The History of New York State
Editor, Dr. James Sullivan
Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam
|It was not fitting for any
local commander to criticize the disposition of the all-seeing
Commander-in-Chief. Indeed, criticism would hardly be thought of, for
the Allies has been consistently victorious for more then two months.
The Germans were "on the run"; they had been pushed back and
back. The Flanders front since August has changed surprisingly. The St.
Mihiel salient, which had stood fro four years, had been sawed off, in
an astoundingly quick operation by American troops in the middle of
September , artillery units of the 27th division assisting.
Everywhere the Germans were retreating--everywhere but in the sector of
the almost impregnable Hindenburg Line, which became daily more
dangerous in the changing line. Such a strong centre could not be
permitted to remain
unbroken, else the other successes of the allies might be nullified. Upon the Hindenburg Line the Germans might pivot, and from it launch attacks which might divide the allied armies. In its protecting strength, they might find time to recover from the present debacle, and eventually hit back stronger then ever. There was no alternative course before the British and American divisions that faced the fortress of fortresses. The Hindenburg Line must be taken; the forlorn attack must be made. There was nothing before the men of the Americana divisions but to brace their shoulders and make the attack. As a great French general stated, just before the beginning of the Meuse-Argonne battle of which this was part; "The Allied armies will strike at the door of Germany. To the American Army have been assigned the hinges of this mighty door. Either you will push it open or you will tear it down."
Those were desperate days. It was truly victory or death, one would imagine after reading one of the orders issued to machine-guns unties of the 27th Division. All positions taken were to be held until death. "If the gun team cannot remain here alive it will remain here dead, but in any case it will remain here," reads a paragraph of the order. "Should any man, through shell shock or other cause attempt to surrender, he will remain here dead," reads another paragraph. Inferentially, he was to die by the hands of his sterner stronger comrades, rather than be permitted to surrender. The machine-gun companies, "as suicide squads," were aptly named. And the same spirit ran through the dank an file of the infantry units. "We kill or are killed" was the testimony simply not boastfully given to an interrogating German captor by a guardsman of the 27th division; and the Germans before long realized that this was not mere talk.
Still, it was not with heavy hearts that the 27th division left the rest area at Doullens to take up this formidable task of breaking through the Hindenburg Line. There hearts were light, their heads were high, a song was on their lips as they swung along to certain death for some of them. One writer, C. W. Barron, who saw one of the regiments of the 27th passing into the "hell-gassed area of France," into the zone of death, at this time, wrote as follows: "The most inspiring sight I have witnessed in Europe was the forward march of the American boys as they swung across the devastated area of France to the battle-front. They were bigger and fresher and sturdier than any troops in the war-wearied nations. I saw them at many points, but the most memorable was one day, after I had motored from shell-shocked Ameins through the destroyed cities of Peronne, Bapaume and Albert, and was heading towards the citadel city of Doullens. Suddenly an army in American khaki turned the corner and swung down the road on its westward march. They were the finest troops I had ever seen. With manly steps and high head, they swung along and sang as they marched into the hell-gassed area of
France, from which I was just emerging, with an odor in my clothes and a tickle in my throat destined to last for some days. 'From what State and what regiment,' we called out; and a chorus of voices answered back; 'New York, One Hundred and fifth.' In a few minutes this little American army had passed on, but the picture with its sunset in the west and its background of Hun devastation in the east, will ever remain."
The 27th and 30th American divisions, which were to relieve the exhausted British troops that had suffered such appalling casualties in desperate but unsuccessful attempts to break the Hindenburg Line, began to near the battle-line on September 22d, and during the next few days took over the front-line positions, the 27th division taking the sector held by the 74th and 18th British divisions, fronting the outworks of the Hindenburg Line.
Facing the 106th Infantry were the formidable outworks that had "given such remarkable and repeated demonstrations of invulnerability against attack." The three battalion commanders of the 106th, under colonel William A. Taylor, at this time were Majors Gillet, Kincaid, and Blaisdell, of the right, centre and left battalions respectively. It was at once obvious that the situation of the American Army Corps was precarious. Desperate measures were necessary to straighten the line, for on September 26th the front-line of the 27th Division lay about 1,000 yards behind that of the 30th American Division on its right. Advance by the 30th division depended upon the ability of the 27th to hammer its way through that thousand yards of the strongest defenses that the ingenuity of war-obsessed men had ever devised. One does not therefore, question the statement made that, after four days of the most sanguinary fighting at this point, "according to experts who had examined all battlefields during the four years of war, there were more dead in the wake of the victorious 27th than had ever been behind any division of the allied armies."
The following description of the fighting at the Hindenburg Line is taken from Mr. Hazleton's Long island work, before quoted:
The positions of the three battalions of the 106th Infantry have been suggested. The 106th machine gun company was commanded by Capt. George E Bryant, who was killed in the afternoon of September 27th; the Stokes Mortar Platoon, by first Lieut. Franklin J. Jackson, also killed on the 27th; another platoon by First Lieut. E. Brandt, wounded on September 29. The regimental operations officer assisting Col. William A. Taylor was Capt. Arthur V. McDermott; the acting adjutant, Capt. Murray Taylor; and the intelligence officer, First Lieut. William A. Hunter, Jr. the 105th had furnished Companies K and M to cover the left of the advance of the 106th Infantry, of the regiment constituting the brigade reserve. The attack was to be supported by the 105th Machine Gun Battalion, under Maj. Kenneth Gardner, and the 106th Machine Gun Battalion, commanded by Maj. Mortimer D. Bryant. Twelve tanks of the 4th Tank Battalion, were to advance with the leading infantry waves, and related units were assigned to various duties.
In accordance with the program, strong patrols were pushed out during the night of September 26, and tape was laid as prescribed. Watches were synchronized, extra
property stored, and necessary supplies issued. Zero hour was fixed at 5;30 a. m., on September 27. At 4;30 the troops were on the tape, ready to advance. "While going over this battalion lat summer (1920)," writes General O'Ryan, " the writer found a piece of the start-line tape stretched out where it was placed on the night of September 26. The tape found stretched along the foot of Benjamin Post. It was precisely where it was prescribed by orders to be placed. A twenty-yard strip of it was kept as a memento."
At zero hour the ninety-six machine guns of the 105th and 106th Machine gun Battalions began the barrage, each gun firing at the rate of 200 shots per minute. "The output of these ninety-six machine guns must have sounded like the buzzing of millions of wasps as they passed over the heads of the infantry lying at the start-line. At least this deluge of bullets would have sounded in such a manner except for the fact that at the same instant nine brigades of supporting British artillery flashed out the announcement that the barrage was falling." German prisoners taken in this attack reported that the combines artillery and machine-gun barrage was very demoralizing to them, as a perfect rain of bullets and shrapnel, accompanied by high-explosive shells, kept them under cover.
The 106th Infantry up to the time of the start had fared rather fortunately. They went into the battle about 2,000 strong. They had sustained casualties during the taking over of the line and during the day preceding the attack, but these casualties, when on considers how formidable was the position they faced, and how aggressive and determined was the enemy's resistance, were not considerable. They were considerable, however, when one realizes the regiment's available numbers for the task it was called upon to perform.
The details of this battle are infinite, and never will be assembled, for each participant saw something that no other realized. The advance was smothered in smoke from the bombs, as far as visibility is concerned. It is said that the tanks were unsuccessful. The left battalion of the 106th was successful at the Knoll, and took many prisoners. The enemy artillery retaliation of the 106th Infantry was heavy. The next message received was that the right and center battalions were on their objectives, but that heavy firing was going on about Guillemont Farm and Quennemont Farm and bombing of these localities was continuous. An observer from the 4th Australian Division with the left battalion of the 106th Infantry reported troops of that battalion on the objective in trenches, but that bombing and hard fighting was still going on. Word was received near noon that the enemy had appeared in force in Guillemont Farm and to some extent in the trenches. Major Kincaid's battalion occupied certain trenches, but Guillemont Farm had not been cleaned up at noon, although mopping-up detachments were trying to clear the situation. Soon after noon the left battalion occupying the Knoll were heavily counter-attacked and drive back, taking up a line in Tombois Farm. Supporting artillery and machine gunfire was brought to bear, the troops of the 106th left battalion counter-attacked and drive the enemy into a trench. Thus it went, counter-attack and repeat, and the situation was not clear early in the afternoon. Heavy fighting was continuous, but the situation continued obscure.
It became obvious that in addition to numerous counter-attacks by both sides, there were being carried on throughout the acres of the enemy's complicated system more or less continuous combats between small detachments of the 106th infantry and enemy detachments which had come our from cover after the attacking waves had passed over or which had been fed into such position aided by covered ways and the heavy smoke which obscured the field.
Reports in the early evening were to the effect that the Knoll was again in American possession, as were Guillemont Farm and Quennemont Farm, but that in all of these places pockets of the enemy remained and were still to be dealt with. There were many
casualties in the advance to the objective, which sadly, thinned the line, and it seems that The Knoll was taken three times by the left battalion of the 106th Infantry, aided by companies of the 105th, and later by the remaining companies of the Third Battalion of the same regiment. But the survivors of the leading elements gained the objective along the entire front. Groups which gained the objective line held on with the greatest tenacity and courage against great odds. In some cases on the left, where the fighting was the heaviest, some of the groups were surrounded, bombed into submissiveness and taken prisoners. Other groups counter-attacked enemy groups destroying them, or where possible taking prisoners.
The objective line, which was attained on the morning of September 27th, was not, however, consolidated, held and made good throughout its length. "the situation along the front, out to the objective line, might be likened to an inferno, dotted with opposing groups of fiercely-contending men. Some of these groups were in the remains of trenches. Some were in concrete pits. Others fought in scattered shell holes." The front originally to be covered, 3,500 yards, made the leading waves of men very thin, and heavy casualties made gaps which could not, perhaps, be filled up by men of succeeding waves and from mopping-up parties we well, and smoke tended to confusion.
"The regiment in its forward movement was traveling through such a torrent of machine gun bullets, shrapnel and shell fragments that the losses were sufficient to practically obliterate some of the mopping-up detachments, and in other cases to reduce their combat power to a minimum. These circumstances in themselves would explain the failure of some of the mopping-up parties to cover the area assigned them. The regiment was attacking what was probably the most formidable field fortifications every constructed, and which had successfully resisted all previous attempts for its capture.
One group of Company A, composed of Sergeant Minder, Corp. Arthur L. Giles, Mech. G. Anderson and Privts. Walter H. Burry and Leon Davidman, reached the junction of Paul Trench and Quennemont Pit lane and held this piece of trench till Sunday morning, September 29, when the 108th Infantry passed over them on their way to the tunnel and they were relieved. Examples of courage without number resulted thus fat in this offensive on the part of the men of the 106th infantry, and many were killed. The intensity of the fighting is shown by the losses among the officers of the 106th. In the 1st Battalion every company officer was killed or wounded. In the 3d Battalion every company officer but one was killed or wounded. The 27th division sustained 1,540 casualties in this battle.
Certainly, the plight of the 106th Regiment was a deplorable one. They had been sent, so it seemed, to certain death; had been sacrificed--to clear the way for the main attack of the 27th division on the 29th. it is said that Major-General O'Ryan would have preferred to "send his entire division into clean up these outer defenses, consisting of the Knoll, Guillemont Farm and Quennemont Farm, but General Rawlinson said they could not afford to have an entire division cut up before the main attack, and the 106th Infantry was sent into do the job alone."
These operations were "part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which began on September 26th, with an artillery crash, the greatest ever recorded in history." Two thousand seven hundred high-explosive guns, place almost "hub-to-hub,' began their pulverizing fire which it seemed would blast into molecular fragments even the deepest and strongest works of concrete that the genius of German military engineers had devised. But the Hindenburg Line was impervious even to this blast,
and the comparatively puny human frame had to become the battering ram. And inasmuch as the hail of millions of machine-gun bullets that would meet the attackers could now down a division almost as quickly as a regiment, one lone regiment had to make of itself the bettering ran and target. Except that there was no mistake in orders, the charge of the 106th might be likened to the charge of the Six Hundred, immortalized by Tennyson. And the world had grown so used to reports of slaughter, so accustomed to "shock' troops, which advanced in mass formation in the teeth of a machine-gun gale that tore through human flesh like a hurricane through a ship's rigging, that all the world did not wonder. Only the tired remnant of the 106th Regiment--the few disorganized groups of men who had lived through the hell of that day and had seen all their officers fall--wondered, when informed on the 28th that there would be no breathing spell for them.
On September 28, the survivors of the 106th Infantry were informed that they to be given no opportunity for rest and recuperation, but were to be organized as a provisional battalion to aid in mopping up for the 107th Infantry on the occasion of the attack of September 29. There was so little left of the 106th in the way of effective men that it was necessary to form this battalion as a provisional unit constituted of the effective survivors. So important was the coming mission of this unit that the division commander felt called upon to supervise personally the preparation for its organization. He found colonel Taylor with the work in hand. The prospect at first looked somewhat unpromising. Scores of men of the 106th were lying about apparently exhausted. Many of them were in a stupor of sleep. Others, suffering from temporary shell shock and strain, apparently did not sleep and were comparing their experiences with other survivors. All were muddy and unkempt after the terrible ordeal, which had afforded no opportunity for anything but fighting. It was obviously time for rather summary action and Colonel Taylor was directed personally, and with the aid of such officers as were immediately available, to assemble the men with the least possible delay so that the division commanders might talk to them. This was done. Within ten minutes there were perhaps 150 enlisted men standing about the division commander. They presented an appearance that would have appealed to the sympathy and indulgences of almost any heart. They were silent men. But in spite oft heir apparent exhaustion the faces of most of them, for the first few minutes at least, were looks of inquiry mixed with surprise. Indignation would be too strong a term, but nevertheless the officers present keenly sensed that these men felt they had done all men should be called upon to do, and that they suspected that some additional and impossible demand was now to be made upon them. They were all brought sharply to attention, and then ordered to relax and to listen. The psychological effect of their response to the command for attention was noticeable, while at the same time the direction to relax must have appealed to them. In a few words, they were told of the results of their attack, of the disorganization they had created in the enemy's defenses, of the number of the enemy they had slain, of the prisoners and war material captured, of the enemy points of resistance that still remained, of the vital importance of the Fourth Army of the coming attack, of the imperative need for thorough mopping-up behind the advance of the 54th Brigade, of the lack of troops for the purpose, and of the necessity of calling upon the survivors of the 106th Infantry for another supreme effort. The faces of the men were carefully watched while this harangue was being delivered. Their bloodshot eyes showed respect and attention, but not an appreciation of the reasonableness of any further demands upon them, until the division commander added: :and another thing, men, you must not forget that scattered about in the
fields around The Knoll, Guillemont Farm and Quennemont Farm are numbers of your pals still lying there wounded. You don't propose to abandon them, do you? I think not; not even to the willingness of the 54th Brigade to look after them. You are going to get them yourselves. One other thing. If I know this 106th Infantry, they will do even more than that. They will mop up in such a manner that their work will leave nothing to be desired by the comrades lost in the attack of yesterday."
This brought a responsive spirit, the provisional battalion was organized, equipped and supplied, and, under the command of Major Gillet, reported for duty next morning.
The morning of September 28 found the 54th Brigade in the line occupying the trenches from which the 106th and 105th Infantry regiments had launched their attack on the 27th, with patrols working forward in an effort to connect up with combat groups of the 106th at their front. These patrols, from the moment that they left the protection of their front in trenches were immediately under fire from enemy groups. The progress of this battle, as of with all engagements in which the Twenty-seventh participated, is detailed at great length by General O'Ryan in his "Story of the 27th Division." It is full of technical detail of great interest to technical persons, and is brightened by much matter of interest to all. The messages that came from the front, sent by difference observers, of course conflicted as to details, but the advance, although costly, was steady. Many acts of heroism later won the distinctive marks of which soldiers are excusably proud. It is apparent that the Hindenburg Line never would have been captured without these American soldiers. After the battle several British officers o wide experience gave it as their opinion hat the success of the thrust was the result not only of the discipline and skill of the troops that headed the attack, but also their willingness and ability to bear heavy losses with unimpaired morale. They referred further to the fact that troops with line experience in war would have recognized the magnitude of the task imposed upon them, and that their tendency would be to shrink from suffering losses which very easily they could persuade themselves to believe would be useless. The 107th Infantry soldiers, during preparations for this attack, reported that soldiers of the adjoining British division had told them that they were about to attempt the impossible, and that the only result would be heavy losses. The fearful prophecies had no effect upon the Americans, whose confidence and morale were at the highest pitch. "The incident, whoever," writes General O'Ryan, "the incident, however," writes General O'Ryan, serves to indicate that perhaps the regiment would not have been so efficient for the purposes of this battle had it, prior thereto been subjected to experience such as had been suffered by divisions of the British Army, in their long war trials."
The losses of the 107th Infantry in this attack were great. Eleven officers and 332 men were killed; 34 enlisted men died of wounds; 15 officers and 721 enlisted men were wounded; 53 enlisted men were gassed; and 7 were missing. The provisional battalion of the 106th Infantry, commanded by Major Gillet, reached its battle position before the zero hour as mopping up units for the 3rd Battalion of the 107th Infantry. In the fierce fighting which took place in the advance some of these detachments became merged with platoons of the battalion in front. Others, in the heavy smoke, diverged to the right and followed the left battalion of the 108th Infantry. One of the latter groups was commanded by Sergt. Joseph A. Cook, of company F, 106th Infantry, who had reached the objective of September 27 and had survived that experience. On this occasion, after most of his platoon had been killed or wounded, the sergeant found himself in a trench of the main Hindenburg Line. As the smoke lifted his party came under machine gun-fire from a concrete emplacement north of them. An attempt to bomb this position from the trench failed. Their rifle-fire seemed ineffective. Thereupon the sergeant, while the remainder of his detachment kept the emplacement under fire, left the trench and, jumping from shell-hole to shell-hole, gained one with bombing distance of the enemy post. From this point he threw four bombs into the pit. Advancing cautiously, he found two enemy soldiers dying and two others, badly wounded. Enemy soldiers, who may have been survivors, with others who had occupied adjoining position, ran off toward Bony,
and, as the sergeant expressed it, "made some fine targets for the rest of our men." Sergeant Cook's exploit was but one of unnumbered cases of the kind illustrating extraordinary courage and initiative that together made possible the conquering of a fortress that had been regarded as impregnable.
The position entered and secured by Sergeant cook was probably the most advanced in the main Hindenburg Line defenses held by the Americans at the time. Considering the reduced numbers composing the moping-up groups of the 106th Infantry Battalion, the heavy casualty they suffered, and the fatigue under which they labored as a result of their former fighting, they accomplished remarkable results. "Wherever these detachments found themselves in the smoke they fought and bombed enemy groups with the greatest determination and gallantry. Dead soldiers of their units were found at formidable points in and about Guillemont Farm, in close proximity to enemy dead, where they had fallen in combat with the latter."
The ordeal through which the 27th division passed from September 27 to October 1 was as terrible as that which any American division was called upon to suffer. All previous experience seemed child's play by comparison. Certainly, the Flanders service as mild by comparison with the tornado that possessed them and whirled around them during those terrible days and nights before and in the Hindenburg Line.
The experience of the unfortunate 105th and 106th regiments on the 27th were dire warning of what the regiments might expect on the 29th, when attacking the main line. And the disaster that came to the tanks in the grey of dawn, just before zero-hour on the 29th, was an unnerving demonstration of the power of the defenses that they were expected to storm. The 301st. Battalion of the Tank Corps had just begun to move out, and mount the rise known as Guillemont Farm when a flash of lame preceded an explosion which was heard above all the din of artillery. Another and another explosion came, almost simultaneously. Nine tanks, in a few minutes, were crippled as they passed over the German minefield. Other tanks were so clearly silhouetted on the sky-line that they made excellent artillery targets, and seven were smashed by direct hits within the first fifteen minutes. The armada of forty-five tanks--the only fitting device to seemed with which to storm the maze of wire and concrete and machine-guns emplacements known as the Hindenburg Line--was shrinking alarmingly, and seemed pitifully impotent. But what those crawling monster of steel could not even reach,, human hands must hack. The 108th Regiment, on their way to their front-line position on the 28th had met a stream of walking wounded of the 106th. "It's hell up there," said the wounded boys in passing. And in the half-light of early dawn next morning, while they waited for the time to "jump off," the men of the 107th and 108th saw some of the flames of hell licking the tanks. The stifling fumes of the nether regions were with them always--in the poison gases of the inhuman German scientists.
However, the 107th and 108th "jumped off" at the time appointed, and because they thought that before them in No Man's Land would be some struggling remnants of the 106th they started their barrage at 1,000 yards
In advance. They suffered terribly in consequence, for within that thousand yards were innumerable German machine-gun nests. However, they bombed their way past and reached the first entanglement of the Hindenburg Line. There they met the full force of the resisting elements of the most wonderful defensive system ever devised. Still, they held n and , with the aid of troops of the 2d Australian Division which reinforced them at 10:30 a.m., they consolidated their position. "Mopping up" became the order of the next few hours for the men of the 2d Battalion of the 108th Infantry. The 3d Battalion of that regiment had not fared so well however. They had become quite a weak line before they reached their objective; they could not advance farther, but they held grimly to their position until the late afternoon, when reinforced by another Australian contingent. The "mopping up" disclosed some incredible conditions, One wild young American roamed about with an automatic rifle after all the men of his squad had been killed or wounded. He, private Frank Gaffney, came upon some Germans trying to mount a machine-gun. Quicker in mounting his automatic rifle, he killed the gun-crew of four. Them, finding himself alone in a trench, he busied himself bombing dugouts that connected with the deep trenches. Four Germans who approached, he killed with his pistol; and he held his post until help came. The dugouts were then cleared of his prisoners; eighty in number.
Another Medal of Honor man, equally brave, was not so fortunate. In his case, the award was posthumous, for he did not live to hear others commend him for his extraordinary bravery. for gallantry and intrepidity above the call of duty, the exploit of First Lieutenant William Bradford Turner, of the 105th infantry, is entitled to very high place among the daring self-sacrificing feats of brave Americans. During the attack on the outer defenses of the Hindenburg Line, on September 27th, he and a small group of men became separated from their company in the darkness. Artillery and machine-guns fire were tearing through their ranks. Every moment was precious. So, without waiting for support, Lieutenant turner charged the most annoying machine-gun post alone. With his automatic, he killed its gun crew. He immediately pressed on to another machine-gun nest. It was twenty-five yards away, and in covering that distance he might have been literally riddled with bullets. But reached the post and had killed one of its gunners before his own men overtook him and disposed of the remainder. Under such a leader, men will go on cheerfully to certain death. The glory of the super-human possesses them, and death brings no fear. Lieutenant Turner led the small group over three lines of enemy trenches. In grim hand-to-hand encounters, in the fighting that ensued of the possession of each trench, he killed many Germans; and he persisted in leading his men forward despite the fact that already he has been thrice wounded.
But what was his life to him? Had he not already given it to his country? If, after his country has used it to the fullest extent of her need, there remained even a spark of that life, he would gladly take that much back and be thankful in putting it again to his personal uses. Until then, his life belonged to his country and he was in duty bound to use it t the utmost limit in her behalf. Lieutenant turner may not have said so, but his acts indicate that those were this thoughts. Loss of blood could not deter him. He went on. His only weapon was his automatic, and in that furious fight there came a time when his ammunition was spent. That was not the end, however. Quickly grasping a bayoneted rifle from the stiffening hands of a fallen comrade, the gallant young American fought on. Using the bayonet with good effect, he reached the fourth line of trenches, which was the objective of his company. By this time his group numbered only nine men; but they took the trench, and did not flinch when a savage counter-attack came upon them. They beat it back; but that was their limit. Inspired by their gallant commander, they had in fact gone beyond the dividing line between life and death. They were overpowered, and made the supreme sacrifice. Life is indeed the only limit to patriotism.
All the heroes of those disrepute days did not accomplish as much as private Gaffney, or as Lieutenant Turner; but there were few of the New York guardsmen who did not do more than was expected of the average soldier; else, the Hindenburg Line might never have been penetrated. The 107th Regiment, which went into action on the left of the 108th, encountered fortification much like those that confronted the 108th; and among their exploits are some remarkable incidents. Lieutenant Adzit carried his platoon into one of the most vital advance trenches of the main Hindenburg Line. Then, in the face of heavy fire, he went forward alone, took possession of another trench and by his accurate firing and bombing broke up single-handed another formidable counter-attack, giving time for the defense to be organized and other combat units to come up.
It was by superhuman effort such as this that the Hindenburg Line was won. Faithful performance of the ordinary line of duty would not have won it. the only limit of the line of duty that the men of the 27th division knew was life itself. Private Carter, a regimental runner, had dodged through a shell-torn field several times on the 29th, seemingly bearing a charmed life. On the next day, he passed twice from the front-line safely, and at dusk was again returning when he touched a wire which set off a mine that blew him, in a thousand fragments, high into the air. He had been faithful and strenuous even unto death. A detachment of the 102nd Engineers, acting as a burial squad, passed over the field shortly after the 108th. "God help us,: cried Engineer Malican, as he saw the body he was picking up was that of his
brother. But he buried his brother, and then went on quietly with his duty of burying others. One young officer, rushing to help another who had just fallen wounded, reached the spot in time to fall dead over the body of his comrade.
The History of New York State, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1927
This book is owned by Pam Rietsch and is a part of the Mardos Memorial Library
Transcribed by Holice B. Young
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