Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Sacrificing for a "Just Cause": The World War I Memoir of Edward F. Paule, U.S. Engineers

Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Sacrificing for a "Just Cause": The World War I Memoir of Edward F. Paule, U.S. Engineers

Article excerpt

ON THE EVENING OF THURSDAY, August 7,1919, an elaborate "military party" was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Herman P. Paule of Belleville, Illinois. The occasion was the return of the three Paule sons from the battlefields of Europe. Described by a newspaper reporter as a "military affair throughout," the Paule yard featured lanterns, bunting, and the flags of the Allied nations, while the beautifully decorated house displayed flags, birds, and pictures of three ships, "depicting those that brought the boys safely back to America." An elegant luncheon was served to the men in uniform and their guests, with tables and chairs at the disposal of the ladies, while the veterans ate from tin plates and sat army style, "cross-legged" on the floor or the ground. Dancing, singing and the exchange of war stories filled the evening until a very late hour.'

Such ceremonies were common as Americans welcomed the "dough- boys" home after World War I, but now, as the centennial of the conflict approaches, they are distant memories. With the death of the last United States veteran of the war in 2011, Americans lost their final living link to the men and women of 1917-18. Now, only the diaries, letters, memoirs, photographs, and memorials the veterans left behind, and the recollections of their relatives, preserve the legacy of what has become a forgotten war-a conflict lost in the popular imagination between the romantic fratricide of the Civil War and the heroic efforts of the "greatest generation" to defeat fascism during World War II.

We are fortunate, then, that U.S. Army enlisted man Edward F. Paule of Belleville not only faithfully served his country during World War I, but also penned an extensive memoir of his odyssey to "make the world ----safe for democracy" by helping defeat the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Paule's is not a stereotypical story of trench warfare, poison gas and mass slaughter, however. He extensively documented a wide range of experiences in the United States and Europe, including his enlistment, preparation in various training camps for service "over there," his voyage across the U-boat infested Atlantic, and his time in England and France. In addition, Paule's memoir is unique because he was a member of an engineer regiment, a critical component of the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.). Comprising only about 12 percent of the total American army overseas, engineers played an essential role in military operations both behind and on the front lines. According to the U.S. Army's Chief of Engineers, among other duties engineers laid out and constructed field fortifications, constructed and maintained shelter (including barracks, quarters, and hospitals), and built and maintained railroads and highways.2 On occasion, engineer troops also served as infantrymen at the front.

Because there is no evidence he prepared his memoir for publication, Paule wrote in an unpretentious style, with occasional humor. Any reader of Paule's account will quickly realize that his is not a romantic, whitewashed account of the war, celebrating a victory gained by heroic doughboys. Although he noted the positive aspects of his military career, Paule did not hesitate to relate the "dark and dreary" nature of soldier life. More importantly, he also freely criticized his superiors and the army in general for poor planning and unfair treatment. According to the strict censorship rules of the time, such sentiments were usually removed from personal letters by commanding officers. His frank narrative, composed after his return to the United States and free from censorship, preserves the memories of a citizen-soldier who was proud of his contributions to a "just cause," but also admitted that life in the A.E.F. was certainly not carefree, and that the Kaisers forces were conquered only after a great deal of suffering and sacrifice.3

In addition, for historians of social history and military material culture, Paule recorded important aspects of army life during this period, including living conditions, army rations, troop transportation, the duties of engineers, and military construction techniques. Paule also recalled the ancient and alien lands and cultures he encountered, particularly the French and English civilians who had become accustomed to the grueling life of non-combatants in a war zone.

"Prior to my entry into the service of the United States Army," Paule wrote, "I had read many stories of adventure and biography's [sic] of noted men, and although I found them interesting I doubted very much that one man could participate in as many adventures and cover as large an area as described in some of those books." The thought never entered his mind, Paule admitted, that he might participate in "a world of experiences" as well. But in ten months of service, the young railroad employee from a small town in Illinois travelled through much of the United States east of the Mississippi River, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, rode or marched through northern France, and "lived in the battle scarred regions of the Western Theater of the World War."4

Paules regiment, the 114th Engineers, was organized in August 1917 as the "sapper" regiment of the Thirty-Ninth Division, and was composed of National Guard troops from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi (Figure 1). Although National Guardsmen formed the nucleus of the regiment, drafted soldiers such as Paule, gathered from Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky, and Camp Pike, Arkansas, helped fill the ranks of the 114th.5 The regiment trained at the Thirty-Ninth Division's cantonment at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, from August 1917 to the following July, when it was ordered overseas.6 The 114th landed at Brest, France, on September 3, 1918, trained at Charost, then went to the front in early October. Attached to the U.S. First Corps and First Army, the regiment built and maintained the roads over which vital supplies moved from railheads to support the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the final and largest American drive of the war.7

This excerpt from Paule's memoir appears here largely as written. He dedicated his typed account to his brother and fellow veteran Frank Paule, probably just after the formers return to Belleville.8 Misspelled words and place names have been corrected, while brackets indicate words or letters added by the editor. This excerpt begins in August 1918, only two months after Paule left home for the army, as the 114th Engineers departed Camp Mills, New York, to board a troop transport for the voyage to France:

The Great Day arrived at last, and so, on the morning of Aug. 21 [1918] we packed our belongings, and left Camp Mills for Hoboken N.J. where we were placed on board the transport, U.S.S. Wilhelmina.9

The Wilhelmina had formerly been in use as a passenger liner, plying between San Francisco and the Hawaiian Islands. It had been constructed in 1909 and named after the Queen of Holland.10 This ship has a carrying capacity of 2,500 men, not including the crew of several hundred. We left the harbor at 9.30 A.M. on Aug. 22, and were escorted across the bay and into the Atlantic Ocean by cruisers, destroyers, battleships, aeroplanes, hydroplanes and observation balloons. As we passed the Statue of Liberty, bedlam broke loose. The noise made by the men was deafening, and it seemed to fill us all with a new spirit of patriotism. We stayed on deck until the last trace of land was lost in the distance.

The sea was exceptionally calm, throughout the voyage. Hardly a ripple on the water. It reminded one greatly of a huge mill-pond. The sun shown daily and we were delighted to spend hours on deck, in reading, lounging and smoking. The nights, too, were lovely. I cannot say which are the prettiest hours while at sea, whether it is in the morning, when the sun peeps over the horizon, casting its reflection on the water; or whether, in the evening, when the sun, like a great ball of fire, seems to sink into the waters of the ocean; or whether at night, when the moon standing high in the Heavens, throws its cold pale light on the waters, in the form of a silvery path, and thereby bringing out the silhouettes of the other ships in the convoy. It is hard to choose as all three are beautiful and fascinating, and at such times one cannot picture the water to be treacherous. The only time a calm sea does look treacherous, is in the darkness of the night. Then while gazing into the inky blackness of the sea, you feel as though the water is reaching up to grasp you, and you recoil from the rail in fright. To really appreciate this vast expanse of water, one must cross it, as words and pictures cannot convey to the mind, the silent beauty or calm treachery of the ocean.

I never will forget the way we were quartered in the hold. The bunks were four tiers in height, extending from end to end of the ship, and from side to side. The passage ways between bunks not wide enough to permit two men to pass without squeezing. They were also too short. If a man stretched out his full length, his feet would be in the bunk ahead. No sunlight in the hold, and very little fresh air. A few blue and green lights were burning continuously to indicate the hatchways and ladders, but that made conditions worse, for it seemed like night always. With such close quarters and poor ventilation, after the boys got sea-sick, conditions were beyond description. I was fortunate to make the voyage without getting sick."

The meals on board the ship were good but the system used in feeding the men was very poor. A number of long table[s] extending the full length of the "mess-hall," at which the men would stand while eating. "Close up on that long table" was the constant call of the guard in charge. You start eating at the near end of the table, and by constantly dosing up, you reach the far end before finishing the meal. I have waited in line one hour and thirty minutes to be served. Abandon ship, drills, were held daily at 15 minutes before sunrise and 15 minutes after sunset. Several days shots were fired at suspicious looking objects and this would call for another rush to rafts and life boats. One day an object was noticed coming towards the ship at a high rate of speed. A moment later, one of our guns opened fire, the projectile striking the water at the on-coming object. A column of water rose in the air a moment later. We were told that it was a torpedo. If so, and our shot had missed, the torpedo would have struck us amid-ship. The only time I was really frightened, while at sea, was a few days later. While sitting under one of the big guns, my thoughts on the book I was reading, 1 was brought to "earth" by a loud explosion. The gun near which I was sitting had opened fire without warning. I thought for a moment that we had been struck by a torpedo.

Owing to the constant danger of sub marine attacks, we were never permitted to go on deck without our canteens and life preservers. And we were also instructed that when retiring at night, to remove nothing but our shoes. We thought it was awful to go thirteen days without a change of clothing or a bath, but after several months in France, we found that two weeks was a short period for a bath or a change of clothing.

A ship may be likened to a house afloat. It has its Kitchens, which are called "galleys"; bath-rooms, which are called "heads"; and floors which are called "decks." To learn the names of all parts of a ship, would be quite as difficult as learning a new language, so it was only necessary to learn the names of those parts of the ship which figured in our daily actions.

Our voyage which was interesting and exciting throughout the trip, ended at last, and on the morning of Sept. 3,1918, we entered the harbor at Brest, France.

It is impossible to describe the many beauties of this harbor which is claimed to be one of the prettiest in France. When we set foot on French soil, we were filled with pride, to know we would be among the men to represent the United States in the "Great War." In those days, Brest was not what it is now, and we had a hard battle of it in the socalled "Rest Camp," living in pup-tents and working daily from 6.00 A.M. to 7.00 RM. and living only on reserve war rations. Our camp was about three miles from the dock, up hill the entire distance, and as our packs weighed more than 100 pounds, you can imagine how tired we were when finally we reached a field, near the Pontonezen Barracks, and told to pitch camp. These barracks were 200 years old, and were used at one time by Napoleons troops.12

Our easy life and good meals ended when we got off the ship. After the long hike to the camp, we pitched shelter tents on the damp Ground. Our supper consisted of one slice of bread and a chunk of cold corned beef. We had no place to wash our face or hands, during our stay near Brest. Our work consisted of various details at the wharf. We would leave camp before sunrise and return after sun-set. If water could have been had, we could not have shaved, for no light [s] were permitted in the camp. It was hard for us at first, but when compared with experiences since then, our life at Brest was very easy. The second day after landing I had the pleasure of meeting my brother Joe. Words cannot express our joy at that meeting, which was our first meeting since being parted at Camp Beauregardj,] La. two months before. We both had many subjects of interest to exchange and our one hour together was all too short. Although we were near each other after that, we were never fortunate to meet again while in France. In order to shorten this narrative, I will now give a summary account of life in France, before going into each move in detail.

Those, who have not been fortunate to cross the "Pond" will never know what it is to sleep on the hard floor of a loft or garret, with no stove to warm by or dry your water-soaked clothing, and no doors or windows to keep the cold rains and winds away. In many cases these barns and homes were little better than sleeping out doors, as the roofs were usually destroyed and rain and snow would fall through to the sleepers below. Pitching pup-tents on the water soaked ground; in shell holes and mine craters; or between barbed wire entanglements are a few more hardships the soldiers of the A.E.F. had to contend with. When pitching camp when on the Front, especially after dark, you never knew until day break the next morning what you had used for a bed. Just a few incidents of this kind. In many cases your "pillow" was the grave of a fallen hero, and your "mattress" is composed` of unexploded shells, hand grenades, partly concealed traps of mines, the remains of some shell torn body[,] etc. These are only a few dangers of pitching camp after dark. Dugouts were also used for "hotels" or "private homes," when on the Front. These, too, were dangerous, especially those just vacated by the Germans. Generally, these dugouts were filled with debris, and our duty was to "clean up" before moving in. This was a dangerous job. Shells of various sizes and make were lying all around. Hand grenades were numerous and we never knew when one would accidentally explode, or the trap of a mine be sprung. Mice and rats and the famous "cootie" were things we could never drive out of the dugouts. To be awakened during the night by a rat running over your body or face, was a nightly occurrence. And the meals. Oh, Lord. Many, many times we went to bed hungry. In the three meals served daily, there was not enough to satisfy the appetite for one meal. Many time the meals would be unseasoned, burnt or half-cooked. Some days when this would happen, we would try feeding it to some stray dog or cat, and they would turn away from it. To pick up a crust of bread from the mud, or drink water from a shell-hole or stream, became a habit with the men who fought "Over Seas." We also begged bread and meat from a Regiment of Negroes who were stationed nearby. Our meals would consist of one or two of the following: Corned beef; Salmon; Pork and Beans; Tomatoes and Hard-tack. Coffee was very seldom on the "Bill-of-Fare." Whenever we were near a village we would pay fabulous prices for a bite to eat. This is one thing that kept body and soul together. To-day as I look back upon those months of hardships I cannot realize how we done our work as well and quick as we did. Work from early morn till late at night. Rain or snow. I cannot say rain or shine, as it was unusual to see the sun more than a dozen times each month. Our breakfast and supper were eaten in the dark. We would stand for hours in the mud and rain, waiting for a spoonful of beans and tomatoes. As no lights were permitted at the Front, before the Armistice, we would feel with our fingers to find if we had eaten "all" of our meal. Rain never stopped us from our work. Whether it was only a shower or a deluge, we stayed on the job, making the roads passable for the men, ammunition and supplies, going towards the front lines. But we never objected to the exposure, [on] account of these sacrifices being for a just cause. The only time we objected was after the armistice, when building track, grandstands[,] etc., for horse shows and foot-ball games. We did not think is [it] was justice to the men to expose them to sickness and possible death, by working them day and night, in rain or snow, just so a few officers could have a day of pleasure. Many times on returning from work or drill, we would be soaked to the skin. It was a common sight to see men pour water from their shoes, after a days work in the rain.

