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Title: Soldiers of the Legion
       Trench-Etched

Author: John Bowe

Release Date: January 27, 2017 [EBook #54057]

Language: English

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LEGIONNAIRE BOWE

This matricule (aluminum wrist-tag) is No. 11,436—Foreign Legion. Chevron and device on left sleeve denote a grenade-thrower of two years’ trench service—one bar for first year and one for each added six months. Note bullet scar on left eyebrow.


SOLDIERS
OF THE LEGION

TRENCH-ETCHED
BY
LEGIONNAIRE BOWE
PRESS OF
PETERSON LINOTYPING CO.
CHICAGO, 1918
Copyrighted, 1918, by
JOHN BOWE
5THIS AMERICAN CITIZEN’S BOOK IS
AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED
TO HIS COMRADE IN ARMS,
THE FRENCH POILU
7

INTRODUCTORY

“Good luck, my soldier! You Americans are an extraordinary people. You are complex. We have thought we understood you—but, we do not. We never know what you will do next.”

I asked my French landlady, who thus responded to the news that I had joined the Foreign Legion, for an explanation. She said:

“In the early days of the war, when the Germans advanced upon Paris at the rate of thirty kilometers a day, driving our French people before them, pillaging the country, dealing death and destruction, when our hearts were torn with grief, Americans who were in Paris ran about like chickens with their heads cut off. They could not get their checks cashed; they had lost their trunks; they thought only of their own temporary discomfort, and had no sympathy for our misfortunes.”

“But,” she continued, “the same ship that took these people away brought us other Americans. Strong and vigorous, they did not remain 8in Paris. Directly to the training camps they went: and, today, they are lying in mud, in the trenches with our poilus.”

“Now, we should like to know, if you please, which are the real Americans—those who ran away, and left us when in trouble, or those who came to help us in time of need. Are you goers or comers?”

Self-proclaimed “good Americans,” who pray that when they die they may go to Paris, are no more the real Americans than is their cafed, boulevarded, liqueured-up artificial, gay night-life Paris—the only Paris they know (specially arranged and operated, by other foreigners, for their particular delectation and benefit!)—the real Paris.

Such Americans, whose self-centered world stands still when their checks are but unhonored scraps of paper, the light of whose eyes fades if their personal baggage is gone, with just one idea of “service”—that fussy, obsequious attendance, which they buy, are they whose screaming Eagles spread their powerful wings on silver and gold coin only. Their “U. S.” forms the dollar-sign. They are the globe-trotting, superficial, frivolous “goers.”

Boys in brown and blue, girls in merciful angels’ 9white, men and women of scant impedimenta, are the “comers,” to whom—and to whose distant home-fire tenders—“U. S.” means neither Cash nor Country alone, but a suffering humanity’s urgent—US. Bonds of liberty mean, to them, LIBERTY BONDS. Yes “La Fayette, we are here!” Real Americans think, shoot and shout, Pershing for the perishing, “the Yanks are coming over till it’s over, over there!”

11

FOREWORD

Let the fastidious beware!
Here is no inviting account of a holiday in France.
The fighting author does not apologize for this terrible tale.
He has written literally, unglossed—no glamour, to
Help you understand the horrors of War and Prussian dreadfulness.
This gripping catalogue of catastrophe is by an American.
It contains romance, history—but absolutely no fiction.
It is a Love story. “Greater love hath no man than this....”
The National Society of Real Americans, in the shadow of
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, reminds Us that we have two Countries— United States and France.
“Jack Bowe,” in this, his second volume on War, presents a French viewpoint, rather than the British.
12Cosmopolitan, born on the Scotch-English border, he
Knows no boundaries in
Freedom’s cause.
He has served in five regiments in France.
Wounded and spent, he has been restored in five different hospitals.
Evacuated from the front, twice, he has recuperated in
England and returned, on furlough, to America.
When he received “Certificate of Honor” for promoting the sale of Liberty Bonds.
Thrice decorated for distinguished conduct and valor in Europe,
He wears, also, three medals from service in the Spanish-American War and in the
Philippine Insurrection.
He has been marched through countless villages of France whose
Names he did not know—nor could he have pronounced them if he did.
Indian file, in black night, he has tramped hundreds of miles of
Trenches, which he could not have recognized in the morning.
He has endured twenty days and nights of continuous cannonade.
13Experiencing every sort of military warfare on land, he has also survived a
Collision at sea.
He has been Mayor of his own town, Canby, Minnesota.
In Minnesota’s Thirteenth, he fought for the Stars and Stripes, being
Present at the capture of Manila, P. I., August 13, 1898.
Having represented, with honors, earth’s two greatest
Republics, he is still enrolled under the Tri-color of France, in that wonderful, international composite of
Individual fearlessness, the Foreign Legion.
“Where the blindest bluffs hold good, dear lass,
And the wildest tales are true.”
CHARLES L. MacGREGOR,
Collaborator.
15

CONTENTS

    PAGE
Dedication 5
Introductory 7
Foreword 11
 
CHAPTER    
I Joining the Legion 17
II History of the Legion 27
III Americans in the Legion 38
IV First American Flag in France 92
V Foreigners in the Legion 97
VI Englishmen and Russians Leave 109
VII Trenches 114
VIII July 4th, 1915 121
IX Outpost Life 130
X Champagne Attack 146
XI Life in Death 159
XII The 170th French Regiment 162
XIII The 163rd and 92nd Regiments 166
XIV Hospital Life 169
XV An Incident 177
XVI Nature’s First Law 186
XVII The Invaded Country 199
XVIII Love and War 208
XIX Democracy 225
XX Autocracy 233
XXI Their Crimes 245
L’Envoi 259
16
Alone
They Went Before

To those gallant fellows who left the peace and comfort of happy American homes, when their country was yet neutral; in order to carry out their ideals of Right and Justice;—this book is a reminder they have not suffered in vain—and are not forgotten.

17Soldiers of the Legion

CHAPTER I
JOINING THE LEGION

I entered the service of France in the Hotel des Invalides, Paris, that historical structure upon the banks of the Seine, built by Napoleon Bonaparte as a home and refuge for his worn-out veterans. The well-known statue of the Man of Destiny, with three cornered hat and folded arms, gazed broodingly upon us, as with St. Gaudens and Tex Bondt, I marched up the court yard.

At depot headquarters, where I gave my name and American address, a soldier, writing at a desk, spoke up,—“Do you know Winona, in Minnesota?” “Yes, of course, it is quite near my home.” “Do you know this gentleman?” He unbuttoned his vest and pulled out the photograph of Dr. O. P. Ludwig, formerly of Winona, now of Frazee, Minnesota.

That night I was given a blanket and shown to a room to sleep. I shall never forget what a 18cosmopolitan crew met my unsophisticated eyes next morning. The man next to me, a burly Swiss, had feet so swollen he could not get his shoes on. Another had no socks. One, wounded in the arm, sat up in bed, staring at the newcomer. It is a habit old soldiers develop, a polite way of expressing pity for the newly arrived boob. An Alsatian corporal pored over an English dictionary, trying to learn words so he could go to the English army as an interpreter. Suspected of being a spy, he had been brought back from the front. These men had slept in their clothes. The air was foul, stifling. A soldier went about and gave each man his breakfast—a cup of black coffee.

I stuck around, wondering if I had lost my number. Suddenly a voice, in English, boomed out, “Hello, where’s that new Englishman?” “I am not English,—I am an American.” Quick as a shot came the answer, ”So am I! I am the colonel’s orderly sent to take you over to your company. A few minutes later, I was giving the latest American news to Professor Orlinger, formerly instructor in languages at Columbia University, New York.

The training was fierce—almost inhuman. Men were needed badly at that time. The 19Germans were advancing, and would not wait, so men were sent out to the front as quickly as hardened. A number, possibly five per cent, broke under the strain. It was a survival of the fittest. We stuck it out; and, after eight weeks, went to the front with the Second Regiment of the Foreign Legion.

No other nation in the world has a fighting force like the Foreign Legion. Here, in this finest unit in France, the real red blood of all peoples unites. Men from fifty-three countries, every land and clime, all ranks and walks of life, colors, ages, professions, or different religious and political beliefs, speaking all languages, they have come from the four corners of the globe and are fused in the crucible of discipline. The Legion exacts absolute equality. The millionaire with his wealth, or the aristocrat of birth and pedigree, has no more privilege than the poorest Legionnaire, who has not any.

OLD TIME LEGIONNAIRES

ALEXANDRE FRANCOIS        CHAS. BLOMME
Switzerland               Belgium

Comrades in 27 campaigns. Photograph taken in hospital. One left a leg, the other an arm, to fertilize the soil of France. Francois has four decorations, Blomme has six. He carries the gold medal presented by Queen Anne of Russia in his pocket and fought for France and Liberty for one cent. per day.

An outstanding type is the volunteer, well dressed, athletic, frequently rich, who burns with enthusiasm, and brings dash, energy and vim, to be conserved, directed into proper channels by the tested old timers, who are the real nucleus of that dependability for which this Regiment is noted. During this war, 46,672 22men had enlisted in the Legion, of which 2,800 were on the front, autumn of 1917, when I left for America.

VOLUNTEER

JAN DER TEX BONDT

From Holland. Man of birth, wealth and title in his own country. In the Legion a private soldier. Photograph taken the day he enlisted. Seriously wounded, was cared for in the American Hospital at Neuilly. Reported dead on the field. On his return to headquarters had to prove his own identity—and he had no papers. Someone stole them as he lay wounded, unable to move.

The Legion is a shifting panorama, international debating ground, continuous entertainment, inspiriting school of practical human nature. The Legionnaire lives in realms of romance, experiences, fantastic as are dreams, horrible as the nightmare. He comes out, glad to have been there, to have lived it all.

In the village of repose, one will sit in a sheltered corner by a flickering camp fire, in the gathering darkness, not hearing the ever present cannon’s roar, nor watching the illumination of the distant star-shells, while Legionnaires and volunteers tell of the Boer, Philippine, Mexican, Spanish wars, the South American revolutions, or describe conditions on the Belgian Congo and in Morocco. Comrades in the flesh recount deeds with the thrill of rollicking adventure. The listener gets a grasp on himself, and learns world problems. He becomes a divided person, one half living an unnatural present, the other absorbed in the excitement of yesteryear.

Social life is that of the ancient buccaneer of the Spanish Main. Here the Legionnaire finds 23a kindred spirit, who shares his joys and dangers when alive, and inherits his wealth (?) when dead. Each shields the other in the small incidents of life. In larger affairs all are secure in the sheltering, comfortable traditions of the Legion, which, insisting on strictest obedience, provide, in return, unflinching common protection. Never is a comrade deserted, left to the mercies of an enemy. Death,—rather than capture!

As in the early days of the American West, a man does not have to bring recommendation from his priest, a bank’s letter of credit, or a certificate of respectability, to prove his eligibility. He is taken at his face value—“No questions asked.” He does not impair his citizenship. He does not swear French allegiance. He retains his own individuality. No one pries into his private affairs. His troubles are his. He carries them, also his fame, without advertising. If bad, he conceals his vices. If good, he bears his virtues in silence. Whatever his status in civil life, in the Legion, he is simply a Legionnaire. This is not the place for weaklings. Invariably they are used up in the training. Here are only strong, independent men, who do things, who make their mark, who 24scorn the little frivolities of life, who neither give nor ask favors.

There are no roundheads in the Legion. The most noticeable thing is squareness—square jaws, square shoulders, square dealing of man to man. There is a feeling of pride, of emulation, between officers and men—a mutual respect, that is hard to define. Officers do not spare themselves. They do not spare their men, nor do they neglect them. While the men are untiring in admiration of their leaders, French officers are equally complimentary in their appreciation, which the following citation from General Degoutte, Commander of the Moroccan Division, shows,—“The folds of your banner are not large enough to write your titles of glory, for our foreign volunteers live and die in the marvelous. It is to the imperishable honor of France to have been the object of such worship, of all the countries, and to have grouped under her skies all the heroes of the world.”

Scores of books, in many languages, have been written about this famous corps, some in anger, others in sorrow, many blaming—few praising, the hardness of the discipline, the 25shortness of the food, the length of the marches, or the meager wages of one cent per day. After two years the pay was raised to five cents, subsequently, and again increased to one franc (20 cents) per day, while at the front.

There are many reasons why men become Legionnaires. Some join for glory, others for adventure. Some just want to be in the midst of things,—they yearn to see the wheels go round! Others were brought by curiosity, rather than intelligence. Some came because they wanted to—others, because they had to. Some crave the satisfaction of helping underdogs, who are sweating their brass collars. Some fight for hatred of Germany and of the German character. Others strive for love of France and what she stands for. Different feelings, mingled with heroic ideals, recruit the ranks.

American members know that the present fight of France is ours. She, also, contends for democracy. She aided us in our direst need. In the darkest hour of the Revolution, it was the French fleet that defied the English, landed French soldiers to help us, and enabled Washington to dispatch 5,000 red-breeched Frenchmen, who marched from Newport News to join 261,500 American infantry under Alexander Hamilton. They captured Yorktown and compelled the surrender of Cornwallis and gained the victory that resulted in the independence of America.

So, today, 142 years later, American soldiers in khaki cross leagues of ocean, fight, suffer and die to save France from invasion even as France saved us.

27

CHAPTER II
HISTORY OF THE LEGION

The Foreign Legion has a notable record, which extends back to the Crusades. Then, French and Anglo-Saxon marched together, and fought to save the world for Christianity. History, repeating itself, after centuries, today, we see the same forces, side by side, fighting, dying, not only for Christianity, but for civilization. On the result of this clash with the barbarous Hun depends the preservation of the world.

At Pontevrault, twenty miles from Saumer, in the valley of the Loire, rest the remains of Richard Coeur-de-Lion, whose Anglo-Saxon heart, worn with hardship and suffering, ceased beating under the sunny skies of France, pierced by the poisoned arrow of a mysterious assassin from the far East.

Beneath the pavement, in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem, lie the remains of Philip D’Aubigne, a French knight, who fulfilled his vow to lay himself upon the 28threshold of that church which marks the place where rests the body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As the Anglo-Saxon perished in France, and the Frenchman died in Jerusalem, both for the cause of Right and Justice, today, millions leave native land to meet that organized force, which seeks to conquer, subdue, and enslave the people of all earth’s free countries.

Among ancient soldiers of the Foreign Legion were Broglie of Broglie, Rantzan, Lowendall, the Duke of Berwick, John Hitton, the son of an African king, and the Scottish Stuarts, with many other knights and men of note.

For their devotion, especially that of the Swiss Guards to the French Kings, the Legionnaires, were respected, even by their enemies, the Revolutionists, who, April 20, 1792, appealed to them to “desert the cause of Royal oppression, range themselves under the flag of France, and consecrate their efforts to the defense of liberty.” They responded, gathered under the tri-color, and, in 1795, commanded by Angereau, Marshal of France, one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s most trusted generals, won such renown that companies—frequently whole regiments of foreigners—flocked to their standard. 29In 1799, there were incorporated a regiment of Italians, a regiment of Poles and a regiment of Maltese. These made the campaign of Egypt with Napoleon. In 1809, a Portuguese, a Greek and an Irish regiment joined. In 1812, came a regiment of Mamelukes, who, January 7, 1814, had their name changed to Chasseurs of the Orient.

The Foreign Legion helped save France for the people in the Revolution. They shared in the glory and pomp of Napoleon’s dazzling career. They marched and suffered through the retreat from Moscow. Napoleon, on his return from Elba, created eight Regiments of the Foreign Legion, who shared the fate of the world’s greatest soldier at Waterloo.

After Napoleon’s downfall Louis XVIII created the Royal Foreign Legion which later became merged into the 86th Regiment of the Line.

May 9th, 1831, the French Chamber of Deputies decreed the Foreign Legion should not be employed on the soil of France, so the Regiment was sent to Africa, with headquarters at Sidi-bel-Abee’s, Algeria.

In 1842 Patrick MacMahon, a descendant of Irish kings, was lieutenant colonel of the Foreign 30Legion. Later, during the Crimean War, MacMahon’s troops were assigned the task of capturing the Malikoff. After hours of hand-to-hand, sanguinary fighting, to beat off the Russian counter-attacks, the French commander, Marshal Pellisser, believing the fortress was mined, sent MacMahon orders to retire. The old Legionnaire replied,—“I will hold my ground, dead or alive.” He held. The evacuation of Sebastopol followed. In 1859, he defeated the Austrians at Magenta. He was given the title of Duke of Magenta, and rewarded with the baton of a Marshal of France.

In 1854, Bazaine, who enlisted as a private soldier in the 37th Regiment of the Line, and died a Marshal of France, was Colonel of the Foreign Legion. He led them to Milianah, Kabylia and Morocco.

They participated in the Mexican War, in 1861, and in the Franco-German War of 1870, after the fall of Sedan, and the capture of Napoleon III, under the Republic; they served with General Garibaldi, “The Liberator of Italy.” Three brigades of the Foreign Legion, chiefly Irishmen, Spaniards, Italians and Franc-Tireurs, fought a bitter partisan warfare against overwhelming odds in eastern France 31and the Vosges, where, rather than surrender to the invader, many crossed the frontier into Switzerland.

At Casablanca, Africa, in 1908, a dispute about a German, enlisted in the Foreign Legion, almost precipitated war between Germany and France. The Kaiser rattled the saber, demanding an apology from France; but the response of M. Clemenceau, who stood firm, was so direct and spirited that Germany did not then insist. The day had not arrived. In the same town, seven years later, January 28, 1915, a German spy, Karl Fricke, after failing to provoke a holy war among the Mohammedans, relying on his personal friendship with his master, the Kaiser, laughed when the French commander told him he would be shot in an hour. “You French are good jokers,” he said, and asked for breakfast. Half an hour later, when told to get ready for execution, he protested. “You are carrying the thing too far, you forget who I am.” The officer responded,—“On the contrary, we know who you are; we remember quite well—only too well.”

In 1913 Lieut. Von Forstner of the 91st German Regiment used abusive language and insulted 32the French flag, while warning the Alsatian conscripts against listening to French agents, who the Germans claimed were inducing men to join the Foreign Legion.

On Nov. 29, 1913, at Severne near the Rhine-Marne Canal, the civilians assembled in protest. The soldiers charged the crowd, arrested the Mayor, two judges, and a dozen other prominent citizens; who in response to the universal demand of the population were later released,—while the officers responsible for the outrage were court-martialed and acquitted.

A short time afterward Lieut. Von Forstner had a dispute with a lame shoemaker and cut him down with his sword.

This brutal act resulted in the officer being again court-martialed for wounding an unarmed civilian. Sentenced to a year’s imprisonment, said sentence was annulled by a higher court, who claimed that he acted in “supposed self defense.”

The demand for justice caused by the injustice of the decision was so loud and threatening that the Reichstag was compelled to investigate the matter. For the first time in the German Empire a vote of censure was passed on the Government, 293 to 54.

33This vote, which challenged the supremacy of the military dynasty, together with the refusal of the Social Democrats in the Reichstag to stand up and cheer the Kaiser, was one of the determining factors that helped bring on the war.

In the spring of 1915 the Foreign Legion in Europe consisted of four regiments. In November, the small nucleus gathered about the 1st Regiment was all that remained of those splendid men.

The 2nd Regiment, after passing the winter of 1914-15 at Croanelle in front of Croane, went into the Champagne attack, September 25, 1915, with 3,200. October 28th but 825 survived. These were merged into the 1st Regiment.

The 3rd Regiment, officered by Parisian firemen, had a very brief and sanguinary existence, and later were merged into the 1st Regiment.

The 4th Regiment, the Garibaldeans, 4,000 strong, after a famous bayonet attack in Argonne, captured three lines of trenches, losing half their effectives, including the two Garibaldi brothers, Bruno and Peppino. The survivors went to Italy to aid their own country, upon her entry into the war.

34Many English, Russians, Italians, Belgians went home during that summer. When Legionnaires marched inside the long range of heavy German guns, with attacks and counter-attacking machine gun emplacements, with wire entanglements in front, which, owing to shortage of artillery, could not be blown up or destroyed, but must be hand-cut, or crawled through, is it any wonder they were scattered? Killed, missing, the hillsides were dotted with their graves; their wounded were in every hospital.

During this last generation, the Foreign Legion made history in the sand-swept plains of the Sahara and in the spice-laden Isle of Madagascar. They marched to Peking during the Boxer troubles; fought against the pig-tails in Indo-China, and the women warriors of Dahomey. They have been in every general attack of the present great war.

Advancing steadily, fighting side by side with the magnificent French Regiments who regard the Legion with respect, almost with jealousy,—the Legionnaire feels himself a personage. His comrades have suffered and died by thousands to gain the position the Regiment holds. Each living member must now maintain that enviable record.

35July 14, 1917, anniversary of the fall of the Bastile, Independence Day of France, the Foreign Legion was decorated with the braided cord, the Fouragere, the color of the Medaille Militaire, by President Poincare. The only other regiment permitted to wear that decoration is the 152nd, which has been cited four times. The Legion now stands cited five times in the orders of the day.[A]


A. July, 1918. The Legion has again been decorated, this time with the Legion of Honor.


The fifth citation of the Foreign Legion reads:

“General Orders, No. 809.

“The General commanding the 4th Army Corps cites to the order of the Foreign Legion: Marvelous Regiment, animated by hate of the enemy, and the spirit of greatest sacrifice, who on the 17th of April, 1917, under the orders of Lieut. Col. Duritz hurled themselves against the enemy, strongly organized in their trenches, captured their front line trenches against a heavy machine gun fire, and, in spite of their chief’s being mortally wounded, accomplished their advance march by the orders of Col. Deville under a continuous bombardment, night and day, fighting, man to man, for five uninterrupted 36days, and, regardless of heavy losses and the difficulty of obtaining ammunition and supplies, made the Germans retreat a distance of two kilometers beyond a village they had strongly fortified, and held for two years.

“THE COMMANDING GENERAL,
“Authoine.”

During the attack on the Bois Sabot, September 28, 1915, a captured German exclaimed: “Ha, ha, La Legion, you are in for it now. The Germans knew you were to attack; they swore to exterminate you. Look out. Go carefully. Believe me, I know. I am an old Legionnaire.”

Previous to this, Germany, incensed by the thousands of Alsatians and Lorraines in the Legion, whom German law practically claims as deserters from that country, served notice that any captured Legionnaire would be shot. So the Legionnaires hang together. They stay by one another. They never leave wounded comrades behind.

The Germans promised no mercy. The Legion adopted the motto: “Without fear and without pity,” and on the flag is written, “Valor and Discipline.” The march of the Foreign Legion, roughly interpreted, reads:

37Here’s to our blood-kin, here’s to our blood-kin,
To the Alsatian, the Swiss, the Lorraine.
For the Boche, there is none.

FOURAGERE OF THE FOREIGN LEGION

In Artois, after the Legion attacked and captured three lines of German trenches, in 1915, a captured officer, interviewed by the Colonel of the Legion, said:

“Never have we been attacked with such wild ferocity. Who are those white savages you turned loose upon us?”

38

CHAPTER III
AMERICANS IN THE LEGION

The world’s one organization which, for a century, has offered refuge to any man, no matter what nor whence, who wished to drop out of human sight and ken, does not, for obvious reasons, maintain a regular hotel register and publish arrivals.

Records of the Foreign Legion are open to no one. This picturesque aggregation of dare-devil warriors neither supports nor invites staff correspondents. Even the names used by the gentlemen present do not, necessarily, have any particular significance.

The American was a new element in this polyglot assembly. If there is anything he excelled in, it was disobedience. Independence and servility do not go hand-in-hand. He considered himself just as good as anyone placed in authority over him. He knew that he must obey orders to obtain results, that obedience was the essence of good team work; but he wanted no more orders than were necessary. 39He was willing they should be neutral,—who had not the courage to stand up for their convictions. His conscience had demanded that he put himself on the side of Right. Always courteous to strangers, Americans would dispute and wrangle among themselves. They had a never-failing appetite, also a peculiar habit of cooking chocolate in odd corners,—contrary to orders. They never would patch their clothes. They did no fatigue duty they could dodge. They carried grenades in one pocket and books in another, and only saluted officers when the sweet notion moved them.

A corporal, who, for obvious reasons, changed from Battalion C to Battalion G, speaking of early days said: “The Americans were the dirtiest, lousiest, meanest soldiers we had. They would crawl into their dugout, roll into their blanket; and, when I went to call them for duty, the language they used would burn a man up, if it came true. Yes,” he continued, “one night I heard an awful noise down the trench;—it was bitter cold and sound traveled far, so I hurried on to see what was wrong. A little snot from New York was making all the racket. He jumped up and down, trying to keep warm, his feet keeping time to his chattering 40teeth, till he wore a hole through the snow to solid footing. Every time he jumped, his loaded rifle hit the ground.

“You fool, don’t you know that thing will go off?”

“Don’t I know. Of course I know. What do I care? Do you know what happened in Section 2 last week, when a gun went off?”

“No.”

“It accidentally killed a corporal!”

The officers, however, noticed, after the first shock of misery and suffering, that they pulled themselves together, tightened their belts and made no complaint. On the rifle range, they held the record. On route march, they were never known to fall out. In patrol work, between the lines, others would get all shot up and never come back. The Americans always got there; always returned; if shot up, they brought back their comrades. They were soon looked upon with respect and pride. They learned faith in their officers. The officers, in turn, found them dependable.

It was customary for visiting officers to ask to see the Americans. When so ordered, this aggregation of automobile racers, elephant hunters, college students, gentlemen of leisure, 41professional boxers, baseball players, lawyers, authors, artists, poets and philosophers, were trotted out, and stood silently in line, while Sergeant Morlae, his head on one side, extending his finger with the diamond on would say,—“These are the Americans, mon General.”

Did they like it? They did not. They were unable to vent their rage on the general; but they did on Morlae. True, he had made soldiers of them, in spite of themselves. He had shamed, bluffed, bullied, scolded them into being soldiers. They did not mind that. They knew it had to be. But, being placed on exhibition got their goat.

However, each man carved out his own particular block and put his mark thereon. Strong characters, they cannot be passed over living, or forgotten dead. M. Viviani said, at Washington:—“Not only has America poured out her gold, but her children have shed their blood for France. The sacred names of America’s dead remain engraved in our hearts.”

EIGHT AMERICANS OF THE LEGION
(Taken on the Summit of Ballon d’Alsace, August, 1915)

Left to right—Zinn, wounded; Seeger, killed; Narutz, killed; Bowe, wounded; Bouligny, wounded three times; Dowd, killed; Scanlon, wounded; Nilson, killed.

