Private First Class William J. Schira, 2579496, is listed in military books as being from Wallaceburg, Ontario although he was drafted in Tiffin, Ohio. Born December 21, 1890 near Tiffin, Bill left Ohio for Canada sometime around 1913, when he was 23 years old, to learn the glass-cutting trade. He was drafted at Tiffin, Ohio in March of 1918 at the age of 28.
Unknown to many people, his entire experience in the U.S. Army was meticulously documented in a small pocket diary. Unfortunately, the diary is too old and fragile to be passed around and read by interested people and descendants. Through imaging and word processing it can now be shared by all. I have occasionally changed punctuation, capitalization, and a few obvious misspellings.
In the diary, Bill speaks of his sweetheart, Anna Catherine O'Connor ("Snook"), who would have been 21 years old in 1918. They married in June of 1920, one year after Bill got out of the Army. They lived in Wallaceburg, Ontario and had 6 children. In 1935, due to the effects of the Great Depression, Bill moved his family back to Tiffin, Ohio where he worked at the National Machinery Company as a Machinist until he retired in 1955. Bill passed away on Christmas Eve, 1969.
Pfc Bill Schira achieved the rating of "Nurse" and served at Base Hospital No. 53 located just outside Langres, Haute-Marne, France. Excerpts from a pamphlet entitled "History of Base Hospital No. 53" are included here for reference. They are interesting in that they give you an Officer's view of many of the same events of which Bill writes.
The diary should be read with an understanding of what life was like in 1918. While falling short on today's standards of political correctness, the diary reflects a man who did his duty for his country. It is hard to imagine the horror of what he saw, or the many hours of boredom and loneliness he experienced. While the diary depicts many scenes of what life was like in a military hospital, as you will see, it also leaves many questions forever unanswered.
March 4th, 1918. Was inducted into the U.S.N.A.
March 5th, 1918. Left Tiffin O. at 8:10 am for Camp Greenleaf Fort Oglethorpe Ga. A happy bunch. Went through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and arrived at Lytle GA at 11:30 A.M.
March 6th walked 3 miles to Camp Greenleaf and carried my grip. Received dinner at 3 p.m.
March 7th, 1918. Dug ditches around tents.
March 9-10, 1918. Dug ditches around evacuation hospital.
March 12, 1918 , was examined and passed.
March 13, 1918, Received my uniform.
March 24th 1918. Went to Church in Post Chapel. March 31st Easter Sunday
April 1st, 1918. Received my third shot in arm.
April 2nd - 5th, sick.
April 6, rained. April 7th, rained all day.
April 8th Ordered to pack up and leave for parts unknown.
April 9th, waiting for orders to leave.
10th, all ready to leave but don't know where.
April 11th, 1918 Got up at 4 a.m. am going to Base Hospital #53. 11th, am on the train and think I am going to Augusta Ga. Train left Lytle GA at 8:40 a.m. Saw snow in Tenn. on April 11th.
Rained in Chattanooga. The ground is covered with snow, the trees are in blossom & the children are barefooted. We don't know yet where we are going but are on our way. 12 o'clock now, had beef sandwiches & baked beans on train. Pulled into Atlanta Ga. at 4:30 p.m.
Arrived at Camp Hancock about 1 a.m.
April 12th, 1918. Stayed on train until 6 a.m. Left train at 6 o'clock and started walking for our Camp. Walked two hours was very tired. Had breakfast at 9 a.m. and slept beside mess hall on the ground until noon, then had dinner. In afternoon received our cots
April 12, 1918
and went into crowded barracks. Our barracks are not finished. April 13th 1918, didn't do anything but eat & play cards. Went into New Hospital for barracks until ours are finished.
14th Sunday, got up at 7 o'clock had bacon, eggs, cream of wheat, bread, butter, and coffee for breakfast. Went to Mass at 9:15. I like this place much better than Camp Greenleaf.
April 15th, had it easy today, all I did was play cards and eat. Lost at cards. 16th, oiled the floors on the hospital porches today.
April 17, 1918 Had inspection this morning. passed O.K. Oiled Hospital porch floors this afternoon. April 17, received a nice big box from Robert.
April 18, oiled floors again today.
19th rained, was oiling floors today.
20th Sat. oiling floors. 21st Sunday, oiling floors in morning. Had a chicken dinner, didn't work in afternoon.
24th, worked like hell today they are working hell out of us. Digging stumps.
May 7th, 1918
Worked outside hauling clay for baseball diamond until 3:15 p.m. Had litter drill till 5. Was assigned as orderly to Ward C. Quarantine ward. We have Diphtheria, Scarlet Fever, Measles and don't know the others. Moved in this evening and must eat & sleep and stay right here. D ward is next to this insane ward, am sleeping on the porch and the nuts kept me awake most of the night. One nut ran away.
May 8th, 7 a.m., arose and served breakfast and worked until 11 a.m. Served dinner at 12. I don't like the confinement here.
May 9th, Am in quarantine.
May 11th Received my pay for April. $15.00. Capt Bell brought it to me at Ward C.
May 14th had a Schick test on my arm for Diphtheria, pronounced negative.
May 18th, still in quarantine but haven't stayed in evenings. I like it better now.
May 19th, Sunday. Saw a man this morning that cut his throat last night. It is cut from ear to ear and right through. I don't believe he would do it himself.
May 6th, took out a $10,000 insurance policy in Mother's name.
May 21, 1918
Was taken out of quarantine Ward C tonight so I can drill and study. Am over at the Y.M.C.A. tonight for movies.
May 22, Received a wire this morning from Dr. Mercer this morning stating my sister Rosie wasn't expected to live. Am getting my 10 day furlough but haven't received the money sent to me. If I don't get it I'll be out of luck.
May 23, Didn't get my money but got my furlough. 9:00 a.m. I borrowed the money from Fleck. Left camp at 9:30 a.m. Left Augusta 12:35 p.m. Arrived at Atlanta 5 a.m. Missed Cincinnati train by 10 minutes. Went to Southern terminal, no train out till after 7 o'clock tomorrow morning. Put up at Scoville Hotel they told me there was no train until morning. Went back to Union station, found out there was a train at 8:30 p.m. via Nashville Tennessee, change at Nashville from the N.C. & St. L. to N&T for Cincinnati. Fare from Augusta to Atlanta $4.62. From Atlanta to Cincinnati $12.87. Left Hotel again went to Union Station and will take N.C. & St. L. It is very hot here. Met a Lieutenant from Texas. Left Atlanta 8:30 arrived at Chattanooga 1:30. Arrived at Nashville Tenn. 6:35 a.m. Had breakfast. Came in on May 24.
May 24, 1918
Came in Nashville on the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Ry, boarded the Louisville & Nashville at 7 a.m. for Cincinnati. Arrived at Franklin Ky. 9:00 a.m. Arrived at Louisville Ky 12:45 a, no time to get dinner. Arrived in Cincinnati at 4:35 a.m. Cannot get a train to Tiffin until tomorrow, am very disappointed.
Had supper for 65 cents, it was damn poor, no bread, am still hungry, had no dinner. Am leaving Cincinnati at 6:05 p.m. for Dayton to see if I can get a C.H.&D to Deshler and take a freight train home. Left Cincinnati on the Big Four, arrived in Dayton at 8:p.m. and went to Reiths Vaudeville and saw Over the Top. Ambassador Guards, Four years in Germany, it was very good. Left Dayton at 11:25 p.m. for Fostoria. Train didn't stop at Fostoria. I jumped off at the B&O crossing at 4:30 a.m. Left Fostoria at 6:00 a.m. on T.F.&E. Arrived in Tiffin May 25th 6:45.
May 26th, 168 Selects left Tiffin for Camp Taylor, Louisville Ky. Found Rosie in very poor health.
May 29th, Decoration Day. Robert N. Clouse & I autoed to Port Clinton & Camp Perry. Anna O'Connor and Mrs. Gilroy came to Tiffin from W.Burg to see me. Anna looked fine.
May 31st 1918
Anna & I went to Mass. I went to confession & communion.
June 1st, went uptown in evening with Anna.
June 3rd, Anna & the Mrs. went home. Aunt Aggie visited us.
June 4th, met Fred Michaels from U.S. Shipping Board. He is stationed at Boston Mass. June 5th Registration day.
June 6th, left Tiffin at 7:58 a.m. for Camp Hancock Augusta Ga. Arrived in Cincinnati at 2:15 p.m., fare $3.78 Arrived in Cin. at 2:15 on N.Y.C. lines. Left Cincinnati at 8:00p.m. for Atlanta, fare $12.87.
Red Cross ladies have free Canteen service in Station, received a lunch. They also made me a box lunch for on the train. They were very good to me. A load of soldiers & sailors came in from Newport News and they fed them all. Went through Latonia Ky at 8:23 p.m. Arrived at Paris Ky at 10:31 p.m. Arrived at Winchester Ky at 11:07 p.m. Stopped at Berea Ky at 12:25 a.m. June 7th. Went through London Ky at 1:55 a.m. June 7th. Passed through Benton Tenn. at 8:10 a.m.
June 7th 1918
Arrived in Atlanta at 12:00 noon, just missed a train for Augusta, get another at 3:25 p.m. Arrived at 11:50 p.m., didn't report to the O.D., took a bath and went to bed in Kirk Simms bunk at 1 a.m. June 8th.
June 8th 1918 Arose at 6 a.m. and got ready for inspection. Went in Ward 28 A &B as Orderlie at 1 p.m.
June 9th, was made Wardmaster in 28. I have 210 patients. It is a convalescent Ward.
June 10th 1918 Am Wardmaster in 28, there is lots of work making out reports and keeping order. June 11th, still in 28. June 12th, still in 28.
June 14th, had a very sick man when I came from supper. I gave him an anema.
June 15th One of my patients had an attack of Appendicitis. Took him to Ward 9 for operation. Received some of my overseas equipment, was glad to get it. Sam West & Decker were
June 15th 1918
discharged as physically unfit. Sam West has tuberculosis of the spine. 10:00 p.m. Fleck and I are over at the K. of C. building.
June 20, 1918, started drilling with gas masks this morning under Lieutenant Maxwell. He is a crab. The masks are very uncomfortable but very necessary. I don't like to wear it.
June 21 1918, had gas mask drill today. I like it better now.
June 22 1918, no gas drill today. Had a big inspection of all our equipment. Signed the payroll today for May and June.
June 23 1918 Sunday, Am still Wardmaster in 28. June 24 1918, Had gas drill today, am still W.Master in 28.
June 25 1918, had gas drill today, don't like it.
June 26 1918, marched 1 hour with gas mask on, was nearly all in. My mask was full of water. Surprised us with gas bomb while marching. Lt. Snyder is going to leave for N. York. Checked up and came out short. I think Fleck is going to get a furlough. I hope he does.
June 27 1918,
Lt. Snyder leaves for New York. Lt. Turner is taking his place in Ward 28. He is only a kid and I don't like him. He don't know anything about Army regulations this is the first camp he has been in. Lt. Snyder and I took an inventory and we were short 2 sheets, 2 bath towels & 2 hand towels. Lt. Snyder is trying to get out of paying for them and is trying to shove it on to me.
We went over to the gas house this afternoon. Walked 3 miles over and drilled a lot over there. Went in and had tear gas, took off our mask and it hurt our eyes. Had lectures from an English Sergeant-Major & an English Captain, then went in with chlorine gas. That is rotten stuff. Had 1 1/2 hour gas drill this morning and I have a headache from our six mile hike and hour's drill this afternoon. Am very tired.
June 28 1918, Fleck can't get his furlough. I am sorry for him, I wish he could get it. No gas drill today. I helped the Lt. with his dressings. I'm not going to keep it up as I haven't the time. Two new men from Kansas came to our outfit last night. They are graduate dentists.
June 29 1918, had inspection & short arm exam this morn. Passed inspection OK. The Major talked to us and praised us for promptness, discipline, and thanked us
for cooperation. He told us we were leaving in a few days.
I am glad of that as I want to get to the front. The major was a very nice man. It was Major Sinclair. Am still Wardmaster in Ward 28.
June 30 1918, Sunday, must work today. Don't expect to be here another Sunday.
July 1 1918, am still in 28. July 3 1918, we are getting ready to leave, pitching pup tents at night.
July 4 1918, Independence Day, am on duty just the same. Was examined today. Received my pay this eve. at 7:30, $16.60, for May & June, not much for 2 months. Leurtis is drunk, must have got some alcohol. Expect to leave at any time. No passes out of camp for any one. Sergeant paid me $5.00 which he owed me. Examined today.
July 5 1918, Leurtis is A.W.O.L. Reported this morning with full pack on. Had feet measured for hobnail shoes. Can't get out of camp. Reported at 7:15 p.m. with full pack on, went & pitched pup tents until 9:45 p.m. Am very tired. Examined today.
July 6 1918, laid out everything for inspection, got orders to pack up again. Had inspection at 9 a.m. Examined today. Can hardly do my work as Wardmaster account of reporting at barracks so often. Can't go anywhere. Expect orders momentarily to move, am getting impatient. Sergeant Swartz borrowed $5.00 from me again.
July 7 1918, Sunday morning. I have no pep. Am very tired. 9 a.m., am in the barracks waiting for examination. Was examined and told that we leave tomorrow at 8 o'clock. Everybody happy.
Noon, have not been relieved from duty yet. received orders to have barracks bag packed and weighed at 4 p.m. My bag weighs 43 pounds. Sent my khiki coat home and am keeping my khiki pants as long as I can. Had roll call at 4 p.m. again at 9 p.m. Must stay at quarters. Went out together and serenaded the officers, also the nurses.
July 8 1918, arose a 4:10 a.m. and took down our cots. Reveille at 4:30, breakfast at 5:30, roll call again at 7:30. Marched to train 2 miles entraining at 9:30. Fleck & Culver are my bunkies. Am on guard on train from 10 to 12. Went through Augusta Ga at 11:00 a.m. Am in South Carolina at 11:30 Had dinner at 12:15. Corned beef, tomatoes, & bread. It was a hell of a meal and I am still hungry. Stopped at Robbins South Carolina at 12:45 p.m. Red Cross ladies gave us jam sandwiches & tea at Sumter South Carolina. Am sleeping with Lawrence Fleck tonight. We have tourist Pullmans. Am having lots of fun.
July 9 1918, woke up in Richmond Virginia, a pretty nice place, but very hilly. Had a good sleep. Arose at 6 a.m. Had a dam rotten breakfast, bread, jam & coffee and dam little of it.
July 9 1918, continued
9:45 a.m. arrived in Washington D.C., saw the Capitol. Unloaded and drilled. Didn't get up town but would like to. Double-timed us for a half hour. Red Cross ladies gave us a cup of coffee & a doughnut. Have been hungry all the way. Had a short arm inspection on the train. Have a hot box on the Cook Car, we are laid up at Washington D.C. for repairs on trucks of Cook Car. Left Washington D.C. at 1:30, went through Baltimore Maryland at 2:35. Didn't stop at Baltimore Md. Had corned beef hash for dinner. Went through Wilmington, Delaware about 4 p.m. Went through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Went through Trenton, New Jersey, also Elizabeth, New Jersey, Newark N.J. Am in Jersey City at 9:30 p.m. Expect to be at Camp Merritt in an hour. I don't know if we sill sleep on the cars or not. I hope we do.
There is a great difference between the Southern and the Eastern people. The Eastern people show us a much greater welcome than the Southerners. This has been a very interesting trip. More corned beef hash & tomatoes for supper. Arrived at Camp Merritt about 11 p.m. Detrained and marched with packs on for an hour until we found our barracks. Got to bed at 1:30 a.m. July 10th. Barracks have cots and mattresses, am allowed to sleep until 7:30. Was on the train about 38 hours.
July 10 1918, allowed to sleep until 7:30, but some fellows from Base Hospital 52 came up and woke us at 6:30.
July 10 1918. continued,
Base Hosp #52 are here and I don't know if #51 is here or not. The men from the Base Hosp Dit. at Camp Hancock which left there July 6th are here. I went to breakfast at Merritt hall, had ham & eggs, bread & butter, pie, a fried cake, coffee for 55 cents. This is a nice place. Had a short arm this a.m. Had a rotten dinner, salmon with onions, 1 potato, 1 spoonful of string beans, bread, butter, coffee. Had inspection this afternoon. Discarded all damaged clothing & equipment. Macaroni for supper. We all had our hair clipped off. We look like hell.
There are a great many medical men here. I heard there were nearly 100,000 men in this camp. Earl Wyndham lost his pocket book today.
July 11 1918, Didn't get up for reveille and was on fatigue while sweeping up the Y.M.C.A. Had short arm, skin & throat examination this a.m.
July 12 1918, got our clothes & equipment keeping us busy all day. Carried our barracks bag to the train, have my pack rolled.
July 13 1918, Arose 4:20, I had to go detail loading trucks with officers baggage & medical supplies, Got my pack and went on truck before breakfast and had no breakfast, went to New York City, crossed the Hudson river, saw Grant's tomb, went down 5th avenue where all the rich people live. Went to pier #45 and drove around N.Y. City quite a
July 13, continued
bit. Truck skidded and turned completely around in a crowded street twice. Crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and got lost in Brooklyn and drove around a long time hunting pier #29. It is a Mediterranean pier. I have a dose of crabs and shaved all over, I don't know where I got them. Waited on the pier from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., until the outfit marched in. They had to walk 8 miles with pack. I didn't have to hike as I was on the truck and I had a good time and saw a lot.
Red Cross gave us a cup of coffee and a cookie. Loaded on transport at 2:30 p.m. We were the first ones on and they put us in the hold, way down low in a mess deck. We got hammocks to sleep in and our heads are up to the roof, and no air. 18 hammocks over each table, not more than 18 feet long. I can't sleep here, it smells bad, no air, very hot. I am very hungry as I had no breakfast & no dinner and it is now 7 p.m. If I don't soon eat I will starve. Got a little supper about 8 p.m., a bologna sandwich & coffee. The deck above us has bunks instead of hammocks. I went up on the next deck and found an empty bunk and moved up there. The bunks have a sack of shavings in to sleep on. I am about all in. 11:30 p.m. I am going to bed. We are still at the pier, don't know when we will sail.
Sunday, July 14, 1918, Arose about 6 a.m., haven't sailed yet, didn't get breakfast until 8 a.m., a little cereal, 2 eggs, bread & jelly, 1 egg was rotten.
Sunday, July 14, 1918 , continued
I am on the ship KARMALA, it is a British ship with a British crew, an old freighter turned into a troop transport. Very dirty and no room. We haven't any nice place to sit on deck, and everywhere we go, they chase us down. This is worse than hell. 8:30 a.m., we are pulling out of the slip. 9:00 a.m., we are going out of NY harbor past the Statue of Liberty. It is beautiful. I saw it lit up last night.
We are now sailing on July 14, 1918 at 9 a.m. I don't know where we are going. there must be about 2000 troops on this ship. There are at least 7 transports and a convoy of battleships met our convoy at Sandy Hook. The transports are British but the convoy is American. Our transport has 3 guns on. A long 6 inch on the rear and a 6" Howitzer on each side. We are out of sight of land, about noon. Many of the boys are sick and vomiting. I am not feeling well myself. We are only getting two meals a day and dam rotten ones. The wash room is closed and we can't even wash. War is what Gen. Sherman said it was. Our convoy consists of several battleships, several sub-chasers. There are 2 hydroplanes and a dirigible balloon circling around us watching for subs. I don't know if they will go all the way with us or not. I hope they do. All I can see is the boats in our convoy and transports.
We had dinner about 4 p.m. Many of the men are seasick. I am a little sick and have a headache. No smoking on deck after 6 p.m. and no smoking below at any time. Had a short arm inspection. We are falling behind the other ships. Went to bed about 10:00 p.m.
July 15, 1918,
Second day out, arose about 8 a.m., wash room is closed and I cannot wash. Our ship, the KARMALA is losing out. We can't keep up with the rest. We can't see another ship anywhere. We are all alone. Some of the men are nervous. They are putting soldiers down in the hold to help fire up. We can't keep up. I bought my breakfast from the crew. Potato, beef and a fishball, bread & coffee for 50 ¢. 9:30 a.m. The soldiers are firing up and we are catching up. We can now make out several ships on the horizon about 15 miles ahead of us. 10 a.m., they are serving breakfast. I don't want any of their crap. We are gaining on the convoy and other transports. We can now see about 14 boats. The sun is quite warm.
We are catching up with the rest. There are 12 transports, 1 collier, and 1 battleship. Our convoy left us last night and turned back. 5 p.m., we are having dinner. Only two meals a day. Had short arm inspection. I didn't report for it. Retired about 10 p.m.
July 16, 1918, 3rd day out at sea. Arose at 7:30 a.m. We are behind again, the soldiers are firing up. Had breakfast at 10 a.m. 11 a.m. am having short arm inspection and vermin inspection. I have crabs on me but they didn't find any. 12 noon. Having submarine drill. There is something wrong. 6:30 p.m. We can't keep up with the other boats and are leaving them. We are out of sight of the others and are on the high seas alone.
July 16, continued, 1:30 p.m.
We have left the others. I think we are going to Halifax N.S. The men are nervous because we are alone. I am hungry. For breakfast we had cereal, liver & bacon, bread & coffee. I wonder where we are going. I think Halifax. I haven't been seasick yet. This is a very unsanitary boat. We are laying around on deck & everywhere, wherever we can, like hogs. I washed my face once in 3 days. I haven't shaved since last Friday & this is Tuesday. 5:05 p.m. I have had 1 rotten meal today. There are many sick on board.
July 17, 1918, 4th day at sea. Arose at 7:00 a.m. No land in sight. We are heading for the Canadian coast. Breakfast at 8:20, Sighted land at 9:30 a.m. I don't know where we are. 11 a.m. We are steaming slowly into some harbor. I hope we land on Canadian soil. Saw several strange boats last night. One had lights on.
They put the name on our ship again this morning. This boat is in a horrible condition, dirt, garbage, and human refuse lying around. The band is playing again, it sounds good. The sight of land looks good. 1 p.m., we are anchored in the harbor of Halifax Nova Scotia. There are a number of other transports in the harbor loaded with troops. I don't know whether they are American or Canadian. We will likely leave with them. 5:30 p.m., We are still anchored in Bedford Bay at Halifax N.S. We will have to stay on this dam old tub until we get to Europe. They put Pvt. Elson off here, he has gonorrhea.
July 17, 1918 , continued,
5:30 Just had dinner, a small piece of rotten beef, rice, half-cooked prunes, & 1 piece of bread. I wonder how long we will stay here. I hope we sail again tonight. We will likely all be sick when we get off this dam boat. The only bath we can get is saltwater. The washroom is locked all day, only open in the morning till 8 a.m.
July 18, 1918, Arose at 7 a.m. Had wieners and bread for breakfast. Had examination at 9 a.m., found cooties on Fleck. Didn't find any on me. I believe I have some though. We are still anchored in Bedford Bay. 8:10 a.m. Still anchored. Reported we sail tomorrow at 8 a.m. It rained nearly all day today. 10:00 p.m. just took a cold saltwater bath, the first in a week.
July 19, 1918, arose 7:30 a.m. Had cereal and fish for breakfast. 9 a.m., we haven't sailed yet. 3:30 p.m., still here. There are about 15 transports in the harbor. I think they are all loaded with U.S. troops. This is getting monotonous here. 5:00 p.m. just had dinner. Beef, beans, & potatoes, & hardtack. They caught a spy on our ship and took him off today. I wonder if we sail tomorrow.
July 20, 1918, arose at 7:00 a.m., had eggs, cereal & bread, coffee for breakfast. Sailed out of the harbor at 9 a.m., had examination. Have been on board whip week today. 2 ships sunk off N.Y. coast yesterday. 7:00 p.m. We are steaming along nicely now. We are out of sight of land at 11 a.m. this morning. There are some 20 ships in this fleet. A soldier died on one of the boats and was just buried at sea wrapped in a American flag. He fell down a stairway and broke his neck.
July 21, 1918, Didn't sleep much last night. The sea was rough and the boat rolled so I couldn't lay still. Arose at 7 a.m. & shaved, the second shave since I've been aboard. Looks like rough weather this morning. Had a piece of liver for breakfast. 9 p.m. This has been a very bad day, rained all day and very cold.
July 22, 1918, Cold all day. 5 p.m. We sighted a very big iceberg. That is why it is so cold, we are pretty far north.
July 23, 1918, We received orders not to write a diary and I have forgotten many things.
July 24, 1918, Nicer weather today. We sighted a ship on the horizon and our cruiser fired several shots at it. They gave the danger alarm and we had a little excitement to break the monotony.
July 25, 1918, I am writing this in August and don't remember what happened.
July 26, 1918, Nice weather today and no excitement.
July 27, 1918, This is the 3rd Saturday I've been on this dam old boat. I am disgusted. We are living like hogs and our food is rotten, and only 2 meals per day, and not enough at a meal. The guards drive us away wherever we go.
Sunday, July 28, 1918, We haven't sighted any land yet. This is the 3rd Sunday on this dam dirty boat. We expect to meet our convoy today. We have only an old British cruiser for protection against U-boats.
July 29, 1918, Our convoy is coming into the fleet one at a time. 10 a.m. They are American and British destroyers. They are a welcome sight. We have over 20 ships in our fleet without the convoy. Nearly all of them are loaded with U.S. troops.
July 30, 1918, We are looking for land. 3:30 p.m. We are having plenty of excitement now. A submarine rose to the surface right in our midst and fired a torpedo, barely missing one of the largest transports. Began firing at it and hit it with a depth bomb. They are bombs fired from a deck gun that explode under the water, and will sink a U-boat within a radius of 100 yards. The shots were very close and the depth bombs jarred us up very much. We were all ready to go overboard. I enjoyed it all and wanted more of it. We were ordered to sleep with our clothes on and have been doing it for a week. Everyone is looking for submarines.
July 31, 1918, 8 a.m. I am up on deck and a big dirigible balloon is sailing over us watching for subs. We are going to pull into Liverpool England today. 8 a.m. We can sight land. It sure does look good. This is our 19th day on this ship. 10 a.m., we are passing a beautiful beach.
July 31st continued, Wednesday, we are sailing in to Liverpool England. It is a beautiful place. There is a wonderful network of piers and slips that certainly is wonderful. Nothing like it at New York. I am on the baggage detail. 7 p.m. here, it is only about 1:45 p.m. at New York.
My unit unloaded but I don't know where they went. I had to help truck all the baggage from the ship. We got through about 12 midnight, then I was corporal of the guard until about 2 a.m. A British officer came and kicked because the baggage wasn't at the train & loaded, but we had no trucks. The trucks came at 3:30 a.m. and we loaded and hauled until 7 a.m. I didn't get a bit of sleep, not even a rest. We loaded a freight train. The cars are little dinkies and only hold about a truck load. I will never get through laughing at the railroads.
August 1, 1918, Our train was supposed to leave at 7:15 a.m. for Southampton, about 9 hours ride. The coaches are about as big as a small circus wagon and have 3 compartments holding 8 persons each and very crowded. Some train. 12 noon, we are still sitting here on the track. I wonder when we will go. I would like to get some ale but they don't open until 12 o'clock and if I leave, this dam thing might pull out and leave me. I didn't have any breakfast, and no sign of dinner. I took a walk uptown and the children came out like bees and nearly pulled my clothes off asking for pennies. They were terrible
dirty and the women were as dirty as pigs, and very ragged. This is a hell of a place. They hitch their horses one ahead of the other and lead them instead of driving them. 12:30 a.m., am uptown. I had a drink or two of whiskey & it braced me up. Left Liverpool at 1:45 for Southampton.
Went through Crewe & Birmingham & Oxford and were within 37 miles from London, but didn't get there. Arrived at Southampton about 11 p.m. Unloaded all our baggage, over 1 carload, then had to help unload about 12 other cars. I am about all in, this is my second night without sleep and I am on guard on the baggage. 4 of us. The rest of the detail must march 3 miles to camp yet and come back tomorrow.
August 2, 1918, Am on guard at the pier. We thought we were going to stay in England for a while but we are going right to France today, I think. England is a very pretty country and very thickly populated and well kept. Buildings are nice and all made from brick, no frame. All I can see is old men, women and boys working. The young men are all in the Army. All I've had to eat for several days is corned beef & hardtack. I came clear across England. I certainly am traveling some. Culver is with me on detail. I cut my finger pretty bad last night opening a can of corned beef. I expect to cross the English channel today for France.
There must be millions of U.S. soldiers in France at the rate they are coming over. Our transports sank 3 submarines on the way over. They were following us for several days.
One came up and fired a torpedo right in between our ship and the one next to it. We had some excitement during the fight but the sub was blown up with depth bombs. The Englishmen in the crew were scared stiff and they thought it remarkable that us Yanks weren't afraid but were enjoying the fun. I started shouting and the rest took it up. The officers made us stop cheering.
7 p.m. I am in the Steamer Arbroath and we will try to cross the English channel tonight, but it is very dangerous. There are 2 transport ships here that were torpedoed in the channel a week ago. One of them has a large hole in her side and still has 7 bodies in it which they can't get out on account of the water. There were about 60 or 70 men killed in her hold.
10 p.m. Aug. 2nd, 1918, We are steaming down the English channel with all on deck and all lights out. It is very cold and we can't even sit down. This is my third night without any sleep and my legs can hardly hold me up. We have 1 destroyer for a convoy. Some of the men are nervous as this is the most dangerous part of our trip.
2 a.m. Aug. 3rd, 1918, We are steaming into the harbor at Cherbourg. France and glad of it. Unloaded at Cherbourg, France at 7 a.m., August 3rd, 1918. Our outfit had to unload the baggage for every outfit on the boat and it is pouring
Aug. 3rd, 1918
Rain. We worked like dam fools from 7 a.m. till 1 p.m. and are wet to the skin and haven't had any breakfast. The 4 of us that were with the baggage at Southampton, England haven't had a meal since yesterday morning breakfast, 32 hours. I worked like hell and am ready to drop in my tracks. If I don't soon eat I will starve. I haven't had a sleep for 3 nights! 2 p.m. We had a poor meal of corned beef stew, rode out to a rest camp on trucks. This is a Hell of a rest camp. Old tents and 15 men to a tent and hardly enough room for 5 men.
