Dec. 3 1918
Cap. Lockwood - Lt. Schanly - and I had quite a trip. We took the Ford - went to Sedan - and on into Belguim (Boullion). At Sedan we talked to women who had been prisoners for 4 years - and heard some quite interesting accts. At Boullion - where few American ever reached - we were quite a courosity. Some thought we were Italians - and we enjoyed being a novelty. Went thru the Castle of Boullion - built in the 8th Century and it is wonderful. Almost the whole of it is hewn out of solid rock in the mountain. We laid in a little supply of wine - and went back to Sedan for the night. Got lost between Boullion and Sedan - and went about 65 miles to get 20 miles.
Dec. 4 1918
Got back to Beaumont this A.M. to find - Cap. Miller -Lts. Phelps - Ingersol - Bishop and Westlake all packed up ready to leave. A Lt. had come down from Hdq. with their orders. They took 14 men - and left for Dun.
Dec. 10 1918
Cap. Lockwood left today for Romange - where he is to be assistant to Col Stout. This change leaves me in command here. I have only 3 officers (Lts. Kelly - Schieb + Schanley) and 16 men - and plenty of work to do.
Dec. 14 1918
Another change has taken place. Leaving Lt. Kelly and one man to look after things in Beaumont - Lt. Scheib - Lt. Shanley and I left with the remainder of the men for Montfalcon. We had a 7 hr. ride on trucks - as we came up on a truck train bringing three salvage cos. up.
This is only about a two day job for us - and from there we are to be split-up sure enough. I go to Verdun, as area demolition officer. Will have quite a large territory and about 80 men scattered through it.
If only I could get a picture of my self and my quarters now. We are in the only room left of a two story house - the remainder is just a mass of ruins. Such a room. The fire place is about the only thing worth mentioning. We have covered one small door with an old stretcher - nailed a few boards over the windows (but the breeze comes it just the same) - and, the other door-way is wide open. Luckily for us it is not very cold, and we are hoping that it does'nt rain, for in spots we can look up at the clear sky. Oh, yes - I forgot to mention that our floor was sinking in -- in a perfect "V".
But we have past the worrying stage and sit around the fire-place - and enjoy life.
A letter rec'd. from Miss Amelia Maischen, tells me of Fan's death. The news was quite a shock to me - and explains, all too sadly why I have rec'd no letters from her, since Aug. She died of pneumonia Sept. 7 - was sick only 5 days.
Dec. 20 1918
My nightmare at Romagne ended this A.M. when I pulled out in a Ford for Verdun. Lt. Leonard - the driver - my Serg. (Gillett) and I had no idea as to the trip that lay before us. Between Romagne and Verdun we had five blowouts - and reached the place where Co. G. 802nd P.I. were supposed to have been - after borrowing three inner tubes and stealing one - only to find that Co. G. had pulled out a few days before. By this time it was nearly dark - so we "beat it" back to Verdun - found a vacant room and put up for the night. our bus was too badly "shot" - to proceed the next day - so stayed in Verdun and came out here - this A.M.
-- All the officers here are fine fellows - thanks to goodness -- and we have quite a time - six in a tent. My 16 men are living here in German dugouts - on the hillsides.
This area is very interesting -- in the fact that the Allies never occupied the eastern part of it -- and everything is German.
Expect to clean-up in about 3 weeks.
Dec 25 '18
Christmas day! A most enjoyable Christmas taking into consideration that this Co. I am with is right out in an open field of mud -- living in sheet iron shacks. We had quite a nice Christmas dinner - Olives - candy cakes - etc. The only bad feature being we had no sort of meal and were out of bread. I had stopped in Verdun - and gotten Christmas boxes - candy cakes - cigaretts ect - for each of my men - so they enjoyed Christmas as much as was possible.
% help make us realize that this is Christmas - it snowed last night - and these "poor shot-up" mountains looked beautiful - sporting their white coasts on Christmas day.
I brought two bottles of wine out with me from Verdun when I came. I have guarded them faithfully - shall reap the reward tonight. - I have dedicated on bottle for Christmas -- the other must "hold its peace" until New Years.