|If this little world to-night
Suddenly should fall through space
In a hissing, headlong flight,
Shrivelling from off its face
In an instant every trace
Of all the little crawling things; ---
Ants, philosophers, and lice,
Cattle, cockroaches, and kings,
Beggars, millionaires, and mice,
Men and maggots all as one
As it falls into the Sun, ---
Who shall say that at the same
Instant from a planet far
A child may watch us and exclaim,
"See the pretty shooting star!"
June 18. We saw a French aeroplane fall yesterday afternoon right near the camp at Villers-Bretonneux. The aviator trying to volplane too near the ground, the thing slipped sideways, and smashed into a field. My car was full, so I was of no use, but Woodworth happened to be passing at the same time and ran out with a stretcher. For some time they could not get at the men on account of the flames and were forced to watch them burn to death. They say their cries were awful. One man managed to reach in and get hold of one of the aviator's arms to drag him out, but all the flesh came away in his hand. Woody carried one to the hospital, but he was dead when he got there. Of the other there was nothing left worth carrying "C'est la guerre!"
June 20. Things are moving rapidly now. All "permissions" have been canceled which kills any expectation of Paris on the 4th of July. Lewis got a splendid citation for the Croix, at Fontaine-Cappy, for bravery under fire. He was ordered to leave by the Médecin Chef, and refused to do so, because he had not completed his rounds. The old man was delighted with him and cited him the next day. We move to a camp in a field between two batteries at Chuignes and will evacuate to the big new barracks hospital at Marcel Cave. The grand attack is due to start in about a week and some of the fellows are talking of making their wills. I should worry! ! ! A new gun has appeared, a "120" built on "75" principles, light carriage, oil recoil, and very mobile but shorter in the barrel, thereby bringing down the weight, I suppose. It must be a terror, as it is almost double the famous "soixante-quinze." We have been unable to buy a map of the country between the Foies-Dompierre-Faucaucourt line and Péronne anywhere, even in Amiens, so it looks as if that was to be the direction of the big push.
End and I had a long walk to-day. He is an interesting chap. He was in Serbia with the Columbia Ambulance. We visited the two big aviation camps and watched them sighting one of Barclay Warburton's "Lewis" air-cooled mitrailleuses. They have a sight much like the finder on a camera; it must be easy to aim with. We saw Farman and Condron planes, the latter with double "gnome" typemotors in front, the former with V-type twelve cylinder Renault motor aft. We did n't see any of the famous Nieuports, as they won't come from Verdun until the last moment, nor did we see the new self-starting Voisin planes. The orders are to "shed" everything but the barest necessities. We also saw the funeral of two aviators. It was quite impressive, with several Generals walking behind the coffins, while one plane made the sign of the cross in the heavens above the grave.
June 21. I am up at Cappy again, and got a call right off to Éclusier and mighty. near fell into the canal, as some idiot had left a pile of wood for fuel in the road and in trying to go over it the car skidded one wheel over the bank. I just caught it with the brakes in time.
Imbrie, as the only lawyer in the Squad, offers to make wills cheap for cash. One gets thinking about things like that in the face of what's coming.
June 22. Most depressing news. We are to go to Verdun. We are shifted from the Colonials because they are to bear the brunt of the attack, and the cars which are necessary for the tremendous evacuation work must be the largest possible, while ours will be more useful on the bad roads around Verdun. Our evacuation center is Bar-le-Duc where Section No. 2 and the new No. 8 are stationed. I am sorry to have seen only the beginning of what must prove the biggest offensive of the war. On the other hand, I will be glad to be able to say I have been at Verdun, and the 250-mile trip across the country will prove most interesting. It means that we will travel from one end of the French battle line to the other,----truly a wonderful opportunity.
June 23. Such a splendid trip! We came down through Senlis, the town where the Boches did their worst. They burned every tenth house, and shot the citizens, including the Mayor. Then we came along the valley of the Marne, and saw the whole of the great battlefield. A perfect day, and the Lieutenant ran slowly so that the "convoi" should get a chance to take in the views. At that, we are to-night at Châlons --- some ride! Every bone in my body aches and it's hard even to keep awake to write this. Woody got an awful spill. He nearly went to sleep, a very common thing after one has been driving for a great many hours --- sort of hypnotism; his car turned turtle, but threw him clear. Paul also went to sleep, but saved himself. Imbrie nearly got ditched, too, doing the same thing. I find the only thing to do is to try to compose a letter or a verse or remember songs one half knows. It keeps one's mind out of that hypnotic rhythm. Here I am on a wonderful soft down bed with sheets! The Russians are here also. The lady of the house where I am quartered says that last night there was a Boche aeroplane raid, but it did no damage, except it made her baby cry with the noise. She says to-night it will be so sleepy it wont disturb me! ! ! --- After three months of the guns! --- an amusing idea! The French kids are, good little fellows. One insisted I should have a rose in my button-hole to-day. Everywhere they give one flowers or candy. Another led me all around the village of Pont-St.-Maxice by the hand, and all along the roads they always, girls and boys, click their heels together and give the military salute when we pass.
June 24. My hostess charged "whatever I chose to pay" for the room. I asked if two francs would suffice, and she agreed. In the morning she handed me a bottle wrapped up and told me to say nothing about it. She would accept nothing for it and when I opened it later I found it was a pint of champagne! Certainly nice of her. Board and lodging and champagne for two francs!
We passed many smashed-up villages to-day, including Sermaize and the famous Vitry-le-François, the turning-point of the battle of the Marne. We stopped at Trois-Fontaines and saw the ruins of a twelfth-century abbey, --- wonderfully beautiful, ---and the château of Trois-Fontaines belonging to the Count of Fontenoy. The Boches did not injure it for some strange reason. The abbey was ruined by the French Revolutionists.
As we neared Bar-le-Duc we passed the Tenth Cavalry, every man leading an extra horse. All the horses are little, quick-acting animals of the polo pony type. They looked very efficient. We also passed the Seventy-ninth "de ligne" returning from the Front. The men were haggard and done, but a fine-looking lot. Ten days should put them on their toes again. After one of our caravans goes through a section of country, the "pays" breaks out in spots with Ford sores for days. We have only "shed" five altogether and two are due to rejoin to-night. Woody broke his front and Edwards his back axle. Bowman burned out a bearing, Little broke a front wheel, and Lathrop had carburetor trouble. There were, of course, the usual lot of blow-outs. I had two, but was able to rejoin each time without losing my position in the line for more than a few minutes. Each man carries a part of the general extras on a hike. I was lucky in drawing the tire supply, which saved me many minutes, as I used the tires lying loose in the car rather than undo my carefully packed-away spares.
June 25. We arrived at Bar-le-Duc yesterday afternoon at 5 o'clock, and had our tents up and kitchen working by 6 P.M., to the astonishment of a neighboring "camion " section. We turned in at 9 o'clock.
At 11 P.M. a call came to go at once to Verdun, as there had been a big gas attack. We chucked everything out of our cars, got masks and "tin derbys," and beat it. We made the outskirts of Verdun (fifty kilometers) by 1 A.M. over fearful roads and not a car broke down, though there were several blow-outs. We ran into the Norton Section and our No. 2. They were very much surprised --- as they knew we had only arrived that evening---to find us right on the job. As we loaded the coughing men into the cars, the guns were going like mad and a terrific explosion occurred --either a mine or a powder dépôt. The whole sky was bright, as when Du Pont's powder mills blew up at Wilmington last winter and we saw it in Philadelphia, --- except this time it was quite close.
Each car took five men and we landed them back at Bar-le-Duc as the day was breaking. Little burned out a bearing, but otherwise we made the return trip without accidents, at a very fast clip. In fact, too fast for the good of the cars, but the Lieutenant wanted to make a good impression at the start. The thing really developed into a race. Claxon horns, extra tires, and all sorts of loose objects fell off, and I think we got even some of the soldiers nervous. I had two bottles of beer lying between the fender and the body of the car, which Baylies had asked me to carry the previous day, and in the hurry of the moment and the dark I forgot about them. As we beat it along at sixty kilometers an hour, I began to hear a new knock in my engine. I thought the wretched old thing had every known knock already from piston slap to main bearing bang, but this clink was a new one. It got no worse nor less, whether up grade or down, and I thought, "Well, as ever, a Ford is full of infinite resources for surprise"! When we got to Verdun I began oiling up, and there were the two bottles and the explanation of the knock. Believe me, we did n't do a thing to them! The funny part of it was the boys thought I had great foresight in bringing them along.
To-day we are taking things easy and awaiting orders. The man who sat beside me told me that the reason they got caught by the gas was that they had taken their masks off in order to see more clearly, as the ground was treacherous and full of shell-holes, and some of the gas was still lurking in the low places. We all went to bed at 7 A.M. and slept until Roche was awakened by something licking his face. Thinking it was one of the dogs, he just gave it a slap, and then the whole tent nearly collapsed! A stray cow had drifted in and tried to get acquainted! The riot that followed set all thought of further sleep at an end, so we started in tinkering with the cars and generally shaking down. Temporarily, our camp is pitched on the grounds of an old château at a little place called Veel, just out of Bar-le-Duc.
June 27. No rest for the wicked. We had only just got thoroughly repaired and straightened out after our first trip, when we were called out again: this time to a little east of Verdun at 3 A.M. Well, we galloped out over that awful road again, dodging two solid lines of "camions" and guns for the whole fifty kilometers. The French, by the way, call it the "Voie Sacrée" (Sacred Way), as, when the railroad was cut, the use of this road for carrying supplies saved Verdun. Nobody got into much trouble, however, except Lathrop who broke his brake, and as he was the next behind me he kept bumping into me steadily. When we got to Dugny we found it packed with ambulances. There had been another gas attack. I ran into Mason, head of the new Section No. 8, and several other fellows from Sections 2 and 3. Also the English "St. Johns" Section composed of Quakers who do not believe in fighting.
Chapman, the American airman, was killed yesterday near here. He shot down three Boches before he got his own. We saw his wrecked plane.
Section 8's cars were a sight. It. was a shame, as they were new only three or four weeks ago; but, of course, they were nearly all new drivers and were bound to get smashed in such traffic. Most of their fenders and side boxes were ripped off as well as lamps and radiators which were broken or bent. One of the men was wounded and two were unable to stand the strain and have returned to Paris. We got back here at noon, starving, as we had no breakfast, and got busy fixing up the cars: three broken front axles and one back axle. All I had to do was to clean out the carbon and grind the valves. We got mail at last this P.M., the first in nearly two weeks. It develops that the reason we were sent for was only partly to concentrate the American Ambulance, but also for the purpose of replacing a French Section of twenty cars, of which only ten are now working and whose drivers are about all in. Five of the men got caught in a tunnel the other night when two Austrian "380's" exploded one at either end and a third on top. The air concussion threw them some fifteen or twenty feet, first one way and then the other, while not only the glass headlights, but even the floor boards of their cars were blown in!
Copy of letter dated 6 mai, 1916:--
1er Corps d'Armée Coloniale --- 2me Division.
Au nom du Directeur du Service de Santé du 1er Corps d'Armée Coloniale, et à son nom personnel, le Médecin Divisionnaire de la 2me Division Coloniale, félicite M. le Sous-Lieut. de Kersauson et ses conducteurs de la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 1, pour l'empressement digne d'éloges avec lequel dans la nuit du 4 et celle du 5 Mai, 1916, ils ont assuré l'évacuatîon des blessés des postes de recueil de Cappy et de l'Éclusier.
Le Médecin Principal de 1ère classe,
Q. G. le 6 mai, 1916.
Copy of letter dated 10 juillet, 1916:--
1er Corps dArmée Coloniale.
Direction du Service de Santé,
le Médecin principal du 1er Colonial, Lasnet, Directeur du Service de Santé du 1er C. & C., au Lient. de Kersauson, S.S.A.U. No. 1.
Au moment où la S.S.A.U. No. 1 est appelée à suivre une autre destination, le Directeur du Service de Santé adresse au Lieut. de Kersauson et à tout le personnel de la Section ses chaleureuses félicitations pour le zèle, le courage, et l'activité inlassable dont tous ont fait preuve pendant leur séjour sur le secteur du 1er Colonial.
Les troupes Coloniales ont su apprécier le dévouement des Volontaires Américains et elles leur en gardent une vive reconnaissance. C'est avec un profond regret qu'elles les ont vu partir, et elles n'oublieront pas de longtemps les conducteurs hardis, habiles, et empressés qui venaient enlever leurs blessés jusque dans les postes des secours les plus avancés.
Standing: Lines, Stevenson, Tyson, Lindsay, Roche, Culbertson,
Lieutenant de Kersauson, Jones, Sponable, Tison, Walker, Lott, Rapp
Seated: Wilson, Wallace, Edward Townsend, Campbell, Herbert
Townsend (Sub-Lieutenant), Woodworth, Kurtz, Potter
Copy of letter dated 4 août, 1916:--
Le Médecin Major Saint-Paul, Médecin chef de la 127e Division,
au Lieutenant Commandant le S.S.A.U. No. 1, Lieut. de Kersauson.
Mon Cher Camarade: ---
J'ai été extrêmement contrarié lorsque j'ai appris que votre section quittait la 127e Division. Pendant les journées dures que j'ai passées avec elle, je me suis assuré que cette section fournissait un service parfait et faisait preuve du plus beau courage militaire, d'une intrépidité digne d'admiration dans les terrains les plus sévèrement battus par le feu. Vos Conducteurs sont des gens animés d'un esprit de dévouement digne des plus grandes éloges; flegmatiques, braves, d'une éducation excellente et, ce qui ajoute encore à leurs mérites, d'une modestie singulière.
Je vous adresse donc toutes mes félicitations pour la façon dont vous dirigez ce corps d'élite, n'hésitant jamais à payer de votre personne et à donner l'exemple du courage et du dévouement. J'ai remarqué les mêmes qualités chez votre adjoint M. Townsend auquel je vous prie d'adresser ainsi qu' à votre personnel et en particulier à M. Campbell mes souvenirs affectueux.
|For history's hushed before them,
And legend flames afresh;
Verdun, the name of thunder
Is written on their flesh.
June 29. We have been moved to Dugny on the Meuse, six kilometers from Verdun. It is to be our headquarters like Méricourt and Bayonvillers, and we are to run up to the "postes de secours" from here. We were taken to Fort Tavannes, the cabaret, and other "postes de secours." While at the cabaret the Germans began shelling the series of batteries which were all along the road. Some twenty huge (at least, they seemed huge to us) shells fell around us. This was the heaviest shell-fire I have yet been under, and I sure was glad to have something to do to keep my mind off of it. Two men about one hundred yards away were decapitated and there were a number of dead horses about. I can see we are going to have a lively time. Coming back, an incendiary shell set a big house on fire on the outskirts of Verdun, and the shells came whirring rapidly. We passed several smashed ammunition wagons and one ambulance all in pieces. After dinner we saw some German prisoners going by. They had just been captured and were a bedraggled lot, but were neither extremely young nor extremely old, indicating that there is still a pretty good "bunch" of Boches left. We started in our service this evening and calls began to come in right at dinner-time. We send a car out every twenty-five minutes at night, but in the daytime we go every hour and a half. There is practically no "repos." Alternate days we do "Bureau" calls, interchanging with Section 8, which takes on the regular cabaret run.
One gets some astonishing directions when one is working in a new country at night. For instance, in going to Fort Tavannes, which is now being shelled by the Germans, I was told to go along the ----road, until I passed two smells and then turn to the left. This referred to two piles of dead horses. Some Russians tried to escape from Metz last night and two succeeded. The Russian force is not just around here apparently. At least I hear nothing of them.
Some Section 2 men drifted into town to-day. They are working on the Mort Homme and Hill 304. I went over with End, who talks German, to see the prisoners. They are not such a bad-looking lot --- they are well built and wiry, and they don't look ill-fed. Neither were they depressed, but answered questions freely, looking us straight in the eyes. Their average age was twenty-four to twenty-five, and they said they had not been shifted back and forth as is so often reported, but had been here right along. Altogether I got an impression that they were right on the job. They were all surprised to find we were Americans and not English.
The country just behind the front lines is littered with broken cars, smashed wagons, and dead animals. Nobody has time to take them away. We gathered in some useful springs and an anvil to-day and hope to tow in a whole "camion" shortly that looks as if it could be made to run. Verdun itself is pretty well shot to pieces. I noticed a marble statue of Napoleon standing up in a hole above the street which used to be a window in a house. It creates a rather impressive effect, as it looks out over the ruins and desolation toward the smoking, rocking hills.
June 30. Edwards had a close call last night. A shell exploded right over his car and a dozen pieces were cut through the top and sides; even went through the tool box under his seat and perforated his oil can, yet not one touched him. He continued to work all night, and should get the Croix, except that we are new here and the Lieutenant may not cite him.(28)
Bowman carried a Division Commander whose leg was cut off by a "77." He died in the car in the arms of his orderly, whose only words were, "It's too bad, too bad, to be killed by a mere '77' after all he's been through." Nothing under a "130 " is regarded as amounting to much around here.
Latimer broke an axle in a shell-hole; Woodworth fell into one, too, and had to be hauled out. The trouble is, the new holes are made between the time one goes out and comes back, and so they fool one. Thiaumont seems to be the Boche objective just now. It has changed hands four times already.
July 1. A chance of six days' Paris "permission," due to-day, is gone. Goodness knows when I will get a holiday now, and I. certainly had looked forward to the 4th in Paris. Well, there will be no lack of noisy celebration around here, but not exactly as "safe and sane" as in the States. Woody goes to-day. I'm terribly sorry. He's the best friend I've made in the Section. I shall send the second and third parts of this diary by him.
We have now three dogs attached to the Section. Besides "Vic," Magoun has picked up a little woolly one at Bayonvillers; while Bowman got a sad sort of mongrel pointer along the road to Bar-le-Duc. They are really more trouble than they are worth, as they continually get lost, while at night they come nosing into the men's blankets and get kicked out to the accompaniment of the usual yelping. Fleas, of course, also help! There are signs, I see, of another joining the squad here. It looks somewhat like a young hyena and is hanging around the cantonment. The tame crows and fox of the "camion" drivers at Bayonvillers were amusing and could be caged, but these pups are continually escaping. What with our three tents, the Zouave," Lizzie," and the varied menagerie, we certainly are assuming the aspect of a traveling circus.
July 2. I had an amusing trip with a Captain this morning. I had been running all night from Tavannes and the cabaret. The Germans made an attack near Vaux and our "tir de barrage" stopped it. We drove past some one hundred guns, "75's" and "105's," whose muzzles project over the road, and when they fire as we pass in an incessant "tir rapide," the noise is enough to break the ear drums. I stuff cotton in my ears and keep my mouth open. The sheets of flame come half across the road and the concussion has even broken some of the little windows in the cars.
Well, this Captain was at Dugny and asked me to take him up to Tavannes, as he was on his way to the front lines. Being daylight it was against our official rules; but, individually, we endeavor to be of as much aid as we can to the army and often waive such rules. When we passed the cabaret we could see the German "saucisses," and, of course, they could see us. At Tavannes, the Captain suggested that I carry him on to the Mardi Gras redoubt close to the lines and in plain sight. I told him I was "under his orders," so we proceeded, passing more dead horses and all sorts of smashed stuff, and winding our way around huge craters. At last we got there. In thanking me he said some complimentary things, and remarked that he had asked a member of another Ambulance Section to take him up here a few days ago, and that he had refused, although it was still only dawn.
Incidentally I picked up three "blessés" at the redoubt who were about to be taken the couple of miles down to the cabaret "poste de secours" on "pousse-pousses," little two-wheeled pushcarts which carry one stretcher. This meant the saving of an hour or more for them. When I got back here, I found Will Irwin and another magazine writer being shown the fighting by Piatt Andrew. Unfortunately they missed the "tir de barrage" which, alone, is worth crossing the ocean to see. A solid line of flame several kilometers long, crowned by exploding shrapnel and all kinds of colored lights and flares and a noise so deafening as to make one's head reel and one's brain stop working. There were eleven hundred guns working just as fast as they could (about twenty-five shots a minute) for an hour in the space of about two square miles. No words of mine can do justice to that "tir de barrage" across the Étain road. I have been scared in my life, but never like that. The German "incomers" one regards as luck. One hears the warning whistle and thinks it's coming right at one, and it falls a hundred yards away. Again one hears the whistle and regards it as distant --- and she blows up right beside one. There's a cheerful uncertainty that means bad luck if one is hit; but when obliged to drive in front, within twenty feet, of those "75's," and others, with the flame apparently surrounding you, and unable to hear or think for the stunning noise, you don't know whether the motor is going, and you also wonder where the wads are going. They, alone, are enough to kill a man. You also hope the gunners are on to their job, as some new recruit might aim a foot too low! Then, occasionally, a badly timed shot bursts at the muzzle, which means exactly above the car. Believe me, I'd rather take a chance with the erratic "Germ" incomers than to have to pass that often. If I get out of this without being permanently deaf, I'll be lucky.
Just as the old Fokkers beat all other war planes and the Nieuports beat the Fokkers in point of speed, the Boches have suddenly, within the last few days, introduced a new Fokker much faster than the fastest Nieuport. Johnston, one of the American Ambulance men who went into the Aviation Corps, and is in the camp at Bar-le-Duc, told Sponagle to-day that he and his squadron were caught by surprise over the German lines, and only escaped by the greatest luck. The French and English, of course, will immediately start to build an even faster plane, but temporarily the supremacy of the air appears to have been snatched from the Allies and even our own aviators admit it.
The French batteries are certainly beautifully concealed. One can only spot them at night by the flashes. In the daytime they shoot and shoot and one never sees them.
July 3. George End this morning saw a man killed by the shock of a "210" on the road into Verdun. The "Germs" were attacking Thiaumont again. The shell exploded just beside the road and the man was n't even touched, but was killed by the shock.
Funny the directions the fellows give each other as to the safest roads to take! End, of course, advised me not to go to the cabaret by way of Verdun, but to go through the woods where Edwards was hit. Ten minutes later Francklyn came in and said to be sure to take the road through Verdun, as the Germans were shelling h---l out of the " casernes" on the wood road, and to be careful. Imbrie, with his usual cheerfulness, remarked: "Careful! Careful! Good Lord, how's anybody going to be careful? If we wanted to be careful we should have been careful not to leave America!"
July 4. My idea of nothing to do is to go out under shell-fire in the pouring rain. That's what Squad A of Section I has been doing all day. It rains thirty days out of each thirty-one in the month, and in those months that have only thirty days, it is n't clear at all.
While we were swimming in the Meuse yesterday, we saw a Boche aeroplane attack one of the fifteen "saucisses" around Verdun and in a few moments the thing burst into flame and fell like a plummet. The observer was killed.
The French chased the aviator, but he got away.
Imbrie is certainly a scream. He remarked to-day that on going out on his run to the " poste " the road was O.K., but coming back he saw a fresh-killed horse.. He said: "Now, that's the sort of thing that causes one to stop and reflect, but I didn't. I jammed down both levers and did my reflecting at forty miles an hour!" There are a number of Philadelphia cars in Sections 1 and 8. Two new ones from the Huntingdon Valley Country Club came up yesterday. There is one from Henry Brinton Coxe, and one from John: K. Mitchell, one from the University Club, one from J. H. McFadden, one from George F. McFadden, and one from Clement B. Newbold.
Great news! The Government has awarded forty-eight hours' "permission" to all Americans in the army to allow them to celebrate the 4th of July. Only five of our Section are allowed to go, however, but as my regular "permission" was due July 1st, along with Roche, Lewis, Paul, and Edwards, we were the five selected. Section 8 is allowing eleven men off ; but, of course, they have been here longer and deserve it more. All the aviators and all the other Sections are letting men go down, and, believe me, we'll have big times in Paris. The Boches got Thiaumont this morning; but I guess that's about all for them if the Somme offensive continues to progress.
July 5. I arrived in Paris yesterday with five to ten men from each of the American Ambulance Sections and some Norton men, and saw all the old bunch of fellows at Henri's, including ----, who invited me to dinner at Maxim's. He gets his divorce to-day! This morning, after a hectic night, I stopped at the hospital to see our wounded "ambulanciers," especially Hollingshead, of the Norton Squad, who came over on the steamer with me. He got hit on the shoulder at Bras, near the Mort Homme; but is coming around all right. The three "blessés" whom he was carrying were killed and the car was smashed. The two Frenchmen were buried, but they left the body of the Boche lying in the ambulance for the Germans to find. They were thought to be about to capture the place at the time, but I believe have since been pushed back. I saw several other wounded American Ambulance men including the new fellow from Section 8 who had only been at the Front about twenty-four hours before he got a piece of shrapnel in the arm. Barber, the Section 4 man who got an "éclat" in his stomach, will recover, after all.
July 9. I got back yesterday and worked on the car all day putting in a new engine. Ned Townsend returned; he, Roche, and Paul bringing up some new, or rather rebuilt, cars. They are not balls of fire by any means; but anything is better than driving some of the old cripples they heretofore have handed us. George End is down with dysentery, and some of the others also complain of it, Vic White particularly.
We had to shoot the little woolly dog. Its ribs were crushed by a car, poor little beggar! Section 8 has gone "en repos" and we axe now working with new English and French Sections. We have had no trouble whatever in holding up our end so far. An attack on Souville last night was repulsed. Ned Townsend was up there, and had a splinter clink off his "tin derby"; the first time I've actually known of their being useful to us except to keep the rain off. In the trenches when only the head is exposed, of course, they are very useful; but judging from the general line of solid ivory nuts we've got with us, other parts of the body require more protection than the dome!
I've become very humble of late. I, honestly, never realized what an awful ass I must have been at the start until (entirely involuntarily) I was forced to listen to the idiotic drool pulled by some of the new men in the watches of the night. They all regard themselves as young Atlases supporting France and the world through the grace of God and Ford. And oh, those eternal arguments about the whateverness of whichever! --- or words to that effect --- when all that it is necessary for them to know and do, is to crank a car and steer it to where they are told to go!
WITH THE HELP OF A GERMAN PRISONER
July 10. Having had swims in the Somme, the Marne, and the Meuse, we are now looking forward to a paddle on the Rhine. I have a hunch that before very long there may be an attack to the east of Verdun beyond the St.-Mihiel salient, or possibly right there. My only reason for this is the advent of fresh Senegalese and other Colonial attacking troops, such as we saw on the Somme. Also the Russians on this front are yet to be heard from, while their brethren on the other side are doubtless doing as well. Bonne nouvelle! I have been given a new car; not a made-over wreck, but a real new one.
July 11, 4 A.M. I am writing here at the Etain-Moulinville cross-road beside a dead and odoriferous horse. Watching the dawn break and listening to the whining of the shells from both sides passing overhead, and now and then one breaking entirely too near for comfort is, believe me, no place for a nervous child! I'm simply writing this to keep my mind off the crape and "don't-he-look-natural-please-omit-flowers" stuff! It's cold, and it's going to rain, and these blessed "brancardiers" are late with their trench "pousse-pousses." I'm also hungry and I'd give a quarter for a fifteen-cent drink; and I'd as leave have it at the Racquet Club in old Philly as here. Just now the Boches are firing "210's" which are landing in the ravine a hundred yards away. I hope they'll keep perfectly accurate and are not going to give any raw greenhorns practice. I entirely sympathize with the fellow in Bairnsfather's famous cartoon: "There'll be dirty work at the cross-road to-night."
Later. It appears that one of the shells I listened to lit close to "Huts" Townsend's car at the Tavannes cross-road and nearly crowned old Roger. They came up and ordered me to return, as I had stayed over my allotted time.
In the afternoon, the Lieutenant, Sponagle, and I went up to Fort Dugny and had the luck to see another attack on Souville. For once it was clear and the sight was marvelous. The whole hill smoked. We also saw the American Escadrille go into action, six of them; but they disappeared in the smoke far back of the German lines. The big bombardment was followed by a gas attack between Vaux and Douaumont, and the fight was fierce all night, around Damloup. We began to get calls around 5 A.M. and, thereafter, ran all day under heavy fire. I saw a bully "155" shell on the road and wanted to pick it up, and had already slowed down, when one burst within thirty feet of the car ---I changed my mind and moved on! Nearly all the men we carried were "gassed." They kept coming in all day from the trenches, or rather shell holes, in the Bois Fumant and Froide Terre near Fleury. We alone carried some twelve hundred of them, and believe me, it was some strain.
Many new dead horses along the road. The gas gets them, even the smallest whiff, and, of course, they have no masks. Even at 10 A.M. there was still enough gas to make our eyes smart. The Germans tried a new dodge, ---a sort of "tir de barrage" of "77" gas shells. They do not make much noise, just about as much as a yacht cannon, but the gas spreads fast. It was about forty feet high and extended for about two hundred meters along the Étain road. The men who were caught by it all admitted they had taken off their masks for one reason or another. Some get sick at their stomachs and that forces them to take off their masks. It is not amusing to talk to men who don't know they're as good as dead! One really should have two masks, and switch in such a case, not breathing meantime. We all have had another one issued to us to-day.
The work became exactly like a road race. At our cantonment, after delivering the wounded, we had a table on which were coffee and crackers. There were extra tires, oil, water, and gasoline, and the mechanics all ready to put them in. We made eleven round trips during the day from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. Some cars only carry five and some six, so that the total wounded carried would have been over eleven hundred if all had been going perfectly. During the night we necessarily worked slower, but carried some nine hundred, I should judge. I broke a spring clip which detained me a little while, and I lost about a half-hour around noon, but made it up later. The doings of the last two days are chronicled more or less in the " official communiqués." The bombardment being dignified by the term --- "Extreme violence."
The Germans again got within five hundred yards of Tavannes, by the use of gas. This evening, at 6.30 P.M., without artillery preparation, the French counter-attack was made and was entirely successful. Not only was all lost ground regained, but they captured some one hundred prisoners, several machine guns, etc. The leaving out of the artillery preparation entirely fooled the Boches.
As the hospitals are overflowing, we have had to take in a lot of the gassed men with us in our cantonment. It is pathetic to hear them try to get their breath as if they were drowning; also it's not conducive to sleep. I carried the Commandant who was in the attack. He had a piece of shell in his stomach, but he was a brave beggar. Never said a word, and thanked me when I apologized for the jolting he got. The "Germs" got the Damloup redoubt today.
We nearly had a scrap of our own just now. One man implied that another had been running less than the rest. He was sent to call him and found him sleeping while all the others were on the road. We had to pull them apart. It is due to overwork, overexcitement, strain. Every one's nerves are on edge.
It's wonderful to see the French artillery in action. Our "poste" at the cabaret is entirely surrounded by batteries; and to see the relief come galloping up, split in fours, and each go dashing out into the fields by the pale light of a clouded moon, is a sight one can never forget. In about two minutes they are unhooked and old Mr. Boche is receiving "billets-doux de soixante-quinze."
We were ordered to move to rejoin the Division which has been "en repos" about a week. The Boches started shelling the railway station with the Skoda "380's" this afternoon; but everybody was too sleepy even to go up to photograph it. They never hit it, anyway, and the old peasant women continue to tend their gardens all around the huge shell holes. All through the valley back of Tillat, Tavannes, the Mort Homme, and so forth, the peasants till their fields under shellfire. Now and then they lose a horse through asphyxiating gas; but otherwise they don't give a curse for the Germans.
July 13. We leave in caravan to-day to rejoin our Division "en repos" at a little village outside of Bar-le-Duc. The heavy fighting has died down again and now everything is quiet. We have received quite a lot of praise for our work through the gas attack. The new location is Tannois, just outside of Bar-le-Duc. We are beautifully situated in a little valley, with a clear mountain spring, ripe cherry trees, and wild strawberries everywhere. We all celebrated the day with champagne, and Pierre got fresh with the Lieutenant and was given twenty-four hours in jail; but to-morrow being the 14th, the sentence really only holds good for a few hours, as all minor offenders are to be released. The Lieutenant knew that before he sent Pierre to jail. The "Loot," as every one calls him, is really one of the best of fellows, and knows just how to handle the men so that they don't feel too much restraint, and yet are kept well in hand. Roche and I go to Paris on our long-delayed. "permissions" to-morrow. Winsor is going down on sick-leave. End joins us to-morrow. He leaves for good, after two years' service, partly in Serbia.
We had a mock marriage to-day with a little girl in an "épicerie" shop, ---who was tickled to death and got right into the spirit of it, --- and Sam Paul. Sam was so rattled he couldn't say or do anything but blush! Josh Campbell was the Master of Ceremonies and it was a scream! They bathed the old Zouave cook, De Vaux, in champagne.
The "Loot" is tickled to death with the way the Section went through the attack. He received an awfully nice letter from the General of the Division, and he told Roche and me coming down in the train that he believed the whole Section might get cited --- a very unusual thing. It appears that we broke the record for the number of wounded carried during twenty-four hours in that Sector, or something of the sort. Culbertson got off a classic to-day. He was talking of heavy shell-fire coming in, and of being scared, and somebody asked him the size of it. He replied, "Oh, I guess about a '105' or, you know, a '380' Bowman"! We speak of the "77's" and "105's" as " 80 Bowmans" now.(29)
July 17. Trouville and a salt bath. A thing I've forgotten to mention is the staining of the white horses a sort of sorrel.
What reminded me of it just now was the way they are fading, on account of the months of rain. Here in Trouville they are becoming a sort of pale "baby pink." Some of the dead horses around Verdun also have been washed almost white again by the rain. They are very useful landmarks at night.
I have seen more pathetic sights here than almost anywhere else. The Trouville and Deauville casinos are convaleseent hospitals. Most of the big hotels are also. I was driving along the land just back of the beach, past the fine-looking private villas, when we came to a series of the same sort which looked like "Little Italy," with the clothes hanging out and the babies all over everything and small chimneys sticking out of the windows, the regular New York tenement look. I asked what on earth it was doing in the middle of Trouville, and was told that it was part of the Belgian refugee camp sections, which are scattered all along the northwest coast. One almost has to apologize for not being a cripple at Trouville. -It's terrible to stand the looks of scorn! But one can't stop and explain to each individual that one has been dodging shells at Verdun for two weeks, and is only on a two-days' "permission" here.
France, you may pin sparse tokens with war-tried fingers to the breasts that lift beneath eyes that look to you living and dying.
But the decoration you have set in these faces belongs to millions that march and that serve you still, living or dead.
---John Curtis Underwood
PARIS, July 24. Old End finally left. He was a good fellow. I remember the time when he forgot the password for the bridge at Cappy, which the Germans were diligently trying for with "77's" and "105's." The sentry stopped him, of course, asking the word, and in his slow, drawling, vague way George said in English, which, of course, the sentry could n't understand, "I don't remember exactly, but it seems to me it sounded something like 'Motor Boat.'" The word was " Montauban." What with the noise of the bursting shells and the rest, the sentry simply gave it up and let him pass. He woke me up at 4 A.M. to say good-bye and to give him a cocktail.
I ran into Waldo Peirce in the château, with Foster, who is going to Serbia with the Rockefeller "Foundation." Peirce had a close call at Nouvelle Fleury. A piece of shrapnel got him in the chest, but was deflected by his heavy leather pocket-book which was filled with papers and money. Peirce says he's never going to be without money hereafter --- he does n't care whose! He's shaved his beard and lost about twenty pounds. I hardly recognized him.
Cartier tells me that when Waldo's wife wrote asking him when he was coming back, he did n't answer; then she cabled requesting a reply; so he wired back --- "Après la guerre."
July 25. Bonne nouvelle! The Section has been cited by the Order of the Division for the work before Verdun. They will have to solder the Cross on an oil can, I suppose, as we carry no pennant. A thing that is worthy of record, but which as we all know it so thoroughly I had forgotten to mention in the part of this diary written at Dugny, is that "Huts" --- otherwise called "Herbert" ---Townsend, of New York, our leader, has all kinds of nerve. When I went up to the cabaret the night of the final gas attack on Souville, I thought, each time, that his calm manner and perfectly casual talk only acted on me personally. I was seared so that I did n't know whether I was coming or going, although, of course, I did not show it; but every man of our Section with whom I have since talked said the same thing. Old "Huts" steadied us down, whereas if he had shown signs of getting rattled, some of us might have become nervous. As a matter of record we all rolled thirty-two hours without a serious hitch of any kind --- except when C----- and B----- suddenly declared a personal war of their own. "Huts" will wear the Croix, I suppose, and he deserves to wear a dozen of them.
July 26. Off at last in the Hotchkiss. I made the trip without a hitch. The boys were all glad to see us. We brought much mail, and cakes, and so forth. On our way we stopped at Montmirail for lunch. There we ran into a Mrs. Squiers, of New York, who had become a Sister of St. Vincent de Paul and is located at a hospital there. She told us that one of her sons was in the English Ambulance Service and the other in a motor battery. She was glad to talk with English-speaking people again, she said, after so long; but as she did all the talking I couldn't see that we did her much good.
TRIAUCOURT, July 27. We were decorated to-day by the Divisionnaire. He was unusually complimentary, --- said we were cool, brave, drove where we were told and showed "an élan most commendable," and so forth; and finally pinned the Croix on Edwards's car, representing the Section.
Copy of Order No. 78:
2me Armée, Direction du Service de Santé du Groupement E.
En exécution des prescriptions réglementaires, le Directeur du Service de Santé du 6me Corps d'Armée cite a l'ordre du Service de Santé du 6me Corps d'Armée --
La Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine No 1.
Sous la direction du Lieutenant Robert de Kersauson de Pennendreff, et des Officiers Américains Herbert Townsend et Victor White, la Section Sanitaire Américaine No 1, composée entièrement de volontaires, a assuré remarquablement le service quotidien des évacuations en allant chercher les blessés le plus loin possible, malgré un bombardement parfois violent. S'est particulièrement distinguée le 11 Juillet 1916, en traversant à plusieurs reprises une nappe de gaz toxiques sous un feu intense sans aucun répit pendant 32 heures pour emmener aux Ambulances les intoxiqués.
Le Directeur du Service de Santé,
Quartier Général le 26 Juillet 1916.
Sponagle also got one for repairing a car under heavy fire. He is our head mechanician and an awfully good fellow. His citation was signed by Joffre himself. Brooke also received his Croix and got a bully citation from Nivelle. Altogether it was a gala occasion. The Section's " Croix "' will be framed with the "Citation" and a copy given to each of us. That also comes from Nivelle.
July 28. For some reason or other the boys nicknamed me "The Judge" almost from the first moment I joined the squad on the Somme. Pete Avard was the first to pick the name, and I never could find out why except that I tried to be even-tempered and pleasant to all of them --- which is hard enough at times. Pete used to be in the Fourth U.S. Cavalry --- "Galloping I" troop. --- We are still in the Argonne. Of the new men Walker and Wallace are exceptionally good fellows.
There is going to be a big celebration to-night. "Very Good Eddy" and Brooke are going to christen their Croix and that of the Section.
July 29. Tardieu has designed an Indian head as the "Convoi's" emblem for the squad, taking his lines from the regular Indian on the $5 gold-piece. This lends a real "ton" to the cars, the head being stenciled life-size in red, black, and white on the sides, and, as one might say, it puts Section "One" on the map.
The cobbler's daughter in this village (Triaucourt) is quite pretty and intelligent. She showed us the hole in her arm where a German high explosive hit her. It killed her grandmother beside her, disemboweling her. She says that the Germans took care of her, however, and acted decently enough, except that they set fire to a group of stores in the town when they left. The woods hereabouts are dotted thick with graves, German and French; hundreds of them. They are about a year old.
The talk now is that another big offensive by the Allies is brewing in the Champagne. The Russians are nearly all concentrated there. It should break out pretty soon, if there is anything in the reports we hear.
I saw a lot of the French troops from Indo-China, the Anamites. "Tirailleurs Tonquinois "' is their official title. They are little fellows dressed in pale yellow, but wearing the dull blue casque. It was a beautiful sight watching the long yellow and blue worm, winding for miles along the distant road in the hazy sunlight. We have now had nearly two weeks of good weather; the longest period of the sort since Méricourt. A farmer tells us it came just in the nick of time to save the crops, which were beginning to rot. He says the grape and wine crops are going to be the best in years, especially in Burgundy. He says the Chambertin of this year will be a wonder in time.
Beside us here is a machine-gun section --- air-cooled.
July 30. I had my first introduction to soccer football last evening. We played the French before an audience of a couple of thousand soldiers. They licked us as usual, 3-2.
Cunningham and I had a long walk in the woods to-day. He tells me that he is "fed up" with war and is going home. He has been here almost since the beginning. He says one of the most depressing things is the way the personnel of the squad changes every few months. Just as all get to be pretty good pals, a lot have to go home and new men fill their places who are awkward and strange. We are going through that process already and it will be accentuated next month. I'm sorry to lose old "Gymp," although he's terribly pig-headed in his ways, and always sees everything in the most dismal light.
Vic painted a whale of a picture of him : the head in a deep shadow with a grouchy expression; and a sunny, cheerful background behind. He named it "Sunshine and Shadow." It is a scream!
I have been struck forcibly with the quiet, restrained, and generally dignified behavior of the thousands of French soldiers camped about here. They wander through the handsome Poincaré château grounds and never disturb or injure anything. Bottles of wine left to cool in the spring are not touched.
July 31. The big vaudeville went off with great éclat. It couldn't have been pulled off in a more beautiful or suitable spot. A little clearing in the forest with a tiny stage flanked with French flags, and the general lighting furnished by M. Rapp, of S.S.U. No. 1: all the acetylene lamps we had. Jimmy Sponagle was the only one of us that could produce a stunt, and the Frenchmen in the kindness and politeness of their hearts put him last. Of course, old Sponny did the best he could, considering that he followed some of the greatest comedians and singers on the professional stage; nevertheless, I wished for Woody. He and Sponny could have put over something pretty good. Then they asked --- no, really begged, us to sing "Tipperary." Well, we sang it, of course. Nobody really knew it and it was a frost. The "mise en scène" was wonderful --- all green surroundings. It reminded me of Robin Hood stories and the revelries in Sherwood Forest: by luck, a clear night and the stars thickly spangled over the opening in the woods. The trees were filled with men and whenever one lighted a cigarette his face shone through the foliage like the pumpkin heads at Hallowe'en. It was marvelous. That and Trois Fontaines stand out as the two most beautiful, peaceful things I have ever seen. Of course, nothing compared with Verdun at night. That, like the Penseur before the Pantheon, is all alone in its glory.
We have a lot of fun evacuating the late sleepers. Some of the men lie in bed after eight o'clock, and so the fellows sneak up, surround their cars, and quickly grab the stretchers, pull them out, and dump them on the grass. Some of them get mad, and then there is a rough-and-tumble fight. One time at Veel they started my car and drove me all around the country. To-day, we put Francklyn in the middle of the main street, and the village girls had a great time kidding him. We carried him out to the tune of the "Dead March" from "Saul!"
August 1. We have found a swimmingpool at last. The discovery was made by Baylies in a peculiar way. He was called out to get a man who had been drowned. We couldn't believe it, as the streams all around here are so shallow, but he was taken to a little dam about ten minutes from here that we had entirely missed. So henceforth we are all right.
August 2. I got a shock this morning. I awoke to find my face had turned quite green. I thought for a minute gangrene or something had set in. The explanation came quickly. It had rained a little in the night and Mrs. Charles M. Lea's beautiful green silk pneumatic pillow had got a trifle damp --- that pillow, hitherto, has been a joy!
I had to laugh at Imbrie. Like Cunningham he's always growling and kicking and calling this a h---l of a life. Just before I went to Paris he said his time would be up the 1st of August and he was "fed up" and going to quit and go back --- and all that. Well, I asked him to-day what boat he was sailing on, and he grinned sheepishly and said that he'd just signed up for another three months! As a matter of fact he loves it. All his life has been spent traveling around the globe, including a long stay hunting in Africa, and he could no more leave this than fly.
We had a scream of a cross-country hare-and-hounds run this evening. "Huts" Townsend, as Section Chief, opened champagne at dinner in honor of the "Citation." There was one bottle extra and much argument arose between the two tables as to which should have it. Culbertson went over and grabbed it and they all fell upon him. Finally Roche got away with it and supported by a couple of others ran off. After a little interval we all decided to hunt for them and there ensued a regular chase across country. We must have covered several miles. But they were foxy. They hid the bottle and then led us a long run. Then they sneaked back and drank it up, while we were still hunting in the woods. The Frenchmen thought we were all "nutty," but we explained it was a regular American game!
"Huts" heard from our old Division, the Third Colonials. It appears General Gaddel lost his hand in the attack on the Somme: and poor little Abbé Souri, the chaplain, is not expected to live.
August 5. I hear that W. M. Barber, of Toledo, Ohio, the Section 3 man who was shot in the stomach, is out and around again: quite a resurrection, He completely fooled the French authorities who gave him the Médaille Militaire, in addition to the Croix de Guerre, which is generally considered as about guaranteeing the "Croix de bois." Now he's going back to the Front again.
I had a nasty nightmare last night. I dreamed I was dressing to go to a formal dinner-party at home. It certainly was a relief to wake up here.
They put a large yellow flea-bitten mongrel dog and a live chicken in Bowman's "bus" where he was sleeping last night. There was a jolly riot, as may be imagined.
August 7. I broke a ligament in my leg playing ball. Rough luck! Will be out of business for about a week, I suppose, if it's anything like as bad as the last time. I can't walk at present. Lucky we are still "en repos," so somebody can take my runs for me temporarily.
Mrs. W. K. Vanderbilt came up to see us last night with the Duc de Clermont-Tonnerre and Andrew. She gave us all cigarettes. Their car had a close call near Pont-à-Mousson when a shell exploded close to them.
We moved this afternoon to a new camp: only about ten kilometers. Vaulecourt is the town nearest us. The place is partially wrecked; the church destroyed.
The bells, by the way, were presented by an ancestor of Clermont-Tonnerre. It is a pretty spot in the woods. There is a little thatched hut where a peasant and his daughters live. They have a pet pig, and the oldest daughter is a most self-possessed young woman, considering her age, about fifteen. She is n't a bit rattled at the jollying we give her.
Andrew told us that the Field Department of the American Ambulance was now officially separated from the Paris Hospital and had secured new quarters near the Trocadero --- at Rue Raynouard.
August 8. We went wild-boar hunting last night. Nothing doing. They say they are quite thick around here; also deer, but they are protected. I saw two young boars a farmer caught, --- pretty little animals, very fast on their feet. A fine stream to wash clothes in is the Aisne, but hardly deep enough for swimming around here. However, we wade out and duck under. I took a "malade" over to Révigny and a couple of big boars came between the road and the railway as we got there.
I stopped in the main cafe and found "Winny" O'Connor and "Doc" Ryan's names carved on one of the tables, dated 1915. Section 4 used to be up there. The town is badly shot up; in fact all the towns hereabout are half-ruins. The little peasant girl says her father used to own a farm here, but it was burned down. The French had to bombard the place, as the Germans were in these woods. In fact one of their old trenches runs right beside our cantonment.
The little peasant girls are remarkably strong for their age; they can lift big logs, hoe the fields, and do men's work; but are terribly dirty. It is rather pathetic. When we started to jolly the older one, she went into the hut and in a few minutes came out in a different calico smock: her best, I suppose, and she had done up her hair; but her hands and face were as dirty as ever. She has a sense of humor, though. She came out this morning with two potato hoes and a basket. Edwards promptly rushed forward and asked if he might go over and dig the potatoes. So she gravely thanked him, handed him the basket, and the hoes, and said, "Go ahead; I will sit here and talk to these gentlemen." Of course, we all cheered and Edwards was much crestfallen. Then Culbertson, who stands six feet, offered to carry a basket of beans for her, and she looked at him a moment, then shook her head; "Non, non, pauvre petit Américain, j'ai peur que ça ne te fasse du mal." And all this from an imp of fifteen, brought up in a hovel in the back woods! "Vic," the club dog, is utterly nonplussed at the tame pig, which is just about his size. It is a scream to see them together. They call the pig "Guillaume II."
August 10. "Duffy," Phil and Lew left for home and fair Harvard to-day. We went through the customary burying procession to the tune of the "Dead March" from "Saul." Every one was really sorry.
Wild-boar hunting still goes on these moonlight nights, but Lathrop is the only one who has had a shot, and as he only had a revolver, he missed. There are plenty around. The place is full of tracks and several have caught glimpses of them in the distance. Lathrop's method is rather unique. He fills his pockets with rocks, and when he hears the boars in the long grass, stirs them up by chucking stones at them, and then, when they break cover, he lets go at them with the old revolver.
August 12. Still loafing. All there is to do is read, eat, sleep, and swim and watch the French troops drilling. I saw an interesting lesson in trench "cleaning" yesterday. All the troops are now being taught the gentle art of bomb and handgrenade throwing. The method of advance up an enemy trench was most interesting. First two men armed with rifles and bayonets, each keeping one length of trench apart, move forward, so that both won't be killed by the same shot. They are the scouts. They signal the first bomb-thrower, two sections back, by means of pebbles, as of course, in battle, no voice or whistles can be heard. The first bomb-thrower and his orderly, who carries the basket, are connected with the second bomb-thrower and his assistant by a messenger. The second bomb-thrower, however, is two trench sections back, and is picked for a long-distance thrower. He throws over the heads of the others. After it is seen that three or four grenades have landed in the trench, the scouts advance again and signal back as before, and everybody moves up, including the reserves, who lie back two or three sections and also are connected by a messenger. It takes quite a while to clean up even a half-mile of trench --- some two or three hours. They throw with a curious, overhand, tossing motion almost like bowling a cricket ball. The ordinary baseball throw is impracticable, as the arm and shoulder would have to come above the trench.
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