I constantly thought of the Y.M.C.A. advertisements in the States, telling of the numerous "Y" huts in France, and how fine the boys were treated when returning from "Over the Top." These huts can be found in large cities, in leave areas and training centers, far behind the lines, but it was the Salvation Army and the Knights of Columbus that helped the boys while in the advanced danger zones.13

And the promises to write often to home and friends could not be fulfilled, owing to the scarcity of stationary, which was issued once each month, and then it was one envelope and two sheets of paper. I was fortunate to have a small supply of both, from on board the ship, and by hoarding it I could write more oftener than some of the other boys. Everything though, was not dark and dreary in France. The following are some of the bright spots, that kept us from becoming entirely discouraged, also giving a brief discription of France and her People. France is a great country, with a wonderful history, with a splendid record of which the French people have just reason to be proud.

In travelling from place to place, you go by truck, or perhaps in freight cars, forty men per car, without seeing even one of the large cities. The roads, in peace times, the best in the world, now much injured by heavy traffic and lack of repair. You pass fields which for four years have been cultivated by the willing but weak hand of the women, the children and the old men. You go through villages where many of the houses or [are] closed forever, fathers and sons having been killed in the war. You meet aged men who have lost their sons; women who have lost their husbands; and young girls who have lost their sweet-hearts. All the joy for these people has gone out of life. In many regions the houses, the trees and the ground itself have been shattered and hopelessly wrecked by the cannon of the enemy.

The life of Americans and French differ greatly.14 In America it is rare for a father and his children and his grand-children, to follow the same persuits or even to live in the same town. In France, the great opportunity is not to do something different, but to continue doing well what was begun a hundred or more years ago.

In France the unit of weight is the Gram; 1,000 grams making a kilogram (about 2.1 pounds)[.] The unit of length is the meter (about 39 inches); 1,000 meters make a kilometer (5/8's of a mile). The unit of volume is the liter (one and three fourths pints).

The bank of France issues bank-notes of, 1-2-5-10-20-50 and 100 francs and upwards, and the silver money is one-half franc pcs., 1-2and 5 franc pieces. Nickle and copper pieces or 5 8c 10 centimes.

It is convenient to calculate five francs as amounting roughly to $1.00; one franc to 20 cents, and 5 & 10 centimes to one and two cents. Since the war, the different Departments or States have issued paper bills of 1 and 2 francs and 50 centimes, which are legal tender only in the locality where issued.

France in general is a beautiful country. The sections of the country I was in, are very hilly, and from information gathered from soldiers and civilians, the whole of France is mountainous. In travelling from place to place, via the "French Box Car Route[,]" the ever changing scenery breaks the monotony of the ride. Up hill and down; over, under and around the mountains; at time[s] riding through the bottoms completely surrounded by high hills, and then, in a moment up a steep grade, to the peak of the highest hill, from where, at times, as many as ten villages can be seen at once. The villages are practically the same throughout the country, varying only in size of buildings and in the number of homes and population. By that I mean, all villages have very narrow streets, and crooked alleys; the side-walks, if they can be called such, are not wide enough for two persons to walk abreast; the buildings are all built of stone and are very old. The average homes are from 100 to 300 hundred years old, and many dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries, while here and there you see one of recent construction. The main or business streets pass through the center of the village. All business transactions are made on this street. This street is usually wider than the others, which are so narrow and crooked they remind one of a net-work of alleys or passageways, connecting one yard with another.

The churches, usually large, picturesque and historic, are generally the oldest landmarks, with the exception of some cases where the chateaus or [are] the oldest. The roads are goods and are an attraction to auto tourists. A white smooth road-bed, lined on either side by tall and pretty hedges, and tall trees. Many of the roads were built during the reign of Ceaser. The roads show to great advantage, especially when gazing from one hill to another, you see the long streak of white roadbeds, winding their way up the mountain side, like some huge snake.

The customs and costumes of the French people are very odd, and at times so strange as to be amusing. The strangeness of their modes of living covers suck [such] a large field, I will leave that part of the story to the imagination of the reader.

I will now revert to our departure from Brest, France.

From Brest the Regiment went to its training area, at Charost (Cher), 48 hours in french box cars being required for this journey. We left Brest Sat. Sept. 7th, via the Box car route. This was our first experi- ence riding on the French Railroads, and it was anything but satisfactory. Forty men to the car, and if lucky, you got a car that had hay on the floor. These cars are about half the size of those used in the States. Much available space was used for our packs, rifles and rations. Try to picture a car, 30 feet long and 8 feet wide, place 20 large packs at either end; stack 40 rifles together; and then put 20 loaves of bread and several large boxes of canned goods in the center; then try to picture 40 men trying to sleep in the unused section. It was not possible. Many were compelled to sit up all night. Those who were fortunate to find a place to lie down, were kept awake by being stepped upon; or by getting kicked when one of the others "turned over"; or by the yells of rage when still another was kicked or stepped upon.15

The scenery was very pretty but I got to see very little of it. A few "seat hogs," (generally the Sergeants), would stand in the doorway, (the only place to see from), and stay there until dark. Then these same bullies or wise-guys, would claim the best corner for sleeping. When in motions [sic] these French trains travel at a high rate of speed, but their system of operation is so poor, that, at times, you are side tracked for hours. We arrived at our destination, Charost (Cher) on Monday Sept. 9. It was at this place the Regiment lost 22 men by the Spanish Influenza, and where some 50 or more were left behind in hospitals, when the Regt, departed for the Front, October 1st.16

While in Charost, we were crowded into the garret of a private home. Twenty five men in a room 10 X15 feet. Our billet was filled with mice and spiders. The floor was covered with moldy hay and onion skins, which filled the place with a musty odor. It was nauseating, to say the least. Only one opening in the wall, and it was 3X5 feet. This took the place of a door and window.

No matches, candles or lanterns were permitted to burn in the billet, and whether it was day or night, the interior of our "home" was dark at all times. I feigned sickness several times while at Charost, for an opportunity to write a few letters, then I had to sit on a rock in an alley to do so, for there were no tables or benches to be had. Although the French people offered me the use of their tables, I had to refuse, as the Captain had issued instructions, that, any man caught entering the home of a villager, whether it was by invitation or not, that man would be punished.17

Our meals were very bad. Only 11 kilometers, (about 6 &1/2 miles) from the Division Supply Base, we were compelled to go three days without a slice of bread. For ten days our meals consisted of one slice of bread and one spoon of corned beef, tomatoes or beans. The meals were served cold, although the cooks had a fire in the stove daily. Yellow water, called coffee, was served three times each week. Our days were spent on the drill field or on long hikes. It rained practically every day during our stay here, but we drilled just the same.

The Church of St. Michael was the oldest structure in the town. It was erected in the early part of the 13th century; was partly destroyed by fire and reconstructed in the year 1216. A few changes have been made since then. The French Cemeteries are always in the Church-yards. The floral offerings are very pretty, and are made of glass bead work. The dates on some of the tomb-stones were: 1804; 1822; and 1831, and others so old and weather worn, the dates were not discernible.

To refer again to our meals. Our breakfast some days was one biscuit, hard enough to chop, two thin slices of bacon fat, and a fourth of a cup of coffee. Had it not been for what we could buy, at big prices from the French, we would have starved. Grapes were plentiful. Wherever you go in France, you can find beautiful vineyards, and the people deserve credit for the wonderful care they take of them. Mile upon mile of vineyards. All trimmed to a uniform height and a uniform distance between rows. It was grand. Grapes done their bit to keep body and soul together, and many were the evening, when with a few comrades, I entered a vineyard, and ate our fill of grapes.

On Sept 17,1 received four letterfs] and the following day I got 13. This was the first mail I received since the latter part of July. Continual transfer from place to place, prevented mail from getting to the Company sooner. The sweetest music in the world, is the bugle call of "Mail Day." Words cannot express what happiness a little note or postal card brings to a man, when so far from home, or the feeling of lonesomeness when no mail arrives."*

One of our hikes took us to St. Florent, where we were issued a gasmask and a helmet. Including the parade around town, we hiked about 20 miles. It was on this hike, I was informed that the 155th Infantry was stationed nearby. That is the outfit my brother Joe was with, so the following Saturday I walked back to St. Florent to look him up, but upon arriving in the village I learned that he was stationed at St. Thoretta, some distance away. I could not charter a vehicle of any kind to take me to him, and the distance was too great to walk.19

On another hike, we visited Issoudon, near which is a large American Aviation Field.20 About 14 miles for the round trip. Issoudin is a pretty place, having many old and beautiful homes; a large college and also a Base Hospital. Our meals on this day was one small bacon sandwich for breakfast; the same at 9.30 A.M.; then nothing to eat until 6.30 P.M. when we got a spoon of tomatoes and beans. It was a hot day, and we covered more than half the distance between Charost and Issoudin, while wearing our gas masks. Friday, Sept. 20,1 received my first pay as a soldier. I received payment in full for the months of July and August and for the eight days of June. It amounted to 314 francs. The first thing I done after getting my pay, was to recover my ring, which I had pawned for enough money to buy something to eat; then I went direct to the largest restaurant in town, where I ate my fill. There are many little incidents that kept us in good spirits, and many that were discouraging, but they are so numerous, it is impossible to recall all.

On Oct. 4th, we left Charost, on another 48 hour ride, via the French Box-cars, 40 men per car. One of the men of "D" Company was killed by a passing train. While on a siding, several of the boys were walking around for exercise, when a train came from the opposite direction, striking this fellow and killing him instantly. It came so suddenly we hardly realized what had happened.

On Sun. Oct. 6th we detrained at Clarmont-en-Argonne, where we got our first impression of what war was. The buildings were all in ruins; Barbed-wire entanglements everywhere; constant flash of guns and roar of cannon in the distance, reminded one of thunder and lightning. We stayed here only two days, then continued on our way over shell torn roads until we arrived in the Argonne Woods. This hike was awfid. A distance of 12 miles or more, carrying heavy packs; up hill and down; through mud and water; stopping only a few times to rest; nothing to eat except a sandwich for breakfast and a slice of dry bread for dinner. In plain words, that hike was "Hell." Anyone, not having made a similar hike, will never realize what we went through. Then going towards the Front for the first time; every step brought us closer to danger. What a mixture of feelings it was. Expectant, hopeful, fearful, exciting, interesting, appalling. Everything at once. Words cannot express our feelings as these different thoughts raced through our minds. At dusk a halt was called, and our officers realized we had travelled too far. We had passed our destination three kilometers back. All around us were shell-holes, trenches, barbed-wire entanglements, and broken cannon. Everything that was ugly. Not a sign of life. Not even a bird. Everyone too tired to talk. The roar of cannon before and behind us. We pitched camp on what had been No Mans Land only a few days before. No supper was served, so we had to retire, cold, wet and hungry, with no fire to warm by. It is one of the many days and nights I will never forget. The next morning we retraced our steps to where we were due the night before. This time our "home" was in the dugouts. Slime, filth and debris had to be cleared to make the billets habitable. After we "cleaned up" we had an ideal place, located in a valley, about one kilometer from the road; the high hills on either side protecting us from shell fire. Our only danger was from air raids, which were every night. Many bombs dropped near us, but we were fortunate to escape injury. On arriving in the advanced zone, we took over the construction and maintenance of roads, over which supplies and troops of the First Army were removed from the rail heads to the Front. Here we remained during the Argonne-Meuse offensive, going forward with the victorious troops. It was during this period the Chief Engineer of the First Army cited us (the 114th Engrs) as being the best Engineers Regiment operating in that Army area.

Now came the final thrust of the Argonne-Meuse offensive, bringing with it added labor and hardships on the Engineer troops, who were now asked to keep open for heavy traffic, second and third class roads. Bridges which had heretofore carried only five tons, had now to carry ten and fifteen tons. The Engineers did double and treble duty on the roads, for weeks at a time working throughout the night repairing roads.

From Grandpre to Sommouthe, this Regiment, with other Engineer units, maintained traffic by unending labor; finding road material where there was none; carrying it in wheelbarrows; in sand bags and on their shoulders; and by making use of German fortifications, machine gun emplacements and dugouts.

The meals were worse here than ever before. At times to keep from starving, we begged meals from a Company of negroes, who were stationed nearby.

As mentioned above, our duty while in the Argonne, was to repair a section of road, which had been made impassible by bursting shells and heavy traffic. This was no easy matter, as road material was scarce. We blasted German concrete dugouts to get solid material with which to do our repair work. As most of these dugouts were from one quarter to three quarters of a mile from the road, this called for lots of extra work. It meant, push heavily loaded wheel-barrows that distance, up hill in most cases, and across six inch boards, spanning wide and deep shell holes and trenches. Several days we carried concrete blocks, weighing from 30 to 60 pounds each, a distance of a half mile, from the valley to the road. The way was too steep and rocky to even use a wheelbarrow, so the only thing left for us to do, was carry them on our shoulders. At the end of the days work we would be so tired and bruised, we could hardly sleep at night, and no linement to be had to ease the pain.

One evening on returning from work, the Captain told us he had some jam, cakes and chocolate, which he had intended to distribute among us, but after his inspection of the dugouts, he found them so dirty and filthy, he decided to punish us, by forcing us to wait until the following] week, for the cake and candy. We never did get it. In regard to the dirty billets, what could we do? Dark when we left them in the morning; dark when we returned at night; no lights permitted to burn. How could we keep the place clean? A low fire was burning in the fireplace every night, but it cast such a faint glow, no work could be done. We worked thirteen days before we had a chance to wash or shave. That Captain should be publicly shamed for his treatment to us.21

One day several of us fellows explored a few German dugouts, which were located in the valley, a short distance from us. Most of them were constructed of re-enforced concrete, and the walls were from six to twenty-four inches in thickness. To give a faint idea how fast the Huns retreated from their strong-holds, I will mention a few things found on this "tour of inspection."

A meal had just been prepared, and the following was found in the kitchen. Two large vats of saur-kraut; and sausage; several sides of beef; a large wheel of cheese; enough bread to furnish a small bakery; and also a number of other articles such as canned goods and flour. In the machine shop several instruments were left unfinished in the vice. Several hundred bottles of medicine and chemicals, and boxes of powders were found in the hospital. In the orderly room or post office, letters were found unopened. I cannot re-call all things as I found them on that day. There were upholstered chairs and rockers; pianos; shower-baths; womens clothing, bath tubs, cases of wine and kegs of beer, etc.

Grave yards were scattered over the country side, ranging from ten to 200 graves each. Large stone tomb stones, indicated the last resting place of the officers, while small stone and wooden tablets were the identification marks of the men in the ranks. Each head mark bore the name, rank, age and date of all men buried here. The dates ranged from 1914 to 1918.1 may mention here, that the section of the Argonne where we were working, had been No Man's Land all during the war, until the Americans took charge of this sector in September of 1918. The betting on Sept. 25th, was 10 to 1 that the Americans could NEVER take the Argonne Woods. The great drive started Sept. 26th, and after a terrific barrage the Germans were driven over the first hill. On Oct. 4th the second phase of the drive started and the Germans never stopped running until the[y] reached Sedan, and the Armistice put a stop to all hostilities.

It was the greatest drive of the war and I cannot understand how our doughboys ever got through that maze of trenches and the network of barbed wire entanglements, better known as French Cactus. When the 6th Division passed us, one of the captains asked me several questions in regard to our location, name of woods, when battle started, present battle-line etc., and after receiving the requested information he remarked, "I have been over here some time, and saw fighting on several fronts, but never saw anything as bad as the Argonne." Before the war, this section was covered by a dense forest, but now, after four years of terrific bombardment, not a tree is left standing.

Ammunition of all kinds were lying all around. Many of them unexploded and partly covered with dirt. While working, we never knew when we would strike a "live" hand grenade or shell with our picks.

The shells ranged from the common rifle bullets to large projectiles 4 and 5 feet in length and 12 inches in diameter. It was a common thing while working, to unearth the bones of a hand, head, foot or other parts of the body. One day I unearthed a shoe which still enveloped the foot of a man. No doubt, these remains were part of the men who were reported "Missing in Action." One shell, probably unearthed a grave, as several skulls and broken tomb stones were found nearby. The largest hole I saw while at the Front, was a mine crater, which measured 250 feet in diameter, and was 35 feet deep.

Oct. 24th I received my first mail from the time we left Charost. Mail days were the most welcome days of any. If it were only a line from home saying all were well, we would be content to wait several more weeks for the next delivery. But to receive a big letter, one of 10 or more pages, was the "Joy of Joys."

Smoking tobacco and cigarettes were issued on rare occasions, and permit me to say, that smoking saved many lives in France, especially during a gas attack. The old adage of "Poison to kill poison" held true in gas attacks. The lungs of a smoker are filled more or less with nicotine, and in an attack with gas, the nicotine acts as the strongest poison, and it gives you an extra second or two, in which to adjust your gas-mask.22

Air battlejs] and anti-air-craft guns shooting at enemy planes, were numerous and spectacular, and sent an unexplainable thrill through our bodies. It was not unusual to see hundreds of planes in the air at one time. One afternoon I counted 93 planes in 15 minutes, and I could not keep tab on those that followed, they came so fast, and all headed towards the enemies lines.

On Sunday afternoon, Oct 27, an enemy plane was seen circling above one of our observation balloons. "Jerry" made a direct hit with a bomb, and a moment later the balloon was enveloped in flames, and fell to earth. "Jerry" escaped back to his own lines, afterwards.22

Another day while working on the road, we noticed a plane above us, which started an argument as to whether it was "friend" or "enemy." The plane carried the Allied insignia, but the hum of the motor was distinctly German. The argument was settled in a strange manner. It was a German in "disguise," and he dropped a number of bombs near us. The men of our Company and of "D" Company escaped injury, but a detachment of negroes working with us, suffered two casualties. The scramble for shelter was comical. The men fell over each other in the mad rush for shelter. We cannot be blamed for running. No weapon to protect ourselves but shovels and picks, and the enemy just above. It was thrilling while it lasted.

We left our dugouts on Wed. Nov. 6th on what proved to be the hardest hike I made in France. On this move we passed through the following villages: Varennes, Montblainville, Apremont, Chatel-Cherey, Fleville and St. Juvin. If the reader has a map of the famous ArgonneMeuse battle, he can see how close we were to the front lines, and made the war without firing a shot, but always within range of the enemies big guns. We entered and passed through the villages that had been in the hands of the Germans but a few days before. We hiked about 25 kilometers and only rested three times. Mud over our shoe tops. We reached our destination after dark, and went to "bed" without supper. Our shelter for the night was a large barn, with part of the roof tom off and the doors and windows missing. A number of horses were kept in the same barn, and water and manure and filth littered the floor. Our "beds" were whatever we could find to rest upon. Rather than put my blankets in the water and filth, which was two inches deep, I placed a ladder on the floor, and used my raincoat for a "mattress" and my overcoat for a blanket. It was impossible to sleep in this manner, but I at least stayed dry, and on arising the following morning, the impressions of the ladder rungs were on my body.

No one had removed their outer-garments when retiring, not even their shoes. While in France, most of the soldiers would go three weeks and longer, and remove nothing but shoes and leggings, and these two articles but once or twice in that time.

Reveille at 5.30 the next morning and worked on the road for a few hours. Dead soldiers, (American, French and German) were lying all around us. The burial detachment had not reached this section, while we were here, to bury the dead men, or to dispose of the many dead horses lying nearby. It was a sickening sight. At 10.00 A.M. we received orders to move farther towards the Front. A detail of 17 men were to go with the supply trucks, as guards, and I was one of the lucky men. I certainly was glad to ride, for my feet were so sore and bruised from the hike of the proceeding day, that they bled freely. My socks were so blood-soaked that when they dried, I could make them stand up in the center of a room.

The truck ride was very interesting. We passed hundreds of trucks, loaded with French refuges, coming from villages that had been recap- tured from the Germans, and thereby gave these people their release from slavery. We also passed many groups of German prisoners, who were being taken towards the rear. Our destination was to be a place called Fontenoy, and our route took us through Buzancy, Harricourt, and Sommouthe. Night over-took us while still many miles from our destination, and I learned at first sight, the perilous job of truck drivers. No lights were permitted, and the night so dark you could barely distinguish objects ten feet distant. One had to place his trust in God, not to run into the truck ahead or perhaps the more dangerous, of running into a shell-hole. Somehow or other, we were misrouted, and taken right to the lines. It was entirely too dark to distinguish any men or objects but the guns were so close we could see the flash of fire, as each gun would roar. We had just started on the right road, when a number of shells bursted just over-head. The men in our detachment were fortunate, all but one man escaping injury, and he only received a scratch on the shin from shrapnell. As we were on our way to Fontenoy, we could not stop to see whether any of the soldiers stationed in the village were killed or wounded. Getting back to the main road was no easy matter. Ammunition, supplies, artillery and men going in the lines, blocked the road more or less. And much time was lost in getting off the road and getting stuck hub deep in the mud. This happened several times, and believe me, it is no easy job to get a loaded truck out of the mud.

Finally about 10.30 P.M. we drifted into St. Pierremont with a broken axle, every one of us covered with mud from head to foot, and with an appetite for everything eatable, with only a few cans of corned beef and hard-tack to relieve the pangs of hunger. We slept this night in a shell torn barn, and owing to the darkness, we could not find our packs, so our bed was a thin layer of straw and our covering an over-coat. We continued our journey, bright and early the next day and reached our destination about 30 minutes in advance of the Company, who had travelled on foot. It was noon by this time and having no kitchen we were told to eat our reserve rations.24

No rest for the wicked, so foot-sore and weary, the afternoon sun found us on the road doing repair work. The ruins around here were worse than any others I saw in France. Buildings were completely destroyed and in many cases the foundations were the only mark to show where a house had been. A wall or two of some buildings were still standing, and we tore these down to get material for our work on the roads. The stone walls of a cemetery were also used for this purpose.

On Nov. 11th, the Regimental Headquarters was at Brieulles-surBar. The Company's were distributed north and east of said town, and occupied the towns of Oches, Fonetenoy, St. Pierremont and Som- mouthe, busily engaged in maintaining as two-way traffic, roads which were only intended for one-way traffic, in addition to hauling by manpower the numerous trucks which were often in the ditches.

We had not seen a newspaper for weeks, and the only way we could get information was from passing troops. The tales they told were mostly lies. At the same time we were lost from our supply base; our rations were low; we were merely existing; but reports from the Front were so encouraging, it put new life into us. We were also lost from our Communication center, so we never knew positively that the Armistice had been signed until November 14th.

The Armistice brought no rest for the Regiment, as the troops of the First Army must return, and supplies go in, over the roads now being taken care of by us. It was at this time that we, (the Regiment) were again cited for our unceasing efforts on the road, by the Chief Engineer of the First Army Corps.

Paule and his comrades were correct. The end of the fighting did not mean they would enjoy an extended period of relaxation. The company did in fact journey to a rest area near Clermont-en-Argonne, where they remained until January 1919, but that "hell hole" was "awful," according to Paule, with more drilling, hikes, and monotonous rations continuing to make army life unpleasant. To make matters worse, Paules noncommissioned officers, nearly all Southerners, made sure that "all the dirty and heavy details fell to the lot of the Northerners. It seemed more like a war between States, than a World War," he recalled.25 The company soon moved to Maligny, a "beautiful village," where the engineers continued to build barracks and roads, and to drill and hike. There, Paule's disillusionment with army life only increased: "It takes many drops of water to fill a pail; many grains of sand to make a mound," he bitterly wrote, "and so with life in France, for there were many little incidents, which by themselves were mere trifles, but when linked together, filled us with contempt for our officers; disgusted us with army life; and made us long to be again in God's Country, the U.S.A."26

In February 1919, Paule's outlook improved, however, when he was detached from his unit and sent to First Army headquarters at Bar-surAube. "Although our work was hard," Paule recalled, "our stay in Bar-surAube was the happiest period of my time in France."27 He helped build grandstands for an upcoming horse show and football game, along with a number of airplane hangers, and erected 120 squad tents. Entertainment in the form of boxing, football and theatrical productions helped the soldiers pass the time.

On March 27, Paule was ordered to return to his company to prepare to return to the United States, and on April 3, Company E left Maligny and arrived back in the port city of Brest. On Easter Sunday, April 20, most of the engineers, including half of Company E, embarked on the U.S.S. Nebraska, and on May 1 the battleship dropped anchor at Hampton Roads, Virginia. "Words cannot describe our feelings as we placed foot again on American soil," Paule remembered. "Very little cheering was done by us. All were too choked with emotion to give vent to their feelings, until the Naval Band started to play, 'Marching Through Georgia.' Oh, Boy. It was then that the air rang with cries of rejoicing." A few days later, Paule begin the final segment of his journey home. Honorably discharged on May 13,1919, Paule walked through the front door of his home the following morning, a long ten months and twenty-four days after he set forth to "Help make the World a decent place to live in."28

Edward E Paule moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1922, and died there on March 6,1962, at the age of 68.29 Despite the many hardships he endured, and his complaints about certain aspects of army life, in his twilight years Paule probably agreed with the unknown author of the U4th's regimental history, who wrote that their months overseas were "the ones to which we will look most gloriously upon and with warmest reminiscence." Perhaps Paule and each of his fellow engineers would have also agreed with the assessment of Captain Frederick Young, who believed that the 114th played "just as important a part in the fight for world freedom" as those Americans "whose work had more of the glamour."30 More importantly, all of Paules fellow doughboys would have echoed the young Illinois soldier's prayer, "that never again will there be another war with its inhuman sacrifice of human lives."31



1. Belleville News-Democrat, August 11,1919. All three brothers lived with their parents at 2019 West "A" Street in Belleville. All three registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. Edward F. Paule, born in East St. Louis, Illinois, on July 19, 1893, was a clerk in the office of the Southern Railway Company in East St. Louis. Frank J" born on September 6,1890, was a clerk in the freight office of the East St. Louis and Southern Railway Company. Joseph H. Paule, born in East St. Louis on November 14,1891, was a clerk in the East St. Louis and Interurban Water Company in East St. Louis. "World War I Draft Registration Cards, St. Clair County, Illinois, Draft Board 2,", accessed August 9,2014. The three sons of Herman and Anna Paule left for the army on June 24,1918. All three returned safely from their service in World War I. Belleville News-Democrat, June 30,1919. Joseph Paule served in Company F, 155th U.S. Infantry, while Frank Paule served in the Quartermaster Corps at the Beau Desert Hospital Center.

2. U.S. War Department, Annual Reports, 66th Congress, 2nd Session, House of Representatives Document No. 427 in Report of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, part I, 1919 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919), 62. At the time of the November 1918 Armistice, the combat strength of the A.E.F. included 81,600 men serving in the Engineer branch, 646,000 in infantry and machine gun battalions and 278,500 in the artillery branch. Engineer officers made up just 8.69 percent and enlisted men only 12.68 percent of total A.E.F. strength in November 1918. American Armies and Battlefields in Europe (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1938), 502.

3. The majority of written sources documenting the American military experience in World War I were letters sent home by soldiers and sailors. Unfortunately for historians, General Orders No. 13, issued by American Expeditionary Force headquarters in Paris on July 13, 1917, stipulated that "criticism of operations, superior officers, non-commissioned officers, conditions of life, subsistence, etc.," was considered "dangerous information" and "useful to the enemy" and prohibited from personal correspondence. Officers examining mail containing such sentiments could "suppress any statement" that violated this order. United States Army in the World War, vol. XVI, 1917-1919 (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, 1992), 27-34.

4. Paule memoir, in editor's possession.

5. Camp Taylor was located about five miles south of Louisville, Kentucky, and served as a training camp for men from Kentucky, Indiana and southern Illinois. The camp's population rose to 29,000 by mid-October 1917, but fell by the end of the year to 21,000. Camp Pike was located about three miles from Little Rock, Arkansas. Men from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and elsewhere trained at Camp Pike. Nearly 32,000 men were stationed at the camp by the end of 1917. U.S. War Department, Annual Reports, vol. I, 1918 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1919), 378-79,399.

6. Camp Beauregard was located about six miles north of Alexandria, Louisiana. The camp's population rose to 23,000 men in November 1917. Annual Reports, vol. 1,1918,417-18. The duties of engineer "sapper" regiments, according to U.S. Army Regulations and Tables of Organization, included the construction of field fortifications, demolition and wrecking, general construction, opening and improving a division's line of communications, and serving as infantry when the occasion demanded, in addition to serving the division "in every feasible way." [United States Army, Corps of Engineers], The Official History of the Three Hundred and Fourth Engineer Regiment, Seventy-Ninth Division, U.S.A., During the World War (Lancaster, PA: Steinman & Foltz, 1920), xiv. One period writer believed that no arm of the service required more careful selection of its personnel than a "sapper" regiment, as it "should be made up largely of tradesmen and men fitted for certain classes of work." [United States Army, Corps of Engineers], The Three Hundred and First Engineers, A History, 1917-1919 (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1920), 4.

7. Paule served in Company E, 114th Engineer Regiment. The 114th was ini- tially assigned to the Thirty-Ninth Division. In July 1918, the War Department designated the National Guard of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana as the nucleus of the Thirty Ninth, and selected Camp Beauregard near Alexandria, Louisiana, as the training center for the division. In August 1918, the division was designated a depot division and eventually skeletonized, its members serving as replacements for other divisions. On September 23, the regiment was ordered to Clermont-en-Argonne for duty with the U.S. First Army. It arrived in the army area on October 4, and served with the First and Fifth Corps until the Armistice, primarily in road construction. From November 18-20, the regiment salvaged material in the Germont, Harricourt, and Buzancy region. Subsequently, the 114th stayed at Froidos, Ligny-le-Chatel, and in the Departments of Yonne, Nievre, and Finistère until April 1919. Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War, vol. II (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, 1988), 247-53. The official report of the Chief of Engineers succinctly summarized the ii4th's service this way: "Construction work in Service of Supply to September, 1918; ist Army Troops general road work Oct. 5,1918, through operations." U.S. War Department, Annual Reports, 66th Congress, 2nd Session, House of Representatives Document No. 427 in Report of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, part 1,1919,30. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive lasted forty-seven days (September 26-November 11,1918), and involved more than 1.2 million American troops. More than 26,000 U.S. soldiers died in the operation and more than 95,000 were wounded. American troops fought their way north, primarily in the region between the Meuse River and the Argonne Forest, and, by the time of the Armistice, drove the Germans more than thirty miles to the heights overlooking the town of Sedan. Edward G. Lengel, To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, i918 (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2008).

8. Paule's memoir, entitled "My Life As A Soldier. June 23, 1918 to May 13, 1919," was probably written ca. 1920. It is currently in the editor's possession, and was purchased through an Internet auction site from a collectibles dealer in England. It consists of fifty-seven pages, so the excerpt included here represents approximately one-third of the total manuscript, selected to highlight Paules experiences in France before the Armistice. The inscription on the memoir's cover reads, "To Frank As a lasting remembrance of my many interesting experiences in the army From Your Brother Eddie."

9. Camp Albert L. Mills was located on Long Island, about ten miles from the eastern boundary of New York City.

10. The 13,250-ton, steel-hulled, single screw passenger and cargo steamer was built at Newport News, Virginia. The Navy took over the Wilhelmina and commissioned it in January 1918. That May, Wilhelmina made the first of six wartime trips to France as a troop transport. During these passages, the Wilhelmina carried more than 11,000 passengers. Paule correctly noted that the ship experienced a near miss from a German torpedo on September 1. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, vol. VIII, ed. James L. Mooney (Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1981), 306-307.

11. Captain Frederick C. Young, who commanded Company E on the voyage to France, reported a far more positive experience on the Wilhelmina. Young noted that although each of the 2,300 "land-lubbers" aboard wondered how daily functions could be performed on the crowded ship, the "proper and coordinated" movement of troops allowed the men to accept the conditions on board "cheerfully." His men obviously enjoyed the trip, Young wrote, as they sang songs each night of the voyage. "Historical Reports of the Chief Engineer, documenting the period April 1,1917 to August 31, 1920, from the Records of the American Expeditionary Forces,", accessed August 7, 2014.

12. Located in Brittany near the most western point of France and 315 miles from Paris, Brest was the major port of debarkation for American troops arriving in France. Of the 1,057,000 Americans who landed in that country, nearly 800,000 passed through Brest. Leonard P. Ayres, The War with Germany: A Statistical Summary (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919), 42. A number of American units stayed briefly at nearby Camp Pontanezen, located next to the Napoleonic-era stone barracks buildings, before departing for the front. An extensive history of the camp may be found in The Military Surgeon, vol. XLVI, no. 3 (March 1920), 301-13. The five-acre oat stubble field was their headquarters for daily work details sorting and piling lumber on the harbor docks. Captain Young likely exaggerated only slightly when he wrote that his men "learned to shave, take a bath and do two weeks washing, in an empty bacon tin without fuel or water." "Historical Reports of the Chief Engineer, documenting the period April 1,1917 to August 31,1920."

13. While the Young Men's Christian Association, Salvation Army, Knights of Columbus and other charitable organizations made significant contributions to the welfare of American soldiers in France, doughboys often unfairly accused the Y.M.C.A. of selling donated items to the troops. Many doughboys called the organization "that damn Y." For one such example, see Henry Berry, Make the Kaiser Dance (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978), 84-86.

14. As historian David M. Kennedy explained, American fighting men in Europe were, in fact, "as much tourists as soldiers." In their letters home, Amer- ican soldiers frequently commented on the people, architecture, and physical beauty of France. David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 205-209.

15. Paule described the famous "40 and 8" boxcars that transported many American soldiers in France. The side-door cars could haul forty men or eight horses. Other doughboys described the less than pleasant journey on the cars, with one noting, "It seemed that all the wheels of the car were flat from the noise it made and the way it was bouncing over the narrow track we were hard put to stay in the car, let alone trying to get any rest." E.J.D. Larson, Memoirs of France and the Eighty-Eighth Division (Minneapolis: Scott-Mitchell Publishing Co., 1920), 21.

16. According to one source, 340,000 members of the A.E.F. were hospitalized for influenza, and approximately 9,000 members died of influenza between September 1 and November 11,1918. Jennifer D. Keene, World War I: The American Soldier Experience (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2011), 167.

17. Here Paule probably referred to Captain William S. Taussig, born in Chicago in 1882, who worked as an electrical engineer in Chicago prior to the war. Regimental Roster, 114th Engineers, First Army Corps, American Expeditionary Forces, France 1918-1919 (France: n.p., 1919t?]), 6. Taussig entered the army on May 9,1917, and was discharged on June 3,1919. "U.S. World War I Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921,", accessed August 7, 2014. He died in February 1958. Chicago Daily Tribune, February 16,1958. Captain Frederick C. Young, Company E's commanding officer during the voyage overseas, was transferred to Company B and made acting commander of the First Battalion when the regiment moved to the front. "Historical Reports of the Chief Engineer, documenting the period April 1,1917 to August 31,1920."

18. The editors of Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the A.E.F., believed that men could not become happy and good fighters without mail. "Mail is as necessary to the morale of armies as socks and shoes and other mundane things.... Chain mail made men brave in the old days; home mail makes men even braver in these days." The Stars and Stripes, March 1,1918.

19. The 155th U.S. Infantry was part of the Thirty-Ninth Division.

20. U.S. Army Air Service pursuit pilots were trained at the large Third Aviation Instruction Center at Issoudon.

21. Company E's Captain Taussig wrote in his "experience report" of the "comparatively easy conditions" his company enjoyed. Because his men saw no combat, they were prevented from enjoying any experience that he considered "at all outstanding or of interest as a matter of record," and in fact he did not observe "anything worthy of record." Nevertheless, Captain Taussig did feel compelled to mention the "unflagging energy" of the company's officers and men under uninspiring conditions, where "drudgery was the key-note." The men never complained, he noted, and the company "behaved itself as a military organization should." Although no "brilliant deed" was accomplished, he explained, each man performed his duties "without admonition" and exercised initiative "in a most gratifying degree." It was a pity, Taussig wrote, that the company was not given an opportunity to "show its metal under fire." "Historical Reports of the Chief Engineer, documenting the period April 1,19x7 to August 31, X920."

22. Although "poison to kill poison" was a common belief at the time, Paules theory that cigarette smoke could combat the effects of poison gas had no basis in fact.

23. A commonly used slang term for Germans.

24. Canned corned beef and hard bread, or hardtack, were staples of the doughboy's diet. Intended to sustain one man for three meals (one day), the reserve ration consisted of hermetically sealed tins of hard bread, corned beef, corned beef hash, roast beef, salmon, salt, sugar, coffee or cocoa that were then packed in a galvanized iron container that was impervious to gas. The emergency ration, on the other hand, consisted of three-ounce, paper wrapped cakes of beef and wheat powder and one-ounce cakes of chocolate and sugar. Three cakes of the meat/bread and three of the chocolate/sugar concoction were packed in a hermetically sealed lacquered can that could easily fit into the soldier's pocket or pack. The emergency ration could be eaten dry or boiled in water to form a soup or porridge.

25. Paule memoir, in editor's possession. All but one of the twenty-three sergeants of Company E were from Louisiana, Arkansas or Texas, while twentynine of the company's thirty-eight corporals were from those states.

26. Paule memoir, in editor's possession.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid.

29. Belleville News-Democrat, March 7, X9Ó2; The Detroit News, March 7, X962.

30. Regimental Roster, 2; "Historical Reports of the Chief Engineer, documenting the period April 1, X9X7 to August 3X, X920."

31. Paule memoir, in editor's possession.

[Author Affiliation]

Jeffrey L. Patrick is the librarian at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield in Republic, Missouri. He has an M.A. in History from Purdue University. He is the author or editor of several books and articles on U.S. military history, including Guarding the Border: The Memoirs of Ward Schrantz, U.S. Army, 1912-1917 (2009): '"On Convoy Duty in World War I': The Diary of Guy Connor," Indiana Magazine of History (Dec. 1993); "Becoming a Soldier at Camp Dix: The World War I Letters of Private William Lehman," New Jersey History (Spring/Summer 1996); and "From Civilian Life to Army Life: Fred Pickering's World War I Narrative," Nebraska History (Fall 2009).

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