A History of Troop A Cavalry, Connecticut National Guard and Its Service in the Great War as Co. D, 102d Machine Gun Battalion by

Transcriber's Note

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variations in hyphenation have been standardised but all other spelling and punctuation remains unchanged.

Titles from the Contents, “Casualty List” and “Miscellaneous” have been added to Pages 81 and 85 respectively.

[Illustration: CAPT. JOHN ALLAN PATON, U. S. A.]

DEDICATION

With love for him as a comrade, with respect for him as a leader, and with joy in the privilege that was his in serving his country to the utmost, this book is dedicated to the memory of—

CAPTAIN JOHN ALLAN PATON, U. S. A.

Killed in Action October 27, 1918.

A HISTORY OF TROOP A Cavalry, Connecticut National Guard AND ITS SERVICE IN THE GREAT WAR AS Co. D, 102^{d..} Machine Gun Battalion

[Illustration]

EDITED BY A MEMBER OF THE COMPANY FROM DIARIES AND OFFICIAL RECORDS

Copyright, 1919, by Robert John McCarthy All Rights Reserved

CONTENTS

Page

Chapter I—Before the War 1

Chapter II—Mobilization 10

Chapter III—Preparation 14

Chapter IV—Going Over 19

Chapter V—Training 24

Chapter VI—Chemin des Dames 34

Chapter VII—Toul Sector 42

Chapter VIII—Chateau Thierry 51

Chapter IX—St. Mihiel 59

Chapter X—North of Verdun 66

Chapter XI—After the Armistice 73

Casualty List 81

Miscellaneous 85

[Illustration]

FOREWORD

It is hoped that this book will serve as a reminder to all D Company men and their descendants of the serious and frivolous, sad and happy moments of an experience which alone could be obtained in a great conflict. From the time of the first call to service to the final muster-out of the Company, theirs were the thrills of the silent secrecy of war-time movements, the glorious reception at home when the task was completed, the joy of seeing their comrades honored, the sorrow at their loss, and for those who remain, the satisfaction of knowing they accomplished the end toward which they were turned when the declaration of war against Germany was proclaimed.

To the nobility of sacrifice shown by all those who remain in the hallowed fields of France this work is dedicated, as well as to that of the one who was singled out as a concrete example of the best D Company could produce. Not the smallest measure of honor is taken from the names of Rogers, Parmalee, Kennedy, Kapitzke, Butler, Callahan, Donth, McAviney, Meickle, Wickwire, Rosenkind and Wilfore by selecting that of their commander, for in him lived the same spirit which guided them, and their memory will last as long as free men battle for the right and champion the cause of justice.

R. J. M.

Westville, Conn., Nov. 30, 1919.

CHAPTER I

BEFORE THE WAR

From the dash and romance of cavalry to the plodding machine-gunner of the Great War, from the gilt-bedecked uniforms of a parade organization to the grim olive drab of the American army, and from citizen soldiery who took drilling once each week as a recreation, to mud-spattered, cootie-infested veterans, was the path of evolution followed by Troop "A," Cavalry, Connecticut National Guard. It was brought into existence by act of the General Assembly of Connecticut on the second Thursday of October, 1808, which authorized the formation of a company of cavalry to be known as the "Second Company of the Governor's Horse Guards ... to attend upon and escort him in times of peace and war," and by accepting this obligation and supplying its own equipment and uniforms to be exempted "from every other kind of military duty."

As a social organization, the Company continued to enlist the élite of New Haven and the surrounding towns for nearly a hundred years, appearing in parades as escort for distinguished visitors and vieing with similar organizations in Connecticut and neighboring states in making the social seasons a round of gayety for its members and friends. During its early history, while the seat of the state government was located in New Haven, the occasions were numerous when it was called upon to perform its chosen duty of parading. However, with the advent of the day when men who formerly had fine saddle horses were provided with automobiles, and with the shifting of the state capitol to Hartford, interest in the Horse Guards relaxed slightly, and it was unkindly remarked by envious infantrymen that the mounts used by the Company had become so accustomed to making their daily rounds with the milk wagons they attempted to stop at familiar houses along the route of march.

An amendment to the original charter was passed by the General Assembly in 1861, increasing the strength of the Company from sixty to one hundred and twenty enlisted men, with one major, one captain, four lieutenants, eight sergeants and eight corporals completing the roster of officers and non-commissioned officers where there had been but one captain, two lieutenants, three sergeants and four corporals under the first charter.

While the company of Horse Guards took no active part as a unit in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, men from the organization had left the Company to take important parts in all four conflicts.

A second amendment to the charter, approved June 17, 1901, provided that upon application "either or both companies of the Governor's Horse Guards" could be organized as a troop of cavalry in the Connecticut National Guard with a personnel of "one captain, one first lieutenant, one second lieutenant, one first sergeant, one quartermaster sergeant, six sergeants, six corporals, two farriers, one saddler, two trumpeters and not more than forty nor less than thirty-five privates." Seeing in this act an opportunity to become a military unit, the organization promptly presented a petition, and an order was issued by Adjutant General Cole July 5, 1901, authorizing the immediate formation of the troop, to be designated as Troop "A," Connecticut National Guard. This was followed by the election of Luzerne C. Ludington to the office of captain of the Troop. William J. Bradnack was chosen first lieutenant and Robert J. Woodruff second lieutenant, with John Hugo first sergeant and the following members:—

Q. M. Sergt. Herbert Purmort Sergt. George McDermott " Frank A. Atwood " Henry H. Lord " Simon M. Hugo " Herbert F. Tiesing " Joseph L. Rosenberg Corp. Henry Klein " Friel H. Webber " Albert Newman " William M. Derickson " Alexander O. Coburn " Chas. F. Hofmeister Cook Floyd Doer " Harry Salerno Trumpeter Fred E. Wright " Robert T. Hibbard Private Allen, Henry " Atwood, Frank G. (Farrier) " Bradnack, John H. " Brainard, Merrit D. " Cook, Harry " Clark, Willard S. " Clark, Alvin " Frost, Edward P. " Guilford, Harry T. " Hall, Fred W. " Holbeck, Andrew H. " Hoyt, Ralph H. " Johnson, Clifford " Kirkland, Charles L. (Farrier) " Knight, Charles K. " Knight, Noble de R. " Korte, Rudolph S. " Landers, Lorenzo S. " Mongovan, George H. " Morgan, Benjamin F. " Mower, George E. " Ownes, James H. " Palmatier, Fred W. (Saddler) " Perkins, George " Potter, Charles H. " Reynolds, Charles " Schwille, George " Schindler, John " Smith, Samuel W. " Smith, Harry A. " Snow, Clarence S. " Snow, Dwight B. " Sparks, William C. " Todd, Horace I. " Watson, George E. " Williams, David G., Jr. " Woodruff, Walter L. " Woodruff, Charles B. " Wooding, Milo N. " Wright, Floyd E. " Yale, Howard C.

Shortly after receiving recognition as a militia unit, the Troop was called together and it was decided that the Second Regiment armory on Meadow Street was unfitted for cavalry drill, so a committee was appointed to obtain a site for a new armory. Generous contributions on the part of prominent citizens enabled the erection of a wooden structure on the lot at 839 Orange Street. This building was barely completed when, in January 1905, it was burned to the ground.

Undaunted by this reverse, it was immediately decided to rebuild, and plans were made to put up a fire-proof structure. Once more men interested in the success of the Troop aided the building project by purchasing bonds, and the armory as it now stands was opened with appropriate ceremony in the Spring of 1906.

When the State bought the armory from the Troop it was suggested to men who held bonds covering the indebtedness on the building that the Troop should own a certain number of horses. Release from the payment of many obligations allowed the purchase of twenty horses in the Fall of 1909, and these were installed in the stables in the rear of the armory.

Funds to furnish the club rooms and pay interest on the building bonds were obtained through the willingness of the men to turn into the treasury the pay they received for the time spent in camp each year with the other militia units. These were added to from time to time by receipts from very popular and successful horse shows held in the winters of 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910. These shows attracted exhibits from the best known fanciers in the East, and were famed as society events. Features of these shows were the crack drill exhibitions given by squads selected from the Troop's best riders. A military tournament, which included all competition that could be arranged for mounted men, followed when horse shows reached the point of exclusiveness they attained as the automobile came into common use.

During this period the men were being perfected in field work by road marches and manœuvers. In many of these they were placed under the command of regular army officers and rode beside troopers from the regular army, with due credit to their militia training.

In 1909 Sergeant Harry Denton was detailed by the War Department to instruct the Troop in the arts of war. The coming of this excellent soldier marked the advent of a new era for the unit. Riding classes were organized for ladies and large squads turned out every week for "monkey drill." Monkey drill taught the men the rudiments of trick riding and many of them became very well versed in handling their mounts and themselves in the difficult manœuvers. One of the best squads developed in the Troop included George Condren and John Paton, who later commanded the Company in France, Frank E. Wolf, who led the Company to its training area on the other side, George Wallace and Harold W. Herrick, who were commissioned officers during the great War, and others who were prominent in home activities during the period of hostilities.

Always ready for any action, the Troop was not called upon to aid the State authorities until June 4, 1911, when rioting in Middletown by striking employees of the Russell Brothers' mills resulted in a call received at the Troop armory at 1:30 in the afternoon on that date. The first platoon, comprised of two officers and thirty-two men, was loaded on a special train and arrived on the scene of the trouble three hours later, fully equipped and ready for any eventuality. However, the presence of the Troop and the businesslike deportment of the men proved sufficient to prevent further outbreaks, and after four days of duty the Troopers were ordered home.

For nearly nine years the original officers remained on the active roster. In 1910 Second Lieutenant Robert J. Woodruff found it necessary to resign because of his duties in the courts, and Frank E. Wolf was chosen by the men to take his place. The retirement of First Lieutenant William J. Bradnack three years later caused the advancement of Lieutenant Wolf to that rank and then to captain in 1915, when Captain Luzerne C. Ludington left the service after more than thirty years as an officer in the old Horse Guards and the Troop.

[Illustration: REMEMBER YOUR FIRST MOUNTED DRILL AT THE ARMORY?]

When Lieutenant Wolf became captain, his junior officers were First Lieutenant F. T. Maroney and Second Lieutenant William H. Welch. It was these three men who headed the remodeled Troop which left Niantic, Conn., their summer manœuvering grounds, for the Mexican border on June 29, 1916, when National Guard units of the different states were answering the call to mobilization in order to quell the vicious raids being made upon American lives and property along the Mexican border line.

Sergeant Harry Homers, who had relieved Sergeant Denton as instructor to the Troop and afterward obtained his discharge from the regular army to enter business, was one of the men to appear for enlistment when word was sent out that a number were needed to bring the Troop up to its war strength of one hundred and five men. Men on reserve were called back, and within four days Sergeant Condren, in charge of the recruiting, announced that no more were needed. Called out June 19, the Troop remained at the Armory until June 25, when extra men and equipment were loaded onto a special train and sent to the state camp at Niantic, while those with riding experience rode the Troop mounts overland.

Physical examinations in camp reduced the number of men on the roster, but the required strength was ready for muster into the federal service and the subsequent trip to Nogales, Arizona. Troop trains carrying horses move slowly, and nine days passed before the men detrained at the little border town in the far southwest. The intense heat of the sun in that climate proved trying for men accustomed to the climate of the seacoast, so within a few weeks numerous discharges were granted following persistent examinations by the medical department.

Camped at the top of a hill not far from Nogales, the majority of the men had their first experience in soldiering and considered the treatment they received in the light of hardship until they looked back on this trip as a picnic from the battlefields of Europe. Here they learned to ride, shoot, mount guard and do kitchen police according to the steel-bound regulations of the army. They learned something of the value and meaning of discipline, learned how to care for themselves and their horses, and for the first time, as soldiers, carried loaded ammunition in their belts when they walked guard in the streets of the little border town, always in sight of the squalid, sneaky-looking Mexican sentries just across that narrow strip of neutral territory on the boundary line.

New horses were issued by the government so that each man had a mount to care for and call his own, and when, during the latter part of August, the Troop was called upon to take part in manœuvers, they rode like veterans, drawing commendation for both officers and men.

One of the most serious blows to the morale of the organization was felt by the Troop not long after it reached Nogales. The carefully selected cook, who enlisted for the tour of duty, proved better at handling cards than he did at conjuring food out of army rations. Instructor Sergeant Arthur J. Fisher, assigned to the Troop a couple of years previously when Sergeant Homers left the army, stepped into the breach, however, and gave the men the benefit of his years of experience in regular army kitchens. Under his direction Arthur Parmalee and Francis Foley gained expert knowledge and the Troop kitchen became as efficient as any in the district.

Assigned to relieve a troop of the regular cavalry doing patrol duty near the custom house at Lochiel, twenty-eight miles east of Nogales, the Troop spent a month there patrolling and perfecting the prescribed drills. The surroundings of the new camp were ideal for out-door life and the twenty miles that intervened between the men and the nearest army post tended to foster organization spirit. Card games, letter writing and rides over the hills occupied the spare time the men found on their hands at rare intervals. It was only the persistent rumors and chilly nights which came with fall weather that made the men anxious to leave for home.

There being no further necessity of maintaining such a large force of men at the border, the Troop was named as one of the units to start the homeward trip. Returning to Nogales September 30, Troop A occupied, as barracks, mess halls of the type they had built when they first arrived. There they worked on the problems of turning over horses and equipment to the authorities, only thirty-two horses and equipment for that number being allotted to the Troop by the War Department, and entrained, bound for home, October 10.

A long trip through the mountainous section of the southwest and the prairie region of the west with only short daily stops to water and feed the horses, found the Troopers willing to take the first chance that offered to relieve the monotony of the journey. When the train stopped at Kansas City for a short time many of the men visited the city. Supplies were purchased from the Troop fund to add to the issued rations of corned beef hash and beans and the train pulled out with a happy crowd of soldiers.

Mysterious bottles made their appearance from under coats and inside shirts to add their share to the celebration. There was no sleep in the Pullmans that night. Making friends with the guard at the door of the kitchen car was easy, for he was Irish and inclined to be friendly, so a case of fresh eggs was soon in the hands of the men nearest the door. These they used with great abandon to the discomfort of the porter and members of the guard. The next morning omelets were dripping from the lighting fixtures and walls and formed a thick film over hats and shoes exposed to the attack. The violent character of the barrage prevented investigation during the battle and when the affair had quieted down it was judged by First Sergeant Herrick that the entire car-load was at fault so all were pressed into service to police the car.

The rest of the trip home was long and tedious. Innumerable delays were experienced, for, with the emergency at an end, the railroads shifted troop trains aside at the least excuse. The journey was brightened, however, by a trip to Niagara Falls for the men who took advantage of a stop at Buffalo. New Haven people lined the streets in an unprecedented outpouring of welcome when the train pulled into the home station October 22.

Parades followed during the next week, with a city banquet for all returned men, and the Troop was mustered out of the federal service, November 4, 1916, after four months experience in the field. Early the following week the members of the organization were fêted by the hustling organization of Troop A veterans and prominent New Haven men paid tribute to the spirit the unit had shown in its first attempt at regular soldiering.

The winter which followed was filled with preparation for eventualities. The shadow of war spreading irresistibly from the European battlefields grew more ominous over the country until unrestricted submarine warfare brought to a focus the indignities the United States had suffered from Germany since the sinking of the _Lusitania_. After the declaration of war April 6, 1917, an order was issued causing four troops of cavalry to be formed, from the two then in existence in the State, to make up the Third Separate Squadron of Militia Cavalry.

The nucleus for M Troop, formed in New Haven, was taken from among the non-commissioned officers and privates of Troop A. Lieutenant William H. Welch, who had been made first lieutenant upon the resignation of Lieutenant Maroney, became captain of the new troop. First Sergeant Herrick was made first lieutenant and Stable Sergeant George M. Wallace was advanced to the rank of second lieutenant. This change resulted in the appointment of Sergeant George D. Condren as first lieutenant of Troop A and Supply Sergeant John A. Paton was commissioned second lieutenant.

CHAPTER II

MOBILIZATION

Activity preparatory to the mobilization of national guard units began with Troop A early in April when the usual weekly drill was augmented by an extra session later in the week for the non-commissioned officers and ambitious privates who cared to attend. Hikes on Saturday afternoons and several trips to Montgomery's farm in Mt. Carmel were added to the training. This program was filled with interest by the proclamation of President Wilson in May calling all militiamen in the northeastern department into active service on July 25th. Then a period was given over to equipping the men and forming them into units of correct proportions during which there were endless amounts of paper-work to be handled and a large percentage of recruits to be trained.

As the 26th Division never saw a concentration camp, this early training was of such a nature as to physically fit the men for active duty, but at no time tended to increase their knowledge of the particular work they were to do. On responding to the call to report at the Troop A armory in Orange Street on the morning of July 25th the men found that their soldierly duties lay largely in packing equipment to be shipped to camp, a little kitchen police and cleaning out the armory. Considered as necessary evils, these tasks were cared for with good will. However, the departure of Lieutenant Condren with thirty-one men and the Troop's complement of horses on July 27 for Niantic was an appreciated move in the direction of desired activity, and the following day the remainder of the organization experienced the varied emotions of a leave-taking on the Green with Mayor Campner on hand to bid them good-bye in the name of the city, and a cheering crowd lining the streets to the station.

Soft muscles felt the strain of unloading the freight from the special train which bore the unit to Niantic, and with the camp erected, the kitchen operating and a guard posted, the rigors of the first night in camp for many of the men were softened by slumber which soon overcame any objection men from offices and factories might have taken to sleeping on cots long since past the stage of usefulness.

In the meantime the men under the command of Lieutenant Condren had arrived at camp, put up picket lines and cared for their horses. They had made the march from New Haven to Niantic by easy stages and had been extensively fêted in the village of Westbrook by one of the residents who had befriended the Troop on former occasions. Thus field conditions obtained for the first time for the new Troop A.

Sunday in camp was its usual delight with visitors from home and Monday was given over to perfecting the camp arrangements. Other units on the state reservation were Troops B, L and M, forming with Troop A the 3d Separate Squadron of Connecticut Cavalry, Troop A, Signal Corps, the 1st Ambulance Company, the Field Hospital, the 1st Separate Company (Infantry), and batteries E and F, 10th Field Artillery, all units of the Connecticut militia. All were placed under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Shuttleworth, U. S. A., for training and organization.

The following week both mounted and dismounted drills were inaugurated and camp routine began with a formal guard mount on July 31, the first few attempts at this ceremony affording great amusement for all except those participating. Social lions in the ranks of the Company were establishing themselves in the hearts of the fair inhabitants of Pine Grove and carrying off the honors at the dance pavilion and under the energetic leadership of Sergeant Rogers a baseball team was being formed. In short, camp was being established with all the formalities attendant upon such an event.

On Saturday, August 3, all organizations were mustered into the Federal service by Lieutenant Colonel Shuttleworth. Thus the men were made soldiers of the United States Army, permitting the War Department to use the various militia units for duty outside the borders of Connecticut. Governor Marcus B. Holcomb reviewed the Squadron on the afternoon of August 7 in its first and last appearance before him as cavalry.

Baseball was taking its proper place on the schedule with games arranged for Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays, but Troop A fared not so well on the diamond in competition with the rest of the Battalion as it did later on the football field. The proper spirit to win games was never lacking, but talent was scarce until the recruiting drive of the latter part of the month brought several good players into the Company.

Summer's hottest and most sultry days were passed at Niantic with the minimum of discomfort because of the location of the camp almost on the shores of Long Island Sound, where breezes from the water tempered the efforts of the sun down to a point where comfort was possible and the proximity of bathing facilities allowed the men relief after drills.

Evidences of preparation for a prolonged stay and perhaps a lack of knowledge concerning the conditions in store for them created a certain restlessness among the men, whose hearts were all centered on the hope of getting to France.

Endeavors of the ladies of Niantic to promote community spirit and provide the men with the proper kinds of entertainment were ably seconded by Troop members, who were always well represented at social events and took a leading part in contributing excellent talent for all sorts of entertainments. From Scheffler's singing and Culver's type of vaudeville to Parmalee and Hine as boxers, there was an almost endless amount of artistic ability.

In preparation for the journey the men were to take, talks were delivered on hygiene and kindred topics by members of the medical department; and a Red Cross worker who had seen service with the French armies related some of his experiences to crowds which grasped each word with the avidity of a youngster listening to his first tales of achievement. The "Front" was a great mystery and one who had actually seen parts of that ever-changing line of opposing armies was looked up to as an individual upon whom the gods of fortune had smiled.

Another effect of this feeling of impending movements which was growing among the men was an increased desire to take advantage of the proximity to their homes, and many were the exits and entries through the fence while the unsuspecting guard "walking his post in a military manner" was going, according to schedule, in the opposite direction.

Falling as a mixed blessing came the announcement on August 15 that the horses were to be taken from the Troop and the personnel used in the formation of a machine gun company. To the new men in the ranks it was a relief, but to those who were with the outfit when it enjoyed that happy little picnic on the Mexican Border during the summer of 1916 it meant the loss of their most valued friends. They wasted no time in mourning, however, but gathered up all the available information on machine-gun work and set their minds to become proficient in that branch of the service with the cheerful prospect of becoming members in what the British army called the "suicide club."

CHAPTER III

PREPARATION

The last two weeks of August produced revolutionary changes in the old Troop, recruits were eagerly sought to fill out the ranks of the organization from its cavalry strength of one hundred and five men to the machine-gun requirements of one hundred and eighty, requisitions were entered for the new equipment and clothing prescribed for troops going overseas, and doughboy training, both in close order drill and road hikes, took the place of mounted drill. Batteries E and F of the Field Artillery left camp for a concentration point in Massachusetts, and the First Separate Company entrained for Springfield, where they were scheduled to guard the arsenal, leaving the 101st Machine Gun Battalion, of which Troop A had become Company A, with the Field Hospital the only occupants of the camp.

Vaccination and inoculation, those terrors of all early experiences in the army, held the stage on the afternoon of August 21, with the usual accompaniment of blanched faces and shaky knees. It was at this particularly unfavorable time the announcement was made by Captain Wolf that the ranks were to be brought up to the strength required by the addition of a number of men from the 1st Vermont regiment of infantry. This organization had been split up to complete units forming the 26th Division.

Leaving the impression that he had been called to attend an officers' school, Lieutenant Condren left the following day, and the end of his journey found him in France, one of the first National Guard officers to reach his goal. Within a few days Lieutenant Nelson arrived with the Vermont contingent, and Lieutenants Carroll and Bacharach were assigned to duty with the Company by Major Howard, so that nearly a full complement of officers was available for duties mainly of an ornamental nature.

Having been duly welcomed as "Green Mountain Boys," and, in the manner of the Company, christened "Apple Knockers," the Vermont men were received into the fellowship of the organization. Upon their arrival the newcomers occupied a company street of their own, the work of erecting it having been conferred upon A Company, as many similar and equally arduous honors were conferred upon that unit while it remained a member of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion. The apportionment of the men to the different companies completed, forty-six of the Vermonters came to A Company, most of whom held non-commissioned officers' warrants or had attained the dignity accompanying the rank of private first class.

Since the edict had gone forth that an old cavalry organization was to become a "doughboy" outfit, and the yellow hat cord of gallant memory was to be replaced by the blue of the lowly infantry "with the dirt behind their ears," the order had been more or less completely ignored, so that drills had the appearance of a disciplinary formation at a large army post where both arms of the service were represented. This brought out an order which caused all cords to change magically to the endorsed blue color, at least until the men reached a safe distance from camp, where the change could be effected without danger of apprehension, for who would dare return to New Haven wearing the colors he had frowned upon in happier times? Leather leggins were threatened, but the blow never descended and the "doughboys" from Yale Field continued to salute the brilliantly polished puttees of the men from Niantic as they strutted down Church Street.

Manifestations of grief at the passing of the yellow hat cords took the form of a funeral procession on the evening of August 30, when, preceded by Corporal Curtiss and Guerrant rendering portions of the "Dead March" on bugle and harmonica, the men as mourners marched with measured tread to the parade ground. They followed a plank which served as a bier for a representative of the deposed cords, and, after a dance symbolical of their grief, the pallbearers laid it to rest, while Shemitz, with the powers characteristic of his race, paid a glowing tribute to the deceased. After hymns had been sung the crowd broke up to hide its tears and console itself in the various ways which have become common to mankind, or were common before prohibition placed its clammy hand on the vitals of the universal consoler.

Muster on the afternoon of August 31 was followed a week later by pay day with a trip to New Haven that night for most of the men and a ride back to camp on the 2:20. This train made several unscheduled stops near the Niantic station because the conductor was adamant toward pleas from the men and would have carried them to New London had they not taken the matter into their own hands and opened the air valves when close to Niantic.

Bill Bell's famous and much maligned whistle made its appearance during this period, for First Sergeant McGeer had departed for the Officers' Training Camp at Plattsburg, and the one long and one short signal was in order for any time of the day or night. Because it was rumored that McGeer would return to the Company if unsuccessful in his quest for a commission, he received the best wishes of all the men and was treated to a shower bath in his bunk the night before he left—an honor accorded to but few men in the Company.

Straw ticks had been issued and they were filled and put to use now to replace the cots, which, in various stages of demolition, had been turned in and, according to the best information, sent to Camp Devens to accommodate the first men of the selective draft to arrive at that cantonment.

Fall weather, with its snappy morning air and delightful days, gradually replaced the warmer days of late summer, enthroning football in the place baseball had occupied. The first game was a heart-breaking affair in which neither A Company nor B Company was able to score, the second was also a tie in which C Company scored seven points equally with A Company, and the third was disastrous for the finances of the old Company, for D Company, formerly M Troop, scored four touchdowns to one for A.

All plans were interrupted on September 23, when orders were sent out from Battalion Headquarters to strike tents and roll packs preparatory to leaving the camp. This accomplished, with a day's cooked rations issued and loaded down with packs which would have taxed the capacity of the staunchest of pack mules and taken prizes for the variety of form and number of bundles and bags hung over them, the column, in command of Captain Wolf, toiled out through the streets of Niantic and interminably along the roads leading in the direction of New London. Halts for rest were short and infrequent, and the one called for the noon lunch seemed to be the only event which could have saved from complete collapse many in the long, struggling procession.

There was much speculation on the truth of the rumor that a train was awaiting the men before they finally saw the head of the column turn back toward Niantic. A squad of grinning cooks stood at present arms with brooms and sticks of wood, but this sight did not tend to sweeten the tempers of the returning men who found they must again pitch their tents and rearrange their belongings to the best advantage for a longer stay. Sweetly worded memoranda from Headquarters conveyed the information that the Major was pleased with the showing the men had made in breaking camp, but they failed to explain why orders prohibiting men from riding in any form of conveyance on the march did not apply to a man from C Company who rode by several times while the column was on the march and turned on the men gazes of pitying condescension.

Cosmopolitan elements were added to the Company by the acquisition of several men from the draft contingent and Corporal Charles Nutt was assigned the post of instructor and guide over the new men, all but one of whom were destined to complete the tour of duty with the Company. Conscientious Charlie watched over his men like a hen with a brood of new chicks,—he took them to mess, to the supply tent, answered for them at reveille and retreat, and drilled them during the hours set apart for that purpose.

Politics played its part in the life of the men when on election day, October 2, they were transported to New Haven in automobiles by the Republicans or were given railroad transportation by the Democrats, while the stern non-partisan element travelled by freight or graft. The ardent voters were almost persuaded to remain when word came that pay was ready to be distributed on that day, but the call home was stronger and they returned to get their share of the funds the following morning.

Another method of getting home was discovered shortly after this, and with a special train chartered for team and rooters, most of the Company, with the exception of certain members from Vermont who had travelled home for a visit without going through the formalities of asking permission, left for New Haven at noon Saturday, October 7, on a final trip and to play a game of football against the Annex A. C., one of the strongest semi-professional teams in the state. Sunday, the day of the game, was ideal, but the opposing team was too strong for the soldiers and came out on the long end of a 20-0 score.

For some time previous to this, men in the habit of talking to their friends over the telephone in camp found that remarks indicating an expected move in the near future resulted in the loss of their connection and a stern reprimand, so Monday's preparations, while full of interest, were not unexpected. Instructions on the conduct of the troops while travelling were given out and full preparations made for leaving at a moment's notice. There was no freight to be handled for all heavy baggage had been packed and loaded into box cars nearly a month before, leading the way to the port of embarkation.

Profiteering, at least from the point of view of the soldier, had brought disfavor on a man who conducted a small store near the grounds, so the last night in camp was selected by certain bold spirits to have a final settlement with him. They completed their task by earnest demolition of all property they could find belonging to the accused individual. His complaint caused assembly to be blown at headquarters and a strict check taken of all men absent. Well-founded alibis were numerous, however, and nothing came of the incident to reflect on the records of any of the suspected men.

Early on the morning of Wednesday, October 9, orders were again received to break camp. This time preparations gave them a genuine flavor, and at 9:30, in a disagreeable rain, which they were to know better after two winters in France, the men started their journey, cheered on by the hospitable residents of Niantic and full of eagerness to reach its end.

CHAPTER IV

GOING OVER

Having but a small percentage of globe-trotters among their number, the ensuing weeks on water and land were full of interest for all the men, even the blasé travellers showing just a hint of excitement during the trip through the submarine danger zone. Although the day was dreary when the train pulled away from the station at Niantic, the weather cleared as the seacoast was left behind, and by the time Springfield was passed the skies had cleared and the beauties of the tree-clad hills of Vermont and New Hampshire adorned in their gorgeously colored autumn foliage presented a glorious farewell to the men as the setting sun added its roseate glow to their final view of the U. S. A.

Travelling at night in a well-filled day coach has its difficulties if one has the desire to snatch a few minutes of sleep, but most of the men, thoroughly tired from their efforts of the past few days and their broken sleep of the preceding nights, managed to court slumber in some of the most amazing positions. At midnight all were aroused at White River Junction, Vermont, to be served coffee, the quality of which ever after was an unfailing object of invectives and a taunt to the Vermont members of the Company.

After circling the city of Montreal, the train arrived at 6 o'clock the following morning on the pier near His Majesty's Ship _Megantic_, and within an hour the entire Battalion with its baggage had been hurried aboard, A and B Companies to occupy the hold of the ship, with C and D in the second class cabins. At 10 o'clock the ship left the pier and began the journey down the St. Lawrence river. Of course the river was calm, and with a berth ticket and a mess ticket safely in their grasp, most of the men spent their time in exploring the ship as far as was permitted and viewing the pastoral scenery of Quebec and Labrador.

Early in the evening of October 11 the ship passed under Victoria bridge and stopping at the historic city of Quebec took aboard two hundred Serbian reservists in their quaint costumes, loaded down with baggage of all descriptions. The following morning the pitching and tossing of the ship produced some doubt in the minds of many as to the wisdom of leaving the blankets. Then followed a day of misery and dejection for all except those few and fortunate ones who were not subject to the attacks of "mal de mer."

To thoroughly appreciate the wonderful land-locked harbor of Halifax one must pass through the rough water the men had experienced and then watch the ship steam into the smoothest of basins, protected as it is from the ocean by a wall of rocks almost large enough to be called mountains. Here the _Megantic_ lay at anchor from Saturday afternoon until Sunday afternoon when, after a hundred Canadian artillerymen had been added to the passengers, the convoy, consisting of the transports _Baltic_, _Scotia_, _Justicia_ and _Megantic_, the tankers _Cherryleaf_ and _Cloverleaf_, a British auxiliary cruiser and a tramp freighter, steamed out of the harbor. With the entire passenger list assembled at boat drill and standing at attention, bands on the British warships lying in the harbor played "The Star Spangled Banner" as the transports passed by.

Perhaps that moment might be catalogued as one of the most poignant thrills of a lifetime. The men were leaving behind them the land to which they might never return. They faced first the dangers of the submarines, and if they passed safely through that menace still greater perils awaited them. There were those who covered their emotion well while the bands played the National Anthem, but there was a long silence even after the harbor of Halifax was far to the stern and the ship was reaching out into the first real ground swells which betokened their presence on the boundless Atlantic.

Routine on board ship was rather irksome to men who had been free a good share of the time in camp to follow the dictates of their own desires. Twice daily there were boat drills, and there were calisthenics and even short classes in various subjects during dull hours. One of the most mystifying things about the ship was the seeming regularity with which passageways were opened and closed to traffic. It is related that while "Tempy" Sullivan was on guard at one of the passageways Captain Wolf nearly ascended the stairs before that astute person discovered him, whereupon, in spite of all the Captain's pleas, he was forced to descend the way he had come and try another place. "Them's my orders," said Sullivan with stony determination when the Captain explained he was officer of the day.

Ideas of English hospitality were given a set-back by the prices which the stewards aboard ship charged for all commodities. The prices of tobacco were prohibitive and there were no matches to be had within a short time of sailing, and it was whispered that the fruit being sold had been sent to the ship by the Red Cross for free distribution among the soldiers. Beer was on tap at the wet canteen after three days out.

Fair weather favored the ships until they started on a course which was to take them to the north of Ireland, when they met fog, rain and hail in varying quantities until Sunday, October 21, a day before sighting the west coast of Scotland, the weather cleared. On the afternoon of that day an escort of nine British destroyers made its appearance, bobbing on the large waves like corks in a wash-tub and dashing through the convoy, flashing their signals with heliographs by day and blinkers by night.

Wales was sighted on the starboard the morning of October 23 and that night at 7 o'clock, after waiting for some time in the Mersey for a pilot, the troops debarked onto Liverpool's famous floating dock, immediately boarding the queer little English trains, which waited nearby. On the trip following the men had their first sight of Englishwomen engaged in men's work and garbed in the unconventional overalls and jumpers which later became common at home. A short stop was made at Birmingham where coffee almost as bad as the White River Junction brand was handed out. Some of the men survived the crush at the lunch counter to discover later that the patriotic workers there had given them almost half as much as they had bought. At 4:30 the next morning the train stopped at Borden and the Battalion hiked about four miles through the mud in a drizzling rain to Oxley, where watersoaked, leaky tents were assigned while the cooks used all their magic to coax a fair meal out of the available rations.

Tramping around in the mud which was at all times ankle deep and often deeper, a Y. M. C. A. hut was discovered with a small stock of food and an American in charge. Here change was made from American to English money and most of the supplies available were purchased. Rest that night was more or less disturbed and wishes were expressed for that dry little bunk in the ship. The rain always found a hole just above the sleepers and there was no way of repairing the leak. At that, the men fared better than the officers, for the tents of the latter were located in a wind-swept area and the high winds of the night levelled them completely.

At 4 o'clock the following morning it was up and going again. This time the train passed down through the sunny green fields of the English countryside (for the rain had abated during the early hours) past farmhands tilling the soil behind neatly trimmed hedges, through cities which hid beneath their appearance of calm a hive of industry, to the port of Southampton, where another rest camp was the prospect. Like that at Borden, this proved to be muddy, but duck-boards helped in this difficulty. Here were American marines doing police duty, German prisoners at work on the roads and the interesting buildings of one of the oldest cities in the country. The stay here lasted until October 29. Long before this, however, cash supplies had dwindled to such an extent that but few of the men continued to patronize the restaurants, although the food served at the kitchen seemed barely sufficient to keep life in the body of a healthy soldier.

Crowded aboard the channel steamer _Londonderry_ with British soldiers from all corners of the world, the trip across the English Channel was begun after a long tedious wait, during which the opportunity was afforded the men of seeing their first example of what a torpedo could do to the side of a ship. The _Gloucester Castle_ lying in dry dock exhibited a wound through which a fair sized motor truck could be driven. Passing out of the harbor, the ship waited for darkness in the shelter of land and then began that leaping, bounding journey of seven hours which landed the Battalion in Le Havre, but first gave most of the men one of their worst tastes of seasickness.

Le Havre offered the troops their first sight of French soil, but it was not as pleasantly impressive as it might have been, for toiling uphill four miles with all your belongings on your back will make the most wonderful scenery in the world fade into mediocrity without the added misfortunes of scanty supplies and the same dreary weather which was encountered during the stay in England.

Hydroplanes and dirigibles were sights for the men during the twenty-four hours spent in Le Havre, but the status of "Sunny France" had received its classification along with the "Santa Claus" myth and subsequent months did not tend to disprove this impression. Funds were at the lowest possible level. Most of the spare cash scattered through the Company was made up of the few shillings which were saved from the onslaughts of the English merchants. Coupled with this was the much lamented fact that extra rations supposed to meet the Battalion in England had been side-tracked in some out-of-the-way place, and they only reached the units for which they were intended after they were well established in training camps in the Vosges.

Luckily the station platforms at Le Havre were covered with bales of cotton when the Battalion arrived to entrain at 5:30 on the afternoon of October 31, for these served as excellent beds and they were universally utilized as such until the train was ready to leave at midnight. The following day, with stops at Nantes and Versailles for coffee and various halts all along the line for reasons at no time apparent, after the manner of the French railway systems, the troop train continued its eastward journey, passing through Chateau Thierry and the scene of the first battle of the Marne, through Troyes, where coffee and rum were served by French soldiers, to the destination at Neufchateau, where the headquarters of the 26th Division were located and about which clustered the various units of that organization during the period of training which followed.

CHAPTER V

TRAINING

At 9 o'clock on the morning of November 2 the Battalion detrained at Neufchateau with hungry, travel-worn men willing to unroll their packs in any place having the slightest appearance of being a stationary camp, but it took all their optimism to greet enthusiastically the mud-surrounded barracks provided for the Company about three and a half miles southeast of Neufchateau near the village of Certilleux, in the department of the Vosges.

Surrounded as it was by hills characteristic of that part of France, and isolated from the other units of its command, A Company developed its community along lines approved by itself. The barracks, of which there were four on the east side of the road and one on the opposite side, all of that temporary type of structure manufactured in sections and reared without much attempt at making them comfortable, were connected with wide stone walks. The material for these walks was brought from the hill near at hand after hours of labor which took the kinks out of unused muscles and increased appetites, which were far from being satisfied because of the addled condition of the supply service then prevailing with the American Expeditionary Forces.

Three of the group of four barracks were adopted for the use of the Company, floors were laid, bunks of heavy green wood which had to be carried from the railroad station nearly a mile distant were gradually put into place, the kitchen was installed in one of the barracks with the mess hall as an adjunct and the orderly room occupying a small space near the end of the latter. Finally the small cylindrical stoves, the only available means of heating the barracks, were installed, three to a building. The single barracks on the west side of the road was fitted up for a guard house and supply room until the horses, mules and gun carts claimed it for their own.

Detail work was plentiful, for water was supplied by a small brook originating in springs near the top of the hill and it was necessary to carry it a hundred yards to the kitchen. Coal for the barracks stoves was only obtainable by carrying it from points of distribution, for transportation was scarce early in the fall of 1917. To supply the kitchen with wood, chopping details were sent into areas designated by the French authorities and the sticks were carried to camp by the Company.

Getting settled in the barracks was a comparatively short operation, for the men had been making new homes during the past month under more trying conditions each time, until they considered board floors and more or less dependable roofs downright luxuries. The bunks, most of which were of the "double-deck" variety, that is, one superimposed over another, with staunch wooden posts, were finally arranged in double rows on each side of the barracks, leaving a broad aisle through the center of the building. Sergeants who were fortunate enough found small single bunks which they placed in the middle of the barracks clustered around the stove which occupied the aisle there. These bunks also made seats for the rest of the men when winter nights made the space around the stove a coveted commodity.

Upon invitation the 102d Regiment Band came to the mess hall the Sunday following the Company's arrival at Certilleux and raised the spirits of the men with a concert. Tuesday a march was made to Neufchateau where steel helmets and full machine gun equipment, as far as the guns and carts were concerned, were drawn from the French ordnance depot there. The equipment was hauled back to camp on a hike memorable for its strenuous character.

Spare time had been curtailed in attempts to make the camp tenable, but now was spent in gaining a first-hand knowledge of the surrounding territory. These walks of exploration were cut short by the announcement, November 10, that Mechanic Curtiss had developed a case of measles and been sent to the hospital. His case was followed by others, so the quarantine, applied immediately, hedged in the Company and prevented it from passing the borders of the little camp for nearly a month. First Sergeant Bell, whose boundless energy was responsible for the improvements made about the camp, took command of the situation and did all within his power to add to the meager pleasures of the men by holding impromptu entertainments in the mess hall. The first of these was his trial and conviction by a mock court on serious charges preferred by Dockendorff; the sentence recommended by the jury, of which Captain Wolf was foreman, involved the loss of his whistle. Judge Carroll suspended execution of judgment in view of the accused's early record and Tony Scandore's band completed the program.

Other gatherings of equal interest were arranged, during which the _Morning Scratch_ was presented with its ephemeral owners and contributors and its policy of "charity to none and malice toward all." This remarkable paper not only attracted the attention of the divisional censor, but outlived three editions in which plain fabrication vied with outspoken truth in ferreting out the peculiar qualities of well-known men in the organization. Sergeant McCarthy and Corporal Malone acted as editors of this worthy "sheet" but shielded the names of contributors to the last.

Robinson and Stearns valiantly attacked the "general's march" unceasingly when the word was passed down that General Pershing was coming to inspect the Company on November 11. Clothing and equipment were scrubbed as never before, but the stigma of a quarantine saved the men the nerve-racking experience of an inspection by the General, and the only sight they had of him was when his car flashed past to Landaville where the headquarters of the 102d Regiment was located.

After patiently translating most of the French handbook on the Hotchkiss machine gun which was issued to the Company the previous week, Lieutenants Carroll and Nelson transmitted their information to the rest of the Company officers and the men were called out for the first demonstration. Described as being "air-cooled, gas operated and strip-fed," the gun was extremely heavy but at the same time one of the most dependable machine guns used in the war, and its comparatively simple mechanism soon was well known by most of the men.

All during this time of acclimation "chow" was as scarce as Mike Shea's speeches, kitchen police was a detail for which first class privates strove and methods of adding to the slender rations were many as well as devious. Matches were unheard of things, cigarettes priceless luxuries. There were few men in the Company who would not have pledged at least half of their next month's pay for a satisfying supply of chocolate.

All company officers being quartered in barracks a quarter mile down the road with the exception of Captain Wolf, who enjoyed the distinction of a clean, dry room with one of those slumber-provoking French beds in a house in the village of Certilleux, were relieved from quarantine restrictions, as were Lacaillade and Hobart, who found refuge with the second battalion of the 102d Regiment while measles, or the threats thereof, held the camp in their grasp.

Drills in the handling of machine guns took up the attention of most of the Company during the ensuing weeks, while the headquarters section was trained in signalling and general liaison work. Lieutenant Dolan was assigned to the Company as an instructor and began his work with an interesting lecture on "Gas in Modern Warfare," and the general atmosphere of war was heightened by planes passing over the camp at all hours. Columns of French artillery travelled in seemingly endless procession in the direction of Epinal and the occasional booming of the anti-aircraft guns in the defense of Toul and Nancy far to the north of the camp came in intermittent echoes.

With a concrete floor, constructed by Shea and Delaney, and equipped with a French type of water heater, consisting of a large cauldron set over a very small fire box in which wood was used as fuel, the company bathroom erected in the rear end of barracks No. 222 was opened for general use on November 24. Popular from the first day, this addition to the conveniences of the camp was kept in operation by a company order decreeing that each man must bathe at least once each week or as many more times as he had the opportunity. One man was detailed to keep the water at the right temperature and level in the heater, so facilities for bathing were never lacking.

Arguments on the war, its probable end, the chances for the Company to get to the "Front" and other topics fully as engrossing were discussed about the fires at night until a seeming lack of military knowledge among the men prompted an order which brought about evening schools on "Drill Regulations" and other phases of army life. A study of these tactics was pursued with a thoroughness which would have been impossible to acquire under the more distracting conditions at the camp back in Niantic.

Boundless good fortune struck camp the day before Thanksgiving. Turkey and special rations were issued and freight containing cigarettes, tobacco and the company phonograph arrived. Measles had entirely disappeared, so the quarantine was lifted and allowed the men a freedom which had not been theirs since the arrival in France. All night the kitchen police and cooks toiled to make the holiday dinner one to be remembered, and their efforts were rewarded, for they presented the Company with a feast which in amount and variety would have satisfied the wildest wish. Turkey and cranberry sauce reigned supreme, severely crowded for popularity by sweet potatoes and other vegetables, pumpkin pies, coffee and a barrel of beer.

In a program of athletic events arranged for the day, all but necessary duties being suspended, the officers' race showed Lieutenant Nelson to be the fleetest with Lieutenant Bacharach a close second; McLaughlin bested the efforts of the sergeants, with Curtiss but a few feet behind; Poirier grabbed the corporals' contest, as well as the "free-for-all"—and Malone travelled next. Cook Conroy running against the privates first class took first prize and Johnson took second; Nutile, Rourke and Hannon finished in that order when the privates took their turn on the field. Thirty-two points was the total of the third platoon's efforts when men from that group took the gun-squad competition and the relay race. In the team scores they were followed by the first platoon with nineteen to its credit, while headquarters with seven points and the second platoon with five brought up the rear.

Following dinner, which was served at the conventional hour of 6 o'clock and for which the third platoon, in recognition of its prowess on the athletic field, stood first in line, prizes were distributed to all successful contestants. The double quartette which had been under the tutelage of Lieutenant Bacharach for some time made its first appearance, the _Morning Scratch_ was heard through its second edition, and each of the officers gave a short talk. Sergeant Bell bade farewell to the Company because of his impending departure for the Army Candidate School.

A succession of acting first sergeants followed when Sergeant Bell left and Curtiss was finally picked for the permanent position. Automatic weapon schools were patronized by Sergeants Cramer, McLoughlin and Reilly and Corporals McKiernan and Viebranz during the following month while the Company was getting first experience in target practice under the guidance of instructors assigned from the French Army.

On December 6 the first letters from home were received, and four days later information was eagerly sought concerning the French monetary system, for Lieutenant Nelson, as Battalion Paymaster, gave out the pay due the Company in francs. For a few days the shops of Neufchateau were deluged with chocolate and souvenir seekers. Meager stores of French were overhauled in the attempt to express needs to the merchants and the services of French-speaking members of the outfit were rewarded with liberal amounts of wine and all the eatables procurable.

[Illustration]

Lieutenant Chester C. Thomas was assigned to the Company from C Company of the Battalion. His original organization was the Vermont regiment of which Lieutenant Nelson and various enlisted men in the Company had been members. His addition brought the number of officers in the Company to seven, one in excess of the requirements of the tables of organization and was the preparation for the removal of Captain Wolf, which took place during the following month.

Christmas day brought more festivities. A tree was set up in the mess hall and decorated in the approved manner with candles and tinsel, the hall itself being transformed into a bower of green and red through the efforts of the committee appointed to care for the arrangements. Turkey was again issued and the supplies augmented by purchases at the commissary in Neufchateau. Christmas packages from home which had been arriving for some time were distributed by Captain Wolf and every member of the Company was presented with a gift bought from the Company fund. The Company in turn presented its commander with a fur coat to aid him in withstanding the rigors of a winter which was at no time gentle.

The day was enjoyed to the utmost. Buglers were silenced so that the unusual pleasure of lying luxuriously in bunks could be enjoyed for the first time. Much of the day was spent in revelling in the contents of the boxes received from home. No Christmas stocking of childhood ever held half the fascination of those little packages. Everything brought back cherished memories and the enjoyment was doubled by the fact that no duties disturbed the calm of reflections. Following the dinner that night the mess hall was cleared and a stage set up over the serving tables in the kitchen, complete with an artistic backdrop decorated in conventional style by Guerrant, a curtain which would open in the center after sufficient coaxing, and footlights patiently manufactured by Saddler Thompson from tobacco cans and candles.

After Lieutenant Bacharach's orchestra had played an "overture" and the Company filled mess hall seats, the double quartette occupied the stage and gave a few well-received selections. "Rubber" Callahan furnished the next feature, winning applause by his nimble dancing. Then, with a setting almost theatrical, McCarthy as cub reporter was ordered by Malone, as city editor, to read certain excerpts from the third and final edition of the _Morning Scratch_. News was plenty for this edition and scandal was related with a true flavor, outdoing previous attempts by so much that serious consequences threatened for a time after the edition appeared in public.

After the quartette had again offered its best to the audience, Poirier, Foster and Hunihan presented a melodramatic sketch in which Poirier played the part of the villain, Foster that of the trusting wife and Hunihan that of the honest young workingman who was tempted but thought better of it and sold the old pistol to buy chocolate for the baby, putting an end to a situation which threatened to become painful. Eddie O'Neill entertained with his best steps and then Hobart and Cath appeared on the stage, the former in the garb of a Scotchman (or so it was said to be) and the latter in a combination of attire which surpasses any power of description because of its varied character. After a brief and wholly unnecessary bit of persiflage these ambitious entertainers broke forth in song which would have been passed on mercifully by those present had not Hobart essayed an encore which was more than the audience could stand and they exhibited their disapproval by showering the stage with all movable objects.

Eddie Malone added to the interest of the day by vanquishing three visitors from a neighboring camp in such a manner that they promised revenge, and began a return with augmented forces, but abandoned their enterprise before they reached the camp and returned to their own barracks.

No turkey was repeated for New Year's Day, but a pig was purchased from a nearby farmer and proved a welcome addition to the rations.

British and French gas masks issued the day before Christmas were used constantly in drills. Two long, tiresome days were spent in the drillgrounds of the infantry, where trenches were simulated by paths through the snow and where the inactivity produced severe trouble with frostbitten feet, forcing Ralph Moore to go to the hospital for a considerable stay.

Lieutenant Condren assumed command of the Company when Captain Wolf left to become divisional billeting officer on January 13, inaugurating his reign by confining all members of the Company to camp and advancing the hour of reveille forty-five minutes because of the disappearance of two cans of milk from the kitchen. The mystery of the milk remained unsolved, however, and five days later the regular schedule of calls was resumed. All during the following month Sundays were taken up with drills or fatigue work, not to mention the endless inspections which make the lives of all soldiers miserable.

Major Howard, in command of the Battalion during all this time, graced the company with visits only on two occasions. Orders were received from the headquarters of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion, but it soon became evident that the identity of Company A was to be changed, for orders were issued causing that organization to be placed under the command of the major of the 102d Machine Gun Battalion for "instruction and training." These orders were never rescinded and in due time D Company of the 102d Machine Gun Battalion was designated as a permanent title and A Company of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion passed into oblivion, along with Troop A, Connecticut National Guard. In accomplishing this stroke, Major Howard also succeeded in having D Company of his battalion transferred to the 103d Machine Gun Battalion, leaving him in command of the two Hartford companies which now became the divisional reserve, equipped with motor transportation and held out of the line during the greater part of the campaigns which followed.

[Illustration: ONE OF THE PIGS SLEPT WITH DUGGAN]

Final preparation for the first trip to the trenches which the men were told would take place early in February consisted in training the mules issued to the Company to haul the gun-carts, ammunition carts, caissons, rolling kitchens and escort wagons, inspections without number, trips to the machine gun range where all the guns in the division were assembled for practice, and the policing ever necessary before an organization could leave a camp it had occupied.

Pay and mail brought more joy to the camp on January 23 and the following nights were spent visiting the nearby cafés or, when opportunity offered, taking the quaint train which conveyed the men to and from Neufchateau at a cost of two cents per trip in real money. The fate of five small pigs dropped from a train in the vicinity of camp was promptly decided by Minor and Parmalee, who captured them and after a night spent by most of the Company trying to keep the porkers in captivity, they were killed and served at mess the following day.

Trips to the machine gun range laid out by one member of the Company in coöperation with a man from Battalion headquarters near Prez sous Lafauche, southwest of Neufchateau, were made by French motor truck. There the men had their first demonstration of barrage fire over the heads of friendly troops, were addressed for the first time by Major General Clarence R. Edwards, commander of the Division, and Colonel Parker, famed throughout the army for his work in connection with the development of the machine gun and at that time the energetic commander of the 102d Infantry Regiment, who, in his direct manner described vividly the part machine guns were intended to play in the war.

Interspersed with machine gun work was instruction in grenade throwing and the final test of the gas masks when the entire Company passed through a chamber filled with chlorine gas.

Farewell was bade the camp which had served as a home for more than three months on February 7, when after a final and extensive policing, the Company slung packs and began the hike over the hill leading to Chatenois and eventually to the trenches.

CHAPTER VI

CHEMIN DES DAMES

Early plans of the War Department for training troops in France included a period during which the "Yanks" were brigaded with French or British units to spend a probationary time in the lines, when they received instruction in trench routine, were taken on raiding expeditions by the veteran fighters of the Allies and received their baptism of fire, often very severe when the Hun discovered the presence of green troops on the front. It was on this course of training the Company was bound when just at dusk on February 7 packs were slung and the men began their struggle up the ice-covered hill on the road to Chatenois.

Experience in hiking to the trenches soon taught enlisted men that the primitive life on the front line did not call for various accoutrements thought necessary in the barracks, or at least it was much easier to do without certain articles than it was to carry them. This first trip, however, saw packs, bundles and bags such as had adorned the men when they left Niantic. By the time they reached the top of the hill back of the camp, although many rests had intervened during the climb, resolutions galore were made concerning the amount to be packed on another trip. With very little climbing to do on the rest of the journey, it was made in good time, and under the supervision of Lieutenant Paton the gun carts and wagons were loaded onto the waiting train, after which rations for the trip were drawn for each car and the men made themselves comfortable for the night.

Sleeping on the floor of a box car had no terrors for the men who had spent the past three months on the hard bunks of the barracks, so the bumping, swaying progress of the train leaving early the following morning failed to disturb the rest of most of the sleepers. The next day as the train passed through Epernay, Bar le Duc and Chalons-sur-Marne, wooden crosses on the graves of the first valiant defenders of the Marne and houses wrecked by shell fire and flames brought clearly to their minds the step they were taking toward the completion of a task other men had found hard. The naturally light-hearted spirit of the Company prevented any depression and singing could be heard from end to end of the train as it rolled along on the grand line of France through some of the prettiest scenery that land affords. Travelling most of the time through valleys where the tiny villages dotted with white the green of early spring crowning the hills on all sides, "Sunny France" became more of a reality and the spirit of her men, fighting to preserve these peaceful scenes, became more thoroughly appreciated as some of its inspiration dawned upon their brothers in Democracy.

Early evening found the train at Dormans, a short distance east of Chateau-Thierry, and from there a branch line was followed to Braisne, a town less than six months before in the hands of the Hun. War zone rules prevailed here and the unloading was done mainly in darkness but accomplished quickly. At the end of a ten kilometer march the Battalion was billeted in the ruined city of Vailly. To D Company fell a hut of similar type to the ones used as barracks in Certilleux. Sleep was curtailed the next morning by orders to move to the security of dugouts and cellars with which the city was filled. During the balance of the day explorations were in order, for the surrounding country offered limitless opportunities to observe the havoc wrought by war. Twice the opposing armies had battled through this portion of the department of Aisne, so that trenches, observation posts and graves of soldiers of both powers were plentiful.

Airplanes passed time and again on their missions over the lines. Men of the Company saw their first struggle between aviators, viewed breathlessly the feat of a German birdman who destroyed a French observation balloon and the escape of the observer from the basket of the "blimp" in a parachute. The camouflage screens used so extensively during the war were much in evidence here as the roads were open to enemy observation. All other artifices of war as it had been developed since the introduction of trench fighting were to be seen in abundance.

On the night of February 10 C Company of the 102d Machine Gun Battalion entered the line at Froidmont Farm and took positions turned over to them by the French along the slopes of the famous ridge crowned for the distance of about four kilometers by the Chemin des Dames, from which the sector took its name.

Packs were rolled on short notice in the afternoon of the 13th and a march of four kilometers to the east took the Company to the ruined village of Chavonne where the wagon train established quarters and above which the Company was billeted in caves called "Les Grenouilles" (the frogs). Here were electric lights and wooden floors and French Army canteens nearby, but luxuries lost their interest when a German aviator and his machine, felled perhaps three months before, were discovered in a shell-pitted field near the cave.

Preparations for the coming trip to the front were continued, the guns polished and oiled to the last degree, carts thoroughly overhauled and personal equipment put in proper order. Aerial activity offered the only distraction from duty. One bright day when the entire Company was viewing a combat between Allied and German planes from the hill above its appointed home, General Peter E. Traub (at that time in command of the 51st Infantry Brigade, of which the Company was a part) made an impromptu visit, resulting in a comprehensive and forceful lecture from that officer on the proper deportment of soldiers when enemy planes came into view.

According to the routine established reconnaissance parties preceded their respective companies into the line by twenty-four hours to allow a relief without endangering the strength of the position. In conformity with this Lieutenant Condren, with a representative from each section, went ahead of the Company. On February 16 Lieutenant Thomas led the balance of the command up through Ostel, where dusk was awaited because of the exposed road to be traversed between that village and Froidmont Farm, the objective of the Company. From there they marched down the road in sections into the cave cut from the soft limestone deposit from which the first and second platoons took positions in the first line, with the third remaining in the cave as a reserve.

One of the wonders of the war, that cave had a capacity of about ten thousand men, most of whom could be furnished with sleeping quarters. It was equipped with electric lights burned only during certain hours of the day, officers' quarters and kitchens for a limited number of men and the ever present French canteen with its stock of wine and chocolate.

Passing through the cave, the men designated to take the first shift on the line found travelling difficult when they reached the stairs leading up and out at the front. These were narrow and steep with roof so low that "Duke" Rowley's equipment wedged him in and he was forced to have some of it removed before he could continue. Finally reaching the outside, guides were waiting to conduct the squads to the replacements they were to occupy, and after guns were set up all but a guard for each gun sought the dugouts, which were deep, small and unventilated.

[Illustration: CHEMIN DES DAMES—RATION DETAIL.]

One of the difficulties of duty in this part of the line was the disposal of the kitchen which was finally left near Ostel in a depression which became known as the forerunner of a long line of "Shrapnel Valleys" for the smoke from the fires always presented a fair target to Hun gunners. From here the "grub" was carried to the men in the line in large marmite cans constructed with the idea of keeping food warm and fitted with handles supposed to make them more easily portable. These trips accomplished twice each day by details from each section were often fraught with danger, for the Hun insisted on "strafing" the road at the most inopportune times, and hairbreadth escapes were daily topics while the gun squads waited in their dugouts.

Accustomed to activity of a strenuous sort during most of their waking hours, the men found trench warfare irksome, wondering at the businesslike attitude adopted by the doughty French soldiers who took their trips to the trenches much as most Americans take their daily work in peace times. Chaffing under the restraint, McAviney and Parmalee produced life-sized bombardments one night for the benefit of Lieutenants Bacharach and Carroll by throwing hand grenades over the parapet until their tactics were discovered.

Gas alarms and drills, airplanes passing over and one call for a barrage which brought a prompt response from the Company guns broke the monotony of the stay. The main source of amusement, however, was watching the shells from American batteries break in the village of Chevregny, which with Monampteuil occupied the ridge on the opposite side of the valley in the German lines. Through this valley ran the Ailette River, a tributary of the Oise, as did the canal connecting the Oise with the Aisne.

Relieved by C Company February 22, the Company proceeded back to quarters at Chavonne.

Turkey was on the menu for the 24th and arrangements were made with Dr. Johnston, of the Y. M. C. A., so that each man was allowed a limited amount of credit at his canteen, for all were penniless as usual. Added to these luxuries was a bath for everyone obtainable at a station in Vailly loaned by the French authorities.

Soupir, St. Mard and Cys-la-Commune, the latter two south of the Aisne, were visited by the men during the next two days. Some of the officers also made the trip to the neighboring towns. Lieutenants Nelson and Paton, returning from a purchasing expedition and failing to find the road leading across the bridge, commandeered a raft which failed them in mid-stream and their supplies were resting on the bottom of the river when they succeeded in reaching the bank.

On their second trip to the lines, made on the night of the 27th, the Company officers decided it would be necessary to pass through the cave, and after a long struggle through twisted paths, barbed wire, broken trench timbers and mud worse than ordinary because of a recent fall of snow, the men reached their assigned positions.

With the exception of a raid conducted by the French in coöperation with members of the 101st Infantry Regiment, on the left of the Company positions, followed by intermittent bombardments of retaliation by both sides, the second shift in the trenches for the members of old Troop A was uneventful. Routine duties continued until Friday, March 8, when French soldiers relieved them and they returned to billets at Chavonne. The Hun's farewell was enthusiastic, high explosives and gas shells expressing his hatred for the new units in the line. A bombing squadron bound for Paris passed above the men as they trudged back through Ostel and gas shells were so numerous that much of the trip was made with the masks adjusted.

In preparation for eventualities, the French authorities were constructing defensive positions protected by barbed wire for several miles to the rear of the lines they then occupied. It was into some of these just to the rear of American batteries near Ostel that part of D Company was sent on the day following its relief from the front line. Life at these posts was ideal, duties were cut to a minimum, food was brought in plentiful quantities to the doors of the dugouts, and with pay day on the Wednesday following the relief, French canteens were liberally patronized. Excellent weather prevailed during the rest of the stay in this sector and when the Battalion left Chavonne for Braisne March 18 impressions concerning the character of war were of a high nature for the Company had passed through its training period with no casualties and but few real hardships.

On the march from Chavonne to Braisne, the men again passed through Vailly, following the same road it had covered in making the trip to the lines. All along the way were evidences that the thrifty French were making every attempt to cultivate all available land. Most of the fields the Hun had held for nearly four years up to the preceding fall were green with new crops and cattle grazed among the mazes of barbed wire both armies had left in their haste. Braisne seen for the first time during daylight bore few of the scars of war, for the retreat first of the French and then of the German armies had been precipitous in this particular region.

Leaving at 11:30 that night the train moved out in the rain always in evidence when D Company was moving. Travelling all the following day the troops were detrained at Brienne le Chateau in the department of the Aube, about one hundred miles from Neufchateau, where the march to Vesaignes sous Lafauche for that mythical rest began in the usual drizzle. The journey ended for that day when the Company arrived at La Chaise, where quarters for all the men were taken in a large barn. Twelve kilometers to Ville sur Terre finished the task for the next day and this quiet little village was made the scene of deeply felt orations delivered by Sergeant Curtiss and Maiden to the crowd in the village square on varied topics, the spirits of the entire Company apparently bolstered by purchases in the cafés. Two more days here and the Battalion again moved under orders to participate in a war game which German successes on the British front were soon to cancel.

Through Thil, Nully, Blumery to Dommartin le St. Pere the men trudged on a twenty-one kilometer march Saturday, March 23. Conversation with people at that place revealed that it was being used by the French as a refuge for many of the peasants driven from their homes near the Belgian border. Sunday's trip was to Nomecourt, a distance of thirteen kilometers. The following day the route lay through Joinville and Poissons to Maconcourt. The next day twelve kilometers more found the Battalion in Chambroncourt and Wednesday, March 27, Vesaignes sous Lafauche with its fleeting promise of a rest came into view, completing a hike which had required six marching days and during which over sixty-five miles had been covered.

The journey had not been tiresome, for the weather had been favorable with the exception of two days. The beauties of France, hidden by shell holes and barbed wire in the vicinity of the lines and mud and snow during the Company's early training period, had begun to be evident in the smiling countryside which greeted the men on their trip. Fields were either green with new crops or brown where the earth had been freshly plowed, trees were showing the bright green of new leaves and the white roads in excellent repair which traversed the entire section seemed as ribbons binding together the tiny villages snuggled in the nooks among the hills, with neatly trimmed hedges and backgrounds of stately poplars along the banks of the little streams, producing an impression of peace and love in contrast with the hate and destruction of the front.

Assigned to barracks on the edge of the town, D Company proceeded to the task of unpacking barracks bags and settling down for a stay. This was rudely interrupted within two days when the smashing attacks of the Hun hordes against the British had met with such success that General Foch, in command of the Allied armies, found it necessary to use all available reserves. To this end the 102d Machine Gun Battalion, with the rest of the 26th Division, was ordered to the sector northwest of Toul as a relief for the 1st Division, which, with its record of nearly three months training in the lines, was needed where serious activity was impending.

CHAPTER VII

THE TOUL SECTOR

Orders on the morning of March 30 sent the Battalion to Trampot, about fifteen kilometers away. There Easter Sunday was spent in the rain, which had prevailed for two days, as was customary when the organization moved.

On April 1 the men with their guns and ammunition were loaded into trains of motor trucks for the trip to the front, the carts and kitchen having started the journey by road the previous day.

The route of the trucks lay through Neufchateau, center of the 26th Division training area, Domremy, the birthplace of Joan of Arc, to Boucq, divisional headquarters for the new area, which was known as the sector of Boucq, or Foret de La Reine to the French authorities, but more commonly called the Toul sector because of its location northwest of that ancient city. In the trenches of this part of the line long, tedious days were spent, broken by weary hikes through the mud to a rest camp for a day or so, only to pack and return to another section. The experience gained in becoming accustomed to shell fire, getting the most out of meager protection afforded and observation of enemy tactics, proved its value in the lives it saved when the Company went into action later in the year.

After landing in Boucq the men were assigned to barracks near the village. The cooks who had started with the wagon train from Vesaignes failed to put in an appearance but culinary talent was not lacking, and Ackerman and Parmalee prepared the meals until the kitchen arrived. Orders were confused during the following two days and it was not till the morning of April 3 that directions were received sending the Company northwest of Broussey at the extreme left of the sector occupied by the 51st Brigade. Ammunition and equipment were carried to the front on the narrow gauge railroad from Broussey, to which point the Company was transported in trucks.

Rain added to the difficulties of finding a way through the heavily wooded swamp. Confronting the men on their way to the positions assigned the three mile hike from Broussey was one of the worst trips in their experience. Continually in the mud, sometimes over their boots and dropping every few yards into shallow creeks crossing their path, forcing their way through passages overgrown with underbrush and stumbling over broken duck-boards, the men, nearly exhausted, finally reached the wooden shacks used as shelters. Just two days late, they relieved the 1st Division unit which had been languidly fulfilling the necessary duties of the sector.

Partly protected wooden and iron huts described by Lieutenant Nelson as being "shell-proof until a shell hits one of them," were distributed about a central point in the Bois de Besombois and here the entire Company, with the exception of "mule-skinners" and other members of the train section, was quartered. Two hundred yards distant was the front line located in another wood designated Bouqueteau. To the right of these positions in the direction of Pont à Mousson for a distance of fourteen kilometers the 51st Brigade held the line, while to the left for ten kilometers the 52d Brigade with the remaining units of the 26th Division occupied the trenches, its left resting within a comparatively short distance of St. Mihiel.

In this sector there were but few trenches, as the character of the ground made it impractical for the enemy to attempt much of an advance in this direction. It was protected on the right by marshy lakes and on the left by strong defenses on higher ground. To the right could be seen the forbidding German stronghold of Montsec, with Xivray and Seicheprey in the distance, later the scenes of the earliest actions in which American units participated, while on the left was the Apremont region, where the 104th Infantry Regiment won distinction repulsing a German raid.

Expressing contempt for the "Malishy" the men of the 1st Division left the sector with the apparent feeling that it would soon be overrun by the Boche, but before going they transmitted more faithfully than they did many of their orders stories about American raids on the Hun lines which had penetrated through the last defense and had netted but one prisoner, a decrepit pensioner who travelled with the aid of a wooden leg and carried flares which he set off at intervals throughout the system of trenches. In spite of their feeling in the matter the Hun continued quiet for several days, using vari-colored lights and machine gun bullets to while away the long hours of darkness. A gas alarm broke the stillness on the 5th and the following night brought action for Gould's and Hunihan's guns, who fired on signal from the infantry, but nothing further developed.

Almost incredible news was received on the night of the 9th, when orders came sending Sergeant "Tom" Reilly home as one of the fifty men selected to represent the American Expeditionary Force during the campaign for the Second Liberty Loan. When he left he had more messages for the home folks than he could have delivered personally in a month.

[Illustration]

Although a certain amount of shelling by both sides had occurred periodically ever since the Company entered the lines, the heavy bombardment which began early on the morning of the 20th betokened action in some part of the Brigade sector. Later news showed this activity to have taken place preceding and during the German attack on Seicheprey. There a battalion of picked shock troops had pierced the lines held by the first battalion of the 102d Infantry Regiment and A and B Companies of the 102d Machine Gun Battalion, finding its way through a mist which filled the low ground in front of Jury Woods. The enemy had surrounded certain units, including a platoon of B Company of the Battalion and most of D Company of the infantry, nearly all of whom were carried away prisoners. After inflicting damage as far as they could they were forced to retire before a counter attack, leaving hundreds of dead in their wake, while their wounded in unknown numbers had been carried off in the retreat. This was the first engagement of its size fought by American troops.

Just previous to this attack, Major John D. Murphy, formerly a captain in the 101st Infantry Regiment, was placed in command of the Battalion and Captain Gallup, who had been acting major, returned to lead C Company.

The air was filled with rumors which gain headway when there is a dearth of subjects to be discussed. One said that the Company was to be withdrawn and the personnel used as instructors, another that the unit was on the verge of being sent home for some hazy purpose and a trip to Italy was even invented. All were discredited however, when, after thirty days continuous duty in the lines C Company, 103d Machine Gun Battalion, completed its relief of the Company during the night of May 2 and the men hiked westward along a road screened with camouflage to Girauvoisin, whence three sections went forward to Fort Liouville and relieved part of B Company, 101st Machine Gun Battalion, taking positions which seemed ideal. With beds and good rooms on the very front line, the men rested until relieved on the 14th by B Company of their Battalion, when they hiked the eighteen kilometers intervening between their position and La Rehanne Woods, the location of the train.

La Rehanne Woods, located on the road running from Toul north through Menil la Tour and Ansauville, Battalion Headquarters, to Beaumont and Seicheprey, served as the rest camp for the Company during the remainder of its stay in the Toul sector, being comparatively free from shelling and therefore largely used by all units in that area.

Under the auspices of the Y. M. C. A., the Herron sisters provided entertainment Sunday, the 19th. In the afternoon of that day Art Parmalee fought six rounds with Jensen of the 163d Infantry, winning the honors with ease and adding considerably to the wealth of his backers,—practically the entire Company. The following days were filled with the usual explorations of surrounding villages and pay for March and April on the 21st would have given more latitude to these trips had not the Company departed for positions in Jury Woods that night when units of the 162d French Regiment were relieved.

Accommodations were available for only half the Company in these positions so the rest of the men returned to La Rehanne to await their turn. In Jury Woods men on the guns had considerable practice in barrage work, for on two occasions the signal was sent up by the infantry and promptly responded to by all guns on the line. It was learned afterward that German raiding parties had been repulsed both times without gaining a foothold. Outdoor quarters selected in the woods were abandoned after these occurrences, however, for the safety of the dugouts was thoroughly appreciated, the number of shells falling into the woods making their use imperative. Wortenko proved the first casualty of the Company, sustaining a slight injury to one of his fingers when a shell burst near as he was filling canteens at the kitchen.

Preparations for the raid executed by the third battalion of the 101st Infantry Regiment early on the morning of the 30th northeast of Seicheprey, in the general direction of Richecourt in the enemy line, included a distracting fire which was furnished by D Company guns in order to keep the attention of the Boche from the point to be raided. This barrage started at 2:25 A. M. and was followed at 2:30 by a concentration of American artillery fire which paralyzed the enemy batteries for a time. On an east and west line just to the rear of Beaumont nearly four regiments of artillery opened fire at the zero hour and aided by twenty-three machine guns of the Battalion spread a protecting screen of fire over the raiders.

After the men had returned in safety to our lines with one prisoner, dubbed "the million dollar kid" because of the expense of the undertaking, some of the Hun batteries went into action and it was 3:35 when an enemy shell struck the emplacement occupied by Corporal Dowers' squad in the north side of Jury Woods, killing Jestin McAviney and wounding Bussiere, both of whom were on duty at the gun.

The following day McAviney was buried in the American cemetery at Mandres with Chaplain Petty of the 102d Infantry officiating. He was the only member of the Company to lose his life during three months of more than ordinary dangers.

Exciting times were in prospect, for according to information received at Divisional Headquarters, the enemy was massing troops at Metz, only twenty miles distant, and there was considerable speculation as to where he would strike, his drive on the British front having been halted through lack of momentum and the interposition of new units in that sector by the commander-in-chief of the Allied armies. Ever since the Toul sector had become the official American sector early in the year, defensive preparations had been going on with the building of pill boxes which would shed most enemy shells as steel helmets shed hail stones. Reserve trenches protected by wire were prepared and machine gun positions all along the line in the direction of Toul put in order for occupancy. Orders were issued concerning the defense of the sector with the plan of backing up the troops in front by organized lines which were, in important places, three miles in depth, carried out in all particulars except the actual operations.

It was during the excitement of these activities that Company D was relieved by the machine gun company of the 102d Regiment and returned to its quarters at La Rehanne on the morning of June 4, where it was under instructions in the event of a break through by the enemy to take positions in the forward edge of the woods and hold off the Hun forces while the troops in front retreated to cover.

This was a critical period in the history of the war. French and British were sustaining severe losses, morale was weakening in the Allies' forces and each day brought news of the unbroken advance of the Teutons. Appealing to the patriotism of soldiers which had withstood reverse after reverse for four years, with few of the crumbs of success, General Petain, commanding the armies of France, sent out the following:—

"Men!!

The enemy is striking another blow, Outnumbering us, he has been able, during the last few days, to throw confusion into our front lines. But our reserves are rushing up! You are going to shatter his thrust and return it! Stand up, Heroes of the Marne! For your hearths and homes! For France! Forward! Petain."

The luxuries of baths and new clothing were arranged for the Company at Menil la Tour, the divisional supply base four kilometers south of La Rehanne. The following days were filled with the usual occupations of resting troops,—baseball games and concerts at the Y. M. C. A. hut by the 101st Regiment band. Local talent of all kinds was plentiful and with the assistance of Johnson and Hine the Salvation Army workers sold cocoa and doughnuts to lines of men which lasted as long as the supplies held out.

The dearth of company officers was felt when Lieutenant Nelson left for the school at Gondrecourt, Lieutenant Carroll having been previously called to Battalion Headquarters to act as gas officer.

Moving to the east the battalion sector embraced positions near the village of Flirey. It was to relieve a French unit in some of the new territory that the third platoon left on the night of the 12th. The balance of the Company moved out the following night to take up positions in the ruins of Seicheprey and on the ridge just to the southwest of that place, protecting Beaumont, which place had served successively as a post of command for the 102d and 101st Infantry Regiments. Passing safely through the perils of "Dead Man's Curve," the Company completed the relief under the protection of midnight darkness.

[Illustration: _Upper, left to right_—Capt. Frank E. Wolf, Lt. Ludz (French army, instructor), Capt. George D. Condren.

_Center, left to right_—Lt. John C. Dolan, Lt. John C. Carroll, Lt. Barry Keenan, Lt. Sidney Bacharach.

_Lower, left to right_—Lt. C. Lyon Rogers, Lt. Gustaf A. Nelson, Lt. John C. Carroll.]

[Illustration: _Top_—Company D starting out from Niantic expecting to leave for France, Sept. 23, 1917.—Barracks, winter of 1917, Certilleux.—Sgt. Fred Klaussner teaching a mule its manners, machine gun ammunition cart to the right.—Dugout in the Ormont.—Loading the train, Lizy-sur-Ourcq, August, 1918.—Capt. Paton's dugout in the Ormont.—Main street in Seicheprey.]

Subject to a heavy share of artillery activity at all times, this sector proved comparatively quiet until early Sunday morning, June 16, when the Hun laid down a barrage indicating he was about to attack. Centering to the left of the Seicheprey positions, the enemy assault was directed against the village of Xivray-Marvoisin, held by units of the 103d Infantry Regiment and D Company, 103d Machine Gun Battalion. The nucleus of the latter was made up of former members of Troop A. The efforts of the Germans met such determined resistance that the lines remained intact and the invaders were hurled from their slight foothold with severe losses. Artillery fire continued intermittently during the rest of the day, but good dugouts afforded shelter for the men.

[Illustration]

Favored by a fog in the early morning hours of June 19, the enemy prepared an attack which was to destroy the lines at Seicheprey and menace the positions in Jury Woods, the key to a ridge which would have been of military importance to him; but shortly after his barrage had covered our lines, with his men concentrated in thick woods covering his first defenses, he met the full force of the first projector gas attack launched by the American army. Sixteen hundred projectiles were used in the operation and they were thrown from a point in front of Jury Woods. Rage at these tactics was expressed in the terrific bombardment during the ensuing day of all our forward positions and communicating areas, but for some reason, supposedly because of the use of new artillery which had not become accustomed to the positions, most of the projectiles landed in places where little harm could be done. Results of the gassing were apparent from artillery observation posts, which reported the departure of several hospital trains from stations in the rear of the German lines. Ackerman and Barry, slightly gassed, were the only members of the Company to suffer from the fury of the Hun.

Relief by the French, taking over the sector in conjunction with the 82d American Division, came on the night of June 25, when the Company returned to La Rehanne Woods. Continuing the journey on the 26th, the men hiked twenty-two kilometers to Lay St. Remy, four kilometers west of Toul, where barns were assigned as billets and a long sleep was in order for the morning of the 27th.

Prompted by desire more than by information, the men eagerly followed the will-o'-the-wisp of a furlough or a short rest at the least, and arguments occupying the intervals when sight-seeing through the munitions factories and other points of interest nearby was not in progress bore heavily on the point that the Division had seen more than four months of front line service and was due for a rest. Force of circumstances, however, refuted this logic, and orders came for the Battalion to entrain for another part of the front.

Although eager to see new parts of the line, there were signs of genuine regret among the men when they knew they were to leave the sector with which they had become so familiar during the past three months. It had been the scene of their first real taste of duty as independent units, it held the grave of the first of their number to give his life, and they had watched it as the warm of spring days transformed its fields from bleak vistas of mud to living green dotted with the white and yellow of the early spring flowers, followed by the period when whole areas were covered with the brilliant hues of blooming poppies. Bound for an unknown part of the country, with the probability of finding most of their previous training discounted by new conditions, it was only the buoyant spirit characteristic of the Company throughout the most trying times, which, added to the thirst for adventure, prevented depression and sent them on their way singing and whistling.

CHAPTER VIII

CHATEAU THIERRY

By forcing a passage of the Marne east of Chateau Thierry, the German army had succeeded in cutting the grand line of France, but in so doing they only delayed troop movements, for trains could be moved south from the Toul sector, then west and through the train yards of Paris to their destinations in the Chateau Thierry region. Following this route the trains passed through Brienne le Chateau, Troyes, Joinville and other cities which were fast becoming familiar to the men of the 26th Division and turned in the freight yards of Noisy le Sec, a suburb of Paris, to complete their journey by following the Marne northward through Meaux, the farthest point in the German advance of 1914, to Lizy sur Ourcq.

Detraining early on the morning of July 1, the Company marched through Laferte sous Jouarre, where it crossed the Marne to quarters in a brick yard near Reuil en Brie. Entertained during their short stay in its suburbs by an air raid on Paris, and travelling in the direction of the already well-known Chateau Thierry sector, the men were not at a loss for subjects for the discussions which always flourished when time was plentiful. There were games on the 4th, with an impromptu entertainment in the evening. On the afternoon of the following day orders were received to move up to the left of the city of Chateau Thierry and relieve the 2d Division.

Arriving in the woods northwest of Bezu le Guery late at night, the Battalion rested for two hours and was ordered out again to return almost to Laferte sous Jouarre, take another road in the direction of the front, but more to the left of the position first selected, and make camp near Montreuil aux Lions. This move was made to form a reserve for the divisions on the line because of an expected German attack in the vicinity of Belleau Wood. This failed to materialize and the Battalion returned to the woods near Bezu le Guery on the night of July 8. From there A and C Companies relieved machine gun units of the Second Division occupying the front lines, the third platoon of D Company going up in support of C Company on the left of the brigade sector.

On July 10 Lieutenant Nelson and Sergeant Sullivan returned to the Company from the machine gun school at Gondricourt.

Because the 2d Division was needed to play its part in another section, it was removed from the support of the 26th, leaving the Yankees the only obstruction between the armies of the Crown Prince and their announced goal at Paris. Orders were issued and the commanders of units on the line distributed their forces in depth, a defensive arrangement which established the greater resistance to the enemy at a point some two kilometers to the rear of the line of contact. This plan included the use of several batteries of 75 millimeter guns for the purpose of direct fire at the crests of hills behind which they were located. A certain number of machine guns were assigned each battery to aid in its defense. Besides these, other guns were used to cover certain strategic points on roads and in fields, so that all guns in the Battalion had been assigned regular positions when the scheme was completed.

Fighting in this sector had not reached the stage of trench warfare with which the men had become so familiar during their stay in the region northwest of Toul. Trenches were nonexistent except for small rifle pits and a few machine gun emplacements near the line. Dugouts at their best were nothing but rude shelters which withstood the rain with difficulty and were safe only when the Hun was not using his artillery. Men stationed in or near the villages had the opportunity of using the houses for sleeping quarters, but those in the many small patches of woodland found holes in the ground the most reliable resting places. The hitherto despised pup tent came into use where it was permitted, and the men made themselves comfortable as possible, adding to their rations by the confiscation of wandering flocks of chickens, and itinerant cows furnished milk for more than one mess.

Entering Vaux on the right of the divisional sector just west of Chateau Thierry on the night of July 14, the Germans found it deserted, but when they tried to return to their lines they were stopped by an intense artillery barrage and the raiding party was annihilated by the 101st Infantry Regiment, with but few American casualties.

For several nights at the request of Colonel Parker of the 102d Infantry, the forward guns of the Company had been used to lay down barrages of harassing fire on various enemy communicating paths with good results, according to regimental observers. With this feature to prevent their stay becoming monotonous and many new places to explore, the men had not become discontented with the sector, when, on July 18, at an early hour in the morning, word was passed down from headquarters that the Allied offensive was to start at 4:35, shortly after daybreak. This movement was destined to be the start of the great offensive which ended in the signing of the armistice terms by the German powers in November, for at no time after they started their retreat from the Marne salient on that day, did the German armies find the strength to halt the onrushing millions of Foch's men.

It was in the area between Rheims and Soissons that the Crown Prince had succeeded in breaking through the French defenses and by this feat advanced to the Marne at Chateau Thierry, a distance of some twenty miles. The heights about the first two cities remained impregnable and thus a salient was formed which was found difficult to hold as soon as pressure was applied by the Allies.

Preparations for the Allied advance had been going on for some time and had been carried out with the greatest secrecy, so when the blow fell the first few days found the Hun unprepared to make a resistance which could impede the progress of the French and American troops. From the edge of the salient west of Soissons the Xth French Army, with the 1st, 2d, and 4th American Divisions occupied the line down to where the VIth French Army with the 26th American Division was stationed to the left of Chateau Thierry. On the right of Chateau Thierry were the 3d and 28th American Divisions operating also under French command and around the eastern side of the salient extending northward to Rheims were more French troops with Italians and Colonials to apply that arm of the pincers to the imperial forces.

As the 26th Division occupied the curved side of the salient extending from Belleau Wood on the left to and including Vaux on the right, it was forced to wait until the area immediately to its north was taken by the forces occupying the line from Soissons, south to Belleau Wood, and for a like reason the 51st Brigade, holding the right of the divisional sector, was delayed until the 52d Brigade had reached objectives assigned to clear the area to the northeast of its positions.

With all units of the Brigade on the front line, those formerly in reserve to form the first wave of the attack, the order to advance was received at 3:15 on the afternoon of July 20. D Company was assigned to the second battalion of the 102d Infantry and took up a position in the second wave. The victorious operations of the 103d Infantry on the left were visible to the men before they made their attack, so they went in at the designated time with the spirit of victors and the newly fortified knowledge that as individuals or collectively, the Germans were no match for them.

Advancing beyond its objectives, the 102d Infantry found that darkness would leave its flanks exposed, for the 103d had failed to keep the pace, so the machine guns of the Company were called to take up defensive positions on the left of the line occupied by the regiment which had moved for two kilometers in a general northeasterly direction. Private Russ, wounded in both legs by shell fire just before the start of the attack, was the first casualty of the drive. Early the next morning the 103d gained the territory intervening between its line and that of the 102d, and D Company, in the first wave of the attack, continued the advance through shell-splintered woods, piled high with German ammunition and machine guns, meeting no opposition until noon, when it became necessary for the first platoon under Lieutenant Paton to mount its guns and sweep woods where Hun machine gun nests had halted the progress of the troops. This required but a short time, for the German gunners were so discomfited by the fire that they hurriedly withdrew.

Travelling in a northeasterly direction, the Chateau Thierry-Soissons road was crossed in early afternoon, and although this was the objective for the day's advance, the march—for it had become little else—was continued to Verdilly, about ten kilometers north and a little east of Chateau Thierry. The wagon train met the Company on the road and relieved the tired gunners of their loads, for a Hotchkiss machine gun alone weighs sixty-five pounds, and the feat of carrying one a mile or more belonged only to the stalwart. All equipment considered excess had been thrown aside at the start of the advance and packs had been filled with strips of ammunition. The men were tiring fast under the strain of their first real battle, but at 6 o'clock the advance was resumed from Verdilly with the hope that contact with the enemy might be established by nightfall.

North of Verdilly in the direction of Trugny and Epieds the country is broken by hills crowned with forests on both sides of the valley, through which the road leads and the lowlands were largely filled with wheat fields. Here the German made his first determined stand and he was aided by the fact that the American artillery had been unable to keep pace with the advance of the infantry, so that when American forces pressed close he could hold his positions with comparative ease against the onslaughts of infantry defended as they were with countless machine guns.

The bivouac in the woods was made unpleasant for the men by German artillery, which had taken up positions after a headlong flight, and a battery of 75's, manned by French, added to the general din of battle close enough to the sleeping places they had selected to prevent them from gaining a much needed rest.

Lack of artillery again delayed the attack on the morning of the 22d, but it was finally decided to attempt it without artillery preparation and the second section of the second platoon with one squad of the third under command of Lieutenant Nelson started the attack, with C Company of the 102d Infantry leaving the cover of the woods and starting down the slope on the left side of the Verdilly-Epieds road, Trugny being just to the right of the Company sector. The Hun, however, had this part of the terrain well covered with enfilading machine gun and artillery fire from positions in Trugny Wood on the opposite side of the road, and the infantry was forced to withdraw, but D Company's men stayed in the forward positions to cover the doughboys' retreat. Then attempt after attempt was made to dislodge the enemy but all efforts failed because he had more bullets than the 102d Infantry had men. Continuing to hold the positions they had taken early in the day under the hottest fire they had ever experienced, Corporal Malone's squad all became casualties with the exception of Coady and Gonsior. Kapitzke and Callahan were killed in succession as they took up their posts at the gun and the rest of the men suffered from shell shock and the gas which the Germans used freely to prevent an advance with the wheat for cover.

Taking up a flanking position, the first section of the first platoon succeeded in quieting the most troublesome of the machine gun nests. After the relief of the men in the line positions was completed by Lieutenant Paton with the second section of the first platoon, the order was given for them to retire to the woods from which they had started their advance, and with the remainder of the Company to take up the defense of the positions for the night.

Shelling became very heavy at this interval. Many of the casualties of the day were suffered by the Company while the men remained in their positions around the guns during the barrage of gas and high explosive shells. The total losses of the Company during the day included Callahan and Kapitzke, killed; Ed Malone, Farnsworth, Harry O'Neill, Raymond Smith, Brock, Diamara, and Moses, wounded; Jim Brown, shell-shocked; Corporal Malone, Oscar Johnson, Lesocke, Kostrzewski, Eddy and Jacobs, gassed.

The night was spent in mud holes, for there were no trenches or shelters, but in spite of the rain which fell all night and the German shells directed against batteries in the rear, whining and banging all through the hours of darkness, the men slept as only exhausted men can sleep, and in the morning were rewarded with an excellent meal from the kitchen, which Lieutenant Bacharach had manœuvered to Verdilly.

Artillery of all kinds and calibers arrived during the night and in the morning the 101st Engineers made the attack in place of the infantry, which had suffered severe casualties and needed a rest. This served to keep the Boche busy for the day, although no progress was made until night, when the persistence of the Engineers and French successes to the north of Epieds forced the Hun to fall back to Epieds, beyond which point he was driven by parts of the 102d Infantry and units of the 28th Division, who took up the attack when he attempted to make a stand in Trugny.

[Illustration: _Left, top to bottom_—Sgt. I. F. Carey, Cpl. E. F. Clark, Cpl. B. J. Fitch, Sgt. H. J. Dockendorff, Sgt. C. J. Dowers, Sgt. M. T. Krakovec.

_Center, top to bottom_—Sgt. M. A. Guerrant.—Scene toward German lines from Jury woods.—Pvt. A. G. Kapitzke with German helmet and rifle.

_Right, top to bottom_—Cpl. R. B. Martin, Cpl. W. I. Bassett, Sgt. F. P. Malone, 1st Sgt. T. J. Reilly, Sgt. F. R. Curtiss.]

[Illustration: _Left, top to bottom_—Orphan adopted by company.—Mess time in Besombois.—Top of Lt. Nelson's dugout in Ormont.—Company billet in Mansigne.

_Center, top to bottom_—Tallest and shortest men in the company.—Group at Brest just before embarking.

_Right, top to bottom_—Waiting for barrage to lift, Oct. 27, 1918.—Newspaper "kiddies," Certilleux.—On road to Ormont woods.—Foster, Stevens, Fitch and Hobart at company headquarters, Besombois.]

Passing a large German gun abandoned at the side of the road near Trugny and many dead Hun machine gunners at their tiny emplacements along the Verdilly-Epieds road, the Company marched with carts carrying their guns through Epieds, scarred by the devices of battle, up the hill to the east and then northeast again through the woods, shell-splintered and torn, about seven kilometers, to the Fere en Tardenois road, where the advance was halted. There the first platoon took up front line positions.

Sleeping in the woods, the remainder of the Company was treated to a "strafing" by a Hun airman, who used his machine gun without effect, but during the early morning the artillery fire which followed resulted in casualties among the members of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion occupying the same woods. Relieved by the 42d Division, the Company left the line during the afternoon of that day, July 25, and hiked to the music of Eddie O'Neil's fife to shelter in Trugny Woods.

There they slept for the first night in more than a week without being disturbed by the Hun. Tired, hungry and muddy from a week of advancing, the men gave proof of their inexhaustible spirit by singing over a few of the songs they had learned in training before they rolled up in their blankets for the night. None of the stories told that night had to do with heroism except here and there a reference to the invincible quality of their officers, but rather there was laughter at the incidents which contained elements of humor. Always the joy of the victor was uppermost.

Crossing old battlefields, the Battalion marched the following day to woods just north of Chateau Thierry and there made preparations for a stay by erecting tents and various forms of shelter to shed the rain which continued to fall at regular intervals. Visits to Chateau Thierry began the next day, but the first men encountered trouble with the Military Police posted to guard the city. This difficulty was overcome, however, when the Company appeared in a body and demanded admission.

Spending a part of the following days at drill and cleaning equipment served as a rest. During this time Lieutenant Condren, in command of the Company since its first trip to the line, was ordered to the United States as an instructor and was given a farewell by the Company. He was succeeded in command by Lieutenant Paton, who became a first lieutenant shortly afterward.

On the 30th the Battalion marched to its old headquarters at Bezu Woods and then to Chamigny on the Marne River, just north of Laferte sous Jouarre.

With the entire Battalion billeted in one village and bathing in the Marne easily accessible, visions of that deferred rest began to arise. Then came the announcement that all men in the division were to be allowed a leave of forty-eight hours "outside the divisional area." With Paris but a scant thirty miles distant, this meant a visit to the gay French capital, and tales of the damage being done there by the "Big Berthas" of the Hun did not impede the rush for passes which followed. Individual funds were swelled by pay for June, which soon came. Added to this was about thirty francs distributed to each man from funds raised for the purpose by the Spanish War Veterans of Connecticut. Thereafter all popular stories were introduced by the phrase "when I was in Paris."

Orders to leave for home had been received by Sergeants McCarthy and McLoughlin, the latter leaving on the first day of the advance just ended. Private Foster was transferred to the headquarters detachment of the 1st American Army which was being formed for the attack at St. Mihiel, and Lieutenant Dolan, who had been with the Company since he was assigned as instructor at Certilleux, was sent to the divisional military police headquarters. Captain H. P. Sheldon was assigned to command the Company.

Athletic events occupied part of the time in Chamigny and Johnson qualified for the finals in the divisional meet at Saacy, scoring the only point for the Battalion there by placing fourth in the 440 yard race. Evenings were filled with entertainments at the "Y" hut and trips to La Ferte. Correspondence was heavy until orders were again received to move, this time after a short period of intensive training not far from the vicinity of the Toul sector the men had come to know so well, where the Division became a part of the 1st Army in the first purely American offensive.

CHAPTER IX

ST. MIHIEL

Leaving Chamigny August 14, the Battalion hiked to Lizy sur Ourcq, where it entrained the following morning, travelling in a general southeasterly direction to Poincon, near Chatillon sur Seine in the department of Cote D'Or, from which a hike of twenty-two kilometers ended the journey at Massigny late on the night of the 16th. Billets were assigned and preparations again made for a long stay, but the furloughs authorized in divisional orders failed to materialize before instructions were issued for the movement to the St. Mihiel front.

During the brief stay in Massigny, however, training was taken up intensively. Officers and non-commissioned officers attended schools both with the Battalion and at Chatillon, where the Second Corps school on automatic weapons had been established. On the 18th Lieutenant Bacharach was ordered home as an instructor and Lieutenant Nelson received a well-earned advance in rank to first lieutenant and was ordered to Battalion Headquarters as advance observation officer. Lieutenant Carroll, who had served with Battalion Headquarters as Gas and Intelligence Officer, was returned to the Company. Captain Sheldon was ordered to duty as liaison officer with the 102d Infantry, taking command of C and D Companies under the plan used in action whereby the two senior officers in the Battalion acted with the commanders of the two infantry regiments in the brigade to coördinate the work of machine gunners and infantry.

In spite of the casualties the Company had suffered and the number of men it had lost through transfers, but few replacements had been received. With but three officers in the command, one of whom had been but recently attached, Lieutenant Paton was authorized to appoint three sergeants as acting lieutenants. Curtiss, Rogers and A. H. Viebranz were selected and Tom Reilly was again added to the roster after an absence of four months, most of which he had spent at home in the interests of the Third Liberty Loan campaign.

Moving out on the morning of August 29, the Company accomplished the journey to Latrecey, the entraining point, in two days, and bivouacked there until the morning of the following day, because a derailed engine prevented train movements. After riding all day toward the north, the trains were unloaded at Nancois-Trouville in the department of the Meuse. It was during this trip that "Ted" Lewis, cited for gallant work during the advance from the Marne, fell from the train and was severely injured.

Hiking to Longville, about seven kilometers distant, shelter tents were pitched and mess served. The march was again taken up after a two hour rest and the Battalion hiked ten kilometers in a typical French drizzle to shelter in the Bois Jenvoi on the right of the road to Erize. With orders to make all movements at night and keep in the shelter of woods during the day, the Battalion marched during the night of September 1 to woods on the road between Courouvre and Neuville en Verdunnois, where it camped until the fifth. Twenty-nine men were received from replacement camps at this place.

Two more days of hiking took the men to barracks at Camp Nivolette in the Ravin de la Vignotte, northeast of Rupt en Wœvre, about six kilometers from the "line" in the heights of the Meuse on the western side of the St. Mihiel salient. French soldiers, always well informed concerning impending movements, told of "beaucoup, beaucoup" artillery being put into position every night. Thus the fact became generally known that the Division was to take an active part in driving the Hun from the salient he made in 1914 when he attempted to isolate the fortress of Verdun, force him to abandon the great defensive works he had erected during his four years' occupation of the line in that region and crush his forces in a turning movement which would prevent their withdrawal.

Assembling the Battalion Sunday morning, September 8, Major Murphy read the orders from Divisional Headquarters citing many of the officers and men for their work during the Chateau Thierry offensive. Dr. Johnson, the Battalion's Y. M. C. A. secretary, read President Wilson's Fourth of July speech and gave a short address. The men sang the first verse of "America" and the services were concluded with the Lord's Prayer.

Officers and section leaders of the Company reconnoitered during the following day the ground over which the advance was to be made. Orders were issued for the 51st Brigade to advance through the Ravin de France along the Rue des Feuilles to the Grand Tranchee de Calonne road in a southeasterly direction parallel to the road, the left flank keeping in touch with it at all times, for the Grand Tranchee was named as the axis of liaison with the 52d Brigade, which was to advance along its left side. The objective of the first day was designated as the Rue de Vaux.

After a seven hour bombardment by a volume of artillery without rival in American operations up to that time, the advance began, A and B Companies of the Battalion in the first wave while C and D remained in reserve, proceeding leisurely with guns loaded on the carts. Arriving at Moyilly on the American side of the old line, the column was halted for three hours while the 101st Engineers repaired as best they could the damage shell fire had done to the Rue des Feuilles. Almost obliterated, the route of the Company was blocked by barbed wire, shell holes and destroyed trenches, but in a comparatively short time the path was cleared and the advance proceeded to a point where the rolling barrage following the first concentration of fire had stopped and then travelling was easy.

Arriving at the Grand Tranchee without mishap with all the area cleared of enemy troops, the Companies continued along that road in column formation and were only halted when machine guns located along the Rue de Vaux began to endanger the leading units in the advance. A few well-directed shots from mortars silenced these and the infantry added the personnel and officers serving the guns to the total it had bagged during the day.

This cleared the day's objectives but the desire was strong with those in command to gain contact with the rear guard of the fleeing Huns before they could organize defensive positions, so the advance continued through the night along the Grand Tranchee road, on both sides of which could be seen the cabins and gardens established by the Germans during their stay in the sector. Hiking on through the woods more than one man complained of "this man's war" not being nearly as interesting as the one at Chateau Thierry. When at last the cover of the woods was left, before them, all along the skyline could be seen the flames from burning villages, the funeral pyres of the hopes the German high command had entertained early in the war of going direct to Paris from Metz.

Crossing the plateau on which it emerged, the Company entered the village of Hattonchatel, located on the edge of the table land, beyond which they could see villages in flames all through the valley. Descending a long, winding road into the lowland, guns were taken from the carts in preparation for action, as it was reported the enemy was making a stand in Vigneulles, a short distance ahead. Proving to be members of a military band left behind by the retreating Germans to destroy the town, the men and officers were captured without effort or casualties. Then the Company slept for the night after hiking during the greater part of the preceding twenty-four hours and helping to attain an objective which had been thought beyond the range of possibilities.

There was no rest for the second platoon, however, for with Lieutenant Paton in command, that group of men was taken toward the south with I Company of the 102d Infantry to the village of Creue, where it was rumored Hun artillery was stationed. Fifty-one men and three officers were taken prisoners in this manœuver, and the men in the raiding party were rewarded with a rich supply of souvenirs. Mess the next day was served to the Company in Vigneulles, supplemented by a supply of beer the Huns had been forced to abandon. The town was a rich field for sightseers with its theater and other appurtenances provided in rest camps, as it was the recreation center for the sector.

A "whizz-bang" (Austrian 88 millimeter field piece) left behind at a sacrifice post by the retreating army entertained during the next day, but was silenced by a party of infantrymen. Bombs were distributed about the town by a Hun airplane during mess time but failed to produce casualties.

In the afternoon the Battalion marched out to Longeau Farm by way of Hattonchatel, a German divisional headquarters, a trip more interesting because the men could see for the first time the north side of the stronghold of Montsec, the south side of which had loomed up before American troops during their occupation of the Toul sector with a forbidding appearance.

The first platoon took positions in the town of Hannonville-sous-les-Cotes during the night of the 14th and the following day the Company marched on a short distance north to Herbeuville with the first platoon moving out on the plains of the Wœvre to Wadonville. Lieutenant Nelson, who had finished his duties as advance observation officer with Battalion Headquarters, was returned to the Company on the 21st. That night, with a part of the second platoon, he relieved guns of C Company, 103d Machine Gun Battalion, stationed in Saulx, slightly to the north of the rest of the Company.

With preparations for the American operations about to start in the Argonne practically complete, it was ordered that divisions occupying the line resulting from the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient start enough activity on their front to prevent the Hun moving his divisions to the more threatened parts of the line. One of the first of these actions was conducted on the night of September 22, when part of the 101st Infantry, with B Company of the Battalion, raided the enemy lines. They succeeded in taking thirteen prisoners and drawing an intense artillery bombardment over the entire divisional sector. On the 25th the first battalion of the 102d Infantry with A Company of the Battalion attacked and took the village of Marcheville as part of a concerted movement all along the line in one of the costliest engagements of the drive. It was during this operation that Private Richard Butler, acting as a runner for Captain Humbird, accompanied that fearless soldier as a volunteer on an expedition to silence a pill-box which had been causing trouble. He received a mortal wound while disarming prisoners after the task had been successfully completed.

As the attempted advance was a diversion to keep the enemy troops occupied on that front, troops in Marcheville were withdrawn when the Germans counter attacked, for that was the original plan. Taking place on the day the drive started north of Verdun, this action was considered in official records as a part of the Meuse-Argonne battle which ended the war.

Line officers and men had to die or court death, in order to receive special commendation, at the same time producing beneficial results to the troops in action, but a premium was set on the bravery and coolness of staff officers during this operation when distinguished service crosses were awarded to several who were caught in an enveloping wave of the enemy at a point they considered safe, and who endured, without giving way to their emotions, a barrage which was the ordinary portion of the fighters.

Relieved by the machine gun company of the 102d Infantry on the night of September 28, the Company marched through the ever-present mud and water to take up reserve positions in the woods back of Herbeuville. Quarters here were unsatisfactory but afforded some rest for men who had seen too much of the line during the past eight months. Constant duty under shell fire always dangerous, if not severe, had begun to show its effects in the faces and bearing of the men, but they kept up an unbeatable morale, singing and whistling on the march and seeing always the element of humor which lurked in odd corners for those with the ability to view events from the right angle.

An announcement made at this time through the _Stars and Stripes_ gave the information that any organization could become the foster parent of a French orphan by depositing five hundred francs with the Red Cross. This brought a quick response and Company D was soon listed as one of the A. E. F. units to take a share in this enterprise.

Upon occasion the Hun would send over a few gas shells in the hope of getting the unwary in the vicinity of the Company's quarters, but his efforts proved unfruitful and most of the remaining days in that sector were comparatively quiet.

Inured to the effects of rumors the men scoffed at reports of impending peace, and the news that Bulgaria had surrendered was received with little enthusiasm. The report early in October that Austria-Hungary had given Germany a day in which to accept the Allied peace terms was barely noticed by the men. Constant attention to the details of waging the war had a tendency to confine the soldier's outlook on the prospects of peace to his own immediate world and such an outlook only emphasized in his mind what a huge task it was, producing a certain doggedness to see it through, endless as it seemed. On the contrary, folks at home were able to grasp the end toward which all the operations were moving and the great successes which General Foch's tactics were bringing strengthened in their minds the idea of an early peace.

[Illustration: _Left, top to bottom_—Concrete dugout, filled with water, Ormont.—View toward German lines, Ormont.—Ruins of Ormont Farm.—Elephant iron shelter, Ormont.

_Center, bottom_—Destroyed trees on the road to Ormont.

_Right, top to bottom_—Shelter in the Ormont.—Cross roads near Ormont.—Portion of trench in which Capt. Paton and Wilfore were killed, Ormont.—Charcoal brazier in trench, Ormont.]

[Illustration: _Left, top to bottom_—Cpl. T. W. Quinn, Cpl. C. Conroy.—Battalion football team, Divisional champions.—Sgt. A. H. Viebranz.—P. F. C. Hogan, Medical Dept.

_Center, top to bottom_—Sgt. J. J. Hunihan.—Sgt. M. E. Kondrat, Sgt. C. M. Kelley.—Pvt. J. I. McAviney, first member of company killed in action.

_Right, top to bottom_—Pvt. W. H. Standen and Sgt. M. Shea.—1st Sgt. W. E. Bell, Cpl. D. H. Wickwire, Sgt. J. A. Sullivan, Sgt. E. W. Viebranz.]

Relieved by a unit of the divisional machine gun battalion of the 79th Division during the night of October 7, the Company hiked to Vaux, where the men found that B Company had preceded them by a short time and had taken possession of all available shelter, so D Company disposed itself for sleeping in the open in the customary rain of moving days.

Deluded too many times to think that furloughs might be in sight, there was little comment on hopes for a rest and it was no surprise to the men when the hike which started at 5 o'clock on the afternoon of October 8 headed the Company northward in the general direction of the area where the fiercest fighting of the war was taking place,—the Argonne Forest.

CHAPTER X

NORTH OF VERDUN

Stopping for a day in Ancemont west of the Meuse River for improvised baths and haircuts by the Company barbers refreshed the men, although clean clothes were not to be had. The night of October 9 the Battalion took up quarters in the Caserne de Bevaux, a large cavalry barracks just a kilometer east of the famous fortress of Verdun. Paris had its charms for the American soldier, but he looked with more favor upon the arts of war, worshipped more at that time before the shrines of military greatness than the creations of great architects and sculptors, so the world-famed ruins of Verdun were attacked with a full-hearted avidity which carried the men to its most remote passages. From the parapets of its outer defenses to the recesses of its great tunnels they walked and marvelled that a city could withstand artillery bombardment of such intensity for so long without being crumbled to a heap of dust. Verdun was the point of a terrific attack which lasted for months, in the defense of which tens of thousands of French soldiers had made their last stand and before which Huns in far greater numbers had given their lives blindly for a hopeless cause.

For six days the Company stayed in the barracks, repairing equipment and getting into shape for the coming period of activity, the severity of which was foretold by units which had been relieved. Austrian prisoners sent back from the line spoke only of peace, giving as their belief that the war was fast coming to a close, but the many varieties of rumors were put aside on the night of the 15th, when the Company moved north through the outer defenses of Verdun, through Belleville and Bras to the Ravin d'Andremont, not far from Samogneaux, a little village about twelve kilometers north of Verdun east of the Meuse River.

All signs of shelter had been demolished here and the men slept in the open while the inevitable rain of a hiking day soaked their clothes and blankets. The following morning brought visions of what shell fire had done to much of the artillery and wagon trains which had started for the line. Although the latest advances had made it practically safe for troops and it was now used for a camping place for all branches of line troops, at one time not far passed Hun artillery had accounted for large numbers of American horses and mules, whose dead bodies were lying all around the area.

Ordered to relieve machine gunners of the 29th American Division and certain French troops, the Company began its march to the new positions that night, only locating the sector assigned to it after a six hour hike during which colorful compliments were paid the guides who had been assigned from the relieved units to lead the way. Loaded with packs, guns and ammunition and further handicapped by the hilly character of the country, the men struggled through shell holes, occasional bits of barbed wire, underbrush and fallen trees and mud, always mud, to the positions in the Bois d'Ormont which they reached just before dawn.

The Bois d'Ormont is a small elliptical-shaped woodland on the crest of one of the many hills in that region and the American and German lines were within a few yards of each other, near the center of the woods. Members of the Company with ability to converse with the Huns, made several trips to the German lines and tried to induce them to return as prisoners, but the minions of Prussianism were strong in their belief that the war was shortly coming to an early end and decided they could better afford to take the chance for the rest of the time than enter a prison camp for an indefinite period. They told of changes in the government of the Fatherland, the abdication of the Kaiser and other rumors afterward fulfilled.

October 20 a short American barrage brought an immediate response from the nervous Teutons and they laid a box barrage around the sector occupied by the Division, evidently believing an attack was coming. Until the 23d the lines were at a standstill. On several occasions it was rumored that an attack was to be made by the enemy or Allied troops, but all that broke the monotony of the days was the Hun practice of shelling ration parties.

With the infantry battalions, especially those of the 102d Regiment, depleted by the enormous losses they had incurred in previous action, the Division was holding a rather narrow sector. Officers were lacking in most of the companies and the men were holding on through sheer nerve, short of rations, clothing, blankets and all the creature comforts obtainable in parts of the line they had formerly occupied. It was in this condition they were ordered to take the aggressive October 23. On the left of the Company's positions parts of the 102d and 101st Infantry regiments succeeded in straightening out a section of the line which threatened to prove a favorable position for a flanking attack by the enemy. This manœuver was completed with the aid of the artillery and machine guns.

The following day after preparation to resist an attack in the morning, orders were issued in the afternoon to clear the woods of Germans, and this task was attempted by L and M Companies of the 102d Infantry with D Company furnishing the machine guns. Without artillery preparation the men went forward, fighting through the tangled woods against an enemy entrenched, armed with innumerable machine guns and numerically superior, but lack of leaders and proper liaison with the units on their flanks forced them to return after they had almost gained their objective. Again on the morning of October 25 orders were issued to attempt the advance, but it again proved too much for the men.

With entire battalions formed into units, but slightly greater in size than a full infantry company and the men suffering from the exertion of the past few days and lack of sleep, a final attempt was made Sunday, October 27, to force the enemy from his positions in the woods which had a certain strategical importance in the military situation. As the barrage was scheduled to start at 10 o'clock that morning, all men were withdrawn from the front lines and held in readiness to attack when the curtain of fire thrown over by the artillery should lift enough at 11 o'clock to allow them to go forward.

Summoned to Battalion Headquarters, Lieutenant Paton left his post of command after the barrage was well under way and started down a communicating trench accompanied by Nutting. German artillery had started its reply and was doing all it could to prevent the attack which the Huns knew to be in preparation, and a life which had seemed charmed was taken as toll when Lieutenant Paton was killed by a fragment from a bursting shell. Wilfore and Lieutenant Pickett of the Infantry were mortal victims of the same messenger of death and Nutting suffered dozens of wounds from the small bits of steel which fill the air close to an exploding projectile.

Time after time under the leadership of non-commissioned officers from their own companies and several of the D Company sergeants the infantry went out onto that short stretch of ground separating them from the coveted German trenches, but each time they fell back, hundreds of casualties resulting from the perfect hail of machine gun bullets which the Germans sprayed across that section of "No Man's Land." In the command of a second lieutenant the third battalion of the 102d Infantry mustered one hundred and eighty men that night, practically one fifth of its authorized strength, while D Company had lost seventeen during the day from its already depleted personnel. A reorganization of the defenses of the sector was effected the next day, and three surplus guns were sent to the rear, the strength of the Company being too low to provide crews for them.

A little to the rear of the lines the bodies of Lieutenant Paton, Wilfore and Rosenkind were buried by the men and services at the graves were conducted at three o'clock on the afternoon of October 29 by Chaplain Creighton of the 101st Field Signal Battalion. Disheartened, as the men were, by the loss of their comrades and officer, this sorrow came at a time when their spirits were at a very low ebb. All about them in the line were the bodies of French, American and German dead, rude cemeteries were filled on every side and the fever of battle against overwhelming odds had begun to dull their senses to the finer emotions they would have experienced under different conditions.

Where such a large proportion of the men have the qualities of heroes a life is risked or given as a matter of completing the task in hand, so it is not strange that in spite of all the Company went through during this unequalled campaign but two were especially rewarded. George Eddy received the Croix de Guerre for work in destroying a machine gun crew which threatened the flank of the advancing infantry, and Mike Yuczszik was awarded both the Belgian and French war crosses for presence of mind in dropping the tripod he carried onto a Hun "potato-masher" grenade thrown into a shell hole occupied by his squad during an attack.

While carrying messages from Battalion Headquarters Bill Meickle was reported missing during the action of October 25. His name was added to the list of honored dead when it was found later that he had died in the hospital from wounds received in the performance of his duty.

Cited for gallantry during the Chateau Thierry drive, Sergeant C. Lyon Rogers had been recommended for a commission as second lieutenant and he was sworn in as an officer on October 28 after performing the duties of one for more than a month.

Relief by D Company, 103d Machine Gun Battalion was completed early on the morning of October 30, and the Company withdrew to a hillside south of Ormont Farm where it spent the day, and the following night moved to the place at the crossroads it had occupied before entering the line. Long range shelling of this position made rest impossible. Twelve mules were killed and seven wounded when a Hun projectile landed in the picket line, but Geer was the only man to suffer injury from the succeeding shells as the Company sought places nearer the top of the hill for safety.

Under way again, the Company relieved a group of French machine gunners on November 1 in the Bois des Caures, a kilometer northwest of Beaumont and slightly to the right of the positions occupied by it in the Ormont Woods. This was reputed to be a quiet sector and so it proved with the exception of occasional shelling when ration parties were due. One of these salvoes delivered against Lieutenant Nelson's post of command resulted in the wounding of Oscar Johnson and Bill Kennedy, the latter mortally. Kennedy had volunteered to aid in the distribution of rations and was struck at a time when his ordinary duties would have kept him out of danger.

Armistice rumors were numerous and convincing, but the invitation sent over by the Huns to become prisoners and end the fighting found no sympathy in the American lines. Many of the men were being sent to the hospital, suffering from gas, shell-shock and illness, but the largest percentage of these came from the replacements, who, although they had come to the Company fresh from training, failed to stand the rigors of the campaign as well as the men who had fought through nine months without rest.

Infantry raiding parties sent out to identify the German units in the line met with small success, but three prisoners they brought back were confident that the war would end within a few days as were all the French with whom the men came in contact. More reliance was placed in the reports from the latter, for the French soldier was always well informed as to probable events.

Meeting but weak resistance the infantry cleared the woods of Germans November 8, and it was during this operation that Lieutenant Rogers was killed by a machine gun bullet. He was in charge of two machine guns in the advance but had been asked to lead a party of infantry over the top and while organizing the men he met his death. His fearlessness had placed him as high in the esteem of neighboring units as it had in that of his own men. It was one of the doughboys who remarked that "he shouldn't have been a second lieutenant, but an infantry captain."

Advancing down the road in the direction of Ville devant Chaumont with the third battalion of the 102d Infantry, it was found that units on the right and left flanks had failed to keep up with the movement, so after consolidating the position, the men remained there during the night of the 8th and were withdrawn a half kilometer in the morning. The advance was taken up later in the day and continued through to the eastern edge of Champneuville woods, in the conquest of which Corporal Arthur Parmalee was wounded so severely he died that day.

The entire Battalion took up the march eastward on the 10th in support of the infantry. That night the doughboys were sent into Wavrille Woods to protect the flank of the advance. They were shelled heavily, but German dugouts and shell-proofs were as effective against Hun shell-fire as they had been against American bombardments, so the men rested comfortably until the next morning, when they were marched back to Beaumont, from which place, with the remnants of the third battalion of the 102d Infantry, they were ordered into the line to relieve the 101st Infantry. Reports had gained circulation that hostilities were to cease at 11 o'clock, but little credence was given them.

Orders were given out to begin the attack at 10:39 ceasing the advance at 11:00, but it was 11:03 before the formations were perfected and the men ready to start after the enemy. Three minutes before this the artillery fire which had been practically continuous for days and had reached its greatest intensity in this region not long before the final hour suddenly ceased and an almost uncanny silence prevailed. Far from being hailed by the men as the hour for which they had struggled through seemingly endless days, it was greeted silently. Neither American nor enemy soldiers exhibited joy when they knew hostilities were at an end, but, under the spell of a war, which had been the most exciting, most terrible thing within the span of their lives, they awaited the realization of peace.

Keeping well out of sight during the daylight hours the Huns gave an indication of their feelings at night by providing a pyrotechnical display which vied with a July 4 celebration in brilliance. Rockets, verrey lights and flares were used in profusion, but there was no intercourse between D Company and its enemies, for early that night heavy, unbroken sleep was the portion of all except a few infantrymen who were used in establishing an outpost as a guard against possibilities and the last night on the line was spent in that prosaic but profitable manner.

CHAPTER XI

AFTER THE ARMISTICE

To the world behind the lines the conclusion of an armistice meant the end of the Great War, a quick return to peace time conditions and the resumption of normal business. Armistice day was celebrated throughout the nations included in the Allied list. Crowds everywhere were wild with joy. But the man who had been on the line for months, facing death or wounds nearly every day for a seemingly endless time, was dazed rather than joyful when the cannon and machine gun were silenced and the menace of the Hun airplane bomb passed into history.

The strain of the last few weeks at the front was of that terribly tense variety which cannot be shaken off. Strong in nerve and inured to hardships as the Company was, the incessant turmoil of the latter part of October proved too nerve-racking for a large number of men and they were ordered back to the hospitals just before the armistice. Casualties of the Company during all the fighting totaled eighty-six. Two thirds of these were caused within the last three weeks of the War.

Thirty-two members of the Company were in positions on the line at 11 o'clock on November 11, 1918, and twenty-five of these were of the original personnel which left Niantic. Four fifths of the number usually assigned to gun squads were gone.

When the relief by units of the 4th Division was complete at noon, November 12th, the Company left behind it the bloody fields of the Argonne-Meuse battle and began its long hike to the south. The trip was made in easy stages. Passing down through the valley of the Meuse the route followed took the Battalion to the Ninth Training Area, southwest of Neufchateau, and November 23 billets were assigned in the village of Poulangy, fifteen kilometers north of Chaumont, in Haute Marne.

Reports circulated that the 26th Division would take its place as a unit of the Army of Occupation and all units shortly embarked on a program of training, the purpose of which was discipline. Close order drill took a prominent place in the schedule and this was relieved by machine gun work and manœuvers.

Replacements were added to the Company on the trip back from the lines and many of those sent to the hospital returned in small groups or singly as the days passed. Intricacies of red tape failed to stop D Company men from waiting for the first dark night and eluding the hospital sentries so they could take the shortest route back to their friends. Many and varied were the stories of foiled M. P.'s and puzzled officers who tried to trace the runaways.

Thanksgiving was made notable only through the efforts of Sergeant Foley, who purchased supplies at the commissary to add to the meager rations. No turkey adorned the tables of the mess hall that day, for the American Expeditionary Forces had increased in number from the bare hundred thousand of the previous year to more than two million men.

Rain and snow made the mud deeper than ever for the weeks which followed and the drill schedule was carried out with difficulty. Inspections took place with the customary frequency, baths and delousing operations with issues of new clothing bringing the appearance of the command up to the point of perfection it had reached before entering the line.

Although the order authorizing all units in the Division to wear the identifying "YD" on the upper left sleeve was issued in August, it was not found possible to comply with the regulation until late in December. Then the soldiers appeared with the blue felt emblem which distinguished them as members of the Yankee Division. Furlough orders were plentiful and the ranks of the Company were constantly being thinned by the departure of a large percentage of the men to the vacation areas in the south of France.

President Wilson, attending the peace conference in Paris, found time to review the 26th Division on Christmas Day on the parade grounds near Chaumont. For this event only part of the Division was assigned to participate and the 102d Machine Gun Battalion was chosen to represent the machine gunners of the Yankees.

December 24th the Battalion hiked to a small town within a few kilometers of the parade ground and billeted there over night. Christmas Day was raw and disagreeable and winter mud prevented the artillery units taking part in the review. D Company led the Battalion past the reviewing stand and finished the hike back to Poulangy that night.

Christmas festivities among the men and officers were in order for the following day. Drills were suspended and the miniature boxes allowed to pass through the mails from home were delivered to the Company. That night Sergeant Foley again proved his worth by producing a feed reminiscent of the annual holiday feast at home. Seated in the mess hall with the enjoyable odors from the steaming dinner sharpening their desire to attack their full mess kits, the men refused to eat until Lieutenant Nelson came to the hall. They cheered their commander with an enthusiasm founded on a whole-hearted admiration for him as man and soldier. After mess he was presented with funds to purchase a trench coat and boots in the name of the Company, and a regulation D Company entertainment was provided to conclude the celebration.

In order that the Battalion might be in a better position to take part in the manœuvers constituting a part of the program of training, it was moved east about fifteen kilometers to the village of Esnouveaux on January 2. Here news was received that the Division was no longer considered a part of the Army of Occupation and the football season was inaugurated.

In the first game D Company defeated C Company of the Battalion 12 to 0 and February 13 concluded its conquest of Battalion teams by trimming B Company 34 to 0 on the gridiron at Mansigne, in the Le Mans area. February 16 the 103d Artillery eleven held the Battalion team, composed of D Company men with substitutes from the other teams in the Battalion, to a scoreless tie. The team representing the 103d Machine Gun Battalion was the next to fall before the prowess of Captain "Duke" Rowley and his men. They lost 7 to 0. Then the 101st Engineers, with their team of college stars, tasted defeat in a score of 18 to 0 on March 5th. The 101st Artillery followed in the path of their predecessors and dropped a 7 to 0 game to the fighting machine gunners on March 7, and March 12 the schedule was completed when the 101st Infantry played a scoreless tie with the team.

This feat entitled the winners to the divisional championship and each of the men received the medal emblematic of their victory. From the first game feeling ran high through the Division, arguments were numerous on the sidelines and large numbers of francs changed hands after each contest.

A highly successful minstrel troupe was organized among the members of the Company. Their performances were featured with the parodies written by Otis Culver, who was the leading spirit in the movement. This show was so well received that it was chosen to take a trip through the various units of the Division and was about to start on a short tour when orders were received for the Battalion to entrain for the port of embarkation at Brest.

With the establishment of educational centers throughout the American Expeditionary Forces by the army in coöperation with welfare workers, the men were given the opportunity of selecting courses of study they wished to pursue and were sent to the different schools for a period of four months. Corporals Watrous and Harrington and Bugler Shaw went from the enlisted men of the Company and Lieutenant Nelson also decided to follow his studies for the designated period.

In line for drill on the morning of March 3, the Company awaited a word of farewell from Lieutenant Nelson, the only officer who had been with them through their entire service, but he was so overcome by emotion his only words were, "I can't say what I want to say. You'll find it on the bulletin board. Good-bye." The speech he had prepared in anticipation of the event was displayed until all the men had read it.

Captain Brouse and Lieutenant Carroll remained with the Company until the former was also detailed to attend school. Then Lieutenant Carroll assumed the herculean task of keeping many of the D Company men from serving sentences of various lengths for misdemeanors, at no time serious, but always provoking to the higher officers, for the old Troop A spirit of taking things into their own hands whenever they saw fit was still strong.

Day after day the Company was subjected to the delousing processes brought into use during the war, and inspections of all kinds followed each other in endless procession. Clothing, equipment and billets were inspected until the men were staying up after taps to be certain that everything was in the proper order. The climax to these occurrences was the field inspection by officers from General Headquarters.

[Illustration: IF THE COMPANY MEMBERS COULD DISTRIBUTE MEDALS]

Billeted in a magnificent chateau near the village of Mansigne, the men occupied the best quarters they had found in France. In addition to the comforts of a fireplace in nearly every room, a piano was found and permission obtained for its use. This improvement in the entertainment facilities of the town was utilized during all spare hours.

March 29 orders were received for the Battalion to entrain for Brest and the men were crowded into box cars so closely that none could sleep during the long ride which followed. Arriving at Brest the following morning they hiked to Pontanezen Camp and were introduced to the system employed at that place for caring for thousands of transient troops. The tents were fitted with floors and iron beds were provided for a majority of the men. They were fed in long lines at several kitchens and the mess proved excellent.

After receiving candy and other articles from the Red Cross, the Company embarked on the _Patricia_, formerly the German steamer _Hamburg_, on the afternoon of April 6, finally to start on the journey about which rumors had been spread so many times. A solemn silence was maintained the first night on board ship, for stories had gained circulation during the stay in the Brest camp that units had been returned to shore after embarking for the slightest breach of military etiquette. Once safely on the ocean, with the shores of France receding on the horizon, they were willing to again take up their favorite amusements and help make the trip as pleasant as possible.

There were a few days when the unfortunate ones among the passengers were attacked by seasickness, but the first day of this trouble usually meant that the next rough seas could be passed successfully.

When six hundred miles from Boston a former German officer attempted to set fire to the ship, but was apprehended before much damage resulted and placed under arrest for the remainder of the trip.

Thursday, April 17, was a red letter day on the calendar for all the men on the _Patricia_, for while going to mess that morning they had their first sight of the United States in more than eighteen months. At noon the ship passed Boston light, and shortly afterward the fleet of welcoming boats made its appearance. These were received in silence in spite of the enthusiasm of the welcomers until Major General Edwards made his appearance on one of them; then the flood of feeling was loosed and the veteran commander of the Yankee Division received an ovation which resounded over the waters of Boston harbor.

Landing at the immense pier the army had taken over for transport use, the men were met by the welcoming committee from New Haven, headed by Captain Wolf and Captain Condren. Here they were the recipients of more chocolate, cigarettes, candy, cigars and cakes than they could use and after a short period while the public was allowed on the pier, they loaded their baggage onto a waiting train and continued their trip to Camp Devens, Ayer, Mass.

The next day passes were granted to some of the men for two-day leaves at home, and the rest of the Company took the opportunity to leave without passes, for home had been far away too long to allow such a chance to pass by. Proud relatives and friends met the train at the New Haven station and the returned soldiers were fêted to the limit for the time they had to spend at home.

April 25 the 26th Division was received officially at Boston. A parade of several miles through the center of the city between solid walls of cheering New Englanders was the feature of the day and at night the Boston companies were entertained by their friends while D Company men wandered around the city until it was time for them to return to their billet in Horticultural Hall.

Returning to Devens the next day the men were quartered in the barracks which had housed the 76th Division while it trained in that camp. Monday, April 28, Lieutenant Carroll, in command of the Company, was presented with a watch and chain as a remembrance of the esteem in which he was held by the men.

The last two days at the big camp were filled with important work,—service records must be prepared and correctly endorsed, discharge papers filled out and final returns made of all government property. This was all completed and at last on the morning of April 29 final pay with transportation home was given to the waiting line of men. It was an event toward which many anxious thoughts had been turned for months. It meant for most of the men the termination of their first period as soldiers and it completed the roll of experience which had been filled to the last detail for the original members of the company who were fortunate enough to complete the tour of duty.

With the issuance of discharge papers, Company D, 102d Machine Gun Battalion passed into history, as had Troop A, Cavalry, Connecticut National Guard, and "The Second Company of Governor's Horse Guards."

Returning to New Haven the men were dined by the city after a parade in the latter part of May and were brought together early in June for an afternoon of celebration by the veterans of Troop A.

As the dauntless spirit of bravery and endurance welded so firmly in the heat of battle is emblazoned on the rolls of history in the names of those who dwell beneath "the crosses row on row," may it ever serve as a bond of union among those who remain!

Casualty List

KILLED IN ACTION

Pvt. Richard F. Butler, rifle fire, September 26, 1918. Pvt. Daniel F. Callahan, machine gun fire, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. Arthur G. Kapitzke, shell fire, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. William J. Kennedy, shell fire, November 3, 1918. Pvt. Jeston I. McAviney, shell fire, May 31, 1918. Pvt. William N. Meickle, Jr., shell fire, October 25, 1918. Cpl. Arthur O. Parmalee, machine gun fire, November 10, 1918. Capt. John A. Paton, shell fire, October 27, 1918. Lt. Charles L. Rogers, machine gun fire, November 8, 1918. Pvt. Harry Rosenkind, shell fire, October 27, 1918. P. F. C. Frank Wilfore, shell fire, October 27, 1918.

DIED

Cpl. Dwight H. Wickwire, pneumonia, October 13, 1918. Pvt. William Higgins, November 28, 1918.

WOUNDED

Cook William H. Ackerman, gassed, June 19, 1918. Cook George W. Barry, gassed, June 19, 1918. P. F. C. Dean M. Brock, shrapnel, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. Frederick J. Brophy, shell fire, October 27, 1918. P. F. C. Royden E. Brown, shell fire, October 27, 1918. Pvt. James A. Brown, shell shock, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. Kenneth C. Bull, gassed, October 30, 1918. Pvt. Joseph C. Bussiere, shrapnel, May 31, 1918. Cpl. Eugene F. Clark, gassed, November 1, 1918. P. F. C. Robert H. Clemence, shell fire, October 24, 1918. Mch. Chauncey H. Curtiss, gassed, October 26, 1918. Pvt. James S. Dailey, gassed, October 30, 1918. Pvt. Chester De Palma, gassed, October 31, 1918. Pvt. Salvatore Diamara, machine gun fire, July 22, 1918. Pvt. Rosario Dispenza, shell fire, October 27, 1918. Pvt. George A. Eddy, gassed, July 22, 1918. Pvt. George A. Eddy, shell fire, October 25, 1918. Pvt. Eben A. Farnsworth, shell fire, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. Herbert G. Fowler, shell fire, October 17, 1918. P. F. C. Frank E. Geer, shell fire, November 1, 1918. Pvt. John F. Glade, shell fire, October 27, 1918. Sgt. Wesley E. Gould, shell fire, September 20, 1918. Sgt. Leslie V. Hodge, shell fire, October 24, 1918. Pvt. Walter J. Ihne, gassed, October 30, 1918. Pvt. Louis E. Jacobs, gassed, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. Oscar F. Johnson, gassed, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. Oscar F. Johnson, shell fire, November 3, 1918. Mch. Louis F. Kastner, grenade, October 26, 1918. P. F. C. Willie O. Keyes, shell fire, October 24, 1918. Pvt. Leonard Kostrzewski, gassed, July 22, 1918. Pvt. Leonard Kostrzewski, shell fire, October 24, 1918. Pvt. Morris Kramer, gassed, November 1, 1918. Sgt. Martin T. Krakovec, shrapnel, October 27, 1918. Pvt. August Kroll, gassed, July 22, 1918. Pvt. Stephen F. Lesocke, gassed, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. Hjalmar A. Lillquist, gassed, October 26, 1918. Sgt. Francis P. Malone, gassed, July 22, 1918. Sgt. Francis P. Malone, gassed, October 27, 1918. Pvt. John F. Maher, gassed, October 30, 1918. P. F. C. Lee A. Maiden, gassed, October 31, 1918. P. F. C. James E. Malone, shrapnel, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. James E. Malone, gassed, October 26, 1918. Sgt. James R. McKiernan, machine gun fire, October 27, 1918. Pvt. Justin P. Miner, gassed, September 28, 1918. Pvt. Joseph H. Molloy, gassed, October 27, 1918. Pvt. Rudolph Moses, machine gun fire, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. Truman B. Nutting, shell fire, October 27, 1918. P. F. C. Harry E. O'Neil, shell fire, July 22, 1918. P. F. C. Harry E. O'Neil, gassed, October 31, 1918. Pvt. Nick Pepines, gassed, November 5, 1918. Pvt. Giuseppi Petronacci, shell fire, October 27, 1918. Cpl. Thomas F. Quinn, gassed, October 27, 1918. Cpl. Kenneth T. Reed, shell fire, October 27, 1918. Pvt. Thomas Redfield, shell fire, October 25, 1918. Pvt. George D. Rogers, gassed, November 1, 1918. Pvt. Thomas P. Rourke, shell fire, October 18, 1918. Pvt. Albert H. Russ, shrapnel, July 19, 1918. Pvt. Albert H. Russ, gassed, October 30, 1918. Pvt. Joseph W. Russett, shell fire, October 27, 1918. Sgt. Michael L. Shea, gun shot wound, October 27, 1918. Pvt. Wright L. Sheeley, gassed, October 30, 1918. Pvt. Raymond H. Smith, machine gun fire, July 22, 1918. Pvt. Wesley E. Smith, shell fire, October 26, 1918. P. F. C. Ernest Terry, gassed, October 30, 1918. Pvt. Oscar F. Throckmorton, gassed, October 30, 1918. Cpl. Wheeler deF. Watrous, shell fire, October 24, 1918. Pvt. Frederick C. Weisheit, shell fire, November 10, 1918. P. F. C. Richard M. Welch, gassed, October 30, 1918. Pvt. Fred White, gassed, October 28, 1918. Pvt. Jacob L. Workman, shell fire, October 23, 1918. Pvt. Jacob Wortenko, shrapnel, May 23, 1918. Pvt. Jacob Wortenko, gassed, October 28, 1918.

THE LAST MEN ON THE LINE

Forming the gun squads on the line when the armistice was signed November 11, 1918 were the following men:

Sergeant Hunihan, John J. Corporal O'Laughna, Charles Guerrant, Maurice A. Kondrat, Michael E. Viebranz, Edwin W. Marsh, George E. Private Harris, Clifford O'Brien, John L. Foehr, Charles D. Bassett, Walter Murphy Farnsworth, Eben A. Hobro, Henry F. Brophy, Frederick J. O'Neil, Harry E. DePalma Woodward Johnson, John Yuszczik, Mike Kelley, Eugene Bartlette, George Hine, George L. Sica Delano, Lewis F. Moore, Ralph D. Clark, Ralph W. Spencer Carlson Carton, James L. Fitch, Bernard J. Berryman, Maurice L. Stanley, Herbert F.

AWARDS FOR BRAVERY

Those mentioned in divisional orders one or more times for gallantry in action were:

Sergeant Francis P. Malone, awarded Distinguished Service cross. Private Richard F. Butler, awarded Distinguished Service cross (posthumously). Private Mike Yuszczik, awarded Belgian and French war crosses. Private George Eddy, awarded French war cross.

CITATIONS

1st Lieut. George D. Condren 1st Lieut. Gustaf A. Nelson 2d Lieut. John A. Paton 2d Lieut. C. Lyon Rogers Sergeant Gould, Wesley E. McKiernan, James R. Dowers, Cecil J. Corporal Guerrant, Maurice A. Hodge, Leslie V. Kondrat, Michael E. Krakovec, Martin Viebranz, Edwin W. Private Farnsworth, Eben A. Berryman, Maurice L. Harrington, Guy Terry, Ernest Brock, Dean Lewis, Edward M. Shanley, Frank

THE FOOTBALL TEAM

Manager, Sergeant Joseph A. Sullivan.

Ends, C. R. Keane, Edwin Viebranz, Coady, Maiden; tackles, Dippold, Kondrat, E. F. Clark; Guards, Lucy, Charles Kelley, Rowley (Captain); center, Harrington; quarterbacks, Hobro, Carton; halfbacks, Quinn, Shanley, Kay, Rowe; fullbacks, Gould, McCabe.

Miscellaneous

[Illustration 1970 (?)]

_'JEVER SEE_

Foley with his tooth brush? Thompson wearing his Croix de Guerre? Marsh overcoming his inertia at first call? Cath without his winsome smile? Nutile rendering "Rolling Stones"? Russ in an argument? Vaugh in the same argument? "Duke" Rowley without Nutile? Duggan's pipe? Donovan giving out seconds? A day without Bill Bell's whistle? Scandore without a French girl? Charlie O'Laughna without some "inside dope"? Hodge losing at blackjack? A better "non-com" than Whitten? McKiernan knocking Shorty on his ear? Stevens with something to give out? Kondrat in dancing pumps? Hine doing anything at all? Berryman without his puttees shined? McMahon in the kitchen? Watrous rendering "Captain Simms"? Dockendorff and his forty pipes? "Biscuits" Malone eating salmon? Hogan with anything in his medicine kit? Shemitz reviewing headquarters? Fitch without an appetite? Johnson without two? Hunihan without a mustache? Shanley writing a letter? Throckmorton's grab bags? A furlough? McCarthy in a hurry? Anyone gassed at the Border? Lieut. Condren getting a haircut or two? Water for the mess kits? Miner drilling? The Y. M. C. A. on the front line?

[Illustration: "APPLE KNOCKER" (GIVING OFFICER'S BOOTS THE O. O.): "GEE, THAT FELLOW MUST STAND IN WITH STEVE, LOOK AT THE HOBS I GOT."]

"Pinky" Brush, during the company's stay in the Toul sector, had the unenviable task of carting rations from battalion headquarters to the kitchen in the line. On this hazardous trip "Pinky" had to follow the road from Mandres to Beaumont along the stretch commonly known as "Dead Man's Curve." One night the military police stationed at Mandres stopped him and said: "They're shelling the curve every few minutes, you better be careful."

"Waal," said the Vermonter, "I ain't goin' to use it but a few minutes. Giddap."

[Illustration: "'TENSION!!!"]

1st Sgt.—"Fall in according to rank. Are you a first class private, Molloy?"

Molloy—"Not yet, Sarge."

[Illustration: WHO WON THE WAR?]

FAMILIAR SAYINGS.

LIEUTENANT NELSON—"By cripes."

LIEUTENANT CARROLL—"Make it snappy."

LIEUTENANT KEENAN—"Right by twos! Ho!"

SERGEANT REILLY—"Holy Moses! Good Lord!"

SERGEANT GUERRANT—"Rest, men, rest."

SERGEANT DOWERS—"Grave-yard. Row-de-dow."

SERGEANT STEVENS—"Haven't got a thing."

SERGEANT FOLEY—"No rations to-day to speak of."

SERGEANT DOCKENDORFF—"Headquarters present or accounted for."

COOK JACOBS—"Get out of this kitchen."

SERGEANT KONDRAT—"Rapidly, rapidly."

RUSS—"Kid, how are ya?"

CATH—"What's the chow?"

SCHEFFLER—"It's a great army."

SERGEANT KLAUSSNER—"Another inspection to-day ——."

MAIDEN—"Quality not quantity."

RUBE MARTIN—"Oh Fanny!"

SCANDORE—"Where's the band?"

DELANO—"Let's have a fire."

KEANE, C. R.—"Blame the man that did it."

ROWLEY—"All right, you know."

QUINN—"You win I guess."

O'DELL—"I bet two."

THOMPSON—"I'll call you."

CRAMER, WM.—"The bigger they are the harder they fall."

BARRY—"North Bend—that's me."

ACKERMAN—"Crullers to-morrow."

BASSETT—"You stupid fool."

SERGEANT KRAKOVEC—"Hrazions detail, fall in."

CLARK, E. F.—"Let's have a song."

LEWIS, EDWARD—"A member of the old school."

KELLEY, E. F.—"Centreville for mine."

NUTILE—"Where's Duke?"

DUGGAN—"Don't bother me."

SERGEANT CURTISS—"Well, let's go."

STANDEN—"Oh, the wise guy."

KARLSON—"Somebody had to be the last man drafted, why couldn't it be me?"

SERGEANT BELL—One long and one short (whistle).

SERGEANT MCLAUGHLIN—"When I was on the Border."

KIERNAN—"Oooh, la, la!"

WATROUS—"No kith or kin, thank God for that."

HOGAN—"That gets a laugh out of me."

SERGEANT SHEA—"——."

MARSH—"I stick up for the Y. M."

CULVER—"Elsie Janis and me."

NUTT, CHARLES—"There'll be a radical change in the morning."

BRUSH—"That's some more of my business."

WELCH—"Join the army and see the world."

FOSTER—"When I played the horses."

FOEHR—"Oh, hell!"

KELLEY, CHARLES—"Oh, razz."

SERGEANT GARRITY—"I stand for dissipline and democrassy."

LIEUTENANT CONDREN—"Good business."

LIEUTENANT PATON—"Huh?"

LIEUTENANT BACHARACH—"I love to sit and look at me and think how wonderful I am."

SERGEANT HUNIHAN—"Well dis Jane is ——."

MESSER—"Is there any drill to-day?"

BROWN, JIM—"Dead men, tons of dead men."

POIRIER—"General Pershing gave me this Croix de Guerre."

LINDSEY—"If I could only get back to the outfit."

WEST—"When the bells."

HINE—"Has sick call gone yet?"

MINER—"Do I look like an officer now?"

SULLIVAN, TEMP—"Qu'est ce qu'il dit?"

SERGEANT MALONE—"How d'ya get that way?"

SERGEANT MCKIERNAN—"Did you ever get hit by a train of cars?"

BARTLETTE—"Just had SOME feed."

BATTYE—"Pull that pack off my wagon."

BERRYMAN—"Ha, ha, I knowed I had her."

CARROLL, HENRY—"My petit boilermaker."

CARTON—"Brrrrrage."

CHEEVER, T.—"There's three of us here now."

CHEEVER, HAL—"I'm going to wash to-morrow."

CHEEVER, IRA—"Whoauuuuu—let the Cheevers roar."

BROWN, ROYDEN—"If I ever get rid of these coots."

COHEN—"How 'bout it?"

CONROY—"Youse guys don't eat."

DALEY, VINCENT—"No mail to-day—sorry."

FARNSWORTH—"Let me tell 'bout Arabelle."

FITCH—"How long before reveille."

GARRITY, TOM—"They cut me OOh Day shirt."

HOBART—"I'll contribute."

KASTNER—"Well, up in Mankato."

KEEHAN, JIM—"Any drill to-morrow."

KREMPER—"Where's my massket, where's my massket?"

LAFAYETTE—"Shoot the five."

MOSES—"Comment, comment."

ROBINSON—First Call.

STEARNS—Retreat.

SPINAL—"Giddap."

SUTTER—103.

SHANLEY—"Nothing doing."

COADY—"No be 'shamed."

[Illustration]

ROSTER OF CO. A, 101ST MACHINE GUN BATTALION, OCT. 9, 1917. (CO. D, 102D MACHINE GUN BATTALION)

CAPTAIN

Frank E. Wolf

FIRST LIEUTENANT

George D. Condren

SECOND LIEUTENANTS

John A. Paton, Gustaf A. Nelson, John C. Carroll, Sidney Bacharach

FIRST SERGEANT

William E. Bell

MESS SERGEANT

Albert W. Smith

SUPPLY SERGEANT

Robert J. McCarthy

STABLE SERGEANT

Frederick M. Klaussner

SERGEANTS

Thomas H. O'Donnell Royden E. Brown William V. Cramer Edmund S. McLaughlin Thomas J. Reilly Harold E. Whitten C. Lyon Rogers Joseph S. Hoyt John J. Garrity Frank R. Curtiss

CORPORALS

Arthur H. Viebranz James R. McKiernan Joseph A. Sullivan Wesley E. Gould John J. Hunihan William J. Kennedy Robert B. McMillan Charles Nutt James A. Brown Cecil J. Dowers Reuben Shemitz Ira F. Carey Francis P. Malone Horton J. Dockendorff

COOKS

George F. Lynch Francis J. Foley Christopher Conroy

HORSESHOER

Lockhart R. Stewart

SADDLER

Angus W. Thompson

MECHANICS

Chauncey H. Curtiss Harry E. O'Neil John J. Duggan

BUGLERS

Raymond R. Robinson Edmund C. Stearns

PRIVATES FIRST CLASS

Barrett, David J. Bartlette, George D. Brock, Dean M. Bull, Kenneth C. Bussiere, Joseph C. Cath, Horace G. Chase, George E. Cheever, Harold H. Cheever, Ira L. Cheever, Telford C. Clark, Eugene F. Clemence, Robert H. Crowley, Leo F. Fitch, Bernard J. Guerrant, Maurice A. Harrington, Guy E. Hodge, Leslie V. Hobart, Donald A. Hudson, Edward J. Johnson, Oscar F. Kondrat Michael E. Lindsey, Clayton H. Lewis, Edward M. Loranger, Edmund S. Maiden, Leo A. Marsh, George E., Jr. Newcombe, Douglas H. North, Dudley Norwood, Robert C. Nutting, Truman B. O'Dell, Harold D. Poirier, Hermas Reed, Kenneth T. Smalley, Robert Stevens, Maltby Townsend, Bernard W. Viebranz, Edwin W. Weisheit, Frederick C. Wickwire, Dwight H. Wilfore, Frank

PRIVATES

Ackerman, William H. Barry, George W. Bassett, Walter I. Battye, Harold J. Berryman, Maurice L. Brophy, Frederick J. Brush, Maurice L. Butler, Richard Callahan, Daniel F. Carroll, Henry W. Carton, James L. Clark, Ralph W. Clark, William H. Coady, Thomas W. Cross, John I. Culver, Otis H. Daley, Vincent Davis, George E. Delano, Lewis F. Diamara, Salvatore Dippold, Charles W. Donovan, John L. Donth, Robert U. Doran, William Delaney, Thomas Dispenza, Rosario Farnsworth, Eben A. Fink, George W. Foehr, Charles D. Foster, Hugh G. Fowler, Herbert G. Garrity, Thomas Gonsior, Wladyslaw Geer, Frank E. Glade, John F. Guy, Gordon H. Hannon, Franklin F. Harris, Clifford C. Hine, George H. Hobro, Henry F. Jacobs, Louis E. Jackinchuk, Fedorse Kapitzke, Arthur G. Keane, Charles R. Keane, George W. Keefe, Joseph V. Keehan, James Kelley, Eugene Kelley, Charles M. Keyes, Willie O. Kiernan, Thomas F. Kroll, August Kramer, Morris Lacaillade, George A. Lafayette, Ernest E. Lillquist, Hjalmar A. Lesocke, Stephen F. Martin, Rutherford B. McMahon, Thomas F. Meickle, William N., Jr. Messer, George L. Miner, Justin P. Moore, Ralph D. Malone, James E. Molloy, Joseph H. Newell, Vernon O'Brien, John L. O'Laughna, Charles L. O'Neil, Edward J. Painter, Charles E. Parmalee, Arthur O. Pepines, Nick Quinn, Thomas F. Rourke, Harold J. Rourke, Thomas P. Rowley, George H. Russ, Albert H. Russett, Joseph Scandore, Salvatore Scharff, Frank B. Scheffler, George L. Shea, Michael L. Smith, Wesley Sullivan, Joseph P. Sullivan, William Sutter, George T. Spinal, Manuel Shanley, Frank P. Standen, William H. Terry, Ernest Vaugh, Charles L. Watrous, Wheeler deF. Wynne, Bernard J. Wortenko, Jacob Welch, Richard M. West, Ernest Wheeler, Joseph J. Yuczczik, Michael