Gambar halaman

scarcity of food in Belgium you would appreciate what that meant to her. And then she gave me a dandy bedroom with a bed and white sheets and pillows! Oh, Boy! but I sure had a "bon couche" that night. And in the morning she had more waffles and coffee for me, and then she didn't want to take any money for it after doing all of that and treating me like a king. But when I left I gave Flore, her little daughter, twenty francs (about four dollars). That is just an example of the way they treated us all through Belgium. And I wish you could have heard the stories they told, of the cruel treatment of the Germans-this little girl I told you of in St. Leger, showed me a scar on her arm, reaching from her wrist to her shoulder, made by a German bayonet.

We spent several days in the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg -a very pretty little country of woods and hills. I spent one day in the city of Luxemburg-the capital. It is a very quaint and picturesque city. It made me think of a book I read when I was a kid, The Duchess of Luxemburg. I little thought then that I would ever visit that country! But the people there were proGerman and so charged us exorbitant prices for everything. For instance, Thanksgiving day some of us fellows paid twenty marks apiece for a couple of old chickens that, judging from their toughness, had been dodging wagon and motor trucks since the war of 1870. And then the woman that cooked them for us charged us ten marks apiece (there were six of us) for cooking them.

We entered Germany on December first and did not reach this town until the sixteenth of December so you see we have covered quite a bit of Germany and I must say that it is much prettier than I expected it to be. Steep bluffs or cliffs rising up hundreds of feet and so steep that it is almost impossible to climb them. And yet around here the people have built paths up them and have planted grape vineyards on them, from which they make the famous Rhine wine-it is pretty good too, and costs only twelve marks a bottle here.

Billy Tursman and I are living with a German family, we have a room with a bed, etc., in it. But we do not have much to do with the Germans-they mind their business and we mind ours.

However, the man of the house where we are living was in the German army and was on our front in the Champagne drive of July 15, also the drive of St. Mihiel on Sept. 12. He knew our division and says we are very good fighters. He says our artillery barrage in the St. Mihiel drive was so heavy and accurate that they could not offer any resistance, so just retreated-those who were lucky enough to get away. It seems funny though to be sitting in a German soldier's house and talking to him when only a few weeks ago we would have tried to kill each other!

Foodstuffs in the small towns in Germany are plentiful and we can get a good meal of meat and potatoes and bread and butter for three or four marks. Of course, in the larger towns food is scarce. But I am glad we have reached our destination at last! You ride twenty or thirty kilometers a day and in the saddle from about eight o'clock in the forenoon and without stopping for dinner or anything except a ten-minute rest each hour, and you will be pretty tired; and then to do that day after day for over a month. But it has been a wonderful experience! There are many rumors going around about when we are coming home but I don't expect to come back for several months yet.



Medical Department, 149th Field Artillery,
A. E. F., A. P. O., No. 715.

Jan. 3, 1919.

MY DEAR MRS. PIERSON: We spent a very quiet Christmas here. It snowed the night before Christmas and we woke up in the morning to find the mountains covered with snow! It made a very beautiful and picturesque picture in fact it was so tempting that I started right out after breakfast and climbed clear to the top (they are the Eifel mountains). It was a hard climb and especially with the snow, because that made it slippery, too. But it was well worth the effort because the view from there is wonderful-you can see the Rhine River for miles with the boats going up and down it, and the little towns here and

there along its banks, and with the mountains for a background! I thought of you and how much more I would have enjoyed it all, if you could have been there with me.

Later in the day I celebrated the day by going to church— the first time I had been to church since we left Luneville last March; and in the evening we had a band concert in the town brewery-that's the only building large enough to hold us all! Nearly every German home has a Christmas tree in the front window. They look very pretty at night when they are lit up. I have taken several trips down to Remagen-a very pretty little town on the Rhine River. The Rhine is about a mile wide there and has a very swift current. We patrol the banks of the Rhine and then we have a powerful motor boat with a machine gun mounted in the bow, that stops and searches every boat that passes up or down the river. You know the famous Apollinaris water comes from Remagen-it was named after St. Apollinaris! We travel anywhere and everywhere on the trains-and first class too, without paying fare. You know the railroads here are controlled by the German government, and we don't intend to give them any of our money.