This American rest camp is run by Englishmen and we can't get enough to eat. I wish we were out of here. Nearly all our 1st class Sergeants are drunk and there might be trouble for them.
Aug. 5, 1918, We are leaving this rest camp about 7 p.m. to hike back to Cherbourg. 10 p.m., am on the train for somewhere, I think Italy. We are in little box-cars and no place to sleep.
Aug. 7, 1918, 11 p.m. Arrived at Langres, France after 50 hours in box cars with dam little to eat. Only corned beef & hard tack. No toilet or water on train and weren't allowed to leave the train. Unloaded our baggage and loaded it on trucks. Rode to camp on trucks. Some of our hospital buildings are up but we must put up the rest, build our walks level off the ground
and excavate for new buildings.
Aug. 8, 1918, Am tired out but am resting a little today.
Aug. 9, 1918, We are using a ward for barracks, sleeping on the floor. I am going to like this place.
Aug. 10, 1918, I am digging today with a pick and shovel, excavating for new buildings. Our hospital will be wooden buildings.
Aug. 11, 1918, Am on guard today. 12 midnight. We arrested 10 of our men tonight for being drunk. Some were disorderly and we had to put Jack Davit out of business. I met Elmer Beidelman this morning. He is in the Engineers. We were paid this morning in French money for July. I drew 57 francs.
Aug. 12, 1918, Am off duty today on account of being on guard last night. Blake, Chas. Moore & I went uptown, returned at 9 p.m.
Aug. 13, 1918, Am on guard again today.
Aug. 14, 1918, 2 a.m. Am walking my post. It is nice out here all alone beneath the stars. My post is about 1 mile long. I am unarmed, but I should worry. Everything is nice and quiet. 3 a.m., there is someone around here as I just found a lighted cigarette.
I have searched several
empty buildings, but can find no one. I wish I had a gun. If I find a gun there will be something doing. Aug. 16, 1918, Am shoveling stones for sidewalks.
Aug. 18, 1918, Sunday. I expected to meet Louis Schauder uptown today. He is my nephew, I hear he is stationed 6 miles from here, but I must work with a pick & shovel grading. We don't get any more Holidays in France. Aug. 25, 1918, We are stocking up our hospital. We expect our convoy of patients at any time.
Aug. 26, 1918, We are expecting 2000 patients at any time. I haven't seen any nurses yet. I have been assigned to unloading ambulances when they come. That will be a hard job. (Ed. note: "handling all those wounded men" is crossed out.)
Aug. 29, 1918, No patients yet. Have been shoveling ground all day and hauling it in trucks.
Aug. 30, 1918, Received a letter from Louis Schauder, will try to go and see him Sunday.
Aug. 31, 1918, Received our pay today for August. I received 64 francs, which amounts to about $11.30 in U.S. money. Wyndham & I went down to the Marne Canal in evening. September 1, 1918, Sunday. Arose 6 a.m. & went to Mass in Y.M.C.A.
September 1st, cont'd
Went to Presbyterian service in Patients Mess Hall by our Chaplain who has been assigned to our unit. After dinner Fleck, Wyndham, & I took a long hike along the Marne Canal. I goes through the hills in a tunnel about 3 miles long. We were half way through it. It is so dark in there it hurts my eyes. Stopped at a wine shop on the way back and each had 4 eggs & French fried potatoes & some wine.
September 2, 1918, I was assigned to the Operating Room this a.m. That is a very important position. I could have had Wardmaster but this is better. Our Operating instruments aren't here yet so I am temporarily assigned to Ward 8. I am in the Surgical department of the unit which is the most important. I will also get a chance to go to the front line, as we will be the ones to go when they draw on our unit. I am glad of that as I want to see the Front. We have no patients yet. I am now fixing up Ward 8. Captain Ford is the Ward Surgeon in 8.
Sept. 3, 1918, We had school today. On surgical technique. Asepsis & Antisepsis.
Sept. 4, 1918, no school today. Am working with a pick & shovel. An American Aviator circled our camp this afternoon
and came down in a bad spot. When he tried to fly again he couldn't get a start on the rough ground and jammed the nose of his plane down and broke the propeller blades and both wheels off.
Sept. 5, 1918, Rained all night and today we are digging in the rain. Will sleep in Ward 19 tonight on guard.
Sept. 6, 1918, Drilled in pouring rain this morning. Then went out digging, leveling ground for convalescent tents. Will sleep in Ward 19 again. There is much discontent in our outfit. Most of our Sergeants are a bunch of nuts. They make it miserable for us. They act as if we were children and can't take care of ourselves. Bought a battery & bulb for my flashlight. 3 1/2 francs. No patients yet. Our nurses arrived on the 4th.
Sept. 7, 1918, A French aviator fell just behind the Hospital & broke his plane. I was sent out at 3 p.m. to guard it. Guarded all night in a pouring rain, am wet through. I have a 48 caliber 6 shooter on my belt. It is pitch dark and raining hard. Very lonely out here.
Sept. 8, 1918, Am on guard on the airplane again tonight and it is raining again.
Sept. 9, 1918, 4 a.m. Was to be relieved at 3 a.m. and it is now 4 a.m. and no relief yet. 6 p.m. The French are removing the plane and I won't be on guard tonight. Wyndham & I are
over at the Cow Cafe getting a couple drinks. I have a bad cold from being wet the last 2 nights.
Sept. 10, 1918, Am on fatigue today. It is still raining hard. We had a pair of Hip boots issued to us tonight. We certainly need them.
Sept. 11, 1918 Walked on Fatigue again today. Sept. 12, 1918 Hauled wood all day. Had tobacco & soap issued today. We are working nights. Sept. 13, 1918, over 100 nurses from Base 55 arrived today. Sept. 14, 1918, Wyndham & I were uptown in evening.
Sept. 15, 1918, worked on tents all day. Carried wood after supper. Our nurses arrived. 10 p.m., just notified that a convoy of patients from the French would be in at 1:15 a.m. No sleep tonight.
Sept. 16, 1918, I worked all day yesterday and all night. We are all ready for the trainload of patients. 4 a.m., train just arrived at station uptown. My duty is to unload ambulances and trucks. 10 a.m., we just unloaded the last patient. We have over 400 in this convoy. I am all in. I have been working for about 30 hours. Everything went fine and the convoy of patients are all in bed. 1:30 p.m., I am piling wood. I wish I could get some sleep.
Sept. 17, 1918, Am putting up tents today for patients. I am on guard tonight and will have to walk post, six hours tonight. Sept. 18, 1918 I slept from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. 2 p.m. am washing my clothes now.
Sept. 18, 1918 ,Just received orders that another convoy of patients will arrive at 5 p.m. That means work like hell again all night. I believe I have the Gripp. I ache all over and have a high fever and a bad cold in my lungs. I got wet again last night on guard. Two of our patients died the first night they were here. 6 p.m. Convoy arrived at 6 p.m. Over 300 patients, 18 German prisoners. I am guard over the prisoners. I am using a 45 automatic Colt. I would like to open up with it. They are all pretending sleep.
Sept. 19, 1918, Still guarding Germans. I am sick. I feel as though I have pneumonia. I am getting hardly any sleep.
Sept 20, 1918, Still guarding those dam Huns. I am sick as a dog.
Sept 21, 1918, I answered sick call this morning and have some medicine, but am on duty. 1 p.m. The O.D. came in and took my temp and told me to get ready to go to the Hosp. 2:30 p.m. Am in the Hospital now.
Sept. 22, 1918, I am having a nice time in the Hosp. The nurses are very good to me. I received a letter from Home and one from Anna today. The first in over a month. I have Influenza.
Sept. 23, 1918, Had a bad night, coughed all night. 3 more of our boys, some in this Ward and this a.m. there are 6 of us in a row. So far there are 16 of our men on all on account of overwork. Kennedy came in which makes 7. Sergeants First & Graham were reduced to Privates yesterday. My temperature is still over 100°.
Sept. 24, 1918, Had a bad night again but better than the night before. Wright, Graham & Srgt. Garrety came in this morning as patients. Graham is drunk and has a quart of whiskey with him in bed. He gave me a big drink and it went good with my cough. Graham has a second quart of whiskey, I wonder where he is getting it.
Sept. 25, 1918, Still in the hospital but not very sick. My temp stays around 100°. Bill Gray came in today. I caught more cold in my head. Sept. 26, 1918, Another convoy came in last night. Over 500. Patients Busby & Corbin came in this a.m. Bill Gray cut my hair. There is an uproar in the outfit. Unless we get a new First Sergeant & a new Detch. Commander this unit will go to ruin. 25 new men were added to our unit. Evacuation #18 is here temporarily. Sept. 27, 1918, Had a good night. I still have a bad cold. There were 4 new Sergeants & Corporals & 5 1st class Privates made.
Sept. 28, 1918, Still in the Hospital and won't go out today. My cold is all through my system. There is another convoy of over 700 patients coming in today. They just bought in a case that I think is Spinal Meningitis. I helped to carry him. It is very contagious. They gave him a shot in the spine.
Sept. 29, 1918, I am trying to get out of the Hospital today. Don't know if I can or not. Macclain, one of our patients in this Ward, died early this morning. He had pneumonia. Graham was drunk again last night. My temperature rose again this afternoon and I am real sick. They put me to bed and I dare'nt get up for anything. Graham & Eddington are very drunk again tonight. I have a pain in my right side. I'm afraid I have appendicitis.
Sept. 30, 1918, I am pretty sick this morning and have a pain in my right side but will say nothing about it. Trimble, Gordon, Graham, Eddington, Corbin, Gray, & Kennedy were discharged from the hospital today. There are many men dying from pneumonia in our Hosp.
Oct. 1, 1918, I am still in the Hospital. I am getting disgusted. There were 2 convoys of Pat. came in last night. One was men that were gassed, and the other was all surgical cases. Some men have their arms off, some their legs, and they are all badly shot up. They are all from Verdun Front. I am lying to the Doctor and trying to get out of the Hosp. but I am really not able. Another man died in this Ward this morning from pneumonia. There are 8 or 9 in the morgue now.
Oct. 2, 1918, I don't know if I can get out of the hospital today. I have pains in the head and am in a hell of a condition. I know I will never get rid of this cough while in France. They are unloading another convoy now, and one came in last night, and another is coming in tonight. I had a bad cough that gives me the headache. I am a little afraid of that cough. It is cold here and I have been cold all day. It froze ice last night. I received a loving letter from Anna & one from home today.
Oct. 3, 1918, Am trying to get out of here today. They are unloading another convoy of 700 patients this morn. They have turned this into an Evacuation Hospital. I am trying to get out of this outfit and into some infantry so I can go over the top
Oct. 3, 1918, continued. Was discharged at 2 p.m. from the Hospital. I haven't had any dinner. I have a detail of 5 men and am in the morgue putting 4 dead men into boxes and then we are going to bury them. 5:30 p.m. I just got back from the funeral. 6 p.m. I am loading Ambulances for an Evacuation of patients. I am so weak I can hardly stand up. Another convoy is coming in at midnight. I see where I work all night. Oct. 4, 1918, I am Orderlie in Ward #12. Surgical Ward. We had another evacuation this a.m. Expecting another convoy tonight, that means work all night.
Oct. 5, 1918, I got 49 new patients this morn. I have enough work for 4 men.
Oct. 6, 1918, Sunday, I am all in. I came out of the Hospital too soon. I have several delirious patients and can hardly keep them in bed. One man got out for me and was wandering around in pajamas, with a temperature of 105.
Oct. 7, 1918. I have 45 patients and 4 delirious men. One of them pulled a knife on the Nurse. I give him a shot in the arm every hour and have to overpower him. 7 p.m. I was just going off duty when one Man Died, now I must fix Him up and take him to the morgue.
Oct. 8, 1918, 4 p.m. This has been a hell of a day. I had 2 patients shit in bed and had to change them.
Oct. 9, 1918, I am sick as a dog today. The Sergeant wanted me to go to the Hospital again but I refused. I am trying to get off of this job. I don't like it.
Oct. 10, 1918, Came on duty at 7 a.m. and one of my patients was dead. The night man didn't know what to do and left him for me. I fixed him up and carried Him to the Morgue.
Oct. 11, 1918, 3 p.m. I am at present in a little room in my Ward with 2 Dying Men. One of them seems to be breathing His last now. The other can not last much longer. They were both gassed and have pneumonia. Damn those Germans. I answered sick call again this morning. My cough & lungs are no better. They are Dying here like rats from pneumonia. I am afraid of it myself.
Oct. 12, 1918, My patient died yesterday at 8:20 p.m. That makes 3 I lost in 4 days. 1 p.m. I seen the Officer of the Day and He ordered me into the Hospital and right to bed. I have a temperature of 102° and a pulse of 128. I believe I have pneumonia. I hope not. I don't want 6 feet of France to sleep in. This is the second time they put me in. I have been out a week.
Oct. 13, 1918, I am in the Hospital in Ward 8 where I was before. I feel better today but can hardly breathe. They took a test of my blood, also my sputum and urine. I think they are looking for malaria fever.
Oct. 14, 1918, I feel better today. The Major examined me again today. 8 p.m. They just took an x-ray of my lungs and looked through me good. They suspect T.B. Gee I hope I haven't got T.B. as I have a bright future ahead of me. If I have, I will never go Home to all My Dear ones. I won't go back to my darling Anna.
Oct. 15, 1918, I was examined again today by the Major and am still in doubt. They are giving me Aspirin, Quinine, Strychnine, Glycerin, Digitalis. The nurse told me this p.m. that I was flirting with the undertaker. I wonder what Anna will think. Poor kid. I haven't been with another girl since I was with her in Tiffin. Blake is beside me in bed. He is also a T.B. suspect.
Oct. 18, 1918, Still in bed but much better. I am no longer a suspect. I am glad of that. My cultures were all negative and I will be well in a few days. My lungs are very sore yet but are improving. I guess I had a good start of pneumonia though. Yesterday I was promoted to Private 1st Class and then to Nurse. I don't know what Nurse pays. I have pneumonia, but I didn't know it. I hope I recover O.K.
Oct. 21, 1918, Still in the Hospital. I was expecting a letter from home today but didn't get it. For dinner today we had a cooked potato with the hide on and a piece of bread. Some dinner. A Lad died of gas and pneumonia in this Ward this a.m. His uncle is also a patient in the Ward and seen the kid carried out. He feels very bad over it. 8 p.m. Culver just came in as a patient.
Oct. 22, 1918, I can't get out today. Cooper came in the a.m. I received 2 nice letters from Anna last eve. One written Sept 12, the other Sept. 19. One was nearly six weeks coming. I was discharged from the Hospital at 11 a.m. I thought I couldn't get out but I did.
Oct. 22, continued. 12:30 p.m. I was just assigned to duty in Ward 12 nights.
Oct. 23, 1918, Worked in 12 last night. I have a nice little nurse to work with. I have surgical & medical cases. Had a pretty good night.
Oct. 24, 1918, Had a busy night. Miss Johanssen from Pemberville, Ohio is on nights with me. She is a good kid. She is about 24 years old.
Oct. 25, 1918, Culver is still in the Hospital but is about well. Miss Johanssen is a brick. We wants me to sleep and she would answer the calls, but I don't sleep. Got a nice letter from Elnora today. 11 p.m. It is cold tonight. We have been warned to look out for an air raid. Lights are all out. I have a lantern in my Ward Office and have the Windows camouflaged with a blanket. Patient in #37 is quite ill tonight. He is all shot up with shrapnel and I fear he is getting Pneumonia. I hope not. It is hard to work among 48 sick & wounded patients without a light. Nurse is sleeping at present. Her name is Nora Johanssen. Her people live at Pemberville, Ohio. I wrapped her in a blanket. I heard an aeroplane over head but it sounded like an American. My throat is sore.
Oct. 26, 1918, Convoy came in this morning at 5 a.m. Had to work overtime. I am sick and have sore throat. Miss Jo. wants me to go to bed. 12 midnight. Miss Jo is gone to dinner. I feel tough again tonight. My examination for T.B. was negative but if I stay in this place it will be positive.
Oct. 28, 1918, I only had two hours sleep today. We had an Evacuation and I had to get up and load litters. I have a new Nurse on tonight. I don't know her name. She is very nice. Miss Johanssen is on day duty. I didn't like to lose her. #37 Hasbrauck, one of my surgical cases, has developed double pneumonia. Poor kid, I don't think he will live till morning. I have him sleeping now under the influence of a hypodermic. I have no oil tonight and am nearly froze.
Oct. 29, 1918, Fleck, Skelton, Jesse Stewart & I went down to the Canal Marne this a.m. after work. Met Miss Smith & Miss Holmes and took them to dinner at Jennies. We had roast veal & Omelets & French Fried spuds. And Champagne. We had a good time. Only slept 2 hours today.
Oct. 30, 1918, My nurse made me go to bed last night and get some sleep. I must report at 8:30 a.m. and help with an evacuation. Worked till noon and must report at 3:15 p.m. again for another evac.
Oct. 31, 1918, Worked on the evac. until 1:30 a.m. and had to report to my Ward for duty after. I was all in. Must work again this morning. We are getting in another convoy. I have worked for 2 nights and 2 days now almost steady and am all in. Am on duty tonight but am going to bed after midnight. Nurse put me to bed at 2 a.m. this morning. My new night nurse's name is Miss Bridler. She is very nice.
Nov. 6, 1918, I have worked almost day & night for the last week and was sick all the time. Worked all night one night with a temp of 102° and have felt that way most of the time. 2 p.m. The Captain in my Ward ordered me to bed so I had to report to the Officer of the Day and he put me back in the Hosp. Now this makes 3 times. I believe now I have tuberculosis as my lungs are in a terrible condition. 8 p.m. 2 men came and put me on a stretcher and carried me to the x-ray room. Burnt out 2 fuses with the x-ray and put out lights in operating room and they are operating, so they quit on me and I will have to come back again. I am disgusted with my condition.
Nov. 7, 1918, 8:30 p.m. I have sore throat tonight. I asked for Argerol to swab my throat and all I got was a dose of cough med. The Dr. hasn't seen me today and I am receiving no attention.
Nov. 8, 1918, I had a bad night. I had fever and the man in the next bed said I talked & groaned & rolled over all night. This is my third day in bed and all I've had is a dose of Castor oil & 1 dose of cough med. It is reported that we are going to Nice. I hope we do as I will die here. Nice is on the Southern border of France on the Mediterranean Sea, 7 miles from Italy, and it is warm there.
Nov. 9, 1918, I got another negative on my sputum specimen but I think I have T.B. If I have, I don't ever want to go Home as I can never have A.O'C. at that rate. Had a bum night again. Am tired of being in the hospital.
Nov. 10, 1918, Sunday: Am still in the Hospital. I wonder if I really have T.B. or not. Some men came in yesterday. Their cards are marked starvation & exhaustion. They had 1 meal in six days. They drove the Huns so fast their kitchens couldn't keep up.
Nov. 11, 1918, Armistice was signed today. I expect to be discharged from the Hosp. tomorrow. I think Peace has been declared. All the church bells are ringing uptown. I hope so as this war has cost many lives and broken many Mothers' hearts.
Nov. 12, 1918, I guess Peace has been declared. I am glad of that but I don't expect to get home for at least 6 months. The Med. Dept. will be last to leave. I can't get out of the Hosp today.
Nov. 13, 1918, I expect to get out of the Hosp. today but have a pulse of 120 and was made to go to bed again. I am out of luck. There is a big banquet tonight and I want to go. I am going anyway. We haven't had a banquet since I'm in the Army.
Nov. 14, 1918, Our unit had a very nice banquet last night in the patients mess hall. It was nicely decorated and we had a good spread. I came out of bed in the Hospital for it. I didn't eat much.
We had chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes, peas, soup, tapioca, olives, bread & butter, coffee, fruit salad, & cigarettes. We had speaking and a general good time.
Nov. 15, 1918, I was discharged from the Hosp. this a.m. and am working in Ward #18, a surgical Ward. We have 40 patients.
