The History of New York State
Editor, Dr. James Sullivan
Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam
|Undoubtedly, the human element
came into his calculations, but to what extent we do not know. Possibly,
he made allowances for, and concessions to, the restless American
spirit. Some of the men were veterans, they had "kicked about"
their home-town as and when and how they pleased. It would be hard to
keep them inactive in the trenches long after the artillery band had
begun to play. They had hardly been soldiers long enough to know the
full meaning of the word obey. The freedom of the Western World
still filled them, and could not yet be confined in the straight-jacket
of rigid military discipline. Some allowance must be made. It's hard to
get lusty, democratic self-reliance young Americans, fresh from U. S.,
to realize that sometimes the master may be just as good as Jack. They
knew better. They could fraternize with the "boss," but it was
they who kept the place going. You can't fool an observing American on
that question. Maybe, in Pershing's case there was a difference. He was
a Jack as well as a master; he might be called a Master-jack; and the
men had confidence in him.
Still, why should Pershing take needless chances with uncertain elements? The restless, roving, fearless, self-reliant American spirit demands "kicking room." So, the doughboys were permitted to go over the top within four hours of the opening salvo. At five o'clock on the morning of September 12, while fog hung low and a killing barrage went ahead, the restless boys of the bayonet advanced on both sides of the salient. Next morning, within twenty-seven hours of the beginning of the fight, they joined forces. They had crossed the salient; bitten it off--that annoying thorn which had been pricking the French for our years. So much had been achieved, and with so little fighting that one
does not wonder that some of the inexperienced junior officers lost themselves in embarrassment at times. When one goes full-tilt at what seems to be a very strong barrier, only to find that it it’s a sham, it's hard to keep one's balance. Three years of bloody Saint Mihiel history led Americans to look for harder knocks than they received. Indeed, on the first day, the sight of the oncoming Americans was enough for the Germans. They fled. "It was like taking candy from children," said one of the doughboys. Resistance stiffened after the first shock, but it was then too lake. Pershing had written and used a new Book of Tactics. To meet the new method of attack, the enemy must learn from our book. But time was precious. We "had the jump on them." They could not learn before we, without Allies, had jumped them off the French map.
General Pershing had delivered a sharp, clean hit--as positive, effective and sudden as that which brings a home-run at baseball, or a knock-out in the ring. The battle was over long before most of the fighting that the Germans had been accustomed to had had time to pass the preliminary "sparring" stage. The salient had been won in such approved order that Palmer could not get himself to think of the action as any other than "army manoeuvers." To a war correspondent it was somewhat unsatisfactory material. As Palmer points out:
The chronicler, who ought to give the event a great deal of space, find hat it went too smoothly to furnish any sensation. It is the emergencies of battle, the development of unexpected resistance, the ebb and flow of fierce attack, the strokes of prompt generalship in the field, the resolute defence of a tactical point and the repeated charges to win a strong position, which furnish the thrills of war. Saint Mihiel was one of the few operations on record that worked out "as planned."
Of course, it was not a bloodless battle. The casualties on the American side were about 7,000, but, had the resistance been what Pershing had expected, the toll paid might have been ten times 7,000 thousand. Owing to the thoroughness, magnitude, and dash of the American Army, the victory had been won at comparatively trivial cost. On September 14, Pershing reported as follows:
The dash and vigor of our troops, and of the valiant French divisions which fought shoulder to shoulder with them, is shown by the fact that the forces attacking on both faces of the salient effected a junction and secured the result desired within twenty-seven hours.
Besides liberating more than 150 square miles of territory and taking 15,000 prisoners, we have captured a mass of material. Over 100 guns of all calibre and hundred of machine-guns and trench mortars have been taken.
General Pershing goes more into details in a later report, which shows that our casualties were about 7,000, and that about 16,000 prisoners and 443 guns were taken. His report reads:
After four hours of artillery preparation, the seven American division in the front line advanced at 5 A.M., on September 12, assisted by a limited number of tanks manned
partly by Americans and partly by the French. These divisions, accompanied by groups of wire cutters and others armed with bangalore torpedoes, went through the successive bands of barbed wire that protected the enemy's front line and support trenches, in irresistible waves on schedule time, breaking down all defence of an enemy demoralized by the great volume of our artillery fire and our sudden approach our of the fog.
Our First Corps advanced to Thiacourt, while our French Corps curved back to the southwest through Nonsard. The second Colonial French Corps made the slight advance required of it on very difficult ground, and the Fifth Crops took its three ridges and repulsed a counter-attack. A rapid march brought reserve regiments of a division of the Fifth corps into Vigneulles in the early morning, where it linked with patrols of our Fourth Corps, closing the salient and forming a new line west of Thiacourt to Vigneulles and beyond Fresnes-en-Woevre. At the cost of only 7,000 casualties, mostly light, we had taken 16,000 prisoners and 443 guns, a great quantity of material, released the inhabitants of many villages from enemy domination, and established our lines in a position to threaten Metz. This signal success of the American First Army in its first offensive was of prime importance. The Allies found they had a formidable army to aid them, and the enemy learned finally that he had one to reckon with.
While Pershing was carrying through this well-executed manoeuvre--if the St. Mihiel offensive can e properly s-called--the allied lines were advanced everywhere. "In Flanders, in Picardy, on the Marne, in Champagne, in Lorraine, in Alsace, and in the Balkans, the frontier of freedom was moving forward," writes Gibbons. New Yorkers had had not an inappreciable part in advancing the Frontier of Freedom. The boys of the Melting-Pot division, the 77th, had been showing that "hot stuff" is apt to come out of the melting-pot that makes Americans. And the new York Guardsmen of the 27th Division were destined to demonstrate, within a couple of weeks of the St. Mihiel "romp," that man-made fortifications had not yet been devised which were strong enough to stop Americans who had made up their mind to pass. The New York Guardsmen had resolved to break the Hindenburg Line, or to leave their dead bodies before its supposedly invulnerable fortifications.
This brings us, in our war narrative, to the next great American effort--indeed, to the greatest battle of the war, the Meuse-Argonne offensive. The blotting out of the St. Mihiel salient had important results. It liberated Verdun from the threat of envelopment. It gave the allies possession of the dominating heights of the Meuse, also of important railroads of that section. It made it possible to advance allied lines close to the coveted Briey iron basin on the north. Furthermore, it placed Metz within the reach of American artillery.
It will be noticed that Pershing, in his St. Mihiel report, makes mention of Metz. This may have been for political effect, for it seems that, although the investment of Metz has come within the region of objectives that the St. Mihiel drive was originally planned to make possible, the fortress had ceased to have such imperative significance to the Allies some time before the St. Mihiel salient was fought for and won. Marshall Foch visited Pershing some days before the St. Mihiel attack, and probably then discussed with the American general certain points for Ameri-
can participation in a series of grand offensives on other parts of the front. There is no doubt, however, that the German High command viewed with increasing concern the advance of Americans toward Metz. Hindenburg himself came to inspect the defenses when the American concentration was proceeding. It may be said that Pershing had no objection to the reburnishing of Krupp guns by the German in Metz. Indeed, he was quite willing to encourage Hindenburg to read in the activities of the great American Army that the Allied generals had focused their eyes chiefly upon Metz. Pershing kept up an American offensive in that direction, but all the while his thoughts, as well as those of Foch and Haig, wee upon another plan which, it was hoped, would bring the war to an end, with the Allies victorious, before winter came to give the hard-pressed Central Powers a respite. The French marshal, while giving America a definite area in the front-line, one that it might consider its own, just as the British had what it looked upon as an exclusively British area, preferred to leave Metz to the future, and use the more experienced of his now abundant American divisions in thrusts more in the center of the line. The new York Guardsmen, the 27th, with its divisional comrade, the 40th, was to prove whether the Hindenburg Line was as invulnerable as the Germans claimed it to be. And other American divisions were to hit hard, at certain points, while the French and British were to follow each other, at short intervals, with operations that were to reach major intensity in their respective areas. In this way it was hoped to so confuse the
German High Command in their disposition of reserves that the line would break somewhere, with hopeless confusion behind the lines.
The main American offensive developed in what is called the Meuse-Argonne battle. The task of the American Army under General Pershing was to drive the Germans from the important valley of the Meuse north of Verdun, and from the French territory west of the Meuse through the Forest of Argonne, a distance of about twenty miles. It was very vital ground but appallingly difficult; so difficult indeed that no one had ever before conceived of any offensive from the Meuse river to the Argonne Forest. The natural defences were so formidable, and the artificial defences so ingenuous that no expert of European experience thought it possible that any army, however strong, could get through the Argonne Forest. The French had had too much experience of warfare to even attempt it; and it was beyond the British area. The Americans, however, were such astounding fighters, such unknown factors, that one never could set down on paper, with positive conviction, just where the line of demarcation between possibility and impossibility came with Americans in action. Maybe some experts found the solution in believing with Pope, that "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." There were probably just as many Frenchmen who did not quite "get the
hang" of Yankee psychology as there were Yankees who could not dissociate frogs and Frenchmen. When the first Americans landed in France in April, 1917, gibbons, an American correspondent, noted with surprise the evident bond of sympathy and mutual understanding that existed between French and American soldiers. He was perplexed. Although they could not express themselves in understandable works, the camaraderie between them was unmistakable. "Why?" he asked an alert American lieutenant. " "Why?" he asked an alert American lieutenant. "You see," explained the latter, "we think the French are crazy, and the French know damn well we are." Again, even our blood cousins, the British, seemed to think that we could stand a joke, or would not see it. When these same pioneer Yankee fighters landed at Liverpool, England, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers--with their mascot, a goat--were lined up as an especially historic guard-of-honor. You see, the Fusiliers, of three or four generations back, had fought at Bunker Hill; and the goat was a direct descendent of the goat they had taken from us in that epochal affray. They had had our goat all this time; and they cheered us on to France still keeping it. the American type of Anglo-Saxon was hard to analyze. And even we, discerning Americans though we are, found it hard, at time, to see eye to eye with the British type of Anglo-Saxon.
However, we Americans were in France. There was work to do, hard work; but is there a real American who would shirk real work? We'd rather work than go to school. Some of us might fin it "hard sledding" to chose the right road in paper maneuvers, but out on the field we thought we would be strong enough to "slam" through without a textbook. We were not, "kids." As one Alabaman expressed it: "Spit'n terbaccer an' me didn't form 'quiantance yesterday." We might as well try to crack hard nuts as to ruin our teeth on "pap." Indeed, we were confident that the Argonne woods couldn't stop us.
So we had our way. The fighting curtain went up with a bang on September 26, and did not go down until absolute quiet reigned--until Armistice day, November 11, 1918. How did we green Americans get along? Well! We "got there,' anyway. We may not have followed the authorized Book of tactics, and some of our young fellows found themselves in the thick of fighting with bayonetted rifle in hand, but no set of instructions in the use of it. but if they survived the machine gun and got to the nest, they usually found themselves to be "handy with tools." In hand-to-hand fighting the long reach of the bayonet makes it a handy tool to have. As for throwing bombs, where is there such a nation of natural throwers as in this Land of Baseball? Some of the boys who went through the Meuse-Argonne inferno were of the July, 1918 draft. Think of it! As one official divisional history #2 shows, these civilians in uniform--one can hardly think of the as more the recruits.
Anyway--"entered the lines without any knowledge or experience with the rifle and very short military training." Yet, they gave a good account of themselves. Palmer, the "Official Observer," who, of course, might be expected to speak authoritatively, states the "the American attack appeared to be defying all the rules and precedents which war on the Western Front had established. In order to make sure of a surprise, Pershing avoided many details of preparation which hitherto had been considered essential. It was the kind of manoeuvre which makes or breaks commanders. He dared all for immediate victory instead of waiting all winter on the supplies and the training which he needed for a spring offensive." The outcome was satisfactory, though it might have quite the reverse, in which case Pershing would have been the scapegoat. His own head hung upon the success of the daring plan he thought to be the logical one for the situation. We had the Germans "on the run," and Pershing had made up his mind to keep them running. He could afford to run some risks, so long as the Germans had no inkling of them. He did some "bluffing," and if he were playing poker he might have run tin disaster. By the knew that if his bluff were called, his human cards could do quite a lot of poling on their own account, quite outside of the established rules of the game. We won, though, as Palmer points out, the play was pretty loose and risky at times. He writes: "We sent in divisions which had never been under fire before, divisions, which had never operated with their artillery brigades, divisions short of transport. We wore down German divisions. Ludendorff brought more and more reserves of artillery and machine guns against us, but we kept at it--kept hammering. It was the Somme and Passchendaele over again, with the hope of victory the wine to exhaust officers and men. Drive, drive, drive--with the Germans slowly weakening. I had seen many battles--but nothing like this. We captured one lot of 300 prisoners in which every man was a machine gunner. Proportionate to prisoners we took three times as many guns as the Allies--which showed how the Germans were pressing their guns to the front in the Argonne battle.
"At intervals between October 1 and November 11, we had as many troops in the front line as the British and French together. We were holding up our end--even our green troops were there.
"On November 11 we had only two fresh divisions in reserve, and the French had fourteen and the British seven, as I remember. Individuals did not count. Nothing counted but victory." Having set his hand to the plough, Pershing was not satisfied to give up the task until the whole field was ready for the seed--the seed of peace with which to replenish the earth, so sadly neglected, so woefully impoverished by the four years of war.
How he new York Guardsmen fared in this last great struggle--
how fearlessly they stormed the Hindenburg Line, how gloriously they fought at the Le Selle River and at St. Souplet, is narrated in the review that precedes this. How the New York National Army Division, the 77th, hacked its way through the dark, dismal, death-dealing Argonne forest, how the stand of Whittlesey's "Lost Battalion" thrilled the Nation, and how the Melting-Pot Division proved worthy of its divisional insignia--the Statute of Liberty--is told in the chapter that next follows this.
New York came very much to the fore in those stirring days. She claimed at least a share of the fame that was appropriated by New Jersey, which State had sponsored the 78th Division, but had had to come into Western new York fro many of the units need to fill it. Boys from Buffalo, Syracuse, Utica and other places poured into Damp Dix in September and later months of 1917, when the 78th Division was being organized there. Indeed more Western New York draftees went into the 78th than into the 77th. the 78th Division was on the seas at the end of May, when the motorized Machine Gun Battalion of the 3d Division was holding the bridgehead at Chateau-Thierry, and the Marines of the 2d Division were showing the Germans that the land forces did not hold the monopoly of good fighters. The artillery of the 78th followed that brigade of the 77th to Camp de Meucon, where they learned to appreciate the "Swasong kahns" of the French. Then, in the third week of August, the Artillery Brigade went to Lorraine, the American area. But it did not then join its divisions, having to support the infantry of the 90th Division in the Toul sector, facing the bristling Mont Sec. There was a purpose in this, which became evident later. The infantry brigade of the 78th trained in the British area, and were on the Arras front on August 12 when ordered to proceed to the Vosgres Mountains, on the haute-Alsace front. Concentration of mobile troops at that point seemed to indicate that Pershing intended to advance through the gap of Belfort. However, after a week in that sector, the 78th infantry brigades moved nearer St. Mihiel, where its artillery brigade as already in position. The 78th took part in the St. Mihiel offensive with credit. Afterwards, until October 3, the division defended the Limey sector, suffering many casualties in desperate fighting. On the 9th of October, by forced marches and bus rides, the division was in reserve position at Clermont-en-Argonne, ready to "carry on" the fight that the 77th Division had carried so far at such sacrifice. On the night of October 15, they relieved the weary 77th at the outskirts of Grand Pre. On that day, the engineer Battalion of the 77th had accomplished heroic work, in building two bridges across the Aire under very heavy fire, and the infantry had followed into, or almost into Grand Pre. The 78th Division came up to the front on the night of October 14. Although much fatigued by the forced march, they swung into the fighting lien during that night, at Senac, just south of Grand Pre. During the next night the relief of the 77th was completed, and the last of the war-worn and shell-torn boys of the Melt-
ing-Pot Division left for a short period of less shattering strain. Still, even the 78th division, however, can hardly be said to have been in fresh condition when they took the burden from the 77th. Eighteen of the last thirty days they had spent in the trenches, and in twelve days had hiked 130 miles, sleeping in the open. One soldier, in a letter home, at this time, wrote: "The boys have come in from hikes so tired that they would flop on the ground in a pouring rain and in a few minuets be fast asleep with a bit of shelter." It was then, remember, the month of October and in France, when and where the damp cold at thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit, seemed to penetrate worse than our dry cold at zero. Still, the 77th had had to endue all this, and fight for their lives as well. the men of the 78th had seen enough of the debris of war, as they had passed over the route of the 77th, during the last few days, to realize that, by comparison, their own lot had really been a rest-period.
The "Lighting Division," by which name the 78th had come to be known, began to send out its flashes in the Argonne on the night of the 15th, the 153 Artillery Brigade then laying down its first barrage, for the infantrymen who were going :over the top." Major-General McRae, the commander of the 78th, proved to be an able general, but the rank and file had had no expanse of underbrush dangers such as those that has so terribly thinned the ranks of the 77th in the last two weeks. Alas! the knowledge gained by the latter could hardly be passed on; the men of the Lightning Division must learn by experience --and pay dearly for that experience. The Germans were such master-camouflagists that they seemed only to require a twig and a few half-dead leaves to screen a machine gun, capable of sending death to hundred in a minute. The underbrush seemed to be full of these rapid-firers. In this stage of the war, ion the transition from trench to open warfare, an astounding transformation seemed to have taken place. Every other German seemed to be a machine gunner. However, Americans usually take a situation as it is, and 'go to it." the 78th division paid an awful toll, but they "reported progress." On the night of October 16, some companies of one of its regiments crossed the Grand pre-St, Juvin Road, and headed north toward Grand Pre. Next day, a concentrated attack developed all along the line, and despite determined resistance they went into and beyond Grand Pre by the 18th. This place, by the way, has been called "a Buffalo Sepulcher," so many men of the Bison City galling before or in Grand Pre. "In the cemeteries around Grand Pre, many brave Buffalo boys are sleeping, and the ambulance carried hundreds of wounded men from that point. Every tree is stamped with an act of American Valor, and while Buffalo and Western New York men of the 78th Division were not aware of it at the time, they were engaged during those trying days from October 15 to 18 in smashing the western defences of the famous Kreimhild Line, while the division on their right were going through it."
General Pershing reported: "The 5th Corps, in hand-to-hand encounters, entered the formidable Krimhild Line, where the enemy had hoped to check us indefinitely, and the 1st corps took Champigneulles and the important town of Grand Pre. Our dogged offensive was wearing down the enemy, who continued to throw his best troops in front of us, thus weakening his line in front of Allies and making their advance less difficult."
The great burden of the fighting seemed to be upon the American forces at that time, or perhaps it would be fairer to say that the resistance of the Germans was more desperate along the American front than in some parts of the British and French sectors. The German were constantly stiffening in front of the Americans, and steadily giving way before the British. The great task of the new York guardsmen, the 27th, in the British area was almost ended. They had done the seemingly impossible, had smashed their way past the Hindenburg Line; and their comrade New Yorkers, of the 42d, 77th, and 78th Divisions, on the other side of the French area, had been hammering at equally difficult, though somewhat different defences, determined to wrest from the Germans what the latter had grimly resolved to hold to the end. The 78th Division was in the line until November 5, when they were relieved by the 42d division. They were then only ten or fifteen kilometers distant from the Meuse River. In the terrible fighting of their period of the Meuse-Argonne struggle, the 78th had met such resistance that the 77th Division had been called up again, and in the second phase of the battle--the advance from the Aire to the Meuse, beginning November 1--had gone side by side with the 78th until November 5. Then the Rainbow and Melting-Pot Divisions went on side by side to the Meuse and to the end of the war.
The 42d division had two period of front-line service in the Meuse-Argonne battle. After having been in the line at Mihiel from September 12 to 16, it had spend the next week, September 17 to 25, in the Essay and Pannes sector of the Woevre. On October 14, the 42d Division came into the Argonne and relieved the 1st division, not far from the Grand Pre, the 82d division being between its lines and those of the 77th. the 42d division was relieve October 23, but the record shows that it was again in the line on November 1 and 2, and for the last time on November 4, when it began to relieve the 78th. #3
The 42nd Division was on the extreme left of the American line, having the French divisions on its left and the 77th division on its right, when fighting ended. The other American divisions in line when the war ended were the 2d, 89th, 90th and 79th. the 77th Division had crossed the Meuse River, and the 42nd might have been the first to enter the historic Sedan, #4 but for sentimental reasons held back, so that a French Corps on its left might have that supreme satisfaction and distinction.
General Pershing's own report of the last phase of the greatest battle and of the greatest war of all times, reads, in part, as follows:
With comparatively well-rested divisions, he final advance in the Meuse-Argonne front was begun on November 1. Our increased artillery force acquitted itself magnificently in support of the advance, and the enemy broke before the determined infantry, which, by its persistent fighting of the past weeks and the dash of this attack, had overcome his will to resist. The third Corps took Aincreville, Doulcon and Andevanne, and the fifth Corps took Landres et St. Georges and pressed through successive lines of resistance to Bayonville and Chennegy. On the 2d the First Corps joined in the movement, which now became am impetuous onslaught that could not be stayed.
On the 3d advance troops surged forward in pursuit, some by motor trucks, while the artillery pressed along the country toads close behind. The First Corps reached Authiue and Chatillon-sur-Bar, the Fifth Corps Fosse and Nouart, and Third Corps Halles, penetrating the enemy's line to a depth of twelve miles. Our large calibre guns had advanced and were skillfully brought into position to fire upon the importunate lines at Montmedy, Longuyon and Conflans. Our third Corps crossed the Meuse on the 5th and the other corps, in full confidence that the day theirs, eagerly cleared the way of machine guns as they swept northward, maintaining complete coordination throughout. On the 6th, a division of the First Corps, (42nd Division) reached a point of the Meuse opposite Sedan, 25 miles from our line of departure.
How important this achievement was is emphasized by General Pershing's comment, at this point in his report. He writes: "The strategical goal which was our highest hope was gained. We had cut the enemy's main line of communications, and nothing buy surrender or an armistice could save his army from complete disaster."
Continuing, the report of our commander-in-chief, General Pershing, reads:
"In all forty enemy division had been used against us in the Meuse-Argonne battle. Between September 26 and November 6, we took 26,059 prisoners and 468 guns on this
Front. Our divisions engaged were the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 26th, 28th, 32d, 33d, 35th, 37th, 77th, 79th, 80th, 62d, 90th, and 91st. Many of our divisions remained in lien for a length of time that required nerves of steel, while others were sent in again after only a few days rest. The 1st, 5th, 26th, 42d, 77th, 80th, 89th, and 90th were in the line twice. Although some of the divisions were fighting their first battle, they soon became equal to the best.
On the three days preceding November 10, the 3d, the 2d Colonial, and the 17th French Corps,. Fought a difficult struggle through the Meuse hills, south of Stenay and forced the enemy into the plain. Meanwhile, my plans for further use of the American forces contemplated an advance between the Meuse and the Moselle in the direction of Longwy toward the rich iron fields of Briey. These operations were to be followed by an offensive toward chateau-Salins east of the Moselle, thus isolating Metz. Accordingly, attacks on the American front had been ordered and that of the Second Army was in progress on the morning of November 11, when instruction were received that hostilities should cease at 11 o'clock, A. M.
At this moment, the line of the American sector, from right to left, began at Port-sur-Seille, thence across the Moselle to Vandiereres and through the Worvres to Bezonvaux in the foothills of the Meuse, thence along tot he foothills and through the northern edge of the Worvre Forests to the Meuse at Mouzay, thence along the Meuse connecting with the French under Sedan.
However, it was not to be. An end had been called to the killing, What future advances the allies were to make--and they were destined to penetrate Germany even to the Rhine--were to be without bloodshed. The Germans had 'thrown up the sponge.' They could not stand the pace set by the Americans. As a German prisoner admitted, the Americans "were too fast for them." Certainly, the restless boys from the New World had shown that Age must bow to Youth. The wearied German legions had reached stalemate, when their movements bespoke the weariness and aches of age, the light-hearted, unceremonious democrats from across the sea had "butted in," and, with all the irresistible optimism of inexperienced Youth, had brushed aside the experienced Age and assumed the role of pacemaker. For this overweening self-confidence Youth, as is always the case, paid--paid dearly, more than once. Yet, the recuperative powers of youth are well-nigh inexhaustible. The wells of youth never run dry. The doughboys had ample reserve strength, and he went on, with light heart and hopeful spirit. Whatever lay before him, he would take--yes! Take. That's the word! He wanted it, and would take it, whatever it cost. As Lytton wrote: "In the lexicon of youth. . . . .there is no word as--fail." Moreover, :youth is gay, and hold no society with Grief." Youth could laugh off the blows and come for more, carrying the fight to the enemy with a vigor that only Youth could sustain. What punishment the American youth did take! How many times he seemed to be down "for the full count," only to rise smiling again! How many times it seemed almost like murder to send green American
boys to face the campaign-wise German veterans! But the raw American boy "had the stuff" in him. He may not have known the correct pose of a fighter, he may not have had many sparring lessons, may not even have known how to guard his face, but--he was a whirlwind. He was altogether too nimble, too "fast on his feet," for the German. And he could hit, too. The power of the whole continent was in his fist. Certainly, the Germans had had quite enough of the fast and furious fighting of the Americans long before the day of the Armistice. And one would have though that the fighting American would by that time have been content to keep his arms inactive at his side for a while. The pummeling that had come to him during the brief but furious period of America's part in the war ought to have been enough, one would think, to satisfy even a Roman gladiator. But, if the words that Palmer overheard on the banks of the Meuse on that memorable November morning, represented the opinion of the average American soldier, there at that time, the doughboys had not had enough. "Why in blazes didn't they let us take one last little hill,' blurted out an exasperated doughboy, when motion suddenly ceased at the stroke of eleven, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The order" Cease Firing! Brought from others "only one strong short word of four letters." Such is the way of Americans.
Johnson, Harold Stanley, "Roster of the Rainbow Division," (Forty-second), Major-General Wm. A. Mann, commanding.
Tompkins, Raymond Sidney, "The Story of the Rainbow Division," with introduction by Major-General Chas. T. Menoher.
Allen, Whitehead, Chadwick, "The Great War."
New York "Times," "Current History, 1915-1925."
"Times' Documentary History of the War."
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
HTML by Debbie Axtman
You are the [an error occurred while processing this directive] Visitor to this USGenNet Safe-Site™ Since September 5, 2004.