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Full text of "With the doughboy in France : a few chapters of an American effort"

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WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN 
FRANCE 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

NEW YORK BOSTON CHICAGO DALLAS 
ATLANTA SAN FRANCISCO 

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED 

LONDON BOMBAY CALCUTTA 
MELBOURNE 

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD. 

TORONTO 




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WITH THE DOUGHBOY 
IN FRANCE 

A FEW CHAPTERS OF AN AMERICAN 
EFFORT 



BY 

EDWARD HUNGERFORD 

Author of The Modern Railroad, The Personality 
of American Cities, etc., etc. 



got* 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 
1920 

All rights reserved, 



COPYRIGHT, 1920, 
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 



Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1920. 




TO THE 
CROIX ROUGE AMERICAINE 

The girl in the steel-gray uniform with the crimson crosses, 

who toiled and endured and danced and laughed 

and lived, that the heart and soul of the 

boy in khaki might remain untroubled, 

this book is affectionately 

inscribed 



5034-.J. 



PREFACE 

Six months ago I finished writing the chapters of this 
book. At that time the American Red Cross still had a 
considerable force in Paris throughout France for 
that matter. It was still functioning and, after its fash- 
ion, functioning extremely well. In the language of the 
French it " marched." To-day its marching days in the 
land of the lilies are nearly over. The personnel have 
nearly all returned home; the few that remain are clear- 
ing and packing the records. In a short time the Croix 
Rouge Americaine which for months was so evident in the 
streets of the French capital will be but a memory along 
the Boulevards. But a memory of accomplishment not 
soon to be forgotten. If there is one undying virtue of 
the Frenchman it is that of memory. Seemingly he can- 
not forget. And for years the remembrance of our Red 
Cross in his land is going to be a pleasant thought indeed. 
Of that I am more than sure. 

To attempt to write a history, that should be at all ade- 
quate as complete history, of a great effort which was still 
in progress, as the writing went forward, would have been 
a lamentable task indeed. So this book makes no pose as 
history; it simply aims to be a picture, or a series of pic- 
tures of America in a big job, the pictures made from the 
standpoint of a witnesser of her largest humanitarian ef- 
fort the work of the American Red Cross. 

I should feel embarrassed, moreover, at signing my name 
to this book were any reader of it to believe that it was in 
any large sense whatsoever a " one man " production. 
The size of the field to be covered, the brief space of time 
allotted in which to make some sort of a comprehensive 



PREFACE 

picture of a really huge endeavor, made it necessary for 
the author to call for help in all directions. The answers 
to that call were immediate and generous. It hardly 
would be possible within a single chapter of this volume to 
make a complete list of the men and women who helped in 
its preparation. But the author does desire to state his 
profound sense of indebtedness to Mrs. Caroline Singer 
Mondell, Mrs. Kathleen Hills, Miss E. Buckner Kirk, 
Major Daniel T. Pierce, Captain George Buchanan Fife 
and Lieutenant William D. Hines. These have borne 
with him patiently and have been of much real assistance. 
His appreciation is great. 

This picture of an American effort tells its own story. 
I have no intention at this time or place to attempt to 
elaborate it ; but merely wish in passing to record my per- 
sonal and sincere opinion that, in the workings of our Red 
Cross overseas, there seemed to me to be such an outpour- 
ing of affection, of patriotism, of a sincere desire to serve 
as I have never before seen. It was indeed a triumph for 
our teachings and our ideals. 

E. H. 
ISTew York January, 1920. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I PAGE 

AMERICA AWAKENS ........ >: 1 

CHAPTEK II 
OUR EED CROSS GOES TO WAR ......... 6 



CHAPTEK III 
ORGANIZING FOR WORK .......... . . 13 

CHAPTEK IV 
THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT ........ . . 39 

CHAPTEK V 

THE AMERICAN RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE ... 80 

CHAPTER VI 
THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT ....... 100 



CHAPTER 
THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR ..... . 128 

CHAPTER VIII 

OUR RED CROSS PERFORMS ITS SUPREME MISSION . . . .182 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER IX PAGE 

THE KED CROSS IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. . . . 208 

CHAPTEE X 
"PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES IN YOUR OLD KIT BAG" ... 238 

CHAPTER XI 
WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 259 

CHAPTER XII 
THE GIRL WHO WENT TO WAR . . .278 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



SUPPER HOUR AT BORDEAUX Frontispiece 

No matter what hour; always the gobs and buddies 
other armies as well as our own ready with 100 per 
cent appetites. FACING 

PAGE 

So THIS Is PARIS 20 

A. E. F. Boys, guests of our A. R C. in its great hos- 
pital at St. Cloud, look down about the " Queen City of 
the World." 

CHOW " 62 

The rolling kitchens, builded on trailers to motor 
trucks, brought hot drinks and food right up to the men 
in action. 

OUR KED CROSS AT THE FRONT 100 

A typical A. E. C. dugout just behind the lines. 

As SEEN FROM ALOFT 140 

The aeroplane man gets the most definite impression at 
the A. R. C. Hospital at Issordun, which was typical 
at these field institutions. 

TICKLING THE OLD IVORIES 180 

Many an ancient piano did herculean service in the 
A. R. C. recreation huts throughout France. 

BANDAGES BY THE TENS OF THOUSANDS 220 

An atelier workshop of the A. R. C. in the Rue St. 
Didier, Paris, daily turned out surgical dressings by 
the mile. 

NEVER SAY DIE 262 

Sorely wounded, our boys at the great A. R. C. field 
hospital in the Auteuil race track outside of Paris, 
kept an active interest in games and sports. 



WITH THE DOUGHBOY 
IN FRANCE 



CHAPTEE I 

AMERICA AWAKENS 

IN that supreme hour when the United States consecrated 
herself to a world ideal and girded herself for the 
struggle, to the death, if necessary, in defense of that ideal, 
the American Eed Cross was ready. Long before that 
historic evening of the sixth of April, 1917, when Con- 
gress made its grim determination to enter the cause " for 
the democracy of the world," the Red Cross in the United 
States had felt the prescience of oncoming war. For 
nearly three years it had heard of, nay even seen, the 
unspeakable horrors of the war into which it was so soon to 
be thrust. It had witnessed the cruelties of the most 
modern and scientific of conflicts; a war in which science 
seemingly had but multiplied the horrors of all the wars 
that had gone before. Science and kultur between them 
had done this very thing. In the weary months of the con- 
flict that began with August, 1914, the American Red 
Cross had taken far more than a merely passive interest in 
the Great War overseas. It had watched its sister organ- 
izations from the allied countries, already involved in the 
conflict, struggle in Belgium and France and Russia 
against terrific odds ; it had bade each of these " Godspeed/ 7 
and uttered many silent prayers for their success. The 
spirit of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton still 
lived and still enthused. 

It would have been odd almost inconceivable, in fact 



2 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

if anything else had been true. It would have been 
unpardonable if the American Ked Cross had not, long 
before our entrance into the conflict, scented that forth- 
coming step, and, having thus anticipated history, had 
failed to make the most of the situation. We Americans 
pride ourselves as a nation upon our foresightedness, and 
an institution so distinctly American as the American Red 
Cross could hardly fail to have such a virtue imbedded in 
the backbone of its character. 

Ofttimes, as a boy, have I read of the warriors of long 
ago, and how, when they prepared for battle, it was their 
women their wives and their mothers, if you please, 
who girded them for the conflict ; who breathed the prayers 
for their success, and who, whether or not they succeeded 
in attaining that success, bound up their wounds and gave 
them comfort upon their return. Such is the spirit of the 
Red Cross. The American artist who created that most 
superb of all posters, The Greatest Mother in the World, 
and who placed in the arms of that majestic and calm- 
faced woman the miniature figure of a soldier resting upon 
a stretcher, sensed that spirit. The American Red Cross 
is indeed the greatest mother in the world, and what mother 

what American mother in particular could have 
failed in the early spring of 1917 to anticipate the inevit- 
able ? Certainly none of the mothers of the hundred thou- 
sand or more boys who anticipated our own formal entrance 
into the Great War, by offering themselves bodies and 
hearts and souls to the armies of Britain, France, and 
Canada. 

Other pens more skilled than mine have told, and will 
continue to tell, of the organization of the Red Cross at 
home to meet the certainties and the necessities of the on- 
coming war. For if America had not heretofore realized 
the magnitude of the task that was to confront her and had 
even permitted herself to become dulled to the horrors of 
the conflict overseas, the historic evening of the sixth of 
April, 191Y, awakened her. It galvanized her from a 



AMERICA AWAKENS 3 

passive repugnance at the scenes of the tragic drama being 
enacted upon the great stage of Europe into a bitter deter- 
mination that, having been forced into the conflict, no 
matter for what reason, she would see it through to victory ; 
and no matter what the cost. Yet cost in this sense was 
never to be interpreted into recklessness. Her boys were 
among her most precious possessions, and, if she were to 
give them without stint and without reserve all for the 
glory of her supreme ideal she would at least surround 
them with every possible requisite for their health, their 
comfort, and their strength. This was, and is, and will 
remain, the fundamental American policy. 

With such a policy, where should America turn save to 
her Eed Cross ? And who more fit to stand as its spiritual 
and actual head than her President himself? So was it 
done. And when President Wilson found that the grave 
responsibilities of his other great war tasks would prevent 
him from giving the American Red Cross the detailed at- 
tention which it needed, he quickly appointed a War Coun- 
cil. This War Council was hard at work in a little over a 
month after the signing of the declaration of war. It 
established itself in the headquarters building of the Red 
Cross in the city of Washington and quickly began prepa- 
rations for the great task just ahead. 

For the fiber of this War Council the President scanned 
closely the professional and business ranks of American 
men. He reached out here and there and chose here 
and there. And, in a similar way, the War Council chose 
its own immediate staff. A man from a New York city 
banking house would find his office or his desk it was 
not every executive that could have an office to himself in 
those days adjoining that of a ranch owner from Mon- 
tana or Wyoming. The lawyer closed his brief case and 
the doctor placed his practice in other hands. The manu- 
facturer bade his plant " good-by " and the big mining 
expert ceased for the moment to think of lodes and strata. 



4 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

A common cause a common necessity was binding 
them together. 

War! 

War was the cause and war the necessity. A real war it 
was, too a real war of infinite possibilities and of very 
real dangers; war, the thing of alarms and of huge re- 
sponsibilities, and for that war we must prepare. 

It was said that America was unready, and so it was - 
in a way. It was unprepared in material things aero- 
planes and guns and ships and well-trained men. But its 
resources in both money and in men who had potential 
possibilities of becoming the finest soldiers the world had 
ever seen, were vast, almost limitless. And it was pre- 
pared in idealism, and had assuredly a certain measure of 
ability. It was prepared too to use such ability as it 
had in turning its resources money and untrained men 
into a fighting army of material things ; material things 
and idealism. One thing or the other helped win the 
conflict 

" They said that we could not raise an army ; that if we 
did raise it, we could not transport it overseas ; and that if 
we did transport it overseas, it could not fight and in 
one day it wiped out the St. Mihiel salient." 

These words tell the entire story almost. Not that 
it becomes us Americans to talk too much about our forces 
having won the war. Eor one thing, it is not true. The 
British and the French armies also won the war, and if 
both had not hung on so tenaciously ours would not even be 
a fair share of the victory. But for them there would have 
been no victory, not on our side of the Rhine, at any rate, 
and men in Berlin, instead of in Paris, would have been 
dictating peace terms. 

It is true, however, that without our army, and certainly 
without our moral prestige and our resources, the fight for 
democracy might have been lost at this time, and for many 
years hereafter. Count that for organization for real 



AMERICA AWAKENS 5 

American achievement, if you please. We builded a ma- 
chine, a huge machine, a machine not without defects and 
some of them rather glaring defects as you come close to 
them, but it was a machine that functioned, and, upon the 
whole, functioned extremely well. It took raw materials 
men among them and fashioned them into fighting 
materials ; fighting materials which flowed in one channel 
or another toward the fighting front overseas. And with 
one of these channels the work of the American Red 
Cross with the Army of the United States in France 
this book has to do. 



CHAPTER II 

OUR RED CROSS GOES TO WAR 

ON" the day that General John J. Pershing first came 
to Paris it was the thirteenth of June, 1917 -- the 
American Red Cross already was there. It greeted the 
American commanding general on his arrival at the French 
capital, an occasion long to be remembered even in a city 
of memorable celebrations. For hours the historic Place 
de la Concorde was thronged with patient folk. It was 
known that General Pershing was to be quartered at the 
Hotel Crillon since come to a new fame as the head- 
quarters of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace 
and it was in front of the doors of that establishment 
that the crowd stood thickest. There were many, many 
thousands of these waiting folk, close-packed upon the 
pavement, and only giving way to a dusty limousine in 
which sat the man who was to help bring salvation to 
France and freedom to the democracy of the world. 

After the doors of the hotel had swallowed General 
Pershing and his French hosts, the crowd refused to dis- 
perse ; also, it became less patient. A long swinging chant 
began the typical chant of the Paris mob. "Balcon, 
balcon, balcon" it sang in rhythmic monotony, and upon 
the balcony of the hotel in a few minutes Pershing ap- 
peared, while the crowd below him went wild in its en- 
thusiasm. 

But before the American commanding general had made 
his appearance upon the balcony he had been greeted in the 
parlors of the Crillon, both formally and informally, by 
the members of the first American Red Cross Commission 
to Europe. By coincidence that Commission had arrived 
in Paris that very morning from America, and were the 



OUR RED CROSS GOES TO WAR 7 

first Americans to greet their high commanding officer in 
France. And so also to give him promise that the organ- 
ization which they represented would he ready for the army 
as soon as it was ready; for back in the United States 
widespread plans for the great undertaking so close at 
hand already were well under way. 

This American Commission had sailed from New York 
on the steamship Lorraine, of the French Compagnie 
Generale Transatlantique, on the second day of June. It 
consisted of eighteen men, headed by Major Gray son M.- 
P. Murphy, a West Point man of some years of active 
army training and also a New York banker of wide expe- 
rience. The other members of the party were James H. 
Perkins, afterward Ked Cross Commissioner for France; 
William Endicott, afterward Red Cross Commissioner for 
Great Britain ; Frederick S. Hoppin, Rev. Robert Davis, 
Rev. E. D. Miel, F. R. King, Philip Goodwin, Ernest Mc- 
Cullough, Ernest T. Bicknell, C. G. Osborne, R. J. Daly, 
A. W. Copp, John van Schaick, and Thomas H. Kenny. 
They were men who had been hastily recruited and yet not 
without some special qualifications for the difficult pre- 
liminary work which they were about to undertake. Until 
the preliminary " get-acquainted " luncheon which Major 
Murphy gave for the party in New York on the day pre- 
ceding its sailing, comparatively few of them knew one 
another. Yet the great task into which they were entering 
was to make them lifelong friends, and to develop for the 
Red Cross, both in Europe and in America, many execu- 
tives whose real abilities had not really been attained at the 
time of their appointment to Red Cross service. 

These men were volunteers. With a few exceptions, 
such as clerical workers and the like, the early members of 
the Red Cross served without pay. At first they had no 
military rank. Apart from Major Murphy, who bore the 
title of Commissioner to Europe there being at the time 
no separate Commissioner to France or to Great Britain 
-there were merely deputy commissioners, inspectors, 



8 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

and secretaries. Major Murphy's title had come to him 
through his army service. It was not until some time later 
that the War Department issued General Orders No. 82 
(July 5, 1917), conferring titles and fixing the assimilated 
rank of Red Cross personnel. Accordingly commissions 
and rank were given and the khaki uniform of the United 
States Army adopted, with distinctive Red Cross markings. 
Though it is not generally understood, American Red Cross 
officers have received from the President of the United 
States, issued through and over the signature of the Secre- 
tary of War, commissions which appointed them to their 
rank and held them to the discipline and the honor of the 
United States Army. 

Before the Lorraine was well out of the upper harbor of 
New York on that memorable second day of June, Major 
Murphy called a meeting of the Commission. He ex- 
plained to them in a few words that they were, in effect, 
even then, military officers and would be expected to observe 
military discipline, and as a beginning would appear at 
dinner that evening in their uniforms the army regula- 
tions at that time prevented relief workers of any sort ap- 
pearing in the United States in their overseas uniforms 
and thereafter would not appear without their uniforms 
until their return to America. The grim, business of war 
seemingly was close at hand. It began in actuality when 
one first donned its accouterments, and was by no means 
lessened in effect by the stern war-time rules and discipline 
of a merchant ship which, each time she crossed the At- 
lantic, did so at grave peril. 

Yet peril was not the thing that was uppermost in the 
minds of this pioneer Red Cross party. It took the many 
rules of " lights out " and " life preservers to be donned, 
sil vous plait" boat drill, and all the rest of this partic- 
ularly grim part of the bigger grim business, good-hum- 
oredly and light-heartedly, yet kept its mind on the grim- 
mer business on the other side of the Atlantic. And, so 



OUR RED CROSS GOES TO WAR 9 

that it might become more efficient in that grimmest busi- 
ness, undertook for itself the study of French at one 
and the same time the most lovable and most damnable of 
all languages. 

" I shall not consider as efficient any member of the 
party who does not acquire enough French to be able to 
navigate in France under his own power in three months." 

Major Murphy laughed as he said this, but he meant 
business. And so did the members of the Commission. 
As the ship settled down to the routine of her passage, the 
members of the Commission settled down to a life-and- 
death struggle with French. For two long hours each 
morning they went at it. At first they gathered in little 
groups upon the decks, each headed by some one capable of 
giving more or less instruction ; then they found their way 
to the lounge, where they grouped themselves round about 
a young woman from Smith College who had taught French 
in that institution for some years. It was this young 
woman's self-inflicted job to give conversational lessons to 
the Red Cross party, and this she did with both enthusiasm 
and ability. She chose to give them conversational French 
in the form of certain simple and dramatic little child- 
hood epics. 

" This morning we will have the story of Little Red 
Riding Hood," she would say, " and after I am done 
telling it to you in French, you gentlemen, one by one, will 
tell it back to me in French." 

In order that the effect of the lesson should not be too 
quickly lost Major Murphy ruled that French, and no 
other language, should be both official and unofficial for 
luncheon each day. This order quickly converted an or- 
dinarily genial meal into a Quaker meeting. For when 
one of mademoiselle's more enthusiastic pupils would start 
an audacious request for " Encore le pain, s'il vous plail" 
he was almost sure to be greeted either with groans or grins 
from his fellows. Yet the lessons of those short ten days 
were invaluable. Many of the men of that party who 



10 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

since have attained more than a " navigating " knowledge 
of French have to thank the lady from Smith College for 
their opportunity to acquire it. The " bit " that she did 
for the Red Cross was perhaps small, but it was exceedingly 
valuable. 

Afternoons, sometimes evenings, too, were given to busi- 
ness conferences wherein ways and means for meeting the 
big problem so close ahead were given attention. It mat- 
ters not that many of the plans so carefully developed upon 
the Lorraine were, of necessity, abandoned after the party 
reached France. The very men who were making these 
plans realized as they were making them that field serv- 
ice actual practice, if you please is far different from 
theory, and as they planned, felt that the very labor they 
were undergoing might yet have to be thrown away, al- 
though not completely wasted. For the members of that 
pioneer Red Cross Commission were gaining one thing of 
which no situation whatsoever might deprive them; they 
were gaining an experience in teamwork that was to be 
invaluable in the busy weeks and months that were to follow. 

Very early in the morning of the twelfth of June the 
Lorraine slipped into the mouth of the Gironde river ; for 
the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, driven from 
Havre by the submarine menace and the necessity of giving 
up the Seine embrochure to the great transport necessities 
of the British, had been forced to concentrate its activities 
at Bordeaux, the ancient port of the Gascogne country. 
The ship crossed the bar at the uncomfortable hour of three 
in the morning, and the Red Cross party first realized the 
fact that in army life night hours and day hours are all 
the same, when it was ordered to arise at once and face 
the customs and the passport inspectors. That inspection 
was slow work, yet not delaying. For the Gironde runs to 
the sea many miles after it passes the curving quay and the 
two great bridges of Bordeaux. The fact that the Lorraine 
was able to reach the quay well before noon was due not 



OUR RED CROSS GOES TO WAR 11 

only to her being a good ship but to the fact that she had 
both wind and tide in her favor. 

At fifteen minutes before twelve she docked and the Red 
Cross party faced the city of Bordeaux, flat yet not unim- 
pressive, with the same graceful quay, the trees, and the 
old houses lining it, and in the distance the lofty spires 
of the lovely cathedral, with the even loftier spire of St. 
Michel in the farther distance. Even the uninitiated 
might see upon this last the complications of a wireless 
station and understand that here was one of the posts from 
which France spake far overseas. 

It is but a night's ride from Bordeaux to Paris, even 
though it is close to four hundred miles between the two 
cities. That very evening Major Murphy and his party 
boarded the night train of the Orleans Railway for the 
capital, and had their first real touch of war's hardships. 
The night train was very crowded. It is nearly always 
crowded. It was then running a solitary sleeping car, but 
two or three of the older members of the party were able to 
get reservations. Still other fortunate ones were able to 
obtain seats. The rest of the party stood throughout the 
tiresome journey of twelve long hours. Major Murphy 
himself stood the entire night, akimbo over the prostrate 
body of a groaning, snoring poilu, yet was the first to be 
ready at the Gare d'Orsay on the morrow; to be here, 
there, and everywhere seeing that all were provided with 
proper hotel accommodations. After which he forged 
through the crowd to the Crillon, there to meet the hero 
of the day coming to Paris with " Papa Joffre " and, like 
himself, every inch an American. After which again it 
was in order to repair to the American Relief Clearing 
House in the Rue Francois Premier to prepare directly 
for the big job now so close at hand. 

I have described the voyage of this first Red Cross party 
overseas, not only because it was the first, but also because 
it was so very typical of many others to follow. Many 



12 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

and many a Red Cross man and Eed Cross woman, to say 
nothing of veritable hosts of doughboys and their officers, 
had their first glimpse of lovely France as they sailed up 
the broad Gironde and into that lovely port of Bordeaux. 
The curving quay, the spires of the lovely cathedral, and 
the more distant but higher spire of St. Michel was the 
picture that greeted thousands of them. At least hun- 
dreds of them rode in the night train of the Orleans Rail- 
way to Paris, and in all probability stood the entire dis- 
tance. For traveling in France in the days of the Great 
War was hard whether by train or by automobile. 

Before I am done with this book I am going to describe 
the Atlantic crossing of one of the final Red Cross parties. 
I belonged to one of those parties myself and so am able to 
write from first-hand knowledge. But between the original 
expedition and the one in which I sailed were many others ; 
others of far greater import. For our Uncle Samuel was 
aroused, and, once aroused, and having resolved that hav- 
ing entered the great fight he would give his all, if neces- 
sary, toward its winning, he began pouring overseas not 
only his fighting legions but his armies of relief, of which 
the Red Cross is part and parcel. 



CHAPTEE III 

ORGANIZING FOR WORK 

AT No. 5 Rue Francois Premier stood the American 
Relief Clearing House. It was a veritable light- 
house, a tower of strength, if you please, to an oppressed 
and suffering people. ' To its doors came the offerings of 
a friendly folk overseas who needed not the formal action 
of their Congress before their sympathies and their purse- 
strings were to be touched, but who were given heartfelt 
American response almost before the burning of Louvain 
had been accomplished. And from those doors poured 
forth that relief, in varied form, but with but one object, 
the relief of suffering and misery. 

Until the coming of the American Red Cross and its kin- 
dred organizations, this Clearing House was to Paris to 
all France, in fact almost the sole expression of the real 
sentiment of the United States. It was organized, and 
well organized, with a definite purpose ; on the one hand the 
avoidance of useless duplications and overlappings, to say 
nothing of possible frictions, and upon the other the heart- 
felt desire to accomplish the largest measure of good with 
means that were not always too ample despite the desire 
of the folk who were executing them. More than this, the 
American Relief Clearing House had a practical purpose in 
endeavoring to meet the everyday problems of transporta- 
tion of relief supplies. This phase of its work we shall see 
again when we consider the organization of the transporta- 
tion department of the American Red Cross in France. It 
is enough to say here and now that it possessed a very small 
number of trucks and touring cars which were worked to 

13 



14 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

their fullest possibilities, and seemingly even beyond, in 
the all but vain effort to keep abreast of the incoming relief 
supplies. 

In fact the American Relief Clearing House in its 
largest endeavors was in reality a forwarding agency and, 
although possessing no large transportation facilities of its 
own, made large use of existing commercial agencies and 
those of the governments of the Allies, to forward its relief 
supplies to their destination; whereupon it advised Amer- 
ica not only of the receipt of these supplies but of the uses 
to which they were put. The main framework of the or- 
ganization consisted of a staff of clerks who kept track of 
the movements of shipments and who saw to it that no 
undue delay occurred in their continuous transit from 
sender to recipient. 

J. H. Jordain was the chief operating manager of this 
Clearing House, while Oscar H. Beatty was its Director- 
General. Closely affiliated with the success of the enter- 
prise were Herman H. Harjes, the Paris representative 
of a great New York banking house, a man whom we shall 
find presently at the head of one of the great ambulance 
relief works which preceded the coming of the American 
Red Cross, J. Ridgely Carter, James R. Barbour, and 
Ralph Preston. Mr. Preston crossed to France on the 
Lorraine with the preliminary party of survey and was of 
very great help at the outset in the formation of its definite 
plans. 

The most dramatic feature perhaps of the American 
Relief Clearing House was the Norton-Harjes Ambulance 
Service, which was closely affiliated with it. This organi- 
zation was founded in the early days of 1914 by two men, 
each acting independently of the other, who, by personal 
influence and a great amount of individual activity, suc- 
ceeded in forming ambulance sections of the French Army 
maintained by American funds and manned by American 
boys and nurses who could not wait for the formal action 
of their government before flinging themselves into 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 15 

Europe's great war for world democracy. These two sec- 
tions first were known as Sections Sanitaire Nu. 5 and Nu. 
6 of the French Army. At a later day it was found better 
policy, as well as more convenient and more economical, to 
merge these two sections. This was done, and the merged 
sections became known more or less formally as the Norton- 
liar jes Ambulance Service. 

At the time of the arrival of the American Red Cross in 
France this organization actually had in the field five sec- 
tions of twenty cars each, two men to a car and two officers 
to a section. The men who offered themselves for this 
work were all volunteers and were, for the most part, col- 
lege graduates and men of a disposition to give themselves 
to work of this sort. A spirit of self-sacrifice and self- 
denial was represented everywhere within the ranks of the 
organization. To have been identified with the Norton- 
liar jes service is to this day a mark of distinction com- 
parable even with that of the ribbon of the Croix de Guerre. 

The Red Cross in the United States, long before our 
actual entrance into France, had been helping this service 
with both money and supplies. It was quite natural there- 
fore that it should take over this unit, which immediately 
assumed the name of the American Red Cross Ambulance 
Service. Between that time and the day on which respon- 
sibility for ambulance transport was taken over by the 
American Army, it organized, equipped and put in service 
eight additional sections. Before disbanding, the number 
of men had been brought to over six hundred, five hundred 
and fifty of them at the front and the remainder in training 
camp. 

A third facility of the American Relief Clearing House 
which is worthy of passing note was the American Distrib- 
uting Service, organized and financed by Mr. and Mrs. 
Robert W. Bliss of our embassy in Paris. It was first put 
in operation to furnish supplies to French hospitals 
throughout and behind the fighting areas. It operated a 
small warehouse in which many specialties surgical in- 



16 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

struments for a particular instance were received and in 
due turn distributed. 

For a short time after the arrival of the first Commis- 
sion from America, the possibility of affiliating the Amer- 
ican Red Cross with the Clearing House was seriously con- 
sidered. It became quite evident, however, that this would 
not be a feasible plan, but that the American Red Cross, 
just beginning to come into the fullness of its strength as 
a war-time organization, in order to attain its fullness of 
efficiency, would have to become the dominating factor of 
relief in France. This meant that the short but useful 
career of the American Relief Clearing House would have 
to be ended and its identity lost in that of the larger and 
older organization. This was done. The plant and the 
equipment and personnel as well of the Clearing House 
were formally turned over to the Red Cross Commission 
and its first headquarters offices established there in the 
Rue Francois Premier, while Mr. Beatty's title changed 
from Director-General of the Clearing House to that of 
Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross in 
France. 

The offices in the Rue Francois Premier almost imme- 
diately were found too small for the greatly enlarged activ- 
ities of the Red Cross, and so the large building on the 
corner of the Place de la Concorde and the Rue Royale, 
known as No. 4 Place de la Concorde, was engaged as 
headquarters. These premises were rented through Ralph 
Preston for $25,000 a year and, although it was not so 
known at the time, this rental was paid by Mr. Preston 
out of his own pocket as his personal contribution to the 
work of the American Red Cross. Seemingly the new 
quarters were large indeed; yet what a task awaited the 
secretary when he was compelled to install a force of three 
hundred people in eighty-six rooms! The executive of 
modern business demands his flat-top desk, his push buttons, 
his letter files, his stenographer, his telephone, and " Num- 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 17 

ber Four " was a club building originally a palace with 
crystal chandeliers and red carpets and high ceilings and 
all the things that go ordinarily to promote luxury and 
comfort, but do not go very far toward promoting business 
efficiency. 

Yet the thing was managed, and for a time managed 
very well indeed. But as the work of our Red Cross in 
France progressed, " Number Four " grew too small, and 
from time to time various overflow, or annex offices were 
established near by in the Rue Bossy d' Anglais, the Avenue 
Gabriel, and the Rue de 1'Elysee. 

Yet in time these, top, were found insufficient. The 
army and the navy in France kept growing, and with them, 
and ahead of them, the work of the American Red Cross. 
Moreover, it was found in many ways most unsatisfactory 
to have the work of a single headquarters scattered under so 
many different roofs. So in June, 1918, these many Red 
Cross activities were brought under a single roof. With 
the aid of the French government authorities it was enabled 
to lease the six-story Hotel Regina on the Place de Rivoli 
and directly across from the Louvre. Into this far more 
commodious building was moved the larger portion of the 
American Red Cross offices in Paris, with the exception of 
the headquarters of the northeastern zone, which remained 
for a little longer time at No. 4 Place de la Concorde. 
Upon the signing of the armistice and the appointment of 
the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, the United 
States government, through the French, requisitioned both 
No. 4 Place de la Concorde and the Hotel Crillon for its 
peace headquarters. The headquarters of the northeastern 
zone of the Red Cross, much smaller with the coming of 
peace, were moved into the upper floor of the Hotel Regina. 

In the meantime there were many, many changes in the 
American Red Cross in France other than those of mere 
location. Major Grayson M.-P. Murphy resigned as head 
of the French Commission early in September, 1917, leav- 



18 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

ing behind him a record for expertness and efficiency that 
has never been beaten. He was, in reality, merely bor- 
rowed from the United States Army, and to that organiza- 
tion, which then stood badly in need of both expertness and 
efficiency, he was returned, while his place as captain of 
our American Eed Cross overseas was taken by one of his 
associates. Major James H. Perkins. Later this Red Cross 
chief attained the army rank of lieutenant colonel ; yet with 
Perkins, rank did not count so very much at the best. To 
most of his fellow workers he was known as Major 
Perkins ; yet, to many of them, " Jim Perkins " was the 
designation given to this much-loved American Red Cross 
officer. For if Major Murphy left behind him a splendid 
reputation for expertness and efficiency, Major James H. 
Perkins left his monument in Paris in the great affection 
which he gained in the hearts and minds of each of his as- 
sociates. He won the love and respect of every man and 
woman in the organization. For here was a real man; a 
man who, if you please, preferred to gain loyalty the 
quality so extremely necessary to any successful organiza- 
tion, whether of war time or of peace through his own 
personality, his kindliness, and his fairness rather than by 
the authority vested in his office. 

" It is impossible to exaggerate the whole-heartedness 
which Major Perkins gave to the upbuilding of our work 
here (France)," wrote Henry P. Davison, chairman of the 
War Council of the Red Cross at the time when the army, 
following its example in the case of Major Grayson M-P. 
Murphy, reached out and demanded Major Perkins's serv- 
ices for itself. He continued: 

" We can understand the appeal that the army service 
makes to him, but we greatly regret the loss of his guidance 
and association. Whatever we have accomplished or may 
accomplish, it must never be forgotten that Major Perkins 
and Major Murphy were the pioneers who showed the way, 
who interpreted in practical fashion the desire of a whole 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 19 

nation to help through the Red Cross in the greatest cause 
to which a people ever gave their hearts and their resources. 
They, and we who carry forward the work of the Red Cross, 
will always be keenly sensible of what we owe to the energy, 
resourcefulness, and devotion which Major Perkins put 
into the task of developing from its beginning the mission 
of the Red Cross in the war." 

And while I am quoting, perhaps I can do no better than 
to quote from a report of Major Perkins, himself, in which 
he summed up the work of the American Red Cross after 
its first year in France. He wrote : 

" It is impossible for any one who has not had the ex- 
perience of the last year in France to realize the difficulties 
which stood in the way of organizing an enormous quasi 
business, quasi relief organization ; personnel was hard to 
get from America, supplies were hard to get, transportation 
was almost impossible, the mail service was bad and the 
telephone service was worse ; but in spite of all these trou- 
bles the spirit with which the men of the organization 
undertook everything, carried things through in the most 
wonderful manner." 

Spirit ! That was Major Jim Perkins. His was a rare 
spirit ; and the Red Cross men who had the pleasure and 
the opportunity of working under and with him will testify 
as to that. Spirit was one of the big things that made this 
captain of the Red Cross in the months when the difficulties 
of its task overseas were at high-water mark carry forward 
so very well indeed. Another was his rare breadth of 
vision. He, himself, still loves to quote an old French 
priest, whose parish children had been greatly helped by 
the work of our Red Cross among them. 

" The American Red Cross is something new in the 
world," once wrote this venerable cure. " Never before 
has any nation in time of war sought to organize a great 
body to bind up the wounds of war, not only of its own 
soldiers but of the soldiers and peoples of other nations. 



20 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

Never before has so great a humanitarian work been under- 
taken or the idea in such terms conceived, and the result 
will be greater than any of us can now see." 

So it was that Major Jim Perkins " saw big " much 
larger, perhaps, than some of his associates at the time 
when the press of conflict was hard upon all of them. 
Some of these might have thought his plans large or even 
visionary ; one or two frankly expressed themselves to that 
effect. Yet these were the very men who, when the Per- 
kins ideas came into use, saw that they did not overshoot 
the mark. 

It was under the regime of this Red Cross captain that 
the American Red Cross established a service to the French 
army in the form of canteens, hospitals, supplies, and 
money donations that led many of its commanders as well 
as several prominent French statesmen to remark that its 
steps along these lines were of inestimable value in main- 
taining the morale of the poilu and so in the final winning 
of the war. In later chapters of this book we shall describe 
in some detail the first canteen efforts of our Red Cross in 
France, and find how they were given to the faithful little 
men whose horizon blue uniform has come to designate 
tenacity and dogged purpose. 