And everywhere you go you will see pictures of the Kaiser and all his family, and of Von Hindenburg and Ludendorf! We are billeted in the schoolhouse now, and of course there are great, big pictures of Ludendorf and Hindenburg and the Kaiser and his family, and all the ex-Kaisers since the sixteenth century. But we have pasted pictures of President Wilson and General Pershing right over the pictures of the Prussian rulers. We intend to leave them there, too. The German people do not seem to think much of the Kaiser or Ludendorf, any more, but they still think Von Hindenburg is all right because he has "stuck" by the soldiers when the Kaiser and all the rest "beat it”!

All things considered I think we are pretty lenient with the Germans. However, we have arrested a few German civilians, for disobedience of orders, and have them in our guardhouse. But they get the same things to eat that we do-they are brought out under guard and eat at our kitchens, right with us! They certainly would not treat us like that if they were in power.

I would hate to live in Paris if they had won the war and had the troops of occupation there!

New Year's Eve we had a little party. The two ambulance drivers stationed with us entertained us with a violin and a mandolin. We had a barrel of beer (I didn't drink any though), and hardtack with a little jam, for refreshments! At midnight we all fired the clips in our automatics. Gee, it sounded like an attack! The Germans thought we were crazy and “beat it.”

I wish I were back in France-the Germans can't even compare with the French, either in manners or in looks. The Germans are coarse and stupid, whereas the French are very refined and intellectual. Hope we go back there before we sail.



149th Field Artillery, A.E.F., A.P.O. No. 715.

March 21, 1919.

MY DEAR AUNT BLANCHE: From the banks of the Rhine, in Germany, to Milwaukee, in the good old U.S.A. is a long, long way, and I little thought when I was a kid going to school, and studied about Germany and the Rhine River, that I would ever stand "Wacht am Rhein," but that just shows how little we know our destinies.


You may be interested in a brief outline of the experiences of our Division, since leaving the United States, so I will attempt to give it to you as I remember it. We sailed from New York, October 18, 1917, on the S. S. President Lincoln-a German ship that was interned in New York harbor when we declared war on Germany, and we had made it into a troop ship. German submarines torpedoed and sank it, last May. We arrived in St. Nazaire, France, November first, 1917, and stayed there a few days. Then we went to Camp de Coetquidan, near Rennes, France, where we trained until February, when we entrained and went to the front, taking over the Luneville-and later the Baccarat sectors until July; and then because

of our good work there, were made "shock troops" and sent to the Champagne front, near Chalons, where we helped stop the famous German drive of July 15, when they tried to take Chalons! That was our first experience in open warfare, as heretofore we had had only trench warfare. And it was a hard battle, too, as the Germans put their best and specially-trained troops in front of us, and tried again and again to push us back or break our line, but we not only held them, but pushed them back.

After things quieted down on that front, other troops were put in our place and we were rushed up to the Chateau Thierry front, where we did some very hard fighting; pushing the Germans back through Fismes, Seringes, and Fer-en-Tardenois and across the Ourcq River. We were relieved then on August 11 and marched back through the ruins or what was left of the once picturesque town of Chateau Thierry, and camped on the banks of the Marne River near Meaux. It was our first relief since going into the trenches in February. And we sure did enjoy the chance to rest and to swim in the river, as we were dirty and worn out and needed to get away, for a little while, from the roar and crash of the guns, and the horrible sights and hardships of the front.

We stayed there a few days and then entrained and went down to Romain-Sur-Meuse, near Chaumont, where we stayed until September first, when we started back marching by night, away up through Toul and took part in the St. Mihiel drive of September 12. We took the Germans completely by surprise and our artillery barrage was so heavy and effective that the Germans could not put up much resistance so they just retreated-that is those that were lucky enough to get away. We took many prisoners and the bodies of the dead Germans were lying everywhere, showing that we had done some good shooting. We advanced several kilometers on a wide front, liberating many towns and villages that the Germans had held for four years. And the unfortunate civilians who had been held there by the Germans, were nearly wild with joy, at being free once more.

They had been living little better than slaves, and told us of the cruel treatment, and the hard labor and poor and insufficient

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »