1917May to December
1918June - August
May - June
Jan 1 1919
No work - a fairly good dinner - my last bottle of wine - and a few whoops as the old year gave place to the New -- is all that marked the event.
We set up camp on the other side of our area - about 6 miles from the old one. We are about 1 - kilometer south of what was once upon a time "Ville de Chaumont" -- but is now only a mass of ruins. There is absolutely no comparison between the two camps. Here we are right on the side of a mountain -- around which run a line of dug-outs -- perhaps 50 or more. These are the new homes of the negraes - and they are highly pleased with them. My men -- 25 now -- are up in dug-outs about 100 yds. from here. They are fixed up nicely.
Our home is what was once upon a time the Hdq. of a German Reg't. It is a two roomed house built right into the side of the mountain - the back of the roof runs right into the Mt. This little house is sealed - floored - and decorated with hand painting around the wall - so you may know it is a fine place.
The scenery is beautiful - and the moon light nights are the most wonderful I believe I ever saw. At the foot of "our mountain" - and just across an old road - there is a big stream of clear spring water - that can be heard running all night long. When the moon slides over the mountain tops on this stream - and on the thousand water filled shell holes across the fields -- it makes a sight long to be remembered.
I was about 3/4 of a mile down the road from camp -(had just finished raising 'ell because 13 men I was sending to the 2nd Army did'nt get away a 7 A.M. as I had ordered) - when I heard a negro holler from the top of a hill to some more "coons" down in the valley -- "Is you all fixin to shoot down there" -- To their answer "Naw - we's carrin iron down hea" -- the "blue" on the hill said "Then you'll come on 'cross hea' - day's four or five men down shot back over de hill."
I did'nt need any more information -- I knew what had happened. I called the negro over on the road - got the location of the accident as best I could from him (he was too excited to be sure about any thing) and started two parties out with stretchers to find the wounded men. I went back to camp - got the truck that was to take my men to the 2nd Army - gathered up some blankets and went up to wait for the wounded men.
Up the valley I could see one of my men (Wendell J. Math was) coming. He was limping terriably - and his face and hand was one mass of blood. We bound him up as best we could, and loaded him into the truck. He was too weak, to be questioned concerning the accident - so we simply had to await the arrival of the other two parties with the stretchers (Mathews had come in all alone - and no one saw him to help him along - until he got in sight of the road)
At last we could discern four men carrying a stretcher and a man - about 1/4 of a mile of the valley. Their path lay over shell holes - blown up trees and barbed wire - so their progress was slow. In a few more minutes two more parties - and two more stretchers appeared in the far end of the valley. -- Just at this moment the idea occurred to me -- I guess I have see it all now -- war in all its phases -- for nothing could have made a more impressive picture - that those three stretchers - winding their way slowly up that war scarred valley that A.M. I sent 12 big husky negroes to relieve the 12 who were walking with the stretchers.
Lt. Maler and I had all available medical supplies and hot water - waiting and fixed up the men, as best we could, for their long torturing - 15 mile ride into Verdun. One man - Robert Jones - a Pioneer Inf. boy - was too far gone for us to bandage up -- one leg being almost completely blown away and his stomach torn wide-open.
Jones died 15 min. after arriving at Evac. Hosp. 15 - the other two P. Inf. boys - as well as Mathews -- my man - are not seriously wounded.
In the evidence I got - it developed that Jones simply dropped
Jan 25 Came into Verdun today to see that all my men signed the payroll. -- will spend the night and go out tomorrow (Sunday.
Jan 27 Before leaving Verdun - yes - today, I learned that the 802nd P. Inf. were ordered to assemble - and the 2nd Bn. would move into Verdun Jan. 27. This broke up my little playhouse in the woods - cause it was move into Verdun or starve to death. As eleven of my men were already stationed there - I had only five to move. The morning of our departure was a white one - the snow being about 3" deep. All the pioneer boys had full packs - so they had quite a little hardship - but they were homebound - so they stood-up exceptionally well. We officers enjoyed the walk in the snow.
I am now living - with my men