One of the very typical actions of the Military Affairs 
Department under Major Perkins was the help given to 
General Petain's army, which had suffered acutely. His 
assistance came at a time which rendered it of double value 
to the French commander. In fact that was a trait of very 
real genius that Major Perkins displayed again and again 
throughout his management of the Red Cross the knack 
of extending the aid of his organization at a time when its 
work would be of the greatest assistance to the winning 
of the war. In fact, it was upon his shoulders that there 
fell the task of directing our American Red Cross in meet- 
ing its two greatest military emergencies the great Ger- 
man offensive in the Somme in March, 1918, and the bitter 
fighting in and about Chateau-Thierry some four months 



ORGANIZING FOE WORK 21 

later. The official records of both the French and the 
American armies teem with communications of commend- 
ation for the efforts of the American Red Cross on those 
two memorable occasions. 

Once in stating his policy in regard to the direction of 
the Eed Cross Department of Military Affairs, of which 
he had been chief before succeeding Major Murphy as 
Commissioner to France, Major Perkins laid down his 
fundamental principles of work quite simply: they were 
merely to find and to develop the quickest and most effec- 
tive way of helping the soldiers of the allied armies, and, 
particularly in the case of the United States Army, to put 
the Red Cross at the full service of every individual in it, 
not only in succoring the wounded but in making a difficult 
life as comfortable as was humanely possible for the well, 
and to perform these duties in the most economical and 
effective manner possible. 

Here was a platform broad and generous, and, with the 
greatest armies that the world in all its long centuries of 
fighting has ever known, affording opportunities so vast 
as to be practically limitless. One might have thought 
that in a war carried forward on so unprecedented and 
colossal a scale that the Red Cross or, for that matter, 
any other relief organization might have found its full- 
est opportunity in a single activity. But seemingly that 
is not the Red Cross way of doing things. And in this 
particular war its great and dominating American organ- 
ization was forever seeking out opportunities for service 
far removed from its conventional activities of the past, 
and of the things that originally might have been expected 
of it. Count so much for its versatility. 

Consider, for instance, its activities in the field with the 
American Army we also shall consider these in greater 
detail farther along in the pages of this book. The field 
service of the Red Cross in France the distribution of 
such homely and needed man creature comforts as tobacco 
and toilet articles to the troopers in the trenches or close 



22 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

behind them was a work quite removed from that started 
by women such as Florence Nightingale or Clara Barton. 
But who shall rise to say that, in its way, it was not nearly 
if not quite as essential ? 

It was this field service that Major Perkins inaugurated, 
then urged, and, in its earliest phases, personally directed. 
In addition he had charge of the first developments of the 
canteen or outpost services at the front. This consisted of 
the establishment of more or less permanent stations by the 
Red Cross as close to the front-line trenches as was either 
practicable or permissible. Open both day and night, 
these outposts took, at night under the cover of darkness, 
hot drinks and comforts to the men holding the trenches 
and at all hours took care of them as they came and went 
to and from the lines of advanced fighting. 

When, slowly but surely, the American Army began to be 
a formidable combat force in France, the already great 
problems of Major Perkins were vastly increased. Up to 
that time the allied soldiers had been receiving the bulk 
of the assistance of our Red Cross. Now the balance of 
the work had to be changed and its preponderance swung 
toward our own army. Yet Perkins did not forget the 
grateful words and looks of thanks that he had received so 
many, many times from the poilus and all of their 
capitaines. 

" Not less for the French, but more for the Americans," 
he quietly announced as his policy. 

So it was done, and so continued. The sterling quali- 
ties of leadership that this man had shown from the first 
in the repeated times of great stress and emergency stood 
him in good stead. He already had instilled into the 
hearts and souls of the men and women who worked with 
him that consecration of purpose and enthusiasm for the 
work in hand which rendered so many of them, under 
emergency, supermen and superwomen. I have myself a 
high regard for organization. But I do believe that or- 
ganization, without the promptings of the human heart to 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 23 

soften as well as to direct it, is as nothing. How often 
have we heard of the man with the hundred-thousand- 
dollar mind and the two-cent heart. And how well we all 
know the fate that eventually confronts him. 

To Harvey D. Gibson, who succeeded him as Commis- 
sioner to France in the summer of 1918, Major Perkins 
turned over an organization whose heart was as big as its 
mind, and then wended his own way toward the army, 
where he repeated so many of his successes in the Eed 
Cross. But, as we have said, left behind him in this last 
organization enduring memorials of great affection. 

Eventually there came other big chiefs of our American 
Eed Cross in France. Colonel Gibson returned to the 
United States in March, 1919, with the satisfaction of 
having done a thorough job thoroughly. He was suc- 
ceeded by Colonel George H. Burr, as big-hearted and as 
broad in vision as Perkins. At the same time that Burr 
came to the seat of command in Paris, Colonel Robert E. 
Olds, whom Gibson had brought to Paris, became Com- 
missioner for Europe. Between Burr and Olds there 
was the finest sort of team-work. The period in which 
they worked was far from an easy one. With the armis- 
tice more than three months past, with the constantly 
irritating and unsettling effect of the Peace Conference 
upon Paris and all who dwelt within her stout stone walls, 
with the mad rush of war enthusiasts to get back to the 
peace days in the homeland, with the strain and overwork of 
long months of the conflict finally telling upon both bodies 
and nerves, the necessity of maintaining the morale of the 
Red Cross itself, to say nothing of the men it served, was 
urgent. The dramatic phases of the work were gone. 
So was the glory. There remained simply the huge 
problem of orderly demobilization, of bringing the struct- 
ure down to its original dimensions. A job much more 
easily said than done; but one that was done and done 
very well indeed. 



24 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

We have digressed from the days of the war. Keturn 
once again to them. In all that time there were many, 
many changes in our American Red Cross in Paris one 
might fairly say, " of course." Men came and men went 
and plans and quarters were changed with a fair degree 
of frequency. But far more men women, too came 
than went, and moving days and plan changings grew 
farther and farther apart; for here was a definite and 
consistent planning and upbuilding of organization. If 
there is any one material thing upon which we Americans 
pride ourselves to-day more than another it is upon our 
ability to upbuild our efficiency through organization. 
And I think it is but fair to say if it had not been 
thoroughly organized much of the effort of the American 
Red Cross in France would have been lost. Commissions 
and commissioners might come and commissions and com- 
missioners might go, but the plan of organization stood, 
and was at all times a great factor in the success of the 
work overseas. 

The original plan of organization was simple. It did 
not, in the first instance, comprehend more than a Com- 
missioner for Europe, with the bare possibility of other 
commissioners being appointed for the separate countries 
if there should be found to be sufficient need for them. 
With the Commissioner for Europe was to be directly affil- 
iated an advisory council, a bureau of legal advice and gen- 
eral policy, and various administrative bureaus and stand- 
ing committees. The chief plan of the organization, how- 
ever, divided the work of the American Red Cross in 
Europe into two great divisions : the one a department of 
civil affairs, which would undertake relief work for the 
civilian population of France, which in turn embraced the 
feeding, housing, and education of refugees, repatries, re- 
formes, and mutiles, reconstruction and rehabilitation work 
in the devastated districts, and both direct and cooperative 
work in the cure and prevention of tuberculosis; and the 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 25 

other the department of military affairs, which undertook, 
as its province, military hospitals, diet kitchens, relief 
work for the armies of the Allies, medical and surgical and 
prisoners' information bureaus, medical research and nurs- 
ing and hospital supply and surgical dressings services, 
canteens, rest stations and infirmaries, nurses' homes, mov- 
able kitchens, and the relief of mutiles. It is of the work 
of this latter department as it affected the boys of our army 
in France that this book is written. 

Before Major Murphy, the first American Red Cross 
Commissioner to France, had proceeded very far with his 
work, he found that he would have further to divide and 
subdivide its activities. In connection with his deputy, 
Major James H. Perkins, he held several conferences with 
General Pershing who, day by day, was becoming better 
acquainted with the situation and the opportunities it of- 
fered. General Pershing stated quite frankly that in all 
probability it would be many months before his army would 
be an effective fighting force and that the Red Cross must, 
during those months, carry the American flag in Europe. 

The first organization scheme comprehended several 
American commissions for the various countries in the zones 
of military activities, each independent of the other, but 
all in turn reporting to the Commissioner for Europe at 
Paris, who was responsible only to the War Council of the 
Red Cross at Washington. As a matter of actual and 
chronological fact the Commission to Belgium antedated the 
coming of the first Red Cross party to France. Long be- 
fore even that stormy and historic April evening when 
the United States formally declared war upon the Kaiser 
and all the things for which the Kaiser stood, the American 
Red Cross was in Europe, helping to feed and clothe and 
comfort ravished Belgium. And its Commissioner ranked 
only second in importance to Herbert C. Hoover, who 
was in entire charge of the situation for America. 

So, with its activities increasing, the Red Cross further 



26 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

divided its work. In the fall of 1917, Major Perkins be- 
came Commissioner for France and a short time afterwards 
separate commissioners were appointed for Great Britain, 
for Italy, for Switzerland, for Belgium, and for other coun- 
tries. And these in turn appointed their own individual 
organizations, complete structures erected for business ef- 
ficiency and to get a big job done quickly and well. 

All this sounds simple, but it was not ; for it is one thing 
to accomplish business organization, and accomplish it 
quickly, here at home in a land which has barely been 
touched by the ravages of war and not at all by invasion, 
and quite another to set up such a structure in a land shell- 
shocked and nerve-racked and man-crippled by four years 
of war and actual invasion. Poor France! The war 
smote hard upon her. By the time that the Murphy Com- 
mission reached her shores she had even abandoned the 
smiling mask which she had tried to carry through the 
earliest months of the conflict. In Paris the streets were 
deserted. By day one might see an omnibus, or might 
not. Occasionally an ancient taxi carriage drawn by an 
ancient horse, too decrepit for service of any sort at the 
front, might be encountered. By night the scene was 
dismal indeed. Few street lights were burning there 
was a great scarcity of coal and street lights meant danger 
from above, from the marauding raids of the great air- 
ships of the boche. The few street lamps that were kept 
alight as a matter of safety and great necessity had their 
globes smeared with thick blue paint and were but faint 
points of light against the deep blackness of the night. So 
that when the glad day of armistice finally came and the 
street lights blazed forth again if not in their old-time 
brilliancy at least in a comparative one Paris referred 
to the hour as the one of her " unbluing." 

The difficulties of obtaining materials, even such simple 
office materials as books and blanks and paper, to say noth- 
ing of typewriters and the more complicated paraphernalia, 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 27 

the problem of service of every sort clerical, steno- 
graphic, telephone, repair can easily be imagined. 
There were times when to an ordinary business man they 
would have seemed insurmountable; but the Ked Cross is 
not an ordinary business man. It moves under inspiration 
- inspiration and the need of the moment. And so it does 
not long permit difficulties, either usual or abnormal, to 
block its path. 

To reduce all of this to organization was a distinct and 
difficult problem. Our Eed Cross which had jumped into 
the French civilian and military situation while it awaited 
the coming of the first troops from America, first organized 
in practically the only way that it was possible for it to 
organize. It found men in big jobs some of those very 
activities that we found more or less correlated in the work 
of the American Eelief Clearing House and told other 
men to take other big jobs and work them out in their own 
way. 

This was far from ideal organization, of course. It 
meant much duplication and overlapping of functional 
work in purchasing, in transportation, personnel, and 
the like. But it was the only sort of organization that was 
possible at first, and for a considerable time afterward. 
By the fall of 1917, when Commissioner Perkins had 
settled down to the details of his big new job and was ready 
to take up the reorganization of the Red Cross activities in 
France, there came the great drive of the Austrians and 
the Germans against the Italian front, with the direct re- 
sult that the American Eed Cross organization in Paris was 
called upon to bend every effort toward rushing whole train- 
loads of workers and supplies southward toward Italy. 
And in the spring of 1918 came the last great drive of the 
Germans in France that supreme hour when disaster 
hung in the very air and the fate of the democracy of the 
world wavered. 

Yet the first half of 1918 was not entirely spun into his- 



28 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

tory before the Red Cross in France was beginning its 
reorganization. The third Commissioner for France, 
Harvey D. Gibson, had been appointed and by June was 
on his way to Paris. One of the first of the huge tasks 
that awaited him for it then seemed as if the war was 
to last for years instead of but four or five months longer 
was this very problem of reorganization. Without 
delay he set upon it, and with the help of his Deputy Com- 
missioner and assistant, George Murnane, evolved an en- 
tirely new plan, which gave far larger opportunities for 
the development of the American Red Cross in France and 
was, in fact, so simple and so logical in its workings as to 
become the permanent scheme of organization. 

Let me emphasize and reiterate : the old plan, with its 
two great separate departments of military and civilan af- 
fairs, was not only not essentially a bad plan, but it was 
the only plan possible with the conditions of great stress 
and strain under which our Red Cross began its operations 
in France. But it was quickly outgrown. It did not and 
could not measure up to the real necessities of the situation. 

" The double program of the Red Cross, under two large 
departments of military and civilian affairs," wrote Eliza- 
beth Shipley Sergeant, of this older plan in The New Re- 
public, ". . . followed a good Red Cross tradition and 
seemed to be based on a genuine separation of the problems 
involved. The great crisis in France a year ago was a 
civilian crisis, and the distinguished American business 
men who directed the Red Cross were wise enough to asso- 
ciate with themselves specialists in social problems and to 
give them a free hand. The chiefs of the military bureau, 
some of whom, like the doctors, were also specialists, had 
no less a free hand. Indeed the situation was so complex 
and the necessities were so immediate that every bureau 
chief and every field delegate was practically told to go 
ahead and do his utmost. The result was great vitality, 
great enthusiasm, genuine accomplishment. . . ." 

In the twelve months that the American Red Cross* 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 29 

had been established in France its work had multiplied 
many, many times; in but six months the size of the 
American Army there had quadrupled, and the end was 
by no means in sight. To plan an organization that 
would measure up to meet such vast growth and meet it 
adequately was no child's play. 

To begin with, he decided that the great functional work- 
ings, such as those of which we have just spoken trans- 
portation, supplies, personnel, construction, and the like 
should be centralized in Paris and the great duplications 
and overlappings of the old system avoided. This, in turn, 
thrust far too great responsibilities and far too much de- 
tail upon those same Paris headquarters. So in turn he 
took from it its vast overload and divided the organization 
into nine zones, of which more in good time. If these 
zone organizations had been situated in the United States 
instead of in France it is quite possible that the functional 
activities might have been very largely concentrated at their 
several headquarters. For in our own land such things as 
personnel, transportation, supplies, and construction could 
be readily obtained at headquarters points Boston, New 
York, Chicago, New Orleans, or San Francisco, for in- 
stance. In France they not only were not readily obtain- 
albe, but rarely obtainable at any cost or any trouble. 
Think of the difficulties of obtaining either motor trucks 
or canteen workers which confronted the zone manager at 
Neufchateau, just back of the big front line ! It was well 
that the plan of organization under which he worked pro- 
vided definitely he was to requisition Paris for such sup- 
plies human or material and that in turn Paris might 
draw upon the great resources of America. 

Such in brief was the plan. It was simplicity itself ; yet 
was builded to measure to the necessities of the situation. 
And so it did measure to the necessities of the situation. 
Time and experience proved that; also they proved the 
value of central bureaus, but did not segregate them as be- 
fore under the separate headings of Military and Civilian. 



30 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

Instead there proved necessary seven " functional depart- 
ments " to be responsible for plans and programs and 
instructions for carrying on the work. The directors of 
those seven departments served as assistants to the admin- 
istrative head of the American Red Cross, the Commis- 
sioner to France. Considering him as the commander in 
chief and his seven directors as his staff officers, the Red 
Cross in France began to take on a distinctly military form. 

The seven departments were as follows: 
Department of Requirements : Bureau of Supplies ; Trans- 
portation ; Personnel ; Permits and Passes ; Construc- 
tion; Manufacture. 

Medical and Surgical Department: Bureau of Hospital 
Administration; Tuberculosis and Public Health; 
Children's Bureau ; Reeducation and Reconstruction ; 
Nurses. 

Medical Research and Intelligence Department. 
Department of Army and Navy Service : Bureau of Can- 
teens ; Home and Hospital Service ; Outpost Service ; 
Army Field Service. 

Department of General Relief: Bureau of Refugees; Sol- 
diers' Families ; War Orphans ; Argiculture. 
Department of French Hospitals. 
Department of Public Information. 

So much for the general, or staff, organization. It 
covered, of course, all France. Yet for practical opera- 
tions France was divided into nine great geographical zones 
which in turn were subdivided into districts. Each zone 
possessed its own warehouses and supply and transportation 
organization, and in each the entire operating organization 
came under a single head, the Zone Manager, whose respon- 
sibility for his own particular area was similar to that of 
the Commissioner's authority for all France. The Zone 
Manager had on his staff representatives of any of the head- 
quarters departments which might function in his area. 

The scheme was simple, and it worked. Correspondence 
was free between headquarters at Paris and the individual 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 31 

workers in the field, but copies of all instructions were also 
sent to the Zone Managers in some cases to district man- 
agers also so that they might be properly informed and 
all the operations coordinated. 

The nine zones of military operations with their head- 
quarters were as follows : 

Northern Havre 

Northwestern Brest 

Western St. Nazaire 

Southwestern Bordeaux 

Southern Marseilles 

North Intermediate Tours 

South Intermediate Lyons 

Northeastern Paris 

Eastern Neufchateau 

Now consider, if you will, the workings of the seven 
great central bureaus, in so far at least as they concern the 
province of this book. The scheme for the Department of 
Requirements, as you may see from the table that I have 
just given, included not only the Bureau of Supplies, 
Transportation, Construction, and Manufacture which 
we will consider in separate chapters and Permits and 
Passes, but a section of General Insurance, to be re- 
sponsible for all insurance matters except life insurance 
for Red Cross workers, which fell within the province of 
the Bureau of Personnel. The Medical and Surgical De- 
partment had its functions definitely outlined. It was 
stated that it was to be in charge of all the medical and 
surgical problems of the American Red Cross in France 
(except those specifically assigned to the Medical Research 
and Intelligence Department) ; that it was to formulate 
policies and to undertake a general supervision of medical 
and surgical activities. Moreover, it was to maintain the 
necessary contact with the United States Army and Navy 
authorities, so that the Red Cross could be prepared to ren- 



32 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

der prompt service in the event of medical or surgical 
emergencies. It was to be responsible for the determina- 
tion of all medical and surgical American Eed Cross stand- 
ards; for decisions regarding supplies and manufactures 
for medical and surgical purposes; and for judgment re- 
garding medical requisition. These things were set down 
with great exactness, and it was well that they should be ; 
for the position of the Red Cross in regard to the med- 
ical departments of both the army and the navy has ever 
been a delicate as well as an intricate and helpful one. So 
it was, too, that it was determined that each of the nine 
zone organizations should include a Medical and Surgical 
Department representative who should report to the Zone 
Manager and be responsible for executing for him all the 
medical and surgical instructions received from headquar- 
ters as well as for the study and development of medical 
and surgical opportunities within the zone. It was further 
set down that this zone representative should be in charge 
of Red Cross hospital administration within its territory 
and should direct its operations at the American Red Cross 
hospitals, dispensaries, infirmaries, convalescent homes, 
and all similar activities. 

The work of the Army and Navy Department also was 
expanded in great detail. And, inasmuch as all of its work 
comes so closely within the province of this book, I shall 
follow some of that detail. For instance, the plan of its 
organization set down not only the Bureaus of Canteens, 
the Home and Hospital Service, Outpost Service and Army 
Field Service, but also laid down the definite plans of 
action to be followed by each of these bureaus. Starting 
with the first of them, the Bureau of Canteens was to be 
responsible, through the zone organizations, for the de- 
velopment of this service always so dear to the heart 
of the doughboy throughout all France, for the inspec- 
tion of its operations including reviews of its operating 
costs and for all activities regarding plans for the supplies, 
construction, and equipment of the canteens. The Head- 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 33 

quarters Bureau of this work at Paris was to develop in- 
structions and formulate policies for the operation of these 
stations, but in the zones their actual operation was to fall 
under the jurisdiction of the local representatives of the 
Army and Navy Department who in turn, of course, re- 
ported direct to the Zone Manager controlling supplies and 
transportation movement in and out of the district. r~ 

The Bureau of Home and Hospital Service was divided 
into three sections great sections because of the vastness 
of the work that it might be called upon to perform for an 
army of two million, or perhaps even four million men. 
These were the Home Communication Section, the Home 
Service Section, and the Section of General Service at 
Military Hospitals. The task of the first of these sections 
- which presently we shall see amplified was to obtain 
and transmit to the United States or to authorized army 
and navy officials in France and also to relatives in the 
United States, such information as might possibly be ob- 
tained in regard to dead, wounded, missing, or prisoner 
American soldiers or sailors. It was to be supplemental to 
and not in duplication of the service of the quartermaster 
of the United States Army. As a part of its work the 
section was to render aid in registering and photographing 
the graves of our soldiers and sailors. 

At headquarters in Paris the work of the Home Com- 
munication Section was to be concerned with general ex- 
ecutive direction, the determination of policies, the issuance 
of instructions, and the actual transcribing and forwarding 
of the reports to America. In the zones its activities were 
brought under the zone Army and Navy Bureau. Its 
actual work was planned to be conducted through searchers 
in the field, in camps, and in hospitals. 

The Home Service work, while in a sense similar to that 
of the Home Communication Section, in another sense was 
quite the reverse. For while the first of these two serv- 
ices concerned itself with supplying the anxious mother 
back home with information regarding the boy from whom 



34 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

she had not heard for so long a time, it was the task of the 
Home Service also, through its representatives in the field, 
camps, or in hospitals (in many instances the selfsame 
representatives as those of the Home Communication) so 
far as possible to relieve the anxieties of soldiers regarding 
affairs at home. 

The third section of the Home and Hospital Service 
bore the rather imposing title of Section of General Service 
at Military Hospitals. Its task was to assist in furnishing 
medical and surgical supplies to army and navy hospitals 
in accordance with the plans of the Medical and Surgical 
Department, to distribute general comforts to our sick and 
wounded, to erect and operate recreation huts at the hos- 
pitals, and even to develop gardens at the hospitals for 
furnishing fresh vegetables to patients a part of the 
program which, because of the sudden ending of the war, 
was never quite realized. Furthermore, the work of this 
Section contemplated the operation of nurses' homes and 
huts. All of these activities were to be under the chief 
representative at the hospital whose task it was to correlate 
and direct all the operations. 

Alongside of Home and Hospital Service in the army 
and navy stood the Bureaus of Outpost Service and of 
Army Field Service. In the plan for the first of these, 
the American Eed Cross would endeavor to maintain at as 
many points as was consistently possible outposts at which 
supplies would be kept and comforts and necessities dis- 
tributed to men in the line. From these points, as well as 
from points even in advance of their locations, emergency 
sustenance and comforts were to be given men at advanced 
dressing stations and at every other point along the front 
where our troops might actually be reached. 

In the Army Field Service, the American Eed Cross was 
to have, with each army division, a representative to co- 
operate with the Army Medical Corps to furnish supple- 
mentary medical and surgical supplies, to distribute sup- 
plies and comforts to troops, to perform such canteen serv- 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 35 

ice as was possible in emergencies, and for a general co- 
operation with the men working in the Home Communica- 
tion and the Home services. 

If I have taken much of your time with the rather 
lengthy details of this final war-time plan of organization 
of the American Red Cross in France, it is because one 
cannot well understand the results of a great machine such 
as it became with more than six thousand uniformed 
workers in the field, the hospitals, the canteens, and the 
headquarters of France without looking a little bit be- 
neath its hoodings and its coverings and seeing something 
of the actual working of its mechanism. 

I like, myself, to think first of the Red Cross in its vast 
humanitarian aspects ; and yet the business side of the great 
organization, so far as I have had the opportunity of seeing 
into it, has fascinated me. To go behind the scenes of the 
greatest helping hand of all time and there see system, pre- 
cision, and order, is a mighty privilege. The Headquarters 
building of the American Red Cross in the city of Wash- 
ington is a monumental structure an architectural tri- 
umph in white marble, planned as a great and enduring 
memorial long before the coming of the war. Even in the 
busiest days of 1918 its beautiful and restful exterior gave 
little evidence of the whirl of industry within and behind, 
for far to the rear of the main Headquarters building, de- 
signed, as I have just said, with no immediate thought of 
war, stretched great, plain emergency buildings, each a 
hive of offices and each peopled with hundreds of clerks, 
with desks and typewriters and telephones all in co- 
ordination and all a part of the paraphernalia that goes to 
the making of the cogs and wheels and shafts and cylinders 
of the great modern machine of business of to-day. 

Behind this building there were many other such head- 
quarters structures buildings here and there across the 
face of the United States and in some of the great capitals 
of Europe Paris, London, Rome, Geneva, for instance. 



36 WITH THE DOUGEBOY IN FRANCE 

Of these, none more important, none busier than the head- 
quarters of the American Red Cross in France, in the six- 
storied Hotel Eegina, Paris, in its turn a veritable hive of 
offices and peopled with more clerks, more desks, more type- 
writers, more telephones, and all this paraphernalia co- 
ordinated, as we have just seen, by modern and detailed 
business system. 

Again behind these headquarters buildings still others; 
concentration warehouses in each of America's forty-eight 
states, to say nothing of her Federal capital; warehouses 
at ports of embarkation; warehouses at ports of debark- 
ation; at central points in France, and points behind the 
firing line; huts, canteens, in some cases entire hospitals, 
motor trucks, camion ettes, supplies in the hundreds of 
thousands of tons to go from the warehouses into the 
camions and back again into the warehouses, and ten thou- 
sand workers, six thousand in France alone. What a 
mess it all would have been without coordinated system, 
definitely laid down and definitely followed ! 

To have builded such a machine, to have laid down so 
huge and so definite a plan in the days before the war 
would seemingly have been a matter of long years. But 
we now know that the Red Cross is an emergency organ- 
ization. In emergency it was developed not in years, 
but in months, nay, even in weeks. 

" We had to build an organization and operate it all 
the time that we were building it," one of the Washington 
officers of the organization once told me. " We had to 
start to get actual materials and supplies for field relief 
work of every sort at the very hour and minute that we were 
sending our first working commission to France and were 
struggling to get a competent field relief organization. In 
every direction raw and inexperienced human material con- 
fronted us. We were raw and inexperienced ourselves. 
And yet, as we confronted the big problem and turned it 
over between us, we saw light. We began to realize certain 
definite things. We realized, for instance, that when we 



ORGANIZING FOR WORK 37 

needed an executive to supervise the turning out of many 
hundreds of millions of hospital dressings, we did not, after 
all, need a nurse or a doctor, but a man or a woman who 
had the experience or the technique to turn out dressings 
in huge quantities. We needed an executive. We found 
such a man in the person of a lumberman out in the Middle 
West. We brought him to Washington and there he made 
good on the job." 

These experiences were paralleled in Paris even through 
the exigencies of the situation, the extreme emergency 
which at all times confronted our Red Cross there, until 
the fateful eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh 
month of 1918 had been met and long since passed. It 
therefore was not always possible to pick executives with 
such care and discrimination as would be possible in the 
United States; in fact the best results were obtained 
by the more or less firmly fixed method of finding 
the personnel here generally in response to definite 
cable requests from Paris and sending it to France, 
but not always. Occasionally the reverse was true. 
Men already overseas were thrust quite unexpectedly 
into posts of great trust and great responsibility 
posts requiring broad and instant initiative and in those 
posts developed abilities which they, themselves, had not 
realized they possessed. 

In fact it is worth stating that the zone plan of organiza- 
tion contemplated this very possibility, and so gave to each 
Zone Manager great autonomy and freedom of action. In 
no other way would it have been possible to obtain imme- 
diate and efficient results, particularly in a war-beset land 
where communication of every sort, by train, by motor car, 
by post, by telegraph, and by telephone, was so greatly 
overburdened. The very autonomy of the final organiza- 
tion plan was largely responsible for its success. It was 
one of the lubricants which made the big business machine 
of the American Eed Cross in France function so well. 

Have you ever stood beside a fairly complex machine 



38 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

a linotype or a silk loom or a paper machine, for instance 
and after examining its intricacy of cams and cogs and 
shafts, wondered how it turned out its product with such 
precision and rapidity ? So it is with the big business ma- 
chine of the American Red Cross. You might stand close 
to any one of its many, many individual activities the 
sewing room of a chapter house here in the United States, 
a base hospital behind the front in France, a transport 
receiving its medical supplies and wonder truly at the 
coordination of such huge activities ; for they did co- 
ordinate. The big machine functioned, and as a rule func- 
tioned very well indeed. And because it did function so 
very well the largest single humanitarian effort in the his- 
tory of the world was carried forward to success with a 
minimum of friction and loss of precious energy. 

So much, if you please, for practical business methods in 
an international emergency. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 

TO attempt aid or comfort to a fighting army six hun- 
dred miles inland from the coast without adequate 
transportation was quite out of the question. Transporta- 
tion, in fact and in truth, was the lifeblood of the Amer- 
ican Expeditionary Forces which began to debark at the 
Atlantic rim of France before the summer of 1917 was well 
spent. It was the obvious necessity of transportation that 
made it necessary for the War Department of the United 
States to plan to operate an American railroad system of 
some 6,000 miles of line all told about equal to the 
length of the Northern Pacific system over certain desig- 
nated portions of the several French railway systems. 
Nothing was ever more true than the now trite Napoleonic 
remark, that an " army travels on its stomach." The im- 
perial epigram about the progress of an army meant trans- 
portation, and little else. 

In other days in other wars the transport of the United 
States was in the completely adequate hands of its Quarter- 
master General and its Corps of Engineers. But in those 
days we fought our wars in North America. The idea of 
an army of two million men perhaps even four or five 
million fighting nearly four thousand miles away from 
the homeland was quite beyond our conception. When 
that remote possibility became fact the necessities of our 
transport multiplied a thousandfold. They swept even 
beyond the capabilities of a Quartermaster General and a 
Chief of Engineers who found their abilities sore-taxed 
in many other directions than that of the water, the rail, 
and the highway movement of troops. It became a job 

39 



40 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

for railroad men, expert railroad men, the most expert rail- 
road men in the world. And where might railroad men 
be found more expert than those of the United States of 
America ? 

Purposely I am digressing for the moment from the Red 
Cross's individual problem of transport. I want you to see 
for an instant and in the briefest possible fashion, the 
United States Military Railroad in France, not alone be- 
cause it must form the real and permanent background of 
any study of the transportation of the American Red Cross 
itself a structure of no little magnitude but also be- 
cause in turn the Red Cross was able to render a large de- 
gree of real service to the railroad workers who had come 
far overseas from Collingwood or Altoona or Kansas City 
to run locomotives or operate yards or unload great gray 
ships. No Red Cross canteens have been of larger interest 
than those which sprung up beside the tracks at Tours or 
Grievres or Neuf chateau or St. Nazaire or Bassens all 
of these important operating points along the lines of the 
United States Military Railroad in France. 

To run this Yankee railroad across the land of the lily 
required, as already I have intimated, expert railroad men- 
tality. To head it no less a man than W. W. Atterbury, 
operating vice-president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was 
chosen and given the rank of brigadier-general in charge of 
the rail transport of the S. O. S., as the doughboy and com- 
missioned officers alike have come to know the Service of 
Supplies of the American Expeditionary Forces. Around 
himself General Atterbury assembled a group of practical 
railroaders, men whose judgment and experience long since 
have placed them in the front rank of American transporta- 
tion experts. Among these were Colonel W. J. Wilgus, 
former engineering vice-president of the New York Cen- 
tral system and the man who had made the first studies of 
the necessities and the possibilities of the United States 
Military Railroad in France ; Colonel James A. McCrea, 
a son of the former president of the Pennsylvania and him- 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 41 

self general manager of the Long Island Kailroad at the 
time of our entrance into the war ; Colonel F. A. Delano, a 
one-time president of the Wabash, who left a commis- 
sionership in the Federal Reserve Board to join the army, 
and Colonel G. T. Slade, former vice-president of the 
Northern Pacific. These men are only a few out of a 
fairly lengthy roster of our Yankee railroad men in 
France. Yet they will serve to indicate the type of per- 
sonnel which operated our lines in France. It would not 
be fair to close this paragraph without a reference to the 
patent fact that the high quality of the personnel of the 
official staff of our Yankee railroad overseas was fully re- 
flected in the men of its rank and file. These, too, were 
of the highest type of working railroaders, and to an Amer- 
ican who knows anything whatsoever about the railroads 
of his homeland and the men who work upon them, more 
need not be said. 

The United States Military Railroad in France, it should 
clearly be understood, was not a railroad system such as we 
build in America by patient planning and toil and the 
actual upturning of virgin soil. While many millions of 
dollars were expended in its construction, it was not, after 
all, a constructed railroad. In any legal or corporation 
sense it was not a railroad at all. It was in fact an adap- 
tation of certain lines side lines wherever possible of 
long-existent French railways. To best grasp it, one must 
first understand that the greater part of French rail trans- 
portation is divided into five great systems. Four of 
these the Nord, the Etat, the Paris-Lyons-Mediterranee, 
and the Orleans shoot many of their main stems out 
from the heart of Paris, as the spokes of a wheel extend 
out from its hub. These spoke lines, if I may be permitted 
the phrase, long since were greatly overburdened with 
the traffic which arose from the vast army operations of 
the French, the British, and the Belgians. The problem 
was to make the French railway system bear upon its 



42 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

already much-strained back the additional transport 
necessities of our incoming army of at least two million 
men within the first twelve months of its actual operations. 

Between the radiating spoke lines of the French railways 
leading out from the great huh of the wheel at Paris is a 
network of smaller and connecting lines, the most of them 
single-tracked, however. The whole structure, in fact, 
greatly resembles a huge spider's web; far more so than 
our own because of its more regular outlines. Colonel 
Wilgus and Colonel William Barclay Parsons, the designer 
of the first New York subway system, who accompanied 
him in the first inspection of the army transportation 
problem in France, quickly recognized this spider's web. 
And a little inspection showed them the great burden that 
its main spokes already were carrying; convinced them 
of the necessity of using other lines for the traffic of the 
American Army. For it was known even then that in 
addition to carrying the men themselves there would have 
to be some 50,000 tons a day transported an average dis- 
tance of six hundred miles for an army of two million 
men. 

To strike across the spider's web! That was the solu- 
tion of the problem. Never mind if most of those cross- 
country connecting lines running at every conceivable 
angle to the main spoke lines and in turn bisecting the 
greater part of them, were for the most part single-tracked. 
Never mind if, as they began to climb the hills of Eastern 
France which held the eastern portions of the battle front 
sectors assigned quite largely to the Americans they 
attained one per cent grade or better. In the valley of 
the Loire where a good part of our military rail route 
would be located there is the easiest and steadiest long- 
distance grade in all France. With American ingenuity 
and American labor it would be comparatively easy to 
double track the single-track lines and in some cases even 
to lower the gradients, while, for that matter, the ingenuity 
of American locomotive builders might rise quite easily to 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 43 

the problem of producing an effective locomotive to over- 
come these one per cent pulls. 

I have spoken of the valley of the Loire because almost 
from the beginning it was chosen as the location of the 
chief main routes of the United States Military Railroad 
in France. Necessity dictated that location. It was both 
logical and efficient that the British should be given the 
great Channel ports for their supply service of men and 
munitions. Their endeavors so crowded Havre and 
Boulogne and Dieppe and Calais. and Cherbourg, to say 
nothing of the rail lines which serve these ancient ports 
of the north of France, that they were out of the question 
for any large movement of American forces, although, as 
we shall see in good time, much Red Cross material, par- 
ticularly in the early stages of our participation in the war, 
did come through Havre. 

The more distinctly American ports, however, were 
Brest, St. Nazaire, La Rochelle, and Bordeaux, as well as 
the rapidly created emergency port at Bassens, just across 
the Gironde from Bordeaux. All of these harbors are 
on the west coast of France and give more or less directly 
in the Atlantic Ocean itself. With the possible exception 
of Bordeaux, in recent years they have been rather sadly 
neglected ports. That no longer can be said, however, 
for within a space of time to be measured by weeks and 
months rather than by years, they have become worthy 
of rank with the most efficient harbors of the world. It 
was necessity that made them so the supreme necessity 
of the greatest war in history. So does the black cloud of 
war sometimes have its silver lining of permanent achieve- 
ment. 

These were the ports that became the starting points of 
the two main stems of the United States Military Rail- 
road in France. Upon the great docks and within the 
huge warehouses that sprang up seemingly overnight were 
placed the constantly incoming loads of men and mules and 
horses and food and guns and camionettes and tents and 



44 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

five-ton trucks all the seemingly endless paraphernalia 
of war. And from those docks and from those warehouses 
moved at all hours of the day and night long trains 
emptying them of all that same endless paraphernalia 
of war and in the same good order as that in which it 
arrived. And these trains were for the greater part of 
American-huilded cars, hauled by locomotives from the 
engine-building shops of Philadelphia or Schenectady or 
Dunkirk and all operated by 75,000 expert railroaders, 
picked and culled from every state of the Union. 

I shall not attempt here to go into further detail of the 
operation of our military railroad in France, although there 
is hardly a detail of it that is not fascinating in the 
extreme. It is enough here and now to say that it func- 
tioned ; that our " contemptible army " wiped out the 
Saint Mihiel salient in one day, and, what is perhaps 
far more important, there were comparatively few in- 
stances where an American soldier went for a day without 
his three good meals. If I were an artist I would like to 
paint a picture for the beginning of this chapter. And 
because it was for a book of Red Cross activities primarily, 
the painting would show the operations of the United 
States Army Transport on land and water as a huge 
motley of ships and trains and warehouses and cranes in 
a gray monotone in the background; while in the fore- 
ground in gay array one would find the motor trucks, the 
camionettes, and the touring cars of the Bed Cross's own 
transportation department. 

To that department we now have come fairly and 
squarely. And, lest you should be tempted to dismiss it 
with a wave of the hand and a shoulder shrug, let me ask 
if you have been a woman worker for the Red Cross some- 
where in our own beloved country, if you ever have given 
more than a passing thought to the future of that gauze 
bandage that you made so deftly and so quickly and so 
many, many times ? Did you ever wonder what became of 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 45 

the sweater, the helmet, or the wristlets which you knitted 
with such patient care and patriotic fervor? Or that 
warm and woolen gown which you took down from the 
closet hook with such a real sigh of self-denial it still 
was so pretty and so new? How was it to reach some 
downhearted refugee of France? 

It is comparatively easy to visualize the movement of 
the munitions of war across the three thousand miles of 
Atlantic and six hundred miles of France between our 
northeastern seaports and our front lines of battle pow- 
der and food and uniforms and even aeroplanes and loco- 
motives in giant crates. It perhaps is not quite as easy 
to trace, even in the mind's eye, the vast passage of the 
steady output of the 20,000,000 pairs of patriotic hands 
from America to the boys at the front. It is a vast pic- 
ture ; a huge canvas upon which is etched at first many fine 
streams of traffic, gradually converging; forming rivulets, 
then rivers, and finally a single mighty river which, if I 
may continue the allegory without becoming too mixed 
in my metaphor, is carried overseas and across the entire 
width of the French republic. Sometimes the swift course 
of the river is checked for a time; the little still-water 
pools and eddies are the concentration stations and ware- 
houses in America; and the other pools and eddies in 
France are where the precious relief supplies are held for 
careful and equitable distribution. 

To the streams that have poured out of the homes and 
the Chapter workrooms that have supported the Red Cross 
so loyally and so royally, must be added the great floods of 
traffic, of purchased raw materials and supplies of every 
sort. Some of these last, like the output of the home 
workshops, will go to the boys at the front practically 
unchanged. But a considerable quantity will be filtered 
through huge Red Cross workshops in Paris and other 
European cities, yet also goes forward to the front-line 
trenches. 

It is well enough to look for a time at this huge problem 



46 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

as a great allegory or as a great picture; perhaps as one 
looks upon a great pageant. It has been a good deal more 
than that to the men who have had to be responsible for 
the successful working out of the problem. Come back 
behind the scenes and I shall try to show you the project 
as it appears to these men a thing of hard realities and 
seemingly all but endless labor. 

When Grayson M.-P. Murphy and his Commission 
made the preliminary survey trip to France in the interests 
of the American Red Cross in June, 1917, they took the 
man who was to solve their transportation problem right 
along with them. He was and still is Major Osborne. 
There have been changes in the Red Cross personnel since 
first the American organization took up its big part of the 
international job at Paris. Men have come and men have 
gone. Big executives five, ten, twenty-thousand-dollar- 
a-year men a plenty have slammed down their desks 
in New York or Pittsburgh or Chicago or San Francisco 
and have given six months or a year willingly and gladly 
to the service of the Red Cross. For many of them well 
past the army age it seemingly was the only way that 
they could keep pace with their boys or their nephews in 
khaki. But Osborne did not measure his service by 
months. He came with the first and remained on the job 
until long months after the signing of the armistice. 

I wish that I might write of C. G. Osborne as some 
veteran American railroader or at least as a man expe- 
rienced in motor truck or highway transportation of some 
sort. For when one comes to measure the size of the job 
and the way that he measured up to it, it seems incredible 
that he has not had large transportation experience of 
some sort. Yet when the truth is told it is known that 
Major Osborne is a college man, with an astounding record 
as an athlete, but with little more actual traffic experience 
than falls to the lot of any average business man. Per- 
haps, after all, that was just as well, for to his big new 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 47 

job he not only brought vigor and strength but a freshness 
of mind that made him see it in all the breadth of its 
possibilities. 

There were eighteen men in that pioneer survey party of 
the American Red Cross to France. Before the ship had 
left her dock in New York, Osborne was on his big new job, 
wiring the American Eelief Clearing House in Paris 
which at that time was the unified agency for all the Ameri- 
can relief work of every sort that had sprung up in France 
since the war began in August, 1914, to buy six touring 
cars and to have them at Paris to meet the party. The 
American Relief Clearing House moved quickly. It al- 
ready possessed three Renaults good cars of a sort well 
suited to the hard necessities of the war-scarred highroads 
of France. It purchased three more touring cars of the 
same general type, and in these six cars the American Red 
Cross took its first real look at the field into which it was 
to enter the field in which it was destined to play the 
greatest role in all of its eventful career. 

The Clearing House, it should be understood quite 
clearly, was not at any time a war-relief agency upon its 
own account. It was, as its name indicates, a real clearing 
house or central station for a number of American relief 
organizations who came to the aid of the French long be- 
fore the United States had entered the war, and the Ameri- 
can Red Cross was privileged legally to enter into the relief 
work in connection with it. It received goods sweaters, 
socks, medicines, even food from the states and from 
England and distributed them, although not even this work 
was undertaken directly, but was handled through transi- 
taires, who made the direct distributions. Because of the 
rather limited nature of its work, therefore, it needed little 
actual equipment. In June, 1917, it only owned eight 
touring cars and three trucks ; and all of these were pretty 
badly shot to pieces by hard service and by lack of repairs. 
But these it turned over to the Red Cross and they became 



48 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

the nucleus of the American Red Cross transportation 
organization in France. 

" What we are going to need here," said Major Osborne 
to his fellows before he had been on the new job a fort- 
night, " is to create a real transportation service and to 
build it up from the bottom. What I really have in mind 
is the organization of something like one of our express 
companies back in the United States." 

If you know anything at all about our inland transpor- 
tation system in America you must realize that our ex- 
press companies one of our most distinctive forms of 
national transportation, by the way although closely re- 
lated to our railroads are in no real sense a part of them. 
For, while they have their largest functions upon railroad 
trains, particularly passenger trains, they also maintain in 
all the towns and cities that they serve great fleets or squa- 
drons of horse-drawn or motor-drawn trucks. And in re- 
cent years they have increased their carrying functions 
from the small parcels for which they originally were de- 
signed into the heaviest types of freight. I have known a 
carload of steel girders to move from New York to New- 
ark, eight miles distant, by express. 

Osborne's idea of the Eed Cross Express was fundamen- 
tally sound, and perhaps it is because it was so funda- 
mentally sound that it has been so very successful, although 
working many times against tremendous odds. He rec- 
ognized from the first that it would be foolish to use Red 
Cross motor trucks for long-distance hauls, such as from 
Havre to Paris, for instance, save in cases of great emer- 
gency. The railroad service of France, although greatly 
hampered and handicapped during the war, was at no 
time broken down. And it was not necessary, as in Great 
Britain and in the United States, to take it out of the 
hands of its private owners and place it under direct gov- 
ernment control. 

Osborne realized that he would be compelled to place 
his chief reliance upon the French railways. The United 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 49 

States Military Eailroad, especially at the outset, was 
not to be compared in value with that of the the main stems 
of the French systems, particularly those which radiate 
out from Paris. So he made immediate arrangements 
with the French Minister of Railways for the transport 
of Red Cross supplies from the various Atlantic ports to 
Paris and other distributing stations as well as right up 
to the railheads behind the lines themselves. And the 
French on their part generously and immediately gave free 
transportation to all Red Cross supplies, as well as to all 
persons bound to any part of France exclusively on Red 
Cross work. In addition arrangements were made by 
which the Red Cross personnel bound on vacation leaves 
or other personal errands through France might avail 
themselves of the very low passenger rates heretofore only 
granted to soldiers in uniform. 

With his plan of utilization of the railroads for long- 
distance hauls firmly fixed, Osborne promptly went to 
work to organize his fleet of trucks and touring cars in the 
various cities of France where the American Red Cross 
has touched with its activities. That meant not alone the 
securing of sufficient motor cars of the various sorts nec- 
essary to the situation, but of garages and repair facilities 
of every sort; this last particularly difficult in a nation 
which for three years had been war-racked and hard put 
to it to meet her own necessities of motor transportation. 
But from a beginning of three trucks and eight touring 
cars from the American Relief Clearing House, whose 
activities were quickly absorbed by the Red Cross, a mighty 
fleet of trucks and camions and camionettes and touring 
cars slowly was assembled. Before Osborne had been in 
France a month he had purchased at Paris fifty-five size- 
able trucks, twenty-five of which had been unloaded at 
Havre and which had been destined originally for an 
American firm in France and another thirty which were 
turned over by the French Minister of Munitions. The 



50 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

entire fifty-five trucks were all at work by the end of July, 
1917, when the first of the relief supplies from America 
began to roll, a mighty tidal wave into France. 

On November 11, 1918, the day that the armistice was 
signed and another great milestone in the progress of the 
world erected, the transport department of the American 
Red Cross in France possessed a mighty fleet of 1,285 
trucks and touring cars, moving some 5,000 tons of sup- 
plies each week. The greater part of these were in actual 
and constant service, the rest being held in its great 
garages and shops for painting and repairs. To these 
shops we shall come in good time. 

I would not have you think of the transport problem 
too largely as a problem of the motor truck, however. I 
should prefer to have you see another picture; this one a 
perspective France rolled flat before your eyes, the 
blue Atlantic upon one side and the mountainous German 
frontier upon the other. Across this great perspective 
call it a map, if you will are furrowed many fine lines. 
The spider web once again! Here are the railways radi- 
ating out, like spokes of the wheel, from Paris. Here are 
the mass of connecting and cross-country lines. And here 
the one of these that must remain impressed upon the minds 
of Americans the double main stem of the United States 
Military Railroad in France reaching chiefly from the 
ports of Bordeaux and of St. Nazaire with fainter but 
clear defined tendrils from La Rochelle and Brest as well. 
And if the eye be good or the glass half strong enough one 
can see the steady line of American transports coming to 
these four harbors the " bridge across the Atlantic " of 
which our magazine writers used to prate so glibly but a 
little time ago. 

As I write, the list of the French ports at which the 
transport department of the Red Cross conducts its chief 
activities is before me. In addition to the four which 
have just been mentioned, one finds Toulon and Marseilles, 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 51 

upon the Mediterranean: Bassens, La Pallice, Nantes, 
Havre, Rouen, Dunkirk and Calais. Not all of these were 
American ports. Some of them were reserved exclusively 
for the British. But they were all ports for the American 
Red Cross, which frequently found it necessary or advis- 
able to huy supplies, raw or manufactured, in England. 

The hulk of our materials came, however, to the Ameri- 
can ports ; and at some of them our Red Cross maintained 
more than a merely sizable organization. At least at six, 
it had a captain, thirty or forty French or American 
helpers, and perhaps from seventy-five to a hundred boche 
prisoners who performed the hardest of the actual work 
upon the piers and within the warehouses. There was 
much work to he done. The plants were huge. In St. 
Nazaire, for instance, the Red Cross warehouse alone 
could hold more than eight thousand cases of supplies be- 
neath its roof, and in course of the busiest days of the war, 
just before the signing of the armistice, it was no uncom- 
mon thing for this great warehouse to be completely 
emptied and refilled within seven days. At the one port 
of St. Nazaire it was necessary to assign six large trucks, 
and yet the movement of Red Cross supplies from this 
great port was exclusively upon the trains of the United 
States Military Railroad. 

As fast as the freight came pouring out from the holds 
of the ships it was carted into the warehouses, where it was 
carefully checked and a receipt sent back to America, 
noting any shortages or overages. Then it found its way 
to the trains. If it was to an American train the process 
was simple enough; merely the waybill transaction which 
is so familiar to every American business man who ever 
has had freight dealings with our Yankee railroads. If it 
went upon the French railways, however, either in carload 
or less than carload lots, it rode upon the ordre de trans- 
port which, although issued and personally signed by Major 
Osborne, was the free gift of the French Minister of Rail- 
ways. These ordres de transport differed from waybills 



52 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

chiefly in the fact that they give gross weights but no 
listing of the contents of the cases. This last was accom- 
plished by the bordereaux, which was purely a Ked Cross 
document. 

The work of the port manager of the American Red 
Cross at one of these important water gates of France was 
no sinecure, indeed. Here is the testimony of one of the 
ablest of them, Mr. J. M. Erwin, who was in charge of 
its terminal transportation work, first at Le Havre and 
then at Nantes. He writes : 

" In my branch of the activities I have performed no 
heroisms. I have not rushed out in the middle of the 
night to carry food or dressings to the front while dodg- 
ing bombs or bullets, but I have crawled out of bed at five 
o'clock and six o'clock in the morning to wade through 
snow and mud in the quays, trying to boss the unloading of 
Red Cross goods from a ship and their transshipment to 
warehouse, car, or canal boat. I am like my confreres 
of other seaports in France I haven't had a chance to 
expose my person to battle dangers nothing more than 
the hazards of abnormal movement and traffic, tumbling 
cranes and falling bales, automobile eccentricities, climatic 
exposures, and a few similiar trifles. 

" I have had my trials of dealing with the formalities of 
war departments, likewise with their machine-made ex- 
actions, and with all the types of Monsieur Le Bureau, 
with the general and the corporal, with the teamsters who 
arrive late or not at all with the auto truck which 
breaks down, with the loche prisoner gang which reports 
to the wrong place two miles away, with the vermin that 
steals things out of cracked cases, with the flivver that I 
can't start, with the navigation colonel who before the war 
was a plain clerk who wore store clothes, with the railway 
station master who can't give me any cars, with 119 cases 
of jam that are ' busted ' and must be repaired, at once, 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 53 

and atop of all this the rain which has been raining for 
seven weeks and won't stop." 

The tone of the port manager's letter suddenly changes 
from sarcasm to the romance of his big job. 

" If a bale or a case of goods could talk," he writes, 
" and tell you all about its trip from Spokane, Washing- 
ton, to the emergency hospital near Chateau-Thierry, its 
narrative would form a chain story of freight cars and 
docks and stevedores, somber seclusion in a deep hold, 
tempests and submarines alert, the clanking of chains and 
the creaking of slings, shouts, orders, and oaths, hangings 
about in rain and snow, nails and cords yielding under 
the tension of rush and brutality, voices and hands of inim- 
itable uber alles prisoner teams, lonesome sleeps in dark 
warehouses, gnawings of nocturnal rats, more trips to the 
unknown, petite Vitesse which averages five miles an hour, 
and finally destination, arrival, identification, appli- 
cation, and appreciation. The voyage and itinerary of a 
case of goods for the Red Cross compose an odyssey and 
very few human packages ever perform displacements so 
replete with incidents and interest." 

SucK indeed was the day's work of the port manager's 
job. He was master of transportation, and at a very 
vital point in transportation. No matter how much he 
might be assailed by questions or criticisms, until he won- 
dered whether he really is a bureau of information or one 
of complaint, he never forgot that transportation was his 
real job, which brought to the A, B, C, of human endeavor, 
meant that he must see that the Red Cross supplies re- 
ceived at his port were properly checked and without delay 
shipped to their destinations. Paris was most generally 
this last. 

Put yourself back into those stirring days. Suppose, 
if you will, that a certain definite shipment of Red 
Cross supplies comes into the headquarters city of Paris, 



54 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

either from Rouen or Le Havre or Brest or St. Nazaire. 
It comes through without great delay on the small but 
seemingly entirely efficient goods cars of a French rail- 
way to a great freight " quai " or warehouse, set aside 
for the exclusive use of our American Red Cross, not far 
from the busy passenger terminal of St. Lazaire. This 
huge raised platform, some six hundred feet long and 
fifty feet wide, handles some eighty per cent of all the 
Red Cross supplies that come into Paris in the course of 
the average month. All of the goods that come to this 
Parisian freight station are import and " in bond," and 
so at the great exit gates there is a squad of customs 
guards to inspect all outbound loads. But, again through 
the courtesy of the French Government, all Red Cross 
supplies are permitted to pass without inspection. Thus 
a great deal of time is saved and efficiency gained. 

The little railway goods cars with the Red Cross supplies 
pull up along one side of the quai platform, while upon 
the other side stand the camions or trucks to carry the 
supplies down into Paris. Occasionally these are not 
destined for the French capital; in which case they are 
quickly transferred and reloaded to other little railway 
goods cars, and destined for other points in France. For 
the normal handling of freight upon this particular Red 
Cross quai when, for instance, two or more ships arrive 
within a day of one another the number of handlers 
and checkers may rise quickly to eighty-five or a hundred 
and then there may be as many as 15,000 cases of supplies 
upon the platform at a single time. The men employed 
are mainly French soldiers on leave or already demobil- 
ized, and are strong and dexterous workers. And upon 
one occasion they unloaded ninety-two closely packed 
freight cars in thirty-two hours. 

In the course of an average war-time month this Paris 
receiving station for American Red Cross supplies would 
handle anywhere from 800 to 5,000 tons of cases a week, 
and despite the great weight of many of these cases their 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 55 

is nothing light, for instance, in either medicines or sur- 
gical instruments counts even the higher record as no 
extraordinary feat. 

In addition to being a receiving station, this quai per- 
formed steady service as a sorting station or clearing 
house. From it some fifteen warehouses or stores depots 
in and about Paris received their supplies. And care must 
be taken that the goods for each of these warehouses must 
go forward promptly and correctly. The need for this 
care was obvious. It would be as senseless to send sur- 
gical dressing to one distribution center as stoves to an- 
other. 

When any of these incoming supplies had been trans- 
ferred from the railway quai to the distribution stations 
and a receipt taken for them, they were at once stricken 
from the records of the transportation department until, 
in response to a subsequent call, they were transferred out 
for delivery, either to the consumer or to another storage 
point in an outlying region, which is where the big fleet 
of Red Cross trucks in the streets of Paris began to fully 
function. The central control bureau, to which was dele- 
gated the routine but important work of the control of this 
great squadron of trucks, also had charge of the reception 
of merchandise arriving at the Seine landings on barges 
from the seaports of Rouen or Le Havre. For one must 
not forget that in France the inland waterway continues 
to play a large part of her internal transport. Not only 
are her canals and her canalized rivers splendidly main- 
tained, but also owing quite largely to her comparatively 
mild winters, they render both cheap and efficient transpor- 
tation. And the Seine, itself, sometimes brought a thou- 
sand tons a week into the Red Cross at Paris. 

Now are we facing squarely the problem of the motor 
truck in Major Osborne's big department. I think that it 
was the part of the problem that has given him the greatest 
perplexity, and in the long run the greatest satisfaction. 



56 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

For, before we are arrived at the fullness of this phase of 
his service, please consider the difficulties under which his 
staff and himself labored from the beginning. France 
was at war for fifty-two months; not fighting a tedious 
and tiring war in some distant zone, but battling against 
the invasion of the strongest army the world ever has 
known and facing the almost immediate possibility of 
national collapse ; which meant in turn, if not an industrial 
chaos, something at times dangerously near to it. It meant 
that trucks, which the Red Cross organization had pur- 
chased back in America and had fought to find cargo space 
for in the always overcrowded transports, sometimes were 
no more than unloaded before the army, with its prior 
rights and necessities, would commandeer them for its own 
purposes. It meant not only hard roads, with the dangers 
attendant upon worn-out highway surfaces and an over- 
press of terrific traffic, to say nothing of the real war-time 
danger of a bursting shell at any moment, but the lack 
of proper garage and repair facilities to undo the havoc 
that these wrought ; which, further translated, meant added 
difficulties not only in getting repair parts but the men 
properly equipped to install them. 

The American Red Cross in France had at all times 
enough expert organization genius to enable it to organize 
its motor transport service upon the most modern lines of 
standardization and efficiency. It lacked one thing, how- 
ever time. If it had had time it might easily have 
selected one, or at the most, two or three types of motor 
trucks or camionettes and one or two types of touring 
cars and so greatly cut down the stock of repair parts and 
tires necessary to keep on hand at all times. But time did 
not permit this sort of thing. Time pressed and so did 
the Germans, and it was necessary to purchase almost any 
sort of truck or car that was available and put it to work 
without delay. 

The man problem was quite as acute as that of the 
material. Good drivers and good repair men were alike 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 57 

hard to find in a nation that was all but exhausting its 
man power in the desperate effort to hold back the invading 
host. As it was, many of the workers in the Red Cross's 
transportation department were discharged soldiers. A 
few of them were mutiles men who had suffered per- 
manent and terrible injuries in the defense of their coun- 
try. And a wearer of the Croix de Guerre more than once 
drove an American Red Cross car or blew a forge at one 
of its repair garages. The man-power question was at 
all times a most perplexing one. 

I have mentioned this phase of the problem of my own 
accord. Neither Major Osborne nor any of his staff 
have referred to it. Yet it is typical of the many difficult 
phases of the big transportation problem which was thrust 
upon them for immediate solution and which was 
solved. 

To get some real idea of the magnitude of this transpor- 
tation problem, come back with me for a day into the Red 
Cross garages of Paris. We shall once again, as in war 
time, have to start in the early morning, not alone because 
of the many plants to be visited but also because we want 
to see the big four-ton and five-ton trucks come rolling out 
of the great Louis Blanc garage, close beside the Boule- 
vard de la Villette at the easterly edge of the city. As its 
name might indicate it faces the ancient street of Louis 
Blanc, faces it and morning and night fills it with its en- 
ergy and its enterprise. Fills it completely and never 
disorderly. For I have seen it in the early morning 
disgorge from 150 to 200 trucks from its stone-paved 
courtyard and receive them, or others, back at night with 
no more confusion than a well-drilled military company 
would show in leaving its barracks or an armory. 

The stone-paved courtyard itself is interesting. It is a 
bit of old Paris the yard of an ancient stable where 
carters coming into the city with their produce from the 
fat farms of the upper Seine Valley or the Marne might 



58 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

rest their steeds for a time. The old structures which 
look down upon the courtyard have done so for two or 
three or four centuries perhaps even longer. The only 
outward evidence of modernity about the place is its steel- 
trussed roof, wide of span and set high aloft, like the great 
train shed of some huge railroad station, and the splendidly 
efficient great motor trucks themselves. How those old 
carters of the royalist days of France would have opened 
their eyes if they could have seen a five-ton truck of to-day, 
American built, in all probability the output of some 
machine shop upon or near the shores of Lake Erie. They 
are wonderful machines alert, efficient, reliable. I do 
not wonder that when one of our motor-truck manufactur- 
ers from the central portion of the United States visited 
the Verdun citadel just a few months before the ending 
of the war the commandant of that triumphant fortress 
kissed him upon the cheeks and led him to decorations 
and a state banquet in his apartments sixty-five feet beneath 
the surface of the ground. There were several hundred 
of the manufacturer's three-ton camions in the outer court- 
yard of the fortress and it only took a slight brushing 
away of the dust and mud to show that they had been on 
the job, in faithfulness and strength, since 1914. 

One does not, under ordinary circumstances at least, 
have to brush away much dust and mud to find the number 
plate of the Red Cross car; for the Red Cross follows the 
method of the American and the British armies in in- 
sisting upon absolute cleanliness for its equipment. One 
of the briskest departments in the huge Louis Blanc ga 
rage is the paint shop, and the evidences of its energy are 
constantly in sight about the streets of Paris. 

The energy of some of the other workshop departments 
of the garage are perhaps less in evidence upon the streets, 
yet if these departments were not measuring constantly to 
the fullness of their possibilities their failure would be 
evident to any one in constant breakdowns of equip- 
ment. The fact that the trucks and touring cars alike 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 59 

have had so few complete breakdowns, despite the terribly 
difficult operating conditions, shows that the Red Cross 
repair shops have been very much on the job at all times. 

They are complete shops. In them it is possible to take 
a huge camion completely apart even to removing the 
engine and the body from the chassis and the frame, in 
order that cylinders may be bored anew, piston rings re- 
fitted, and bearings entirely renewed. All this work and 
more has been done under emergency in less than three 
days. 

Close beside this Red Cross truck garage in the Rue 
Louis Blanc is a hotel for the two or three hundred workers 
and drivers employed there. It is small, but very neat and 
comfortable and homelike, and is directly managed by the 
Red Cross. It gives housing facilities in a portion of 
Paris where it is not easy to find such. And the long hours 
of the chauffeurs in particular render it highly necessary 
that they have living accommodations close to their work. 

From Louis Blanc we cross Paris in the longest direc- 
tion and come to the so-called Buffalo Park, in ISTeuilly, 
just outside the gates of the city. Buffalo Park gains its 
name from the fact; that it once was a part of the circus 
grounds wherein the unforgetable " Buffalo Bill " was 
wont to disport his redskins for the edification and eternal 
joy of Paris youth. To-day it is a simple enough in- 
closure, fenced in a high green-painted palisade, ingen- 
iously fabricated from packing cases in which knocked- 
down motor cars were shipped from America and guarded 
by a Russian wolfhound who answers to the name of 
" E"ellie." In the language of the French, " Nellie " func- 
tions. And functions, like most of her sex, awfully well. 
She respects khaki ; but her enthusiasm and lack of judg- 
ment in regard to other forms of male habiliment has oc- 
casionally cost the Red Cross the price of a new pair of 
green corduroy trousers, always so dear to the heart of the 
peasant. 



60 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

Within the green-painted inclosure of Buffalo Park 
there stands a permanent, especially built, fireproof ware- 
house and office building, and at all times from 175 to 
200 camionettes, or light ton or ton and a half trucks. 
It does not undertake much repair work, particularly of a 
heavy nature, but its great warehouse holds hundreds 
upon hundreds of tires (the variety of wheel sizes in un- 
standardized motor equipment is appalling) and tens of 
thousands of spare and repair parts. The entire big plant 
is lighted by its own electric generating plant. A big four- 
cylinder gasoline engine, taken from a Yankee truck which 
had its back hopelessly broken on the crowded road to 
Rheims, and bright and clean and efficient, was thus put 
to an economic and essential purpose. 

The other large garage and repair shop of the Red 
Cross transportation department in Paris is situated at ~No. 
79 Rue Langier, close to the plants in Neuilly, yet just 
within the fortifications. It was the first garage to be 
chosen, and one easily can see why Osborne and his fellows 
rejoiced over its selection ; for it is one of the most modern 
and seemingly one of the most efficient buildings that I 
have seen in Paris three stories in height and solidly 
framed in reenforced concrete. It houses each night some 
two hundred touring cars and has complete shops for the 
maintenance and repair of this great squadron of auto- 
mobiles. 

Up to the present moment I have only touched upon 
the use of touring cars for the American Red Cross in 
France. Yet I should like to venture the prediction 
that without these cars, the greater part of them of the 
simplest sort, our work over there would have lost from 
thirty to forty per cent of its effectiveness. It is useless 
to talk of train service in a land where passenger train 
service has been reduced to a minimum and then a con- 
siderable distance beyond. Remember that the few pas- 
senger trains that remain upon the French railways are 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 61 

fearfully and almost indecently crowded. Folk stand in 
their corridors for three hundred or four hundred miles at 
a time. For a Red Cross worker bound from point to 
point to be forced to use these trains constantly in the 
course of his or her work is not only a great tax upon the 
endurance but a fearful waste of time. 

The same conditions which exist in the outer country 
are reflected in Paris. The subway, the omnibus, and the 
trolley systems of the city all but completely broke down 
in the final years of the war when man power depletion 
was at its very worst. The conditions of overcrowding 
upon these facilities at almost any hour were worse 
even than the overcrowding upon the transit lines 
in our metropolitan cities in the heaviest of their 
rush hours. To gain a real efficiency, therefore, it 
became absolutely necessary many times to transport 
Red Cross workers, when on business bent, in tour- 
ing cars. And because there were at the height of 
the work some six thousand of these folk five thousand 
in Paris alone it became necessary to engage the serv- 
ices of a whole fleet of touring cars. Some seventy tour- 
ing cars were assigned to the Paris district. With very 
few exceptions these were operated on a strictly taxicab 
basis, with the Red Cross headquarters in the Hotel Regina 
as an operating center. Here, at the door, sat a chief dis- 
patcher, who upon presentation of a properly filled order, 
assigned a car; and assigned it and its fellows in the 
precise order in which they arrived at that central 
station. It was all simple and efficient and worked ex- 
tremely well. In the course of an average day the chief 
dispatcher at the Regina handled from eighty to one 
hundred requests, for runs lasting from twenty minutes 
to an entire day. 

In the latter part of January, 1919, I saw this Trans- 
portation Department bending to an emergency, and bend- 
ing to it in a very typical American fashion. A strike of 
the subway employees spreading in part to those of the 



62 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

omnibuses and trolley lines, had all but completely crip- 
pled the badly broken-down transportation of the city. 
And not only was the Red Cross being greatly hampered, 
but the personnel was being put to inconvenience and dis- 
comfort that was not at all compatible with the Red Cross 
idea of proper treatment of its workers. 

In this emergency the transportation department jumped 
in. It moved up to the front door of the Regina on the 
first night of the strike a whole brigade of heavy camions 
and a squad of omnibuses such as it uses in transferring 
officers and men on leave between the railroad terminals 
and its various hotels in Paris. These were quickly but 
carefully assigned to definite routes which corresponded in 
a fashion to those of the more important subway routes. 
Huge legible placards announced the destination of each 
of the buses or trucks Porte Maillot, Denf ert-Rochereau, 
Place de la Bastille as the various instances might be. 
Definite announcement was made of the hours at which 
these trucks would return on the following morning to 
bring the workers back again. The strike was over in 
two days, but if had lasted two weeks it would have meant 
little difference to the Red Cross workers. Their organi- 
zation had shown itself capable of taking full care of them. 

We have drifted away, mentally at least, from the big 
touring-car garage at No. 79 Rue Langier. Yet before 
we get entirely away from it we will find that it pays us 
well to see its shops; great, complete affairs situated in a 
long wing which runs at right angles to the main structure, 
and which employ at almost all times from eighty to one 
hundred mechanics blacksmiths, machinists, painters, 
even carpenters, among them. French and American 
workmen are employed together, but never in the same 
squad. That would be an achievement not easy of ac- 
complishment. 

" How do the two kinds of workmen mix ? " we ask 




. 

-fj 

I 

o 



11 



l 







THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 63 

the young Red Cross captain in charge of the garage. 

He does not hesitate in his answer. 

" The French are the more thorough workmen. They 
are slower, hut their output is finer. The American gains 
the point more quickly and goes at it to achieve his end in 
a more direct fashion. Each is good in his own way. 
And each realizes the strong points of the other." 

The Rue Langier garage keeps complete hooks for all 
four of the Paris Red Cross garages. We have seen 
three of them already, and inasmuch as the lunch hour 
approaches will prefer visiting the motor camp at Pare du 
Prince, just outside the fortifications and close to the Bois 
de Boulogne, used chiefly as an overflow park during the 
stiffest days of Red Cross activities. But in addition to 
this it does other things, not the least of them the mainte- 
nance of the transportation department's own post-office 
facilities and a cluhroom for the use of the chauffeurs 
when they are off duty, not a very frequent occurrence. 

" Do the chauffeurs ever play poker ? " we ask Captain 
Conroy. 

He assures us that they do not. 

Also poker is supposedly interdicted at the big hotel 
which Major Osborne has established for the officers and 
men of his department out in Neuilly, just around the 
corner from Buffalo Park. There are plenty of other 
amusements to be found, however books, games, cigars, 
cigarettes, a phonograph, and a remarkable cage of rare 
Oriental birds which, with pretty good success, at times 
try to silence the phonograph. 

It is to this hotel that we find our way for lunch and, 
without hesitation, pronounce our meal the best we have 
had in Paris, which has more than a local reputation as 
a capital of good eating. We find an omelet souffle the 
first to greet us in the town roast turkey, mashed 
potatoes, Brussels sprouts, an American apple pie, bread 



64 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

and butter, and coffee with real creamy milk. And all for 
three francs ! It is unbelievable. Our hotel charges us 
six francs for one pear and an uncooked pear at that ! 

This remarkable hotel, which houses about two hundred 
of the transportation department workers, was one of 
Major Osborne's pet projects. It more than earned its 
modest cost in the promotion of the morale, and hence the 
efficiency, of his department. To its mess table, the major 
himself often came. Sometimes he brought his aid, Cap- 
tain Hayes, out with him. Both confessed to a liking for 
roast turkey and omelet souffle. At the officers' table there 
was almost certain to be Captain Harry Taintor, a distin- 
guished New York horseman, then at Buffalo Park and 
gaining experience in a distinctly different form of high- 
way transportation ; Captain M. D. Brown, also of Buffalo 
Park; Captain F. D. Ford, over from Rue Louis Blanc, 
and Captain Conroy from Rue Langier. These men and 
many others came to the hotel, and among them not to 
be forgotten a certain splendid physician who left a good 
practice up in Minnesota somewhere to come to Paris and 
look after the health and strength of the transportation- 
department personnel. More than sixty years young, no 
youngster in his twenties gave more freely or more un- 
selfishly than this man. He was always at the service 
of his fellows in the Neuilly hotel. 

His service was typical of the entire remarkable morale 
organization of the transportation department. It was the 
same sort of service that Miss Robinson, the capable man- 
ager of the hotel, forever was rendering, that the little 
supply shop across the street gave, that one found here and 
there everywhere within the department ; a morale organi- 
zation so varied and so complete that it might well stand 
for the entire American Red Cross organization in France, 
and yet served but one of the multifold activities of that 
organization. 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 65 

Before we have quite left the more purely mechanical 
phases of the transportation department and lack of 
space or time will forbid my showing you the other im- 
portant garage facilities in the outlying cities and towns 
of France I want to call your attention to one impor- 
tant part of the problem, the supplying of fuel for the 
many hundreds of trucks and cars which the Red Cross 
operates throughout the French republic. You may have 
noticed at Buffalo Park one or two of the huge 7,500- 
gallon trailer trucks used to bring gasoline from the 
United States Army oil station at Juilly, outside of Paris, 
to the Red Cross garages within the city. 

In the months of its greatest activities, the Red Cross 
in France used an average of 25,000 gallons of gasoline. 
To have secured and transported this great quantity of 
oil even in normal, peaceful years would have been a real 
problem. To secure it, to say nothing of transporting it, 
in the hard years toward the end of the war, was a sur- 
passing problem ; for gasoline seemingly was the most pre- 
cious of all the precious things in France. If you did not 
believe it, all you had to do was to ask a Paris taxi driver 
even after taxis had become fairly plentiful once again 
upon the streets of the capital to take you to distant 
Montmartre or Montparnasse and then hear him curse 
Fate and lack of " essence " in his fuel reservoirs. 

But the Red Cross, thanks to the French and American 
army authorities as well as to its own energies, did get the 
" essence." How it did it at times is a secret that only 
Osborne knows. And he probably never will tell. 

Remember, if you will, that gasoline was the vitalizing 
fluid of the war ; therefore, in France, it was guarded and 
conserved with a miser's care. For without it one knew 
that there could be little mobility of troops, little transport 
of supplies and ammunition, and no tanks or aeroplanes! 
Therefore every liter of it which came into France had to 
be accounted for. And in the years of fighting the private 



66 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

motor practically disappeared. Only the militarized car 
remained mobile and was permitted to retain access to the 
diminished gasoline stores of the Eepublic. 

Throughout the entire nation, the French Army estab- 
lished gasoline supply stations. In its zones of special 
activity the American Expeditionary Forces had their own 
great stations in addition. On the presentation of a prop- 
erly signed carnet or book of gas tickets, a military or 
Eed Cross driver was permitted to obtain from any of 
these depots such an amount of gas or kerosene or lubri- 
cating oil as he might really need. The carnet slips were 
in triplicate, so that three records might be kept of the 
dispensation. ~No money was paid by the driver; his 
slip signed and delivered to the depot superintendent was 
sufficient. And by this method every gallon of gas so 
obtained was eventually paid for. 

The basis of this entire plan was that a gallon of gaso- 
line, no matter where it might be obtained, was a gallon 
of gasoline from the Allies' supply of the precious fluid 
and must not only be accounted for but paid for, in what- 
ever way payment might be required. The French Gov- 
ernment preferred to be paid in the precious fluid itself, 
liter for liter, as the Eed Cross purchased it from the 
American Army. If it so happened, as it often did hap- 
pen, that the restitution was made at a French port, 
although the original supply was drawn at depots many 
miles inland, the French were further compensated by 
the payment of a sum to represent the freight charges from 
that port to the distribution centers which supplied the 
depots. But for all the gasoline drawn from the American 
Army stores cash payment was made by the Eed Cross. 

To insure the conservation of the gas, the greatest care 
was used in choosing the men and women for when we 
come to consider in detail the peculiarly valuable services 
rendered by the women personnel of the Eed Cross in 
France, we shall find that more than once they mounted 
the driver's seat of a camion or touring car and remained 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 67 

there for long hours at a time for drivers. And woe 
betide the man or woman caught wasting " essence." For 
when a driver left any of the garages with a car or 
camion even if he were going but a short four blocks 
he carried with him a time-stamped ordre de mission indi- 
cating his destination. The quantity of gasoline either in 
the car's tanks or in the spare containers also was carefully 
registered. And if the driver should be discovered to 
have deviated from the shortest path between his garage 
and his destination he was called upon for an explanation. 
If this proved unsatisfactory he was warned for his first 
offense; for the next he went to a punitive period on 
the " wash rack " in the garage, which meant that from 
two or three days to two weeks or more he stepped down 
from the driver's seat and washed the dirty cars as they 
came in, and to the best of his ability, too. If discipline 
of this sort was found ineffectual, the culprit, being mili- 
tarized as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces, 
was turned over to the provost marshal of the American 
Army in Paris for such punishment as he might see fit to 
impose. The latter might extend and sometimes did 
extend to deportation to America. 

So far we have not even touched upon the dramatic 
phases of the work of the transportation function of our 
Red Cross. Yet do not for one moment imagine that it 
lacked these a-plenty. I said at the beginning of this 
chapter that the trucks and camionettes were not used 
for long hauls ordinarily. It was far too wasteful and 
far too extravagant transportation. Yet, extraordinarily, 
these found their way the entire length and breadth of 
France. It might not be efficient or economical to ship 
beds and bedding in trucks; the food relief afforded by 
even a tightly packed five-ton camion was almost negligible 
save in a very great crisis. But think of the emergency 
possibilities of a truckload of surgical instruments rolling 
up to the battle line, or of five tons of ether finding its way 



68 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

to a field hospital all but overwhelmed by the inrush of 
wounded men. These were functions the transportation 
department could and did perform, and performed them 
so well as to merit the Croix de Guerre more than once 
for its men. 

On one occasion, in particular, the drivers of a fleet of 
camions stood by the surgeons of a big field hospital as they 
performed operation after operation each a trying 
mental strain, but performed apparently with no more 
effort than the simplest of mechanical processes. These 
boys the most of them were hardly more than boys 
in that long forty-eight-hour trick were surgeons 7 helpers. 
They held the arms and legs that the scalpel severed and 
in the passing of but two days of their lives ceased to be 
boys and became case-hardened men. 

How shall one best describe the really magnificent work 
of the Red Cross's efficient Transportation Department 
in such supreme emergencies as the last great drive of the 
Germans upon the western front ; or in emergencies slightly 
smaller in area yet vastly important in the role they played 
to the rest of the war such as the fearful explosion in 
the hand-grenade depot at La Courneuve, just outside of 
Paris, early in 1918 ? Of the work of the Red Cross in 
detail during the drive we have yet to read in other chap- 
ters of this volume. For three days after the La Cour- 
neuve disaster the French newspapers printed accounts of 
the American Red Cross work there, and every editorial 
writer in Paris paid his tribute to the promptness and 
courage with which that aid was given. 

This explosion shook Paris, and the country roundabout 
for many miles, at a little before two o'clock in the after- 
noon. The force of the shock may be the better under- 
stood when one knows that it broke windows more than 
six miles distant from the hand-grenade depot. The 
Parisians thought at first that the bodies had dared a day- 
light raid upon their city, but a great yellowish-gray cloud 
rising like a mighty column of smoke to the north quickly 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 69 

dispelled that notion. Only a mighty explosion could send 
such a beacon toward the heavens. 

Major Osborne chanced to be at luncheon at the moment 
of the explosion. He jumped from the table and speeded 
to the main garage of the Eed Cross in Paris as quickly 
as the nearest taxicab could take him ; there he ordered five 
ambulances to be equipped and manned and held for 
orders. The superintendent of the motor division of the 
service also had seen that beacon, and he, too, had driven 
at top speed to the garage. The two men, with the aid 
of that beacon and a good map of the environs of Paris 
together with their knowledge of the war activities around 
about it, decided instantly that it must be La Courneuve 
that was the scene of the disaster, and without hesitation 
ordered the ambulances to hurry there. 

" Hurry " to an ambulance driver ! It was part of his 
gospel and his creed. In fifteen minutes the squad was 
at the smoking ruin, and the Red Cross, as usual, was the 
first ready to render help. It was needed; for although 
the death list was comparatively small and one can say 
" Thank God ! " for that owing to the fact that the first 
of three thundering detonations had given the workmen a 
chance to run for their lives, practically all the houses in 
the near by communities had been shattered, and a great 
many folk wounded in their homes by falling walls and 
ceilings. The depot was ablaze when the Red Cross am- 
bulances arrived, and from the center of the conflagration 
came the incessant bursting of grenades. Although pieces 
of metal were flying through the air with every explosion, 
the Red Cross workers went to the very edge of the fire, 
crawling on hands and knees over piles of hand grenades 
in search of the wounded. It was courage, courage of the 
finest sort ; courage I may say of the Red Cross type. 

On the morning of the twenty-second day of March, 
1918, Parisians read in the newspapers that came with 
their matutinal coffee that the long-heralded and much-ad- 



70 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

vertised German drive was actually beginning. Major 
Osborne and his fellows saw those startling headlines. 
Instead of wasting time upon speculating as to what their 
final significance was to be, they interpreted them as a 
direct and personal call to duty. Within the hour they 
were at the big garage in the Rue Louis Blanc, realizing 
that the Transportation Department once again had an 
opportunity to demonstrate its real efficiency. 

The drive was on ; the pathetic and tragic seeming defeat 
of the allied forces begun. Retreat meant that refugees 
would soon be fleeing from the newly created danger areas, 
that there would be necessity for increased medical sup- 
plies for the rearward hospitals, and a vast amount of in- 
cidental work for both camions and men. The work of a 
transportation function in war is by no means limited to 
armies that are advancing or even stationary. 

At Louis Blanc orders were given to make ready a 
battery of trucks at once to take on emergency supplies. 
Even while this was being done, a mud-spattered car came 
in from the danger zone with the news that important out- 
lying towns were threatened and must be evacuated at 
once, that thousands of refugees already were falling back, 
and that the Eed Cross warehouses must be stripped in or- 
der to prevent the precious stores from falling into the 
enemy's hands. Ten minutes later the telephone brought 
even more sinister news. In several villages close to the 
changing front, folk had been without food for twenty- 
four hours. Rations must go forward at once. Delay 
was not to be tolerated, not for a single instant. 

Steadily the telephone jangled. Messengers by motor 
car or motor cycle came in to the transportation headquar- 
ters. Major Osborne made up his mind quickly. He is 
not of the sort that often hesitates. Within a half hour 
he was on his way toward the front in a car loaded with 
as many spare tires and tubes and gasoline as it could 
possibly carry, and headed straight for the little village 
of Roye. At first it was possible to make a fair degree of 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT Tl 

speed ; but as the front was neared the roads became con- 
gested with a vast traffic, so fearfully congested that the 
men in the relief car counted it as speed that they were 
able to make the seventy-five miles between Paris and Rove 
in an even three hours. Between Montdidier and Roye 
the highroads were all but impassable because of the press 
of the traffic fleeing townsfolk and the movement of 
troops and artillery. 

At an advanced Red Cross post, Osborne began to get 
glimmerings of definite information. With them he set 
his course toward Noyon, eleven miles to the southeast. 
There was another Red Cross post there where he obtained 
full enough information to cause him to turn his car 
squarely around and begin a race against time to Paris. 
In less than two hours he was in his biggest garage there, 
drawing out trucks, giving definite orders, and beginning 
an actual and well-thought-out plan of relief. The story 
of the execution of that plan is best told in the words 
of the man who carefully supervised its details. Said he : 

" There were six big trucks in the convoy that I took up 
to the front. We left Paris at midnight, the trucks loaded 
down with food and medical supplies and blankets. Al- 
though there was a great deal of movement on the roads, 
we plugged along all night without many delays and at five 
o'clock in the morning had to come to a dead stop. Artil- 
lery, transport camions, soldiers, and refugees blocked 
the way. We couldn't go a yard farther. Our orders 

were to go to N with the supply stuff, but we couldn't 

have done it without an aeroplane. The army was mov- 
ing, and the little space that it left in the roadway was 
occupied by the refugees. They came streaming back 
in every sort of conveyance or on foot, pushing their be- 
longings in barrows and handcarts. Up ahead somewhere 
the guns were drumming in a long, ceaseless roll. 

" As it was impossible to carrry out the original orders, 

the trucks were sent by crossroads to A , the nearest 

important point, and I went on in a little, light car to 



72 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

"N , squeezing my way down the long, hurrying line 

of troops and transport. When I reached there, the rail- 
way station was under shell fire and all about it were 
British machine guns and gunners awaiting the Germans, 
who were even then on the outskirts of the town. The 
attack was being made in force and it was only a matter 
of a few more hours that the defenders could hope to hold 
out. They had mined all the bridges over the Oise and 
were ready to blow them up as they retreated. 

" There was one Red Cross warehouse in "N and 

when I ran around to it I found that, very properly, the 
British and French troops had helped themselves from its 
stores. It was lucky they did, because the town fell into 
German hands that evening. 

" With !N" off the map, as it were, I speeded back to 

A , where there was a hospital in an old chateau. In 

this were sixty wounded American soldiers and about two 
hundred French. There were two American Army sur- 
geons and a few French and English nurses. That after- 
noon we evacuated the Americans from the hospital, and 

made them all comfortable in their new lodgment at C . 

After that we drove dack to A and turned in, because 

we looked forward to a hard day. But at two o'clock in 
the morning a French general waked me up with the an- 
nouncement that the Germans were advancing and that the 
hospital had to be completely evacuated in ten minutes. 
He made it very clear that it would have to be done in ten 
minutes, otherwise we'd find ourselves in No Man's Land. 
So I turned the men out and we went to work in the dark. 
As a matter of fact those ten minutes stretched from two 
o'clock until a little after six, when we carried out the last 
of the wounded. Some of them were in a bad way and 
had to be handled very slowly. We put them in our 
camions and took them ten kilometers to the Oise Canal, 
there transferred them to barges and thus they were con- 
veyed to Paris. 

" That left the hospital with only two American Army 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 73 

surgeons, the Red Cross personnel, and a French Army 
chaplain. The American surgeons looked ahout the place 
rather lonesomely, but one of them said he felt that some- 
thing was going to happen and that before long there would 
be plenty of work for everybody. The guns thundering 
all around us seemed to bear him out. 

" And he made no mistake ! The very next afternoon 
several American Army ambulances arrived with loads of 
English and French wounded. They had been hurried 
down from the advanced dressing stations and a large 
percentage of them were in bad shape. Although we 
made only a handful of people, we hustled about and got 
the hospital going again somehow and started in to take 
care of the wounded. There were no nurses about the 
place, none in the town, because the civilians had been 
ordered out, so the drivers of the Red Cross camions offered 
their services. Two or three of them had been ambulance 
men at the front and knew a little something about han- 
dling wounded, but there wasn't one who had ever been a 
nurse! And the stiff part of it was so many of the 
wounded soldiers brought in were in such a condition that 
operation without delay was vital. 

" When everything was made ready the two American 
surgeons started operating. They began at 7 : 30 o'clock in 
the evening and kept at it steadily until 3 o'clock in the 
morning. We I say i we ' because every one had to 
do his bit performed seventeen major operations, and 
every last one was successful! There wasn't a hitch in 
spite of all the difficulties of the job. In the first place 
only one set of instruments had been left behind. These 
had to be sterilized by pouring alcohol over them after 
they had been used for one operation so they'd be ready for 
the next. There wasn't time to boil them. And the light 
by which the surgeons worked was furnished by six can- 
dles stuck with their own wax to a board. I held the board. 
As the surgeon worked I moved it around so he might 
have the most light on the probing or cutting or sewing, or 



74 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

whatever it was he had to do. Three of the operations 
were trephining the skull. Another of the soldiers had 
fifty-nine pieces of shell in him, and every one of these 
was located and taken out hy candlelight. It was a busy 
night! One lucky part of the business was that at mid- 
night another American Army surgeon arrived and relieved 
at the operating table. The worst part of it was that the 
other worked so steadily that he knocked out most of the 
drivers and they couldn't give any help at all after a while, 
so that at last there were only two of us left to bear a 
hand. 

" In the morning we succeeded in evacuating the hos- 
pital, taking the wounded to C , where there were 

ample facilities. And as soon as the wounded were car- 
ried from our trucks we were put to work getting out of the 
town the refugees who had accumulated there for several 
days. Then we turned to moving the Red Cross stores. 

C was under air raid every clear night, so we had to 

sleep in the cellar of its great chateau. The bombs burst- 
ing all about the place made sleep almost impossible. 

" And when this little bit of work was ended, the last of 
the refugees and their baggage transported to a neighbor- 
ing railroad station, word came the Germans had dropped 

a .240 on a train at R a few kilometers away. So 

we hustled two camions over there and found four men 
killed and five wounded. We packed them into the trucks 
and brought them out, delivering the wounded to the hos- 
pital at C . For two or three days we were busy in 

that neighborhood taking care of refugees, because they 
were streaming toward the haven of Paris by the thou- 
sands. Now and then we would get a call to go to such 
and such a point because a shell had killed people, or be- 
cause stores had to be moved to more secure places. On 
one of these trips we met two men of an English lancers 
regiment who had been badly wounded and had ridden 
twenty kilometers in search of a base hospital. We picked 
them up, as this was one of our many appointed tasks, and 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 75 

took them to C for treatment. They did not know 

what to do with their horses, and as there was no possibil- 
ity of getting food for them every day, they debated 
whether to shoot them. They solved the problem by giving 
the two animals to me ! And there isn't a doubt the crea- 
tures would have turned into elephants on my hands if I 
had not met a British battery on the road the next day. 
I offered the horses to the commander and he was over- 
joyed. ' I've lost eight horses already/ he explained, and 
hitched up my two and went rumbling off with his guns. 

" In a little while the trucks were ordered to swing 

northward to S . The French had been there, but had 

retreated to straighten their lines, and at once the Germans 
began to shell the place. This eventually drove out the 
entire civilian population. It then became such a hot 
corner that it was no longer a billeting area for troops, and 
army camions were not allowed to pass through the city. 
But there was a Red Cross staff on the job there, and as it 
had been decided that no civilian relief was possible, the 
only task was to get out the staff and all the supplies it 
would be possible to move from the Red Cross warehouse. 

" We went up with three camions, and as we entered the 
city we saw three big German sausage observation balloons 
watching the place and directing the gunfire. The boche 
guns were after some of the Aisne bridges, the railway 
station, or a big supply depot in the city. Within a short 
time after we got in, the shells began falling all around 
us. The savages had seen us, there wasn't any doubt of 
it. There had been no shelling of this place since the battle 
of the Aisne in 1915, but the Germans were making up for 
that. 

" The Red Cross warehouse was in the chapel of the big 
seminary in the city, and while we were at work getting 
things out and loaded, the shells from the ,240's came 
screaming in. The first one banged its way through a 
house directly across the street, and made a puff of dust 
of it, but as we were in the courtyard of the seminary we 



Y6 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

were protected from flying pieces. After that, at three and 
a half minute intervals by the watch, the firing continued. 
The second shell went over our chapel and exploded in an 
orchard fifty yards back of us. It showered us with mud, 
and a small piece of shell scored one of our fellows on the 
cheek. The third one the Germans sent over landed 
directly in the seminary garden. This was almost a bull's- 
eye, so far as we were concerned, but we kept at it, making 
trip after trip, and when the last load left late in the after- 
noon, we had taken two hundred tons of precious supplies 
out of that warehouse and stored them several kilometers 
away. 

" The last place on our list was hotter than any of the 
others, because the Germans were constantly changing their 
ranges and shelling everything in the back areas. We 

went to the little town of M to bring out a Red Cross 

unit there which was at work only two kilometers in the 
rear of the French lines. We had no difficulty in getting 
the unit out, but when it came to getting the supplies, that 
was a different matter. We went up there with three cars 
and tried our best, but the shelling was too severe and we 
were ordered to come away. Nothing could have lived 
in that town the day we tried to make it. 

" That's the little story of a week, and it was a full one. 
While the German guns were hunting out the important 
towns the French batteries were thundering back at them. 
And it seemed that everywhere we went the French guns 
came up, planted themselves, and went into action. In one 
town two .155's were towed in by gigantic tractors, stopped 
beside our trucks, and as soon as pits could be dug, began 
firing. Each gun fired four shots as quickly as possible 
and then the battery limbered up to the tractors and went 
on its way. I asked the commander why he didn't stay, 
because it seemed to me that a little protection wouldn't 
have been a half bad thing for us. He replied that as there 
was no camouflage possible in that town the guns had to 
be got away before they were spotted. He added that he 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 77 

was going on to the next town to fire four more shots, and 
then to still another one for the same purpose. He prom- 
ised to come back to our little town soon, but I thanked 
him and said, ' Never mind, we'll be gone by that time.' ' 

And experience such as this was typical ; not in the least 
unusual. And this, please remember, was the narrative 
of but one convoy; there were four others in that same 
sector, and in the same week, that had similar experiences. 
When we come to consider the Red Cross in its field activ- 
ities with our army we shall hear other stories such as 
this ; for, of a truth, the work of the Transportation Departs 
ment is eternally intermeshed and interwoven with that of 
American Red Cross relief service of every sort in France. 
Without transportation, little could ever have been done. 

While convoys and relief supplies rushed toward the 
front, refugees found their way back from it. They came 
into Paris at the rate of nearly 5,000 a day and the Ameri- 
can Red Cross was a large factor in taking care of them, of 
course. Their arrival at the railroad stations of the city 
gave the Transportation Department of the American Red 
Cross another task. All day, and day after day, its camions 
took food supplies to these terminals and afterward gath- 
ered the refugees and their baggage and bore them to other 
railroad stations and to the trains which were to carry them 
to their temporary destination. 

" It was a busy week," laconically remarked a local Red 
Cross historian at that time. 

These were but the beginnings of the days of real test 
of Major Osborne's department. For be it recorded that 
it was in the spring, the summer, and the fall of 1918 that 
the rush calls for Red Cross service came and found 
its Transportation Department ready. We were just 
speaking of those doleful days of the March retreat, when 
things looked red and gray and black and misty before the 
eyes of those who stood for the salvation of the democracy 
of the world. We spoke in drama, now let us translate 



78 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

drama into cold statistics; understand quite fully that in 
the first thirty days of that March retreat, 162 truckloads 
of Red Cross supplies and materials were sent out on less 
than twelve hours' notice, 288 truckloads and material on 
twenty-four hours' notice, and 61 truckloads on forty- 
eight hours' notice; 511 loads in all. At one time, 
35,000 front-line parcels were sent out within ten days. 

And while these supplies were going out from head- 
quarters, fifteen trucks were in continuous operation, evac- 
uating the wounded along the routes from JSToyon, Rive- 
court, Resson, and Montdidier to Beauvais. And six roll- 
ing kitchens, operating in that selfsame territory, supplied 
hot food to the troops, which is typical of the work of the 
Red Cross Transportation Department in many similar 
territories. For instance, in that memorable year, in the 
attack on Pierrefonds, on July 29, word was received that 
several thousand wounded had been lying on the ground for 
two days. Twenty fully equipped ambulances went out at 
once and for seven days worked steadily evacuating the 
wounded, and all the while under constant fire. The en- 
tire section of ambulances went into service on seven hours' 
notice. 

The Twenty-seventh Division composed almost en- 
tirely of former members of the New York National Guard 
did not hesitate, in emergency, to call upon our Red 
Cross. Major General John F. O'Ryan found that he 
was about to go into action and that less than fifty per cent 
of his army ambulance equipment was available. He 
turned to the Red Cross. Could it help him out with 
ambulances? Of course it could. That was part of its 
job the big part, if you please helping out in war 
emergencies. Twenty ambulances were immediately sent 
out from Paris, and during the attacks which took Le 
Catelet and Solenne, operated all the postes-de-secour of 
the Division. 

There is still another phase of the Transportation De- 



THE PROBLEM OF TRANSPORT 79 

partment, which as yet we have not even touched upon. I 
am referring now to the actual aid it lent the army with 
its vehicles from time to time. The Army War Risk In- 
surance Bureau, for instance, would not have been able to 
get about France at all if it had not been for twenty Red 
Cross cars. Its chief, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Chol- 
monley-Jones, so testified when he wrote to the American 
Red Cross heads in Paris, saying : 

". . . I desire to express to the American Red Cross 
our deep appreciation of the assistance of the organization 
in our work. By furnishing motor transportation you 
enabled our field parties to reach the officers and enlisted 
men of the Expeditionary Forces, to place before them 
their opportunities under the War Risk Act. Our prob- 
lem was, after all, a question of transportation. This you 
solved and I believe that in doing so you could have done 
no greater service, for you assisted in thus relieving these 
men of anxiety as to their families at home." 

Nor was the aid of our Red Cross limited to the men of 
our army. It so happened that we had a navy overseas; 
and it was a real navy and filled with very real boys and 
men. It, too, came in for its full share of American Red 
Cross assistance. In fact, one of the larger camps of its 
aviation service was entirely constructed with the aid of 
R,ed Cross transportation. 

At another time must be told the story of the work of 
the Transportation Department of our Red Cross in great 
bombing raids and cannonading which was inflicted upon 
Paris, week in and week out and month in and month 
out. It was part of its great chapter of assistance to the 
war-shocked population, civil and military, of all France. 
It is enough to say here and now that the problem was 
met with the same promptness, the same cheerfulness, and 
the same efficiency as characterized its work with our army 
and our navy. This huge portion of our Red Cross ma- 
chine in France functioned and functioned thoroughly. 



CHAPTER Y 

THE AMERICAN BED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 

FROM the Commissioner in Paris came this cablegram : 
" Get us six of the biggest circus tents that you 
can." 

From the Washington headquarters was flashed this 
reply : 

" Tents are on their way." 

For the Red Cross it was all a part of the day's work. 
When Colonel Harvey D. Gibson, our Red Cross Commis- 
sioner in France in the latter half of 1918, found that the 
absolute limit for storage supplies in and around Paris had 
been reached and passed and that it would be several weeks 
at least before more additional warehouses could be con- 
structed, his practical mind went at once to circus tents to 
meet the emergency. They would be rain-proof, sun-proof, 
frost-proof as well. And so, turning to the cable, he or- 
dered the tents, as casually as he might have asked for 
10,000 sweaters or 100,000 surgical dressings, and received 
them as he might have received the sweaters or the dress- 
ings, without an hour of unnecessary delay. 

When we first came to consider the work of the Trans- 
portation Department of the American Red Cross in 
France, I spoke of the women who, with patriotic zeal 
directing both their minds and their deft, quick fingers, 
turned out the sweaters, the wristlets, the knitted helmets 
by not merely the tens, but by the hundreds of thousands. 
Their capacity the united capacity of a land of some 
20,000,000 adult women workers was vast. But the 
necessity was even more vast. And while the proportion 
of these creature comforts which were handmade and indi- 
vidual grew to great size, there also were vast quantities of 

80 



RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 81 

these things and others which were purchased from manu- 
facturers and in quantities which not only compelled these 
very manufacturers to turn over the entire output of their 
plants for many months but also compelled them to add 
to their factory capacity. And, of course, there were many 
things which the wives and mothers and sisters and sweet- 
hearts of America, with all their loving desires and keen 
capabilities, could not produce. Which meant that our 
Red Cross in France must have purchasing and warehous- 
ing functions like big business of almost every other 
sort. 

It would have been foolish and worse than foolish to have 
even attempted the problem without organization. That 
was the difficulty of the well-meaning American relief work 
which was launched upon French soil before the coming of 
our Red Cross. In the early days of the war the French 
ports were littered with boxes of relief supplies addressed 
" The American Embassy," " American Chamber of Com- 
merce," " French Army," and just " France." People did 
so want to help, and so, in our impulsive American way, 
sent along things without sending any notice whatsoever as 
to whom they were to go. One of the big reasons for the 
foundation of the American Relief Clearing House was to 
combat this very tendency. As far back as October, 1914, 
it began by organizing French and American committees, 
obtaining freedom of customs for relief goods, free sea and 
rail freights, and finally, by organizing the War Relief 
Clearing House in New York, as a complementary com- 
mittee for systematic collection and forwarding. 

Eventually the Clearing House brought American 
donors to the point where they would actually mark the 
contents of boxes, but there was always great waste in not 
passing upon the serviceability of shipments until they had 
reached Paris and great delay in having to pack and re-sort 
them there. The secondhand material which came was of 
fair quality, but not sufficient in quantity. And while 
people here in the United States were always willing to 



82 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

contribute money generously they seemed disinclined to 
have goods bought outside this country. The result was 
that the American Relief Clearing House in Paris never 
had a sufficient accumulation against emergency. At the 
time of the first great offensive against Verdun, in the 
spring of 1916, it was compelled to send out all of the 
supplies which it held and to appeal to the United States 
for more clothes, food, and the like, which meant all of a 
six weeks' delay. 

Such a state of things could not exist in our Red Cross 
work there. And yet the problem in this very phase that 
confronted Major Murphy and his party was tremendous. 
The Compagnie Generale Transatlantique had just notified 
the Clearing House that it could no longer afford to supply 
free space; and in view of the subsequent shipping situa- 
tion, the heavy torpedoing, and the army demand for ton- 
nage, it is considered not improbable that had the Clearing 
House continued it would have had to give up handling 
anything except money. Yet in spite of obstacles, the Red 
Cross would have to purchase and store supplies not in 
the quantities that the Clearing House had purchased and 
stored them, but in far, far greater number. 

Major Murphy met the problem squarely, as was his 
way. He cabled to America, and seven men were sent to 
him late in September, 1917. They were men taken from 
various corners of the country, but all of them expert in 
the task allotted to them. At once they began the work of 
coordinating the vast problem of American Red Cross pur- 
chase and supply. There was large need for them; for, 
while at the very beginning of our Red Cross work over 
there, while its problem, because of its vastness and its 
novelty, was still quite largely a question of guesswork, 
purchases were made for each department as it requisitioned 
material or was stored for them individually. Such a 
method was quickly outgrown, and was bound to be suc- 
ceeded by a far better one, which, as we shall see presently, 
finally did come to pass. 



RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 83 

From the beginning the main warehouses, like the main 
garages, of the American Ked Cross in France have been 
located in the headquarters city of Paris. Providing these 
facilities was one of the first tasks that confronted Major 
Murphy. And to understand the promptitude with which 
he met this task understand, if you will, that by the fol- 
lowing September he already had six warehouses in Paris, 
organized with a capacity to handle 10,000 tons of sup- 
plies a month, which might quickly be increased to 60,000 
tons a month. As a matter of fact, before Armistice Day 
was reached there were fourteen of these warehouses and 
they actually were handling some 10,000,000 tons a month. 

The nucleus of this warehouse organization was again 
the American Belief Clearing House. It gave the first 
three of the store buildings. The next three were obtained 
by Major Murphy's organization, with the typical keen- 
ness of American business men who, having donated their 
services and their abilities to our great adventure overseas, 
purposed to make those services and abilities work to their 
highest possibilities. 

Warehouses to be effective and efficient must have not 
only good locations, but appropriate railroad connections 
and modern equipment for handling their supplies ; this is 
primary. The French, themselves, long since have recog- 
nized it as such. And because the freight terminal tracks 
at Paris are so abundant and so generally well planned 
there were plenty of warehouses there, if one could but 
find them. To find them was not so hard a task, even 
during the war, if one but had the time. There was the 
rub. The Red Cross did not have the time ; there was not 
a day, not an hour, to be wasted. It needed storage space 
at once ships with hundreds and thousands of tons of 
Red Cross relief supplies already were at the docks of 
French ports. More were on their way across the Atlantic. 
Space to store these cargoes must be found and found 
immediately. By October 1, 1917, our Bed Cross had 
twenty-one storage centers in France, giving it 5,000,000 



84 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

cubic feet of space as against but 50,000 three months 
earlier. The largest unit was a sugar warehouse in the 
wholesale center of Paris, a five-story stone structure with 
twelve hoists, two railroad tracks on the outside, and two 
within. 

These facilities cost money, of course. And that in some 
instances they cost more money because time was a large 
factor in the question can hardly be denied. Yet economy 
was practiced as well as speed. This is record fact. Our 
Eed Cross in France did not permit itself to become a 
waster j even in emergencies which called for a saving of 
time no matter at what expense it carefully watched 
the outgoing of dollars. 

When, for instance, it sought to obtain one of the largest 
of its needed Parisian warehouses a really huge struc- 
ture with 2,500,000 cubic feet of storage space and served 
by two railroad tracks thrust into its very heart it tried 
to drive a good Yankee bargain. The place had been 
found after a day of seemingly hopeless and heartless 
search. Its owner was located and the rental cost dis- 
cussed briefly. The owner wanted ninety centimes (ap- 
proximately seventeen cents) a square meter. The Ked 
Cross agents demurred. They counter-offered with eighty 
centimes. The owner accepted. 

" Shake ! " said the chief of the party. They clasped 
hands. 

" Never mind the formal papers now/ 7 laughed our 
Yankee Red Cross bargainer, " we'll take each other's 
word. I haven't a minute to lose, as we must have the 
place ready for supplies within forty-eight hours." 

" Impossible ! " cried the French landlord. He knew 
the real condition of the place, which had been unused and 
unrepaired for months. 

Yet within forty-eight hours the Eed Cross supplies from 
overseas actually were being moved in. Immediately upon 
closing the deal, the Americans had sought labor. It was 



RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 85 

not to be found, they were told; all the surplus labor of 
Paris being in the trenches or else engaged in some work 
vital to the war's operations. 

" Why not use permissionnaires? " some one suggested. 

The hint was a good one. It so happened that the 
French Government already had consented to the employ- 
ment of this very sort of labor by the American Red Cross. 
So down to the larger railroad stations of Paris hurried our 
Eed Cross agents. Soldiers back from the trenches were 
given the opportunity to earn a few francs and gladly 
accepted it. Within a few hours a crew of more than a 
hundred men had been gathered and the work of making the 
newly acquired property ready to receive supplies begun. 
And under American supervision it was completed 
within the allotted two days. 

This experience was repeated a few weeks later when the 
American Red Cross took over the old stables of the Com- 
pagnie Generale des Petites Voitures in the Rue Chemin du 
Vert as still another warehouse and had to clean and make 
them fit for supplies all within a mere ten days. The 
Compagnie Generale des Petites Voitures was an ancient 
Parisian institution. It operated of all the vehicles 
perhaps the most distinctive upon the streets of the 
great French capital the little victoria-like fiacre, drawn 
by a wise and ancient horse with a bell about its neck. The 
war had drained the city of most of its horses they 
were in the French artillery and for a long time before 
the coming of our Red Cross the great stables in the Rue 
Chemin du Vert had been idle ; in fact for the first time 
in more than half a century. 

In taking over the place the officers of the American Red 
Cross were not blind to the fact that they were getting noth- 
ing more than a great, rambling, two-story stable and its 
yards, which were just as they had been left when a thou- 
sand horses had been led forth from their stalls. The place 
was a fearful litter of confusion, while crowded together 



86 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

at one end of the courtyard were the old fiacres ancient, 
weather-beaten, decrepit, abandoned. They made a pa- 
thetic picture. 

Rumor told the neighborhood, and told it quickly, that 
the Croix Rouge Americaine as the French know our or- 
ganization over there had taken over the old stables and 
were to use them for warehousing purposes, but rumor was 
not smart enough to tell how the trick was to be done. It 
did not know ; the Red Cross workers did. They had found 
after making a careful inventory of the place, that they had 
on their hands about 8,000 square yards of ground, covered 
for the greater part with more or less dilapidated buildings 
a hundred years old or even older. More than that, there 
were five hundred tons of manure in the structures which 
must be completely removed and the premises thoroughly 
disinfected before there could be even a thought of using 
them for goods storage. Cleaning the Augean stables was 
something of the same sort of a job. 

Various Parisian contractors who specialize in that sort 
of work were asked what they would charge for the task 
of getting the big stables clean once again. One said seven 
thousand francs. Another allowed that it would cost five 
thousand. He was the lowest bidder. The Red Cross 
turned from all of them and went to the market gardeners 
of the great central Halles. Would they help ? Of course 
they would the name of the Croix Rouge Americaine 
has some real potency in France. In four days the stables 
were cleaned perfectly and at an entire cost of less than 
two hundred francs ! 

Then, with the aid of a hundred workmen, the work of 
rehabilitating them was begun. At that time in Paris 
carpenters were not to be had for love or for money, so 
every available Red Cross man who knew how to saw a 
piece of wood or whu could drive a nail without hitting 
his thumb and at that, there were many thumbs jammed 
before the job was entirely done was pressed into service. 
From the famous Latin Quarter of Paris came many volun- 



RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 87 

teers, some of them American painters and sculptors more 
familiar with working tools of other sorts, but all fired with 
a zeal and a determination to help. Such a prodigious din 
of work the neighborhood could not easily remember ! 

Lumber was scarce, almost unobtainable in fact. That 
did not discourage our Red Cross. One of the lesser build- 
ings in the compound was quickly marked for destruction 
and actually was torn down in order to supply the lumber 
needed for the repair of the others. Windows were put in 
and glazed, doors were hung, wall derricks and hoistways 
rigged, roofs made water-tight, and the ancient cobbles of 
the courtyard scrubbed until they were almost blue in their 
faces. All the stables, the vehicle rooms, and the office 
quarters were disinfected, electric lights were installed in 
every corner, fire extinguishers hung throughout the build- 
ings, telephones placed in each department, racks and bins 
for supplies constructed, lettered, and numbered, smooth 
cement walks laid to connect each building with its fellows 
and not until all of this was done did the Red Cross men 
who had volunteered for the long hours of hard manual 
labor really dare stop for a deep breath. 

" Talk about Hercules," laughed one of them when it 
was all done. " He had better look to his old laurels. He 
never did a job like this in ten days." 

It took the folk of the neighborhood a long time to 
realize what had happened in ten days. 

Yet there it was if so you were pleased to call it 
one of the largest " retail-wholesale " stores in all Paris, 
with some 15,000 tons of supplies in place in the racks 
within a fortnight after the herculean and record-breaking 
cleansing task had been finished; and fresh stuff arriving 
daily to meet the needs of the hard-pressed peasantry and 
soldiers of France. And in a little time to perform sim- 
ilar service for the men of our own army and navy over 
there. Yet, unlike any other general store in the world 
wholesale or retail this Red Cross one was open for busi- 
ness every hour of the day or the night. Comfortable 



88 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

quarters were prepared and furnished for six workers, who 
volunteered to live in the warehouse and so be prepared at 
any hour of the night to receive and execute an emergency 
call for supplies. 

One huge task of this particular warehouse was the 
re-sorting of volunteer or donated shipments. From a 
period in the early progress of the war the Ked Cross ac- 
cepted only supplies shipped to its general stores in no 
case whatsoever to individual organizations and ordered 
that all goods should be sorted and re-packed in France for 
distribution there. So one big room in the Rue Chemin du 
Vert was turned over to this work. It never lacked var- 
iety. In one actual instance a big box sent from some 
city in the Middle West burst open and the first thing that 
met the gaze of the Red Cross warehouse workers was a 
white satin high-heeled party slipper poking its head out 
for a look at " gay Paree." And it was by no means the 
only tribute of this sort that thoughtless America gave to 
starving France. There sometimes were real opportunities 
for censorship in the re-sorting room. 

A man who went to this great warehouse in the early 
days of its existence brought back a vivid picture of its 
activities. 

" As one entered the long, wide courtyard through the 
great arch from the street an arch, by the way, which 
reminded me wonderfully of the Washington Arch at the 
foot of Fifth Avenue, New York," said he, " and caught a 
glimpse of the flags of France and America and the Red 
Cross floating over it, he became immediately impressed 
with the militarylike activity of the entire place. This 
was heightened by the presence of a number of French sol- 
diers and some fifty Algerians in their red fezzes, who 
were at work on crates and boxes. Three or four big gray 
camions were waiting at the upper end of the yard while 
the workmen loaded them. Opposite were what had once 
been the extensive stable structures, now clean and only 



RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 89 

reminiscent of their former tenants in the long line of 
chain halters hanging motionless against the walls. Here 
the bulkier, non-perishable goods were stored. 

" Halfway up the entrance yard began the series of 
rooms whose shelves, fashioned ingeniously from packing 
cases, contained the great supplies of condensed milk, to- 
bacco, sugar, soap, pork, canned beef, and rice. Overhead, 
on what was once the great hayloft of the stables, were the 
cubicles where were stacked the paper-wrapped bundles of 
new clothing for men, women, and children, every package 
marked with the size, and the sabots with thick wooden 
soles and the sturdy leathern .uppers enough to outfit 
a whole townful of people. 

" Across a ' Bridge of Sighs ? the opportunity to call 
it that is quite too good to be lost to another building, 
one came upon stores of chairs, bucksaws, farm implements, 
boxes of window glass, bedside tables, wicker reclining 
chairs, iron beds, mattresses, pillows, bolsters, blankets, 
sheets, pillowcases, and comforters. Through a wide door- 
way whose lintel was a rough hand-hewn beam as thick as 
a man's body and a century old, were the dormitory and 
the messroom of the red-fezzed Algerians who, by the way, 
were under the command of two French officers. Next 
came the lofts, with their bins of crutches, surgical dress- 
ings, rubber sheeting, absorbent cotton, enamel ware, bright 
copper sterilizers, and boxes of rubber gloves for hospital 
use. Still another building housed the immense supplies 
of wool gloves and socks, pajamas, sweaters, and women's 
and children's underwear and high stacks of brown cordu- 
roy jackets and trousers, for the Red Cross sought to fur- 
nish to the peasant just the same sort of clothing that he 
and his father's grandfather were accustomed to wear ; even 
to the beloved beret. 

" Throughout the storage building one came across evi- 
dences of the manner in which every available bit of old 
wood was utilized for reconstruction in order to avoid fur- 
ther expenditure. Bins and racks were made of ancient 



90 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

doors and window frames and crates had been carefully 
fashioned into delivery counters. In fact small ' branch 
stores ' for the distribution of goods in less than box or 
crate lots were established in every corner of the Kue 
Chemin du Vert warehouse, with clerks always in attend- 
ance upon them. In this way it was as easy to fit out an 
individual with what he or she needed as to fit out an en- 
tire community, and the reverse. 

" On the right side of the main courtyard, running back 
from the administration offices, were the long, narrow ship- 
ping rooms where the bundles called for were made up from 
the stock which lined the walls and were tagged and ad- 
dressed by a corps of young women; the crate lots being 
attended to by the men in the courtyard below. Still far- 
ther on was the department which received the packages 
of used clothing, of knitted goods, or the other things sent 
by humane persons in countless cities of America and 
France to the needy ones in the fighting lines, or back of 
them. Below and beyond this room were the coal bins, the 
carpenter's shop, in which tables and bedside stands con- 
stantly were being turned out from new lumber, and the 
< calaboose,' for the benefit of an occasionally recalcitrant 
Algerian. And adjoining the main courtyard was still 
another room almost as large ; and this last was the place of 
receipt of all supplies. Here they were inspected, counted, 
and assigned to their proper buildings and compartments. 
The entire place was a great hive, literally a hive of indus- 
try. And the people of the neighborhood never passed its 
arched entrance without first stopping to look in, it all was 
so amazing to them. They wondered if there ever could 
have been a time when a thousand horses were stabled 
there." 

Upon the day of the signing of the armistice and for 
many months thereafter Warehouse No. 1 in the Rue 
Chemin du Vert remained a busy hive of industry. It 
still handled almost every conceivable sort of commodity, 
and perhaps the only difference in its appearance from the 



RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 91 

day that the graphic New Yorker saw it was that German 
prisoners each with a doggedly complacent look upon 
his face and a large " P. G." upon his back, had re- 
placed the Algerians for the hard manual labor. It con- 
tinued to employ fifteen men and women in its office and 
from thirty-five to forty Red Cross workers, American or 
French, while the value of the stock constantly kept on 
hand was roughly estimated at close to $2,000,000. From 
thirty-five to forty tons were daily being sent out. Yet 
how was a stock valuation of $2,000,000 really to be com- 
pared with one of $2,500,000 in warehouse No. 6 in the 
Eue Cambrai or $3,000,000 at No. 24 in the Rue Curial ? 
And these were but three of eleven Red Cross warehouses 
in Paris at the time of the armistice. And a report issued 
very soon after showed twenty-nine other warehouses of 
the American Red Cross in France, eight of them in the city 
of Dijon, which, because of its strategic railroad location, 
was a store center of greatest importance for our army over 
there. 

Perhaps you like facts with your picture. 

Well, then, returning from the picture of the thing to 
the fact, we find at the time of the first definite general 
organization of our Red Cross in France in September, 
1917 a Bureau of Transportation and Supplies was 
formed under the direction of Mr. R. H. Sherman. A 
little later a slightly more comprehensive organization was 
charted, and a separate Bureau of Supplies created, with 
Mr. Joseph R. Swan as its immediate director. This was 
subdivided into four main sections : Paris Warehouses, Out- 
side Warehouses, Receiving, and Shipping. This organ- 
ization remained practically unchanged until the general 
reorganization plan of August, 1918, which we have al- 
ready seen, when the bureau became the Section of Stores 
and, as such, a factor, and a mighty important factor, of 
the Division of Requirements. 

From that time forward the problem was one of growth, 
great growth, rather than that of organization. It was a 



92 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

problem of finding warehouses to accommodate our sup- 
plies over there ; of finding competent men to oversee and 
operate the warehouses, and then, in due order, of keeping 
the supplies moving through the warehouses and out to the 
men at the front. In due course we shall see how these 
supplies functioned. For the moment consider the fact 
that in an initiatory six weeks, from October 11 to Novem- 
ber 30, 1917, Mr. Swan submitted a detailed account show- 
ing how he had invested nearly $8,000,000 in the purchase 
of general stores for our Red Cross. In the press of emer- 
gency work there hardly was a month or a day from our 
arrival in France until after the signing of the armistice 
when the situation could not have been fairly described as 
emergency it was possible to take but one general in- 
ventory. That was made, for accounting purposes, as of 
February 24, 1918, and showed the value of the American 
Red Cross stores then on hand in its warehouses in France 
to be 33,960,999.49 francs, well over $6,000,000. At the 
first of the following November eleven days before the 
signing of the armistice another inventory was taken. 
The stocks had grown. There were in the principal ware- 
houses of the Red Cross alone and including its stock of 
coal upon the Quai de la Lorie supplies valued at 46,452,- 
018.80 francs, or close to $9,000,000. Figures are valu- 
able when they mount to sizes such as these. 

Yet figures cannot tell the way in which the warehousing 
organization of the American Red Cross met the constant 
emergencies which confronted it. Like the Transporta- 
tion Department, it was forever and at all times on the job. 
For instance, from the beginning of that last German ad- 
vance, in the Ides of March, 1918, until it was reaching its 
final fearful thrusts late in June and early in July 
there was on hand, night and day, a crew at the warehouse, 
which had been fashioned from a former taxicab stables in 
the Rue Chemin du Vert, a complete crew to load camions 
by the dozens, by the hundreds, if necessary. In such a 
super-emergency no six men housed in the plant would do ; 



RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 93 

for there were nights on which twenty, thirty, and even 
forty of the big camions went rolling out through that great 
archway with their supplies for our boys at the front the 
very boys who so soon were to play their great part in the 
supreme victories of the war. On those summer nights 
warehouse work was speeded up, to put it very mildly in- 
deed. JMen worked long hours without rest and with but a 
single thought the accomplishment of real endeavor 
while there yet remained time to save Paris and all the 
rest of France. And in such spirit is victory born. 

Do not, I pray you, conceive the idea that all the ware- 
house work was done in Paris. I have hinted at the im- 
portance of Dijon, the great army store center, as a Ked 
Cross stores center, and have, myself, stood in the great 
American Red Cross warehouse upon the lining of the inner 
harbor of St. Nazaire arid have with mine own eyes seen 
8,000 cases stacked under their capacious roofs food- 
stuffs and clothing and comforts and hospital supplies 
which came forever and in a steady stream from the trans- 
ports docking at that important American receiving point, 
and have known of warehouses to be established in strange 
quarters, stranger sometimes than the abandoned stables of 
the horse-drawn taxicabs of Paris, here in an ancient ex- 
position building upon the outskirts of a sizable French 
city, there in a convent, and again in a church or a school, 
or even again in a stable. 

Here was a little town, not many miles back from the 
northern front. The Red Cross determined to set up a 
warehouse there, both for military and civilian relief sup- 
plies. An agent from the Paris headquarters went up 
there to confer with the local representative in regard to 
the proper location for the plant. The local man favored 
one building, the Paris representative another which was 
nearer to the railroad station. While they argued as to 
the merits of the two buildings German airmen flew over 
the town and destroyed one of them. And before they 



94 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

could compromise on the other, the French Government 
requisitioned it as a barracks. 

Now was a time for deep thought rather than com- 
promise. And deep thought won it always does. Deep 
thought moved the American Red Cross warehouse into the 
ancient seminary there, even though that sturdy structure 
had been pretty well peppered by the boche. When the 
Red Cross moved in, you still could count fifty-one distinct 
shell holes in it ; another and a final one came while it still 
was in the process of adaptation to warehouse uses. In this 
badly battered structure lived the Red Cross warehouse 
man and his three assistants all of them camion chauf- 
feurs after they had put forty-five panes of glass in 
with their own hands. Then the supply of glass ran out. 
In the former chapel of the seminary fourteen great win- 
dow frames had to be covered with muslin, which served, 
after a fashion, to keep out the stress of weather. Twenty- 
seven of the precious panes of glass went into the office 
where daylight was of the greatest necessity. The rest 
were used, in alternation with the muslin, for the living 
quarters, where the Red Cross men cooked their own meals, 
in the intervals between dealing out warehouse supplies. 
It was hard work, but the chauffeurs did not complain. 
Indeed it so happened that their chief did most of the 
complaining. 

" What is the use ? " he sputtered one afternoon while the 
war still was a day-by-day uncertainty. " Those boys will 
put in a big day's work, every one of them, come home and 
not know enough to go to bed. Like as not they will take 
a couple of hours and climb up some round knoll to watch 
the artillery fire. When the town was in the actual line of 
fire not more than a fortnight ago one of them turned 
up missing. He had been with us only a moment before, 
so we began hunting through the warehouse for him. 
Where do you suppose we found him ? Let me tell you : he 
was up in the belfry, the biggest and the best target in 
the town. Said he wanted to see where the shells were 



RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 95 

striking. I told him to come down, the Red Cross wasn't 
paying him for damn foolishness. But you couldn't help 
liking the nerve of the boy, could you ? " 

Courage ! 

How it did run hand in hand with endeavor all through 
the progress of this war. And it was not limited to the 
men of the actual fighting forces. The Red Cross had 
more than its even share of it. The great, appealing roll 
of honor in the Hotel Regina headquarters the list of 
the American Red Cross men and women who gave their 
lives in the service of their country was mute evidence 
of this. Courage in full measure, and yet never with false 
heroics. Full of the sturdy everyday courage, the courage 
of the casual things, exemplified, for instance, in this letter 
from the files of the Stores Section, written by the agent 
in charge of another of its warehouses in northern France : 

" A shipment of four rolls of oiled cloth arrived most 
opportunely a few days ago and one roll is being employed 
locally to repair the many panes of window glass destroyed 
in last night's air raid. In connection with this raid it 
may be added that one of our chauffeurs nearly figured as 
a victim of this raid, the window in his lodging being blown 
in and a large hole knocked in the roof of his house. 

" I presume that it is violating no military secret to add 
that another raid from the bodies is looked for to-night and 
in case it does come the other rolls of window cloth may 
come into play. . . ." 

It was in these very days of the great spring offensive of 
1918, that the Supplies Department, like the Transporta- 
tion Department of our Red Cross overseas, began to have 
its hardest tests. For in addition to the regular routine 
of its great warehousing function, there came, with the 
rapidly increasing number of troops, hospitals and refu- 
gees, rapidly increasing special duties for it to perform; 
greatly increased quantities of goods to be shipped. And 



96 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

I think it but fair to state that without the vision of one 
man, Major Field, there might not have been many sup- 
plies to ship. Immediately after his appointment as Chief 
of the Bureau of Supplies, Major Field began to purchase 
goods, in great quantities and an almost inconceivable var- 
iety. He bought in the French market, in the English 
market, in the Spanish market, from the commissary stores 
of the United States Army in fact from every conceiv- 
able corner and source of supply; as well as from some 
which apparently were so remote as hardly to be even con- 
ceivable. He stored away beds, tents, sheets, clothing, 
toilet articles, and cases of groceries by the thousands, and 
still continued to buy. The Red Cross gasped. The A. 
E. F. protested. The vast warehouses were filled almost 
to the bursting point. Major Field listened to the protes- 
tations, then smiled, and went out, buying still mere sup- 
plies. His smile was cryptic, and yet was not ; it was the 
smile of confidence, the smile of serenity. And both con- 
fidence and serenity were justified. For the days of the 
drive showed and showed conclusively that if our 
American Red Cross had not been so well stocked in sup- 
plies it would have failed in the great mission overseas to 
which we had intrusted it. 

" The th Regiment has moved up beyond its bag- 
gage train. Can the Red Cross ship blankets and kits 
through to it ? " 

This was a typical emergency request from an organ- 
ization of three thousand men. It was answered in the 
typical fashion with a full carload of blankets and other 
bedding. The kits followed in a truck. 

" A field hospital is needed behind the new American 
lines," was another. It, too, was answered promptly ; with 
several carloads of hospital equipment, surgical dressings, 
and drugs. These things sound simple, and were not. 
And the fact that they were many times multiplied added 
nothing to the simplicity of the situation. In fact there 
came a time when it was quite impossible to keep any exact 



RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 97 

account of the tonnage shipped, because the calls came so 
thick and fast and were so urgent that no one stopped for 
the usual requisitions but answered any reasonable de- 
mands. The requisition system could wait for a less crit- 
ical time, and did. 

One day a message came that a certain field hospital was 
out of ether that its surgeons were actually performing 
painful operations upon conscious men all because the 
army had run out of its stock of anaesthetics. The men at 
the American Eed Cross supply headquarters sickened at 
the very thought ; they moved heaven and earth to start a 
camion load of the precious ether through to the wounded 
men at the field hospital, and followed it up with twenty-five 
truckloads of other surgical supplies. 

Under the reorganization of the American Red Cross in 
France which was effected under the Murnane plan, the 
entire work of purchase and warehousing was brought un- 
der a single Bureau of Supplies, which was ranked in turn 
as a Department of Supplies. This Bureau was promptly 
subdivided into two sections: that of Stores and that of 
Purchases. Taking them in the order set down in the 
official organization plan, we find that the headquarters 
section of Stores situated in Paris was charged with 
the operation of all central and port warehouses and their 
contents and was to be in a position to honor all properly 
approved requisitions from them, so far as was humanly 
possible. It was further charged to confer with the comp- 
troller of our French American Red Cross organization and 
so to prepare proper system and check upon these supplies. 
In each of the nine zones there were to be subsections of 
stores, answerable for operation to the Zone Manager and 
for policy to the Paris headquarters, but so organized as to 
keep not only sufficient supplies for all the ordinary needs 
of the zones, but in various well-situated warehouses, enough 
for occasions of large emergency and all within com- 
paratively short haul. 



98 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

The Section of Purchases corresponded to the purchasing 
agent of a large corporation. Remember that the pur- 
chasing opportunities in France were extremely limited, 
so that by far the greater part of this work must be per- 
formed by the parent organization here in the United 
States, and sent as were the circus tents in response 
to requisitions, either by cable or by mail. Incidentally, 
however, remember that no small amount of purchasing for 
the benefit of our army and navy in France was done both 
in England and in Spain, which, in turn, was a relief to 
the overseas transport problem. For it must ever be re- 
membered that the famous " bridge across the Atlantic " 
was at all times, until after the signing of the armistice at 
least, fearfully overcrowded. It was only the urgent neces- 
sities of the Red Cross and its supplies that made it suc- 
cessful in gaining the previous tonnage space east from 
New York, or Boston, or Newport News. And even then 
the tonnage was held to essentials; essentials whose abso- 
luteness was almost a matter of affidavit. 

Yet even the essentials ofttimes mounted high. Before 
me lies a copy of a cablegram sent from Paris to Washing- 
ton early in January, 1919. It outlines in some detail the 
foodstuff needs of the American Red Cross in France for 
the next three months. Some qf the larger items, in tons, 
follow : 

Sugar 50 Bacon 50 

Rice 100 Salt Park 50 

Tapioca 10 Ham 50 

Cheese 50 Prunes 50 

Coffee 50 Soap 100 

Chocolate 50 Apricots 25 

Cocoa 100 Peaches 25 

And all of this in addition to the 10,000 cases of evap- 
orated milk, 5,000 of condensed milk, 3,000 of canned corn 
beef, 2,000 of canned tomatoes, 1,000 each of canned corn 
and canned peas, and 1,000 gross of matches, while the 



RED CROSS AS A DEPARTMENT STORE 99 

quantities ordered even of such things as cloves and cinna- 
mon and pepper and mustard ran to sizable amounts. 

I have no desire to bore you with long columns or tables 
of figures for this is the story of our Red Cross with our 
army in France and not a report. Yet, after all, some 
figures are impressive. And these given here are enough 
to show that of all the cogs and corners of the big machine, 
the Purchase and Stores sections of the organization in 
France had its full part to do. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 

BY July, 1917, the first Divisions of our amazing army 
began to seep into the battle countries of Europe. It 
had not been the intention of either our War Department 
or its general staff to send the army overseas until the first 
of 1918 ; the entire plan of organization and preparation 
here in the United States had been predicated upon such a 
program. Yet the situation overseas was dire indeed. 
Three years of warfare and such warfare had begun 
to fag even the indomitable spirits of England and of 
France. The debacle of Russia was ever before the eyes 
of these nations. In the words of their own leaders, their 
morale was at its lowest point. France, in one glorious 
moment in 1917, had seemed, under the leadership of 
Nivelle, to be close to the turning point toward victory. 
But she had seen herself miss the point, and was forced 
again in rugged doggedness to stand stoutly with England 
and hold the line for the democracy of the world. 

In such an hour there was no opportunity for delay ; not 
even for the slight delay incidental to raising an American 
Army of a mere half million, training it in the simplest 
possible fashion, and then dispatching it overseas. Such 
a method would have been more gratifying to our military 
pride. We sacrificed that pride, and shall never regret the 
hour of that decision. We first sent hospital detachments 
from our army medical service to be brigaded with the 
British, who seemed to have suffered their most severe 
losses in their hospital staffs, and sent engineer regiments 
not only to build the United States Military Railroad, of 
which you have already read, but also to aid the weakened 
land transport sections of the French and British armies. 

100 




OUR RED CROSS AT THE FRONT 
A typical A. R. C. dugout just behind the lines 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FfeONT' 101 

And General John J. Pershing, with adequate staff assist- 
ance, crossed to Paris to prepare for the first and all- 
glorious American campaign in Europe. 

" The program had been carefully drawn up," wrote 
Lieutenant Colonel Repington, the distinguished British 
military critic, in a review on the performance of our army 
in the London Morning Post, of December 9, 1918. " It 
anticipated the orderly arrival in France of complete units, 
with all their services, guns, transport, and horses, and 
when these larger units had received a finishing course in 
France and had been trained up to concert pitch it was in- 
tended to put them into the line and build up a purely 
American Army as rapidly as possible. After studying 
the situation, the program and the available tonnage in 
those days, I did not expect that General Pershing could 
take the field with a trained army of accountable numbers 
much before the late summer or autumn of 1918." 

Yet by the first day of January, 1918, there were al- 
ready in France four American Divisions, each with an 
approximate strength of 28,153 men, by February there 
were six Divisions, and by March, eight. It is fair to say, 
however, that even by March only two of the Divisions were 
fit to be in the line, and none in the other active sectors. 
Training for modern warfare is indeed an arduous task. 
Yet our amazing army did not shirk it, and even in the dis- 
piriting and terrifying days of the spring of 1918 kept 
to its task of preparing itself for the great ordeal just 
ahead, and, almost at the very hour that the last great 
German drive began to assume really serious proportions, 
was finishing those preparations. Ten Divisions were 
ready, before the spring was well advanced, to stand 
shoulder to shoulder with British Divisions should such an 
unusual course have been found indispensable. In fact, 
anticipating this very emergency, brigading with the Brit- 
ish had already been begun. But as the British reinforce- 
ments began pouring into Northern France the possibil- 
ities of the emergency arising diminished. And five of 



102 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

our Divisions were returned south into the training camps 
of the United States Army. 

The War Department figures of the size of our army in 
France throughout 1918 which at the time could not be 
made public, because of military necessities tell the 
story of its rapid growth. They show the number of Divi- 
sions in France and in line and in reserve to have been as 
follows : 

1918 In France In Line and Reserve 

April 1 10 3 

Hay 13 4 

June 16 6 

July 24 9 

August 32 20 

September 37 25 

October 40 31 

November 42 30 

This tabulation takes no count whatsoever of the non- 
combatants of the S. O. S. as the army man knows the 
Service of Supplies or the other great numbers of men 
employed in the rearward service of the United States 
Army. It is perhaps enough to say that the largest num- 
ber of our troops employed in France was on September 26, 
the day that General Pershing began his Meuse-Argonne 
offensive. On that day our army consisted of 1,224,720 
combatants and 493,764 noncombatants, a total of 1,718,- 
484 men in its actual forces. 

It is known now that if the war had continued we should 
probably have doubled those figures within a compara- 
tively few months and should have had eighty Divisions in 
France by April, 1919, which would have made the United 
States Army by all odds the most considerable of any of 
the single belligerent nations fighting in France. 

We have told elsewhere a little of the romance of the 
transport of our men ; here in cold figures statistics 
which scorn romance in their composition is their result. 
We shall see through our Red Cross spectacles again and 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 103 

again the performances of that army, as the men and the 
women of the American Red Cross saw them. 

In the meantime let us turn again, therefore, to Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Repington, whose reputation in this regard 
is well established, and find him saying of the commanding 
general of our army : 

" To my mind, there is nothing finer in the war than the 
splendid good comradeship which General Pershing dis- 
played throughout, and nothing more striking than the de- 
termined way in which he pursued the original American 
plan of making the American arms both respected and 
feared. The program of arrivals, speeded up and varied 
in response to the appeal of the Allies, involved him in 
appalling difficulties, from which the American army suf- 
fered to the last. His generous answer to cries for help 
in other sectors left him for long stretches almost, if not 
quite, without an army. He played the game like a man 
by his friends, but all the time with a singleness of pur- 
pose and a strength of character which history will ap- 
plaud; he kept his eyes fixed on the great objective which 
he ultimately attained and silenced his detractors in at- 
taining it. To his calm and steadfast spirit we owe much. 
To his staff, cool amidst the most disturbing events, im- 
pervious to panic, rapid in decision, and quick to act, the 
allied world owes a tribute. To his troops, what can we 
say ? They were crusaders. They came to beat the Ger- 
mans and they beat them soundly. They worthily main- 
tained the tradition of their race. They fought and won 
for an idea." 

Truer words have not been written. To one who has 
made even a superficial study of our army in France, the 
figure of the doughboy the boy from the little home in 
Connecticut or Kansas or Oregon looms large indeed. 
I did not, myself, see him in action. Other and abler pens 
have told and are still telling of his unselfishness, his 
audacity, his seemingly unbounded heroism both in the 
trenches and upon the open field of battle. The little rows 



104 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

of crosses in the shattered forest of the Argonne or upon 
the roads leading from Paris into Chateau-Thierry, else- 
where over the face of lovely France, tell the story of his 
sacrifice more graphically than any pen may ever tell it. 

Frequently I have seen the doughboy in Paris as well as 
in the other cities and towns and in our military camps in 
France. He is an amusing fellow. One can hardly fail 
to like him, I have talked with him by the dozens and 
by the hundreds. I have argued with him, for sometimes 
we have failed to agree. But I have never failed to sym- 
pathize, or to understand. Nor, as for that matter, to 
appreciate. No one who has seen the performance of our 
amazing army in France, or the immediate results of that 
performance, can fail to appreciate. If you are a finicky 
person you may easily see the defects that haste brought 
into the making of our expeditionary army waste in ma- 
terial and in personnel here and there ; but, after all, these 
very defects are almost inherent in any organization raised 
to meet a supreme emergency, and they appear picayune 
indeed when one places them alongside the marvel of its 
performance when one thinks of Chateau-Thierry or 
Saint Mihiel or the Argonne. 

It is not the province of this book to describe the opera- 
tions of our army in France except in so far as they 
were touched directly by the operations of our Ked 
Cross over there. So, back to our text. You will recall 
that Major Grayson M.-P. Murphy, our first Eed Cross 
Commissioner to France, and his staff arrived in Paris 
coincidently with General Pershing on the thirteenth of 
June, 1917. They went right to work, despite terrific 
odds, in the building of a working organization. At about 
the hour of their coming there was developing here in the 
United States a rather distinct feeling in certain wide- 
spread religious and philanthropic organizations that they 
should be distinctly represented in our war enterprise in 
Europe. The patriotism that stirred these great organ- 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 105 

izations was admirable; it was unmistakable, and finally 
resulted in certain of the larger ones the Young Men's 
Christian Association, the Knights of Columbus, the Young 
Women's Christian Association and the Salvation Army 
being given definite status in the war work overseas. In 
the case of the Y. M. C. A. by far the largest of all these 
organizations it was allotted the major problem of pro- 
viding entertainment for the enlisted men and the officers 
at the camps in France, in England, in Italy and, in due 
time, in the German valley of the Rhine. At a later hour 
the very difficult problem of providing canteens, that would 
be, in effect, nothing more nor less than huge post exchanges, 
was thrust upon the Y. M. C. A. It accepted the problem 
not gladly, but in patriotic spirit and even though 
the experiment brought upon its shoulders much thought- 
less and bitter criticism, saw it bravely through. 

The Y. M. C. A. therefore, was to undertake, speaking 
by and large, the canteen problem of the camps, while that 
of the hospitals, the clocks at the ports of debarkation and 
embarkation, the railroad junctions, and the cities of 
France was handed to the American Red Cross. The Red 
Cross began its preparations for this particular part of its 
task by establishing stations for the French Army, which, 
pending the arrival of the American forces, would serve 
admirably as experiment stations. Major Murphy at once 
conferred with the French military authorities and, after 
finding from them where their greatest need lay, proceeded 
without delay to the establishment of model canteens on the 
French lines of communication; in the metropolitan zone 
of Paris and at the front. And before our army came, and 
the great bulk of the work of our Red Cross naturally 
shifted to it, these early canteens supplied rations to liter- 
ally millions of French soldiers. 

" In view of keeping up the good spirits of troops it is 
indispensable that soldiers on leave be able to find, while 
waiting at railroad stations in the course of their journeys, 



106 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

canteens which will allow them to have comfortable rest 
and refreshment. Good results have already been obtained 
in this direction, but it is necessary to improve the can- 
teens already existing and to create new ones in stations 
that do not already have them." 

The above is a translation of a quotation from a note 
written by the French Minister of War to a general of his 
army, at about the time of our first Red Cross Commission 
over there. If one were to attempt to translate between 
the lines he would be certain to find that the soldiers going 
home on leave or discharge, obliged to wait long hours in 
railroad stations, sometimes without food or other com- 
forts, and ofttimes, too, forced to sleep upon a cold, stone- 
flagged floor, had often a greatly lowered morale as the 
result of such an experience. And if their mental state 
was not lowered, their physical condition was almost sure 
to be. 

So it was that the American Eed Cross jumped into the 
immediate assistance of its rather badly burdened French 
brothers the various organizations of Croix Rouge Fran- 
gaise. It seized as its most immediate opportunity, Paris, 
and particularly the junction points of the Grande Cein- 
lure, the belt-line railroad which completely encircles the 
outer environs of the city, and provides track-interchange 
facilities for the various trunk-line railroads which enter 
her walls from every direction. For lack of funds and a 
lack of personnel the French Red Cross authorities were 
about to close some of the canteens which they already had 
established upon the Grande Ceinture, while the real neces- 
sity was that more should be opened. Such a disaster our 
American Red Cross prevented. On July 18, 1917, Colo- 
nel Payot, Director of the French Army Transports, wrote 
to H. H. Harjes at that time representative of the Amer- 
ican Red Cross at the general headquarters of the French 
Army giving a list of railroad stations where canteens 
were needed, and in the order of their urgency. In the cor- 
respondence which followed between the French authorities 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 107 

and the American Ked Cross, various agreements were 
reached. 

It was agreed that the French administration would 
furnish the necessary buildings and provide electric light, 
running water, and coal for heating. On the other hand, 
the American Eed Cross undertook to furnish all other 
supplies cooking appliances, coal for cooking, equip- 
ment, stores, medical supplies, and personnel. As early 
as July 31, Major Perkins wrote that our American Eed 
Cross was now ready to serve a full meal at seventy-five 
centimes (fourteen or fifteen cents) a person, and other 
drinks and dishes at small cost to the poilu. Men without 
funds on receiving a voucher from the Commissaire de la 
Gare (railroad-station agent) could obtain meals and hot 
drinks without charge. The sale of wine, beer, and spirits 
was prohibited in our canteens. And because of the French 
cooperation in their establishment, they were named Les 
Cantines des Deux Drapeaux and bore signs showing both 
the Tricolor of France and our own Stars and Stripes, 
with their designating name beneath. 

The original list of outside stations suggested by the 
French author ites were five in number: Pont d'Oye, Chal- 
ons, fipernay, Belfort, and Bar-le-Duc. Finally it was de- 
cided to reduce this list the hour of the arrival of the 
American forces in number steadily drawing nearer and 
Chalons and fipernay were definitely chosen for American 
Red Cross canteen work. At that time both of these cities 
of the Champagne district were well behind the lines ; after- 
wards the Germans came too close for comfort and shelled 
them badly, which meant the withdrawal of the French 
troops and a closing of the neat canteens for a time; but 
they were reopened. When I visited fipernay in January 
1919, the Red Cross canteen there was again open and in 
charge of two young ladies from Watertown, N". Y. the 
Misses Emma and Kate Lansing, sisters of the then Secre 
tary of State. You could not keep down the buoyant spiri 
of our Red Cross. 



108 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IK FRANCE 

Before the American Red Cross undertook to establish 
fully equipped canteens on the scale of those at Chalons 
and at Epernay the London Committee of the French 
Red Cross had been operating at many railroad stations 
small canteens known as the Gouttes de Cafe, where 
coffee and bouillon were served free to the soldiers in 
passing trains. In several cases agreements were made 
with the French society by which certain individual 
Gouttes de Cafe passed to the control of the American Red 
Cross and were, in other cases, absorbed in the larger in- 
stallation which it was prepared to support. This, how- 
ever, took place only when the demands of the situation 
really called for a larger canteen, prepared to serve full 
meals and operate dormitories and a recreation room. Oc- 
casionally it was found advisable for our Red Cross to 
inaugurate a canteen of its very own, while the Goutte de 
Cafe continued to carry on its own work on the station plat- 
form or in the immediate vicinity. 

I remember particularly the situation in the great cen- 
tral station of the Midi Railroad in Bordeaux. This huge 
structure is a real focal point of passenger traffic. From 
beneath its expansive train shed trains come and go ; to and 
from Paris and Boulogne and Biarritz and Marseilles and 
many other points over the busy lines, not only of 
the Midi, but of the Paris-Orleans and the Etat. A great 
proportion of this traffic is military, and long ago the 
French Red Cross sought to accommodate this with a huge 
Goutte de Cafe in a barnlike sort of room in the main sta- 
tion structure and opening direct upon its platforms. I 
glanced at this place. It was gloomy and ill-lighted by the 
uncertain, even though dazzling, glow of one or two electric 
arc lights. It was fearfully overcrowded. Poilus oc- 
cupied each of the many seats in the room and flowed over 
to the floor, where they sat or reclined as best they might 
on the benches or on their luggage. The place was ill- 
ventilated, too. It was not one that offered large appeal. 

How different the appearance of the canteen of our own 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 109 

Red Cross. It had a far less advantageous location ; well 
cutside the station train shed and only to be found by one 
who was definitely directed to it. Two buildings had been 
erected and another adapted for the canteen. They were 
plain enough outside, but inside they were typically Amer- 
ican which meant that light and color and warmth had 
been combined effectively to produce the effect of a home 
that might have been in Maine, or Ohio, or Colorado, or 
California, or any other nice corner of the old U. S. A. 
There was homelike atmosphere, too, in the long, low build- 
ings enhanced by the unforgetable aroma of coffee being 
made being made American style, if you please. That 
building boasted a long counter, and upon the counter 
miniature mountains of ham sandwiches and big brown 
doughnuts sandwiches and doughnuts which actually 
had been fabricated from white flour and ham sand- 
wiches with a genuine flavor to them. And all in great 
quantity 2,000 meals in a single day was no unusual 
order and for a price that was nominal, to put it lightly. 
In another building there were more of the lights and 
the warm yellows and greens of good taste in decoration ; 
a big piano with a doughboy at it some twenty-three hours 
out of the twenty-four whole companies of divans and 
regiments of easy-chairs: American newspapers, many 
weekly publications, a lot of magazines, and books in pro- 
fusion. The room was completely filled, but somehow one 
did not gain the sensation of its being crowded. The feel- 
ing that one carried from the place was that a bit of the 
U. S. A. had been set right down there at the corner of 
the great and busy chief railway terminal of the French 
city of Bordeaux. Only one forgot Bordeaux. 

What was done at Bordeaux and also at St. Nazaire 
and Nantes and Brest and Tours and Toul and many, 
many other points by our Red Cross in the provision of 
canteen facilities was repeated in Paris, only on a far 
larger scale than at any other point. The A. R. C. L. 0. C. 



110 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

canteens in Paris there seems to be no holding in check 
that army passion for initialization soon after the sign- 
ing of the armistice had reached fourteen in number, of 
which about half were located in or close to the great rail- 
road passenger terminals of the city. The others were 
hotels, large or small, devoted in particular to the housing 
of the doughboy and his officers on the occasions of their 
leaves to the capital for no other point in France, not 
even the attractions of Biarritz or the sunny Riviera, can 
ever quite fill the place in the heart of the man in khaki 
that Paris, with all her refinements and her infinite variety 
of amusements, long since attained. These last canteens 
we shall consider in greater detail when we come to find 
our doughboy on leave. For the present we are seeing him 
still bound for the front, the war still in action, the great 
adventure still ahead. 

A single glance at the records of the organization of the 
Army and Navy Department under which the canteen 
work along the lines of communication is grouped at the 
Paris headquarters of the American Red Cross, shows that 
it was not until February, 1918, that the inrush of the 
American Army in France had assumed proportions ample 
enough to demand a segregation of canteen accommodations 
for it from those offered to the poilus. As I have said, the 
canteens for the poilus were in the general nature of train- 
ing or experimental stations for our really big canteen job 
over there, and as such more than justified the trouble or 
the cost; which does not take into the reckoning the valu- 
able service which they rendered the blue-clad soldiers of 
our great and loyal friend the French Republic. 

Take Chalons, for instance: Chalons set an American 
Red Cross standard for canteens, particularly for such 
canteens as would have to take care of the physical needs 
and comforts of soldiers, perhaps in great numbers. This 
early Red Cross station was set in a large barracks some 
fifty yards distant from the chief railroad terminal of that 
busy town. And, as it often happened that the leave per- 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 111 

mits of the poilus did not permit them to go into the town, 
a fenced passage, with a sentinel, was builded from the 
train platforms to the canteen entrance. At that entrance, 
a coat room where the soldier could check his bulky kit 
was established. 

On going into the restaurant of the canteen one quickly 
discovered that what might otherwise have been a dull and 
dreary barracks' interior had been transformed by French 
artists the French have a marvelous knack for doing this 
very sort of thing into a light, cheerful, and amusing 
room. The effect on the poilus who visited it for the first 
time was instantaneous; they had not been used to that 
sort of thing. 

At one end of the gay and happy room was the counter 
from which the meals were served by the American women 
working in the canteen. The soldier went first to the 
cashier and from her bought either a ticket for a complete 
meal, or for any special dish that might appeal to his 
fancy or to his jaded appetite. He then went to the 
counter, was handed his food on a tray, and took it to one 
of the clean, white-tiled tables that lined the room. Groups 
of friends might gather at a table. But no one was long 
alone, unless he chose to be. Friendships are made quickly 
in the spirit of such a place, and the chatter and laughter 
that pervaded it reflected the gayety of its decorations. 

After eating, if it was still summer, the poilu might 
stroll in the garden where there were seats, a pergola, even 
a Punch and Judy Theater for your Frenchman, be he 
Parisian or peasant, dearly loves his guignol or he might 
find his way to the recreation room, where there were writ- 
ing materials, games, magazines, lounging chairs, a piano 
and a victrola. Here men might group around the piano 
and sing to their hearts' content. And here the popularity 
of Madelon was quite unquestioned. 

And after all of this was done, he might retire to the 
dormitories with absolute assurance that he would be called 
in full time for his train whether that train left at one 



112 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

o'clock in the morning or at four. And if he so chose, in 
the morning might refresh himself in the fully equipped 
washrooms, shower baths, or the barher shop, have his 
coffee and eggs, his fruit and his beloved confiture and go 
aboard the train in the full spirit of a man at complete 
peace with the world. 

The orders that came in February, 1918, calling for the 
segregation of the accommodations for the A. E. F. from 
those given to the French, did not result in withdrawing 
financial support from Chalons and the other canteens 
which our Red Cross had established particularly for the 
poilus, but did result in the establishment of rest stations, 
or canteens, exclusively for our own men. This organiza- 
tion of canteens extended particularly along the lines of 
communication between the area of action and the Service 
of Supplies zone, and was quite distinct from the canteen 
organizations at the ports and the evacuation hospitals; 
these last we shall come to consider when we see the part 
played by our Red Cross in the entire hospital program 
of the A. E. F. The Lines of Communication task was a 
real job in itself. 

One could hardly rub the side of a magic lamp and have 
a completely equipped canteen materialize as the fulfill- 
ment of a wish. Magic lamps have not been particularly 
numerous in France these last few years. If they had 
been France might have been spared at least some of her 
great burden of sorrow. And so, even for our resourceful 
Red Cross, buildings could not always be provided, nor 
chairs, nor counters, nor even stoves. That is why at 
Vierzon, a little but a very busy railroad junction near 
Severs, there was, for many months, only a tent. But for 
each dawn of all those months there was the cheering aroma 
of fresh coffee steaming up into the air from six marmites, 
as the French know our giant coffee containers. And the 
figures of American girls could be seen silhouetted against 
the glow of bonfires, while the line of soldiers, cups in 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 113 

hand, which started at that early hour, would continue for 
at least another eighteen, or until well after midnight 

Bemember, if you will, that making coffee for a canteen 
is not making it for a household dining room. One does 
not measure it by teaspoonfuls. It is an affair of pounds 
and of gallons. The water ten gallons for each marmite 
was procured from a well which had been tested and ad- 
judged pure. The sandwiches, with their fillings of meat 
or of jelly, were not the dainty morsels which women 
crumble between their fingers at bridge parties. They 
were sandwiches fit for fighting men. They were the sort 
that hungry soldiers could grip with their teeth. 

Because of the necessary secrecy in reference to the exact 
numbers of passing troops, in turn because of military 
necessities, the American Bed Cross was not permitted 
during the war to keep an exact record of the number of 
men who visited its canteens. But where hundreds were 
accommodated, even at as comparatively small a place as 
Vierzon, thousands were fed at the larger places, such as 
Dijon or Toul, for instance. And it is to be noted that in 
all these canteens food was being served to regular detach- 
ments of the A. E. F. as well as to casuals leaving or re- 
joining their commands. 

In the great September drive of 1918 a canteen was set 
up by the roadside at Souilly. Night and day and without 
intermission it was maintained. It was there that 
stretcher bearers and ambulance drivers were given hot 
drinks and warm food all that they wanted of both 
and where sometimes they toppled over from sheer fatigue 
and wearied nerves. From this one tent and this is but 
one instance typical of many, many others three hun- 
dred gallons of chocolate were served daily. And while 
bread was procured with the utmost difficulty, no boy was 
turned away hungry. Many times the snacks of food so 
offered were, according to the statements of the soldiers 
themselves, the first food that they had received for three 
days. 



114 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

And whether the canteen of our Red Cross was in a tent 
or a pine structure with splintery and badly put together 
walls, or, as ofttimes it was, in the corner of a baggage 
room of a railroad station, an attempt was always made to 
beautify it. We learned several things from the French 
since first we moved a part of America into their be- 
loved land, and this was one of them. The example of the 
Chalons canteen was not lost. There is a psychological 
effect in decorative beauty that is quite unmistakable; 
translated it has a definite and very real effect upon that 
important thing that all really great army generals of 
to-day know as morale. It was the desire for good morale, 
therefore, that prompted the women of our Red Cross to 
decorate their canteens. And because skilled decorative 
artists were not always at hand, as they were as Chalons, 
makeshifts ingenious ones at that were often used. 
Magazine covers could be fashioned into mighty fine wall 
posters. In some instances, camouflage artists and their 
varied paint pots were called into service. For window 
curtains materials of gay colors were always chosen and, 
wherever it was possible, the lights were covered with 
fancy shades, designed according to the individual taste or 
the ingenuity of some worker. 

Pianos were dug out of ruined houses or were even 
brought from captured German dugouts. A boche piano 
served as well as any other for the " jazz " which we took 
to poor France from the United States. The pianos in 
these Red Cross canteens hardly would have passed muster 
for a formal concert. But that did not matter much. It 
mattered not that they had the toothless look of old age 
about them, where the ivory keys had been lost ; they were 
still something which a homeless Yankee boy might play 
where he might still build for himself a bridge of 
favorite tunes right back into the heart of his own beloved 
home. 

At Issoudon, the canteen reached an ideal of organiza- 
tion not always possible in some more isolated spots. At 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 115 

that point there was a mess for officers, a canteen for 
enlisted men, and clubrooms with books and the like for 
both. Moreover, a resthouse was inaugurated for officers 
and men by the Eed Cross for the accommodation of those 
who stayed there overnight or even for a considerable num- 
ber of hours. Eventually this last project was absorbed by 
the army, which took it under its direct control. The army 
knew a good thing when it saw it. The Issoudon rest- 
house was a good thing. It served as a model for a much 
more elaborate scheme of entertainment for our khaki- 
coated men which, at a later time, was established by the 
American Red Cross in Paris. And which so far at 
least as the officers were concerned also was taken over 
by the army. 

" A piece of fairyland " was the name that a doughboy 
with a touch of sentiment gave to the canteen at Nevers. 
A gardener's lodge attached to a chateau was loaned the 
American Red Cross by a titled and generous lady. It pos- 
sessed a " living room " and a dining room that needed few 
changes, even of a decorative order. Upon the veranda, 
which commanded a view of a gentle and seemingly peren- 
nial garden, were many easy-chairs, while somewhere among 
these same hardy flowers was builded a temporary barracks 
for the housing of casuals and for shower baths for the 
cleanly comfort of the guests. 

In the course of my own travels through the Red Cross 
areas in Europe I came to another canteen center other than 
that of the Bordeaux district, which still clings to my mem- 
ory. I am referring to Toul, that ancient walled city of 
eastern France which has been a great fortress for so many 
centuries that mortal man seems fairly to have lost count 
of them. Eew doughboys there are who traveled at all 
across the land of the lilies who can easily forget Toul 
that grim American army headquarters close by its stone 
walls and ancient gates, a marais of tight-set buildings 
and narrow stone-paved streets and encircled by a row 



116 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

of hills, which bore a row of fortresses. If the line had 
failed to hold at Verdun or at Pont-a-Mousson, Toul 
would certainly have become the next great battle ground, 
another gray city for which men might give their short 
lives in order that it might continue its long one. 

This " if " was not realized thank God for that ! 
And the French, with their real generosity, realizing that 
the American headquarters in their eastern territory must 
be a city of great accessibility and real military strategic 
importance, quickly tendered Toul, which was accepted by 
our army in the same generous spirit in which it was 
offered by our Allies. 

With Toul settled as a military center the problem of 
the Red Cross in connection with it at once became definite 
and important. It, of course, demanded immediate as 
well as entirely comprehensive solution. And that it had 
both was due very largely to the efforts of one woman, Miss 
Mary Vail Andress, of New York. 

Miss Andress, who was one of the very first group of 
women to be sent by our Red Cross to France, arriving 
there August 24, 1917, came to Toul in January, 1918, 
Captain Hugh Pritchitt, who had been assigned to the 
command of the American Red Cross work at that Ameri- 
can Army headquarters point, already of great and growing 
importance, had preceded her there by but four days, yet 
had already succeeded in making a definite survey of the 
entire situation. Out of that survey, and the more ex- 
tended knowledge of the problem that came to the Red Cross 
folk as they studied it in its details, came the big canteen 
activities. For before the American Red Cross had been 
in the ancient French town a full fortnight, the men of the 
American Expeditionary Forces began pouring through it 
in great numbers. It takes only a single glance at the map 
to realize the reason why ; for to the east of Toul are Nancy, 
Pont-a-Mousson, and the Lorraine line, while to the north 
and even a little to the west one finds Saint Mihiel, Ver- 
dun, St. Menehold, and the Argonne places that already 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 117 

are household names all the way across America, while 
from Toul to the south and west, even unto the blue waters 
of the Atlantic, stretch the main stems of the United 
States Military Railroad in France that remarkable 
railroad which, as you already know, really is no railroad 
whatsover. 

So do not wonder that at the ancient railway station just 
north of the town walls and contiguous to the well-traveled 
Route de Paris, 1918 saw more and more of the long special 
trains stopping and debouching boys in khaki hungry 
boys, thirsty boys, tired and dirty boys, and no provision 
for the relief of any of these ordinary human miseries. 

It was a real situation, and as such the New York woman 
in the steel gray Red Cross uniform quickly sensed it. 
She moved toward its solution ; which was easier said than 
done. For one thing the Red Cross chiefs in Paris, con- 
sidering the thing judiciously from long range, were not at 
all sure of its practicability. But Miss Andress had no 
doubts, and so persisted at Paris until Paris yielded and 
permission was granted her to start a small canteen ; yet 
this was only the first step in the solution of her problem. 
A second and even greater one was the securing of a 
location for canteen facilities. The meager facilities of 
Toul, selected as the field headquarters of an American 
Army, had been all but swamped by the fearful demands 
made upon them. Yet Miss Andress, moving heaven and 
earth itself, did secure a small apartment house in that 
same well-traveled Route de Paris, which was well enough, 
so far as it went, but did not go half far enough. She 
quickly determined that this building would serve very 
well as a hotel or resthouse for the casual soldiers and 
officers passing through the town, but that the real canteen 
would have to be right at the station itself. 

Now the station of the Eastern Railway at Toul was 
amply large for the ordinary peace-time needs of the 
eleven thousand folk who lived in the town, but long since 
its modest facilities had also been swamped by the war- 



118 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

time necessities thrust upon it. It was humanly impossi- 
ble to crowd another single facility within its four tight 
brick walls. They told her as much. 

" I know that," said Miss Andress quietly. " We shall 
have to have a big tent set up in the station yard. I 
spall speak to the railway authorites about it, and gain 
their permission." 

In vain the army officers argued with her as to the 
futility of such a step. They, themselves, had thought of 
such procedure for their own increasing activities, but 
had been refused a tent, very politely but very firmly. 
Yet those refusals were not final. There were two other 
factors now to be taken into consideration one was the 
potency of the very phrase, Croix Rouge Americaine, with 
the French, and the other was the persuasive ability of 
a bright New York woman who, having made up her mind 
what it was that she wanted to get, was not going to be 
happy until she had gotten it. 

She got the tent the permission and all else that went 
with the getting it up, of course. In the spring of 1919 
it still was there, although in use as a check room instead 
of a canteen; for the canteen service long before had out- 
grown even its generous facilities. It spread in various 
directions; into a regular hotel for enlisted men, right 
across the narrow street from the station; a resthouse for 
both officers and enlisted men back on the Route de Paris 
about a block distant; a huge new canteen on the station 
grounds, and still another on one of the long island-plat- 
forms between the tracks, so that men held in passing trains 
all of which stopped at Toul for coal and water, if noth- 
ing else and so unable to go even into the station to feel 
the comforting hand of the Red Cross, might be served with 
good things of both food and drink. 

To maintain four such great institutions, even though 
all of them were within stone's throw of one another, was 
no child's play. The mere problem of providing those good 
things to eat and drink was of itself a really huge job. 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 119 

For by January,! 9 19, in the sandwich room of the enlisted 
men's hotel across the street, 2,400 pounds of bread a day 
were being cut into sandwiches. These sandwiches were 
worthy of investigation. They were really worth-while 
the Red Cross kind. I have sampled them myself all 
the way from Havre to Coblenz and south as far as Bor- 
deaux, and so truthfully can call them remarkable. For 
fancy, if you can, corned beef the miserable and de- 
spised " corn willie " of the doughboy being so cam- 
ouflaged with pickles and onions and eggs as to make many 
and many a traveling hungry soldier for the nonce quite 
unaware that he was munching upon a foodstuff of un- 
bridled army ridicule. And ham, with mustard, and more 
of the palatable camouflage. Oh, boy, could you beat it ? 
And, oh, boy, did you ever eat better doughnuts out- 
side of mother's, of course than those of the Red Cross, 
and the Salvation Army, too, gave you ? 

In the big kitchen of the American Red Cross canteen 
hotel at Toul they cooked three thousand of these last each 
twenty-four hours, which would have been a sizable contract 
for one of those white-fronted chains of dairy restaurants 
whose habitat is New York and the other big cities of the 
United States, while four thousand cups of coffee and 
chocolate went daily to wash down these doughnuts 
and the sandwiches. 

Figures are not always impressive. In this one instance, 
however, I think that they are particularly so. Is it not 
impressive to know that in a single day of September, 
1918, when the tide of war had turned and the oncoming 
hosts of Yanks were turning the flanks of the boche farther 
and farther back, ground once lost never to be regained 
in the eight hours of that day, from five o'clock in the 
morning until one o'clock in the afternoon, just 2,045 men 
were served by the American Red . Cross there at the Toul 
station, while in the month of January, 1919, just 
128,637 hungry soldiers were fed and refreshed there ? 

Figures do not, of course, tell the story of the resthouse 



120 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

that apartment home first secured by Miss Andress 
but the expressions of gratefulness that come from the for- 
tunate folk who have been sheltered beneath its hospitable 
roof are more than ordinarily eloquent. It is not a large 
building; a structure rather ugly than otherwise. But 
it has spelled in every true sense of the word: "Rest." 
Yet to my mind its really unique distinction lies in another 
channel; it is the only army facility that I chanced to 
see in all France which extended its hospitality under a 
single roof to both officer and enlisted man, and so be- 
spoke a democracy which, much vaunted at times, does 
not always exist within the ranks of the United States 
Army. For so far as I could discover, there was not the 
slightest particle of difference in the cleanliness and com- 
fort between the beds assigned to the enlisted men in the 
upper floor of the house and those given to the officers in 
its two lower floors. When they passed its threshold the 
fine distinction of rank ceased. The Red Cross in its very 
best phases does not recognize the so-called distinction of 
rank. 

Its hospitality at Toul did not cease when it had offered 
food and drink and lodging to the man in khaki who came 
to its doors. A very humble yet greatly appreciated 
comfort to a man coming off a hot, overcrowded, and 
very dirty troop train was nothing more nor less than a 
good bath. The bathhouse was a hurried but well-adapted 
one in the basement of the enlisted men's hotel. Two 
Russian refugees ran the plant and did well at it 
for Russian refugees. A system was adopted, despite 
Slavic traditions, by which at a single time sixteen men 
might be undressing, sixteen taking a quarter-hour bath, 
and a third sixteen dressing again all at the same 
time. In this way 250 men could bathe in a single 
hour, while the daily average of the institution during 
the busy months of the war ordinarily ran from eight 
hundred to nine hundred. It has handled 1,200 in a 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 121 

single working day, giving the men not only a bath, hot 
or cold, as might be desired, but a complete change of 
clean underclothing all with the compliments of the 
Red Cross. The discarded garments were gathered in 
huge sacks, some twenty-five of these being forwarded 
daily to the army laundries in the neighborhood. 

" The Red Cross in Toul ? " said a young lieutenant of 
engineers one day to Miss Gladys Harrison, who was 
working there for the American Red Cross. " It saved my 
life one forlorn night. Every hotel in town was full to the 
doors, it was raining bullets outside and no place to sleep 
but the banks of the canal, if if the Red Cross hadn't 
taken me in." 

Let Miss Harrison continue the story; she was ex- 
tremely conversant with the entire situation in Toul, and 
so most capable to speak of it. 

" It was the hour of tea when the young man came in. 
In fresh white coif and apron of blue, a Red Cross girl 
presided behind the altar of the sacred institution, where 
the pot simmered and lemon and sugar graced the brew. 
In a charmed circle around the attractively furnished room 
which, among its other attractions, boasted a piano, a 
pretty reading lamp, and a writing desk, sat some fifteen 
other officers most of them dusty and tired from long 
traveling, some shy, some talkative, two gray-bearded, most 
of them mere boys, all warming themselves in the civilizing 
atmosphere of the subtle ceremony. On the table piled on 
a generous dinner plate was the marvel on which the young 
lieutenant's eyes rested doughnuts. 

" Forty-eight thousand, nine hundred and ninety-five 
doughnuts. Not to be sure, all on that dinner plate 
the great number is that of the doughnuts officially stirred 
up, dropped in deep fat, and distributed from the Red 
Cross houses and station canteens during the month of 
July, 1918. Other good things were served in a similar 
abundance that same month ; 19,760 hot and cold drinks, 



122 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

13,546 sandwiches, and 19,574 tartines, not to mention 
2,460 salads and 4,160 dishes of ice cream these last, of 
course, special hot-weather foods. But the doughnuts were 
the pride and glory of the Toul establishment the mas- 
terpiece by which its praises were known and sung in the 
long trenches that scarred the fair Lorraine hills. They 
were the real American article except also for the tradi- 
tional rolling in the sugar barrel, now vanished like the 
dodo soft and golden and winningly round. They were 
made by a Frenchwoman, but her instructor was a genuine 
Yankee soldier cook, who learned the art from his mother 
in the Connecticut Valley, where they cherish the secret 
of why the doughnut has a hole. He was particularly 
detailed to initiate the Frenchwoman into the mysteries 
of the art by an army colonel who understood doughnuts 
and men and who sat at tea with the directress one day 
when the Red Cross outpost at Toul still was young." 

The directress was, of course, Miss Andress, and it was 
in those early days she still was the staff and the staff 
was the directress; and never dreaming of the summer 
nights when her commodious resthouse in the Eoute de 
Paris, with its accommodations for eight men and twenty- 
five officers, would be called upon in a single short month 
to take care of 560 officers and 2,124 enlisted men and 
would take care of every blessed one of them to the fullest 
extent. 

Enough again of figures. At the best they tell only part 
of the story. The boys who enjoyed the multifold hospi- 
talities of the Red Cross in Toul that quaint, walled, 
and moated fortress town of old France, with its churches 
and its exquistite cathedral rising above its low roofs 
could tell the rest of it ; and gladly did when the opportu- 
nity was given them. For instance here is a human doc- 
ument which came into my hands one day when I was at 
the Toul canteen: 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 123 

"Dear Red Cross Girls at the Canteen: 

"I always wanted to tell you how I appreciated all the nice 
things you have done for us since I have been over here and 
would have, but perhaps you'd think I was making love to you 
for I felt I wanted to get you in a great big bunch and give you 
a great big hug. No, I wouldn't need any moonlight and 
shivery music, for it isn't that kind of a hug the kind of hug 
I wanted to give is the kind a brother gives his sister; or a boy 
gives his mother when he wants her to know that he loves her 
and appreciates her. . . . You girls are for the boys of the fight- 
ing power and you don't ask any questions and you don't bestow 
any special favors and so we all love you. 

" (A soldier) MR. BUCK PRIVATE." 

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. There 
came a time in September, 1918 when the troops 
were moving pretty steadily through Toul and up toward 
the Argonne. The Red Cross girls were hard put to it 
to see that all the boys had all the food and drink and 
lodgings and baths that they wanted; but they saw that 
these were given and in generous measure, even though it 
meant ten and twelve and fourteen and even sixteen hours 
of work at a stretch. They had their full reward for their 
strenuous endeavors, not always in letters, or even in words. 
Sometimes the language of expression of the human face 
is the most convincing thing in all the world. 

It was a boy from Grand Island, Nebraska, who 
slouched into the Toul canteen in the station yard on 
one of the hottest of those September nights. He was 
tired and dirty, and his seventy-five pounds of equipment 
upon his back must almost have been more than mortal 
might bear. But he did not complain it was not the way 
of the doughboy. He merely shoved his pack oif upon the 
floor and inquired in a quiet, tired voice : 

" Anything that you can spare me, missy ? " 

He got it. Sandwiches, coffee, the promise of a bath; 
finally the bath itself. . . . When the boy he was 
indeed hardly more than a boy despite his six feet of 
stature left the Red Cross colony he had been fairly 



124: WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

transformed. He was cleaner, cooler, almost younger, 
and seeping over with appreciation. 

" It was wonderful," he blurted out. " I'd like to thank 
you in a practical way, sort of. Let me send you some- 
thing down from the front - a souvenir like. 77 

The Red Cross girl who had first taken him in tow and 
to whom he was now talking did not fully comprehend his 
remark. Another boy from another Grand Island already 
was engrossing her attention. But the word " souvenir " 
registered ever and ever so slightly. 

" Get me a German/ 7 she said laughingly and lightly as 
she gave him her name, and turned to the boy from the 
other Grand Island. 

In a few days it came; a sizable pastboard box by 
Uncle Sam's own army parcel post over there in France. 

The girl opened it quickly. There it all was the 
revolver, the helmet, the wallet, with all the German small 
change, the cigarette case, all the small accouterments of a 
private in an infantry regiment, even down to the buttons. 
In the package was a roughly written little note. 

" I was a-going to send you his ears, too, 77 it read, " only 
our top sergeant didn 7 t seem to think that ears was a nice 
thing to send a lady. 77 

A chapter of this book could easily be confined to the 
episodes sometimes discouraging and at other times 
highly amusing in the personal histories of the canteen 
workers, both men and women. There were many times 
when girls rode eight miles in camions to their work, 
and many of these girls who were well used to limousines 
and who knew naught of trucks until they came to France. 
Often those were the lucky times. For there were the 
other ones, too, when there was a shortage of camions and 
a woman must pull on her rubbers and be prepared to walk 
eight or ten miles with a smile on her face, and after that 
was done to be on her feet for eight long hours of service. 
It was a hard test, but the American girls stood it. 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 125 

There were the women in the little out-of-the-way can- 
teens who struggled with coal which " acted like coagu- 
lated granite," to quote the words of one of them, and re- 
fused to ignite, save by patience and real toil. There were 
long hours on station platforms feeding men by passing 
food through car windows because there was not even time 
for the men to alight and enter the canteens. Moreover, 
the soldiers had a habit at times of leaving their savings 
for a canteen girl to send to the folks at home, and although 
this was not a recognized official part of their jobs, and, 
in fact, involved a tremendous amount of work, the trust 
was not refused. The women workers fussed with these 
and many other errands while the coffee brewed and the 
chocolate boiled. 

In such canteens as those which at first catered to all 
of the Allies, the menus were arranged in favor of the 
heaviest patronage. For the visiting poilus there was 
specialization in French dishes. When the Italians were 
expected, macaroni was quite sure to become the piece de 
resistance. But for the Yankee boy there has apparently 
never been anything to excel or even to equal good white 
bread, good ham, and good coffee. French coffee may be 
good for the French far be it from me to decide upon 
its merits but to the American doughboy give a 
cup of Yankee coffee, cooked, if you please, in Yankee 
style. On such a beverage he can live and work and fight. 
And perhaps some of the marvelous quality of our Ameri- 
can fighting has been due in no small measure to the good 
quality of our American coffee. 

Birds will sometimes revisit a country torn and swept 
bare by war even as Picardy and Flanders have been 
torn and so do the flowers creep back gently to cling to 
the earth's torn wounds the shell holes, the trenches, the 
gaping walls, seeking to cover the hurts with their soft 
camouflage of green and glowing color. The tenderest 
sight I saw in bruised Peronne Peronne which seemed 



126 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

so terribly hurt, even when one came to compare it with 
Cambrai, or St. Quentin, or Noyon was a little new vine 
climbing up over the ruins of the parish church; and I 
thought of the centuries that the vines had geen growing 
over the gothic traceries of Melrose Abbey. Flowers 
gathered by the American Army served to decorate the 
waysides of France. The folk of that land have no 
monopoly of sentiment. Indeed I have often wondered 
if ours might not also have been called the sentimental 
army as well as the amazing army. 

" I know why I am here," said a doughboy who was 
passing through Paris on his way toward leave in the 
south of France, and when some one asked him the reason, 
he replied: 

" Because I am fighting for an idea. Our President 
says so." 

I have disgressed purposely. We were speaking of 
the flowers of France, which grow in such abundance in 
her moist and gentle climate. The very flowers that the 
boys of the A. E. F. picked when their trains were halted 
at the stations or sometimes between them were 
ofttimes given out by the Red Cross canteeners to other 
A. E. F. boys in far greater need of them. For these 
were the little costless, priceless tributes which were handed 
to the wounded men in the hospital trains that came rolling 
softly by the junction stations of the United States Mili- 
tary Railroad. And great, hulking men, who perhaps 
had given little thought at other times to the flowers under- 
foot, then tucked them in their shirts. Men blinded by 
gas held them to their faces. 

"Wayside!" 

The very word holds within its seven letters the sug- 
gestion of great and little adventures. It really is the 
traveler's own word. Is it not, after all, the special prop- 
erty of the wanderer, who reckons the beauty of the world 
not by beaten paths alone but by nooks and bypaths? 



THE DOUGHBOY MOVES TOWARD THE FRONT 127 

To the vocabularies of stay-at-homes or such routine folk 
as commuters, for instance, it must remain unknown 
in its real significance. The troops which journeyed across 
France from the ports where our gray ships put them 
down the laborers, the poets, the farmers, the business 
men who found themselves welded into a great undertaking 
and a supreme cause will never forget the waysides of 
France. I mean the waysides that bore over their hospi- 
table doors the emblem of the Red Cross and the emblem 
of the Stars and Stripes side by side. Sheltered in the 
hustle and bustle of railroad stations, in the quiet of 
chateau gardens beneath century-old trees and within 
Roman walls, they offered rare adventures in friendliness, 
in tenderness, in Americanism. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 

THE triage had been set up just outside of a small 
church which placed its buttressed side alongside the 
market place of the village. It was a busy place. And 
just because you may not know what triage really is any 
better than I did when I first heard the term, let me 
hasten to explain that it is an emergency station set up 
by the Army Medical Corps just back of the actual firing 
line that and something more ; for the triage generally 
means a great center of Eed Cross activities as well. And 
this particular one, in the little village of Noviant, close 
behind the salient of Saint Mihiel to which reference 
was made in the preceding chapter was the initiation 
point of a Red Cross captain ; his name is John A. Kimball 
and he comes from Boston. 

Captain Kimball told it to me one day in Paris, and 
I shall try to give much of it to you in his own words. 
He was just a plain, regular business fellow who, well 
outside of the immediate possibilities of army service, 
had closed his desk in Boston and had offered himself to 
the Eed Cross. And to work for the Eed Cross at the 
front was to face death as an actuality. 

" The wounded already were coming in, in good num- 
bers, on that unforgetable morning of the twelfth of Sep- 
tember, when they brought him in the first dead man 
that I had faced in the war," said he. " We had had our 
experiences with handling iodine and antitoxin and dress- 
ings, but this artillery captain was in need of none of these. 
. . . His feet stuck out underneath the blanket that was 
thrown over the stretcher and hid his body, his head, his 

128 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 129 

arms, and his hands. I saw that his boots were new and 
that they had been recently polished, too. Of course they 
were muddy, but I remember beneath the caking of the 
clay that they were of new leather. One does remember 
details at such a time. 

" I buried him. It was a new experience, and not a 
pleasant one. But war is no holiday ; it is not filled with 
pleasant experiences. And sooner or later it brings to a 
man a test, which, if disagreeable, is all but supreme. 
This was my test. I rose to it. I had to. I buried the 
man, ran hastily through his papers first and then sealed 
them into a packet to send to those who held him dearer 
than life itself." 

Because the Boston captain's experience was so typical 
of so many other Red Cross men who risked their all in 
the service at the front lines of battle, let us take time 
to consider it a little in detail. He came to France at 
the end of June, 1918. He stayed in Paris and chafed 
at the delay in being held back from the fighting front. 
In four weeks he received his reward. Having asked to 
be made a searcher among killed, wounded, and missing 
men, he was assigned to the Second Division at Nancy, 
which had just come out of the hard fighting at Soissons 
and was resting for a brief week before going into action 
again. 

The Second Division is one of the notable Divisions of 
our fighting forces that entered France. Because one 
wishes to avoid invidious comparisons and because, after 
all, it is so really hard to decide whether this Division, 
this regiment, or that is entitled to go down into history 
ahead of its fellows, I should very much hesitate to say 
that the Second or the First or the Third or the Twenty- 
sixth or the Seventy-seventh or any other one Division was 
the ranking Division of our Regular Army. But I shall 
not hesitate to write that the Second stood in the front rank. 
Out of some 2,800 Distinguished Service medals that had 
been awarded in France up to the first of March, 1919, 



130 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

some 800 had gone to this Division. And yet it was but 
one of eighty Divisions involved in the conflict over there. 

In the Second Division were comprised two of the most 
historic Regular Army regiments of other days the 
Ninth and the Twenty-third. The records of each of these 
commands in Cuba and in the Philippines are among the 
most enthralling of any in our military history. And the 
Ninth was the regiment chosen to enter Peking at the close 
of the Japanese-Chinese War and there to represent the 
United States Government. These regiments before being 
sent to the Great War in Europe were recruited up to the 
new fighting strength very largely of boys from the 
central and western portions of New York State. In addi- 
tion to these two regiments of the former Regular Army, 
the Second Division held several of marines, which leaves 
neither room nor excuse for comment. The marines too 
long ago made their fighting reputation to need any more 
whatsoever added by this book. 

The Second Division in the earlier days of the fighting 
of the American Army as a unit had already made a dis- 
tinguished reputation at both Chateau-Thierry and at 
Soissons. It was at the first point that Major General 
Bundy, who then commanded it, was reputed to have re- 
plied to a suggestion from a French commanding officer 
that he had better retire his men from an exceptionally 
heavy boche fire that they were then facing, that he knew 
no way of making his men turn back ; literally they did not 
know the command to retreat. Our amazing army was a 
machine of many speeds forward, but apparently quite 
without a reverse gear. 

When Kimball of Boston joined the Second as a Red 
Cross worker, General Bundy was just retiring from its 
command, and was being succeeded by Brigadier General 
John A. Le Jeune, who took charge on the second of August, 
at Nancy; for the Division was spending a whole week 
catching its breath before plunging into active fighting 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 131 

once again. On the ninth its opportunity began to show 
itself. It moved to the Toul front in the vicinity of the 
Moselle River, and was put into a position just behind the 
Saint Mihiel sector that funny little kink on the battle 
front that the Germans had so long succeeded in keeping 
a kink. 

For a long time in exact figures just a month, which 
to restless fighting men is a near eternity the sector was 
quiet. There were practically no casualties; and this of 
itself was almost a record for the Second, which in four 
months of real fighting replaced itself with new men to 
a number exceeding its original strength. In that month 
the Division prepared itself for the strenuous service on the 
fighting front. It went into camp for eleven days at 
Colombes-la-Belles, within hiking distance of the actual 
front, and there practiced hand-grenade work while it made 
its final replacements. The work just ahead of it would 
require full strength and full skill. 

On the twenty-seventh of August it began slowly moving 
into the front firing line. From the first day of Septem- 
ber until the eighth it worked its way through the great 
Bois de Sebastopol (Sebastopol Forest), marching by night 
all the while, and covering from eight to nine miles a night. 
And upon the night of the eleventh the eve of one of 
the most brilliant battles in American history took over 
a section of the trenches north of the little town of Limey. 

" Your objective is Triacourt," the officers told the men 
that evening as they were preparing for going over the top 
at dawn, " and the Second is given two days in which to 
take it" 

Triacourt fell in six hours. 

Count that, if you will, for an American fighting 
Division. 

The headquarters of the Second were at Mananville to 
the south of the fighting lines. And halfway between 
Limey of the trenches (they ran right through the streets 



132 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

of the little town) and Mananville was Noviant where, as 
you already know, the triage was established beside the 
walls of the church and the Red Cross functioned at the 
front. Remember that the triage was nothing more nor 
less than a sorting station, where wounded men, being sent 
back in a steady stream from the front three to six 
miles distant were divided between four field hospitals 
of the Regular Army service; one handling gassed cases, 
another badly wounded, and the other two the strictly sur- 
gical cases. Each of these divisions consisted roughly of 
from ten to fifteen doctors and about one hundred enlisted 
men no women workers were ever permitted so near 
the front and was equipped with from five to eight army 
trucks of the largest size. 

There has been sometimes an erroneous impression that 
the Red Cross was prepared to assume the entire hospital 
functions of the United States Army; I have even heard 
it stated by apparently well-informed persons that such a 
thing was fact. It is fact, however, that if the enormous 
task had been thrust upon the shoulders of our Red Cross 
it would have accepted it. It has never yet refused a work 
from the government no matter how onerous or how 
disagreeable. As a matter of fact, the army, for many 
very good and very sufficient reasons of its own, preferred 
to retain direct charge of its own hospitals, both in the field 
and back of the lines, and even took over the hospitals 
which the Red Cross first established in France before the 
final policy of the Surgeon General's office was definitely 
settled, which hardly meant a lifting of responsibility from 
the shoulders of the American Red Cross. Its task, as we 
shall see in the chapters which immediately follow this, was 
almost a superhuman one. It needed all its energies and 
its great resources to follow the direct line of its traditional 
activity the furnishing of comfort to the sick, the 
wounded, and the oppressed. 

A wise man, one with canny understanding, if you will, 
who found himself at the Saint Mihiel sector would have 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 133 

understood that a battle was brewing. There was a ter- 
rific traffic on each of the roads leading up toward the 
trenches from the railhead and supply depot at the rear 
big camions and little camionettes, two-man whippet tanks, 
French seventy-fives (as what is apparently the best field 
cannon yet devised will be known for a long time into the 
future) , motor cars with important-looking officers, ambu- 
lances, more big camions, more little camionettes all a 
seemingly unending procession. Fifth Avenue, New 
York, or Michigan Avenue, Chicago, on a busy Saturday 
afternoon could not have been more crowded, or the traffic 
handled in a more orderly fashion. 

The barrage which immediately preceded the actual 
battle began at one o'clock on the morning of the twelfth. 
It lasted for nearly four hours and not only was noisily in- 
cessant but so terrific and so brilliant that one could 
actually have read a newspaper from its continuous 
flashes if that had been an hour for newspaper reading. 

" It was like boiling water," says Kimball, " with each 
bubble a death-dealing explosion." 

At five o'clock in the morning the men went over the top, 
and our Eed Cross man shook himself out of a short, 
hard sleep of three hours in a damp shed near the triage 
beside the church at Noviant, for it had been raining 
steadily throughout the entire night, and went across to 
that roughly improvised dressing station. His big day's 
work was beginning. By six it was already in full swing. 
The first wounded men were coming back from the fighting 
lines up at Limey and were being sorted into the ambu- 
lances before they were started for the three big evacuation 
hospitals in the rear each of them containing from three 
hundred to five hundred beds. The Boston man saw each 
wounded soldier as he was placed in the ambulance. Into 
the hands of those men who asked for them or who were 
able to smoke he gave cigarettes. And to those who were 
far too weak for the exercise or strain that smoking 
brought, gave a word of encouragement or perhaps a shake 



134 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

of the hand. And all in the name of the Red Cross. 

He could have put in a busy day doing nothing else 
whatsoever; but felt that there were other sections of the 
battle front that needed the immediate presence of the 
American Red Cross. So at about half after seven he 
climbed in beside the driver of a khaki-colored army 
camionette and headed straight for Limey, and the heart of 
the trouble. There was another old and badly battered 
church in the town square there, and there a new triage 
already was being established ; for the Yanks were driving 
forward with fearful impetus and at a terrific rate. So 
the hospital went on, the sorting stages, with their inde- 
scribable scenes of human suffering more stretchers and 
still more in the hands of boche prisoners coming in with 
their ghastly freight. Captain Kimball again passed out 
his cigarettes and started forward. Now he was on the 
scene of actual warfare. Dawn had broken. It had ceased 
to rain and the sky was bright and blue with white, fluffy, 
sun-touched clouds drifting lazily across it just as the 
Boston boy had seen them drift across the sky in peaceful 
days on Cape Cod when he had had nothing to do but lie on 
his back and gaze serenely up at them. 

" I plunged forward over the broken field," he told me, 
" and there I came across my artillery captain. I called 
an aid and we took him back he of the bright new boots 
that had so recently been polished. ... I got back into 
the game. All the time our boys shot ahead and the 
racket was incessant. Once, when I bumped my way 
across the German trenches, I paused long enough to 
stick my nose down into -one of their dugouts. It was 
easy to see that the'enemy had not anticipated the attack. 
For in that dugout it was wonderfully neat and nice, 
with its concrete walls and floors and ceiling and its electric 
lights was the breakfast still upon the table ; the bread, 
the sausages, and the beer. I could have stayed there an 
hour and enjoyed it pretty well myself. But there were 
other things to be done. I got out into the shell-plowed 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 135 

fields once again. Across that rough sea of mud an en- 
gineer regiment was already building a road, which meant 
that we could get a Red Cross ambulance right to the very 
front. I walked back to Limey or rather I stumbled 
over the rough fields and there found one which had 
come through from Toul that morning, loaded to its very 
roof with bandages and chocolates and cigarettes. And I 
found that Triacourt had fallen. It still lacked some 
minutes of noon. The job for which our Division had 
been given two days had been accomplished in six hours 
but such hours. 

" We drove without delay into Triacourt a fearfully 
slow business every foot of it, with every inch of the has- 
tily constructed road crowded with traffic. But we got 
through and in the early afternoon were in the main street 
of the little town which the French had watched hungrily 
for four years and seemingly had been unable to capture. 
The women and children of the place came out into the 
sun-lighted street and rubbed their eyes. Was it all a 
dream; these men in tin helmets and uniforms of khaki 
and of olive drab ? !No, it could not be a dream. These 
were real men, fighting men. These were the Americans, 
the Americans of whom rumors had even run back of the 
enemy lines. They found their voices, these women, for 
the Germans had taken the men of Triacourt as prisoners. 

e 'Eons Americains!" they shrieked, almost in a single 
cry. And we saluted gravely." 

Over the heads of the two Red Cross men the captain 
and the driver of the little camionette an aftermath of 
the battle in the form of an air fight between boche planes 
and American was in progress ; young Dave Putnam, one 
of the most brilliant of our aces, was making the supreme 
sacrifice for his country. To the north the Germans were 
dragging up a battery and preparing to shell the little 
town that they had just lost; but not for long. Batteries 
of American .155's were appearing from the other direction 
and were working effectively. And at dusk a report came 



136 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

into Division Headquarters that a company of one of the 
old Kegular Army regiments had captured an entire Ger- 
man hospital patients, nurses, doctors, and even two 
German Red Cross ambulances; while the tingling radio 
and the omnipresent telephone began to bring into Division 
Headquarters the story of one of the most remarkable 
American victories of the entire war. And our Eed Cross 
began the first of a four days' stay in a damp dugout in 
the lee of a badly smashed barn. 

Kimball's story is quite typical of many others. But 
before I begin upon them what the motion-picture 
director would call the " close-ups " of what is perhaps 
the most picturesque form of all the many, many pic- 
turesque features of our Red Cross in action, consider for 
a moment how it first got into action upon the field of 
battle. I have referred several times already to the ex- 
cessive strain which the great German offensives which 
began in March, 1918, placed upon its facilities, while 
they still were in a stage of development. When we read 
of the work of the Transportation Department and of the 
Bureau of Supplies, we saw how both of these great func- 
tions had suddenly been confronted with a task that de- 
manded the brains and brawn of supermen and how 
gloriously and brave-heatedly 1 they had arisen to the 
task. The field service of our Red Cross its first con- 
tact with the men of our army in actual conflict was 
second to neither of these. 

Remember, if you will, that it was but a mere nine 
months after the American Red Cross Commission to 
Europe landed in France that its organization was put to 
its greatest test. The news of the long-expected and well- 
advertised German offensive reached Paris on the very 
evening of the day on which it started, March 21, 1918. 
Paris caught the news with a choking heart. The coup, 
which even her own military experts had frankly predicted 
as the turning point of the entire war, actually had come 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 137 

to pass. No wonder that the once gay capital of the 
French fairly held its breath in that unf orgetable hour 
that every other community of France, big or little, did 
the same and fairly fought for news of the day's opera- 
tions. Yet news gave little comfort. It was bad news, 
all of it; fearfully and unmistakably bad. Each succeed- 
ing courier seemed to bring enlarged statements of the 
enemy's immensity and seemingly irresistible force. It 
was indeed a real crisis. 

In that hour of alarm and even of some real panic, our 
American Red Cross showed neither. It kept its cool 
and thinking head. Major James H. Perkins, then rank- 
ing as Red Cross Commissioner to Europe and a man whom 
you have met in earlier pages of this book, called a con- 
ference of his department heads on that very evening of 
the twenty-first of March. He told them quietly that they 
were to make known every resource at their command and 
to have each and every one of their workers men or 
women ready for call to any kind of service, night or 
day. 

" Let every worker feel that on him or her individually 
may rest the fate of the allied cause/' was the keynote of 
the simple orders that issued from this conference. 

It was in the days that immediately followed that the 
flexibility and the emergency values of the American Red 
Cross organization qualities that it had diligently set 
forth to attain within itself came to their fullest test. 
The discipline and willingness of practically every worker 
was also under test, while for the very first time in all its 
history overseas it was given large opportunity to carry 
to the men of the allied lines a great material message. 

How well was that material message carried ? 

Before I answer that point-blank question, let me carry 
you back a little time before that night of the spring 
equinox. Let me ask you to remember, if you will, that 
the super-structure of Red Cross effort in that critical 



138 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

hour had been laid many weeks before ; in fact very soon 
after its original unit of eighteen men under command of 
Major Murphy had first arrived in France. It had experi- 
mented with the French, in definite and successful efforts 
to relieve the hard-pressed civilian population of that dis- 
tressed country. It had worked, and worked hard, in the 
broad valleys of the Somme and the Oise, which had been 
devastated by the boche when he made his famous " strate- 
gic " retreat to the Hindenburg Line in March, 1917 - 
just one year before. 

The Germans had left behind them an especial misery 
in the form of a vast region of burned and blown-up homes, 
broken vehicles and farm machinery, defiled wells, hacked 
and broken orchards, and ruined soil. I have stood in 
both of these valleys myself after German retreats and 
so can bespeak as personal evidence the desolation which 
they left behind. I, myself, have seen whole orchards of 
young fruit trees wantonly ruined by cutting their trunks 
a foot or more above the level of the ground. And this 
was but a single form of their devilment. 

Yet as the Germans retreated " strategically " there in 
the spring weeks of 1917, there followed on their very 
heels the heavy-hearted but indomitable refugees who in 
yesteryear had known these hectares as their very own. 
Returning, they found but little by which they might rec- 
ognize their former habitats. Devastation ruled, life was 
practically extinct. The farm animals, even the barnyard 
fowls and the tiny rabbits the joy of a French peasant's 
heart had been killed or carried away. Not even the 
bobbins of the cast-out sewing machines or the cart wheels 
were left behind by an enemy who prided himself on his 
efficiency, but who had few other virtues for any decent 
pride. 

Seemingly stouter-hearted folk than the French might 
have quailed at such wholesale destruction ; but the refugees 
did not complain. Instead, they set patiently to work 
many of them still Within the range of the enemy's 



THE RED CROSS OK THE FIELD OF HONOR 139 

guns to rehabilitate themselves. Their burdens and 
their problems were staggeringly great; their resources 
pitifully small. Thus our Red Cross found them, and 
to give them effective aid not only in the valleys of the 
Somme and the Oise, but in the other devastated areas 
of France formed the Bureau of Reconstruction and 
Relief under Edward Eyre Hunt. Of Mr. Hunt's work, 
the record will be made at another time. In order, how- 
ever, that you may gain the proper perspective on the be- 
ginnings of the field service of our Red Cross with our 
army in action, permit me to call attention in a few brief 
sentences to some salient features of the Bureau of Recon- 
struction and Relief. 

It located warehouses at convenient places Ham, 
Noyon, Arras, and Soissons all of them within gun- 
shot of the Hindenburg Line. These were stocked with 
food, clothing, furniture, kitchen utensils, building mate- 
rials, seed, farm implements, even with rabbits, chickens, 
goats, and other domesticated animals. A personnel of 
several field workers was sent into the district to supervise 
the distribution of these commodities, which was done 
partly through authorized French committees and munici- 
pal officers in the devastated towns. These cooperated 
with devoted groups of British, French and American 
workers, who established themselves in small groups and 
who worked to inspire the liberated areas with faith and 
courage and hope. Looming large among all these co- 
ordinated agencies were the Smith College Unit com- 
posed of graduates of the Northampton institution 
and the group of workers from the Society of Friends 
both of whom, in the fall of 1917, became integral parts 
of the Red Cross. 

These two coordinated agencies, together with the 
Secours d'Urgence, the Village Reconstitue, the Civil 
Section of the American Fund for the French Wounded, 
the Philadelphia Unit, and the Comite Americaine pour 
les Regiones Devastees, had their various operations well 



140 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

under way by the early summer of 1917. When it entered 
the field, our American Red Cross offered assistance in 
every way to these organizations, thereby giving a new im- 
petus to their work. Agricultural societies were organized 
for the common rehabilitation of the areas, American 
tractors and plows were furnished by the French Govern- 
ment, while the Red Cross workers helped with and encour- 
aged the planting, furnishing large quantities of seeds as 
they did so, while small herds of live stock, also given by 
the Red Cross, appeared here and there upon the French 
landscape. 

The workers did even more. They turned to and helped 
patch up buildings that, with a minimum amount of labor, 
could again be made habitable, erected small barracks in 
some places, and assisted generally in renewing life and the 
first bare evidences of civilization in the towns of the deso- 
lated sections. 

In March, 1918, these desecrated lands were just spring- 
ing to life once again. God's sun was breaking through 
the clouds of winter and gently coaxing the wheat up out 
of the rough, brown lands, gardens again dotted the land- 
scape the Smith College Unit itself had supervised and 
with its own hands helped in the planting of more than 
four hundred and fifty of these the little villages and the 
bigger towns were showing increasing signs of life and 
activity; then came the blow. The clouds gathered 
together once again. And in the misty morning of the 
twenty-first of March began a week of horror and devas- 
tation a single seven days in which all the patient, 
loving labor of nearly a twelvemonth past was erased 
completely. The Germans swept across the plains of 
Picardy once again the French and British armies and 
the terror-stricken civilians along with the American war 
workers were swept before them as flotsam and jetsam, 
all in a mad onrush. Yet all was not lost. One field 
worker, a stout-hearted little woman in uniform, sat in the 




fe 2 
O tg 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 141 

seat of a swaying motor truck and as the thing rolled 
and tossed over a road of unspeakable roughness wrote in 
her red-bound diary, this: 

" The best of all remains the influence of neighbor- 
liness, friendship, kindness, and sympathy these are 
made of the stuff which no chemistry of war can crush. 
We face more than half a year's work torn to pieces. 
But I do believe that the fact of this sacrifice will deepen 
its effect." 

Such was the spirit of our Red Cross workers overseas. 

They now had full need for such spirit. The monotony 
of working from daylight to dusk in lonely farms and 
villages, where patience was the virtue uppermost, was 
now to be replaced by a whirl of events which succeeded 
one another with kaleidoscopic rapidity, demanding serv- 
ice both night and day of a character as varied as the 
past had been colorless. 

The headquarters of the American Red Cross for the 
Somme district on the morning of the twenty-first of 
March, 1918, were at Ham the little village once made 
famous by the imprisonment and escape of Louis Philippe. 
They were in charge of Captain William B. Jackson, who 
afterwards became major in entire charge of the Army 
and Navy Field Service. Here at Ham was also the 
largest Red Cross warehouse in the entire district. An- 
other warehouse stood at !Nelse, a few miles distant, to 
the rear. To the north was Arras, with still another 
American Red Cross storehouse, while to the south was the 
Soissons warehouse. 

On that same morning one cannot easily efface it 
from any picture of any continued activity of the Great 
War the Smith College Unit workers had gone from 
their headquarters at Grecourt, both on foot and in their 
four Ford cars, to their various tasks in the seventeen 
small villages in the immediate vicinity. Two or three of 
these young women journeyed to Pommiers, a little town in 



142 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

the area, whose school had been reopened by them, and 
which also served the children of several surrounding vil- 
lages. And because so many of the children had to walk 
so far to their lessons the Red Cross served them each day 
with a substantial school lunch of vermicelli, chocolate, 
and milk. A few others of the college graduates went a 
little farther afield to supervise planting operations in 
near by towns yet not one of these girls was one whit 
above turning to and working on the task with her own 
hands, while some helped the Red Cross workmen's gangs 
roofing houses and stables, repairing shops and fitting out- 
buildings, in some crude form, for human habitation. 

Into the very heart of those varied activities that March 
morning marched the red-faced British Town Major of 
Ham with the blunt and crisp announcement to the Red 
Cross man that the town must be evacuated without delay ; 
the reitreat already was well under way, the vast hegira 
fairly begun. . . . The Red Cross force there at Ham did 
not hesitate. It first sent word to all the workers in the 
villages roundabout; then, having quickly mobilized in 
the town square its entire transportation outfit three 
trucks, a camionette, and a small battered touring car 
gave quiet, prompt attention to its own immediate problem 
of evacuation work. 

It functioned fast and it functioned extremely well. 
Back and forth across the River Somme over the rough 
bridges hurriedly builded by Americans for the British 
Army it transported hundreds and hundreds of chil- 
dren and infirm refugees. All that day, all that night, and 
well into the next morning it worked, driving again and 
again into the bombarded towns in the region to bring out 
the last remaining families. The Germans were already 
on the edge of the town when one Red Cross driver made 
his last trip into Ham on three flat tires and a broken 
spring! Yet despite these physical disabilities succeeded 
in carrying six wounded British soldiers out to safety. 

To our Red Cross the Smith College girls reported, with 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 143 

great promptitude. And throughout the entire succeeding 
week a deadly and fearfully depressing seven days of 
continued retirement before the advancing Germans 
showed admirable courage and initiative ; the sort of thing 
that the military expert of to-day classes as morale of the 
highest sort. These women worked night and day setting 
up, whenever the retreat halted even for a few hours, tem- 
porary canteens and dispensaries and evacuating civilians 
and carrying wounded soldiers through to safe points be- 
hind the lines. And because many of these last were 
American soldiers they formed the first point of field con- 
tact between our Eed Cross and our army and so are fairly 
entitled to a post of high honor in the pages of this book. 

" Send me another sixty of those Smith College girls," 
shouted an American brigadier general from his field 
headquarters in the fight at Chateau-Thierry. " This 
forty isn't half enough. I want a hundred." 

The college graduate in charge of the temporary can- 
teen there who received this request laughed. 

" Tell him," she said, " that there have been no more 
than sixteen at any one time." 

But sixteen human units of individual efficiency can 
move mountains. 

Take the Smith girl who drove a Bed Cross car through 
the tangle of war traffic at a crossroads near Boye, while 
the fighting waged thick around about that little town. 
She found her Fordette stalled and tangled in several dif- 
ferent lines of communication; between ammunition 
trucks, supply camions, loads of soldiers, batteries 
all, like herself, stopped and standing idle and impotent. 

The girl sensed the situation in an instant. She must 
have been a JSTew Yorker and have remembered the jams 
of traffic that she had seen on Forty-second Street; at 
Broadway and again at Fifth Avenue. At any rate she 
acted upon the instant. She descended from the seat of 
her little car, and, standing there at the crossing of the 



WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

roads with an American flag in her fingers, directed 
traffic with the precision and good sense of the skilled 
city traffic cop. She held up staff cars, directed whole 
regiments of artillery, shouted orders to convoys, and for 
several hours kept the important corner from becoming 
another hopeless tangle of traffic. Her orders were not 
disputed, either by private or general. All ranks smiled 
at her, but all ranks saluted and obeyed her orders. 

It was in situations such as this that the rare combina- 
tion of military discipline, the flexibility to permit of 
human initiative that the Red Cross sought to attain in 
its inner self, showed itself. The plan of withdrawal 
which had been carefully mapped out at headquarters was 
implicitly followed almost to its last details. Yet the 
personnel of the organization was both permitted and en- 
couraged to work at its highest efficiency both in evacuating 
human beings and salvaging the precious supplies. For 
instance, after that first day of the great retreat, when all 
the Red Cross workers in the area had reported to their 
chiefs at Nelse and at Roye both well to the rear of 
Ham they were dispatched to work up and down 
the entire constantly changing front. Geographically, 
Soissons was the hub of the wheel on which these emer- 
gency Red Cross activities turned so rapidly. They all 
swung back in good order, each unit, by motor-courier 
service, keeping in communication with its fellows. Roye 
was the center of the secondary line of the Red Cross 
front which for the moment stretched from Amiens in 
the northwest to Soissons in the southeast. When it was 
driven from this line the entire Red Cross force in the 
vicinity retired, still in good order, to a brand-new one, 
stretching across Amiens, Montdidier, and Noyon. From 
the small American Red Cross warehouse at this last town, 
a stock of valuable supplies was quickly evacuated to Las- 
signy, a short distance still farther to the rear. Noyon 
quickly became a center of feverish activity and the focus 
of Red Cross efforts on the third day of the battle. From 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 145 

it Red Cross cars worked, both day and night, evacuating 
men and women and goods. 

The line held across Montdidier, RToyon, and even 
Lassigny for a bare twenty-four hours more; for on the 
fourth day of the retreat all three had to be abandoned, 
and new quarters established on a line closer to Paris 
than any of the others; it passed through both Beauvais 
and Compiegne, where emergency Red Cross headquarters 
were once again established; but for the last time. This 
line was destined to be a permanent one. The retreat was 
slowing down, slowly but very surely halting. And our 
Eed Cross with our Yanks and their Allies were " dig- 
ging in." 

The impressions which the great German drive made 
upon the minds of our workers who fell back before it 
will remain with them as long as thought and memory 
cling the vast conglomeration of men, tired, dirty, un- 
shaven; men and animals and inanimate things, moving 
quickly, slowly, intermittently, moving not at all, but 
choking and halting all progress with the deadly per- 
versity of inanimate things; men not merely tired, dirty 
and unshaven, but sick and wounded almost unto death, 
moaning and sobbing under the fearful onslaughts of pain 
unbearable, sometimes death itself, a blessed relief, and 
marked by a stop by the roadside, a hurriedly dug grave, 
prayers, the closing earth, one other soul gone from the 
millions in order that hundreds of millions of other souls 
may live in peace and safety. Such traffic, such turmoil, 
such variety, such blinding, choking dust. Army supply 
trains, motor trucks, guns, soldiers, civilians, on foot and 
mounted, of vehicles of every variety conceivable and 
many unconceivable; motor cars upon which the genius 
of a Renault or a Ford had been expended ; wheelbarrows, 
baby carriages, sledges, more motor cars, ranging in age 
from two weeks to fourteen years, dog carts, wagons 
creaking and groaning behind badly scared mules and 



146 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

worse scared negroes who wondered why they had ever 
left the corn brake for this. Such traffic, such life. 
And then again and again death, more graves, more 
prayers, more men's souls poured into the vague unknown. 

And in the midst of death, life. Here in this wagon 
is a haggard-looking woman. The babe which she clasps 
to her breast is but four hours old; but the woman is a 
hundred seemingly. She stretches her long, bare arms 
out from the flapping curtains at the rear of the Red Cross 
camionette. A group of poilus, in extremely dirty uni- 
forms, catches her eyes. She shrieks to them in her native 
French. 

" My poilus," she cries, " you shall return. God wills 
it. You shall return you and my little son/ 7 and falls, 
sobbing incoherently, into the bottom of the bumping 
ambulance. 

An old woman with her one precious possession saved 
a bewhiskered goat hears her, and crosses herself. 
A three-ton motor truck falls into a deep ditch and is 
abandoned, with all of its contents. This is no hour for 
salvage. The dust from -all the traffic grows thicker and 
thicker. Yet it is naught with the blinding white dust 
which arises from this shell which almost struck into the 
heart of one of the main lines of traffic. The racket is 
terrific; yet above it one catches the shrieking cry of the 
young mother in the camionette. Her reason hangs in 
the balance. And as the noise subsides a detachment of 
poilus falls out beside the roadside and begins opening 
more graves. The bodies aim was quite as good as he 
might have hoped. 

In and out of these streams this fearful turmoil of 
traffic, if you please, our Red Cross warped and woofed 
its fabric of human godlike love and sympathy. With its 
headquarters established with a fair degree of permanency 
both at Compiegne and Beauvais, it increased its atten- 
tion to the soldiery. It set up a line of canteens and soup- 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 147 

kitchens along the roadside all the way from Beauvais, 
and these served as many as 30,000 men a day with hot 
drinks, cigarettes, and food of a large variety, and showed 
a democratic spirit of service in that they gave, without 
question or without hesitation, to Frenchmen, to Britons, 
to Italians, and to Americans alike. The men and the 
girls in the canteens were blind to things, but their ears 
were ever alert, and they heard only the voices of the 
tired and the distressed asking for food and drink. 

At Compiegne the Bed Cross took over the largest hotel, 
which, like the rest of the town, had been evacuated so 
hurriedly that parts of a well-cooked meal still remained 
upon the tables of the great salle-a-manger. Instantly it 
rubbed its magic lamp and transformed the hostelry into 
a giant warehouse, infirmary, and, for its own workers, a 
mess hall and barracks. And as the endless convoys rolled 
by its doors and down into the narrow, twisting, stone- 
paved streets of Compiegne, these workers stood at the 
curb opening up case ofter case of canned foodstuffs and 
tossed or thrust the cans into the waiting fingers of the 
half-starved drivers of the trucks and camions. 

Individual initiative that precious asset of every 
American had its fullest opportunity those days at 
Compiegne. It mattered not what a man had been or 
what he might become; it was what he made of himself 
that very hour that counted. A minister who had come 
over from America to do chaplain service for the army 
bruised his poor unskilled fingers time and time again as 
he struggled, with the help of a clerk from the Paris offices, 
with the stout packing cases. Departmental and bureau 
lines everywhere within the Bed Cross had been abolished 
in order to meet the supreme emergency. Bank melted 
quickly away before the demand for manual labor. The 
Bed Cross showed the flexibility of its organization, and 
Compiegne was, in itself, a superb test. 

It was down at the railroad station in that same fas- 
cinating, mediaeval city of old France that a portable 



148 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

kitchen, hauled out on the great north road up from 
Paris, with three American business men fresh from their 
desks in New York, hanging perilously on to its side like 
volunteer fire laddies of long ago going on old " Rough 
and Ready " to a regular whale of a blaze, was set up 
on the exact spot where one Jeanne d'Arc once had been 
taken prisoner. Its mission of salvation was far more 
prosaic ; yet, in its own humble way, it too functioned, and 
functioned extremely well. It served food and hot drinks 
to more than ten thousand soldiers each day. 

The variety of opportunity, of service to be rendered, 
was hardly less than stupendous. For instance, when word 
came to Compiegne from Ressons that the French would 
finally be compelled to evacuate their hospital there and 
lacked the proper transportation facilities, our Red Cross 
stepped promptly into the breach and moved out the pre- 
cious supplies. It did not ask whether or not there were 
American boys there in the wards of the French hospital 
there probably were, the two armies being brigaded to- 
gether pretty closely at that time ; it sought no fine distinc- 
tions in that time, in that emergency, the French were 
us, we were the French and so sent its trucks hurrying 
up to Ressons, equipped with a full complement of work- 
ers. And these worked until the retreating Allies had 
established a third line in the rear of them and the advanc- 
ing Germans were but two hours away. 

All this while the transformed hotel at Compiegne re- 
mained a huge center for these multifold forms of Red 
Cross relief. It, too, formed a clearing house for assist- 
ance. Its ears were alert to the vast necessities of the 
moment. They listened for opportunities of service. 
There were many such. A refugee brought word that an 
old couple in a farmhouse full ten miles distant had no 
way of retreating before the onrushing Germans. With- 
out a minute's delay a camionette was dispatched to the 
spot and it brought the weeping, grateful pair and most of 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 149 

their personal belongings to safety; while other cars were 
sent in various directions to seek out the opportunites of 
performing similar services. ... As this situation eased 
itself, this transportation equipment was turned toward 
the carrying of supplies and tobacco to the weary men of 
isolated batteries and units along the ever changing battle 
front. It was an almost unceasing task, and the few 
short hours that the Ked Cross workers forced themselves 
into an all-necessary sleep were all spent in the caves and 
dbris of Compiegne; for the boche aviators had an un- 
pleasant habit of making frequent nocturnal visits to it. 

At Beauvais, simultaneous with the establishment of 
the headquarters at Compiegne, the American Eed Cross 
opened both military and civilian hospitals, together with 
a rest station of some three hundred beds for slightly 
wounded soldiers and for casuals; as men detached from 
their units are generally known. Over a bonfire in a 
small hut the workers cooked food and served it hot to 
the soldiers and the refugees. In fact this town had been 
made a clearing station for these last. Each incoming 
train brought more and more of these pitiful folk into 
the town, where they were halted for a time before being 
sent on other trains to the districts of France quite remote 
from any immediate possibility of invasion. In the few 
hours which refugees spent in Beauvais our Eed Cross 
made some definite provision for their comfort. It se- 
cured a huge building, obtained several tons of hay, and 
after establishing a rough form of bus service with its 
motor cars, transported them from the station to its hastily 
transformed barracks for a night's rest, and then, on the 
following morning, back to the railway station and the out- 
going trains to the south and west. And with the bar- 
racks and the hay cots went blankets and food, of course. 
It was crude comfort; but it was infinitely better than 
spending the night on the stone floor of a damp and un- 
heated railroad station. 



150 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

At RTiort, where a small store of Red Cross supplies had 
been sent to a designated delegate, the delegate on an 
hour's notice fed four hundred refugees, while at Clermont 
the American Red Cross supplied food to a nunnery that 
had opened its doors to refugees. So it went. The variety 
of services was indeed all but infinite; while through the 
entire nightmare of activity, the workers were thrust upon 
their own initiative that precious American birthright, 
time and time again. Their only orders were short 
ones; they were to help any one and every one in need 
of assistance. 

