|Voici l'heure qui bout de sang et de jeunesse
Un vaste espoir, venu de l'inconnu, déplace
L'Équilibre ancien dont les âmes sont lasses;
La nature parait sculpter
Un visage nouveau à son éternité.
---VERHAEREN, La Foule. (Les Visages de la Vie)
September 7. The attack starts at 4.30 A.M. to-morrow. Last night was a stinger. Dix(43) was from 9.30 to 4 A.M. getting through, and his car was hit half a dozen times. One of the English cars was ditched, and the road is simply lined with dead and wounded men and horses, ditched and smashed trucks, caissons.
Two of Dix's "couchés" got out of the car and hid in "abris," and he had a hard time finding them. I cannot understand how the one in the top stretcher ever managed it; Farnham and Patterson had bad times too. Rice's nerves are better to-day; I dosed him with Veranol and put him to bed. To-day he insisted on taking his turn; he is still game! --- but I shall order him off to-night.(44)
Fords are apparently classed with carrier pigeons by the French Army now! At least, I received the following letter this morning: --
H.D. Sept. 6th, 1917
Captain Foix, Intelligence Officer, to the Staff of the 32d Army Corps: --
To the Officer Commanding the American Ambulances: --
Dear Sir: I herewith send you two crates of pigeons for General Riberpray's Division whose headquarters is in the Carrière Sud.
You would be very kind to deliver them on behalf of the 32d Army Corps. You would thus do me a great service, for our cars cannot go so far. I thank you very sincerely for your kind help and remain, dear Sir,
Very truly yours,
With this letter there came two crates of perfectly good carrier pigeons, to be used because telephone communication is cut, and the road is not likely to be constantly passable! Some "ad" for Ford cars! I gave them to Ned Townsend and told him to "fly" with them!
Regan pulled "a funny one" up at the "poste." He had some pretty close calls getting there, so he asked the Lieutenant if he could see the Catholic priest, as he had not confessed for some time. The Lieutenant found the priest, but the latter couldn't understand English and Regan knew no French. Regan then asked the Lieutenant to translate his confession; but the Lieutenant, being a Catholic himself, refused, because, he said, it wasn't the proper thing for a third party to hear a confession. Then the priest had a happy thought, and said that he could absolve, or do whatever Regan's sins required, without understanding them. So Regan confessed in English, and got next to Heaven in good shape, although the priest did n't understand a word. At any rate, everybody seems to have been satisfied.
September 11. Some hectic sessions we've had in the last few days! On the 9th a heavy fog obscured the roads and we had much gas. Six cars were knocked out; Stocky and Hanna collided full head on and smashed both front assemblies; Buell wrapped himself up around a tree --- which he swears walked right out in the middle of the road. He was so dead-tired that he saw things moving. I have often had that happen myself. Cram broke the engine support of his own car, and later, dropped No. 5 (Tapley's) over the bank, and down some twenty feet, at Chambouillat, too, the hottest corner there is on the run. He could n't see on account of his mask; and when the latter came off as he dived under his car, he got considerable gas. His car brought up against a "camion" which had previously tumbled over the bank at the same place. Luckily it remained upright and we were able to tow it out this morning.
As for Cram, himself, he first fell over a dead horse, and then landed in a trench on top of a dead man. Shrapnel was falling all over the place; but he finally got out all right, although he is pretty low now from gas.
The latest method to rehabilitate "blessés," particularly "couchés," is to be stopped by a cut road or a smashed up "ravitaillement" train, while shells are coming in. Stout, Dix, Buell, and several others report remarkable resurrections. "Couchés" get out and run like deer; while "assis" make regular Annette Kellerman dives into "abris." Dix had to go up and down a line of dugouts shouting: "Oosong mes blessés! Oosong mes blessés!" for half an hour the other night, before he finally corralled them and proceeded on his way. He said that one of his "couchés" actually climbed off the top-stretcher and succeeded in unfastening the back all by himself!
Purdy broke his rear axle running over a dead horse. Three of the big English cars were ditched and the men refused to run any more at night. So we take on most of the night work, and they will help us all they can in the daytime.
