5. Holidays and Rumors

Charles Wadsworth Camp


DURING these thrilling days the powers of administration had not by any means neglected us. They caused to descend upon the regiment on December 15th twenty-five officers from the Second Officers' Training Camps. The proportion of first lieutenants made at the second camps was greater than at the first. A number of our young second lieutenants had been recommended for promotion some time before, but when their commissions finally came through they were dated later than all the commissions given at the second camps. They, in other words, who had set their hands first to the tasks, had struggled with raw beginnings, had moulded regiments, were outranked by these youngsters fresh from three months at school. The amazing fact is mentioned in passing because it created a situation a trifle delicate and not without humor.

It is simple to say: Here are captains and first lieutenants. Give them the authority and responsibility that goes with their rank. It is quite another to project instantaneously into their brains the necessary practical experience our officers, junior to them, had acquired during four hard months.

The problem was solved by detailing temporarily these superiors as assistants to their veteran juniors.
"Please do this and that, Captain," a second lieutenant would have to say.
Or at retreat-to which the new ones, thirsty for things military, always turned out-a second lieutenant would make his assignments, wondering what was wrong with the world.
"Please take the first platoon, Captain."
And he would distribute the other platoons in a dreamy way among the group of first lieutenants.
" At ease! " or " Attention! " the shavetail would roar, and the silver-decorated shoulders would droop or straighten obediently, but in the eyes above would appear inevitably a light of something out of the way.
These were excess officers, so a rearrangement of quarters was necessary. No longer could every one have that little rough sanctuary so essential to concentrated study. The juniors were doubled up to give the new superiors each a room to himself.

The majority of these officers were merely attached, and remained with the regiment, receiving valuable experience, only until its departure for France.

During this period, however, we received a number of officers who did become a part of the organization. Second Lieutenant Ellsworth 0. Strong came to us on December 10th. First lieutenants Wilfred K. Dodworth and Paul G. Pennoyer reported on the 17th. Second lieutenant Edward F. Graham was assigned on the 20th, and First Lieutenant Albert R. Gurney on the 27th.

Just before the Christmas holidays Captains Anderson Dana and Alvin Untermeyer were attached to the regiment. They had trained with the Second Battery at the First Plattsburg Camp, and had been held as instructors for the Second Camp.

Except for a brief period Captain Dana remained with the regiment during the remainder of its history. He came, of course, as an old friend, since he had known and trained with most of the officers during their novitiate. A few days after his arrival the powers transferred him to the 306th F. A., but when Captain Devereux was promoted and transferred to the 304th Captain. Dana came back, definitely assigned to the command of Battery A. That change was made officially on February 4th.

Until just before we sailed for France Captain Untermeyer remained attached to the regiment as adjutant and acting commander of the First Battalion.

After target practice our minds turned to the holidays. They were heralded by a series of lectures from British officers who had survived some of the bitterest fighting of the war. We heard at first hand of tanks, and machine guns, and gas, and discipline. We gathered from these few intimate talks more knowledge than a library of books and months of reading could have given us. They reminded us of what lay just ahead. They told us of the nasty effects of phosgine and mustard gas, with which we were to have too close an acquaintance later on. From Colonel Appen's stirring talk on discipline we carried away an unbendable belief that in discipline resided a defence almost as powerful as ordnance. We resolved to equip ourselves with that weapon.

In spite of such grim reflections, the holiday spirit captured us excessively. Or was it because of them? There was a strengthened pleasure, a trifle pathetic, in the holly wreaths and mistletoe and tinselled evergreens, of home. That classic tinkle, "For Christmas comes but once a year," was in our minds. What changes would pass before another year should bring its unique feast It was, roughly speaking, twelve months later that the regiment held its first memorial service in a sodden meadow of the Haut Marne.

Paper Work was so chained that every officer and man, except just victims of discipline, could have either at Christmas or New Year, the period between Saturday morning and Tuesday night at home. Some fortunate ones got both holidays.

The crazy specials pulled out of the terminal with eager youths overflowing to the platforms; and always fresh columns marched up, were inspected, and passed through the gates. At the Pennsylvania Station a civilian was a somber piece of driftwood in a restless, muddy sea. We gave all New York a brown tinge that Christmas. In clubs, hotels, on the streets, and in nearly everybody's home khaki was a perpetual reminder of war and of approaching departures.

When we returned we found that the few left behind had not gone cheerless. There had been turkey and mince pies, and the mess halls were still green and red from brave and abundant decorations.

The return from New York New Year's night we put down without dissent as Horrors of War No. 2. They had had us out at fire drill Saturday morning and a few frozen ears and fingers had warned us that the frost king was after new honors. The journey up, through a lazy snow storm had been suffered patiently because of its warm destination. But the mercury continued its ambitious ways, and it was always colder at night than by day. Towards midnight of New Year's, to any one standing on the platform at Jamaica, it was obvious that records had been broken.

When the train finally came along, we crowded eagerly to get in. Then strong soldiers shrank from the open door. Hoarse voices called on regions of perpetual warmth. But the strongest and the hoarsest had no antidote for steel coaches, fresh from the yards, unheated, unlighted, save for a single candle in each, burning high, suggestive of a votive light in some Esquimau tomb.

Compared with the atmosphere in these coaches we recalled the outside air as warm. We had to remain where we were, crouched on seats or in the aisle, our feet on suitcases or on each other, while the train crawled, while we counted the minutes, while the air froze tighter.
Gems of advice slipped from one to another.
" Don't go to sleep, Edward. They says they never wake up."
"Better try it. Be a dashed sight warmer where you'd go, Benny."
"Move your legs, boy. Keep 'em moving. If you freezed in that position they couldn't get you out of the car till the spring tbaws."
"I heard that if you thought anything hard enough it would be so. I'm going to think I'm warm."
"Tell that to the Baptists, George. I'm a Shaker."
And that night because of these things, the railroad, too, suffered a little. In some cars the metal floor was discovered to be an excellent bed for a fire, and the wicker seats passable as fuel. The combination resulted in discussion between Headquarters and the railroad barons.

Home from that moment receded. The bitter weather lasted, and there was a famine of coal in the land. These facts, added, probably, to our improvised heating arrangements, caused special trains practically to become extinct, and passes nearly so.

The first warm weather brought a new complication. At best it had taken delicate handling to get an automobile, without prematurely aging it, in or out of Camp Upton. Spring altered rock-like dirt roads into unnavigable morasses. For a time the railroad was our only practical means of communication with the outside world. Fortunately the coal situation had improved then, and our erratic fires been forgiven. Specials ran again. The days of generous passes were revived.

While the cold weather had cut into drill there had been plenty to busy us. More horses had arrived, and we had get another veterinarian, First Lieutenant John J. Essex, assigned on the 14th of January. Grooming occupied a lot of time, and care of harness and carriages a lot more. The liaison schools worked so hard with theory and practice during the cold days that a regular army inspector was lost in admiration to the point of saying:

"Regular Army, National Army, or National Guard, I've never inspected details as well instructed as these."

No matter how cold it was, unless snow or fog made the visibility bad, Colonel Doyle took the officers and portions of the details to the hill above the infantry practice trenches, where he instructed them in the Fort Riley method of conduct of fire. We fired problem after problem from imaginary guns, while Lieutenant Hoyt, at the targets a mile or more away with erratic smoke bombs, made us feel how bad we were.

In February Dame Rumor stole from her winter quarters. One day we were going to France on a moment's notice. The next, we would be lucky if we ever got there.

The third, our boat was in the harbor, and we'd have to hustle to get off.

Some of the saner-minded weighed the matter.
We couldn't fight the Huns with our one battery, our few horses, our insufficient harness, our incomplete instrument equipment. Moreover, a number of our battery commanders were at Fort Sill for instruction. Others were scheduled to go. If proposed departures should be cancelled, and the absent captains recalled we would begin to put our affairs in order, for it was clear we couldn't go on marking time perpetually at Camp Upton.

Washington's Birthday, in some measure, cleared the air. It fell on a Friday. We commenced to speculate when we were informed that on the holiday there would be a parade, and that night a monster Division ball in the armory of the Seventh Regiment, and that as many of us as possible would be given passes between Thursday evening and the following Monday's reveille.

" Looks like a farewell show, and a last chance for a good visit home," sums up the commoner interpretation.
This was strengthened when, as we struggled to town Thursday night, word passed through the train that the absent battery commanders had been recalled.

The parade was solemn. It had an exotic touch. American soldiers had never looked quite like that before. The men wore their new winter caps instead of the familiar campaign hats. A blankety snow fell and became, apparently, a part of the uniform. The spectators gazed with a sort of wonder at city youths, broadened and ruddy and clear-eyed, and in a setting that placed them all at once, as it were, in a different world.

It was almost entirely an infantry affair. In spite of the highly technical nature of our branch, our lack of equipment even at this late date, barred most of the artillery brigade from the column. Among the entire three regiments there were still only our four venerable rifles. The honor of parading these fell to Battery A, in command of Captain Dana. He was the first officer of the brigade to have a chance at entraining and detraining a battery. It spoiled his holiday, but it was good experience.

The crowd cheered that single battery as it crunched through the snow past the reviewing stand, little Wing, the Chinaman, on one of the lead horses, pointing with unconscious pride the democratic, the universal power of our army.

At the Division ball that night, somber with brown figures, and gay with the evening best of mothers, wives, sisters, and sweethearts, stalked an oppressive succession of hazards. What did it all mean to these cheerful brown figures and these smiling women who danced away the night together?

Two days later, in the Cohan and Harris theater, Lieutenants Sage and Roesch staged a monster benefit for the regiment. Our own talent was supplemented by a glittering array of Broadway stars. The show made enough money to pay off the debts owed by the regiment to members who had gone into their own pockets to buy where the powers had failed to provide.

On our return to camp we waited for the verifying word. It came on Tuesday morning. The acting division commander, an infantry brigadier, desired the presence of every officer that could possibly be spared from duty, in the Y. M. C. A. hall on Upton Boulevard.

The non-commissioned officers ruled the regiment during that pregnant hour.
A huge theatrical success wouldn't have filled the hall more uncomfortably. Infantry, artillery, machine gunners, medicos, the trains, they were all there. And this was not like previous gatherings for advice, or reproof.

Suspicious individuals stood at each entrance, scanning the arriving officers. Certainly we were going to hear secrets. The usual laughter, gossip, and calls to distant friends were replaced by a dreary and unnatural silence. It was as if we had aged unexpectedly. Curling towards the rafters was more than the customary smoke.

The brigadier entered and faced us with countenance and attitude sterner than the ordinary.
"Are there any enlisted men present?"
Verily we were to hear secrets!

After we had heard everything we questioned if the enlisted men didn't know nearly, or quite as much, and we wondered why they shouldn't. For the discourse developed the fact that while we were sailing soon no definite date had been set. All we could do was to equip and train the new men we were going to get. In order that the enlisted men might be kept in African ignorance of these things, we were to tell them carefully there were rumors we might leave.

The officers filed out, and wandered back to the regimental area chatting softly. In those first hours it seemed inevitable we should go almost at once.

When organization commanders faced their men, they gathered that the men knew where they had gone, and why. A recital of the rumors seemed superfluous. For in the faces of the men, too, there was a solemn sense of imminence.


WE FAILED to sail within a fortnight, or within several fortnights. Perhaps it was as well that transportation lacked, for there was much more preparation necessary than we had suspected. Lieutenant Walters left us, and Lieutenant McKenna came into his own. That is, he was assigned to the command of the Supply Company. Before many days his promotion to the rank of captain arrived. From constitutionally reluctant quartermasters he tore supplies with the same cheerful energy he had displayed in the days of recruit fitting. Yet the more we got the more we appeared to need, and lack of artillery harness was from the first like a too high hurdle between us and the docks.

While McKenna hustled we entered two new phases. One might be labeled The Age of Gas, and the other The Age of Equipment Checking. Of the two in memory the second looms larger.
"A complete check of personal property will be made before "Retreat."

Day after day that order faced us on the threshold of the afternoon. It meant the laying out on bunks of all issued equipment, according to an intricate pattern. It meant a review of every piece, checked against an official list of equipment C. Some day a Regular Army quartermaster may divulge to us the structural secrets of those lists. For our part, we never quite understood the logic of reversing, sometimes mutilating, the descriptions of familiar and intimate articles of clothing.

"Bags, barrack," it began.
Why, in the name of abused commas, wouldn't "Barrack bags" have done as well?
"Breeches, 0. D .... .. Socks, winter," "Gloves, riding,"
Poles, tent, Razors, safety, Tags, identification.
It ran something like that, and so far we followed, if reservedly. We revolted only at:
"Shirts, under," "Drawers, under."
Perhaps an obsessed clerk, typing the copies, was responsible for that.

This is how one spent one's time in the age of equipment checking:

In the somnolent barracks you arranged your equipment according to the intricate pattern. Everybody had a different idea as to some of the more esoteric details of the pattern, and you compared notes until you didn't know whether you would be passed, arrested for distortion, or praised for acute originality. Then you endeavored to keep awake. If you were an officer, you took your lists, tried to get the cunning pattern through your head yourself, and wished to heaven you could smoke on the job.
A non-commissioned officer slams into the sleepy room, singing out:
The officer walks in. It probably isn't severity that gives his face that peculiar expression, you decide. It's more likely a stifled yawn.
"Rest!" he croons. "All except this first man."
He checks the articles on the cot.
"Where," he demands, "is your fifth pair of socks?"
The warrior blushes.
"On me pusson, sir."
The officer reflects. This time his frown isn't wholly concealed. The orders were absolute. Everything must be seen before being checked.
The soldier stoops obediently, removing his legging, and probably murmuring in his mind:
"I'm not trying to put anything over on you, and I'd wear them in the army whether it was my habit or riot, because your issue shoes aren't exactly plush."
"Where's your other 0. D. shirt?"
The officer catches himself.
"I mean, Shirt, 0. D. "
Again the soldier displays emotion.
" in the laundry, Sir."

Once more the officer reflects. It seems expensive, unjustifiable, and meat in the mouth of Paper Work to issue this man, and all the other cleanly men, masses of equipment to be turned back on the arrival of their laundry. On that point there should be something definite. He seeks the captain for a ruling. The responsibility is great. So the captain seeks the battalion adjutant. The battalion adjutant seeks the regimental adjutant. The regimental adjutant seeks the Colonel, and beyond that the chain is vague, but in a few days a ruling comes down that for the present equipment in the laundry may be considered as present and accounted for.

The checking officer, meantime, makes out a painstaking little list for each soldier.
"Private Doe has in laundry--"
The list is long. Those who hear it decide that Doe is effete.

The conversation in the room, from tentative whispers following the officer's "Rest!", has developed into comments, exclamations, and arguments, centering about the flow of well-known raconteurs. The officer hears all this, grows at times a trifle absent-minded, has to make alterations in his neat lists.

"I pasted him in the jaw, honest to Gawd I did, and he didn't have no comeback. You saw the bout, Jim. if hadn't caught my shoulder in the ropes, he'd never have knocked me out. Ain't it the truth, Jim?"
"If you ask me," Jim replies evenly, "I think you had horseshoes hung all over you to last as long as you did."
Or, from a group of three serious-faced young men, two of whom have just returned from the third R. 0. T. C.:
" Germany's financial structure is as restless and insecure as a house built on sand."
"That's logic, but logic and the truth are often bad friends."
"Oh, Lord," groans the officer inwardly, making another mistake with his lists.
And, to cap the climax and spoil an entire sheet:
"Billy told me about it. If the Y. M. C. A. could have seen him then! Nellie had him up to tea Sunday. Least he thought he was drinking tea.

Looked like it. You know a Martini and tea are the same color. They put cocktails in his cup instead of tea, and he smacked his lips and drank four cups, and all the time the poor simp thought he was drinking tea."
A deep voice cuts the air, snorting and booming:
"The hell he did!"
The sergeant tries not to grin. The officer swings passionately.
"Attention! Sergeant, if another man speaks put his name down, and I'll take care of him later. At Ease!"
He turns back to his checking, aware that what he had wanted to say was:
"Men! This job has got to be done. It hurts me more than it does you."

Sometimes we checked and were checked at night, too. Whose fault was it, this ceaseless repetition that carried us each time only a trifling distance forward? In some measure, it must be admitted, the blame was our own. There were a number of men whom you could check at two o'clock and find, with the exception of allowable deficiencies, up to the mark. At three you might check them again, and learn they had lost within the hour such prominent objects as tent poles and shelter halves. One little bandsman was suspected of an appetite for tent pins, his disappeared so rapidly and regularly. But we weren't to blame for that futile effort after the complete check that could only be made with every soldier in his place and each piece of equipment in view.

At one time the stable sergeants and the grooming and feeding details would be at the stables. Check or no check, the horses had to be cared for. At another the cooks were scattered on various duties. Naturally the men couldn't be checked at the price of starvation. And every day at headquarters and in the orderly rooms soldiers of clerical ability bent before the sacred shrine of Paper Work, and couldn't be torn away.
So the Age of Checking was prolonged through March and April, and even up to the day we sailed.

The Age of Gas, while less irksome at that time, was rather more unpleasant. Lieutenant Mitchell had taken a course from a Scotch non-commissioned officer. He was looked upon as an expert now, and we were content to pin our faith to him. But one night we were summoned to hear Mitchell lecture. He sprinkled bright little stories among statistics, depressing, and, we fancied, a trifle exaggerated for our good. We drank in extended figures of casualties caused through carelessness or ignorance; of casualties, on the other hand, scarcely to have been avoided. He had his house at his feet. In a fashion he beat the English lecturers at their own game. He'd found out about some new gases that shriveled you up all at once or got you with a delayed and terrible kick long after exposure, and instead of a cheerful Christmas time just ahead, there was actually-gas.

He asked us to listen to him again the next night, and when we obeyed we found a table piled with masks. He showed us how to put them on and take them off. We gasped in the strange, uncomfortable, stinking contrivances. We laughed-not uproariously, you understand -at our own appearance, abruptly converted into something monstrous.
Gas non-commissioned officers were appointed. The men spent a definite period at gas drill each day. They held competitions. They ran courses. They looked like types of a new race, born of some dreadful catastrophe.
We were introduced to the gas house-a wooden shack near the machine-gun range. The Scotch sergeant was heard to say:

" We got to ha' a wee bit o' luck this afternoon. We carried out thu-ree corpses this marnin', and they only allow me fower for a full day."
"Laugh," Mitchell prompted in a stage whisper, "or you'll hurt his feelings."
So we laughed, "Ha, ha, ha," at his joke. It was more like a cry for help.
A captain of the Medical Corps explained the procedure, for that was before the powers gave gas to the Engineers.
"I'm going to loose a killing mixture of chlorine," he ended, " so it would be as well to inspect masks carefully."
We hoped he was trying to impress us, but the ranks, one noticed, took a long time over the inspection of face Pieces and canisters.

We were ready finally. The medico then put on his own mask, entered the shack, and sealed it. Through the single window we saw him turn the escape valve of a cylinder tank. He opened the door, stepped out, and removed his mask.
"Come close," he said, "so you can smell the stuff. Then you'll know I'm not putting anything over on you."
When we had obeyed our lungs refused to breathe the sickly air. We donned our masks and filed in. The door clanged shut behind us. - We were imprisoned for ten minutes, half expectant of catastrophes. Through our goggles the air had a bluish appearance, but in our lungs it was pure.

We escaped at last, relieved to be able to breathe naturally again and to know that the masks were really good. Afterwards we were treated to a lachrymatory mixture which hurt our eyes. After that we were permitted to march away, cracking gruesome jokes for the benefit of those whose ordeal still waited.

We took gas in the stride of our work of preparation. That continued with slow sureness. Day after day Captain McKenna opened the regimental storehouse on newly -collected treasures, and each organization sent details to bring home its share. Then followed hours of fitting and issuing and checking again, until we realized that the regiment was nearly equipped.

Each officer and man was given twenty-four hours at home to attend to his personal affairs. That brought it so much nearer. On March 18th a review and a dance of the Brigade was held in the 69th Regiment armory. It offered us from Saturday until Tuesday morning at home.
"And this time it's surely so long, Mary," one heard going up on the train.

There was, indeed, an atmosphere of climax about that affair. For March the weather was warm. Lexington Avenue and the side streets, as we came up, were nearly blocked by restless spectators. They lacked the air of a crowd at a parade. Their brief cheers touched formality. They were restrained. They vibrated with a quality a little choked. Suddenly one realized that the men and women, unrecognizable in the night, were those that loved us.

Automatically one recalled stories of the departures of regiments from New York for the Civil War. Always such pictures were set in sunshine, with a ring of quaint costumes and a brave show of flags and music. We bad looked forward to something of the sort.

There was music, all the more brassily insolent because its source was unseen; and, lost in the shadows, we knew our flags shook in the tepid air. The rest was wholly contrast. The columns, swinging up through the dark, pushed back the restless shapes. The door of the armory opened, and the shapes slipped through. They had to traverse a broad band of light; and, as we looked, I think it came to all of us quite abruptly, that it was simpler to be of the offering than among those who tended the altar.

On our return to Upton we entered the age of packing- - most complicated and laborious epoch. Every day and until far in the night the mess halls resounded to a new activity. Battery carpenters hammered on packing cases. Painting details striped them with maroon and white, the division colors. Packing details filled them with instruments, and ordnance, quartermaster, signal, and engineer property-and paper work. From duplicate lists clerks checked everything in. Typewriters clattered on the tables. In one corner two men bent over, tap-tap-tapping numbers and names on identification disks like a new race of Nibelungs. In another an exchange had been established, and brisk bargaining over odd sizes of equipment imposed on the general pandemonium a shrill note of wheedling or invective. Such harness as we bad was draped from uprights; and, depending from the ceiling beams, were rows of blue barrack bags, still wet and splashed with white and red from the division markings.

There followed black days of unpacking and repacking to meet some new trick order, while the checks continued.
One Saturday a check of the harness disclosed the fact that two sets were missing from the regiment. The men were the more fortunate that time. The columns of pass holders marched down Fourth Avenue as usual. But an edict came from the Colonel that no officer, whatever his remoteness from harness, should leave Upton until the missing sets, or a reasonable explanation, had been found.

By night the amateur detectives-and everyone had joined the quest-saw their last theories crumble. Every inch of the area, they swore, had been searched. No one had escaped a bitter third degree. The harness, to all appearances, had dissolved. We were released, but the shadow of the mystery long hung over us; and through the shadow, after a time, gossip stole. You may accept it or reject it, but it might be well to picture a couple of officers and a few men gathered in an orderly room. There's no point trying to identify that. Studying their faces, you might decide they gaze with horror on the result of some red and impulsive work their hands have just accomplished. That, or that the souvenir of some murderous indiscretion, has unexpectedly risen from the past to challenge their content. For their faces are not without horror-a helpless, desperate horror, and one does gasp:
"Great Caesar's ghost!

But there's really no ghost, or any crimson relic-nothing exceptional at all in the plain little room except one perfectly good set of artillery harness.
An officer flings his hands above his head in a gesture of despair.

"Surveyed! Finished with! Bunches of paper work on its grave! Where in the name of kind heaven did you find it?"
"In the stables, sir, covered up by accident in a manger
The desperate hands go higher. They now express also supplication.
" It can't be found! My God! It can't be found!
"You're right," one agrees, "because according to Army Regulations it has ceased to exist. To try to bring it to life again might take years of investigations, valuations, boards, I guess it would stop the war."
"Probably, " says another, "it would put G. P., meaning general prisoner, on the backs of most of us."
"Drather find nitro-glycerine."
A murmur crystalizes the thoughts of all.
"If it were done away with quietly, dispassionately, without cruelty?"
You can't depend on this idle gossip, for the set was never heard of, at least publicly. One of the conspirators was seen in friendly converse with an officer of the Supply Company. Perhaps a stratagem was found. Maybe there's something in the story after all.

Days of doubt descended. For some time, each weekend at home had been treasured as our last, but we didn't move.
"An order has come from General Pershing," McKenna informed us, "that no artillery units are to sail without their full equipment of harness."
But a word might alter that. If we could go without guns or caissons or horses-for gradually it had become clear our animals would be left behind-why all this fuss about harness?
And the division was moving.

Headquarters stole out of camp one early April night.
Not long after we were awakened by the shouts of many men and the wanton splintering of barrack window glass The sky reflected many bonfires. Next morning the area of one of the infantry regiments was empty. Machine-gun battalions followed. Another infantry regiment Each day we expected our orders. During this period of suspense several changes occurred. A special order from the War Department arrived giving Captain Untermyer an extended leave of absence. In his place arrived Captain Henry Reed. He had received his commission at the First Niagara Training Camp, had instructed at the Second Camp, and during the winter and early spring had been just across the hill instructing at the Third Camp He was assigned to the regiment as adjutant of the first battalion. Major Wanvig returned from Fort Sill. Lt. John W. Schelpert of the Dental Corps came to us on March 24th, and remained with the regiment until August 19th when he was transferred to the Ammunition Train.

Then the blow fell. A very high officer indeed was heard to say with a laugh at the Officer's House:
"The artillery? They won't get to France before apples are ripe."
And on top of that came the order that seemed to con-firm him. An infantry regiment that was moving at once was short of men. The artillery brigade would fill it up.

By that time we had developed that organization spirit that is just as essential as it is delicate to breed. To take fifty or sixty men from each battery seemed a destruction of the greater part of all that we had worked to achieve. Men who had trained during seven months in the ways of artillery as a rule resented being transplanted all at once into a branch of the service to which they were strangers. Nor did their officers care to see them go.
"Good men! Good men!" was the cry.

By that time, we believed, there weren't many that didn't fall in that class. But somehow the lists were made up, the victims equipped, the dazed exiles marched away to a new formula, to strange companions.
It happened once more just before the last infantry regiment departed. As the result of those two orders, within a few days of our sailing for France as a combat regiment we had torn from us 698 men. The Headquarters Company lost 50, the Supply Company, 27; Battery A, 93; Battery B, 119; Battery C, 113; Battery D, 95; Battery E, 116; Battery F, 82; the Medical Detachment, 2; and the Veterinary unit, 1.

At Upton the artillery alone remained, and we stared with a sense of threading the mazes of an unpleasant dream at half filled mess balls and skeleton ranks.

Troops began to pour in from the south. Upton, we heard, was to become an embarkation camp. Our area, however, would remain sacred to us.

The vast German offensive of the spring of 1918 was dangerously under way. We could understand a stern need of infantry; yet, we argued, infantry in such a war isn't very valuable without supporting artillery. How could Europe furnish enough of that?

"We won't move before July," was the general cry.
Studying our shattered regiment, that was easy of belief.
The changes-the incredible changes of army life!
Coming back from town on the night of April 14th you heard October as the most likely date of our departure, yet, as it turned out, that was to be our last Sunday home before sailing.

On Monday morning the October guess continued good. A new smoke-bomb range had been designed and miles of wire laid. We were instructed to unpack a great deal of equipment. Elaborate schools were planned for the warm, favorable weather.

On Tuesday whispers slipped apparently from nothing. On Wednesday the Supply Company awakened to a new activity. From it escaped the significant news that we would get harness at once. Nothing more was to be unpacked. All that we had taken out was to be put back again in the cases.

"But," we objected, trying to stick to logic, "they wouldn't have stripped us this way. We can't go with-out men, and you can't take green men and train them on an ocean voyage."

Can't you, though? We were to find out about that. For on Thursday the officer in charge of arriving casuals conferred with us. From him we learned that trainloads of men from the West had been gathered at Camp Devens, and would come to us at once. We grasped at every comfort. If these replacements were from the West they'd probably know something about horses.
Selected officers and non-commissioned officers were awakened at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 19th. The trains were about to arrive.

There was a chill in the air. A mist, pearl-colored about the lamps, veiled the dreary similarity of the barracks.
The trains crawled in with a stealth harmonious with the secrecy of all these movements. The throbbing of the locomotives was discreet as if the mist sought to muffle it.

Out of the cars they poured, sleepy-eyed, struggling ineptly with barrack bags, not at all voluble as soldiers in groups usually are. Our old men lined them up with a gentleness designed to destroy their attitude of strangers, bashful and apprehensive. We counted them again and again to be sure we were getting all we were entitled to. We marched them off in groups through the fog. The fog seemed friendly to them, for at that time they were without personality to us-just so many things, counted and recounted, to fill the ranks of a regiment about to go to war.

Taking up the march again, after a rest in which two groups had got a trifle mixed, an officer counted his objects and found one missing. He and his non-commissioned aides ran up and down through the mist.

"I'm shy a man. Have you got an extra man? Count up. "
"What's he look like? Know his name?"
"How the deuce could I? Doesn't make any difference. All I want's a man. Anything'll do."
After many counts he was supplied, and the nameless things, taking up their barrack bags, stumbled on through the mist.

It was four o'clock when we reached the area, but lights burned in the mess halls, and mess sergeants and battery clerks were about their tasks. The odor of coffee was prophetic.

Each barrack swallowed its quota. The old men neglected the sleepy, half-frightened expressions of the recruits to stare at the amazing variety of hat cords. Only on a very few hats did the red of the artillery show. On the rest were the colors of the infantry, the signal corps, even the medical corps. With sinking hearts we remembered how our artillerymen had gone to fill the ranks of the infantry. By what curious chances during those days did a man find himself here or there? By what devious contrivances was such a circle drawn?

With so many men in them the mess halls were curiously silent. The drone of voices, reading service records or questioning, increased an atmosphere of somnolence. There was the familiar variety of names and accents and countenances. Most of these men were, in fact, from the West and many of them had had experience with horses. That would help.
The mess sergeant placed steaming cans of coffee and tins of corn bread on the counter. His voice sang out cheerily:
"Come and get it!"
The inert and drowsy groups aroused themselves. A rough line was formed and passed stolidly by, each man taking his share without words.
As they munched they stared at the bare walls and the pine tables and the windows beyond which the indifferent dawn illuminated a little through the mist the unfamiliar wastes of Upton.
A sergeant cried with rough good humor:
"We're not going to bite you. What's the matter? Talk up! Haven't you got a song? "

On some of the sleepy, grimy faces a grin struggled. There was no song, but sporadic conversations sprang up here and there and died away.

One man's head rested on his arms which were stretched across a table. A snore disturbed the silence. Others followed with unequal effect. There was a laugh or two.

In a corner a little fellow, bronzed from the western sun, sat before his untasted bread and coffee. He didn't laugh with the others. His expression altered, There grew about his mouth an uncontrollable twitching. For a moment we thought he was going to laugh, too. He began silently and with difficulty to cry.
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