newton, Mass. H 3
Oliver H. Perry
Section Commander
Feb.'16 Elmhurst, L.I. P. 4
George W. Phillips Dec.'15 April'16 S. Sudbury, Mass. M.I.T. 3
Carleton M. Pike Feb.'16 Aug.'16 Lubec, Maine Bow. 4
Gerhard W. Pohlman Mar.'16 New York 3,8
Carleton A. Potter June'16 Oneida, N.Y. D. 2
Thomas W. Potter Dec.'16 Westchester, N.Y. 3
W. Clarkson Potter June'16 Riverdale-on-Hudson, N.Y. P. 1
Emory Pottle Sept.'15 June'16 Lago di Como, Italy Am. 2
Howard H. Powel Feb.'16 Newport, R.I. H. 2
Wm. Prickett Mar.'16 Sept.'16 Wilmington, Del. P. 4
Tracy J. Putnam April'15 Jan.'16 Boston H. 1,3
Meredith H. Pyne June'16 Sept.'16 Bernardsville, N.J. G. [2]
Kenneth M. Quinby June'15 Sept.'15 Pittsburgh 3
Walter K. Rainsford Jan.'16 Aug.'16 Litchfield, Conn. H. 3
Beverley Rantoul Feb.'16 Aug.'16 Salem, Mass. 4
John V. Ray Dec.'15 May'16 Charleston, W. Va. U.V. 3
Bertwall C. Read April'16 Bloomfield, N.J. P. 8
Charles Reed Nov.'14 Feb.'15 Great Barrington, Mass. 1
George F. Reese June'15 Oct.'15 Ravenna, Ohio 3,1
P. Newbold Rhinelander July'16 Lawrence, L.I. H. 9
Durant Rice
Section Sous-chef
Jan.'15 Feb.'16 New York H. 3
William G. Rice July'16 Albany, N.Y. H. 1
Allan S. Richardson May'15, Aug.'15 New Brunswick, N.J. 1
Gardner Richardson Dec.'14 April'15 New York Y. 1
William E. Richardson Aug.'15 Oct.'15 New York 1
Carroll G. Riggs June'15 McCormick, Wash. Y. 2
Malcolm T. Robertson April'15 July'15 Brooklyn, N.Y. P. 1
Robert T. Roche Mar.'16 East Orange, N.J. P. 1
George J. Rockwell
Section Sous-chef
Feb.'15 Aug.'16 Bradbury, Conn. 1,4
George H. Roeder [Pg 344]
Section Sous-chef
Jan.'15 Mar.'16 New Brunswick, N.J. H. 2
Randolph Rogers April'16 Sept.'16 Grand Rapids, Mich. 8
Wm. B. Rogers, Jr. June'16 Sept.'16 Dedham, Mass. G. [2]
Lawrence Rumsey Dec.'14 Aug.'15 Buffalo, N.Y. H. 1
William P. Russell Aug.'16 Curwansville, Pa. Y. 4
Dolph F. Ryan June'15 Jan.'16 New York F. 1
Edward Van D. Salisbury
Section Commander
Sept.'14 Sept.'16 Chicago H. 2,1 [2]
Roswell S. Sanders Jan.'16 Newburyport, Mass. 4
Daniel Sargent Mar.'16 Wellesley, Mass. H. 3
James K. Saunders Sept.'16 New York U.Mo. 8
J. Sears R. Sayer, Jr. Feb.'15 July'15 New York 1
Bernard N. P. Schroder Nov.'14 Mar.'15 Neuilly-sur-Seine N.U. 2
Edgar Scott, Jr. June'16 Aug.'16 Bar Harbor, Maine G. [2]
William B. Seabrook April'16 Sept.'16 Atlanta, Ga. New.C. 8
Edward M. Seccombe Feb.'16 Oct.'16 Derby, Conn. 2
Henry Seton June'16 Tuxedo Park, N.Y. H. 3,8
Loyal F. Sewall Feb.'16 Aug.'16 Bath, Maine Bow. 4
Edward W. Shattuck Nov.'14 May'15 Bristol, N.H. 3
M. C. Shattuck May'16 Bristol, N.H. Am. 8
Henry Sheahan Aug.'15 Feb.'16 Topsfield, Mass. H. 2 [3]
Clarence B. Shoninger June'16 New York Y. 8
Hiram Sibley May'15 Sept.'15 South Bend, Ind. 1
J. Hopkins Smith, Jr. Jan.'16 May'16 New York H. 3
Philip D. H. Smith June'15 Sept.'15 Brooklyn, N.Y. D. 2
Thomas J. Smith Nov.'14 July'15 Chicago 1,2