The attack, by, the way, was only partly successful and very costly. One Division, the 128th, lost over three thousand men, one entire regiment being surrounded and wiped out. The Lieutenant and I took turns at the Front "poste."
Last night the road was completely cut by a heavy barrage. As soon as it ceased, I went up and filled the largest holes by throwing rocks into them, and removed broken caissons, etc. I found the people at the "poste" acting like a bunch of "nuts." No one doing anything but rave. So I took charge and we cleared the "poste" within two hours.
An amusing incident occurred when a shell fell and destroyed completely one of the big English cars which already had been injured. I was fixing things so that our cars could pass up to the door of the "abris," avoiding the burning English car, when a tall man in a blue cap called to me, "Why haven't you got on your helmet?" Thinking that he was just a Lieutenant like the rest of us, I shouted back," How about yourself?" There was a laugh from one or two of the other "stripers" who were in the group with the tall man, and when I looked up to see what they were laughing at, I saw it was General Riberpray, himself! ---the Commander of the 128th Division. I supposed that I'd get at least a reprimand for taking liberties with a superior officer; but he only grinned and said nothing. I'd forgotten to put on my tin derby in the hustle of getting my cars out of danger.
Later, General Riberpray asked me about the condition of the road. I told him of the big horse "camion," full of "pinard" and cheeses, which we had been obliged to move out, as the horses had been killed and the men had "beaten it." I also told him that we could n't get away with the "pinard," as the kegs were too big to handle, but that we had taken as many cheeses as we could. "Mon Dieu," he shouted, "those are my cheeses! that's my ravitaillement wagon!" I said I guessed that he was out of luck; and we had a good laugh over it, he thanking me for fixing things so that the roads could be used. Afterwards fresh horses were sent down and the wagon was brought up.
I came back with Brennan(45) at about three o'clock in the morning. The road; had been repaired by the "Genie" and the night had cleared; and except for the customary shrapnel, there was nothing going on.
Meantime the hospital and surrounding grounds were being shelled with big fellows ---probably "380's." One landed square in the hospital yard while I was working at the typewriter. "Éclats" and bits of rock sang all over the place; but, of course, I was flat on the ground.
Rice had a narrow escape when an "éclat" as big as your hand fell exactly where his head should have been on his pillow. It came straight down through the tent. Usually he lies reading at that time in the morning; but this time he happened. to be outside. Another fell through the dining-room tent and nearly brought down Weeny, our waiter, as he was peeling potatoes. Rice remarked that he'd just as leave go up to the "poste" and sleep there! By a curious dispensation of Providence, full of poetic justice, the only casualty on that occasion, however, was a perfectly good Boche prisoner who was killed instantly by a bit of stone hitting him square on the forehead, à la David and Goliath.
September 12. General Riberpray was killed yesterday morning. It couldn't have been more than two hours after we had the conversation about "pinard," cheeses, and helmets! It appears that he went down the line and a shell got him. It is too bad; he seemed to be a good sort. He is to be buried at Bar-le-Duc.
We had a comparatively quiet night for us. Only three cars smashed! Elliott and Ned Townsend collided at Chambouillet; Ned having previously smashed the front and back axles of his own car, No. 7, at Carrière Sud, while taking up Harold Kingsland, who used to be in our Section, and is now taking movies to raise Red Cross funds, with Paul Rainey, the explorer and brother of Roy. Rainey, the pigeon-shooter. Ned then took the new car, No. 4; but it has only a bent front axle and triangle. Elliott's car is practically gone; both front and back axles, side box and fenders. Ned will now drive No. 9 (Rice's) and Hugh, No. 5 (Tapley's). Flynn returned last night and I gave him No. 4 to fix up. Robin Jay was not exactly pleased, but everybody has got to do the best he can with the wrecks we have. I have wired Paris for another new car and a new man as well.
The "remorqueurs" came again this morning. They were not too well satisfied when they found where they had to go to get Ned's and Elliott's cars. Shelling was light, however, ---only gas. I gave them "pinard" and coffee, which put them in a better humor; but they remarked that if they were us, they'd find another garage for their cars.
At last, orders have come for us to move. We leave to-morrow for Vaucouleurs, immortalized by being the place where Joan of Arc came to beg the local Duke to come to the assistance of the King of France, Charles VII. The boys are perfectly delighted.
September 14. I spent a rotten night. I could n't sleep for fear some of the boys at the "postes" would get killed on their last night. The Lieutenant remarked the same thing. Everybody came through, however, and we left for Bar-le-Duc, where I arranged to give the boys a big dinner and a night's rest between sheets at the best hotel. The Lieutenant left this morning on "permission" long overdue, and goes to Dinard to join his wife.
As we left, the Boches gave us a parting send-off by landing half a dozen big shells around us. It certainly sped up the parting guests! How fast the tents were taken down was beyond all imagination.
The Englishmen (A.A. No. 1) invited the Lieutenant and me to dinner last night and were mighty nice to us. They said that we "had set them a pace that they found it damned hard to follow." Pretty good for the usually undemonstrative and supercilious Englishman, was n't it?
September 15. The dinner was a big success. As usual it rained during the run to Bar-le-Duc. Cram pulled a regular "Baylies" by driving deliberately over a bank. It's getting to be a habit. I had to have him hauled out by a wrecking crew and towed. The boys now refer to "Cramming a car" in the same way we used to employ the verb "to Baylies." The fellows made me pretty speeches at the dinner; and Patterson was the only man to get gay, although I gave them all the champagne they wanted.
O brave young soul! who went forth unafraid,
Under the Stars that greet the stars thine eyes
Though the barbarian level to the ground
Thy voice, above the Voices heard by thee,
---EDWARD FULLER (Public Ledger, Philadelphia)
THE Vaucouleurs trip was somewhat broken as to convoy, as I had to turn in four cars at the Bar-le-Duc "parc," to have their bodies rebuilt and generally overhauled. The Kitchen car and a couple of others got lost, but they turned up all right later. We have pleasant quarters; many of the men., however, preferred to rent rooms in the town, the average price for which is from five francs to seven francs a week. The main squad are quartered in the ballroom of a little café.
This is a beautiful part of France --- Nancy, Vaucouleurs, Toul. The country has not been messed-up by the war, and it is the first time I have realized that some of those rare tapestries which I used to look at, but failed to appreciate, were mere exact copies of what the country looks like.
We are slowly getting over the recent work. Personally, I slept straight through for twenty-four hours, after I had settled the men in their cantonmements and had officially reported that we were here minus four cars which had been smashed by the Boches. Our wounded man, Pearl, is coming around nicely, excepting for the loss of the use of his left arm; and the gassed men are pretty well, thanks to the antidotes they got in good time.
We have had wonderful luck in coming out of the offensive virtually intact, at least as far as men go, for not a single car in the whole outfit, excepting the staff car, escaped without a hole. The. reason the staff car did not get "stung," too, was that we did n't dare use it, and I ran to the posts in an ambulance.
At all events, we seem to have made quite an impression, as the English Section working with us could not make the front posts excepting in the daytime, whereas we made them day and night on account of the lightness of the Fords, and the quick-wittedness of our drivers who filled up shell holes as fast as they were made, with anything handy. Often we would remake the road sufficiently for a Ford to pass over, three or four times in one night.
We are now "en repos," far from the firing-line. The Médecin Chef has been most kind and has cited several of our boys whom the Lieutenant and I thought especially deserving.
On our way here we passed many American troops in training, and they gave us no end of cheers when they saw the famous Indian Head sign on our cars, and so knew that we had just come out of Verdun.
One of the American officers remarked that he "never had seen such a looking crew." To be sure, one half of the boys were wearing poilu trousers and poilu shoes! Some had on helmets; and all had a week or two's growth of beard. Every one was covered with mud, and the cars were all smashed up as to headlights, fenders, radiators, and also covered with mud and dozens of éclat holes. Altogether, it was a scaly-looking bunch of heroes --- Don Cesar de Bazans, every one!
September 17. I sent down Farnham, Day, and Townsend on "permission" and Regan on sick-leave. The latter has a badly infected eye. I am slowly getting the cars cleaned --- also the men.
It is curious how these sophisticated fellows turn to religion after it is all over. Here are Brennan, Ryan, White, Flynn, and others, who all went to church! '
September 18. The Lieutenant being away as well as de Maré, all the "paperasserie" has fallen on Fortin and me. We are having a beastly time with the "dinky" official letters, telegrams, telephone calls, and the rest. Poor Fortin is working his head off. As for myself, my brain is turning into a sort of whirling spray. The "Loot" went off too soon, it seems, and I spend my time soft-soaping officials and trying to explain his absence --- which is not always made easy.
We expect to move again shortly, and the blessed White truck has a "bum" wheel. We are situated where we have no auto park to call upon, being neither in the Nancy, Toul, or Bar-le-Duc districts, and hence are hopelessly handicapped. The Rochet-Schneider will have to make at least two trips to move the essence and oil supply to the Atelier.
As for the future, and notwithstanding Paris gossip about the personnel of the coming service, in the new adjustments., as far as I can judge, Piatt Andrew and Colonel Jefferson Kean will work together. We, the field men, are to be taken over. Section 1 has not as yet been reached by the recruiting officers, as we shifted just about the time when they were due to take us. At present showing, I think that about sixty or seventy per cent of the fellows will sign up, although the Norton-Harjes crowd have quit "en masse." I had a long talk with Mr. Richard Norton himself about it. He was very nice in what he said. He considers that his work has been done. The old club volunteer spirit must now be eliminated.
I must say that in this I think he is mistaken, because we will be affected to the French Army; and apart from the red tape, which is even worse with us Americans than it is with the French, there should be little alteration brought into our mode of life and work.,
I understand that I am to be taken into the American Army with the equivalent rank to that which I hold in the French Service at present, which is that of First Lieutenant. I wear two stripes. Personally, I do not care much, so long as I can remain with my men and with the French to whom I am accustomed. There is much in knowing the ways and point of view of those with whom one is serving, in such work as this.
September 20. Two new men arrived during the night. They are Huston and Kleineck. The latter looks very good. He is middle-aged and serious. The former is very young and knows nothing about a Ford; neither does he know any French; but doubtless he'll soon pick up enough to get along. So far, my boys are behaving nicely, thank the Lord; but I'm not crazy about staying here long, with the bad example of the raw recruits who are now around us. We are to leave for Allainville, near Neufchâteau.
September 24. This is a nice little town hidden away in a beautiful rolling country said to be full of wild boars.(46) Stout and Plow have been out hunting, but so far have failed to get a shot.
The Auto Service wants to make a ceremony of the distribution of the new Croix de Guerre awarded for the September work done by the 69th Division. First, I inclined to have the other men who were decorated by the 42d Division also officially decorated at the same time. But on second thought, we decided, Fortin and I, that it would look like too much of a crowd for so small a personnel; so I distributed the Croix last night. Fortin made a speech before handing them out to Elliott, Flynn, Hanna, Stockwell, Tapley, White, and me. Of course, Elliott and I won ours in Champagne; but as we left the 42d Cavalry at that time, we never went through any regular ceremony other than reading the citations. Accordingly, we had a little speechifying, and a mild jollification.
September 28. Lieutenant Reymond returned from his "permission" to-day. The boys have lots of fun with the peasants. They dance with the girls and jolly them in great style. We had a regular party last night---Rapp, Ogier, et al., whistled on pieces of cardboard; others sang, and all had a fine time.
September 29. Ned Townsend, Rice, Farnham, and Day got back from their "permissions" rather the worse for wear; but who could blame them? My own "permission," which I have not been able to take since August, is so long overdue that it may have to go by altogether. I don't dare to leave while these citations are hanging fire. There are splendid rumors about, but, as yet, nothing official.
October 4. Section 1 has been cited By ORDER OF THE, ARMY, and gets the Palm. Also Lieutenant Reymond and myself!
I have wired home the citation which reads as follows: --
2ème Armée, État-Major
Ordre Général NO 924
4 Octobre 1917
Section Sanitaire Américaine NO 1
Sous la direction du Sous-Lieutenant Reymond, James, et du Commandant Américain Stevenson, Yorke, s'est vaillamment comportée au cours de l'offensive devant Verdun, en août 1917, faisant l'admiration de tous par sa crânerie et son zèle, en dépit du bombardement incessant des routes par gros obus asphyxiants. N'a pas interrompu son service malgré des pertes sensibles.
Le Général Commandant l'Armée
October 6. Other citations have come in --- Kreutzberg, Farnham, Purdy,(47) Stout, Holt, and Dallin. The last two have left, but I am very glad they got theirs, as they deserved them well. More citations are still coming in --- Day, Townsend (this makes his second), and Plow; also Rapp and Blanchard, two Frenchmen who are connected with our Section.
The Médecin Principal of the 69th Division, to which S.S.U. No. 1 was attached at the time of the second attack on Bezenvaux, at Verdun, who had been seriously wounded on that famous night when General Riberpray was killed, wrote to congratulate us on our fine citation of which he had heard.(48) The letter is addressed to Lieutenant Reymond: --
Mon cher camarade: --
C'est à Castrier, où je suis en train de me remettre de la grave blessure que j'ai reçue le 7 Septembre devant Verdun, que me parvient l'heureuse nouvelle de la citation a l'ordre de l'Armée obtenue par la S.S.U. N° 1. J'ai vu 'à l'uvre votre brillant personnel, et je suis enchanté d'apprendre qu'on a rendu justice à son magnifique allant, à son endurance, a son courage, et à son dévouement. Je vous adresse, ainsi qu'au Lieutenant Stevenson, mes plus chaleureuses félicitations.
Votre cordialement dévoué
W. P. Gany
Médecin Principal de la 96e Division
Our real reward, however, is that the Section has figured in the big French victory at Verdun, and has received all sorts of praise from those who saw it at work. We had only two men wounded, although several others were gassed, and some had nervous breakdown. We certainly were lucky, as so many of our ambulances were destroyed or badly damaged. Several of our men, however, are now ill with dysentery as a result of the gassing they got. Stockwell has been operated on; Buell, Elliott, and Dix are being treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital, near here. I, myself, had a couple of close calls, as I drove myself at intervals to give some of the men a rest. And, of course, the Lieutenant and I took turns at the front-line "postes." Bodies of men and horses littered the roads in various stages of disintegration and many still lay there for days after the battle ended. Luckily I have a good constitution. I am feeling fine and getting stouter every day. I shall be a sight when I get home at this rate --- perfectly round, like a ball.
Dilapidated as the Section seems to be just now, we feel that we are going out of the old regime into the new with every reason to be proud of its record. Personally, I cannot find words to express what I think of those wonderful boys. May the new Service live up to the old!
Webster and his recruiting squad arrived here on September 30, and about one half of the Section signed up. Some of the best men are leaving --- also some of the least efficient, so that, on the whole, I am fairly well satisfied. All the more so as we are to remain with the French Army. Our Division is now training the American troops.
Of course, "Bob" Glendinning is a friend of mine, and has suggested my joining him. But that would mean ground aviation work, owing to my defective eyesight. It would be something like a clerkship in Paris. On the other hand, Piatt Andrew's attitude toward the question is that "to every man his best job", other words, I know this game and would have to learn the other. Most of MY friends now are in aviation, so I was rather keen to be with them. However, I shall stick to this job "au grand air"! Therefore, I have accepted a First Lieutenancy in the American Ambulance Service.
After all, I love the life; and the Section's standard, as far as the personnel goes, is as good as ever. Of course, I'd like to go home for a while and see the family; I miss my people; but, on the other hand, I don't have to go to the Assemblies, and that helps some!
The recruiting officers tell me that Piatt Andrew is to be made a Major and will remain in the Service --- for which I am truly glad. Of course, with so many of the men leaving, we are busy breaking in new recruits. It is well that we are still "en repos." Andrew has treated this Section well. He has sent us a fine lot of men quite fully up to the standard to which we are accustomed. He told me that he had picked out for us the best he could. He certainly has.
You see, when it became likely that the American Army would take us over, many of the old men went into other branches of the American Service --- Engineers' Corps, Aviation, Artillery, and Camouflage --- the more interesting branches. So we have to replace very nearly one half of our force. For the most part, our fellows were college lads from the various universities and colleges of the country. Now, however, we have a wonderful variety, not only geographically speaking, but of human experience and outlook, and the accompanying list may afford a glimpse of the material that will form the new Section No. 625 of the Sanitary Field Service of the United States Army when it shall have been turned over officially, and of which I have the honor of remaining in command.
With such a varied crew of professional experts, one might found a new community, and yet, although the group as a whole may seem singular as assembled for the one purpose, the men uniformly are, nevertheless, splendidly willing workers, and all amenable to army discipline. Of course, their nerve has yet to be tested under fire, as we are still " en repos "; but I firmly believe that they are going to turn out as fine a body of men as any squad in the field.
|18-19||Four college students||Yale, Haverford, Harvard, Michigan|
|18-20||Two bank clerks||Chicago and Pittsburgh|
|16-17||Three schoolboys||Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Coatesville|
|33||White slave investigator||New Bedford|
|32||Civil engineer||New York|
|26||Mechanical engineer||New York|
|32||City magistrate||New York|
October 10. While in Paris, on my longdeferred "permission," I had our Section sign, our famous Indian Head which was painted for us by Tardieu on the Somme last year, used on our stationery as a heading for our Section. I tried to get the Army gray for the paper, but it seems that it cannot be done. The Printer, however, made a pretty fair copy of Tardieu's emblem, I think. While it resembles the emblem of the Lafayette Escadrille, it differs from it in so far as their Indian is represented with his mouth open, uttering his great war-whoop, whereas our Indian is a nice Indian, who keeps his mouth shut.
I received a letter from Brooke Edwards the other day, and he is doing well, but does not expect actually to go Boche-hunting in the skies until the end of June. Paul Kurtz also is doing well and should be about beginning now.(49) Indeed, all our boys who have gone into aviation apparently are doing finely --- especially Sam Walker, who is dropping iron eggs on submarines in the Navy Aviation Corps.
Baylies, however, is the wonder of the ages. After his adventure with the "Penguin," of which I sent you an account some time ago, he is now reported as rapidly bagging Boches. He surely is a great lad, and one of the nicest fellows you ever saw. I never met with a man who could stand "ragging" as he did when he was with us. And now he is on his way to being one of the notabilities of the Air Service.
This was a red-letter day. Quite a mail from home. Also letters from many friends. One from Ralph Pemberton's sister. It was very nice of her to take the trouble to write. If people only knew how good it is to feel one is not forgotten. Miss G. E. writes that she is taking care of French babies near Lyons. Miss "Fifi" Spencer is getting bombed and shelled daily in Paris, working at the hospital out at Neuilly. It is really very much safer at the Front. Aside from a little gas now and then, we really live a life of surprising luxury and ease. And, by the way, judging from the number of prisoners each side claims to have captured, in a short time all the French and British will be in Germany, and all the Germans will be in France and England, and then each can take a hack at running the other fellow's country. This might be a good solution of this terrible mix-up on the subject of peace.
I met not long ago an American who, before the war, was employed to get the necessary concessions for the German Bagdad Railway. He says that they paid him $200,000 for his work. He was most interesting in his stories about the juggling of that railway, which, as every one knows now, doubtless, was one of the original hidden causes of the present scrap.
October 15. On my return I found the boys all on their toes for work. The spirit of them seems to be just the same even with the influx of some nine new men, and. by the way, they have invented a new game to stop snoring in the barracks. When some one is found to be a disturber of the peace, they sprinkle bread-crumbs over him and add a little piece of cheese, and in about a minute there is sure to be a rush of rats over him which generally wakes up the victim with a yell!
They brought down a couple of Zeppelins near here. One of them must be fully seven hundred feet long; it lies clear across a valley the two ends resting on the hills on either side. It is beautifully finished. The Captain's cabin is all enamelled in white, and the various, "nascelles" are of polished wood and metal just like high-priced motor boats. A regular ship's gangway connects them together. It has four motors of some three hundred horsepower each. Altogether a wonderful piece of work.
We are still quartered in a marvelous château belonging to the Comtes de Beaufremont. Parts of the edifice are Roman and the rest was erected about 1400, with additions as late as 1600. Some of the old fireplaces are superb, and we live finely, now that we have patched up the windows and part of the roof . There is a superb view, as we are on one of the high Vosges hills and can see the country for miles around. We are not far from Domrémy., the birthplace of Jeanne d'Arc, and there are many interesting ruins near by, as well as fine places, such as a splendid chateau of the sixteenth century built by the Comtes d'Alsace.
The de Beaufremont family goes back to the thirteenth century. The more ancient ruins have oubliettes, fossés, and columbaria. The church is of fifteenth-century Gothic, built by Jean de Beaufremont who was killed at Agincourt.
It seems passing strange to see Americans here. But thank Heaven, the "Yanks" are now pouring into France --- just in time, in the face of the Russian and the Italian debacles. The men look well and are rapidly picking up modern warfare. The unfortunate cyclists, however, have to wear the large-brimmed sombrero and are compelled to steer in the wind with one hand, as they often must hold their hat with the other. Now, that's "some" job, believe me, on the slippery, muddy roads always packed with traffic! There are little things like, that.
But seriously, c'est la guerre! THE AMERICANS ARE HERE WITH THE STUFF. I would buy French bonds, British bonds, American bonds, and feel that the money was well spent. America at last is doing her full share, and SHE IS DOING IT WELL AND THOROUGHLY. Make no mistake about that. It's the real thing at last. I can't tell you how glad I feel, even though I don't anticipate much more fun out of the work from now on, after I become a full-fledged Lieutenant in the United States Army. But soon I will get accustomed to the routine, of course, and will learn the new job and like it.
I believe that, to begin with, I shall have to go to the technical School for American officers at Meaux, for a six weeks' course of intensive training this winter.
And, by the way, I figured out to-day, that if we kill off about 1,000,000 Germans per annum, and they produce 600,000 new ones --- like most vermin, they breed very rapidly --- it would take about one hundred and fifty years to exterminate them. We'll have to do better than we are doing, you see.
ON January 1, 1918, after many tribulations, complications, and adjustments, the American Ambulance Field Service finally and officially ceased to exist and became a part of the Ambulance Field Service of the United States Army. Simultaneously 21 Rue Raynouard, its headquarters, in its original form also passed out of existence. The latter event was marked by a. grand celebration In Paris, which took the form of a memorable banquet attended by the many friends of the institution, now transformed into a Club.
S.S.U. No. 1, being on duty in Lorraine, was unable to attend the festivities that marked in Paris the passing of the American Volunteer. But the justified pride of the Section in its record, as well as its unalloyed loyalty to the American Flag under which it felt honored to serve, had already been voiced by its leader on a former occasion in a simple speech to the boys. It is quite Napoleonic in its brevity, and Tacitus himself could not have said more in so few words: --
"Fellows: I had a little chat with the Médecin Chef this morning. We talked of what is coming and of what has been. I said I was anxious to get the Section up to the Front again. He replied: --
Ah, s'ils marchent, comme les autres!' " Do you know what that means? It means learning to drive by night exactly as if it were day, and without lights. It means driving with a gas mask, and it means never quitting. 'S'ils marchent comme les autres' has been my motto and my standard, ever since 'Huts' Townsend(50)---the best leader the Section ever had --- left us. I've copied his methods and tried to get the same type of men he had. I think I've succeeded. We have what we've always had: 'Pep' and Devotion. I expect it of Section No. I under the American Flag, just as it was taken for granted under the Tricolor.
"I think it is fitting to drink this day a silent toast, standing, to Our Dead: --- GEORGE FREDERICK NORTON, BENJAMIN RUSSELL WOODWORTH, and HOWARD B. LINES."(51)
May 'Section No. 625 of the Ambulance Field Service, U.S.A., "live long and prosper." For, like Cicero, looking back, it may well proudly say: --
"Hoc maxime officii est, ut quisque maxime opis indigeat, ita ei potissimum. opitulari."
"This is our special duty, that if any one specially needs our help, we should give him such help to the utmost of our power."
(Cicero, de Officiis, 1, 15.)
Table of Contents