Nov. 16, 1918, Was relieved in #18 and am not working now. Am pallbearer at funeral this p.m., 3 soldiers and & 1 marine Lieut. Went to the Canal with Graham & Sikes after funeral. 10 p.m., was just assigned to night duty in #10 Surgical.
Nov. 18, 1918, We moved from barracks into tents today. We haven't enough room.
Nov. 19, 1918, We received 122 patients from Base 88 today. They are going to move. I have received 9 of them. Among them is a Captain & 1 1st Lieut. Both badly wounded. Officer's banquet tonight. It snowed today. The first snow I've seen this year. I heard we will leave France for Italy. We must be out of here by December 15th. It is now just midnight. Nurse is gone to lunch.
Nov. 22, 1918, A bunch of M.T.C. men came in last night. Just came across. I met Carl Lautermilch. He is from Tiffin & is with them. He is a Sergeant. He is taking his meals with me. Fleck,Wyndham, & I took him to the Canal tonight.
Nov. 22, He should have posted his guards at 9 p.m. but didn't do it. Nov. 23, 1918, Lautermilch leaves with his men at 2 p.m. for Metz. We must report with full pack at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow. I don't know where we are going.
Nov. 24, 1918, I worked 12 hours last night and must report at 8:15 a.m. for an evac. Didn't report with packs. Am on duty in my Ward tonight and must report at 2 a.m. There is a convoy of patients coming in at 2 a.m. that were prisoners in Germany.
Nov. 25, 1918, I didn't report at 2 a.m. I had an empty Ward & 2 nurses same class. I slept nearly all night. We made cocoa, and fried eggs, We must report with full packs today for inspection. I think we are leaving soon. We may go to the front and probably to Germany. I hope we go home.
Dec. 2, 1918, I now have charge of Ward #5, a Medical and Surgical Ward. I have all German prisoners in my Ward. I have 36. This morning I made them get up & scrub. They are angry & grumbling. I will shoot some of them if they get smart.
Dec. 3, 1918, I put on my gun and took 18 Germans to the bath this a.m. This noon my nurse gave Steveson, one of our boys, a large dose of acid, Hydro-solicatate, by mistake for cough medicine.
She was fooling and got the wrong bottle. She is now in the linen room crying. She thinks she killed him. I am looking after him down at the Q.M. He will be OK in a few hours if his heart is good. I am going on night duty tonight and Nurse Coakley is crying about that too. 5 p.m., Stepheson is OK again. I am glad of that for her sake. I am tired of nursing Germans. I have two cases of Syphilis among them and one Gonorrhea that I know of.
Dec. 5, 1918, Went down to Jennie's last evening with Jesse Stewart for supper. We had rabbit. 3 a.m., Am on night duty. the nurse is sleeping and the Guard is sound asleep. I have no gun tonight and I have 38 German prisoners. Now would be their chance to escape with the guard asleep and me unarmed. Carter is on guard tonight. He is stewed.
Dec. 7, 1918, We received all of Camp hospital #24 patients yesterday, about 200.
Dec. 8, 1918, Culver, Fleck, Wyndham, & I took the Red Cross Car & went uptown for supper. We had a good time.
Dec. 9, 1918, I was up to Gaby's on the hill today. Came back pretty well organized. 11 p.m. Brownie & I just had a little party in the kitchen in my Ward. We had fried eggs, toast, & coffee.
Dec. 9 - continued. Then I had a quart of Champagne & we drank that. I went in the latrine to pull the cork and it popped like a gun. Brownie nearly laughed her head off. Brownie is my night nurse on duty with me. The guard is asleep.
Two of the Germans have their heads together and have been whispering for 2 hours in bed. I think they are framing up something and the guard's sound asleep. He is drunk. I wish they would start something as I would like to try out my new gun on them.
Haig threw a Champagne bottle at me in the mess hall this p.m. It just missed my head. He is snakey. He was arrested. There is a Chauffeur sleeping in my Ward tonight. He came from Columbia Lahalle with a Lt. in a motorcycle.
Dec. 10, 1918, Didn't sleep today. The Chauffeur & I went uptown in the motorcycle for supper. We took Crites up at noon and Crites is stewed & laid out in bed.
Dec. 13, 1918, Went with Culver in the R.C. Car uptown and to station. He went to Neaufchateau tonight and I was going along but couldn't get off. That is an all night trip. I have the Blues tonight. I wish I was out of here. My Ward is like a nut house. Always a bunch of men sneaking around and coming in to spoon with the nurses. They make my ass tired with their love affairs. Several are trying to buzz around me but I knock them all off.
Miss Turner was in this morning. I think she is darling and she is buzzing around me but I won't make up with her. It doesn't amount to a damn, if they do it with one, they will do it with all, and it cannot last anyway. But dam it, I like Miss Turner but will stay out of her way. Coakley likes to make love to me when she gets a chance, but the old fart is nutty. Oh Hell, what's the use. Brownie is sleeping now and it is time for her lunch. I have a notion not to wake her. I have a notion to put every man out of the Ward that comes in.
Dec. 14, 1918, This is the same night. I was in my Ward this afternoon & Miss Turner asked me if it would be OK with me that Brownie was going to the Officer's dance and Turner work in her place until 12. I said yes. Then she told me the programme she had framed up.
She & I were to occupy the linen room & two other nurses & their sweethearts wanted the spare room, & Crites & Miss Clark in the kitchen. That would have been a Hell of a spooney night but a convoy came in & I got 21 more German prisoner patients, and was so busy I couldn't talk to her at all. She is disappointed but I am not. Coakley even came over from the dance. Gee if they were ever found out the bunch would be court-martialed. They worry the life out of me as I don't like to be stiff and grouchy. They are nice girls but I wouldn't give my little Canadian Darling for the whole bunch.
Dec. 15, 1918, I guess Carter the guard put the blocks to Brownie about 2 o'clock this morning. They thought I was asleep but I wasn't. I am sick of the whole bunch.
Dec. 16, 1918, One of my German patients hasn't had a bowel movement in 14 days. I took him to the operating room but I don't think he will live. I can see his intestines on his stomach. I got 10 new patients today, they are Americans, now I have both German & Yanks. 41 in all.
Dec. 17, 1918, I now have 18 Americans & 31 German patients. Operated on one American today for appendicitis, doing nicely. Am still on nights with Miss Brown. Miss Turner is now head nurse in Ward 19, a very hard Ward, and came up and asked me tonight if I would come to her Ward, as her men don't know a thing about a hospital. I don't want to as it will make Coakley sore. She has been like a Mother to me. Culver left today for the Front in the R.C. Ford. The guard is now gone to bed and I am wearing his gun. The O.D. hasn't been around yet and it is nearly midnight.
Dec. 19, 1918, 10:30 p.m. I just helped Thrask carry out a dead one from # 3. He died of pneumonia.
Dec. 20, 1918, I was inoculated today for typhoid & para-typhoid. I have a very sore arm. Received my Xmas package.
Dec. 21, 1918, I was sick all night as result from inoculation but I worked just the same. Temperature 101°. My arm is so sore I can't take my clothes off. I must carry litters all morning for an evacuation. 350 patients. Had inspection of equipment today & received a new uniform, 2 pair socks, & a pair of puttee's & gloves. 11 p.m. Am on duty. My arm is swelled nearly to the wrist and I can't straighten it. Am rubbing it with alcohol.
Dec. 22, 1918, 4 a.m. Have relieved the guard in my ward. My arm is better but is swollen out of shape. Culver came back from the front last night. Miss Brown goes off night duty this morning. 7 p.m. I have Miss Prince for night nurse. She's a nut. My arm is better. Miss Prince is full of fun tonight.
Dec. 23, 1918, 10 p.m. I chased 2 friends of Miss Prince out tonight and she is angry with me but I am in charge here and don't give a dam. I have a new patient tonight. He is demented and escaped & was gone two weeks. He escaped from Ward #1, I have him under guard. His case is pathetic. 11 soldiers in all came in to see Prince tonight. I gave her a Dam good talking to and now she is crying. The poor girl has paddled her own canoe since childhood and had never known Mother Love. She has been an orphan since she was a baby, but she isn't an indecent girl as all her faults are on the surface only.
Dec. 24, 1918, 3 a.m. Tomorrow is Xmas. Oh how I wish I was home. I wonder what Snookie is doing. 8 p.m. I was in bed all day and on duty at 7 p.m. The nurses
have the Ward very nicely decorated and the Germans are singing, but I have the Blues. I wish it wasn't Xmas eve. 9:40 p.m. I still have that demented patient. He is raving tonight & violent. I have him tied in bed. 9:45 p.m.
My crazy patient just cut his throat upwards & crossways as soon as I turned the lights out. The guard didn't see him. He fell out of bed and I helped the guard put him in and the blood is spurting out of his neck. I have Captain Strome here. He done it with a razor blade. I gave him his bag this evening. He wanted his picture.
The Capt. blames me and says that is where he got the blade, but I am innocent, as I went through the bag first & took out 3 straight razors, but I can't convince the Capt. I didn't let him have them. I took him to the Operating room. I hope he doesn't die as they will blame me. 11 p.m. They brought him back from the O.R. He will live. He told me he had the blade all day so my conscience are clear but the Capt. don't believe that because We searched him.
They will send him to Hospital #117. I don't know where that is but I think I am going to take him. He is an Italian and a big man. He said he was sorry but will do it again. I wanted to go to midnight Mass but didn't go.
Dec. 25, 1918, 2 a.m. Well this is Xmas. I wanted a letter from Snookie yesterday but was disappointed. Haven't heard from her for 2 weeks. Poor Darling, I wonder if she is happy tonight. 7 p.m. I spent the day sleeping part of the time. Went down to Jennie's for dinner.
Dec. 27, 1918, I have had disenteria since yesterday. Am feeling tough. They removed my insane patient to Hospital 117 today. I am glad he is gone as he was working on my nerves.
Dec. 28, 1918, I am sick today. I am passing blood all day. Am taking Bismuth Subnitrate. Prince was taken off the Ward this p.m. I now have Miss Stimpson. She is very nice.
Dec. 29, I took a big dose of Opium this a.m. and had a sleep and am better.
Dec. 30, 1918, I have some very sick men tonight. I wish I had a nurse. Moore has a temp of 105°, pulse 130, respiration 30. 11:45 I gave him Dovers & must give him a tepid sponge bath & alcohol rub. I fear he is getting typhoid pneumonia.
Jan. 1, 1919 4 a.m. This is my last night on night duty and I must stay right on duty until 7 p.m. this evening. I worked the Old Year out & the New Year in. The soldiers were shooting a lot at midnight. I emptied my gun out the door and that is all the celebrating I did. The Officers and nurses had a dance. Many of the men are drunk.
2 p.m. I just got in a new patient. He is a great big negro and is insane. His record is marked insanity, violent. He is not sick. He has muscles like a giant. I am wearing my gun because last night he whipped 10 men before he was subdued.
Jan. 2, 1919, My negro patient went on a rampage today. We have him tied down
Jan. 3, 1919. The big crazy nigger made it interesting last night. I am going to take him to Baswa this a.m. I dressed him and we started at 8:30 a.m. in a Ford ambulance. Boomer & Bill White went along. We didn't have any trouble on the way but had some to get him unloaded. Took dinner there then drove to Neufchatau & then to Raimercourt and Liffol Le Grande & Liffre Le Petite & then to Chaumont which is General Pershing's Headquarters, and got back at 11 p.m. We were all pretty well blankeyed. Dunton made us a big steak with onions.
Jan. 4, 1919, I got another negro insane patient in today. Perhaps I will get another trip taking him away.
Jan. 5, 1919, I have a very bad cough. I will have T.B.C. if I stay in this place.
Jan. 9. Yesterday was pay day. The whole outfit got drunk last night and were raising hell in the barracks. The
Detachment Commander & Lieut. Glascock & the Top Sergeant came in and stopped the riot. Barncord was reduced today. He was Corporal.
Jan. 12. We have a new Dr. & Head Nurse. Mother is on nights. I also have a new orderlie who never seen a hospital. It doesn't seem like home here now with Mother not here. A new unit came from England and they are trying to run things. I don't like to work with them. I now have three insane patients.
Jan. 17, 1919. I got Father Racheth Catholic Chaplain in today as a patient. Was called out at 5:45 a.m. for a fire at the M.T.C. The barracks burned down.
Jan. 21, 1919. When I came on duty this a.m., I made a checkup & find that patient # ? is missing. He is a T.B. case & is despondent. I fear he has escaped & killed himself. I found his slippers outside a window. He jumped through a window. 11 a.m. They just brought back my patient
in an ambulance. Tied with three ropes. They said it took 4 men to tie him on a litter. He was found in an Algerian Camp. He has gone crazy. I now have 5 nuts. Had to move today up to section B in 88. I am now away from our boys and among a bunch of strangers.
Jan. 22, 1919. Went out alone last night & got tight. I am disgusted with this life. Came back to the Ward, Mother put me to bed & I slept here. The Red Cross gave us a supper in the Hut last night but I didn't go. One of the guards run his bayonet clear through a German this morning. He threw urine on the Guard. I don't know where I am going to sleep tonight but don't give a dam.
Jan. 25 .Have Miss Helen Freeburg for a nurse & don't like her. Murray was operated on today for Empyema.
I now have 10 nuts in the Ward.
Jan. 29, 1919. Miss Clara Ruff & Miss Holmes left at 7:30 p.m. for home. They both got a discharge. Clara's sister died & left 3 small children & she must take care of them. She gave me her A.N.C. pin & caduceus.
Jan. 31, 1919. I am changing to night duty and am working an 18 hour shift. Mother Coakley is my night nurse.
Feb. 8, 1919. Barber is bad today.
Feb. 9, 1919. Barber had a terrible night. He has a frontal sinus in his head & is delirious. He raved & yelled all night. Kept patients awake 2 wards away. I sent for another man & two of us fought him 12 hours all night to keep him in bed. My arms are sore & so are his from fighting with him.
Feb. 10. Mother changes to days. Miss Collins is on nights. Miss Hagan is special for Barber tonight.
Feb. 11. We are out of coal. Got an order from O.D. & got 2 loads at 11 p.m. Very cold weather now.
Feb. 12. Got another nut in today. Thinks he is Kaiser's son. Says he owns Diamond mine in France worth $40,000,000. Said Doctor was King of Spain. I have 12 nuts & 17 German pris. Wrote Snookie a letter tonight. I don't know what is the matter with her. I only get one letter about every 3 weeks. I wonder if she doesn't care. I am homesick & lonesome. Wonder when we can go home. I have one of our men here. He is crazy. If we don't soon go somewhere, we will all go nuts. We are all dissatisfied.
Feb. 16, 1919. I had a fight with Cherry the crazy Jew tonight. He turned on me & was going to clean me up but I gave him a licking. After this I am going to knock him cold at every chance. Miss Turner & 4 other nurses left today for home. They were S.C. Ded. Boomer the guard didn't show up tonight. I guess he is drunk. Culver still has diphtheria. Reported we have sailing orders for May. I hope we go sooner.
Feb. 17, 1919 Cherry was in bed all day & didn't eat. He is mad. I must have given him quite a licking.
Feb. 21, I moved today over to the Convalescent Camp. Am pretty well lit up tonight. I was over to Eivant & had vin Blank Cuaese & Cognac. I have a canteen full in the Ward. 2 a.m. I guess I better sell my automatic but it is a wonderful little gun & I hate to part with it. I am going to take a big chance & try to take it home.
Feb. 25, 1919, 3 a.m. Had a hard night. Cathadarated a patient but was unsuccessful. He has a stricture. Culver still has Dip. Just got through writing Anna a letter. Am lonesome tonight. It is still raining. Anna wrote & said they were going to London.
Feb. 26 1:15 a.m. Levine the Jew tried to hang himself tonight. I am pretty well stewed up tonight.
March 6, 1919, I took two American prisoners from the Ward yesterday & we went A.W.O.L. I didn't get back till 12 a.m. & were turned in to O.D. I am up for courtmartial. Had a hearing today.
March 10, Have had 4 hearings but have not been courtmartialed.
They dare not as I can make it warm for them for not guarding prisoners in proper manner.
March 13, 1919, Got in another nut yesterday, a big burly Pollock. This morning I came in the back door at 6:30 just in time to save the lives of several patients. The nut jumped from his bed #3 onto the next & cut the man's throat in #4 & went all the way down on top of the beds as far as 14, & slashed at every man's throat with a razor. He cut one patients throat and another on the face & through the temple. I caught him & we had an awful battle, but I didn't get hurt. The guard and night orderlie were afraid of him. I took the two injured ones to the O.R. & had them sewed up. Took the nut to Boiselle.
March 14, 1919, Had a row with a patient this a.m. He wouldn't take a bath.
March 18, 1919, 25 of us from our old unit that came over together had a banquet down at
Jennies last night. The spread cost 500 Franks, then we chipped in & bought more Champagne & run it up to 1300 Franks. Half of the bunch went up to Langres & cleaned out #1.
March 22, Got in another nut yesterday and last night he got violent & tried to kill the guard & orderlie. The guard broke a Springfield rifle over his head & put him out.
April 3, 1919, 35 of our nurses left at 6:15 p.m. for home. Among them were Agnes Coakley (Mother), Brownie, Ethel Williams, Kate Wintemantel, Prince. They wanted me to go to the train. I promised, but didn't go. I was too sick.
April 4, 1919, Was admitted to Hosp. this morning with tonsillitis. Temperature 102°. 2 p.m. temp 103° & am sick as hell. My neck is swollen. 8 p.m. Temp 104° vomited.
April 5th, Had a very bad night. Temp all day around 103°. Pulse & resp very rapid & is making me weaker. Can't eat a dam thing.
April 6th, Nurse was going to bathe me this a.m. & found I had a rash all over me. Called Dr. He said it was Scarlet Fever. Temp still around 103 & 104°.
April 7th, I was carried to Isolation Ward this a.m. & put in a room 7' square & will have to stay in there alone for at least 7 weeks. Just my dam luck & the outfit talking of going home. Temp 102° p.m.
April 8th, Had a bad night again. This little cell is like an ice box. I am so weak I can't help myself. I spilled a cup of hot cocoa right in bed Saturday night.
April 9th, Am better today. Temp broken 100°. Am very lonely. I wonder why Anna don't write anymore. Heard today the old bunch were going home toot sweet & here I lay with Scarlet Fever. Rotten luck I say.
April 10, My throat is very sore yet & I am stating to peel. Received two letters from home & 1 from Anna.
April 12, 1919, Condition improved. Scarcely any temp. Throat improved but still sore. Am starting to peel on arms and neck. Miss Freeburg sent me a carton of Camel cigarettes.
April 13, No temp today. My throat is better. Had a piece of chicken for dinner & enjoyed it. 35 more nurses going home Tuesday.
April 15, Condition same. Peeling on arms & neck. No temperature. 35 more nurses leaving for Home. That makes 70.
April 20, 1919, Easter Sunday Was in bed all day. Condition improved. Miss Freeburg sent me a nice big bouquet of pansies. Culver was in to see me. I wonder why Anna don't write.
April 26, 1919, Had bad pains in stomach & right side all night & all day today. I believe it is appendicitis. I hope not as I am too weak to go under the knife now.
April 27, Am still peeling. My right side is better but still sore. It isn't Acute Appendicitis.
April 28, The ground was covered with snow this morn. It is blowing snowing & very cold. Fleck left last night on leave to Paris.
May 1, 1919, Every workman in Paris & nearly all in France are on strike today as a reminder to the Capitalists that they can't run the Country without the working man. Am still in bed but not sick. It is too cold to get up as I can't leave my room. I haven't heard from A.O'C. since April 10th. Am very lonely. Frank White borrowed 110 francs from me to play poker and is losing all of it. Can buy a Cadillac 8 car here at M.T.C. for $500.00 laid down in New York, from the Gov't. I have a notion to buy one.
May 4th 1919, Received a letter from Mayme stating Mother fell and hurt herself. Fleck & Dutch were down to my window to see me. I am still in Hospital. Miss Wellborn & Freeburg were also to see me. Dutch came back at 9 p.m. & slipped me a liter of Graves. I can buy a Cadillac 8 car at M.T.C. for $500.00. It will be laid down in New York for me. I have a notion to buy one. They are Gov't cars.
May 5, 1919, Was up & outside today for first time in over month. I am weak & legs tremble.
May 15, 1919, Have been having a good rest. Loafing down on the Marne & being in the sunshine.
May 16, 1919, Was discharged from the Hospital today.
May 17, 1919, Am in charge of Ward #13. Typhoid-Pneumonia Ward. Patient died yesterday. I don't like it as I am too weak yet to resist taking disease. Wyndham was made a Corporal May 14, 1919.
May 23, 1919, My Ward was emptied today. Transferred all patients to Ward #11.
May 24, Am on fatigue this p.m.
May 25, 1919, Go on guard duty at 5 p.m. Post #2 Nurses quarters & Medical side of Hosp.
May 27, 1919, Am still on guard & expect to be until we leave here. 3 p.m. I am down on the Marne at Constance Place drinking beer.
I go on post at 5 p.m. Am in the back room alone & the place is closed to soldiers till 5.
June 6, 1919, the outfit has been drunk & raising general hell & is in a hell of a condition. I am still guarding & have had some time but hardly ever sleep. 5:30 p.m. Am on the bus to go to Langres & just received orders that everyone was restricted to camp as we leave tomorrow for the U.S. We didn't expect to leave until Monday 9th & this is unexpected.
7:00 p.m. Dutch & I are down to Mama's Cafe. She treated us to a Champagne. I go on guard at 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.
June 7, 1919, Came off post at 6 a.m. Very Tired. Can't sleep again today. We leave camp at 3 p.m. Starting for home. Marched to train 2 miles with full pack & hot as hell. Am on guard at depot. Shorty Linnaman went after Joe Graham with two razors
& I had to part them. Shorty got cut 3 times but Joe didn't. I have one of his razors.
June 8, 1919, Train didn't arrive until 1 a.m. Loaded at 2 & didn't pull out until 5 a.m. Bound for LeMans concentration camp. I am still on guard & will be all the way without relief. I have a fine new Colt automatic 45 gun & am trying to get it home this way by wearing it on guard. One guard is in charge of each car. 41 men to a car. Must keep them all on every time the train stops. I have a pretty good bunch in my car. Mostly non-coms. Arrived at Ishourtille nearly noon & left them all off to stretch their legs. Went through Dijon, St. Aignon, Tours.
June 9, 1919, Arrived at LeMans about 7 p.m. Unloaded & marched with packs to our camp. Arrived 8:30 & were placed on guard down at the woods at 9 & we are all in for sleep.
June 10, 1919, This is a hell of a plan. Traveled in boxcars all the way, now we are 10 in a tent. 9 p.m. Am sitting in the woods now on guard. Will be relieved at 12.
June 11, 1919, Had inspection today of all equipment that we have. Salvaged everything we didn't need yesterday. This place is as hot as Georgia & the sand is very deep & dirty.
7 p.m. Am down in the spruce woods again on guard. This sure is a snap. Every unit has guards here. I don't believe we will leave here about Sunday. This isn't getting home very fast.
June 13, 1919, Still doing guard duty. Had our final inspection today. Our outfit got 100%. Reported we leave LeMans tomorrow.
June 14, 1919, Leaving LeMans today sometime. Am still on guard & haven't my pack rolled or anything ready. Pat Kelly, Oklahoma Pete, & Green were arrested last night for A.W.O.L. I took them to breakfast. I hear we have a 12 mile hike today & it is very hot & dirty. The sand is ankle deep & very dirty.
4 p.m. Starting to hike to Belgian Camp. 8 p.m. Arrived at Belgian Camp. Hiked 14 miles I have a blister on the bottom of my foot as big as my watch & can hardly walk. They also have all Venereals in this camp including many nurses & Y.M.C.A. girls & officers.
June 15, 1919, Dutch & I slept outside beside the barracks. I am still doing guard duty. 3 p.m. Went to train with baggage. On guard. Am there now. We leave tonight for St. Nazaire to sail for home.
June 16, 1919, Went through Nancy or Nantes, I don't know which. Gave my gun to Lt. Ross to take on the boat for me as I am wearing one that I am charged with. Arrived at St. Nazaire about 8:30 a.m. Rode to camp #2. Outfit hiked. Was examined & had dinner. Hiked to camp #1 at 1:30 p.m. Am in barracks & leave tonight for the boat & must hike 3 miles. My feet are blistered & I fear will let me down. 10 p.m. June 16, 1919 Rode to boat on baggage truck account sore feet. Am at boat now. Outfit hasn't arrived yet. Boat is the U.S.S. Julia Luckenbach.
June 17, 1919 1 a.m. Loaded on transport. 5 a.m. We are leaving port at St. Nazaire for New York. 10 p.m. Most of the men are seasick. Such a sight I have never seen. Vomiting all over. This is a much better boat than the Karmala, on which I came over. I am not sick.
June 18, The feed on here is fine. Better than I have eaten since I'm in the Army. I am smuggling my gun in my haversack. I also have my six-shooter S&W to take care of. Durno had his stolen already & will have to pay for it.
June 22, 1919, Sunday. We were just half way across at noon. The entire distance from St. Nazaire to New York is 3150 miles & we were 1575 miles out at noon. Had a storm last night. Had chicken, potatoes, pears, for dinner.
June 23, 1919, Rained like hell today. Boat is going slow, one engine is broken down entirely the large gear in the other one has 11 cracks in it. Got a bloody nose fooling with Culver. This dam tub is rocking so much I can't write. I hope I will be discharged & home by July 4th. I think we will arrive at New York about the 27th.
June 27, 1919, Noon. 198 miles from New York. Won't land until tomorrow sometime.
June 16th, went on board 11 p.m. June 17, sailed at 5 p.m. 3150 miles to New York from St. Nazaire France.
|miles sailed / to go||miles sailed / to go|
|June 17- 12 noon||95-3055||June 23 - 12 noon||276-1300|
|June 18 - " "||328- 2727||June 24 - " "||268-1032|
|June 19 - " "||276- 2451||June 25 - " "||284 - 748|
|June 20 - " "||296- 2155||June 26 - " "||274 - 474|
|June 21 - " "||291- 1854||June 27 - " "||276 - 198|
|June 22 - " "||288- 1576|
June 27, 1919. In all, we didn't have a very good voyage. Stormed a lot & rained half of the time. I didn't get seasick, but most of the 2600 men did. The eats are fairly good, better than we got in France, but not enough. I am hungry most of the time.
June 28, 1919, Had breakfast at 4 a.m. dinner at 10 a.m. Landed about 3 p.m. Coming up the bay was very interesting. Police patrol boat with Mayor of New York's welcome committee met us out in the bay.
Statue of Liberty looked good after a year in Europe. Went to Camp Mills, N.Y.
June 29, 1919, Well I am back in the little old U.S.A. & dam glad of it. Just 11 months & two weeks since I left the U.S. My time in France was interesting.
I am very thankful that I had the sense & strength to resist the temptations as they were many & varied. I stayed away from the Wild Women & am dam glad of it, but the temptations were very strong. It's a good thing the Women of America have better principles than the frogs.
11 a.m. Just received my barracks bag & find that the sailors or someone went through it & stole my
Silver knives & forks that I had for Snook. Also the lace I had for Mrs. G. They rifled many bags on the boat & two sailors were put in the brig for it. Expect to be deloused today or tomorrow. Don't think I will get home for July 4th.
June 30, 1919, Called out last night at 11:30 to get deloused. Got back at 2 a.m. I went to bed at 3 a.m. & got up & went on guard at 4:00 a.m. Still have my automatic pistol. Whole outfit got deloused last night.
Dutch, Fleck, & I got a pass & went to N. York City. Went from Long Island to Brooklyn, Manhattan & N.Y. Was on Wall street. Went on the elevated & subway.
July 1, 1919, Left Field #2 at 4 p.m., went to Field #1. In tents. No supper.
July 2, 1919, Got up late for breakfast. No dinner here for this outfit. Had a wiener sandwich at post exchange, 4:30 leaving Camp Mills Long Island.
July 2, Boarded train for Camp Sherman Ohio. Went about 2 miles & pulled draw-bar out of coach behind our car. No supper. This dam Army can't even feed their men any more. If they don't soon get us home they can go to Hell & I will go A.W.O.L. 11:45 p.m. We are in Philadelphia.
July 3, 8 a.m. Am in Altoona Pa. Went through N.Y., New Jersey, & am now in Pa. Dutch & I are together. Went around the Horseshoe bend in the Allegheny mountains. Arrived in Pittsburgh Pa. 12:45 p.m. I served coffee on the train for dinner. Arrived Camp Sherman O 8:45, July 3, 1919. Had short arm & throat inspection. Put in Detachment 555.
July 4th, Not working at Camp today so that holds up discharge until tomorrow or next day. Met nephew Louis Schauder here & Elmer Beidelman. There are many Tiffin boys here.
July 5, 1919. Started at 7:15 a.m. & turned in extra shirt & canteen. Was examined & signed payroll & discharge papers. Had a lecture on re-enlistment. Had Venereal lecture illustrated, also insurance lecture & other lectures which lasted over two hours. Went to employment bureau.
July 5th Sunday.
Not working in camp today so we must wait until Monday for discharge. That makes two days lost here.
July 6, 1919.
I see Culver's Parents & his girl down here to see him.
Expect to get out today.
[on separate sheet, undated] first half, second half
I am going to write you a little piece entitled
Darling I am coming back, Silver threads among the black.
Now that peace in Europe nears, I'll be back in seven years.
I'll drop in on you some night, with my whiskers long and white.
Yes, the war is over Dear, and we are coming back I hear.
Home again with you once more, say by nineteen twenty four,
Once I thought by now I'd be, sailing back across the sea.
Back to where you sit and pine, but I am stuck here on the Rhine.
You can hear the gang all curse, War is hell.... but peace is worse.
When the next war comes around, in the front lines I'll be found.
I'll rush in again pell mell, yes I will, like hell, like hell.
Proper names listed in diary text
Excerpts from the History of Base Hospital No. 53.