Francis N. Solis-Cohen July'16 Philadelphia U.P. 9
Edward C. Sortwell April'16 Wiscasset, Maine H. 8,3
George F. Spaulding Dec.'15 Mar.'16 Harper, California U.A. 1
James M. Sponagle Nov.'15 Gloucester, Mass. 1
Ernest N. Stanton Nov.'15 July'16 Grosse Isle, Mich. U.M. 4
Roland W. Stebbins
Section Sous-chef
Feb.'15 June'15 Williamstown, Mass. H. 1
William Y. Stevenson Mar.'16 Philadelphia U.P. 1
George B. Struby April'16 Denver, Colo. Y. 2
Kimberly Stuart Aug.'16 Neenah, Wisc. M.I.T. 4
Henry M. Suckley
Section Sous-chef
Feb.'15 Rhinebeck, N.Y. H. 3
Edward H. Sudbury Oct.'15 Jan.'16 New York Am. 2
Robert W. Sykes Sept.'15 Mar.'16 Brooklyn, N.Y. 4 [1]
Arthur R. Taber Nov.'15 Feb.'16 New York P. 4
George F. Talbot June'16 Falmouth, Maine H. 9
Melvin F. Talbot June'15 Sept.'15 Falmouth, Maine H. 3
John C. Taylor July'15 Jan.'16 New York F. 2
Joseph M. Taylor[Pg 345] July'15 April'16 New York F. 1
Lionel V. Teft June'15 Nov.'15 Peoria, Ill. D. 3
Aubrey L. Thomas April'16 Oct.'16 Washington, D.C. P. 8
Moyer D. Thomas Aug.'16 Salt Lake City U.U. 4
Edward I. Tinkham Feb.'16 Upper Montclair, N.J. Cor. 3,4
Paul Tison Feb.'16 New York H. 3,1
Robert C. Toms
Section Sous-chef
Feb.'16 Sept.'16 Marion, Iowa A. 4 [2]
Vernon R. Tower Sept.'16 Hanover, Mass.
Edward D. Townsend { Mar.'15 April'16 New York P. 1
Herbert P. Townsend
Section Commander
Mar.'15 New York P. 1
Roger T. Twitchell Oct.'16 Dorchester, Mass. H. 4
John G. Underhill Feb.'16 May'16 Owego, N.Y. Wms. 1
William E. Van Dorn Nov.'15 Mar.'16 Chicago Wab. 2
George Van Santvoord Mar.'16 Sept.'16 Troy, N.Y. Y. 8
Donald M. Walden Jan.'15 Dec.'15 Brooklyn, N.Y. 2
J. Marquand Walker
Section Director
Sept.'15 New York H. 3,2
Samuel S. Walker June'16 Garrison-on-Hudson, N.Y. Y. 1
William H. C. Walker { Dec.'15 May'16 Hingham, Mass. 2
Wm. Henry Wallace, Jr. July'16 New York Co. 4
Wm. Noble Wallace June'16 Indianapolis Y. 1
Richard C. Ware
Section Sous-chef
Feb.'16 East Milton, Mass. H. 4
Chas. L. Watkins July'16 New York Y. 3,8
Paul B. Watson, Jr. Mar.'15 June'15 Milton, Mass. H. 3
Herman A. Webster
Section Commander
{ Jan.'15
Oct.'15 Chicago Y. 2 [3]
Berkeley Wheeler Oct.'16 Concord, Mass.
Walter H. Wheeler Feb.'16 Aug.'16 Yonkers, N.Y. H. 3
Kenneth T. White Nov.'15 Aug.'16 Grosse Isle, Mich. U.M. 4
Victor G. White
Section Sous-chef
Feb.'15 Oct.'16 New York Cor. 1
Harold B. Willis Mar.'15 June'16 Boston H. 2
Randolph C. Wilson May'16 New York Co. 1
Cornelius Winant June'16 New York P. 3
Frederick J. Winant July'15 Sept.'15 New York P. 2
Charles P. Winsor Aug.'15 Aug.'16 Concord, Mass. H. 1
Oliver Wolcott Feb.'16 June'16 Milton, Mass. H. 2
Robert W. Wood, Jr. July'16 Baltimore, Md. H. 9
Benjamin R. Woodworth May'15 July'16 Germantown, Pa. 1
William H. Woolverton Sept.'15 April'16 New York Y. 1
[1]   Tent Hospital [2]   Park [3]   Base

[Pg 346]

Vive la France!

Transcriber's Note: