Not having been overseas, my impressions must be confined to the camp
As an ordained minister, but without dependents, I was for a long time
undecided as to my duty. (I had not enough experience to be a
chaplain). In August 1918, I accompanied a troop train from Sioux City
to Camp Pike as a representative of the "Y". No sooner had I stepped
inside the camp than I experienced the spell of the camp -- that
feeling that every able bodied American owed it to himself ad to his
country to get in somehow. This feeling caused me to enter the service.
I found it everywhere I went -- in Camp Funston and in Camp Grant.
Practically every soldier felt, regardless of his grumblings and
complaints, that his place was in the army (or service) until the war
was over. And this quality of the makeup of the American man, which
reacted to this spirit, was the thing which impressed me. I felt then,
and feel now, that this quality is one of the noblest traits of human
nature. The American nation will live long, and gloriously, while that
spirit of self sacrifice remains in the natures of the mass of
individuals which go to make up the population of the United States.
The everlasting menu of cold storage goat and rabbit on the British
troop ship, "The Mercier."
A detail of colored soldiers were sent to a warehouse where Sergeant
Dodgin, of another organization, was to assign them to work. Four of
the stevies were rolling the bones in a corner when the sergeant
"Who are you, boss?" ask one.
"I'm Dodgin, the man in charge of your detain."
"So are we. Join the game, boss."
The ease in which I escaped court marshals.
It was too darn short.
The thing that most impressed me was to note the terrible destruction
and effect of Hun high explosives on the poor fellows who were
unfortunate enough to get in their path, and the efforts of the
reconstruction department in restoring normal functions and usefulness.
The short time I served I remembered as the most wonderful and
instructive experience in my life.
The thing that made the most impression was the using of prisoners
taken in offensive movements during September, October and November,
1918, and putting them into companies and using these prisioners for
fighting troops against their own former side.
During April 2929, the North Russian government put out a proclamation
giving any one within our lines who was Bolshevist, permission to go
over to the Bolshevists. There were 14 men out of about 40 of a Russian
battery supporting our troops, that took advantage of this. As this
happened during a Bolshevists offensive the effect on the Allied troops
was not good.
~~ C. H. L. (From Archangel)
This is quite a job. But what I think will interest the Sioux City boys
most is the battle in which Monahan was wounded from which he later
died. It took place on the night of March 19 and 20, 1918, in the
second line German trench on Lorraine front. Our lieutenant by the name
of Jones, was ordered to make up a patrol of 58 men to take over the
second line German trench and hold it for 36 hours. This patrol
consisted of mostly Sioux City boys of which I was one. We left the
town of Badonville which was our second line trench, at dusk in a
drizzling rain which lasted all night. We reached the trenches at dark
where we joined the 169th Regiment of French. They took over the German
first line while us 58 Iowa men had to fight our way into the German
second line trench. From the German first line to their second line
trench was about 100 yards of entanglement. So after we got into their
second line trench there we were with Boch on the right and left of us.
Everything went well until about 10:30, when the Boch made a
counter-attack. Then is when h----- broke loose, us men all chilled
with the rain and 100 yards of entanglement behind us and no artillery
to help us only the French behind us to throw up flares, sure had to
fight. In this first battle is where Monahan was hit by a hand grenade
which smashed his left arm and leg. Nevertheless he lay at the bottom
of the trench smiling and saying, "Give them hell boys, for if you
can't throw them fast enough hand me one for my right arm is still
good." This first battle ended about 11 o'clock. Then another started
about 2:30, but we lost no men in this one. Instead of holding this
trench for 36 hours we left at 5:45. Lucky we did, for at 6 o'clock
they put a hugh barrage around the sector we held and one right in it.
The best part of it was after we got out of the trenches we found out
that us 58 boys got about 149 Germans.