Denis Dowd, of New York City, and Long Island, a graduate of Columbia University, and of Georgetown, District of Columbia, a lawyer by profession, of Irish descent, a fine soldier, passed the first year in the trenches and was 43wounded October 19, 1915. We were in the same squad—were wounded different days—again met in same hospital. While in hospital, he received a package from the ladies of the American Church of the Rue de Berri, Paris, in which was a letter. This was followed by correspondence, later a daily correspondence. Then came an invitation to pass his furlough with new found friends. Inside of twenty-four hours after meeting, this hard-headed lawyer was affianced to the lady, daughter of a professor at the Sorbonne. He entered, for the study of aviation, the Buc Aviation School, and stood at the head of a class of fifteen aspirants. While making a preliminary flight, previous to obtaining his brevet, he was killed, August 11, 1916. In life he showed a contempt of danger. He passed away with a smile on his lips. His body was buried at Asnieres, near St. Germain.

D. W. King, Providence, R. I., member of a family connected with cement products interests in England and America, a Harvard graduate—of uncomplaining and unflinching disposition, though small in stature, he was great in courage. I have seen him marching without a whimper when his feet were so sore that only 44the toes of one foot could touch the ground. He always had an extra cake or two of chocolate, and was willing to divide with the individual who could furnish fire or water. He changed from the Foreign Legion to the 170th, in 1915, and was seriously wounded in 1916. On recovery he went into the Aviation.

Edgar Bouligny, a real American from New Orleans, Louisiana, had served two enlistments in the U. S. Army. His father was minister to Mexico, and during the civil war threw himself on the side of Human Liberty, as the son, later, put in his fortune and health for International freedom. He went from Alaska to France. He rose to be sergeant in the Foreign Legion. He was three times wounded, then transferred to the Aviation. Obtaining his brevet in three months, he went to Salonica, Albania, Greece and the Balkans. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre, with silver star, in January, 1917.

J. J. Casey, a cartoonist from San Francisco, California, went into the Foreign Legion in the early days and is still going strong. Naturally of a quiet disposition, he will fight at the drop of the hat, on provocation. He was shot in the foot on September 25, 1915, was in the hospital 45of the Union de Femmes of France at Nice and went back to the front, where he still remains.

Arthur Barry, Boston, Massachusetts, formerly a gunner on U. S. battleship Dakota, now acts as an Irish battleship ashore and throws grenades on the dry land Boche, whenever an opportunity occurs,—of a happy, devil-may-care disposition, all work is a lark to him, while growling and his temperament are total strangers. Twice wounded, the last time I saw him was in hospital at Lyons, where he was waiting till a shell splinter could be extracted. He had already decided that he would go direct to the front instead of to the regimental depot on recovery. He was decorated for bravery at Chalons, July 14, 1917. Was later transferred to the American Engineers, wearing the red fouragere of the Legion of Honor.

James J. Back, an engineer by profession, who spoke French fluently, went from the Foreign Legion to the Aviation in the early part of 1915. It was announced in “La France,” Bordeaux, September 2, 1917, that he was taken prisoner by the Boche. When his machine broke, he fell inside the German lines. He was taken before a court martial, charged twice with 46being a Franc-tireur American, which called for the death penalty; but was twice acquitted. He still languishes in prison. The published account is true; but it did not mention that the news was over two years old.

Bob Scanlon, professional boxer, soldier of the Legion, kept having narrow escapes from death so often that he became a mascot of good luck. In civilian life he had whipped Mar-Robert, Marthenon, and Joe Choynski—even the Boche shells respected him! He changed from the Foreign Legion into the 170th, then went into the machine gun company. He lost his good luck. He found a piece of shell which ripped him up badly. Two years later, in September, 1917, in Bordeaux, coming back to his old gait, he gave a boxing exhibition with Lurline, the French Champion.

Laurence Scanlon, wounded in the Foreign Legion, went into Aviation, dropped his aeroplane through, and into, a cook-house. His captain running, expecting to find a corpse, met Scanlon coming out of the door, who saluted and reported himself present,—“It is I, mon capitaine, just arrived.”

John Brown, American citizen, got mixed up with a shell explosion in the September attack 47in Champagne, in 1915. All his comrades were killed; but this tough nut has just been blown about till he is bent double and one eye is almost gone. He has been in eleven hospitals during twenty-three months. In August, 1917, he was ordered to go to regimental depot for two months “Inapt.” The regimental doctors gave him an examination, then sent him back to hospital.

F. Capdevielle, New Yorker, splendid fellow, after a year in the Foreign Legion changed to the 170th, where he rose to be sergeant. But a young man, he has a great record for longevity, having been through the successive attacks of the two regiments volonté, without receiving a scratch, though he was used up physically in the spring of 1917, and put in a couple of months recuperating in Paris. He was decorated for gallantry, at Verdun, in the spring of 1916.

Tony Pollet, champion boxer, from Corona, New York, came to America with his parents, had his first papers—was the tallest, best-built man in his company—a terror on wrong doers—in social life as gentle as a woman. The boxing match between him and Bob Scanlon at Auxelle Bas, Alsace, will pass 48down in the traditions of the Legion for all time.

Later Tony whipped the three cooks. He was put in charge of the kitchen for punishment; but he got into disgrace again because the Legionnaires caught a pet cat, skinned it and threw it into the soup.

Living on his income of one cent a day, as he had no money, too proud to expose his financial condition, he did not go to Paris, July 4, 1915, but suffered his martyrdom in silence. Wounded in Champagne in 1915, also on the Somme in 1916, when permission came for a furlough in America, he had forty-two cents. He stowed away on a Trans-Atlantic steamer to New York, where the authorities claimed, he was not an American. If he had declared his intention to be an American, he had lost the evidence of it. So they locked him up two days at Ellis Island.

When in hospital one night, he stole out to see his girl, caught, and standing before the medical board, who threatened to revoke his convalescence, he replied hotly—“You do that, and I will make you more trouble than you can shake off the rest of your life. You must not think you are handling a Legionnaire from 49Africa now;—I will show you what a real American Legionnaire can do!” The old Colonel, a judge of men, spoke up;—“Silence yourself. Attention, eyes front, about face, forward march.” Tony walked away; but he got his furlough.

George Peixotto, painter by profession, brother of the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris, joined the Foreign Legion and was detailed to the 22nd artillery. Now, instead of making life-like figures, he makes figures lifeless!

Bullard. After the Champagne attack, in 1915, was changed from the Legion to the 170th, then again into the Aviation. A busy man, he managed to dodge the Boche bouquets, and, so far, he has kept right side up with care. Always likes to have Old Glory in sight.

Bob Soubiron, in civil life a racing automobilist, former racing partner of Ralph de Palma. After a year of active service with the Legion, he was wounded in the knee and evacuated. He concluded that was too slow. So, in order to get a touch of high life, he went into the Aviation. He was decorated for bravery with the following citation:—“Soubiron, an American, engaged in the French service since 50the beginning of the war,—member of the Foreign Legion, took part in battle of the Aisne, in 1914, and the attack in Champagne, in 1915;—wounded October 19, 1915, entered Aviation, and proved a remarkable pilot—forced an enemy to fall in October when protecting aviators who were attacking an enemy’s observation balloon.”

Lincoln Chatcoff, Brooklyn, New York, one of the old originals, went from the Legion into Aviation and was decorated with the Croix de Guerre. Unable to get permission to go to England, he demanded a pass to Paris. He went to the Minister of War’s office, explained his case, and said,—

“Now, I want to know the truth.”

“About what?”

“Whether I am a Legionnaire or an Aviator?”

“You look like an Aviator.”

“Well, am I one or not?”

“You must be one.”

“Am I one or not?”

“Yes.”

“Then I demand to be treated as one.”

“What do you want now?”

“Permission to go to England.”

51He got it.

He became an expert in his line. He used to take his old friends up in the air, ask them if they had been to confession, or had said their prayers, then turn a double somersault, finish with an Egyptian side wiggle and land his victims, gasping for breath. On June 15, 1917, he had aloft an American ambulance man, who was killed by the process. Chatcoff, himself, was sent to the hospital for repairs.

Kroegh was in the Legion the first year. He went down with the boys to the Fourth of July wake in Paris. Then he went to Norway, when he organized and brought back a detachment of Norwegian Ski-runners, who hauled provisions and wounded men over the snow-clad hills of the Vosges in the winter of 1915-1916.

Eugene Jacobs, from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, went from the Legion to the 170th, where he became one of the best liked sergeants. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre for bravery. A butcher by trade, he now carries a carving knife on the end of his rifle.

Barriere was killed at la Cote. His little brother, Pierre, 15 years old, who had come 52from America to be as near him as possible, was working at the American Express Company’s office at the Rue d’Opera, Paris, when the bad news came. He quit his good situation, stopped correspondence with all friends, and lived through his grief silently and alone, like the little man he is.

John Laurent, a quiet, gentlemanly man, was in the Legion till October 12th, 1915, when he changed into the 170th. An actor in civil life, he became a real, living actor in the most stupendous drama ever staged. He plays his part to perfection.

Collins, writer and journalist, passed the first year of the war in the trenches of France. Evacuated for inspection, the next we heard of him was from the Balkans. Wounded, he turned up in Paris for convalescence. Then, back to the French front. He became such a truthful and realistic writer, through actual experience, that the censor cut out the half of the last article he wrote to the New York Herald; and the public hears from him no more.

Charles Trinkard, Brooklyn, went through the Croanelle and Campaigne affairs with the Foreign Legion. He was wounded in Champagne September 25, 1915. Afterwards he 53joined the Aviation, and was killed in combat, November 29, 1917. His machine fell into a village occupied by the Legion. A few minutes after his death permission arrived allowing him, after three years’ service, to visit his American home.

Charles S. Sweeney, a West Pointer, rose in the Legion successively to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He was wounded in the head in 1915. Decorated with the Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre, he returned to America. On the declaration of war, he became a major in the American Army and drilled rookies at Ft. Meyer, Va. He carried the colors that enwrapped O’Connel’s coffin—the Stars and Stripes, and the Tri-color, to the latter’s home at Carthage, Mo.

Mouvet, San Francisco, Cal., brother of M. Maurice and Florence Walton, the dancers, joined the Legion, August, 1915. He was wounded, also, decorated with the Croix de Guerre, July 4, 1916. He served five months in the Aviation, then returned to the Legion; and in December, 1917, was again seriously wounded.

Prof. Orlinger, Columbia University, New York City, put in the first winter in Croanelle, 54changed to the 167th, wounded and invalided home. Short of stature, the long strides he made on march, to keep step, were an additional attraction in the ever-interesting adventure.

Algernon Sartoris, son of Nellie Grant, daughter of General U. S. Grant, former President of the United States, serves at present in the Foreign Legion.

Paul Pavelka, Madison, Conn., an old timer, bound up Kiffin Rockwell’s bayonet wound at Arras, May 9, 1915.

It was his section that started the attack on the Bois de Sabot in Champagne in 1915. Orders came to reconnoitre the Boche position. Everybody knew that these trenches were German. They could see the rifles of the soldiers over the trench tops. Musgrave said, “Let’s go see what in hell sort of a show they have over there.” The section, about forty men, went and just two, Pavelka and Musgrave, both Americans, came back. After fourteen months in the trenches, he changed to the Aviation. He, a splendid marksman, put twelve bullets, out of twelve shots, into a moving target at one hundred yards. Killed near Monastir, November 1, 1917, he was buried at Salonica.

55Frank Musgrave, San Antonio lawyer, a long-limbed raw-boned Texan, not only looks the part but acts it. Original as they make them, even in original states. It was a joy to meet such a character. After dodging death in Champagne, he changed into the 170th and at Verdun was captured in the spring of 1916 by the Boche, during an attack. He is now a prisoner in Germany.

Frank J. Baylies, New Bedford, Mass., drove ambulance in Serbia in 1916. Went into the French Aviation. At Lufberry’s death, he became the leading American Ace and was himself killed June 17, 1918. The news of how he was shot down in combat with German aviators, and went to his death among the flames of his machine on German soil, was brought in a letter dropped by an enemy pilot. He brought down 11 Boche machines, was promoted to lieutenant, and decorated with the Legion of Honor.

David E. Putnam,[B] Brookline, Mass. Putnam succeeded Baylies as chief American Ace with 12 Boche machines to his credit. In the month of June, 1918, he brought down seven machines.


B. Descendent of General Israel PutnamPutnam. Killed in combat Sept. 18, 1918.


Paul Ingmer, New York City. American of

56Danish extraction, joined the Legion in 1916, went up on the Somme for a preliminary, though bottled up in the Legion like Johnny Walker’s whisky, is still going strong, and getting better with age.

Nicholas Karayinis, New York. One of the Americans who lived to tell about it. Changed from Legion to American Army.

Cyrus Chamberlain, Minneapolis, Minn. Killed in combat while he and a Frenchman were fighting twelve German aviators. Odds 6 to 1. Though he lost his life, he gained the admiration of a brave people, and freely gave his blood to cement the tie that binds the two Republics. Decorated with the Croix de Guerre. Buried at Coulommiers.

Harold E. Wright. Along with others had much trouble getting discharged from the French army. June 6, 1918, was ordered to Paris to be transferred to American Army. No papers. Waited around for weeks. Went to French Minister of Aeronautics for information. Was told to report to the Commander of the Fourth Army at the Front, where he was arrested as a deserter, and ordered to be shot at sunrise. Friends interceded, and he was ordered to report at the Bureau of Recruitment, 57Paris, where he received his discharge from the French Army, dated January 21, several days before he was sentenced to be shot. Again arrested on orders of the Prefect of Police, an examination of his papers resulted in him being catalogued with the U. S. Army. Provost Marshal receipted for him like a bale of merchandise.

Manual Moyet, Alabama. American Legionnaire, wounded near Soissons, May, 1918. Three times cited for bravery. Last citation: “Legionnaire Manual Moyet, during the Vilers-Bretioneaus combat, withstood effectively with his automatic rifle, the enemy machine guns, deciding the progress of his section. Afterwards he broke up several counter attacks along the front.” He wrote from a hospital bed to a friend, “Believe me, I am sure that after the war it is going to be the greatest honor to have served in the Foreign Legion. I am getting better and hope to be ready for duty in a month. As I grow older I understand things better and better; we are not fighting for fun, but for liberty. After you have killed two or three Boches you do not mind dying. The spirit of the Legion is wonderful, although many of the most famous of the legionnaires 58are dead. Should I live to be a hundred years I shall never forget a man from my section who, mortally wounded, lay between the lines shouting, ‘Vive la France, Vive la Legion I die, but I am satisfied to die for Liberty.’”

Elof Nelson, a real, quiet, pleasant man, changed from the Legion to the 170th. The only Swede in the Legion at that time, he adopted the Americans. He was killed on the Somme in 1916.

George Marquet, New York, three times wounded—the last time on July 1, 1916, at Hill 304, near Verdun. This company, the 8th of the 6th Regt. of the Line, while defending the hill against continued Boche attacks, out of 200 men had only one sergeant and twenty-four men at the close of that memorable day.

Jack Noe, Glendale, L. I., Foreign Legion, was wounded in the attack near Rheims in the spring of 1917, and captured in the general mix-up. He escaped and made his way back to the French lines.

R. Hard, Rosebank, Staten Island, New York, having only one eye, went into the gas manufacturing works, and commenced to fill gas shells with a bicycle pump. Gradually, the business developed till ten men could turn 59out 1,875 shells every ten hours. A thin, wiry man, the gas fumes affected his heart. Stout men get the poison in the lungs.

Henry La Grange went to France at the outbreak of war and was ordered to the Foreign Legion: “No,” he said, “I want to go to my grandfather’s regiment, the 8th. If I can’t join that I will not go at all.” His great-grandfather had fought in Egypt. The grandson, following the old man’s footsteps, rose to the rank of sergeant. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and, later, detailed to America to instruct the growing army in artillery observation.

Mjojlo Milkovich, of San Francisco, Cal., a professional boxer, left the Golden West with $6,000 in his pocket and an elaborate wardrobe. He was torpedoed in the “Brindisti” and, after five hours in the water, reached shore, naked as the day he was born. At Corfu, Greece, he joined the French Army, was wounded on the Bulgarian front and tended in the Scottish Woman’s Hospital at Salonica. After his recovery he went direct to the front, and, again severely wounded, was sent to France. At quarters one day he accosted me:

“What, you understand English?” “Yes.”

60“Are you an American?”

“Yes.”

“So am I,—can’t speak a word of French.”

The three main cords of his leg were severed by shell splinters. He chafed at the slow hospital life, and, every second day, he pounded the doctors on the back.

“Why don’t you let me go back to America? You have got my leg, you know I can never march again. Why don’t you let me go home?” He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre, with the following citation: “A very good soldier, seriously wounded, advancing resolutely to attack a village very strongly fortified.”

I asked him what he saw down in the Balkans.

“I saw enough—so that I’ll never forget it.”

“Well what did you see?”

“I saw enough to make me sick.”

“Well, what did you see?”

“I saw boys seven and eight years old with throats cut.”

“How many did you see?”

“Seven or eight at least.”

“What else?”

“I saw young girls who tried to protect themselves with faces streaked with knife wounds—some had their noses cut off.”

61“What else did you see?”

“I saw old women laying in corners dying of hunger—I saw others out in the fields eating grass.”

Milton Wright, an American citizen, born of American parents, went from Philadelphia to France on a four-masted ship. On shore, without a passport, was arrested by the gendarmes, who communicated with his captain, who replied: “We don’t want him. He is a German spy.” So he was in prison four or five months. He was then told he could go into the Foreign Legion for the period of the war. He did not understand, as he could not speak French. The French officials did not speak English. He was signed up for five years.

The skipper owed him for several weeks’ wages. His going left an opening to take back Frenchmen who would give thousands of dollars to get away and escape military service. Wright was an innocent, honest fellow, a victim of circumstances. But he felt he was wronged and would not drill. Finally, after being worried almost crazy, he was given a railroad ticket to Boulogne, and mustered out.

James Ralph Doolittle, of New York, started 62in the ambulance. He found it too slow for a live man, so he joined the Foreign Legion. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre, with palm. He was a splendid fellow, good soldier and a gentleman. He was three times wounded. The last time he dropped 600 feet, breaking an ankle and seriously disfiguring his face. He passed his convalescence in America, November, 1917.

Dr. Julian A. Gehrung, of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, offered his services to the then personally conducted American Ambulance. He did not know they wanted chauffeurs and drivers, who could be ordered about, rather than doctors and men of established reputation who could run their own affairs. So, he, known in America from coast to coast, was snubbed. March 24, 1917, he was offered by the French Government, the supervision of a large hospital. Accidentally meeting an American soldier of the Legion, a French officer came along, patted him on the back and said, “Ha, ha, you have got a fine appointment. You have found a compatriot. You are now satisfied.” Quick as a shot, the answer came back, “No, I am not satisfied, I want to be sent to the front.”

63James Paul, St. Louis, Mo., twenty years old, the first American killed in the Legion after the United States went into the war, was an enthusiastic grenadier. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre for having alone, with grenades, stopped a night attack at Bellay-en-Santerre, in July, 1916. He was killed by a treacherous prisoner, whose life he had spared. Having killed the Germans in that dugout, excepting this prisoner, who threw up his hands and cried “Kamrad,” Paul started to run to the next dugout, when the German grabbed a rifle and shot him in the back through the heart. Barry and other Americans paid special attention to that prisoner. He did not die then, but, some hours, later, when the Legion was being relieved, he breathed his last.

George Delpesche, of New York City, an energetic member of the Legion, and an excellent scout, a volunteer for dangerous missions, lived through places where others were killed; but he was wounded in 1916 and transferred to the 35th Regiment of the Line with headquarters at Fort Brezille, Besancon. Decorated with the Croix de Guerre for taking, alone and unaided, five prisoners.

64Emile Van de Kerkove, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, of Belgian descent, three times wounded, was decorated while in the 246th Regiment with the Medaille Militaire for having alone, with a machine gun, repelled a Boche attack. He is now in the 10th Regiment of the Line.

William Lawrence Bresse, a son-in-law of Hamilton Fish, was killed in action.

Ivan Nock, Baltimore, Foreign Legion, formerly sergeant in the Maryland Militia, a civil mining engineerengineer, came from Peru to help France. He was wounded in the head by an explosive bullet near Rheims, April 20, 1917. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre, with the following brilliant citation: “A grenadier of remarkable courage, wounded April 20th, 1917, by a bullet in the head, just after he had shot down his fifth German. He cried: ‘I will not leave the field until I have killed my sixth Boche.’ He kept his word.”

Paul Norton, architect, died of wounds received in action.

Kiffin Yates Rockwell, a real American, born at Atlanta, Georgia. One of his ancestors was a staff officer in Washington’s Continental Army. Kiffin served the first winter in the 65trenches with the Foreign Legion, and was wounded in a bayonet attack at Arras, June, 1915. He helped to form the Franco-American Escadrille. He was killed at Rodern, in captured German Alsace, September 23, 1916, by an explosive bullet, when in combat with a German machine, and fell a few hundred yards back from the trench, within two miles of where he shot down his first Boche machine. He was decorated with the Medaille Militaire and Croix de Guerre and buried at Loscieul, Vosges. Asked why he entered the Legion, he said: “I came to pay the debt we owe, to Lafayette, to Rochambeau.”

Paul Rockwell, brother of Kiffin, also spent the first winter in the Legion. He was badly wounded and mustered out. Remaining in Paris, he devoted his time to bringing the two Republics closer together, and easing the hardships of his former comrades in the Legion, who recognized in him a true friend. He was married to Mlle. Jeanne Leygenes, whose father was formerly Minister of Public Instruction. He is at present on the front, attached to the General Headquarters of the French Army.

Robert Rockwell, of Cincinnati, Ohio, thought cutting up as a surgeon in hospital not 66strenuous enough for a live wire, so he joined the Aviation to do a little aerial operating.

F. Wilson, one of the old originals, used up on the front, went into hospital service. At the regimental hospital, at Orleans, he made a specialty of tending and easing the path of poor, distressed, brother Americans.

Billy Thorin, Canton, S. D., was wounded in the head at the attack of the Legion on the Bois Sabot, September 28, 1915. He returned to the front and was gassed on the Somme, July, 1916. He was fourteen months in hospital and mustered out September, 1917. Formerly he was a marine in the U. S. Navy, also a sailor in the Chinese Imperial Navy. As a South Sea trader, he fought cannibals in the New Hebrides. He had been severely wounded in the Mexican War. He says: “Compared with a German, a Mexican is a gentleman.”

Chas. Jean Drossner, San Francisco, California, one of the old originals, went through the hard fighting in 1915. He was wounded in the hand and mustered out. He is the son of a capitalist.

A snippy under-officer in the Legion, not liking his independent remarks about the size 67of the eats, said: “You have come into the Legion to get your belly full.” The American replied, “I may not get very much food, I don’t see that any one does, but I have money. Here, buy something for the boys.” He opened his vest and handed over three 1,000 franc notes.

Maurice Davis, of Brooklyn, New York, rose to the rank of lieutenant and was killed in action.

Harold Buckley Willis was reported killed September 3, 1917, but later developments proved that, during a combat with German machines, he was compelled to land on German soil, August 18, and was taken prisoner.

Rouel Lufbury, Wallingford, Conn., Foreign Legion, changed to Aviation, a real cosmopolitan American, for fifteen years roamed the two hemispheres. Now, crippled by rheumatism, he rides his aerial carriage and kills German aviators for recreation. He served as a United States soldier in the Philippines and held the marksmanshipmarksmanship record in his regiment. While engaged in railroad work in India, on refusing to say “Sir” to a prominent citizen of Bombay, he lost his job just about the time the P. C. felt the toe of Lufbury’s boot. He traveled in Turkey, Japan, China, Africa and South America 68October 12, 1916, the day Norman Prince was mortally wounded, Lufbury got his fifth Boche machine. By December, 1917, he had brought down, officially, eighteen. He is the first American to be awarded the gold medal of the Aero Club of France. He is also decorated with the Croix de Guerre with six palms; and is a chevalier of the Legion of Honor. In the spring of 1918, he was transferred and promoted major in the American Army, and when engaged in battle, a bullet from the enemy punctured the gasoline tank, and he jumped from the burning machine to his death.

Joseph C. Stehlin, Sheepshead Bay, Long Island, brought down a Boche machine, when he had only been twenty days in service on the front. He attacked three enemy machines alone and brought down one with a pilot, observer, and two guns.

George Meyer, Brooklyn, New York, was killed in the Foreign Legion, by a shell, while waiting for the order to go over the top near Rheims, April, 1917.

Robert Arrowsmith, New Jersey, was wounded in the hip, and lying in hospital when America entered the war. The wound not 69healing quickly, he objected to hospital life, because: “There is so much going on, and so much work to be done.”

Dr. David D. Wheeler, Buffalo, New York, practicing physician, thought being a doctor in the rear was too much of a shirker’s business. So, he went into the Legion at the front; and the Legionnaires still talk about the American, who wore no shirt most of the time, who never unslung his knapsack en route, who tented alone, who never bent the body or dodged a bullet, who was supposed killed at the Bois Sabot, but who lived through it and was found in hospital. Wounded himself seriously, he had cared for others professionally in “No-Man’s-Land,” while under fire. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre, with palm, and mustered out, used up.

John Charton, Foreign Legion, seriously wounded by a machine gun bullet in the attack on Balloy-en-Santerre, July 4, 1916, after months in hospital, was sent back as reinforcement to a Zouave Regiment. He then went into the Aviation at Avord.

Kenneth Weeks, of Boston, 25 years old, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a member of Delta Kappa 70Epsilon Fraternity, author of “Driftwood,” “Esau and the Beacon,” “Five Impractical Plays,” and “Science, Sentiment and Sense.” Passed the first winter in Battalion D, of the 1st Legion in Rheims Sector. He was in the Arras attack of May 9th and 10th, and mentioned for bravery. Acting as a grenadier in an attack on Givenchy, June 17, 1915, he was first reported missing, then captured; and, several months later, officially, killed.

He said, “Mother, is it not better that I should die than that the Germans should come over here?”

Paul Raoul le Dous, Detroit, Michigan, promoted to sergeant, decorated with the Medaille Militaire for saving his captain’s life on the Ancre.

Ernest Walbron, Paterson, New Jersey, volunteered at the start of the war, fought in Artois, Verdun and the Somme.

In August, 1916, was detailed as interpreter to an English Regiment, while leading it to the front was hit by a piece of shell. As no one else knew the way, he kept going till he reached the destination, then fainted. He could not be taken back on account of the bombardment. Gangrene set in and his leg was amputated. 71He was decorated with the French Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire, also with the English Military Medal.

Andrew Walbron, brother of Ernest, decorated with the Croix de Guerre, Corporal in the 78th Regiment, has been wounded four times.

Paul Maffart, American, Foreign Legion, 19 years of age, killed.

Haviland, Minnesota, brought down his first Boche machine, April 28, 1917.

Ronald Wood Hoskier, South Orange, New Jersey, a Harvard graduate, Aviator. His father is also in France in Red Cross work.

Hoskier fell while he and his companion were fighting six Boche machines. He and two Boche fell among the advancing English troops and were all killed, April 24, 1917.

Cited in General Orders of the French Army: “Sergeant Ronald Wood Hoskier, an American, who volunteered for service in the French Army. He showed splendid conduct and self-sacrifice. He fell on April 23, 1917, after defending himself heroically against three enemy machines.”

Paul Perigord, college professor, formerly an instructor in St. Paul Seminary, later a parish priest at Olivia, Minn., went to France and into 72the trenches at the outbreak of hostilities. Cited four times in army orders, decorated with the Croix de Guerre, promoted to a Lieutenancy in the 14th Regiment of the Line. Later, he returned to America on a patriotic lecturing mission.

Victor Chapman, son of John Jay Chapman, was one of the splendid fellows that it was a pleasure to meet and never to forget. Changing from the Legion to the Aviation he was killed near Verdun, June 23, 1916, in a battle with French comrades against German machines. The “Petit Parisian” headline announcing the event, said: “The king of the air dies like a king.”

Harvard University students have raised a fund, known as the Victor Chapman Scholarship Fund, of $25,000, bearing interest of $1,000 a year, which is set aside for the education of a worthy French student. A young man from Lyons is at present at Harvard, perpetuating and cementing the ties for which Chapman gave his life.

Eugene Galliard, Minneapolis, Minn., served two years in the trenches, twice wounded, was mustered out as a lieutenant and returned to America.

73John Huffer, an American of the Legion, was decorated with the Medaille Militaire, and the Croix de Guerre, with five citations, four being palms.

Bennet Moulter, an American, went from Mexico to France, changed his animosity from Caranza to the Kaiser; and was seriously wounded July, 1917.

Christopher Charles, of Brooklyn, New York, 21 years old, machine gun operator, has been in all attacks since September, 1914. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre at Chalons, July 14, 1917. At Bordeaux, I met his marraine (godmother), who said,—“Yes, I know Christopher Charles. I met him when he was wounded in hospital here. That boy is an American. His place is in his own country now. I will get him out of the Legion if I have to go to Washington to do it.”

Norman Barclay, New York City, formerly of Long Island, aviator, was killed by aeroplane, nose diving. Had two years’ service on the front before being snuffed out. Killed June 22, 1917.

Robert Mulhauser entered the Legion in 1914, changed to the 170th in 1915, was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and promoted 74to Lieutenant at Verdun. He has been cited in Army Orders three times.

Walter Appleton, New York City, scion of the great American publishing house. The last time I met him was north of Suippe, in the middle of the night, unloading barrels from a wagon in the darkness, where the first line men connected with the commissary. Zouaves with canvas pails of wine, Moroccans carrying loaves of bread on their bayonets, Legionnaires looking after their own, and ready to pick up any straggling food. Dead horses and men lay alongside, a German captured cannon pointed to the rear was near-by, surrounded by broken cassions and German dead. Shells were exploding overhead. We ran into each other in the mix-up, shook hands, said “Hello,” and separated into the night.

Alan Seeger, a Harvard graduate, killed in bayonet attack, in “No-Man’s-Land,” Independence Day, July 4, 1916. Buried in the Army Zone. The only tears that will water the flowers that grow on his hillside grave will be the evening dew, even as he dropped his brilliant thoughts on the close of life.

Seeger Gems. “I love to think that if my blood has the privilege to be shed, or the blood 75of the French soldier to flow, then I despair not entirely of this world.”

“When at banquet comes the moment of toasts, when faces are illumined with the joy of life and laughter resounds, then flow towards the lips that which I at other times much loved, from the depth of the cup with the foam, as an atom of blood on the juice of the vine.”

“That other mighty generations may play in peace to their heritage of joy, one foreigner has marched voluntarily toward his heroic martyrdom and marched under the most noble of standards.”

Letter to his mother:

“I am feeling fine, in my element, for I have always thirsted for this kind of thing, to be present always where the pulsations are liveliest. Every minute here is worth weeks of ordinary experience. If I do not come out I will share the good fortune of those who disappear at the pinnacle of their careers!”

“Esteeming less the forfeit that he paid
Than undishonored that his flag might float
Over the towers of liberty, he made
His breast the bulwark and his blood the moat.”
“Under the little cross, where they rise,
The soldier rests. Now, round him, undismayed,
The cannon thunders, and at night he lies
At peace beneath the eternal fusillade.”

76G. Casmese, real friend, old soldier of the Legion, got mixed up and disappeared in the quick-acting movements of these chain-lightning times.

Russell A. Kelly, son of a New York stock broker, went through the hard and early fighting and was killed at Givenchy, June 17, 1915. His father, a true descendant of the Isle of Unrest, on hearing the news said,—“He did his duty—I do not complain.”

John Huffert, New York, would not drive a motor car in the rear, so he scrambled out on top. In an aeroplane, he became the hero of several desperate battles above.

John Roxas, Manila, Philippine Islands, son of the largest land owner in the Philippines, having absorbed American freedom, he is carrying it to Germany.

William E. Dugan, 27 years old, Rochester, New York, graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, joined the Legion, Sept. 19, 1914, changed to aviation, October 15, 1915. Decorated with Croix de Guerre, wounded at Verdun.

Kenneth Proctor Littaner, Sergeant in military life, poet in civil life, decorated and cited, as follows:—

77“A good pilot, brave, devoted to duty, an excellent soldier, invariably showing energy and coolness, especially on Feb. 8, 1917, in course of an engagement with a German machine, his aeroplane hit in several places, he compelled his adversary to retreat.”

Narutz, an American philosopher, a serious personage, went through the hard fighting of 1915 and was killed on the Somme in July, 1916.

Norman Prince, Boston, Mass., a Harvard man of splendid character, was descending in the early darkness at Corceuix, when his machine ran into a telegraph wire and tipped. Taken to Gerardmer, while lying unconscious, the Legion of Honor was pinned to his breast alongside of the Croix de Guerre and the Medaille Militaire. That day he had brought down a Boche machine, the third he had accounted for. Cited as follows:—

Prince, Sergeant, Pilot in Squadron V. B. 108:—An American citizen, who enlisted for the duration of the war; excellent military pilot who always shows proof of the greatest audacity and presence of mind;—ever impatient to start, he has executed numerous expeditions of bombardment, particularly successful in a region which was difficult in consequence of the 78firing of the enemy’s artillery, by which his aeroplane was frequently hit.”

Killed October 15, 1916.

Fred Prince, brother of Norman, is now in the aviation, while the father, Mr. Prince, is one of the best friends of the Foreign Legion boys, and they, like France, do not forget.

Dr. Van Vorst, from the middle west, a Spanish War veteran in America, adjutant in the Foreign Legion. He introduced new sanitary ideas into the camps of repose and kept the stretcher bearers busy cleaning up.

William Thaw, Pittsburgh, Pa., passed the first winter, 1914-15, in the trenches with the Legion, rose in aviation to lieutenant. One of the best liked Americans in France. Cited frequently in General Orders, decorated for bravery, wounded in the arm. Promoted to Major in U. S. Army.

One Citation: “Thaw, pilot, corporal at that time of Squadron C. 42:—Has always given proof of fine qualities, courage and coolness. On two separate occasions, in the course of scouting tours, his machine was violently shelled and was struck by shrapnel, great damage being done. Nevertheless, he continued to 79observe the enemy’s positions and did not return until he had accomplished the object of his mission.”

Another citation: “Lieutenant Wm. Thaw, an excellent pilot. He returned to the front after receiving a serious wound, and has never failed to set an example of courage and dash. During the German retreat, he showed initiative and intelligence by landing near troops on the march, so as to place them in possession of information. Brought down his second aeroplane, April 26th.”

Braxton Bigelow, grandson of John Bigelow, author, New York City, a mining engineer by profession, followed this occupation in Alaska and South America, was promoted to captain in France and disappeared in a trench raid, July 23, 1917.

Henry Claude, Boston, Mass., one of the Legion grenadiers, was cited in the Orders of the Day and decorated for conspicuous gallantry at Auberieve, June, 1917.

Edward M. Collier, Bass Rocks, Iowa, Aviator, injured in a smash-up June, 1917.

Elliot C. Cowdin, a Harvard man, member of the Foreign Legion, home address Gramercy Park, Manhattan and Cedarhurst, L. I.

80First American to receive the Medaille Militaire.

Citation:—“Cowdin, Sergeant, Pilot in Squadron V. B. 108, an American citizen engaged for the duration of the war; executes daily long bombardment expeditions, is an excellent pilot and has several times attacked the enemy’s aeroplanes. He attacked them and forced them successively to descend; one of them appeared to be seriously damaged, as was his own and his motor by the firing from the German avion; his helmet also bore the traces of several shots.”

Snowy Williams has been in different sections of the Foreign Legion, in Serbia, Albania, Egypt, Africa and France. He was gassed, wounded, taken prisoner, almost burned to death in hospital; but made his escape, was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and twice cited in Army orders. A famous jockey, he runs with the Legion rather than with horses, and comes out, in both cases, a winner.

Everett Buckley, Kilbourne, Illinois, a former racing automobile driver, having competed with Barney Oldfield. On Dec. 15, 1917, during a battle with a two sector Boche machine, had his control cut, dropped 8,000 feet 81and arrived, a prisoner, in Germany. Eight months later made his escape into Switzerland.

M. Paringfield, of San Francisco, a soldier of the Legion, was shot below the knee in an attack, spring of 1917. Killed in autumn, 1917.

Allen Richard Blount, son of Richard Blount, the chemist of North Carolina and Paris, entered the Foreign Legion with his father’s consent, who said he would be satisfied if the boy killed five Boches.

One morning that young man brought thirty German prisoners into the French lines, received the Croix de Guerre, a brilliant citation, and a trip to Paris, and went back again for more.

Edward Charles Genet, Sassening, New York, killed in aeroplane near Ham, is buried at Golancourt in a German cemetery. The machine was smashed, the body placed in a wagon, drawn by one horse, which also carried the wooden cross which marked the grave and the U. S. flag which covered the coffin.

F. W. Zinn, Battle Creek, Michigan, graduate of University of Michigan, passed the first year in the Legion, was hit by a chunk of metal in Champagne attack, September 1915, which did not break the skin, but broke bones and 82made internal troubles. On recovery, he went into the Aviation. Later he was promoted to Captain in the U. S. Army. As modest as he is brave, decorated for gallantry, having received two citations in two weeks, he said:—“Do not say anything about me, there are too many unknown Frenchmen who deserve publicity more than I.”

Harman Edwin Hall, killed at Givenchy, June 17, 1917.

W. R. Hall, or Bert Hall, one of old Legion, who went into the Aviation, well-known, well-liked, good soldier, decorated with the Croix de Guerre with three citations. On furlough in America June, 1918. Author of “En l’Air.”

James Norman Hall, Corporal, Colfax, Iowa, aviator, author of “Kichinger’s Mob,” shot down two Boche machines, and destroyed a third. Four days later, June 25, 1917, fighting seven machines, was wounded, and reported killed. However, he managed to make the French territory, and landed in an empty trench with the wings of his machine resting on each side.

Writing to a friend, he said:—“I am flying 125 miles an hour and now I see why birds 83sing.” Hall was the first American aviator to win the distinguished service cross of the American Army.

John Earle Fike, Wooster, Ohio, Foreign Legion, killed at Givenchy, June 17, 1915.

James B. McConnell, 28 years of age, born in Chicago, graduate of Haverford, Pennsylvania, and University of Virginia, a Railroad, Land and Industrial Agent, by profession. Writing for an American magazine, he was killed before the material was printed.

He said:—“The more I saw of the splendidness of the fight the French were making, the more I felt like a slacker.” He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre, and killed March 26, 1917, while fighting two German aviators. His body was found amid the wreckage of the machine by French troops on the advance through the devastated district. The old bullet marked propeller from this wrecked machine, which formerly marked his grave, has now been superseded by two cannon, erected by special order of the U. S. Government.

McConnell said,—”The war may kill me but I have to thank it for much.”

Schuyler Deming, American citizen, soldier of the Legion, killed in attack August, 1917.

84Dr. James A. Blake, American Surgeon, who gave his services to France at the outbreak of the war;—was requested by the French Government to take charge of the hospital in the Ave. du Bois du Bologne with 300 beds. He was decorated with the Legion of Honor.

Marius Roche, New York, arrived in France in 1914, only 17 years of age, decorated with the Croix de Guerre, wounded at Verdun.

Edward Mandell Stone, a Harvard graduate, was the first American volunteer killed in France.

N. Frank Clair, Columbus, Ohio, died in hospital of wounds received in action.

Nelson Larson, a former American sailor, was killed on the Somme on our Independence day, July 4, 1916.

Brock B. Bonnell, Brooklyn, New York, soldier of the Legion, seriously wounded, returned home to America, decorated with the Croix de Guerre, the Medaille Militaire and a wooden leg.

Frank Whitmore, Richmond, Va., decorated for conspicuous bravery, on the Somme, July, 1916, wounded in the spring offensive, 1917, now in hospital, covered with bandages, medals and glory.

85Edward Morlae, California, an old American ex-soldier. He served in the Philippines with the First California Heavy Artillery, then in the Mexican Civil War, then turned up in France and tried to pass Spanish conversation off for French. He was wounded in October, 1915, decorated with the Croix de Guerre and is now in America. A good soldier and aggressive character, he is one man who will always be remembered by Americans in the Legion.

H. W. Farnsworth, Harvard graduate, Boston, Mass., killed in attack 1915, was a correspondent of the Providence Journal and in Mexico when the war broke out.

From France in his last letter home he wrote,—“If anything happens to me you may be sure that I was on my way to victory for these troops may have been demolished, but never beaten.

He preferred to become a Petit Zephyr de la Legion Etrangere and to sleep, like the birds, under the open sky, surrounded by congenial comrades, exchanging horizons with each season.

J. S. Carstairs, a Harvard graduate, was a member of the Foreign Legion.

Geo. W. Ganson put in the first winter in the 86trenches with the Foreign Legion. He was a Harvard graduate whose ministerial manner did not prevent the mud from hanging to his clothes, nor the whiskers on his face. He was mustered out and went back to America, but he returned to France in 1917 and went into the artillery service.

Robert Pellissier, a Harvard graduate, became a sergeant in Chasseur Alpins. He was killed on the Somme, August 29, 1916.

Henry Augustus Coit, a Harvard man, died of injuries received at the front, August 7, 1916.

Robert L. Culbert, New York City, was killed in action in Belgium.

Albert N. Depew, an American youth, wears his Veterans of Foreign Wars badge beside his Croix de Guerre. He has been a gunner and chief petty officer in the United States navy, a member of the Foreign Legion, also captain of a gun turret on the French battle ship Cassard. After his honorable discharge from the American navy, he entered French service, was transferred to the Legion, fought on the west front, and participated in the spectacular Gallipoli campaign, was captured on the steamship Georgic by the Moewe, a German commerce raider, and spent months of torture in a German 87prison camp. He has written a book, “Gunner Depew”; and is at present on a speechmaking tour of America.

Demetire, St. Louis, Mo., soldier of the Legion, killed four Germans,—two with grenades, two with rifle, in an outpost engagement the night previous to the attack of April 17, 1917. Going over the top the following day, he was killed.

Henry Beech Needham, American journalist, was killed near Paris, 1915, while making a trial flight with Lieutenant Warneford, who was the first man to, alone, bring down a Zeppelin machine.

D. Parrish Starr, a Harvard graduate, was killed in action September 15, 1916.

Andrew C. Champollion, New York, an American, painter by profession, Harvard graduate, a big game hunter, went to the front March 1st, 1915. He was a descendant of the Champollion, who deciphered the Rosetta Stone, and grandson of Austin Carbin. His ancestors had followed Napoleon’s Eagles through Italy and Egypt and this boy was killed by a bullet in the forehead at Bois le Pietre, March 23, 1915.

In his last letter he wrote:—”Last night we 88slept in the second line trenches (not so bad), but today we are nose to nose with the enemy on the frontiest of fronts. It is the damnedest life imaginable. You are no longer treated like an irresponsible ass, but like a man, while you live the life of a beast or a savage.

Guy Augustine, of San Francisco, son of the U. S. Consul to Barcelona, member of the Foreign Legion, was decorated with the Croix de Guerre for bravery at Chalons-Sur-Marne, July 14, 1917.

Sylvain Rosenberg, New York, 23 years of age, son of Max Rosenberg, with the 19th Company of the 251st Regiment, wounded on the Marne, Sept. 7, 1914;—in Argonne, Dec. 8, 1915,—cited in the Orders of the Day,—and killed March 15, 1916, at Verdun.

The Lafayette Escadrille, No. 124, is an offspring of the Legion, formed by Rockwell, Curtis, Thaw, Hall, Back, Chapman, Cowdin and Prince, who kept pounding the Colonel of the Legion on the back, so much that he gave his consent, to get rid of them. It has formed a nucleus of All-Americans that became the start, or foundation, of that immense fleet of aeroplanes that is to furnish the eyes that will find the weak places in the enemy’s line through 89which the Allies will march to victory. First Americans to carry their national flag into action as a fighting unit, April 11, 1917.

Originally called the Franco-American Escadrille, but the name was changed to satisfy pro-Germans, who claimed to be Americans, but these aviators did not change their emblem. The Red Indian sign is still on the machines. The old boys from the Legion are in the seats, and we hope to see every man an officer, dressed in the uniform of his own country.

About the time the United States entered the war, the Americans of the Legion offered their services to the American Government at home and were not then accepted and the following letter, among others, was sent to the New York Herald by a French lady:—

”American Veterans in France.
“April 28, 1917.

“Sir:—May I ask through your columns why it is that those few Americans, brave enough to seek voluntarily, while their country was still neutral, the ranks, of our army, have not yet been claimed by their own Government, whose citizens they remain, while all at home 90are apparently receiving commissions and honor, are these men to remain sergeants and soldiers in the French Army, unrecognized and unhonored by their mother country?

“To me, their part was such a beautiful one, to leave home and luxury and peace for this carnage to follow their ideals, to risk death voluntarily, if it aid their friends.

“Surely, your people cannot understand how deeply the spirit of those boys has touched the hearts of French women in these trying times. And, now that the spirit of your people has risen to their side, are these leaders to be forgotten?

“The two aviators, Genet and Hoskier, who have died since April 3, were in French uniform. Frenchmen respect them; do not Americans?

A French Mother.”

The Continental edition of the New York Herald is not a mail order catalogue, or a political organ, it is a real newspaper, and the only American journal published in France. It is well printed on good paper. It records the doings of society. Its columns are open to the opinions of others. It publishes the most cutting criticism of its own policy with the greatest 91of pleasure. It prints every appeal for charity—from humans to cats.

It fought for International Honesty, when leaders and trimmers were silent. When the leaders woke up, it pushed. Its accurate information, often suppressed by the censor, makes every blank space an honor mark. While the editor, like the petite Parisienne, whose demure eyes cannot conceal the lurking mischief within, just writes enough editorially to make the reader wish for more.

Its vigorous American attitude in 1915 and 1916 gave the French people hope. It gave the repatriated American comfort, for it strengthened his convictions. He felt better for knowing that some, at least, of his countrymen had the courage to stand up for the cause he was willing to die for. So, he went forward cheerfully. He knew he was following the right path and he was not alone. The Herald gave him comfort. It sustained him in adversity.

92

CHAPTER IV
FIRST AMERICAN FLAG IN FRANCE

Americans in the Legion came and went. Singly or in groups they went wounded into hospitals, prisoners into Germany. Dead they took the western trail to eternity. Missing they disappeared into oblivion. A few were permitted to exchange into French Regiments, where, mothered by France, they were welcomed as her own.

August 21, 1914, in the court yard of the Hotel des Invalides, occurred that grand mobilization of foreigners, who, in admiration for France, placed their lives at her disposal. Grouped together, each under a separate standard, these cast the vote of inspiring constituents, lovers of freedom, back home.

Next day, the American volunteers assembled at No. 11 Rue de Valois, and had breakfast through the courtesy of M. Georges Casmeze at the Café de la Regence. Starting out from the Palace Royale in the Latin Quarter, that corner of old Paris where, in by-gone days, 93Camille Desmoulins jumped on a chair and made the speech that started the French Revolution, these latter day revolters against the “Divine Right of Kings” and absolute monarchism began the greatest venture the world has ever known.

The volunteers marched through the Place de l’Opera, Phelizot carrying high and proudly the Stars and Stripes, which received a great ovation en route. Thence to the Gare St. Lazare, to Rouen, where they met retreating English soldiers, many wounded and utterly exhausted. Thence to Toulouse, whence, after a very brief training, they were sent to the front.

February, 1915, in the village of repose there occurred one of those lamentable misunderstandings, which, in spite of official far-sightedness, occasionally happen in the best regulated organizations. Begun in fun, it ended in death, and almost started a civil war between volunteers and Legionnaires.

A little New Yorker commenced to chaff and jolly a big, burly Arab, who, not understanding American methods of joshing, thought the little fellow was desperately in earnest; and, of course, he got angry, as he was expected to. 94What the Arab intended to reply was that he could whip two men like his tormenter. He did say he could whip two Americans. Phelizot, coming on the scene just then, overhearing the remark, yelled,—“You can’t whip one,” and waded in to educate the Arab.

In about two minutes, the Arab had enough, and ran among a crowd of Legionnaires for protection. One of the Legionnaires swung a canteen and hit Phelizot on the head, who did not stop till he beat the Arab to the ground. Morlae, Capdeville and other volunteers ran to Phelizot’s aid. Legionnaires flocked from all corners. A pitched battle seemed imminent. An officer heard the tumult, happening along, and separated them. The Arabs were transferred to another battalion. The Americans were herded into a loft, and placed under arrest; while sentinels walked underneath, with fixed bayonets, till the Arabs had been moved, bag and baggage.

The doctor who dressed Phelizot’s wound probably did not know the canteen was rusty. Possibly he did not know he was hit by a canteen. At any rate, he did not give an anti-tetanic injection. The injured man steadily grew worse. He was not a squealer, and insisted on 95marching in line till the pain became unbearable. When too late, his condition was discovered. He had contracted blood poison which resulted in his death.

He was a splendid specimen of manhood, an American first, last, all the time. A dead shot, he was hunting elephants in Africa when the war broke out. In spite of having a large consignment of ivory confiscated by the Germans in Antwerp, he donated several thousand francs to the Belgian Relief Fund.

By his untimely death, the Legion lost one of its strongest characters, France a fine soldier and America a good citizen. He was buried at Ferme d’Alger. His last words, were,—“I am an American.”

The flag was carried by Phelizot until his death. Then, Bob Soubiron wrapped it about his own body and so kept it until he was wounded in October, 1915. On his recovery, February, 1916, it was taken to the Aviation, and, July 14, 1917, presented, by Dr. Watson, to the French Government. It was deposited in the Hotel des Invalides along with the other historic battle flags of France. The Minister of War acknowledged its receipt,—“I accept 96with pleasure, in the name of the French army, this glorious emblem, for which General Noix, Governor of the Invalides, has reserved a beautiful place in the Hall of Honor in the Museum of the Army.”

United States Army
INDIVIDUAL SERVICE
MEDAL
Spanish-American War
1898

United States Army
INDIVIDUAL SERVICE
MEDAL
Philippine Insurrection
1899

97

CHAPTER V
FOREIGNERS IN THE LEGION

Within this present generation, men like Lord Kitchener, King Peter of Serbia, Vernof, a Russian prince, and Albert F. Nordmann, who died in Algeria and was reported a relative of Kaiser Wilhelm II, belonged to this famous corps. This chapter presents some illustrious foreigners who have served during the present war.

Nagar Aza, son of the Persian minister to France, decorated for bravery and three times cited in Army Orders, again cited and decorated for brilliant conduct at Auberieve, April 17, 1917.

Edwin Bucher, a Swiss sculptor, pupil of Roden and Bourdelle, has marked the resting places of the Foreign Legion by carving exquisite figures on the solid walls of everlasting rock.

Marquis de Montesquion, compelled to leave the French Army because his Catholic soul would not permit him to dismantle churches, 98joined the Foreign Legion. On Sept. 28, 1915, when acting as Lieutenant in Battalion G, 2nd Legion, he saw a German white flag projecting from the enemy’s position. He went over with eight men to take possession and all were shot down by the treacherous enemy and killed.

M. Lobedef, a Russian, promoted to lieutenant in 1915. He later returned to Russia and became Minister of Marine.

Abel Djebelis, a Maltese, winner of the Marathon race between Windsor and London, England, June, 1914. He was wounded at Champagne in 1915 and on the Somme in 1916, by two bullets each time. While waiting to be mustered out at Lyons, July, 1917, he entered a race under the name of Marius, and won from twenty competitors. Discharged for disability.

M. Valsamakis, a Greek, rose to a lieutenancy in the Legion and was decorated with the Legion of Honor. He returned home and was arrested in Athens for participating in the street riots of December, 1916.

Piechkoff Gorky, Russian, son of Maxim Gorky, the novelist, had an arm blown away by a shell. He received the Legion of Honor for bravery and is now attached to the Russian Mission in France.

99Bruno and Peppino Garibaldi, Italians, sons of an illustrious father, killed in bayonet attack in Artois, spring of 1915. French admirers have had their profiles, in a medal, fitted into the statue of Garibaldi in the Square Lowendal, Paris. The square is named for one Legionnaire, the statue is built for another.

Eilyaken, an Egyptian, was attending the Conservatory of Music at Brussels when the war broke out. A natural born actor, he burlesqued the military system of the Legion so accurately that the sous-officers managed to keep him in prison in order to silence his cutting sarcasm. He was shot, square through both cheek bones, in the Champagne attack, in 1915, and carried to shelter on the back of an officer. Mustered out in 1916.

An East Indian, name unknown, blew in, like a blaze of glory, between two French military policemen. He was dressed in English khaki—clothes, leggings, spy-glass, map-book, canteen, haversack, spurs, a brand new English rifle, with a pocket full of 100 franc notes.

“What is that, an English soldier?”

“No, a civilian.”

Such he proved to be, a practicing physician in London, who had equipped himself, and arrived 100at the little village where the Legion was in repose. A stout man, the officer in command, addressed the East Indian,—

“Why don’t you report yourself at headquarters?”

“How can I report myself, till I can find the place to report?”

“Why don’t you report to your superior officer?”

“I can’t report to him till I can find him, can I?”

“Don’t you know I am your superior officer;—why don’t you salute?”

“If you are, consider yourself saluted.”

The Major roared out, in disgust,—“Here, sergeant, take this fool to prison.”

De Chamer, Swiss, a major in the Swiss National Army, fought his way up in the Legion from a private to a captaincy. The Swiss residents of Paris showed appreciation of their countrymen in the service of France by inviting them to a banquet held in the Palais d’Orsay, on Independence Day, Aug. 1, 1917.

Emery, Swiss, a student of Oxford University, England, outspoken, independent and intelligent—a good comrade, was killed on the Somme, July, 1916.

101Ben Azef, an Arab, an Oriental priest, always wanted water, when there was none. He would flop onto his knees, face toward the East, and bow his forehead to the ground. Then get up on the trench and rail at the Germans for their swinish propensities and ruthless rapacity.

A shell dropped into his section. His comrades threw themselves on the ground and yelled out:—

“Get down, you, blamed fool, you’ll get killed!”

Ben Azef stood majestically erect, gazed calmly and contemplatively at the shell (fortunately it was a dud—one which fails to explode) and said,—“My friends, death to me is not destruction. It is the consummation of my material life,—the commencement of my Life Divine.”

He was shot dead through the heart, in 1916.

Ch. A. Hochedlinger, an educated Polish gentleman, speaks half a dozen languages, was twice wounded. When in hospital, he met and married a lovely French girl from Algiers, who now conducts his business at Bordeaux, while he gives his services to France.

Michal Ballala, an Abyssinian Prince, in spite of his color, had the dainty figure and elegant 102bearing of a woman of fashion. He was wounded in 1915.

Colonel Elkington, of the English Royal Warwickshire Regiment, served as a private soldier in the Legion. He was seriously wounded in the attack on the Bois Sabot, Sept. 28, 1915. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire.

One morning, on inspection, an Alsatian Captain of the Legion, noticing he was short a button, said,—“No button? Four days confined to quarters.”

Elkington replied,—“Merci, mon capitaine.” (Thank you, my captain.)

On recovery from his serious wounds, he returned to England and was reinstated in his former rank.

Said Mousseine and his two brothers, sons of Sultan Ali of the Grand Comorres, who, being too old to fight, sent his best beloved to aid the country he holds so dear. Said was promoted to corporal and transferred to the 22nd Colonials.

Augustus St. Gaudens, cousin of the sculptor who made the Adams monument in Rock Creek cemetery, Washington, D. C., whose father 103lived near the old Academy of Design on Fourth Avenue, New York.

Another cousin of St. Gaudens, Homer, is in charge of the 300 men in the U. S. Army, known as the Camouflage Corps, or the army in advance of the army.

Varma,[C] a Hindoo, black whiskered, silent. Let those speculate about him who would, let them glean what information they could.


C. In Aug., 1918, a man same name, same type, was arrested in Paris by the gendarmesgendarmes for making and selling bogus diamonds.


M. Ariel, a Turk, dealer in antiques in civil life. He was seriously wounded on the Somme, in 1916. I met him at Legion headquarters a year later and found him carrying a purse made of his own skin.

E. Seriadis, a Greek, was a Lieutenant in the Army of Greece. He had three medals from the Balkan wars. These he refused to wear because King Constantine’s face disgraced them. He was serious|y wounded in the body in 1915, and, during the winter of 1916, all the toes of both feet were frozen off. At the age of twenty-three, he was mustered out—used up.

Tex Bondt, a Hollander, a wonderful character, a splendid specimen of manhood, brave as a lion, quick as a steel trap, the only son of a Count, with an unbroken lineage, extending 104back for 800 years, his record in the Legion would fill a book.

He went out and captured two Germans single handed. He tried to capture a third but was discovered. He threw a grenade, and, both sides taking alarm, started an engagement. He was between the lines and was reported missing. Four hours later, he reported himself alive.

In Alsace he worked and slaved to chop up a poor peasant woman’s wood-pile—just to show her a Hollander could keep his word.

He was shot through the lungs and taken to the hospital. Months later, reporting at the depot, he was informed that he was dead.

When on convalescence in Paris, living on one meal per day, he met one of France’s most accomplished and wealthy daughters. He is now her acknowledged suitor.

Seeing him in prison one day, I asked,—

“What are you in for?”

“Nothing.”

“How’s that?”

“Well, a friend in London asked me why I did not write about Legion life, and I responded,—‘My dear fellow, if I wrote you all I know 105about the Legion, it would make your hair stand on end!’”

Sorenson, a Dane, from Schleswig-Holstein, formerly a policeman at St. Thomas, Danish West Indies. He came to me holding a letter in his hand and said,—

“Just see here what those swine have done—they have fined my mother a hundred marks because she gave a crust of bread to a French prisoner.”

Poor fellow, the last I saw of him was on Sept. 25, 1915, during the attack. He had been buried by a shell—other soldiers had run over him in the rush. After he worked through the loose earth and freed himself, I listened to him as in broken French, English and Danish he apologized to the captain for the broken straps of his knapsack and a lost gun. His round chest was flattened out, his face dirty and bloody, grazed by hob-nailed boots, and blood was trickling from a round hole in his forehead. The captain, a good sort, patted him on the back and told him to go to the Red Cross Station. The poor fellow staggered away and was never heard from again.

Guimeau, Mauritius Islands, a plantation owner, of French descent, under British rule, 106spoke French but no English. He was an energetic character and a valuable member of the machine gun section.

In 1915, after taking several lessons in tactics, he went to the lieutenant,—

“What are we waiting here for? Why don’t we go to the front?”

“We are waiting for the guns.”

“How many are needed for our section and how much do they cost?”

“Two, at 2,000 francs each.”

“Well, here are 4,000 francs. Buy them and let us get out where we belong.”

When he was about to change to the British Army, the Colonel of the Legion, the Chief of the Battalion and the Captain of the Company waited for five minutes while the British Ambassador explained to Guimeau the benefits of changing armies. After listening to the finish he said,—“Will you repeat that in French? I did not understand a word you said.” Knowing his desire to leave the Legion, his Captain asked, why he, of French descent, speaking only that language, should not be satisfied with his comrades who were proud of him. He replied,—“The British flag is the flag of my country. It protects me. I want to protect it.” So he 107went to Great Britain, and the British, not knowing what to do with this handy, ready Legionnaire, sent him to school.

Dinah Salifon, son of an African King from the Soudan, Egypt, enlisted in 1914. He was promoted to a Lieutenancy and decorated with the Legion of Honor. He later became Commissioner of Police at BrazzarvilleBrazzarville.

Etchevarry, a French convict, escaped from French Guiana, made his way to the United States and returned to France, under an assumed name, to fight for his native land. He enlisted in the Foreign Legion. He made an enviable record. But he was recognized and ordered to return to the penal settlement. Measures were taken in his behalf by the Society of the Rights of Men, in response to whose appeal President Poincaré signed a reprieve. Etchevarry returned to the front a free man, in December, 1915.

Nick Korneis, a Greek push-cart peddler, who used to sell bananas at Twenty-third Street and Avenue B, New York City, was decorated for bravery at Verdun, with the following citation: “Korneis, Nick, Legionnaire, 11th Company, Foreign Legion—Elite grenadier, who on August 20, 1917, won the admiration 108of all his comrades by his courage and contempt for danger. He led his comrades to the conquest of a trench, which was defended with energy, and which was captured along a distance of 1,500 yards, after several hours of bloody combat;—took single handed, numerous prisoners;—already cited twice in Army Orders.”

Rene Betrand, New Jersey, was over two years on the front, a member of the Regiment Colonial of Morocco, which is part of the famous 19th Army Corps. He received the Croix de Guerre for bravery, and at Douaumont, Oct. 4, 1915, the Legion of Honor for personally finishing off a Boche machine gun section and bringing in the gun. That is the record, a well built, uninjured man on board ship gave me when I asked him how he had earned the Legion of Honor, and why he wore the fouragere of the Foreign Legion. In July, 1918, a man, same name, turned up in Paris decorated with nine medals, minus an arm and a leg, claiming his body bore more than 30 bullet and bayonet wounds. The gendarmes promptly arrested him as the world’s greatest fakir, declared he had lost the arm and leg in a railroad accident and that five imprisonments instead of five citations composed his record.

109

CHAPTER VI
ENGLISHMEN AND RUSSIANS LEAVE

About 350 Englishmen were with the Americans in the same Battalion of the 2nd Legion. They had enlisted when the Huns were advancing on Paris. Common peril drew the bravest of all countries to the front. Possibly, they were promised later transfer to the English Army; but, once in the Legion, they were as nuns in a convent, to do as told, dead to the outside world.

An American writer has said, “England’s greatest assets are patriotism and money.” He overlooked the foundation of both—MEN, the Englishman who dares to do and does it. He knows his rights, and insists on them.

After the Germans were driven back at the Marne and trench conditions established, these men demanded to be sent home to fight for their native land. They went to the Captain, who could not help. They went to the Colonel, who would not. They had the British Ambassador request their release from the French 110War Department, with no better results. Ere they were transferred, the subject was brought up in the Chamber of Deputies.

Just before they left, a number went to the company captain with their breakfasts, cups of black coffee, in their hands.

“What is this, mon capitaine?”

“Your little breakfasts, mes enfants.”

“This would not keep a chipping sparrow alive—let alone a man.”

“You received a half loaf of bread yesterday.”

“Yes, but we ate that yesterday.”

“Well, I am sorry. That is the regular rations of the French Army. I cannot change it.”

Walking away, disgruntled, a cockney muttered to his comrade,—“’E thinks we are blooming canaries!”

The bull-dog tactics of the persistent English did not appeal to the officers of the Legion. Probably the last to go were Poole and Darcy, two powerful silent fellows, who were in hospital, delayed by unhealed wounds.

Originally, there were two Darcy brothers. While making a machine gun emplacement, they heard a noise in front. One of the brothers with half the detachment went out to investigate. 111The other stayed at work. A German shell dropped into the emplacement and killed, or knocked senseless, every man. Red Cross workers, who gathered together the mutilated and the shell-shocked Darcy, were startled to hear some one in front. Looking around, they saw the other Darcy drag his shattered limbs over the edge of a shell hole. He expired, saying, “The damned cowards ran away and left me.” The others were all killed.

In June, 1915, after six months of constant warfare, poor food, no furloughs, cold winter weather and scanty clothing had so brought down the morale of the men that they didn’t care whether they lived or not. They were absolutely fed up to the limit on misery.

Many Russian Jews volunteered, as had the English, to help France. Russia later called her subjects to the colors. Negotiations were under way in Paris to facilitate the exchange of Russians from the Foreign Legion to the Russian Army. They were informed that the Colonel had received orders to permit their return to their native land.

Possibly, the negotiations had been completed, perhaps not. Perhaps the Colonel was 112not officially instructed. However, the Russian volunteers, relying on their information, when ordered to dig trenches, refused to do so. They demanded to be sent home. Officers argued with them and pointed out the penalty of refusing to obey when in front of the enemy. They didn’t care, would not work, and could not be forced. So ten of the ringleaders were court-martialed, sentenced to death, taken out into the woods near the little village of Merfy, blindfolded—shot. Tearing the bandage from his eyes and baring his chest to the bullet, one cried out, “Long live France; long live the Allies, but God damn the Foreign Legion!”

Next morning the others refused to work again,—“You have killed our brothers. Kill us also—we are not afraid to die.” They were not killed but were court-martialed and sentenced to fifteen years’ penal servitude.

The third morning, no one would work. These cheerful fatalists said, “We are Russians—our country calls us—we demand to go, and you tell us go to work. We will not work. You killed our brothers, kill us also. You may mutilate our bodies, but you cannot crush our souls.” These also court-martialed, were sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude.

113There were many Russians. They showed no disposition to yield. The load was getting too heavy,—even for the broad shoulders of officers of the Legion. The underground wireless had been working. A sigh of relief went up when a high Russian official, breast covered with decorations, arrived from Paris. About the same time, orders came from the French headquarters to stop proceedings. The penal servitude sentences were not carried out; but they could not bring back the dead to life.

Inside of one month, Battalion F of the 2nd Legion, to which the unhappy men belonged, was merged into others. In two months, the Russians were transferred to the Russian Army. Four months later, the Regiment had ceased to exist.

114

CHAPTER VII
TRENCHES

The real, well-made, manicured trench is from two and a half to three feet wide and eight or ten feet deep. The narrower the trench, the better. It gives the least space for German shells to drop in and blow occupants out. The more crooked the trench the better. The enemy has smaller chance to make an enfilading (raking lengthwise) fire. Here only are narrowness and crookedness virtues.

Each trench is embellished with channels, mines, saps, tunnels, subterranean passages, and bomb proof structures of various sorts. Out in front, are from ten to fifty yards of barbed wire entanglements, through which a Jack rabbit could not go without getting hung up. The German has about the same arrangement on his side. That piece of open ground between the German wire and the French wire is known as “No-Man’s-Land.” In the night, patrols of men, German and French, promenade this strip, to 115guard against surprise attacks, and make observations of the enemy.

Patrols often meet in conflict. Some never come back. Others, wounded, must lie in shell holes, awaiting an opportunity to return. At the sign of an attack, darkness is lighted by star shells. It is then necessary for the patrol to get back to the wire-cut lane, or tunneled hole under the wires where they went out, their only refuge and chance for safety.

Back of the first line trench is the second, back of that a third. In some places, there are a dozen lines of trenches, different distances apart, varying with local conditions. From the rear, at right angles, interweaving like meshes of a net, are the communication and auxiliary branches through which men bring up supplies, provisions and ammunition.

In the front line trenches, in addition to the infantry’s rifles and grenades, are machine guns and trench mortars. Around the second line, the 75’s and field artillery. About the third line, with the reserves, stand heavy artillery. So, when one side attacks the other, they must cross that open “No-Man’s-Land,” go through these barbed wire entanglements, meet the rifle fire and grenades of the infantry, and those 116three rows of artillery. You can readily see why the line remains stationary along the front for so long, also how, when it has been broken or bent, there has been such great loss of life.

It was in a bomb proof shelter of a first line trench, in the middle of the night, at Sillery-Sur-Marne, that I met the “American,” whose real name was Dubois. I did not then understand French and had been placed on guard by a French corporal who could not speak English. He pointed to the hole, then at the Boche trench opposite, and walked away. The post was well protected by sandbags and solid timbers overhead, with an observation hole, one inch deep by three inches wide, cut into armor plate, in front. The usual, intermittent warfare was in progress, and it suddenly developed into a battle. The post was out on an angle. Rifle clashes were all about. No one was near in the open trench. So, getting uneasy, I became afraid I was cut off or left behind.

I started toward the trench just as a big shell burst there. I ducked back, concluded the sheltered post was better than the open trench, then glued my eye on the 1 × 3 observation hole. Yes, no doubt, the Germans were advancing in 117mass formation. I could see, through the little hole, against the sky line, the bayonets on their guns. A noise near my ear compelled my attention. Then I felt and saw better. Those bayonets were hairs, sticking straight out from a big, fat, impudent rat, who sniffed along and looked through the hole squarely into my eye. I spat at the rat, which retreated a few inches, then stopped to await developments. This nerve angered me and I started to go outside to throw a rock at the rodent, when a voice behind said in English,—“Damn it, that cussed sergeant has plugged it up.”

From the shelter I could see a nondescript figure clad in an old, abbreviated bath-robe, tassels hanging down in front, shoes unlaced, rifle in hand, ruefully gazing at a new stack of sandbags, which blocked a small exit into “No-Man’s-Land.” He might have been a soldier but he did not look it. He might have been French, but America was stamped all over that free-moving, powerful figure, in his quick acting, decisive manner and set jaws, square-cut, like a paving block.

Thus, we two Americans, who had arrived from different directions, each animated by the same idea, sat down at the jumping off 118place amid those unnatural surroundings and got acquainted.

It was bizarre. The devilishness, the beauty, alternately, shocked the feelings or soothed the senses. Darkness and grotesque shadows, intermingled with colored illumination, scattering streams of golden hail, followed by red flame and acolytes, while sharp, white streaks of cannon fire winked, blinked, and were lost in the never-ending din. Between the occasional roll of musketry and the rat-rat-tat-tat of machine guns, we watched the pyrotechnic display and talked.

Yes, he was an American, and had been ten months without a furlough. He had been out in front sniping all the afternoon. That cheapskate sergeant, who is always nosing around, must have missed him and closed up the outlet.

“Yes,” he soliloquized, “the world is not fit to live in any more. The Kaiser has mobilized God Almighty. The Crown Prince said he could bring the Devil from hell with his brave German band. The Mexicans broke up my business and destroyed my happy home. Here in France, they made me take off my good clothes and don these glad rags. This bath robe is all I have left of my ancient grandeur—and 119there is not much of it, but it is all wool and a yard wide—not as long as it used to be, but it is warm. I know it looks like hell, but it is a sort of comfort to me, and is associated with happier days.

“Yes,” he ruminated, ”if I am not careful I won’t have enough left to make a pocket handkerchief. Here I have taken five or six pair of Russian socks from it, and bandaged up Pierre’s wound, and I only have enough for four more pairs of socks after I have taken some pieces to clean my rifle with.”

He was a man of unusual history, even for the Legion. Some months previous, seeing an Alsatian officer strike a small man, the American stepped up and said: “Why don’t you take a man your own size?” For answer the officer pulled a revolver and thrust it at his breast. Dubois, gazing down through the eyes of the officer, clear into his heart, said: “Shoot, damn you, shoot. You dare not; you have not got the nerve!”

He was an expert gymnast. He played the piano, accompanying the singers at concerts, during repose. When encored, he came back with a song in French. In conquered Alsace, he spoke German with the natives.

120On the day we made the 48-kilometer march to the summit of Ballon d’Alsace and back, while the company was resting Dubois was striding up and down, knapsack on back, hands in pockets. I said: “What are you doing? Can’t you sit down and rest?”

“Oh,” he replied, “I was telling the lieutenant that instead of poking along with these short, fiddling steps, the men should march out like this,—like we do in America!” It is a fact that the French take the longest strides, and are the best marchers in the world!

121

CHAPTER VIII
JULY 4, 1915

Several American journalists, “May their tribe increase!” among them Mr. Grundy, of the New York Sun; Nabob Hedin, of the Brooklyn Eagle; Mr. Mower, of the Chicago Daily News; Mr. Roberts, of the Associated Press, and Wythe Williams, of the New York Times, presented a petition to the Minister of War for the Americans to celebrate Independence Day in Paris. It was granted. The good news made a bigger noise on the front than the heaviest bomb that ever fell. It did not seem possible,—too good to be true!

Previously, no one, French or foreigner, soldier or officer, had been allowed to leave his post. From then on, everyone received his regular furlough at stated intervals—more liberal as danger lessened. Now, each man is granted ten days every four months.

Evening of July 3d I was on guard in front of Fort Brimont, three kilometers from Rheims, when Dubois put his head around a 123corner and yelled, “Come on, we are going to Paris.” I paid no attention to him. I had not asked for a furlough, and, of course, did not expect any.

A few minutes later Dubois roared, “Come on, you fool, don’t you know enough to take a furlough when you can get one? All Americans can go to Paris.” When the corporal came around I asked to be relieved, went to the captain and was told we had forty-eight hours permission; to pack up at once and go.

We walked through the communication trenches to battalion headquarters among falling shells. These made Dubois stop and say: “Damn it, it would just be my luck to get killed now; I would not mind if I were coming back from Paris, but if the Boche get me now I shall not be able to rest in my grave.”

At the battalion headquarters we were lined up in the darkness. An officer with a flashlight read off the names. Each man stepped out and received his furlough as his name was called. The officer stopped reading, Dubois still stood in line. Then he stepped up, saluted, and asked for his furlough. There was none.

It was a dramatic moment. Sergeant Bouligny came out from the darkness, and a 124spirited argument occurred between him and the officer. The American sergeant then came over to Dubois and said: “It’s a damned shame. They held that five years (suspended sentence for sleeping, when lost by a patrol in ‘No-Man’s-Land’) over you. Now, man to man, I want you to promise me you will go right back to your company. I told them you would. I stood good for you. The colonel must sign that furlough. He is not here and we can’t do a thing to help you.” It was sad. The poor fellow was crushed. We walked away, leaving him in the darkness with his bitter thoughts.

We arrived at Thill near midnight and were depositing our equipment at the guardhouse when a guard came and said to me: “The sentinel wishes to see you.” I went out and there was old Tex Bondt! “Yes,” he said, “I am sentinel tonight. Last night I was in prison. This is it, the prisoners are out working. I drew eight days for trying to be reasonable. Reason is all right in its place, but not in the army. They nearly worked me to death. We were carrying timbers to the front line to make dugouts—three men to a stick. I was in the middle and I am six foot three!”

Next morning Bouligny and I tried to find 125some breakfast. The town was deserted, badly shot-up. Stores were empty, civilians gone. Prospects looked bad, when a gunny-sack was drawn back from a doorway, and a voice yelled out, in English: “Here, where in the devil are you fellows going? Come up and have a cup of coffee.” It was Tony Pollet, of Corona, New York.[D]


D. In October, 1917, dressed in the French uniform, I was walking up the street near the Grand Central Station, New York. A civilian accosted me in French. We conversed in that language for some time. He worked the third degree, asked about Battalion D, and mentioned several names of men I knew. I turned on him and said, “You must have known Tony Pollet.” The civilian stopped short, finally found his voice, and gasped out, “Pollet?—that’s me!”


In the early morning we walked fifteen kilometers to the railroad and waited for the other Americans to arrive. Capdeville found some grease. Sweeney went to a French camp and talked some potatoes from them. So we ate “French fried,” with wine, till the train started for Paris.

Dr. Van Vorst was ranking officer, but Morlae and Sweeney sparred for ground. Said Morlae to Delpeshe: “You do that again and I will turn you over to the gendarmes.” Delpesche replied: “Who in hell are you? I am taking no orders from you. I belong to Sergeant Sweeney’s section!”

Soubiron had the time of his life. He rode 126down on the foot-board of the coach. He was determined not to miss the green fields, the lovely flowers and the smiles of the girls, as they wished the Americans “Bon Voyage.” Everything was beautiful after the drab and dirt of the front.

On the platform at Paris the two sergeants were still disputing. A petite Parisienne stepped up to Sweeney, saying: “Pardon, Monsieur, you came from near Rheims; did you see anyone from the 97th Regiment on the train?” The 97th had been badly cut up. Sweeney remembered that. In an instant his face changed. He smiled back at the girl and answered: “No, there were no French permissionaires; only Americans were on the train.”

Two days later each man was relating his experiences:

The base-ball man from San Francisco: “Yes, I arrived in Paris without a sou. I saw you fellows scatter in all directions, and did not know what to do with myself. Two French ladies came along and invited me home with them. They paid all my expenses and gave me this five franc note and a sack of food to eat on my way back.”

Percy: “That New York Sun man, Grundy, 127found five of us at the Cafe de la Paix. He ordered dinner. It cost him 120 francs. That was the best dinner I ever ate, but, Lord, I wish I had the money it cost!”

Nelson: “Yes, my patron almost threw a fit when I blew in, but the best of the house was at my service, good bath, clean underclothes—don’t know where they came from, or whom they belonged to. But they insisted on my keeping them.”

Morlae: “Yes, I was up at the Embassy, saw Frazier and he told me....”

Bob Scanlon: “My friends were out of town but left word that I should have the best there was. So I went up to Place Pigalle and inquired for a girl I knew, Susie, and they fished out a man six foot high!”

Dowd: “Yes, that Frenchman was splendid. When he learned we were Americans he invited us to the banquet given by the American Chamber of Commerce at the Palais d’Arsay. There was just one table of us soldiers of the Legion and two long tables of men from the American Ambulance. The Frenchmen were glad to see us—the Ambulance men did not seem glad at all.

“‘How is that,’ said an American visitor, 128speaking to a well-dressed, manicured doctor, ‘are there many Americans in the Legion?’

“‘I don’t know.’

“‘Well, aren’t there a good many of our boys there?’

“‘There may be, but, of course, WE don’t know them.’”

Idaho Contractor: “Yes, you fellows can talk about what you ate. When I got over to Place Clichy, it was 9 o’clock. Madame was closing up—all she had left was beans and vinegar. I had had no vinegar for ten months. Beans must be bad for the stomach. My appetite went wrong just the time I needed it most. I did not enjoy myself at all.”

Van Vorst: “Yes, I went over to Pickpus and saw the American Ambulance. They looked very nice and clean but did not recognize the dirty soldiers from the Legion, but the French officers did.”

Bouligny: “I missed everything, did not know there was anything doing any place. Thought the 4th was on Sunday; didn’t know they were holding 4th on the 5th.”

Narutz: “Yes, I had a bully time. Met some old friends at the American Express Company’s office.”

129Seeger: “I heard Sweeney was promoted to a lieutenancy.”

Capdeville: “What do you think I am carrying this American flag for? Of course, I am going to use it.”

Delpesche: “What are all you fellows carrying in those packages? You look like a lot of farmers who just received a consignment from Sears-Roebuck.”

King: “Yes, we bought this dollar stuff cheap, just 98 cents and freight.”

130

CHAPTER IX
OUTPOST LIFE

In front of Croane, where, in 1814, Frank and Hun fought for mastery, one hundred years later, the same nations again battled.

The elaborate, naturally drained trench system of to-day was not. Instead of the horizon blue, the French soldier wore the old red pantaloons and dark blue coat. Occasionally new blue uniforms were sent to the front, which, wet a couple of times—the new dyes not holding—quickly become drab. Torn clothes, ripped, crawling through barbed wire, are held together by finer wires. New York Heralds and Daily Mails wrapped around socks to help keep in the heat, warm not alone the cockles of the heart, but the soles of the feet. No smoking cook-kitchen, with steaming kettles filled with tasty food followed our ranks on march. Soup dishes and kettles are carried on knapsack, as in the days of Napoleon. At the end of a long march, at bivouac time, if the commissary has not made connection weary 131soldiers throw their kettles away. If caught, eight days in prison, they welcome as relief.

The Germans held Croane—the French and Germans, alternately, occupied the village of Croanelle, dominated by the fortress of Croane. This was before the days of the present heavy bombardment, and many of the deserted houses were still intact, beds unmade, dishes yet upon table, furnished, but vacant. Cattle, tied to mangers, lay dead in their stabs. In cellars, where combatants had tunneled through to connect, the dead of both sides lay impaled on bayonets. One Frenchman’s teeth were at a German’s throat, locked in combat, even in death.

Out between the lines lay the unburied dead, in all shapes and conditions of rot, settled in the mud, half buried in open shell holes. Dried fragments of uniforms flapped on barbed wire through which the wounded had crawled into sheltered corners and died. No need to tell a patrol when, in winter darkness, as he stepped on a slippery substance, what it was—he knew. In the spring grass grew around and through these inanimate shapes. Rats and dogs waxed fat as badgers.

From the day the 2d Regiment went into 133Croanelle till it was relieved, six months later, no German soldier who set foot in the shallow trench went back. Our regiment, repeatedly reinforced, was kept at full strength.

UNITED STATES CONGRESSIONAL
MEDAL
(Reverse side reads)
FOR
PATRIOTISM
FORTITUDE
AND
LOYALTY

Americans there endured pain and suffering, the depth of which Washington’s Army at Valley Forge never reached. Those old Continentals had nothing in discomfort on these modern heroes in front of Croane. Washington’s Army, in their own country, had access to the necessities of life. They held communion with their fellows. These later-day Americans, under the hardest discipline in the world, were cut off from civilization. They were back to the age of barter and exchange. Money would not buy goods—there was nothing to be bought—but 134if one man had a little tobacco, and another man a pair of socks, they would swap.

No furloughs were granted the first ten months. Every letter was censored. Packages of comforts, sent by friends, were stolen or confiscated en route. They were in a foreign country, whose language many could not speak. They had left good, comfortable homes for these holes in the ground, called trenches by courtesy, where one waded to his post on guard, rifle in hand, and carried a wisp of straw or a piece of plank on which to lie to keep from sinking into slime and slush, which covered his clothes with mud and filled his bones with rheumatism.

It was near midnight, the relief was in the basement of a shot-up chateau. The guard, on a scaffold, peering through loopholes made in a stone wall, was watching Rockwell sentinel at the advance output and alongside. They saw him stop, heard a familiar sound (the striking of a grenade cap), but it was in the rear. Suddenly Rockwell yelled, “Aux Armes.” Metteger, the burly Alsatian corporal, ran out, just in time to catch the explosion of a German grenade, and was killed. Rockwell, standing 135between the grenade and the corporal, was so thin the charge missed him and lodged in the fat man. Simultaneously, the guard at the wall heard a rush, a noise, a rattle of musketry from behind, and turned about face. The relief rushed out of the basement. The Germans, caught between two fires; cursing, disappeared into the darkness.

When the guard turned to repel the attackers, they jumped from the scaffold to the ground. Capdeville’s hair was singed by a bullet, a ball went through Soubiron’s cartridge belt. When Brooks, the cockney Englishman, jumped, another Englishman, Buchanan, fell on him, pushed his face into the ground and filled his mouth with mud. Brooks struck out and hit Buchanan, who tried to get away to chase the Boche. “You blankety, blank, blank.” Biff! biff! biff! “You will, will you?” The two Englishmen were still fighting when the guard came back. Buchanan had discovered that some one had made his gun unworkable, tramping mud into the magazine. He stopped and had it out with Brooks.

It was at La Fontenelle and Ban de Sapt, La Viola and Viola Nord, opposite St. Marie aux 136Mines, in reconquered Alsace, among the Vosges on the Franco-German frontier. Seven long, weary months we spent among those perpendicular mountains, with sunburned base and snowy, dripping tops. Dog trains carried provisions in winter. Pack mules clamber in summer, wearing breeching to keep from slipping down hill.

The continuous snows of winter, and the ceaseless flow of water down the middle of the trench in summer, while it also dripped from the roof of the dugout, and seeped up from the ground below, dampened both clothes and spirits, as we carried wet blankets and our misery about, up among the clouds of mist, in drizzles, sleet, snow and the intense cold. A sieve was a water-tight compartment compared to those shut-up dugouts.

The constant bombardment often changed so completely the topography of the mountains, one could hardly be sure when daylight came that he was the same man, or in the same place, as he was the night before.

We were beyond civilization. Not a flower, a garden, a cow, a chicken, a house with a door or window, or roof, not a civilian or a woman was to be seen. All work or fight, no recreation, it 137was a long, continued suffering. We had the Boche part of the time, bad weather all the time.

The trenches were so close together we fought with grenades instead of rifles. The wire in front, thrown out loose from the trench behind, was all shot up. The trench itself from continued bombardment was thirty or forty feet across the top, with just a narrow path down the middle, where one walked below the ground level. The hills were a wilderness of craters, blown out trenches with unexploded shells about.

Crosses leaning over dead men’s graves, were littered with ragged, empty sandbags, while pieces of splintered timber, tangled wire, mingled with broken boulders and lacerated tree trunks of all lengths and thickness. Holes grew now where trees had stood. Roots and stumps, upturned, replaced splintered branches and scorched, withered leaves. A few straggling, upright trunks, eighty to one hundred feet in the air, were festooned with sections of blown-up barbed wire.

The towns belonged to the dead, wholly deserted by civilians, with even the old women gone. Roofless, doorless, windowless ruins, 138twisted iron girders and fantastically broken walls, stood out against the sky, grimly eloquent, though silent, monuments of kultur.

Face to face with death, what is in a man comes out. I shall never forget one, who, right name unknown, came from Marseilles. We used to call him “Coquin de Dieu.” He had some system whereby he got extra wine—even at the front. That additional cup or two was just enough to make him happy and start him singing. Handsome as a woman, he looked the careless, reckless ne’er-do-well. During a terrific bombardment, I was sent to relieve him, out between two German outposts, one eight, the other fifteen yards away. Instead of going to the safety of the sap in the rear, that Frenchman insisted on staying with me. Germans broke into the French trench at the adjoining post, and went to the right. Had they come left, we would have been the first victims.

There was little Maurice, just twenty, who had been through the whole campaign. When dodging shells, he could drop quicker than a flapper and come up laughing every time.

Maribeau, eighteen, only a boy, always objected to throwing grenades. “No, I won’t—I promised my mother and my father I would 139not become a grenadier and I won’t.” One night during a Boche grenade attack, he and everyone else had to work for self-preservation. He liked it and became a splendid bomb thrower.

Was with Renaud, an old 170th boy, and Marti, on post, during a Boche bombardment and attack. Marti was killed by a grenade. A crapouillot fell into the trench behind. I was pretty busy throwing grenades, but caught a glimpse of a stray sergeant pulling Renaud under cover. Several days later, noticing a haversack hanging on the side of the trench, I wondered why it was there so long, also whose it might be. Inside was a piece of bread and a flat tin plate perforated by shell and splinters. Scribbled on the plate was the name, “Renaud.”

Big, strong, impulsive, was my marching companion, Peraud. He loved his wife and hated war. When thinking about war his face had so deadly an expression, no one dared disturb him. When his thought was of his wife, he looked a glorified choir boy. Once in Lorraine, during repose, he and his companion, Perora, a theological student, invited me to a church to hear the curé lecture on Jeanne 140d’Arc. While the student and the curé conversed, Peraud rang the bell which brought the soldier congregation.

Marching behind him, Indian file, through the trenches one dark night, I missed the barrel of his rifle against the sky line, and stopped just in time to prevent falling on top of Peraud, who had stumbled into a sap filled with the slush and slime that run from the trench bottoms. It wasn’t necessary to watch the rifle after that. I could follow by the smell.

It was in the trenches I first met him. Boche bombardment had knocked out the wooden posts that braced the sides of the trench. Dirt had fallen in and dammed the running water. We were detailed to walk, knee deep, into the horrible slush, and bring those dirty, dripping posts, on our shoulders, to dry land. Suddenly he stopped, took a look and asked: “Comrade, what was your business in civil life?” “I was engaged in commerce. And you?” “Me? I am an artist.”

Our sergeant spoke a little English. He was a good sort, who, owning a garage in civil life, had met many Americans and thought they were decent enough to invite acquaintance. One afternoon, during a bombardment, he, Peraud, 141Perora, Rolfe and Tardy were in a sap. Too careless to go below, they stood on the top step, in the doorway, sheltered from behind and on both sides. There was just the four-foot square opening in front. A shell dropped into that opening, killed four, and left Tardy standing alone. He was a brave soldier before, but no good after that.

Peraud and Perora had been bosom friends. They came from the same neighborhood, were wounded and sent to the same hospital, both changed into the 163d Regiment. Together they were killed by the same shell.

Comrade Deporte was an old 170th man. Names, being indexed alphabetically, always, at the end of a long march, Bowe and Deporte were put on guard, with no chance to cool off after packing the heavy sacks up the mountain side. Our cotton shirts, soaked with perspiration, felt like a board as the body rapidly cooled during the silent, motionless guard.

Deporte was a revelation in human nature. Unselfish, he did the most arduous and often unnecessary work without a murmur. We were always together on guard and frequently drew the bad places. Once, during a five-hour bombardment, isolated, impossible to get relief 142to us, he did not complain. Another time, hearing a suspicious noise in front, I threw a grenade. We got such an avalanche in return it almost took our breath away—and Deporte laughed! Home on furlough, he overstayed his leave five days and drew sixty days prison. He smiled—it was sixty days on paper!

One fine day we two were taken out in front during a bombardment. Captain Anglelli, with two holes in his helmet where a sniper’s bullet went in and out at Verdun, explained the situation to Deporte:

“You have the grenades?”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“You see this hill?”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“It is higher than that trench.”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“You can throw into there?”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“The Boche will come through there.”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“You can hit him, he cannot reach you.”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“The American will stay with you?”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“Bomb hell out of them!”

143“Oui, mon capitaine.”

“Hold them there and we will bag them.”

“Oui, mon capitaine.”

Smiling, the captain patted Deporte on the shoulder. Deporte, looking squarely into his eyes, grinned back. They understood each other, those two. It was not superior ordering inferior. It was man to man.

I should like to tell all that happened that afternoon. It was the wind-up of a week’s bombardment, and we had a ripping time dodging about to avoid being maimed for life. We held a mountain top on the frontier. The Germans had the peaks opposite, where they had planted their heavy artillery. When the French drove back the invading Germans, the lines stopped within bombing distance—about thirty yards. We had the upper line, they the lower. We could throw grenades on them, but it was hard for them to reach us. So they planted their line with trench-mortars that throw aerial torpedoes, crapouillots and bombs the size of a stovepipe, also others which resemble a two-gallon demijohn. They came slow. We could see them—the wide-nosed torpedoes coming direct, the stovepipes hurtling end over end.

144These visible shells are only good for short range. We dodged them, but they kept us constantly on the move. The captain’s trench was flattened out—no need to watch that any more. The bombardment increased. Long range artillery from the mountains joined the short range mortars. The black smoke and noise from the Jack Johnsons and the yellow smoke from bursting shrapnel did not attract our attention from those three-finned torpedoes and hurtling crapouillots.

We would dodge for one but a half dozen might drop before we could look around. Deporte was buried by one explosion. I had to pull him out of the dirt. A big rock came flying down the trench, then a piece of timber four feet long. Two pieces of metal fell on my helmet which I picked up and have yet. They were burning hot, not iron or steel, but copper and nickel.

At a shout in front, we grabbed grenades and saw to the left a crowd of men running toward our lines, French and German. Later we learned how eighteen Frenchmen went over to the German blockhouse across the way, gave the forty occupants a chance to surrender, of which eleven took advantage. Revolvers and 145bombs finished the others. Two Frenchmen, both my friends, were wounded.

The Germans did not seem to like it. They got more angry and threw all kinds of metal at our dodging heads. An orderly rushed around the corner and yelled: “Fall back, orders from the capitaine.” He scurried away. We found a sap. I was thirty feet down when I looked up and saw Deporte standing at the opening unbuttoning his vest. Steam and perspiration formed a circle around him, such as is seen about an aeroplane flying high against the sun. About thirty feet down into that sap the steps turned a right angle, then again changed direction. We sat beyond the second turning, lighting a candle as fast as the inrush of air, made by the bursting shells, blew it out. A couple of hours later, when we looked for the hill we had held, it was gone. Immense craters yawned where had been our regular trenches. The rows of trenches were as waves of an angry sea, while the ground between was pitted and scarred beyond recognition.

146

CHAPTER X
CHAMPAGNE ATTACK

The night before the attack of September 25, 1915, Bouligny and I went over to Battalion C. He picked up a piece of cheese that Morlae had. Munching away, he demanded, “Where did you get this?”

“In Suippe.”

“I thought we were forbidden to go out.”

“We are.”

“How did you get by?”

“I told the sentry I did not speak French, showed him my old Fourth of July pass, and walked through.”

Bouligny said: “Well, we will eat this cheese so they’ll have no evidence against you.”

Morlae replied: “We shall need somebody to help carry the load we have stacked up.”

“What have we got?” inquired Casey.

“Two canteens of wine instead of one.”

“Good,” said Casey.

“And 250 rounds of cartridges instead of 120,” called Nelson.

147“And a steel helmet, instead of a cloth cap,” from Dowd.

“And four days’ reserve of food instead of two,” added King.

“And a new knife for the nettoyers” (moppers-up), put in Scanlon.

“And a square white patch of cloth sewed on our backs, so our own artillerymen can recognize and not blow us up,” finished John Laurent.

“I’d rather be here, leaning against this tree,” said Chatcoff, “than in little old New York, backed against a telephone pole, trying to push it into the North River.”

“Yes,” agreed Seeger, “this is the life. The only life worth living is when you are face to face with death—midway between this world and the next.”

For one week the Legion had marched each night fifteen kilometers to the front, dug trenches and returned to camp in the early morning. Again that night we went out, and daylight, September 25, found us established in a badly demolished trench from which we emerged at the time set for the attack, 9:15.

The four hours between daylight and the attack were passed under a furious bombardment. 148Many were killed or wounded while we waited to go over the top.

The French had, unknown to the Germans, brought up their 75 cannon and dug them down in another trench 25 yards behind us. The din was terrific. Smoke screens and gas shells nearly blinded us. Men were uneasy and dodged. The captain caught a fellow flopping. “Here, you young whelp, don’t you know that noise comes from our own guns behind?”

Pera, a Tunis Jew, tore open his first aid bandage and we filled our ears with cotton to deaden the noise.

The attack was carried out by seven long lines of soldiers advancing two yards apart, each line about 100 yards behind the other.

The Colonials and Moroccans had the first line, the Legion the second. Owing to the Germans’ concentrated fire on our trenches and on the outlets, each man did not get out two yards from the next. Frequently the other man was dead or wounded. But the objective was the Ferme Navarin, and at 10:30 it was in our possession.

A soldier’s life, while of some concern to himself, to an officer is but a means to an end. It is offered, or given, to get results. The best 149officer obtains the most results with the least loss. Some give wrong orders and sacrifice their men. Others seem to grasp every opening for advancement and gain the objective with very little loss.

In the first run to the outlet the slaughter was terrible. Stretcher bearers carried a continuous stream of wounded with bloody bandages on, silent, motionless, pale-faced, dirtily-clothed men, whose muddy shoes extended over the edge of the stretchers.

Nearer the front line, the worse the carnage. Dead were lying so thick soldiers walked on upturned faces grazed by hob-nailed shoes. Side trenches were filled with wounded, waiting transportation. Some, injured in the hand, held it up watching the blood flow; others, hurt in the leg, were dragging that member along. Holding onto their stomachs were those whose blood was running down over their shoes. At one corner leaning against two corpses lay a young soldier, smooth shaven, curly-hair, mustache trimmed, his face settling into the soft, creamy whiteness of death, a smile on his lips.

My mind flashed over to Madam Tussaud’s wax figure exhibition in London.

150Two Moroccans stopped. One pulled off his vest and found a blackish red bruise on his chest. His comrade said: “It is nothing, come along.” The other fell over, dead. A Zouave, with back broken, or something, unable to get up, eyes rolling into his head, twisted his body in agony. The doctor, walking away, said: “No chance. Leave him; blood poison.”

The Germans had a sure range on the outlet. Wounded men, walking back in the trench, were jostled and knocked about by strong, running men, forcing themselves to the front. Shells were falling all around as we ran into “No-Man’s-Land.” Machine guns were out on the slope, “rat-tat-tat-tat,” a continuous noise. Men lying behind guns, rifle shooting, working, cursing, digging trenches, throwing dirt, making holes.

At every corner stood calm, square-faced, observing officers directing, demanding, compelling. What are such men in civil life. Why do we never see them?

In the open I stopped and took a quick look around. The only man I knew was Crotti, an Italian. He spoke in English: “Where is the Legion?” The officer overheard. His face changed. He did not like that alien tongue just 151then, but understood, and smiling, said: “The Legion is there.”

They were crawling up a shallow trench, newly made in open ground, at an angle of 45 degrees from us. We did not try to force our way back into the trench against that crowd, so kept out on top and joined our comrades, who laughed when they saw us running in from where the Boche was supposed to be.

The man alongside puts on his bayonet as the order is passed down the line to go over on command. The officers snap out: “Five minutes, three minutes, one minute, En Avant!” The Colonials, the Moroccans and the Legionnaires, all mixed up, arrive about the same time. Up, and over the Boche line trench. Where is the wire? It has been blown away by artillery. Instead of deep, open trenches, we find them covered over! Swarming we go up on top the covered trenches then turn and throw bombs in at the port-holes from which the Germans are shooting. Boches run out at the entrances, climb from the dugouts, hands in air, crying, “Kamarad.”

More grenades inside and more German prisoners. The first line men keep going. German dead lie all about. German equipment is 152piled around; we pass the wounded, meet the living enemy. A running Zouave met a Boche, who goes down with the Zouave’s bayonet in his chest. The Zouave puts his foot on the man, pulls out the bayonet, and keeps on his headlong rush.

An old, grey-haired Poilu met a Boche in square combat, bayonet to bayonet. The old man (his bayonet had broken) got inside the other’s guard, forced him to the ground, and was choking him to death when another Frenchman, helping his comrade, pushed the old man aside in order to get a sure welt at the Boche. The old man, quick as a cat, jumped up. He thought another German was after him and recognized his comrade. The German sat up and stuck up his hands. The Frenchmen looked foolish—it would be murder! Half a dozen Germans just then came from a dugout. That old man took his ride with the twisted, broken bayonet, picked up a couple of German casques, and, lining the prisoners up, took them to the rear. Prisoners all about. One big German officer surrendered with a machine gun crew who carried their own gun. Unwounded prisoners lugged their wounded comrades on their backs while others limped along, leaning 153on comrades. Many had broken, bruised heads. Prisoners bore French wounded on stretchers. The dead lay in all directions, riddled, peppered by the 75’s, mangled with high explosives, faces dried-blood, blackened.

Behind the first line, into the newly-made communication trenches, noticed where dirt had been thrown to the bottom of the trench, walking on dead Germans’ grazed faces bristling whiskers, partially covered with loose dirt, so that their bodies werewere not noticed by comrades going to the front. Continued bombardment, more dead. Germans running, equipment strewn everywhere, black bread, cigars, many casques, more dead, broken caissons, dead horses, cannon deserted—their crews killed, Boche shells in lots of three lying about in wicker baskets. Trenches full of dead, legs, arms and heads sticking out.

We followed the Germans into a maze of gas and got my eyes and lungs full. Then felt weak and comfortable. The Luxemburg corporal came along and pulled me out. Dropping behind, we finally came upon the Legion, waiting in a communication trench to flank the Germans. A wonderful Legionnaire, with the face of a Greek god (shot in the stomach), came 154hobbling along on a stick. He sat down and renewed an acquaintance with the corporal which had been started at Toulouse.

Over the top again. A backward glimpse showed the wounded man hobbling behind us, back again to the front. I noticed the Legionnaires running, chin forward, bayonet fixed, greatly bunched, and thought the Germans could not miss hitting so many men. So, being the last man in the company, I kept running along the outside. The corporal was killed going over. He fell into a shell hole among a lot of German wounded and dead. We were ordered to turn to the right, down this trench. I, the last man, became first.

Blinded with gas, I blundered along, bayonet fixed, finger on trigger, stumbling over dead and wounded Germans, bumping into sharp corners of the trench, on into another gas maze, and across the second line trench. Someone pulled my coat from behind and I discovered that our men were going down that cross trench. So I fell in about the middle of the company, pumped the gas from my stomach, and by the time I was in shape again orders came that we should hold this trench, which had gradually filled with our men.

155It had rained all day. Racing through the trenches, dirt fell into the magazines of our rifles. It makes one furiously angry when the magazine will not work. I grabbed a rifle laying alongside a man I thought dead. He was very much awake. He quite insisted on using his own gun. The next man was dead. He had a new rifle. I felt much better.

It was impossible to stay in that crowded trench. I found a large shell hole in the open, eight feet deep, with water in the bottom. With shovel and pick, I dug out enough on the side of the crater to find dry ground and tried to sleep. I was awakened by officers who wished to make me go into the trenches. I did not understand French. Those officers insisted I did. Of course, I did not. I knew they wanted the nice, comfortable place I had constructed for themselves. So, paid no attention, but covered up my head and tried to sleep. I could not. Then remembered something—I had eaten no food for twenty-four hours. So soaked hard tack in the water at the bottom of the shell hole, dined, and then went to sleep in spite of the rain, the bombardment, and the homeless officers.

Next day made another attack over the top. 156Got into a Boche machine gun cross-fire; orders were to dig down. Noticed a large shell crater about 20 yards to the left, where a half dozen Poilu were laying in comfort below the earth level and fairly safe. Was crawling toward them on my stomach, with nose in the ground, when I felt the earth shake (impossible to hear in the never-ending cannon roar), looked up, and about 80 or 100 feet in the air, when they had rested on a teeter after going up and before coming down,—I saw a number of blue overcoats, and I looked over to the shell crater and saw it was larger, fresher and empty. However, I crawled over there and stayed till darkness relieved me.

Those men were in comparative safety, while I was out in the open and exposed, yet they were killed, and I lived to tell about it. Soldiers naturally become fatalists, and will not be called till the shell comes along with his number on. They see a shell fall, a cloud of dirt and dust goes up—no damage done. Another shell falls,—a man stood there,—he goes up,—he was in the wrong place, at the wrong time,—and out of luck. Why worry? There are too many shells, and the one that gets you is the one you will never see. If it does not get you right then 157it is time enough to worry,—if it does you won’t need to worry.

On September 28, the Legion attacked the Bois Sabot or wooden shoe, a wooded eminence protected by fifty yards of barbed wire entanglements, stretched, tree to tree, behind which bristled three rows of machine guns. About four o’clock, the Legion lined out to attack in a long row, a yard apart. The Germans watched our formation, their guns trained on the first wire, and waited.

Finally, the Colonel said to a Sergeant, “Here, you take this section. Go over and wake them up.” No one was anxious. The rifles of the Boche could be seen above their trenches. But Musgrave said, “Let’s go over and stir them up and see what kind of a show they put up.” The section went, 35 or 40 men. Just two, both Americans, Musgrave and Pavelka, came back.

That attack lasted all night. Daybreak was coming. All the officers had been killed, except a little squeaky voiced Lieutenant. He was afraid to give the order to retreat. But, daylight in sight, he finally said, “Gather up the wounded and go back to the trench we left.” The dead were left in rows by hundreds, as thick 158as autumn leaves, each man on his stomach, face to the foe.

Artillery was then brought up. Two days later, we again attacked. The wire and the whole mountain top had been blown away. The Germans we met were either dead, wounded or dazed.

159

CHAPTER XI
LIFE IN DEATH

“If a man die, shall he live?” Aye—and that more abundantly!

We know that “except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Nature is constantly demonstrating Life as the manifestation of Death. Nature’s laws are the laws of God, to whom are all people subject. So, man, is passing his progress, into a higher, or lower, form of spirit continuance—as he may have chosen and prepared.

They do not die,—who instil love of country, and the highest degrees of patriotism, in those who live.

The materialistic profiteer, who shirks his duty, and fattens on the soldier’s blood,—will die and pass away as a clod. But the soldier whose inspiring deeds will warm the blood of future generations has started a flame that will burn forever.

160When the materialist has cashed his coupons, he will find the money won’t keep his body from being eaten up by the maggots. It may buy him a tombstone, but not the respect of loyal patriots who are willing to give their all, in order to live up to the traditions of those gone before.

Stocks and bonds have a market value—but Honor and Liberty are beyond price.

Spiritual life and power are of far greater value than vast material wealth.

It was the materialism of the Kaiser that started this war. He cannot stop it. Why? Because he is confronted by the millions of dead bodies on the battlefields of France whose spirits demand they shall not die in vain. He is confronted by the spirit of Jeanne d’Arc,—by the awakening spirit of 76.

These spirits are hovering around, stimulating, inspiring the living to yet nobler deeds of heroism.

Indomitable, incorruptible, they flock to the living who fight to the death, and every death brings forth another living soldier.

America, sunk in materialism, now hearkens to the call of her forefathers.

The spirit of Washington, Hamilton, Greene, 161Lafayette, Rochambeau, Lincoln, Sherman and Grant is calling us to the post of duty.

The stern hand of fate has elevated us to a level from which we can see the great ideals we have forgotten—Honor, Patriotism, Equality.

Those are the level foundation on which democracy rests,—not on wealth and inequality.

We must stamp out materialism and save the soul of America.

While we are making the world safe for democracy, let us make democracy safe for the world.

While the soldier kills the German junker with the bullet the civilian must kill off the political and profiteering junker with the ballot.

Instead of Safety First, we must place America First.

162

CHAPTER XII
THE 170TH FRENCH REGIMENT

When we Americans went into the 170th, Seeger, Morlae, Narutz and others stayed with the 2nd Legion, which two weeks later was merged with the 1st Legion. Narutz remarked, in his philosophic manner, “The 170th is a regiment volante, always used in quick, double action work. Their specialty is bayonet attack. I am too old to go steeple chasing over barbed wire, in a ripped up country, with not one hundred yards of solid ground, then twenty yards of nothing, a 70 pound sack on my back, a two dollar thirst in my stomach and Boche machine guns in front. Believe me, the Legion is quite swift enough. I know what this is and will stick to what I have and am used to—what I have not had, I might not like.” Seeger, as usual, silent, mystic, indomitable, appeared not to listen. His thoughts were in the clouds. He had made up his mind to stay. That settled it—no explanation necessary.

Of the Americans who changed, but three, 163Sergeant Capdeville, Sergeant Jacobs and Lieutenant Mulhauser remain. The Colonel, of that date, is now General Polalacelli.

The 170th is a notable regiments. Time and again have its members been complimented by General Joffre. They are his children, his pride. Never were they called upon when they failed to make good. They have rushed into almost certain extermination and came out alive. Anointed with success, they fear nothing. They have charged into a cataclysm of destruction, which swallowed up whole companies, and returned with a battalion of German prisoners.

Against all opposition, they prevail. Spite of death, they live, always triumphant, never defeated. Theirs is an invincibility—a contempt of peril, which only men who have continually risked and won can have. In the confusion and complications of battle, they are masters in obstruction and counter-attack. They have been torn, shocked and churned about—but they have arrived. Faces burning in zeal, exalted for the cause they serve, stimulated by the companionship of kindred spirits, they heedlessly dash to victory, or, the sunset—for the secret of victory rests in the hearts of the combatants.

We turned directly about and went with this 164new regiment, back to the front line. We relieved our own old regiment, the Foreign Legion. Eight men, all Americans, were together in one squad. Inside of a week, only three were left. That is, there were but three, when I was sent away for repairs.

We were in a captured German headquarters with equipment, ammunition, war debris, dead men and killed horses, strewed about. Along the edge of a hill was a German graveyard. About two hundred German soldiers, killed in a previous engagement, were buried there. German batteries, on the opposite hill top, kept bombarding their lost position, hoping to drive the French captors out. They shot up those dead Germans—the atmosphere grew pungent—the stench penetrated every corner. It settled heavy on the lungs. It was impossible to get away from it. It was in late October, 1915. The only time food or water could be sent up was during the night. Coffee was chilled by morning. During the day, as usual, we slept in the bottom of the trenches with shoes and cartridge belts on. At night the regular program was,—patrol, guard, digging trenches, placing barbed wire, bringing up ammunition and supplies, with always that dreadful smell.

165One morning, October 19, 1915, looking over at the Boche, I saw a shrapnel burst overhead. A second after a bullet embedded itself in my forehead. Some time later, feeling foolish for having been caught as shortstop for a German hit, I heard Bob Scanlon say, “You lucky fool. You lay rolled up warm in those Boche blankets all morning, while I was up, trying to find a place to heat the coffee. Now, you will go south, where it is warm, and I shall have to stay here and freeze.”

166

CHAPTER XIII
163RD AND 92ND REGIMENTS

Returning to the front I was sent as a reinforcement to the 163rd who had just come from Verdun, where they had one battalion captured by the enemy.

After a few days rest while they were getting reinforcements and new clothing and equipment we were sent up to the front where with the exception of ten days when we went to Laveline to be refitted again (but two men left in my squad). My company, the 7th, were in the first and second line trenches for seven continuous months.

In the 163rd I saw a French regiment at its best. The Legion is composed of men from all countries. The 170th are from many French regiments and sections. The 163rd all came from southern France. They saw alike, understood one another and worked together. Kind and considerate, they were a band of ideal brothers. They took pleasure in having an American feel at home. They made sure that 167he got his share of clothing, rations and duty. He, noticing those little courtesies, in his appreciation, became a better soldier.

What I liked about this regiment was the supreme contempt the officers had for the Boches—and could not but admire how easy they slipped things over on Fritz.

Owing to the even character of the men, it was not necessary to have as strict discipline as in the Legion. Here the soldiers were more content—more companionable—were all veterans—many wounded bad enough so they could not have remained in a regiment of attack,—yet steady and dependable, and almost invaluable, where the enemy’s trenches were about thirty yards away,—and the two forces were in constant touch with each other.

In the winter of 1916-17 weakened by rheumatism, after fighting in three active first line regiments, I was finally sent to the 92nd Territorials, a working regiment, then in a near-by sector.

These grand-dads, from forty to fifty-five years of age, the debris of “Papa” Joffre’s old army, were all physically unfit—yet, not old enough to die. The object in holding them together was to have a reserve—in order to 168use what few ounces of strength they still had.

Officers and doctors were considerate and very kind. But, even that could not keep a number of the men from caving in as Nature’s limit was reached.

One night at Bussang, after unloading coal in a snowstorm, my wet cotton gloves were as stiff with frost as were my knees with rheumatism. Quite fed up, I went to the doctor, determined to thrash the matter out with him. “Yes,” he responded, “I know you are not in condition, but, we are hard pressed now. We must use every ounce of energy we have.” I quit knocking, stuck it out a few days longer, then went to pieces.

Such is soldier life. He starts out strong and full of pep, fit to serve in the Foreign Legion, the best in France. Then in the 170th, graded the fourth. Then to the 163rd, a good trench regiment. Then to the 92nd Territorials, a working regiment. Then to hospital—transferred back to the Legion—to be invalided home.

169

CHAPTER XIV
HOSPITAL LIFE

In 1915 there were 6,400 hospitals in France and 18,000 doctors. During large offensives the wounded arrived in Paris at the rate of thirty trainloads per day. In Lyons at one time there were 15,000 wounded men. At Verdun 28,000 wounded men were treated in one hospital during a 25 day period. In the spring of 1918, 40 per cent of the entire French Army had been killed, captured or hopelessly mutilated. Of the 60 per cent remaining at that time there were 1,500,000 wounded and crippled men in the hospitals of France. With the exception, as far as known, of the American Hospital at Nice and the Scottish Woman’s Hospital at Royemont, both of which maintain themselves, the pay for care and attendance of each patient which comes from the French Government is limited to one franc, 25 centimes per day (22½ cents). The balance is made up by the Red Cross, individuals and communities, according 171to the largeness, or smallness, of the views and pocketbooks of those who assist.

SERBIAN MEDAL

Hospitals are of two classes. They are in or out of the army zone. The Army Zone is a piece of land under strict military law, extending, possibly, twenty miles back from the trenches.

Ordinarily, weekly Red Cross trains carry the evacuated wounded, or disabled, soldiers from the Army Zone to the interior. During a general engagement trains wait, are filled with wounded from ambulances, and sent away immediately as soon as filled.

A limited number of these decorations were presented by S. A. R., the Prince Regent of Serbia, to President Poincaré of the French Republic, for distribution to officers and men for distinguished and brilliant conduct under fire. Two were allotted the 163rd Regiment of the Line—one for an officer, the other to a private.]

The hospital in the Army Zone, necessary for military reasons, is not looked upon with favor by the common soldier. It is too military. He has his 172fill of red tape and regulations. He wants to forget there ever was a war, or that he ever was a soldier. He regards discipline as he does lice, and medicine and bad neighbors. It may be necessary to put up with them but he does not wish to do so any longer than necessary.

If he must have a nurse, he does not want a limping, growling, medically unfit man. He prefers placing his suffering-racked body, injured by the hand of hate, where it can be nursed back to health with kindly ministering love.

The sick soldier does not want to be pestered or bothered. He prefers to be left alone. He does not wish a nosing uplifter to come and tell him what he shall do, and what he shall not do. He had enough orders in the army. Because he wears a uniform, he is none the less a man. He may not be rich. But riches are no passport to heaven. He has only contempt for lively humbugs, who ape superiority, and try to push something down his throat which he does not want.

In the Army Zone hospital, supposed to be sick, he is not allowed outside except under certain conditions, and then in charge of a nurse. When convalescent, he is quarantined in the 174Eclopes. Here, rather than moon his time away, and to keep from going stark crazy, he asks to be sent back to the front.

In the hospitals of the interior, he gets much more liberal treatment. If able, he may wander about, without a chaperon, in the afternoons. He will buy a red herring and walk up the middle of the street eating it. Four men go into a shop, buy five cents worth of cheese, and each pays for his own wine.

Store windows have an irresistible attraction for him.

Post cards hold his gaze for hours.

A whistling small boy brings him to a full stop. He has not heard such a happy sound for a long time. He blesses the little fellow for showing so much cheer in the midst of suffering.

After several days, he notices people stare at him a good deal. Yes, he limps too much. Every step brings pain. He senses their kindly sympathy but, somehow or other, resents it. So, he goes out into the country, where, while he rests in the lap of Nature, the warm sun helps the doctors coax the poison from the wound, rheumatism from the joints, and shock from the system.

175Away from the front, away from the busy haunts of men, all through France, in chateaux, in old convents and high schools, in sisters’ hospitals, conducted by the Union of Femmes de France, the Society of Dames Francaises, and the Society Secours aux Malades and Blesses Militaires, under the kindly treatment of those unswerving, unflinching nurses, he recovers his strength, then goes to the front for Freedom or Glory Immortal.

I shall not forget the many little courtesies received in the French hospitals at Saumur, Montreuil-Ballay, Remiremont, Pont de Veyle and Bourg. Suffering unites the sympathetic. Pain is the barometer that tests the human fiber. The soldier, who has been through the fire with his fellows, who has been wounded, as they were, who suffered, as they did, has an established comradeship that endures. He was interested in them and they in him. When he is low and the day ahead looks dark and dreary, he can feel their sympathy. Probably no word is spoken, but he knows the whole ward is pulling for him. He does not want to disappoint his friends. He rises to the occasion. That sympathy means the difference between life and death.

176In the early days of the war, flowers, cigarettes, reading matter and luxuries, were showered upon wounded soldiers. Gradually, as private and public interests demanded attention, visitors were compelled to work for themselves, or for the State.

The faithful, never-tiring nurses patiently remain at their posts, color washed from their cheeks, hands worn, seamed by labor, dark eyes, flashing like stars of a wintry night, unceasingly, they work to bring back to health those who almost died for them. In their sweet, white uniforms, suppressing their own troubles with a jolly smile, they greet and welcome the mud-stained, lousy, dirty poilu and give him an affectionate word—far more efficient, a much better tonic, than medicine.

177

CHAPTER XV
AN INCIDENT

Early spring, 1916, at Boulogne, dressed, as a French poilu, I stepped off the channel boat from Folkstone, and, hurrying to the railroad station, learned that the express would not leave for Paris till 8 o’clock—a wait of five hours.

The day was cold. Snow was blowing around the street corner. The raw sea breeze cut to the marrow. Buttoning a thin overcoat, still crumpled from going through the crumming machine, sure sign of hospital treatment, I walked about aimlessly. “Fish and chips.” Yes, that was what I wanted. I wasn’t hungry, but it must be warm inside. It was also the last chance for some time to indulge in finny luxuries. Lots of water in those long, narrow trenches, skirting “No-Man’s-Land,” but no fish. Grinning, I recalled one cold, heart-breaking morning, when an unseen German yelled across:

“Hello, Français, have you the brandy?”

“No, have you?”

178“No, we have not; but we have the water!”

We knew that—for we had just drained our trench into theirs.

I took my time and when not picking fish bones gazed, reflectively, at the miserable weather outside. I chatted in English with British Tommies and exchanged a few remarks in French with the little waitress. At the cashier’s counter, a stranger, dressed as an English private soldier, rasped out, in an aggressive, authoritative voice.

“Here! You speak very good English.”

In spite of not liking his tone, I responded, “Oh, I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Well, I know. You speak as good English as I do.”

“I don’t know that you have any monopoly on the English language.”

“You don’t know, eh, you don’t know? I would like to know what you do know.”

”Well, I know something you don’t.”

“What’s that?”

“I know enough to mind my own business.”

After a few seconds dead silence, the Englishman said, “Who are you?”

“That’s my business.”

“It’s my business to find out.”

179“Well, find out.”

“Let me see your papers.”

“I will not.”

“If you don’t let me see your papers, I will take you up to the Base Court.”

“You won’t take me any place—understand that?”

I paid the frightened little waitress. The English Tommies were taking eyefulls instead of mouthsfull. I was angered. I was minding my own business. Why could not the Englishman mind his. The more I thought of it, the warmer I got. Turning to him I said, “You not only don’t mind your own business, but you don’t know where you are. You are in France, where soldiers are treated as men.”

Half an hour later, the Englishman, accompanied by a Frenchman in uniform, stopped me in the street. The Frenchman spoke,—

“Good day, mister.”

“Good day!”

“Will you show me your papers, if you please?”

“Who are you—are you a policeman?”

“No.”

“What right have you to see my papers?”

“I belong to the Bureau.”

180“The Bureau of shirkers?”

“No, the Bureau of the Place.”

“Well, I will show them at the proper time and place.”

A small crowd had collected. A poilu, covered with trench mud, asked, “What is the matter?”

“Oh, this fellow wants to see my papers.”

“Well, haven’t you got them?”

“Yes.”

“Let me see them.”

AtAt the first glance he saw the Foreign Legion stamp.

“Ha, ha, la Legion! I know the Legion, come along and we will have a litre of wine.”

So, we two walked away and left the crowd disputing among themselves. I remarked to the Englishman, who had stood silently watching, “I told you before, you were too ignorant to mind your own business. Now, you see you are.”

The wine disposed of, we parted. Looking back, I saw the Englishman following a hundred yards behind. He crossed the street and stood on the opposite corner. He stopped three English officers and told his little tale of woe. They crossed, in perfect time, spurs jingling, 181and bore down, three abreast, upon me, the pauvre poilu, who did not salute.

“You have come from England, where you have been spending your convalescence?”

“Yes.”

“Have you your convalescence papers with you?”

“Of course.”

“You must excuse me; but, would you mind showing them?”

“Certainly, with pleasure.”

After scanning them, one said to the other, “They look all right.” No answer. “They look all right, don’t they, Phil?” No answer. The junior officer, a Lieutenant, conducted the examination. Of the other two older men, one turned his head away, looking down the street, the other gazed at the Lieutenant with a peculiar, almost disgusted expression.

I then asked, “By the way, is it the business of the English in France to demand the credentials of French soldiers? What right has that man to interfere with me?”

“You must show your papers to the military authorities.”

“Is that man a ‘military authority’?”

182The Lieutenant looked round and not seeing the disturber, turned to Phil, “Where is he?”

“Oh, I don’t know. He said something about going to get the military police. Let’s go.” The Lieutenant, turning to me, said, “It is all right. You may go and tell that man we said you were all right.”

I did not move, but stood at attention and saluted while the officers walked away.

I didn’t know who “that man” was, nor yet the name of “we,” but I didn’t care. Half an hour later “that man” arrived with English soldiers, or military police, headed by a newly made Corporal and a Scotch veteran who radiated intelligence with dignity and self-respect.

After walking, captive, a few minutes, I asked, “Where are we going?”

“To the Base Court.”

I thought I was a sucker, playing the Butt-in-ski’s game. Throwing my back against the wall, I answered,—“If you want to take me to the Base Court, you will have to carry me.”

A long silence followed, and a crowd collected. The English corporal started to bluster. I demanded,—“What business have you to interfere with me?”

183“We have orders to make you show your papers.”

“Who gave you those orders?”

The Corporal did not answer. The Scotchman turned to him and said,—“Who is that damned fool that is always getting us into trouble?”

The Corporal responded,—“I don’t know,—he gave me a card. Here it is.”

I looked over the Corporal’s shoulder and read, Lieutenant P——n.

The Scotchman asked,—“Don’t you have to show your papers?”

“Yes, to those who have the right to see them.”

“Who are they?”

“The gendarmes, the commissaire, and the proper officials.”

Then, that smooth Scotchman slipped one over on me,—“Look here, soldier, don’t be foolish. Think of yourself and look at us—we would look like hell getting into a row with a French soldier, with this crowd about, wouldn’t we? If you don’t want to go to the English court, let’s go to the French commissaire and get the damned thing over with.”

I replied, “You are engaged in a lovely business, 184aren’t you? You permit German officers, who are fighting in the German army against Great Britain, to retain their titles in the English House of Lords; and you come over to France and arrest your ally, the French common soldier.”

“We had to mind orders, ma lad, ’E don’t doubt ye’re a’ richt.”

The Corporal put in, “I’m not so sure about that.”

I replied, “I bet you’re making a trip for nothing.”

“What will you bet?”

“Oh, I don’t know—a glass of beer.”

“Good, that’s a go,” said the Corporal. “Ah’ll help ye drink it,” said the Scot.

The Commissaire examined my papers closely. Turning to the Corporal, he asked, “What have you brought this man here for?”

The Corporal replied, “He speaks very good English and not very good French.”

The Commissaire observed, “I don’t know about his English, but he speaks better French than you do.”

“We don’t know who he is.”

The Commissaire responded, “This man is a soldier of France, an American citizen, a volunteer 185in the Foreign Legion. His papers show that, and his identification badge confirms it. The papers also state he was wounded in the forehead. Look at that scar! The papers show he is returning to his regiment. Here is his railroad ticket. What do you want with him? What charge do you enter against him?”

The Corporal looked uncomfortable. The Scotchman walked away. The Commissaire came around the table and shook hands with me. In horror, the Corporal whispered, pointing to the Commissaire, “He is a Colonel!” and started to walk away. I called out, “Here, where are you going—aren’t you going to buy that beer?”

After buying, the Corporal hurried off. I followed more slowly, watched half a dozen English soldiers in animated conversation with the Corporal, the Scotchman and the Lieutenant Buttinski.

I studied the pantomimepantomime for some time, then wandered about, till my train was ready to start for Paris. Seeing Lieutenant P——n looking through the iron railing, I waved him farewell; but he did not respond. A Frenchman would have either waved his hand or shook his fist!

186

CHAPTER XVI
NATURE’S FIRST LAW

The American soldier in France finds new scenes, new conditions, new customs. Unconsciously he compares life back home with his new experiences, often to the latter’s disadvantage. He sees things he does not like, that he would change, that he could improve. But, what does appeal to him as perfect is the large number of small farms (53 per cent of Frenchmen are engaged in agriculture) with the little chateaux, built upon miniature estates, exquisitely tended, artistically designed, that give joy to the eye and food for the stomach. These beautiful homes encourage thrift, they show him, often, the better way.

Pride of possession makes the Frenchman patriotic, national. When the enemy struck France, they struck him. He rushed to the frontier to meet invaders who sought to subdue him and destroy his happy home. From a cheerful, mirth-loving man, he has become serious and morose. Not now does he sing or 187laugh any more. He has been treated unjustly. An overwhelming power tried to force on him something he will not have. He does not bluster—he waits. He does not scold—he works. When the time comes—he acts.

To the non-land-owning German industrial slaves, driven by the strong hand of Autocracy, he says,—“You shall not enslave us. If you have not the brains to free yourselves, we shall free you, whether you wish it or not.” To the robbers’ cry for peace (so they can legalize their stolen loot) the French soldier replies,—“Yes, when justice has been done, justice to the wronged, the oppressed, the raped. Justice is obtained by regular procedure in a criminal court, not by negotiation between equals. Arbitration is not possible between a crazy man and the woman he has assaulted. The mad man must be caught and properly judged. If insane, he should be confined, if not, he must be punished.”

As civilians become city broke, soldiers become army broke. Instead of walking in mobs, they move in rows. Near the front, from marching in companies, they advance in sections. These disintegrate, when an apparently stray shell comes along. Units become individuals 188of initiative and intelligence, adaptable to sudden, strange environment. Necessity supersedes the regular book of rules. Books are printed, orders given, to regulate ordinary conditions.

The soldier’s conditions under fire are neither ordinary nor regular. Instinct tells him when to brace, when to duck. He knows an order to stand up or lie down won’t stop that shell, put his cocoanut back, or reassemble his family tree. So, he does what he thinks best. He may obey or disobey the order, and save or lose his life. The man who gave the order may die because he did, or did not, obey.

A good soldier can generally kick off unnecessaries as fast as a poor officer can load them on. He runs light before the wind. Instead of wearing himself out as a hewer of wood and a hauler of water, he saves his strength for the enemy.

A luminous watch on the wrist, a compass in the pocket, a 2×6 box, with toilet necessaries, are his private stock in trade. The other sixty pounds are regular army. He always hangs onto his gun, cartridges, bombs, little shovel, and tin hat. He doesn’t want tight-fitting shoes, but prefers them a size or two large. He 189doesn’t buckle his belt regulation style. Instead of buckling his cartridge belt in front, he fastens it on the side, so he can slide the cartridge boxes around, where they won’t gouge into his body when he sleeps. He covers his rifle with oil. He wipes out his mess tin with dry bread crumbs. He does not gormandize before a long march, or fill up on cold water. He keeps his feet in good condition. He covers up his head when asleep, so the rats won’t disturb him. He keeps his rifle within reach, and is always ready to move at a moment’s notice.

One day, he may have eaten up the regulation hand-book of rules, for breakfast, dined comfortably on regimental orders, and, going to sleep, with taps blowing in his dome, dreamed sets of fours and double time. Next day, he wakes up, to find by actual experience that, while plans are made and ordered, everything is actually gained by opportunity, individuality, initiative.

He may pass years in peaceful climes, going like a side-walk comedian, through the empty mummeries of a Broadway spectacular production. Put under shot and shell, he just knows he is a soldier, who must keep his feet warm and his head cool.

190The Poilu is first, first on outpost, first at the enemy, first in his home, first in the affection of his country. From the ranks of the poilu the officers are drawn. He is the Foundation. He honors France, France honors him.

When, in 1914, he, with the original Tommy Atkins, turned at the Marne, attacked fifty-two army corps of well-equipped, well-drilled, rapidly advancing, victorious Huns, outnumbering him 8 to 5, and drove them back with his bayonet (for some regiments had no cartridges), he saved not only France, but England, America and civilization.

During the terrible year of 1915, it was the bare breast and naked bayonet of the poilu and the little French 75 that halted superior forces of the enemy, flanked and aided by longer-ranged, heavy artillery, Zeppelins, liquid flame and aeroplanes.

Remember, German casualties, the first year of the war, were 3,500,000 men.

For eight continuous months, he was adamant, behind Verdun. One million men (600,000 Germans and 400,000 French) were incapacitated within the three square mile tract that guards the entrance to that historic town, where, a century before, Napoleon 191kept his English prisoners. Here, the poilu sent the German lambs to glory as fast as their Crown Prince could lead them to the slaughter.

With face of leather, his forehead a mass of wrinkles, which hurt neither the face nor his feelings—a man as careless of dress as the French poilu, naturally, doesn’t care whether his clothes fit him or not,—he goes his fine, proud way. His once happy countenance, now saddened by suffering, will yet light up in appreciation. A little kindness makes him eloquent. Strong in the righteousness of his cause, he does not bow his head in sorrow, or bend in weakness. He stands upright, four-square to the world. He has lived down discomfort. He cares nothing for exposure or starvation. He has seen what the brutes have done in the reconquered villages he passed through. He is determined they shall not do it in his home, or, if his home is in the invaded territory, he declares they shall pay for the damage. Animated by the spirit of justice, ennobled by the example of St. Genevieve, of Jeanne d’Arc, of Napoleon, inspired by the courage and devotion of the wonderful women of France, supported by a united country, he 192knows he is fighting for self-preservation and a world’s freedom.

He closed, locked, barred the door at the Marne. Now he guards the gate. He makes no complaint and asks no favors. With almost certainty of death in front, trouble in his heart, body racked by fatigue, with dark forebodings of the future, bled white by repeated onslaughts, he remains at his post and does his duty, without a murmur.

French officers are real, improved property, not vacant lots. They are leaders, not followers. Ordinary people see what goes on before their eyes. The French officer is not an ordinary person. Anything that is happening, or has happened, his quick mind connects with something else a mile away—not yet arrived. When it comes along, it has already been met; and he is waiting for the next move. His special study is the German Military Manual, his specialties concentration and initiative.

He will grasp another man’s opportunity, tie a double knot in it, and have it safely stowed away, before the bungler misses it. He discounts the future, beats the other man to it and arrives with both feet when not expected—just before the other is quite ready. Endowed with 193foresight, farsight, secondsight and hindsight, he sees all about and far away in front. Every isolated movement is noticed. He connects it up with some future possible development, eventuality or danger.

Men of other nations may have delusions about German organization and system, but the French officer has none. He has beaten Fritz, time after time. He knows he can do it again; and, if there is any one thing he especially delights in, it is to throw a wrench into that ponderous, martial machinery and break Kultur’s plans. Germans are lost with no rule to follow, and their head-piece won’t work. They are at the mercy of the man who makes precedents, but who does not bother to follow them.

Many a soldier has an aversion to saluting officers—it looks like servility. We do it with pleasure in France, as a token of respect. The French officers at the front do not insist upon it, and often shake hands after the return salute. Mon Capitaine is the father of his company, the soldiers are mes enfants (my children). They go to the captain when they have a grievance, not as a favor, but because it is their right; and he grants their request—or gives them four 194days in prison, as the case demands, with a smile. Soldiers accept his decision without question. The French officer does not mistake snobbishness for gentility or braggadocio for bravery. In the attack, he takes the lead. In the trench warfare he shares dangers and discomforts with his men.

It is a great honor to be an active French officer. He is there because his achievements forced him upward. He has climbed over obstacles, and been promoted on account of merit, not through influence. He holds the front, while the inefficient, the aged, or crippled, are relegated to the rear.

The soldier pays with his hide for the civilian’s comforts. The civilian, in turn, apes the soldier, presents a military bearing, in khaki coat, with swagger stick, a camera, a haversack and Joiners’ decorations. While the citizen works (or shirks) to sustain the soldier, he is either using his strength on the front, or building it up in the hospital.

An enthusiastic, spirited volunteervolunteer, gradually becomes a silent, sober, calculating veteran. His days have been troubled. His nights knew no peace. Recognizing discipline as the first principle of organization, that it is necessary to 195have individual obedience, for a group to act harmoniously, he submits. On the front, he finds—himself.

Half a dozen men are taking comfort in the shelter of a dugout. The next instant, five are one hundred feet in air, snuffed out, torn into atoms. But one is left, staring, mouth open. The others, swift arrivals at Kingdom Come, went so quickly into the great Beyond, they never knew or felt the shock.

So with the rum ration low and the water high, the morning bright in sunlight, surroundings dark with death, one’s thoughts spring from the mind. Words fill the mouth. One grasps his pencil to catch burning impressions that flood his brain. He might as well try to tell his grandmother how to raise babies as to think straight! He reaches out and connects up, apparently isolated, strings of thought. He links a chain of circumstance bearing on destruction’s delirious delusions that now rocks the foundations of the world, which reacts on and affects every civilization, person, and individual on earth.

He looks at things from an angle different from that of the civilian. He has a new conception of life. He is not the same person he 196was before the war. No longer does he smell the flowers, eat the fruit, or dwell in the home of civilization. He has lived, like a beast, in a hole in the ground, and slept in a seeping dugout with the rats and the lice. He has seen his companion go over the top, killed off, like germs, changed from a human comrade into a clod. He has lived long between two earthen walls, the blue sky above, a comrade on each side, with Fritz across the way.

It was a narrow prospect. His point of view was limited; but he knew, that while apparently alone, he and his comrades were links in that strong, continuous chain of men who keep back the enemies of Freedom. Behind that chain are others, bracing, reinforcing,—artillery, infantry, aviators, reserves, money, provisions and ammunition, flocking to his aid from America, from Great Britain, from the uttermost parts.

Those larger operations in the rear affect him but indirectly. The details in front are of vital interest. They mean life or death. Every alteration in the landscape demands closest investigation. Boys do not play, nor old women gabble, in No-Man’s-Land. Nothing is done without a reason, and, for every change, 197there is a cause. An unusual piece of cloth or paper is scrutinized by a hundred men, while a suspicious movement empties their guns.

The soldier acquires the habit of noticing little things. He sees a small, starved flower, struggling for sunshine and strength, alongside the trench. He wonders why it chose such an inhospitable home. Next day, there is no flower, no trench—just an immense, gaping hole in the torn ground.

He watches the rats. Why are they so impudent and important? He grows so accustomed to them, he does not even squirm, when they run across him in the darkness at night. He knows they have enough camp offal and dead men’s bodies—they do not eat the living. He watches the cat with interest. She is an old timer and has seen regiments come and go. Her owners are in exile—they have no home—the Germans took it. So, pussy, a lady of sense and good taste, dwells with the French soldiers. He looks at her long, lanky frame and wishes for some milk to give her, to counteract the poison of the rat food. A shell comes along. Pussy runs into the dugout, but comes out again to be petted. Another shell, again she scurries 198away. Kitty does not like shells any more than do humans.

War is the great leveler. Deplored as pitiless destroyer, it more than equalizes, a creator of good. It annihilates property, kings and thrones; but it produces men. It taps hitherto unseen springs of sympathy and mutual helpfulness, where thrived formerly but the barren waste of self-sufficiency. It unmasks the humbug and reveals the humanitarian. It teaches individual self-lessness. The cruelties of the oppressor are overcome by love for the oppressed. The dominance of wickedness is brought low by sweet charity for its victims.

199

CHAPTER XVII
THE INVADED COUNTRY

I have seen the German under many conditions. In the early days of the war, I used to listen to his songs—sung very well. But, he does not sing now. I have watched the smoke rise, in the early morning, as he cooked his breakfast. I have dodged his flares, his grenades, and his sentinels, at night. I have heard his shovels ring as he dug himself down, and have listened to his talk to his neighbor. I have seen him come up on all fours, from his dugout, crying “Kamarad”; and I cannot say, that, as a common soldier, he is a bad fellow.

The brutality seems to start with the sous-officer. It gets more refined and cruel as rank goes up. I have noticed the dazed, hopeless expression of pregnant women at Sillery-Sur-Marne. They stayed under fire of the guns, rather than carry their grief into safety. They emerged from their Calvary, with faces as of the dead, impassive, masklike, hiding scars of agony.

200I talked with a young woman shop-keeper at Verpeliers. The Germans had been in her house—slept on the floor, thick as sardines in a box. They ate up her stock and did not pay. Was she not afraid? She laughed a happy laugh. “What me, Monsieur, afraid? I am Francaise. What do I care for those swine? The sous-officers tried to make me give in. They pointed guns at me, and tried to pull me along with them when the French returned. I screamed and fought. Four of my lodgers are where those crosses are at the bend of the road. The others are prisoners. I am paid, all right, and am satisfied.” “Yes,” she continued, “they charged our old men with being in telephonic communication with the French Army. Twelve were arrested, marked with a blue cross on the right cheek, and have not been heard from since. Two, M. Poizeaux, aged 47, and M. Vassel, 78 years old, were brought back and shot the same evening.”

At Rodern, in reconquered Alsace, where the natives spoke German, the streets were marked in German letters, German proclamations were on the walls, and German money was current, I sat with Tex Bondt, in a low Alsatian room, 201by candle light. The heavy family bed was let into a wall and screened off by a curtain, the floor was of stone, the furniture primitive. A short, squat woman was bewailing her misfortunes. This mother had six sons and three daughters. Three boys mobilized with the German Army. Two were killed. The other is on the Russian front. Of the three, who ran away, and joined the French army, one was killed and two wounded. Two of her girls, nurses in the German Army, were killed during a bombardment. As she listened, I watched emotion come and go in the eyes of the remaining daughter.

In the hospital at Montreuil-Ballay, I met an old man, wounded in the arm. The wound would not knit. Unable to sleep, weeping relieved him. He said, “My wife and I were at home near Lille, in bed one night. The Germans broke in the door, came upstairs, jabbed me with a bayonet and made me get out. I kept going and joined the French Army.”

“And your wife, what of her?”

“I don’t know, I have neither seen nor heard from her from that day to this.”

Again, in the hospital at Pont de Veyle, a young man on a neighboring cot told me, “Yes, 202I am from the invaded country. My name is La Chaise. Before the war, my father was Inspector General of railroads for the Department of the North, with headquarters at Lille. When the Germans advanced he was taken prisoner. I ran away, joined the French Army, and my mother and sister were left at our home. A German Colonel billeted himself in the house. He liked my sister,—she was very beautiful. This is her photograph, and these are tresses of her hair when she was twelve and eighteen year of age. This is her last letter to me. One night the Colonel tried to violate my sister. She screamed, my mother ran in, shot him twice with a revolver and killed him. The sentry entered, took my mother and sister to prison; and, next morning they were lined up against a wall and shot.”

One night at Madame’s,—the bake-shop across the road from the hospital at La Croix aux Mines, with Leary, an Irishman, Simpson, a New Zealander, and an Englishman who was in charge of the Lloyds Ambulance service, we listened to Madame.

“Yes, the Germans descended on us from the hilltops like a swarm of locusts, ate and drank 203up everything in sight, hunted us women out of our houses into the road and told us it was our last chance for liberty. We ran and the Germans followed. We did not know we were being used as a screen, that we were sheltering the Boche behind. The French would not shoot at us but they got the Germans just the same, from the flank. I shall never forget our selfishness. All we thought about was getting to our French friends, and we were covering the advance of our enemies! If we had known, we’d have died first.”

The Englishman, who had been in the retreat from Mons, drawled out,—“Yes, you Americans think the Germans are not bad people. I used to think so, too, but when I listened to the Belgians telling how some little girls were treated, though I felt they were telling the truth, it was too horrible to believe. So three of us Red Cross men went out one night,—where they told us the girls were buried. We dug them up; and, let me tell you, no person on earth will ever make me associate with a German again.”

At Nestle, they carried away 164 women. The official German explanation was that they should work in Germany, while the cynical officers 204said they would use them as orderlies. On August 29, 1914, when the Germans entered the city, a mother of seven children was violated by three soldiers. Later, she was knocked down and again assaulted, by an officer. Five inhabitants were lined up against a wall to be shot, when a French counter-attack liberated them.

In the spring of 1917, at Vraignes, in the invaded district, the Germans told the people they were to be evacuated. After the inhabitants had gathered their personal belongings, they were driven into the courtyard, stripped and robbed of their possessions. Twenty-four young women were carried away from this town of 253 population.

At Le Bouage, a suburb of Chauny, before the Germans retreated, the French refugees were lined up a distance of two kilometers on the Chauny-Noyon road and kept there, in a pouring rain, four hours. Even the invalids were carried out on stretchers. German officers passed along the line and picked out thirty-one young girls and women, one an invalid girl, thirteen years of age, and carried them away with the retreating army. Of the remainder within two weeks after fifty persons succumbed from the exposure.

205On February 18th, at Noyon, when the Germans were compelled to retreat, in addition to burning, wrecking and looting, they carried away by force fifty young girls between fourteen and twenty-one years of age. They looted the American Relief store, dynamited the building, then turned the canal water into the basement.

From Roubaix, Turcoing and Lille 25,000 civilians were deported.

“These slave raids commenced, April 22, 1916, at 3 o’clock in the morning. Troops, with fixed bayonets, barred the streets, machine guns commanded the roads, against unarmed people. Soldiers made their way into the houses, officers pointed out the people who were to go. Half an hour later, everybody was driven, pell-mell, into an adjacent factory, from then to the station, whence they departed.” Taken from the Yellow Book, published by the Minister of War, dated June 30, 1916.

At Warsage, August 4, 1914, the day Belgium was violated, three civilians were shot, six hanged, nine murdered.

At Luneville, eighteen civilians were killed, including one boy of twelve, shot, and an old woman of ninety-eight, bayoneted.

206At Liege, twenty-nine civilians were murdered, some shot and others bayoneted—yet others burned alive.

At Seilles, fifty civilians were killed.

At Audenne, August 20 and 21, 1914, 250 civilians were killed, according to French records, while General Von Bulow, over his own signature, in a written order to the people of Liege, dated August 22, says that he commanded the town to be reduced to ashes and ordered 110 persons shot.

The process of terrorism is invariably the same:—First, the crushing blow of invasion, followed by pillage, rape and murder; then, when the victims are paralyzed, crushed in spirit, shocked to the heart’s core, obnoxious regulations are published and enforced to prevent their recuperating.

At La Fontenelle, Ban de Sept, and many other villages along the front, manure had been thrown into the wells, the fruit trees were cut down, the copper was taken from coffins of the dead, the farm houses were demolished, and all property was taken away or destroyed. One would not pay $10 for the whole outfit of a peasant farmer’s home: table, a half dozen chairs, a bedstead in the corner, a crucifix hanging on 207the wall, a marriage certificate and a picture of the virgin, yet all was gone. The ammunition trains that came up from Germany went back loaded with such poor people’s belongings. Nothing left, an old woman’s bonnet on a dung-heap, a baby’s shoe in a corner, a broken picture frame or two—that’s all.

Talk about forgiving the Germans! Robbing the poor, the destruction of property, possibly may be forgiven. Property can be replaced. But, the systematic, deliberate ruin of non-combatant, innocent women and children, is a crime against civilization that can never be forgiven or forgotten. For generations to come, the German will be treated as an outlaw. He will be shunned—worse than a beast. Unclean, he will have to purge himself before he may be again accepted in the society of decent women and men.

Think of those fine-grained, sensitive French girls, compelled to live with brutes—generally surly, often drunk, who have killed their husbands, their brothers, their fathers! They have broken all the rules of war. They have outraged every decency. They are so sunk in the abyss of shame that they know neither respect for the living nor reverence for the dead.

208

CHAPTER XVIII
LOVE AND WAR

Love and war go together. War destroys the body but love lives on with the soul. Love and war have transformed the hitherto seemingly empty-pated, fashionable woman to an angel of mercy. Socialists have developed into patriots, artisans have become statesmen, good-for-nothings are now heroes, misers have grown to be philanthropists.

Man, missing woman’s ministrations at the front, turns instinctively to her when opportunity offers. Hard, fierce, unyielding to his fellows, he relaxes in her sheltering affection. He is but a boy grown. He wants to be petted, coddled, civilized again.

The woman realizes he has suffered for her. He knows what she has sacrificed for him. War has brought them together, brushed aside false pride and hypocrisy and revealed refreshing springs of patriotism and love out of which flows a union of hearts and hopes that only 209those who suffer, sacrifice and endure together can realize.

The man is better for having been a soldier. He is self-reliant, stronger in mind and body. Through discipline he has become punctual and dependable. All snobbishness, fads and isms are now out of him. He is more tolerant and charitable. He recognizes the value of women’s work in the home, in the hospital and in the munition factory. As a representative of her country, whose uniform he wears, he carries himself more proudly, more uprightly.

What a soldier is to the army, a home is to the nation. The home is safe only so long as is the country. With foreign invasion, all values become nothing. The woman, the man, the home, the country are interwoven. Beyond lie the right to live their lives, personal liberty, representative government, the preservation, yes, even the propagation of the race.

To check that on-coming German tide which threatened to wipe away everything he holds dear, the soldier has fitted himself into that surging, bending, human wall. Behind it, under the shadow of death, woman works and waits, in a quiet that knows not peace—often 210in vain—filled with care and dread, ever striving to be calm, she hides her heart’s pain.

Ancestors died for the liberty his flag represents. Posterity must enjoy the same freedom. So, he bridges the gap, shoulders the load and becomes a better lover, husband, father. Having learned his obligation to the nation, he is a better citizen for all time. One man’s daughter loves and marries another’s son and they become one. War tears them apart. He goes to the trenches. She keeps the home fires burning. Love holds them together while he fights to protect and preserve, she works to support and maintain.

That man is not yet whose pen can do justice to the incomparable woman of France. She is a wonderful combination of heart, head and health. The women of colder climes love with their minds. The French woman with her heart. She gives all, regardless of consequences.

Cynical critics may have their cool sensibilities shocked at the sight of a well-turned ankle, crossing a muddy street. That is as near as they get to the sweet creature they outwardly condemn, but secretly approve. She plays square and wants to love as well as be 211loved. She gives love and is loved in return. While the woman who wants something, but gives nothing, instills her selfishness into others.

The selfish person loves him or herself and gives no love to friend, family or country. The unselfish woman absorbs love, and, as a flower its perfume, scatters fragrance. She inspires the noblest sentiments of loyalty and patriotism. She places herself and her best beloved upon the altar of her country. It is always she who has given most, who is willing to give all.

Mere man notices her dainty figure, her happy disposition, her cheery, outspoken manner, her charm and goodness of heart, the utter absence of vulgarity and ill-temper. Her tears are shed in solitude. Laughter is for her friends. He admires her at a distance, because she is sheltered in the home until marriage. The French man must pass the family council before becoming an accepted suitor. He consults them in his business ventures. His troubles become theirs when MademoiselleMademoiselle changes to Madame and is his comrade as well as a continued sweetheart. She devotes her whole time and attention to him. Her clever, home-making instinct is combined with good 212business sense. She is a valuable partner in life’s great enterprise.

One of the most beautiful sights in France is, on a Sunday afternoon the poilu home on furlough, satisfied to drink a bottle or two of wine with his family, and rest. He did not want to see anyone else. But she insists he must see grandmother and sister-in-law, drop into the cafe and inquire about old comrades, then, enjoy a walk out into the country.

In the gathering twilight Madame conducts her straggling brood home, her hands full of flowers, her eyes full of love—the little doll-like children, with long, flowing hair, romping nearby. The poilu has lost that dark, brooding look. That little touch of Nature and the woman diverted his mind from suffering and revived his sentiment. She sent him back to the front with a smile on her lips—hiding the dread of her heart.

The thought of peace is ever with her—she longs for it. But her conscience will not permit her to ask it. She thinks of the thousands of graves that dot the hillsides with the cross at the head. She will suffer the torments of hell rather than that they shall have died in vain.

Their little savings have been used up. The 213clothes are worn thin. She works, slaves to keep the wolf from the door. She manages to send an occasional five-franc note to her poilu. She labors in munition factories, the tramways, the postal service, in the fields, replacing the man, while cows and dogs do the work of the horses, who, like the men, are on the front. She wears wooden shoes and pulls hand-carts about the street. She drives the milch cow that plows the land, cleans the cars and wipes the engines on the railroad, cooks the food and nurses the wounded and sick in hospitals, does clerical work in the commissary department and military bureaus—chasing out the fat slackers who were strutting in the rear.

In spite of all, she retains her feminacy. She is still as alluring, as good a comrade, as cheerful and gay, outwardly, as though her body was not racked by fatigue, her heart choked with sadness. Occasionally she forgets herself. The mask falls off and trouble stares through the windows of her soul. Catching that look in the eyes of his nurse, a soldier exclaimed: “Cheer up! It will be all right after the war.” She replied: “After the war? There will be no ‘after the war.’ You’ll be dead, 214I’ll be dead. We shall all be dead. There’ll be no ‘after the war.’”

Many French girls have deliberately married mutilated cripples to cheer and to help them earn their living. A beautiful young woman, gazing into the eyes of her soldier, said: “Why should we not? They lost their legs and arms for us—we cannot do too much for them.”

Does the poilu appreciate this? Does he? What if he did lose one leg for such a woman? He would give the other with pleasure!

On furlough one evening, eating supper in my favorite cafe in Paris, I observed a most horribly repulsive object. He had once been a poilu, but a shell battered his face so that it resembled humanity not at all. His nose was flattened out. His skin was mottled and discolored. A hole was where the mouth had been. Both eyes were gone and one arm was crippled. He sat and waited for food. Madame came from behind the counter and looked on. A fat boy, repulsed and sickened, forgot his appetite and gazed, unconsciously stroking his stomach, fascinated by that mutilated creature.

A very beautiful girl, whose face might pass her into Heaven without confession, left the well-dressed gourmands with empty plates. 215She went and served the unfortunate one. She cut his meat and held his napkin that caught the drippings. She was so kind and gentle and showed such consideration, I asked her:

“Is that the proprietor?”

“Oh, no.”

“Your husband or sweetheart, perhaps?”

“I have none.”

“Who was he?”

“Un pauvre poilu.”

Again, we were in a peasant woman’s farmhouse. She wore wooden shoes, without socks. Just home from work in the fields, she asked two convalescent soldiers to help drink a bottle of wine, and we sat and talked with her.

“Yes,” she said, her dark eyes shining with pride, “my husband was a soldier, too. He is now a prisoner in Germany. This is his photograph. Don’t you think he looks well? He was a machine gunner in Alsace. He did not run away when the Germans came, but stayed and worked the gun.” Then, speaking of a well dressed little girl sitting on my Egyptian comrade’s knee: “He has never seen her—she is only two years old and thinks every soldier is papa.”

216Hanging from the roof was a row of dried sausages. Pointing to them she said: “Yes, I send him a package every week and never forget to put in a sausage. Don’t you think from the photograph he looks well?”

In the stable were two milch cows and a young heifer. Indicating the latter, she said: “He has not seen her, either. When he comes home I am going to kill her, faire le bomb, and ask all the family.”

The look of pride changed into a haunted, painful, far-away gaze: “Oh, dear, we shall all be women! Except my husband and Francois, my brother, all our men are dead—four of my brothers! Francois is the last. The Government sent him from the front to keep the family alive. Don’t you think France was good to us to do that?”

When in hospital I met the grand dame from the nearby chateau. She harnessed her own horse and drove through the rain, on a wintry morning, to play the organ at early mass. She nursed a ward in the hospital through the day and returned home alone in the darkness to make her own supper.

“Oh,” she said, “I don’t mind it, I do what I 217can. I was not brought up right or I could be of more use. Before the war, we had fifteen servants. They are now at war. We have only two left, a half-wit and a cripple.”

“Do you know,” she said, “I have never heard the English marching song ‘Tipperary.’ I just love music. In Tours the other day, I saw it on sale, my hand was in my pocket before I knew. But I happened to think of our brave soldiers; they need so many things”—

Noticing the troubled look on the usually serene countenance of a very good friend, I asked her: “Why those clouds?”

“Oh,” she replied, “they have just called Gaston to the colors. His class is called up. You know how I have pinched and saved to bring that boy up right. Now, he must go and I cannot make myself feel glad. I ought to feel proud, but I cannot. I don’t feel right. Every time I look at him I think of my husband and his one leg.”

During the early days of the war I was out with my landlady, whose calculating instinct in the matter of extra charges separated me from all my loose change. Going past the Gare d’Est Paris we noticed a crowd about a 218French soldier. He had a German helmet in his hand. Walking up to him, she said:

“What is that?”

“A German helmet, Madame.”

“Did you get that?”

“Yes, Madame.”

“Did you get it yourself?”

“Certainly, Madame.”

“Here, take this, go back and get some more.” She passed her pocketbook over to the poilu.

The soldier stared; the crowd stared; but the soldier was a thoroughbred. Crooking his elbow and sticking the helmet out on his index finger, he bowed:

“Will Madame give me pleasure by accepting the helmet?”

Would she! Boche helmets were scarce in those days. Beautiful Mademoiselles in that crowd would have given their souls to possess such a treasure! Neither they nor I know Madame. Her eyes looked level into those of the soldier as she demanded:

“You are not a Parisian?”

“No, Madame.”

“To what province are you going?”

“Brittany.”

219“When?”

“At six o’clock tonight.”

“Have you a wife?”

“Yes, Madame.”

“Will you do something for me?”

“With the greatest pleasure!”

“Well, keep that casque in your hand until you arrive in Brittany. Then give it to your wife. She will always love you for it and your children will never forget such a father!”

Walking away, Madame dropped into a silent mood. I looked at her curiously. Was she sorry she had given away her money? Did she regret not accepting that highly-prized helmet, or was she thinking of the pleasure that gift would give the soldier’s wife?

Suddenly she turned and said: “Well, one thing is certain.”

“What is certain?”

“You will have to pay my car fare home.”

220The self-sacrifice and devotion of the women permeates the atmosphere—from the lowest to the highest. It is contagious. It is evident, even to a stranger, and it restores his faith in human nature. She is the other half of the poilu. He excels in courage and fortitude. 221She completes him with an untiring zeal.

One beautiful, romantic feature of French army life is the adoption of soldiers by god-mothers. In one instance, a girl fifteen years of age, having enough money, adopted a half dozen. One of them proved to be a Senegalize, who wished to take the young lady back to Africa to complete his harem!

CROIX DE GUERRE
Famous French War Cross

The star denotes an individual citation, “John Bowe, an American citizen, engaged in the active army, who in spite of his age (past the limits of military service) has given an expression of the most absolute devotion. Upon the front since the 9th of May, 1915, he has always volunteered for the dangerous missions and the most perilous posts.”

The uncertainties and possibilities of the situation distract the soldier’s mind from his real, staring troubles. His thoughts are directed into pleasant channels. The lady sends him little comforts, extra food, or money and, maybe, invites him to spend his furlough at her residence. She always does, 222if he is from invaded territory. If they prove congenial, friendship sometimes ripens into love and love into marriage. It relieves the lonesome isolation of the soldier, and gives the woman a direct, personal interest in the war.

In the spring of 1916 I stood at the Spouters’ Corner in Hyde Park, London, where Free Speech England allows its undesirables to express themselves. Here the authorities classify, label and wisely permit each particular crank or freak to here blow off surplus gas. If suppressed, it might explode or fester and become a menace.

In French uniform I was listening to the quips of a woman lecturer who really was a treat. “Yes,” she cried out, “Mr. Asquith has asked us poor people to economize. Instead of spending three shillings a day, we must only spend two; and our average wage is but a bob and a half. The high cost of living is nothing to the cost of high living. When Mr. Asquith pushes that smooth, bald head of his up through the Golden Gates, St. Peter will think it is a bladder of lard, and lard is worth two shillings per pound. So he will ‘wait and see’ if he can 223use it at the price.” (English call Asquith Mr. “Wait and See.”) “Yes,” she continued, “I try to be careful to make things last as long as possible. Instead of buying a new petticoat, I now change the one I have wrong side out and make it last twice as long.”

I was absorbing these subleties when a French lady, dressed in velvet and furs, noticing my faded blue uniform, stepped up, excused herself, and asked if I were not a French soldier, and would I have a cup of tea with her?

Thus, I found my god-mother.

One year later, again on furlough, passing through London, I called on my good friend and was invited to accompany her to church. After a long prayer, so long as to excite my curiosity, she whispered: “I used to come here every Sunday and pray for you. In this seat, at this part of the ceremony, I prayed you would come back again. I wanted you here with me today so I could show you to God. Now I am content. He will take care of you.”

Opening her prayer-book, she took out a piece of paper and pressed it into my hand. It was an extract from a London newspaper, which told of my being decorated by the French Government. I had not told her, and was not aware 224the news had been in the London papers. At the house, later, Captain Underwood, one of Rawlinson’s invalided veterans, who was in the retreat from Antwerp, inquired: “Did our friend show you the paper?”

“Yes.”

“Well, she bought that newspaper one night and came here crying out, ‘See what my poilu has done, and he never said a word to me about it!’ When you blew in, she made us promise we would not mention it till after you came back from church.”

225

CHAPTER XIX
DEMOCRACY

Democratic Government is the direct opposite of the German system. In America the individual is superior to the state, on the principle that man was born before the state was organized. He was then first, endowed by Nature with certain inalienable rights, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

He organized a government to make those rights secure with the state as servant—not master of his destiny. The public official is just the people’s hired man. He is not paid to give, or to permit, one set of individuals to gain advantage. He must enforce equality, and see that every citizen has equal rights with equal opportunities. Where rights are equal, privileges must be. Where then is inequality of rights then is inequality of privilege. The burden, shirked by the privileged class, is thrown upon those whose rights have been usurped, making their load doubly heavy.

226In time of peace, preparedness is the premium paid for war insurance. During war, impartial, obligatory military service is based on equality of men.

The danger to democratic institutions lies not in the people, but in those that prey upon them, who, having obtained unfair privilege, not satisfied, continually grasp for more. We have seen what inequality has done to the Germans and we do not want it in America.

This war should sound the death knell of the professional politician. The trimmer, carrying water on both shoulders has schemed for power white others worked. Afraid of losing votes, he did not stand up for the right. He goes into the discard, replaced by men of ability and courage. Leaders of the people will remove the inefficient tool of privilege.

War is a habit breaker? It is a series of jolts. The start of the war was a jolt. The day of peace will be another. Just as one trench is wiped out and another made, some day we shall wake to find frontiers gone, the whole map of Europe changed, with the people ruling where were kings. Nothing will be the same. Old thoughts, ideas, beliefs, prejudices, humbugs—social, political and religious, will have been 227thrown into the melting pot. The bogus will disappear and only Truth remain.

French Law and Equality are based on natural justice. That the people have won and are the basis of their liberty. The magistrates, the judges of duty, the legislators, are the means used to secure these liberties.

They maintain that men are born and should live, free, with equal rights and duties, that social distinction should be founded, not on wealth or nobility, but on public benefits to the community, that honors should be given to the most able, to the most faithful, without distinction of wealth or birth.

Rights are, liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression. Liberty is a natural right. Force, time, circumstance shall not abolish it. It is not liberty to do its own will, regardless of others. Individual liberty stops, where the rights of the community commence. The object of political association is the preservation of rights.

The principle of sovereignty rests in the people, as expressed through their representatives. The Law is the written expression of the people’s will. It is the guarantee of rights to 228all. All citizens need the law. All are eligible to be honored by dispensing or enforcing its requirements.

All shall pay toward the administration of Government, and all shall fight to maintain it. No man shall be stopped or delayed except by law. Those who issue arbitrary or unlawful orders shall be punished. All men are accepted as innocent till proved guilty. A man has a right to express his opinion and religious convictions, provided they are not contrary to law.

The law, on its part, does not interfere with dogmas or schisms, but assures to each man liberty of expression and action, to think, and speak, write and circulate, that which he believes true. This free expression of ideas makes Public Opinion, which is for the advantage of all, not for the exclusive use of some few to whom it may be confided. It is the safeguard of independent and does not make for oppression. Public Opinion creates the Law, which, in turn, becomes the guarantee of the people.

All law-makers, dispensing agents, public servants, must make a report of their administration when called on for it by the people. The rights of men are absolutely guaranteed by the laws being rigorously applied, impartially. 229Those, who, elected to power, use that power for their own private ends, rather than for the good of all, are punished.

Behind the army and the woman, are the Cabinet, the Senate, and the Chamber of Deputies—the leaders of thought and action. The people, as thus represented, are the supreme power, the army is subordinate. France is a people with an army. Germany is an army with a people. Democratic France insists on equality, even in military life. It will not permit an officer to grant himself, or his friends, furloughs which are denied private soldiers. As the private soldier may be court-martialed for his sins, so may the general officer, who, through drunkenness, inefficiency or treachery, sacrifices his men or betrays the people. He is not whitewashed, or taken from the front and given an appointment in the rear—kicked upstairs instead of down. He is given his sentence and compelled to serve it.

No brutal or surly officer can chain a private soldier to an artillery wagon like a dog. No drunken officer can hurl insults at him. Hanging over the heads of all, like the suspended sword of Damocles, is French equality, which insists on results, not excuses. It falls on brutality 230and inefficiency. Consequently, French officers are invariably gentlemen and treat their men as such.

Every country has its slackers, its pacifists, its millionaires, its religious fanatics, who do not scruple to use their isms, wealth and special privilege to undermine the fabric of a government which compels them to bear their share of duty. Consequently, civilian leaders must be strong, determined, resolute men, who swerve not from the good ahead, who will neither tolerate special pleadings nor permit incapacity. They know that, prevented by continually changing officers, graft conditions cannot become established, also, that all around experience begets perfection. Soldiers’ lives must not be sacrificed at the front while profiteers fatten in the rear.

If this war has demonstrated any one thing, it is that those who “born to rule” have not the capacity to do so. Filling places of public trust, through accident of wealth, or birth, or political expediency, at the outbreak of hostilities—that cunning, calculating fraud on democracy, the political machine—appointed or elected to serve the people, scheming for partizan advantage, really blocked national 231effort and actually, through inaction and obstruction, aided the enemy.

Incapable of mastering a new set of circumstances, persisting in playing the new game according to the old rules, those appointed failed. Others took up the burden. From the ranks of men rose the leaders of thought and action, stepping, climbing, pushing over the incompetents of title, money and birth, who, unable to save themselves, now accept salvation from those whom they have hated, despised, oppressed.

Advancing in spite of obstacles—the more opposition, the better, the man worthy to lead, clarified by adversity, true to form, takes the public into confidence, talking, not in commonplace generalities, but concrete truths, Lloyd George of England, Hughes of Australia, Briand, Clemenceau and Viviani of France, Kerensky of Russia, Veneviolis of Greece, Sam Hughes of Canada, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson of America, strong, upright and brave men, who scorn the bended knee and itching palm, are hated by the professional politician and the piratical profiteer.

Every man, who has courage to stand for the right and denounce the wrong, becomes a mark 232for bricks thrown at his devoted head—by shirkers who won’t protect their own—by rascals who have been looting the public—and by traitors who would betray their country. These leaders have terrific opposition in their fight against systematized, anti-national organizations. It is the duty of every citizen, in times of national danger, to support the Government, regardless of party.

233

CHAPTER XX
AUTOCRACY

German Government is founded on the principle that the State is superior to the individual. Being superior, it is not subject to that code of honor, that respect for decency, which binds men of different races, religions and countries and distinguishes man from the brute.

The Reichstag of Germany is supposed to be the popular assembly. In reality, it is the bulwark of wealth. Under this system, man belongs to property, not property to man. Voters, who have paid one-third of the total income tax, elect one-third of the electors, who choose one-third of the Reichstag. Voters who pay the next third do likewise, and the same system applies to the last third. In 1908, 293,000 voters chose the first third; 1,065,240 selected the second third, and 6,324,079 elected the last third. Thus, 4 per cent of the voters elected the first third, 14 per cent the second, and the last third, 82 per cent—all the poor people were thrown 234together and controlled by the other two-thirds, or 18 per cent.

In free countries, the State exists for the benefit of the individual. In Germany, the individual lives exclusively for the State. He has no right to free speech, free thought, the pursuit of happiness, nor even to existence itself, unless the Kaiser sees it to his advantage to grant, or permit, those luxuries.

In case a popular measure slipped through the Reichstag, it would have to be voted upon by the Bundesrath—a secret upper house appointed by the princes—not the people, of each separate State of the German Empire. Each State votes as a unit. No amendment can pass the Bundesrath if fourteen out of the sixty-one votes are cast against it. The Kaiser, representing Prussia, holds seventeen votes, and three for Alsace-Lorraine. So, the individual German voter’s work is carefully nullified by this system, over which he has no control. He is outvoted by wealth in the Reichstag. The Reichstag is outvoted by the aristocracy of the Bundesrath. This, in turn, is outvoted by the Autocracy of the Kaiser.

Autocracy, aristocracy and wealth compose the Board of Strategy and officer the army. 235The army is superior to the Reichstag. It is outside of and above the law, within the country but not responsible to it. It is not an army of the people, it is the Kaiser’s army.

So the Bundesrath, the Reichstag, the Board of Strategy, the controlled newspapers and political professors, extending down from the throneroom to the kindergarten, are meshes in the net that entangles man whose rights they have usurped. Through that system, the child is caught in infancy, given Kultur with mother’s milk, then taught to spy upon family and neighbors; he listens to political professors at school, political parsons at church. The more he informs the further he advances, till he reaches the army, where docility and obedience and respect for authority are instilled into him till he can have neither original ideas nor independent thought.

He is told he is under no obligation to observe elementary decency, that there is no honor among men or nations. He is taught to hate, not to love, to depend on might, not right, and to work for war instead of peace. The French, the British, the Americans are only human, but the good Kaiser is divine, and the German is a super-man, chosen by God to rule the world. 236The “good Kaiser” was chosen by God to dominate the German race, who are to conquer the world, and the German super-man, under the Kaiser, is to obtain that domination through war.

A woman who has compassion in her soul for the unfortunate has no right to live. Pity is not German. Miss Cavel had pity in her heart, even for German wounded, for homeless Belgians. So she was executed.

The wounded in hospital ships were torpedoed without warning, murdered by unseen hands reaching out from the darkness, and the perpetrators were promoted for gallantry.

After robbing and burning the towns of northern France and Belgium they turned around and demanded an indemnity, having picked the victim’s pocket, they asked for his money. They robbed the priceless libraries to preserve the books. They drove, the vanquished victims into slavery to protect them from laziness, and raped woman to save her virginity. The French, English or American who rapes a woman, desecrates a church, or murders innocent women and children, knows he commits a crime—the German lacks such consciousness.

237So, unchecked, uncontrolled, responsible to no one, they are wild beasts at large. Backed by an army of 11,000,000 men, they tried to overwhelm peace-loving Europe. They overranoverran Luxemburg. They turned the garden of France into a desert. They could see in Belgium only the nearest road to France. Subject to no restraint, responsible to no one, their passion for power, for money, for lust, recognized no authority, contract, nor law.

Their ungovernable tempers became inflamed at the slightest opposition and they do not scruple to commit the most odious crimes upon the unfortunate people in their power. Repression, terrorism, theft, rape and murder are elevated into virtues and rewarded with honors. By brute force they overrideoverride decency, freedom, arbitration and liberty. Murderers at bay, they fight to keep from being executed.

And, as the German people were compelled to work for them in time of peace, now they must die for them in time of war.

Such is the German Government.

At The Hague Convention, 1907, the following were agreed to and signed by Germany.

238ARTICLE 24. “It is forbidden to kill or wound an enemy who has dropped his arms or has no means of defense, and who surrenders at discretion.”

ARTICLE 46. “The honor and the rights of the people, the lives of the family, the private property must be respected.”

“August 23, 1914, at Gomery, Belgium, a German patrol entered the ambulance, fired upon the wounded, killed the doctor and shot the stretcher bearers.” Part of a deposition of Dr. Simon, in Red Cross Service, 10th Region.

“The night of the 22d (August, 1914), I found in the woods at 150 yards to the north of the crossroads, formed by the meeting of the large trench of Colonne with the road of Vaux de Palaneix to St. Remy, the bodies of French prisoners shot by the Germans. I saw thirty soldiers who had been gathered together in a little space, for the most part lying down, a few on their knees, and all mutilated the same way by being shot in the eye.” Affidavit of a captain of the 288th Infantry.

“We saw there an execution squad. Before it lay, on the slope of the side of the road, fifty bodies of French prisoners who had just been shot. We approached and saw one hapless Red Cross man who had not been spared. A non-commissioned officer was finishing off with 239revolver shots any who still moved. He gave us, in German, the order to point out to him those of our men who still breathed.” Report of Dr. Chou, who was captured and repatriated. He related the above to a Danish physician, Dr. De Christmas.

“I saw a British prisoner killed by a sentry at point blank range, because he did not stop at the command. Another British soldier was shot by a sentry with whom he had a discussion. The shot broke his jaw; he died next day.” Report of Sergt. Major Le Bihran, narrating conditions at Gottingen.

The French Government has the note book of a German soldier, Albert Delfosse of the 111th Infantry of the 14th Reserve Corps. “In the forest near St. Remy, on the 4th or 5th of September, I encountered a very fine cow and calf, dead, and again, the bodies of French men, fearfully mutilated.”

Order of the Day, issued by General Stenger near Thiaville, Meurthe and Moselle, August 26, 1914:

“After today we will not make any prisoners; all the prisoners are to be killed; the wounded, with arms or without arms, to be killed; the 240prisoners already gathered in crowds are to be killed; behind us there must not remain any living enemy.”

Signed,

The Lieutenant commanding the Company,
STOV.
The Colonel commanding the Regiment,
NEUBAUER.
The General commanding the Brigade,
STENGER.

General Stenger was in charge of the 58th Brigade, composed of the 112th and 142d Bavarian Infantry. Thirty soldiers of these regiments, now prisoners, have made affidavits to this, signed with their own names, which are in the possession of the French Government.

The attack of September 25, 1915, brought the French within two kilometers of Somme-py. Lying in the trenches under the furious bombardment, we considered the diary which was found on the German soldier, Hassemer, of the 8th Army Corps, when they captured the town in 1914: “Horrible carnage; the villages totally burned; the French thrown into the burning houses; the civilians burned with all the others.”

241I have many times been at St. Maurice, Meurthe and Moselle, where I saw and pondered over, fire-blackened houses and somber-faced, solitary women. The tall chimney of a demolished manufacturing plant stands guard over desolation. From the diary of a Bavarian soldier of the GermanGerman army, evidence written by the perpetrators, the following is quoted: “The village of St. Maurice was encircled, the soldiers advanced at one yard apart, through which line nobody could get. Afterward the Uhlans started the fire, house by house. Neither man, nor woman, nor child could get away. They were permitted to take out the cattle because that was a drawing out method. Those that risked to run away were killed by rifle shot. All those that were found in the village were burned with it.”

In the first lot of exchanged English prisoners returned from Germany was a Gloucester man shot in his jaws, his teeth blackened and broken. Pointing to where his chin had been, he told me: “That is what they did to me—what they did after I was taken prisoner and was wounded in four places and unable to move. A Boche came along, put his rifle to my 242face and pulled the trigger. But that wasn’t anything to what they did to my comrade. He was lying in his blanket seriously wounded, and a Boche ran a bayonet into him sixteen times before he died.”

In the clearing house hospital at Lyons I saw two old comrades meet, one wounded, from the front, the other from a German prison camp. “Yes,” said the latter, with a peculiar, vacant expression in his eye. “Yes, I was crucified. I was hung from a beam in the middle of the camp for two hours, hands tied together over my head, in the form of a cross, body hanging down till my feet were eighteen inches above the ground.”

“Is that true?” I demanded.

“True, look at these arms. Ask those comrades over there. I swear it, I will write it down for you.”

He wrote the above statement and signed his name, Gandit, Pierre, 19th Infantry.

August 28, 1914. “The French soldiers who were captured were led away. Those seriously wounded, in the head or lungs, etc., who could not get up, were put out of their misery, according 243to orders, by another shot.” An extract from the diary of a German soldier, Fahlenstein, 34th Fusiliers II Army. The original is in the hands of the French Government.

At Ethe, finding twenty wounded men stretched out in a shed, unable to move, they burned the shed and roasted them alive.

At Gomery a temporary, first aid hospital was captured. A Boche sergeant and a group of soldiers rushed in, assaulted the doctor in charge and burned the building. The wounded men, some of whom had had amputations that same morning, maddened by the flames, jumped out of the windows into the garden, where they were bayonetted by the waiting fiends. Dr. De Charette, Lieutenant Jeanin and about one hundred and twenty wounded French officers and men were butchered. This hospital was under command of Dr. Sedillat.

“The Russians were treated like beasts, but among those emaciated, ragged creatures, the most miserable of all, the most cruelly used of all are the British. They were always the last and the worst served. If ill, they were 244always the worst cared for. When they had no more clothing to sell to buy food, they came to the hospital utterly exhausted, stark naked, and died of hunger. It was a sight to pierce the heart.” Report of Dr. Monsaingeon, of the French Medical Service, on conditions at Gustrout in 1914 and 1915. Confirmation furnished the French Foreign Officers and printed in “Treatment of French Prisoners in Germany.”

The following letter, written by Officer Klent, 1st Company, 154th German Infantry Regiment, was published in the “Jauersches Tageblatt,” Harmonville, September 24, 1914: “We reached a little hollow in the ground, where many red breeches, killed and wounded, were lying. We bayonetted some of the wounded and smashed in the skulls of others. Nearby I heard a singular crushing sound. It was caused by the blows one of our 154th men was raining on the bald skull of a Frenchman. Our adversaries had fought bravely, but, whether slightly or severely wounded, our brave Fusiliers spared our country the expense of having to nurse so many enemies.”

FRENCH FURLOUGH
This furlough, in spite of its “sans prolongation,” has beenhas been

245

CHAPTER XXI
THEIR CRIMES

We must make it absolutely impossible for the wild beast to break out again. Our living ought to know the crimes committed in the name of Kultur, in order to take the necessary precautions against their recurrence. To our martyred dead, we have a sacred duty, that of Remembrance.

A little book was published at Nancy under the patronage of the Prefect of Meurthe, G. Simon, Mayor of Nancy, and G. Keller of Luneville, aided by the Mayors of the following towns, located at or near the battle front: Belfort, Epinal, Nancy, Bar-le-Duc, Chalons, Chateau-Thierry, Nelien, Beauvais, Baccarat, Luneville, Gerbiveller, Momemy, Pont-a-Mousson, Verdun, Clermont, Semaise, Rheims, Senlis, Albert.

It is a record of robbery, rape, repression and murder that will taint the German blood for generations, from Prince Eitel Fritz, the son of the Kaiser, who looted the Chateau Brierry 248Avocourt, down to the under officers, who searched private residences, which, open to the captors, it was forbidden to lock. It is a record of shame and dishonor, of brutal force, without a saving element of mercy. They struck their helpless victims singly, in groups, in hecatombs.

Individually, they followed the systematic teaching of organized butchery. The world knows about the murder of Miss Cavell, the Red Cross nurse; of Eugene Jacquet, the Freemason; of Captain Fryatt, the civilian sea-captain. This little book records the death of many others, innocent martyrs to the same glorious cause.

At Foret the public school teacher refused to tread the French flag underfoot and was shot.

At Schaffen, A Willem was burned alive, two others were interred alive. Madame Luykx and daughter, twelve years of age, refuging together in a cave, were shot. J. Reynolds and his nephew of ten years were shot, out in the street.

At Sompius, an old man, Jacquimin, 70 years of age, was tied to his bed by an officer and left 249there three days. He died shortly after his deliverance.

At Monceau-Sur-Sambre they shut up the two brothers S. in a shed and burned them alive.

At Momemy, M. Adam was thrown alive into the fire, then shot at with rifles and Mme. Cousine, after being shot, was thrown into the fire and roasted.

At Maixe, M. Demange, wounded in both knees, fell helpless in his house, and they set fire to it.

At Triancourt, Mme. Maupoix, 75 years old, was kicked to death because not enough loot was found in her closet.

At Conis, Madame Dalissier, 73 years, who declared she had no money, was shot through the body fifteen times.

At Rouyes, a farmer refused to tell where he got some French military clothes. An officer shot him twice.

250At Crezancy, M. Le Saint, 18 years of age, was killed by an officer because some day he would be a soldier.

At Embermenil, Mme. Masson was shot because her servant, an idiot, gave a wrong direction. The madame, pregnant, was made to sit on a chair while they executed her.

At Ethe one hundred and ninety-seven were executed, among them two priests, who were shot because they were accused of hiding arms.

At Marqueglise, a superior officer stopped four young boys, and, saying that the Belgians were dirty people, he shot each one in succession. One was killed outright.

At Pin, the Uhlans met two young boys, whom they tied to their horses, then urged them to a gallop. Some kilometers away, the bodies were found, the skin worn away from the knees, one with throat cut, both with many bullet holes through the head.

At Sermaize, the farmer Brocard and his son were arrested. His wife and daughter-in-law 251were thrown into a near-by river. Four hours later, the men were set at liberty and found the two bodies of the women in the water, with several bullet holes in their heads.

At Aerschot, the priest had hung a cross in front of the church. He was tied, hands and feet, the inhabitants ordered to march past and urinate on him. They then shot him and threw the body into the canal. A group of seventy-eight men, tied three together, were taken into the country, assaulted en route, and shot at and killed the following morning.

At Monchy-Humieres, an officer heard the word “Prussians” spoken. He ordered three dragoons to fire into the group, one was killed, two wounded, one of them was a little girl of four years.

At Hermeuil, while looting the town, the inhabitants were confined in a church. Mme. Winger and her three servants, arriving late, the captain, monocle in his eye, ordered the soldiers to fire. The four were killed.

At Sommeilles, while the town was being burned, the Dame X. with her four children, 252sought refuge in a cave with her neighbor, Adnot, and his wife. Some days later, the French troops, recapturing the town, found the seven bodies, horribly mutilated, lying in a sea of blood. The Dame had her right arm severed from the body, a young girl, eleven years of age, had one foot cut off, the little boy, five years old, had his throat cut.

At Louveigne, a number of civilians took refuge in a blacksmith shop. In the afternoon the Germans opened the door, chased out the victims, and as they ran out shot them down like so many rabbits. Seventeen bodies were left lying on the plain.

At Senlis the mayor of the town and six of the city council were shot to death.

At Coalommiers a husband and two children testified to the rape of the mother of the family.

At Melen-Labouche, Marguerite Weras was outraged by twenty German soldiers before she was shot, in sight of her father and mother.

At Louppy le Chateau, it is the grandmother who is violated, and, in the same town, a mother 253and two daughters, thirteen and eight years old, were also victims of German savagery.

At Nimy, little Irma G., in six hours, was done to death. Her father, going to her aid, was shot, her mother, seriously wounded.

At Handzaerne, the mayor, going to the aid of his daughter, was shot.

At St. Mary’s Pass, two sergeants of the 31st Alpines were found with their throats cut. Their bayonets were thrust into their mouths.

At Remereville, Lieutenant Toussant, lying wounded on the battlefield, was jabbed with bayonets by all the Germans who passed him. The body was punctured with wounds from the feet to the head.

At Audrigny, a German lieutenant met a Red Cross ambulance, carrying ten wounded men. He deployed his men and fired two rounds into the vehicle.

At Bonville, in a barn, a German officer shot in the eye nine wounded French soldiers, who, lying stretched out, were unable to move.

254At Montigny le Titcul, the Germans discovered M. Vidal dressing the wounds of a French soldier, L. Sohier, who was shot in the head. M. Vidal was shot at sight, then the wounded man was killed.

At Nary, they compelled twenty-five women to march parallel with them as a shield against the French fire.

At Malinas, six German soldiers, who had captured five young girls, placed the girls in a circle about them when attacked.

At Hongaerdi they killed the priest.

At Erpe, the Germans forced thirty civilians, one only thirteen years old, to march ahead, while, hidden among the crowd were German soldiers and a machine gun.

At Ouen-Sur-Morin, on Sept. 7, 1914, the Death’s Head Huzzars, the Crown Prince’s favorite regiment, drove all the civilians into the Chateau, then, sheltered by those innocents, they told the English, “Shoot away.”

255At Parchim, where 2,000 civilians, French prisoners, were interned, two prisoners, hungry, demanding food, were clubbed to death with the butt end of rifles, while the young daughter of one of them was immediately given eight days “mis au poteau.”

At Gerberviller, at the home of Lingenheld, they searched for his son, a stretcher bearer of the Red Cross, tied his hands, led him into the street and shot him down. Then they poured oil on the body and roasted it. Then the father, of 70 years, was executed, along with fourteen other old men. More than fifty were martyred in this commune alone.

Sister Julia, Superior of the Hospital Gerberviller, reports: “To break into the tabernacle of the Church of Gerberviller the enemy fired many shots around the lock, the interior of the ciborium was also perforated.”

Statement of Mlle. ——, tried and acquitted for the murder of her infant, in Paris.

“At Gerberviller, I worked in the hospital. Going to the church one night, three German hospital stewards caught and assaulted me. I 256did not understand their language. I thought they were men. I did not know they were brutes.

“Yes, I killed the child; I could not bear to feel myself responsible for bringing anything into the world made by the workings of a German.”

In Belgium alone, more than 20,000 homes have been pillaged and burned. More than 5,000 civilians, mostly old men, women and children, with fifty priests and one hundred and eighty-seven doctors, have been murdered.

At Timines, 400 civilians were murdered.

At Dinant, more than 600 were martyred, among them seventy-one women, 34 old men, more than 70 years of age, six children of from five to six years of age, eleven children less than five years. The victims were placed in two ranks, the first kneeling, the second standing, then shot.

The foregoing statements, vouched for by the most responsible representative men in and near the invaded district, are some of the cases continually being brought to public attention.

257This evidence is accumulative, convincing, damning proof, it is furnished by the bodies of the victims, by neighbor eye witnesses, by devastated, homes, and by mutilated wrecks, who survived—some being recaptured by French troops, others, repatriated as useless, sent back to France via Switzerland.

These, and other crimes, are corroborated in the four reports of the French Inquiry, in “Violations of International Law,” published, by order of the French Foreign Minister, by the twenty-two reports of the Belgian Commission, the reports of a German book published May 15, 1915, diaries and note books found on bodies of dead German soldiers, wounded men and prisoners. They are books of horror, but, books of truth, glaring evidence of murdered men, misused women, ruined homes. Much of them is actually furnished by perpetrators of the deeds. Comments are unnecessary, words inadequate, cold print fails.

FROM A GERMAN DIARY

“The natives fled from the village. It was horrible. There was clotted blood on the beards, and the faces we saw were terrible to 258behold. The dead—about sixty—were at once buried; among them were many old women, some old men and a half-delivered woman, awful to see. Three children had clasped each other and died thus. The altar and vault of the church were shattered. They had a telephone there to communicate with the enemy. This morning, Sept. 2, all the survivors were expelled, and I saw four little boys carrying a cradle with a baby five or six months old in it, on two sticks—all this was terrible to behold. Shot after shot, salvo after salvo—chickens, etc. all killed. I saw a mother with her two children, one had a great wound in the head and had lost an eye.”

259

L’ENVOI

Into Europe’s seething cauldron of blood and tears, American youth have been cast.

Patriotism, pride, resolutely demands that the Devil incarnate, who stirs his awful mess of ghoulhash, shall perish.

Our national peril, the whole earth’s dire need, assembling the Country’s selected young manhood, now make this a United States in fact—probably, for the first time since Washington and Valley Forge.

I have tried to make you see war as I know it, war with no footballs, portable bath tubs, victrolas nor Red Triangle Huts. Such blessings are God-sends—more power to His messengers!

I met a company of the 18th U. S. Engineers swinging along the tree-fringed macadamized highway toward the front. Clean-cut, well dressed, smooth-shaven, happy and gay. It was a joy to see them. It made a man feel proud to belong to the same race. They yelled a greeting in broken French to the dirty Poilu, who responded in the latest American slang, and 261marched away singing into the darkness, the words echoing loud or low, as different sections took up the tune:

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword,
His truth is marching on.”on.”

Yes, Julia Ward Howe’s hymn is quite right. It sounds the keynote of America’s part in this world’s greatest tragedy of all history.

They returned a month later, boys no longer, but men who had been through the fire, and stood up to the grief. Tired, weary, chins pressed forward; hands on the straps to permit free heart action, dust swirled about the moving feet, and climbed up and settled on the stubby, unshaven face, streaked with perspiration, which in turn rose and formed an aura about the knapsack, as it bobbed up and down like a buoy on the sea. From behind the dust-topped bristles flash the steely eyes of the Soldier.

Such eyes! Not the calm, contemplative eyes 262of the sissy, but the strong, fierce, exaltant eyes of the man who has fought, and won.

One month had changed him; the longer he is in the Army the greater the change. Already he has seen there are things greater than fear, found something greater than Life.

He has realized that in union there is strength, that soldiers by acting together as a unit gain the objective, which brings the victory.

He wondered at the confidence of the French Poilu, and discovered that behind that soldier is every man, woman and child, every ounce of energy, every cent of money in France.

His mind wanders to his native land across the sea. True the Government is behind him—but all the people are not behind the Government. The International Socialist is still bent on destruction, and working for Germany; the pro-German is hiding his galvanized Americanism behind Red Cross and Liberty Loan buttons; the chatauquaized pacifist bemoaning this “terrible bloodshed” is trying to dig himself into a hole, where he can escape the U. S. draft. The foreign-language minister—exempted from military service, the only privileged class in America—is still talking denominationalism 263instead of patriotism; the Big Business banker, a deacon in church, prays with the Methodist sisters, works hand in glove with monopolists who have preyed upon the people, then offers 5 per cent in competition with the Government 4-1/4 per cent. He wants to make a profit for himself, rather than have the Government use the money to feed and clothe the soldiers on the front. The prohibitionists, not satisfied with war-time prohibition, with the control of liquor by the Government, through the Food Administration, wants to further embarrass the Government by agitating minor issues when every ounce of energy is needed to win the war. They know the soldier will come back a broader and wiser man, and they want to slip this legislation over in his absence. Then there is the political lawyer who thrives on trouble, gets fat on disaster, whose capital is wind, surplus hot air, whose services are for sale for cash. Usually a trimmer who crawled on his stomach for favors, he pledged himself in advance for votes. Backed by special interests, these decoys play upon the passions and prejudices of men, they array class against class, religion against religion, section against section. Elected by the people whom they betray, the people in return organize 264for protection, then the hypocrites wrap the robes of loyalty about themselves, rush to the head of the procession, climb the band wagon, seize the bass drum, and cry out: all those who don’t follow are “drunken, dishonest or disloyal.”

Beclouding the main issue—of America’s danger—scheming for power while soldiers die, too busy serving themselves, they have not time to serve the nation, they cannot see that their day is past and that they must give way to the men who will win the war—the soldier, the laborer, the producer.

The living soldier is part of the Government, he sees through and past the self-seeking tool or profiteer. He is not fooled by the political machine. He is no longer Republican, Socialist or Prohibitionist—he is American.

Supported by the non-denominational Red Cross and Y. M. C A., he is no longer Baptist, Methodist or Mormon—his religion is confined to Right and Wrong.

That may be all right living; but what of the dead? Dead? Who are the dead? Surely not the unselfish spirits who sacrificed their bodies on the altar of freedom. Their deeds and glory 265are immortal. Are they, themselves; anything less?

“They have passed into eternity,” we are accustomed to say. Eternity? Do you limit eternity? Can you locate eternity’s beginning, eternity’s end?

Then shall we presume to think those noble spirits who went forward to keep our own temporary abiding place safe for us a while longer, dead?

Water rises to its source—that is common knowledge. But, if we actually cannot see the thing, we often rely on established mental habit, prescribed for us, long since, by others.

The soldier, facing the truly big things of life, who learns to discard, in emergency, the book of rules, cannot believe his comrade, whose lifeless, torn body he left on the field, but whose spirit still inspires him, dead. In the strong days of his youth, he remembers, now, his Creator. He knows his absent comrade’s spirit lives—as does his own, responding to that urge to victory! and he knows that they shall both return unto God who gave them.

It is for us, still humanly on the job, to so manage that, when such brave spirits come back, either to resume their interrupted tasks 266or to take on greater, we shall have faithfully done our bit to make this old world a better place in which to live and work.

Science, from her laboratory, reports that nothing is ever lost. Real religion and science agree.


Transcriber’s Note

Errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been corrected, and are noted here. The following issues should be noted, along with the resolutions. The references are to the page and line in the original.

The document appearing on p. 247 has a caption which was incomplete.

55.27 Descendent of General Israel Put[man/nam] Transposed.
64.12 a civil mining engine[e]r Added.
67.21 held the mark[s]manship record in his regiment Added.
103.28 was arrested in Paris by the genda[r]mes Added.
107.8 He later became Commissioner of Police at [Brazzarville] Brazzaville?
153.11 so that their bodies [was/were] not noticed Replaced.
180.11 [“]At the first glance Removed.
185.21 I studied the pantomi[n/m]e for some time Replaced.
194.23 An enthusiastic, spirited volunte[e]r Added.
211.23 when Mad[a/e]moiselle changes to Madame Replaced.
237.4 They overr[u/a]n Luxemburg. Replaced.
237.17 By brute force they over[r]ide decency Added.
241.8 a Bavarian soldier of the German[y] army Removed.
247.1 in spite of its "sans prolongation," has been [...] Missing.
261.10 His truth is marching on.[”] Added.




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