How the French viewed this aid and how they came to 
rely upon it, is best illustrated, perhaps, by the testimony 
of a hardware merchant of Soissons whose house had been 
shelled. Without hesitation he came direct to the Red 
Cross headquarters for help, saying: 

" I come to you first because it has become natural for 
us to go to the Americans first when we are in need." 

And from a refugee station near Peronne, a Red Cross 
worker reported: 

" They are all looking to me, as a representative of the 
American Red Cross, to act as a proper godfather." 

As the days passed, the work in this vital area was 
greatly expanded and increased. The refugees gradually 
were evacuated through to Paris and beyond, while the 
service in the valleys of the Somme and the Oise became 
more strictly military in character. It became better or- 
ganized, too. But I feel that this last is not the point. 
We Americans are rather apt to place too great a stress 
upon organization. And the fact remains that the Red 
Cross in its first military emergency, with very little or- 
ganization, indeed, attained a proficiency in service far 
greater than even its most optimistic adherents had ever 
dreamed it might attain. 

I have turned the course of my book for a time away 
from the direct service of our Red Cross to our own army 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 151 

because I wanted you to see how and where that direct- 
service field was founded. Erom that beginning, at the 
start of the German drive, it grew rapidly and steadily 
and, as I have just said, with certain very definite benefits 
of organization. The drive halted, became a thing of 
memory, was supplanted by another drive of a different 
sort and in the opposite direction a drive that did not 
cease and hardly halted until the eleventh day of Novem- 
ber, 1918. That was the drive so brilliantly marked with 
those epoch-making tablets of the superb romance of our 
American adventure overseas Chateau-Thierry, Veaux, 
Saint Mihiel, the Argonne many other conflicts, too. 

In all of these the American Red Cross played its part, 
and seeks no greater testimony than that so generously vol- 
unteered by the very men who received its benefits the 
doughboys at the front. They know, and have not been 
hesitant to tell. My own sources of information are for 
the most part a bit official the records made by the Ked 
Cross workers in the field. These tell more eloquently 
than I can of the work that was done there and so I shall 
quote quite freely from them. 

" My billet has stout cement walls, a mighty husky 
ceiling and a dirt floor," writes Lieutenant J. H. Gibson 
of Caldwell, Idaho, who was attached to the Thirty-third 
Division. " The furniture consists of my cot and sundry 
goods boxes, camouflaged with blankets to make seats, and 
I have frequent callers. Generally they are casuals - 
men who have lost their organizations and don't know 
where to go or what to do. I had three of them the first 
day, footsore, weary, and homesick. I rustled them a 
place to get mess, loaded them into my car, and drove them 
to the nearest railroad railhead, where I found a truck 
belonging to their Division, stopped it, and got them 
aboard." 

Under date of October 13, 1918, Lieutenant Gibson fur- 
ther wrote: 

" This has been another of those days spent most in 



152 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

quarters, busy with paper work. I find a thundering lot 
of letter writing necessary in connection with my Eed 
Cross duties. I am the Home Communication and Home 
Service Representative for the Division in addition to being 
division ' scrounger.' When any of the folks back home 
want information about their soldier boys I am supposed 
to furnish it and, vice versa, when any of the soldier boys 
have home problems I am expected to help them. While I 
am resting I act as Division shopper, for fighting men need 
things just the same as ordinary mortals, and I take their 
orders, have the goods bought through the Red Cross in 
Paris, and distribute them, collecting the money. When 
the Division is in action I administer comfort to the 
wounded in addition to gathering data as to the deaths. 
Between times I scout roads, carry dispatches, and help the 
sanitary train generally. If the devil has work only for 
idle hands he can pass me by. 

" At dressing stations we endeavor to do two things ; to 
re-dress the wounds and to administer some nourishment. 
The men wounded have received first aid treatment on tho 
field or at the battalion-aid post and they walk or are car- 
ried on litters to the dressing station. There we put them 
into ambulances or trucks and they go out to the evacuation 
hospitals. My part of the job was the nourishment end, 
and so I got a detail of men, improvised a fire, stole a water 
bucket from another Division which had more than it 
needed, opened up some rations, and soon was serving hot 
coffee, bread, and jam to the wounded, endeavoring the 
while to kid a grin into the face of each. The last was the 
easiest job for our fellows were sure gritty. I think I 
batted a thousand per cent on the smile end of the game." 

Under date of October 24, 1918: 

" Back from Paris. I rolled out fairly early and got 
my boxes opened. The boys certainly appreciate the Red 
Cross shopping service and fairly swarmed in after the 
articles we had procured for them. There was everything 
imaginable in the lot watches, boots, cigars, cigarettes, 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 153 

and candy being the prime favorites. One buddy had a 
mandolin and another some French grammars. I was 
overwhelmed and had to get an assistant detailed, for in 
addition to making deliveries I had to take orders. 
Every one wanted to order something. About sixty-five 
additional orders were placed to-day and I didn't even have 
time to open my mail." 

A week later : 

" I spent the day at my billet, busy with the correspond- 
ence which my position with the Red Cross necessitates and 
which, by the way, is a little difficult to handle in view of 
the fact that I am minus every convenience. Letter files, 
index cards, guides, and cabinets are about as scarce as 
hen's teeth. It is wonderful, however, just what a man 
can do without. A small goods box will make a very pass- 
able letter file, and a cigar box, the kind that fifty come in, 
can be made into a reasonably useful card-index tray. I 
was wise enough to bring a small typewriter from the 
states and it has proven absolutely indispensable. . . . 
The men are in rest billets and the delouser and shower 
baths are busy cleaning them up. The men come in 
squads to the building which houses the equipment, strip 
off their clothing which goes to the delouser, where they 
are dry-baked at a temperature sufficiently high to kill the 
nits. While this is being done they are thoroughly scrub- 
,bing themselves, and when they are through with the bath, 
their clothes are finished and ready to be put on. The Red 
Cross never did a better thing than when it furnished this 
equipment to my division." 

Permit me to interrupt Lieutenant Gibson's narrative to 
explain in somewhat greater detail the operation of these 
Red Cross portable cleansing plants which added so greatly 
to the comfort of the doughboys, not only in the field, but, 
in many cases, in rest billets or camps far back from it. 
It so happened that many times the men in the front lines 
would go weeks and even a full month without the oppor- 
tunity of a decent bath. Such is war. It is a known fact 



154 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

that the boys of the Third Division once spent a full five 
weeks in the trenches without even changing their clothes, 
after which they were sent behind to a Ked Cross cleansing 
station and bathed and refitted with clean clothing before 
being sent back again with what joy and refreshment 
can easily be imagined. 

The type of portable shower used in many cases was 
generally known as the " eight-headshower " or field 
douche. It consisted of a simply designed water tank 
with fire box, in which might be burned coal or wood, a 
pipe line with eight sprays, and flooring under the sprays. 
The thing was easily adjusted. In a building with water 
supply it was a simple matter indeed to connect the tank 
with the water supply; while in the open field, where 
there might be neither water pressure nor water connection, 
the precious fluid could be poured into the tank with 
buckets. The apparatus was durable and reasonably 
" fool-proof." 

During the Chateau-Thierry drive nine of these port- 
able showers were set up by our Eed Cross, and in one 
week, seven thousand men were brought back from the 
firing line, bathed, given clean clothes, and sent back re- 
freshed mentally and morally as well as physically. Sixty 
men an hour could easily be bathed in one of these plants, 
and two gallons of water were allowed to each man. 

The delouser, as the army quickly came to know the 
sterilizing plant, almost always accompanied the portable 
shower upon its travels. It, too, was a simple contraption ; 
a great cylinder, into which the dirty clothing was tightly 
crammed until it could hold not one ounce more, and live 
steam poured in, under a pressure of from sixty to one 
hundred and fifteen pounds to the square inch. This was 
sufficient to kill all the vermin ; and, in some cases, the bac- 
teria as well, although this last was not guaranteed. The 
delouser, with a capacity of fifty suits a day, could almost 
keep pace with one of the shower baths, and both could be 
set up or taken down in ten minutes. 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 155 

A shower bath mounted on a Ford was one of the best 
friends of the Eighty-first Division as it played its big part 
in the defeat of the Hun. It made its first appearance in 
September, when the Division was stationed in the Vosges, 
with headquarters at St. Die. After a few hard days in 
the trenches the men would return to their headquarters, 
well to the rear of the lines, and beg for some sort of bathing 
facilities and these, apparently, were not to be found. 

Captain Richard A. Bullock was our Red Cross man 
with the Eighty-first. It bothered him that the men of 
his Division could not have so simple a comfort when they 
asked for it and needed it so much. He determined to try 
and solve the problem, and so found his way down to the big 
American Red Cross warehouse and there acquired one of 
the portable field equipments such as I have just described. 
It was a comparatively easy trick to mount the device on a 
Eord, after which Bullock paraded the entire outfit up and 
down the lines of the Eighty-first and as close to the front- 
line trenches as fires were ever permitted. In a mighty 
short time he could get the bath in order and showering 
merrily, and when all the men who wanted to bathe had 
been accommodated the contraption would move on. 

For the camps where larger numbers of men must be 
bathed, the Red Cross, through its Mechanical Equipment 
Service of its Army and Navy Department, provided even 
larger facilities, although still of standardized size and 
pattern. This was known as the pavilion bath and disin- 
fecting plant and could easily take care of 150 an hour. 
Where the sterilization of their clothing was not necessary 
this number was very greatly increased. In fact at one 
time a record was made in one of the large field camps of 
bathing 608 men in two hours through a single one of these 
plants. In another, which was in operation at the Third 
Aviation Center, 3,626 men bathed in one week in a total 
of twenty-eight operating hours and some 4,200 men in the 
second week. It was estimated that the plants could, if 



156 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

necessary, be operated a full twenty-four hours a day ; but 
even on the part-time basis it was an economical comfort. 
It required the services of a sergeant and three privates 
whose time cost nothing whatsoever to operate it, and, 
based on fuel costs, each man bathed at an expense, to the 
Red Cross, of less than one cent. 

They were handled with military simplicity and expedi- 
tion. The men, told off into details, entered the first room 

the entire outfit was housed in a standardized Red 
Cross tent of khaki where they removed their clothes 
and placed them within the sterilizer, then went direct into 
the bath. While they bathed their garments were cleansed, 
sterilized, and dried, and the two functions were so syn- 
chronized that the clothes were ready as quickly as the men 

and the entire process completed within the half hour. 

Return, if you will, for a final minute with Gibson of 
the Red Cross, up with the Thirty-third Division at the 
front. I find a final entry in his diary record of his 
activities nearly three weeks after the signing of the armis- 
tice; to be exact, on November 29. It runs after this 
fashion : 

" A couple of days before Thanksgiving I accompanied 
the Division Graves Registration Officer to the woods north 
of Verdun where our Division had been heavily engaged 
during the month of October and where we had quite a 
list of missing. The fighting had been intense through 
these woods, portions of them changing hands five or six 
times in the course of three weeks, and naturally it was 
impossible to keep careful track of all the brave fellows 
who fell. Delving into the earth, uncovering rotten 
corpses, and searching for proper marks of identity is as 
gruesome and as horrible a job as could be imagined and I 
must confess my nerve was a bit shattered at the close of 
the second day. . . ." 

Yet not all the work of the Division men of the Red Cross 
was gruesome and horrible. The war had its humors as 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 157 

well as tragedies, major and minor. For instance, how 
about the job of the Red Cross man with the Seventy- 
seventh Division, when he found himself asked to become 
stage manager for a troup of seventeen girls real girls, 
mind you, none of them the make-believe thing with bass 
voices and flat feet. He, like many of his fellows, found 
that the hardest part of his job came after the signing of 
the armistice, when time hung heavy indeed upon the 
hands of the doughboys and to keep them occupied was a 
task worthy of the best thoughts of men and angels. 
The mere job of serving coffee and chocolate from the can- 
teens, establishing reading rooms, and distributing cig- 
arettes, magazines, and newspapers ceased to be sufficient. 
The boys were fairly " fed up " with these things. And 
with the continued rain and mud and damp of Manonville 
getting upon the nerves of the Seventh, they demanded 
something new and mighty good in the way of amusement. 

Captain Biernatzki was the Red Cross man with the 
Division. He quickly sensed the situation, and, taking his 
little motor car, drove to Toul not far distant, and, as you 
already know, a Red Cross center of no small importance. 
He began at once signing up dramatic talent among the 
American Red Cross girls there in the canteens and the hos- 
pitals, and after securing motor transportation for the entire 
troupe, bore it north to his own Division. The officers of 
the Seventh were in on the plan and heartily supported it, 
and as an earnest of their support had the visiting ladies of 
the Red Cross Road Company No. 1 lunch at a special and 
wonderful mess on the occasion of their Thespian debut. 

" One of the girls was a wonderful singer," said Bier- 
natzki afterward in describing the incident. " Another 
proved a marvel in handling the men, making them sing 
and keeping them laughing, and there were one or two 
others, too, who did their bit in a most creditable manner. 
One of our troupe had brought a clothes basket full of fudge 
which was thrown out to a forest of waving palms, while 
the remaining members of the party were sufficiently decor- 



158 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

ative and charming to put the finishing touches to the affair 
by their mere presence." 

It seems a far cry from the Red Cross extending succor 
to a man wounded on the field of battle toward staging a 
show in a big rest camp, yet I am not sure that the last, 
in its way, did not do its part toward the winning of the 
war quite as much as the first. 

Of course our American Red Cross was not primarily 
represented in canteen work in the actual zones of fighting ; 
this function, by the ruling of the United States Army and 
the War Department, you will perhaps remember, was 
given almost entirely to the Young Men's Christian Asso- 
ciation and to the Salvation Army. There were, however, 
a few exceptions to this general rule. For instance, at 
Colombes-les-Belles, an important aviation station, ten or 
twelve miles south of Toul, I saw a very complete Red 
Cross equipment at a field camp which at no time was far 
removed from the front-line fighting. It consisted of a 
canteen, which served as high as from two thousand to three 
thousand men a day, and even as late as March, 1919, was 
still serving from seven to eight hundred ; an officers' club, 
to which was attached an officers' mess, feeding some sev- 
enty men a day, and a billeting barracks for the nine Red 
Cross women stationed at the place. There also was a 
huge hangar which, with a good floor and appropriate 
decorations, had been transformed into a corking amuse- 
ment center. This last was not under the direct charge of 
the American Red Cross, yet our Red Cross girls were the 
chief factors in making it go. They danced there night 
after night with our boys. In fact, in order to have suffi- 
cient partners, it was necessary to scour the country for 
twenty miles roundabout with motor cars and bring in all 
the Red Cross and Y. M. C. A. girls that were available. 
It seems that it really is part of a Red Cross girl's job to be 
on her feet eight hours a day and then to dance full ten 
miles each night. 

This Colombes-les-Belles canteen originally had been 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 159 

established in the very heart of the grimy little village, but 
when the Twenty-eighth (Pennsylvania) Division came to 
the place on the thirteenth of January, 1919, it took the 
old canteen structure for division headquarters, but squared 
the account by building the Red Cross a newer and bigger 
canteen group in the open field. 

" I can't give too much praise to the Red Cross personnel 
that have been assigned to this particularly isolated spot," 
the colonel in charge of the flying field told me on the occa- 
sion of my visit to it. " I know that the women must have 
been fearfully lonely out here; but they have never com- 
plained. On the contrary, they have given generously and 
unstintingly of their own time and energies in order that 
time should not hang heavily upon the hands of the men. 
The problem of amusement for the aviator is a peculiarly 
difficult one. He has actually only two or three hours of 
service each day, and the rest of his waking hours he must 
be kept ready and fit, mentally as well as physically, for his 
job, which requires all that a man may possess of nerve and 
judgment and quick wit. The Red Cross women quickly 
came to sense this portion of our problem and in helping in 
its assistance they have been of infinite assistance." 

Yet, while service in a field camp such as this at Col- 
ombes-les-Belles represents a high degree of fidelity and 
persistence and, in many, many cases, real courage as well, 
the real test of high courage for the Red Cross man, as well 
as for the soldier, came in the trenches or the open fighting, 
which, in the case of our Yanks, was brought in the final 
weeks and months of the war to supplant the intrenched 
lines of the earlier months. Here was a man, a canteen 
worker for the American Red Cross, who suddenly found it 
his job to hold the hand of a boy private of a Pennsylvania 
regiment while the surgeon amputated his arm at the shoul- 
der. War is indeed a grim business. The Red Cross 
workers in the field saw it in its grimmest phases; but 
spared themselves many of its worst horrors by virtue of 



160 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

forgetting themselves and their nerves in the one possible 
way in hard and unrelenting work, night and day. They 
found unlimited possibilities for service now as canteen 
workers and now as ambulance drivers, again as stretcher 
bearers, as assistants to the over-burdened field surgeons, as 
couriers or even as staff officers, and fulfilled these possibili- 
ties with a quickness, a skill, and a desire that excited the 
outspoken admiration of the army men who watched them. 

I said a good deal at the beginning of this chapter about 
the Second Division and the work of young Captain Kim- 
ball, of Boston, with it. The Second which was very 
well known to the home nation across the seas had an 
earnest rival in the First, made up almost entirely of 
seasoned troopers of the Regular Army. And Captain 
George S. Karr, who was attached to the First, had some 
real opportunities of seeing the work of the Red Cross in 
the field, himself. 

" It was when our Division was on the Montdidier front 
and preparations were being made for the American offen- 
sive against Cantigny," says Captain Karr. " One of the 
commanding officers called at the outpost station where I 
made my headquarters and asked if I could get him three 
thousand packages of cigarettes, the same number of sticks 
of chocolate, lemons, and tartar ic acid for the wounded who 
would be coming in within the next few hours. It was 
necessary to deliver these in Chrepoix, where the outpost 
was located, within twenty-four hours. 

" Lieutenant Bero of the outpost station and I went to 
the Red Cross headquarters at Beauvais, but found that we 
would have to get the things from Paris and that that would 
be practically impossible within the time limit. However, 
we decided to make a try for it, and so left Beauvais in a 
small camion at 10 :30 o'clock in the evening. At a rail- 
road station on the way we had a collision that did for our 
camion completely. Fortunately there were no serious in- 
juries. We left the disabled car by the roadside about 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 161 

halfway to Paris and begged a ride on a French truck that 
happened along. We reached Paris at 4 :30 Sunday morn- 
ing. Red Cross officers had to be aroused and tradesmen 
routed out no easy task on a Sunday morning but 
we had to have the supplies, and so did it. By 9 :30 we 
had a new camion, already loaded with cigars and cig- 
arettes from the Red Cross warehouse, and lemons and 
tartaric-acid tablets from the shops of Paris. 

" About a quarter of the way back we had trouble with 
the new camion and had to call for help again. This un- 
pleasant and delaying experience was twice repeated; so 
that, in fact, the entire load was thrice transferred before 
it was finally delivered. But please notice this the 
entire camion load of supplies was delivered at Chrepoix 
- two hours later than the allotted time, to be sure, but 
still in plenty of time to serve the purpose. Several days 
later I found two boys in one of the hospitals who told me 
of their experiences in the Cantigny attack. They spoke 
of the lemonade and said that they had never before known 
that lemons and tartaric acid could taste so good to a 
thirsty man. ... I think that our trip was worth while." 

In July of that same year, 1918, while serving hot 
drinks, cigarettes, and sandwiches to the American 
wounded in the field hospital at Montfontain, Captain Karr 
was severely wounded in the hip by the explosion of an 
aerial bomb. 

In the space of a single chapter even of enlarged 
length such as this it would be quite impossible to trace 
serially or chronologically the development of the vast field 
service of our Red Cross. In fact I doubt whether that 
could be done well within the confines of a book of any 
ordinary length. So I have contented myself with showing 
you the beginnings of this work, back there in the districts 
of the Somme and the Oise at the beginning of the great 
German drive and have let the men who knew of that serv- 
ice the best the men who, themselves, participated in it 



162 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

tell you of it, largely in their very own words. And 
so shall close the long chapter with the war-time story of a 
man who, like Kimball of Boston, is fairly typical of our 
Red Cross workers in the field. 

The name of this valedictorian is Robert B. Kellogg, and 
he arrived in France at Bordeaux, like so many of his 
fellow workers on the sixteenth day of July, 1918, re- 
porting at Paris upon the following evening. He came at 
a critical moment. The name of Chateau-Thierry was 
again being flashed by cable all around the world ; only this 
time and for the first time there was coupled with it the 
almost synonymous phrases of " American Army " and 
" victorious army." Kellogg he soon after attained the 
Red Cross rank of captain was told of the great need of 
additional help in handling the wounded which already 
were coming into Paris in increasing numbers from both 
Chateau-Thierry and Veaux, and asked if he could get to 
work at once. There was but one answer to such a request. 
That very night he went on duty at Dr. Blake's hospital, 
out in the suburban district of Neuilly, which had been 
taken over by the American Red Cross some months before, 
but which now was being used as an emergency evacuation 
hospital. For be it remembered that those very July days 
were the crux of the German drive. In those bitter hours 
it was not known whether Paris, itself, would be spared. 
The men and women in the French capital hoped for the 
best, but always feared and anticipated the worst. 

For four fearful nights Captain Kellogg worked there 
in the Neuilly hospital, carrying stretchers, undressing the 
wounded, taking their histories, and at times even aiding 
in dressing their wounds. It was a job without much 
poetry to it. In fact it held many intensely disagreeable 
phases. But it was, at that, a fairly typical Red Cross 
job, filled with perplexities and anxieties and long, long 
hours of hard and peculiarly distasteful labor. Yet of 
such tasks is the real spirit of Red Cross service born. 

Four to the ambulance came the wounded into that 



THE EED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 163 

haven of Neuilly. Many of them were terribly wounded 
indeed; and practically none of them had had more at- 
tention than hurriedly applied first-aid dressing. But the 
appalling factor was not alone the seriousness of the 
wounds, but the mere numbers of the wounded. They 
came in such numbers that at times during those four 
eventful July evenings the floors of all the rooms of the 
hospital even the hallways and the garage literally 
were covered with stretchers. No wonder that the regular 
personnel of the place, even though steadily increased for 
some months past, was unable to cope with the crisis. 
Without the help of Kellogg and eight or nine other emer- 
gency helpers from other ranks of the American Red Cross 
it is quite possible that it would have collapsed entirely. 

Captain Kellogg' s emergency task at ^sTeuilly ended early 
in the morning of the twenty-second ; but there was no rest 
or respite in sight for him. That very day a Red Cross 
captain stopped him at headquarters and asked him if he 
was free. 

" I guess so," grinned Kellogg. 

" Then come out to Crepy and help us out," said the 
other American Red Cross man. " We're in a good deal of 
a mess there." 

" All right," was the reply. " I'm ready whenever you 



are." 



He grinned again. He realized his own predicament. 
He had not yet been assigned to any definite department ; 
in fact, although he had given up his precious American 
passport, he had not yet received the equally precious " Red 
Cross Worker's Card," which was issued to all the war 
workers in France and which was of infinite value to them 
in getting about that sentry-infested land. He had no more 
identification papers than a rabbit and realized that he 
might easily find himself in a deal of trouble. Yet within 
the half hour he had packed his small musette and grabbing 
up two blankets was on his way in an automobile toward the 



164 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

front. He reached Crepy at about six o'clock that evening 
and reported to Major Brown, of the Red Cross. 

" He was called major," says Kellogg, as he describes the 
incident, " but he wore nothing to indicate his rank and I 
never did find out just what he was. He left for Paris 
the following day to get supplies, but he never returned, 
nor did I hear from him again. There was nothing for us 
to do that night and absolutely no provision for us. We 
obtained coffee from a French Army kitchen and slept in a 
wheat field in the rain, with our sole shelter a bit of canvas 
tied to the rear of our car." 

There may be folk who imagine that war is all organ- 
ization certain historians seemingly have done their best 
to create such an illusion. But the men who have been 
upon the trench lines and in the fields of open battle know 
better. They know that even well-organized armies, to say 
nothing of the Eed Cross and other equally well-organized 
and disciplined auxiliaries, cannot function at the fullness 
of their mechanical processes in the super-emergency of 
battle. There it is that individual effort regains its ancient 
prestige and men are men, rather than the mere human 
units of a colossal organization. Yet brilliant as indi- 
vidual effort becomes, all organization is rarely lost. And 
so Kellogg, in the deadening rain of that July night, found 
the situation at Crepy about as follows: Two American 
evacuation hospitals Numbers Five and Thirteen 
and a French one, located in the thick woods some four 
miles distant from the town, which in turn was used as an 
evacuating point for all of them this meant that the 
patients were brought in ambulances from these outlying 
hospitals to Crepy and there placed on hospital trains, 
bound for Paris and other base-hospital centers. The 
theory of such operation is both obvious and good. But in 
the super-emergency of the third week of July, 1918, theory 
broke down under practice. The evacuation hospitals in 
the woods received newly wounded men in such numbers 
that they were obliged to clear those who had received their 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 165 

first aid dressings with an unprecedented rapidity. And 
this rapidity was quite too fast for the limited facilities of 
the hospital trains ; which meant congestion and much trou- 
ble at the Crepy railhead which was the precise place 
where Captain Kellogg of our American Red Cross found 
himself early in the morning of the twenty-third day of 
July. 

" There was I," continues Kellogg, as he relates the nar- 
rative of his personal experiences, " with Brown gone to 
Paris and no instructions whatsoever left for me. But I 
didn't need any instructions not after that first bunch 
of wounded fellows came up there to the railhead at just 
a little before noon. There were perhaps three hundred 
of them, and while they were waiting for the hospital trains 
they lay there in the open and it was raining their 
stretchers in long rows, resting on the cinders alongside 
the railroad tracks. I had secured a supply of cigarettes, 
sweet chocolate, cookies, and bouillon tubes from a stock 
left by Brown. I made a soup for the men and, with the 
help of some of the litter bearers, distributed it and did 
what else I could for their comfort. When the train came 
in and it was time to move the wounded upon it, we found 
that we did not have nearly enough stretcher bearers. So 
I went into the town and recruited a number of volunteers 
among the soldiers including several officers. That 
night I left my supplies in the office of the French Railway 
Transport officer in the station and, with a stretcher for a 
bed, found a place to sleep in what had been left of a 
bombed house." 

Let Captain Kellogg continue to tell his own story. He 
is doing pretty well with it : 

" The next day, Field Hospital No. 120 arrived and 
set up part of its tents sufficient to give protection for 
all patients thereafter who had to wait for the trains. 
Medical and orderly attention was amply provided after 
that, but the food supply, even for the officers and personnel 
of the hospital company, was very limited and the soup 



166 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

that I was able to make from the bouillon cubes proved a 
blessing. 

" For several days the wounded passed through this point 
at the rate of several hundred a day, and every man re- 
ceived what he wanted from the Eed Cross stock available. 
Hospital trains from other points sometimes stopped at 
Crepy. When this happened I always boarded them and, 
with the help of two enlisted men, distributed cigarettes 
and cookies. On about my fifth day there the number of 
wounded being evacuated through that railhead and the 
officers and personnel of its field hospital company were 
ordered to one of the neighboring evacuation hospitals. 
Because of the greatly reduced number of workers, our 
tasks were therefore rendered much harder, even though 
the number of wounded had been somewhat decreased. 
Our own comfort was not particularly increased. We 
moved into a small tent which was fairly habitable, al- 
though it was both cold and rainy nearly every day. I re- 
member one night when it rained with such violence that 
the tent floor became flooded. I awoke to find the stretcher 
on which I was sleeping an island and myself lying in a 
pool of water. On two occasions we were bombed at 
night." 

All these days Kellogg was trying to get Eed Cross head- 
quarters at Paris on the long-distance telephone. But all 
France was particularly demoralized those last days of 
July ; and the telephone service, never too good under any 
circumstances, was gloriously bad. So after several at- 
tempts to talk with headquarters and get some sort of in- 
structions and help, he decided that he would have to go 
there; which was easier said than done. For remember 
that this Red Cross man had no credentials; in fact, no 
identification papers of any sort whatsoever. While travel 
in France in those days, and for many, many days and 
months thereafter, was rendered particularly difficult and 
almost impossible by strict regulations which compelled not 
only the constant display of identification papers but a 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 167 

separate and definite military travel order for each trip 
upon a railroad train. Which in turn meant that it would 
be fairly suicidal for Kellogg to attempt to go into Paris 
by the only logical way open to him by train. It was 
more than doubtful if he would have been able to even 
board one of them. For at every railroad station in 
France stood blue-coated and unreasoning poilus whose 
definite authority was backed by the constant display of a 
grim looking rifle in perfect working condition. 

So .Kellogg walked to Paris, not every step of the way, 
for there were times when friendly drivers of camions gave 
him the bumping pleasure of a short lift. But even these 
were not frequent. Travel from Crepy to Paris at that 
particular time happened to be light. Still, after a night 
at Senlis, in which he slept stretched across a table in a 
cafe, he did manage to clamber aboard a truck filled with 
French soldiers and bound straight for their capital. 

One might reasonably have expected an ordinary sort 
of man to have been discouraged by such an experience, 
but a good many of our Red Cross men over there were 
quite far removed from being ordinary men. And so 
Kellogg, after a few days of routine office work at head- 
quarters, insisted upon his being given an outpost job once 
again. And soon after was dispatched to the little town 
of La Ferte upon the Marne, not many miles distant from 
Chateau-Thierry. This time he had his working papers; 
to say nothing of the neat document which told " all men 
by these presents " that he was a regular second lieutenant 
of the American Red Cross. His upward progress had 
begun. 

He waited several days at the American Red Cross ware- 
house at La Ferte, during which time he had the oppor- 
tunity of studying boche aerial bombardments at ex- 
tremely short range. Then he was forwarded to the outpost 
at Cohan, conducted by Lieutenants Powell and Leighton 
as partners. I may be pardoned if I interrupt Kellogg' s 



168 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

narrative long enough to insert a sentence or two about 
Powell. In some ways he was the most remarkable of Red 
Cross men. Handicapped by a deformity, he stood less 
than four feet and a half high, yet he was absolutely without 
fear. Hard test showed that. The officers and men of the 
Twenty-eighth Division with whom he had stood during the 
acid-test days on the drive at Chateau-Thierry called him, 
pertinently and affectionately, " General Suicide." 

Cohan stood about five miles back from the front-line 
trenches and so was under frequent artillery fire. The 
Red Cross outpost there was in a partly demolished struc- 
ture, one of the rooms of which had been used as a stall 
and contained the body of a dead horse which could not be 
gotten out through the door. It served that same Twenty- 
eighth Division with whom Powell made so enviable a 
reputation. 

The confusion that had prevailed at Crepy was, happily, 
missing at Cohan. Powell and Leighton not only had an 
excellent stock of Red Cross supplies, which were replen- 
ished twice a week from the La Ferte warehouse, and a 
camionette in good order, but they had a systematic and 
orderly method of distribution. As Kellogg worked with 
them he studied their methods it was a schooling of the 
very best sort for him. And he, seemingly, was an apt 
scholar. On the twenty-first of August a Red Cross man 
named Fuller, with supplies bound for the neighboring out- 
posts of Dravigny and Chery, stopped at Cohan and asked 
Kellogg to ride on with him. The course of study of " the 
game " was about completed. Kellogg had been in actual 
Red Cross service for a full month which in those days 
made him a regular veteran. Fuller held a note from his 
commanding officer which stated that if a driver could be 
assured the camionette upon which he rode would be as- 
signed to Chery and Dravigny. 

Thus was Red Cross Kellogg's next job set out for him. 
He had never driven a Ford. But other folks have mas- 
tered such a handicap and Kellogg had driven many real 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 169 

automobiles, and so went easily to the new job, with such 
rapidity and skill that before the next night he was in 
sole charge of the little camionette and driving it with pro- 
fessional speed over the steel-torn battlefields and roads of 
the entire Chateau-Thierry district. 

Dravigny and Chery shocked and fascinated him. At 
the first of these two towns our Red Cross men in charge 
were quite comfortably situated. They occupied a house 
in very fair preservation which was situated in a lovely 
garden and had large and bright rooms for living and for 
working. But Kellogg remembers Chery Chartreuve as a 
" hell hole." 

" I can think of no better words with which to describe 
it," he says. " Not a building with all four walls and a 
roof remained in all the town. The debris of fallen walls 
and discarded military equipment clogged the streets. 
Refuse and filth were everywhere. The sanitary arrange- 
ments well, there hadn't been any. The odor of dead 
horses filled the air. Plies ? There are no words to de- 
scribe the awfulness of the flies. Our own artillery 
,75's and .155's surrounded the town in addition to oc- 
cupying positions at each end of it and in its center. The 
roar of these gims was continuous, the concussion tremen- 
dously nerve-racking, while the presence of this artillery 
made the village a target for the enemy guns. It was 
shelled day and night. And during the nights the boche 
seemed to take an especial delight in filling the town with 
gas. 

" Sleep was almost impossible. We had in one night 
five gas alarms, in each case the concentration being suffi- 
ciently strong to necessitate the gas masks. The dressing 
station was next to our sleeping quarters. It was covered 
with gassed and exhausted doughboys who had crept in 
there in search of shelter. At frequent intervals the am- 
bulances would arrive with fresh loads of wounded. The 
whistle and explosion of shells was constant. A battery of 
,155's in our back yard nearly lifted us from our cots each 



170 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

time it was fired. Once I got a dose of gas sufficient to 
cause the almost complete loss of my voice and a throat 
trouble that lasted for weeks." 

Yet under conditions such as these, if not even worse, 
Kellogg and his fellows worked all day and usually until 
ten or eleven o'clock at night. Their supplies went to the 
boys in the lines. This was not only ordinarily true, but 
at Chery, particularly so. The Seventy-seventh Division 
had moved in close to the town, and on the twenty-ninth of 
August, while the Red Cross workers were pausing for a 
few minutes to catch up a snack of lunch, a shell landed 
plumb in front of their outpost building. Its fragments 
entered the doors and windows and perforated several of 
their food containers. Sugar, coffee, cocoa all spilled 
upon the floor. 

The room was filled with men soldiers as well as Red 
Cross at the moment. None was hurt. With little 
interval a second shell came. This time two men who had 
taken refuge in a shed that formed a portion of the building 
were killed. There was seemingly better shelter across the 
street. To it the doughboys began running. Before they 
were well across the narrow way, the third boclie visitor 
descended. It was a deadly thing indeed. Thirty-eight 
American lives were its toll. Eleven lay dead where they 
dropped. The others died before they could reach the 
hospital, while the escape of the Red Cross men was little 
short of providential. 

The station had to be abandoned at once. The Red 
Cross moved back to Dravigny in good order, and what 
was left of miserable Chery Chartreuve was speedily oblit- 
erated by the Germans. 

The record of Captain Kellogg's experiences with our 
Red Cross in France reads like a modern Pilgrim's 
Progress. Our Christian who found himself in khaki was 
quickly moved across the great checkerboard of war. On 
one day he was reestablishing the Chery outpost at the 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 171 

little town of Mareieul, from which point the Seventy- 
seventh could still be served, but with far less danger ; on 
the next he was far away from the Seventy-seventh and at 
the little French town of Breny, at the service, if you 
please, of the Thirty-second Division, United States Army. 
The Seventy-seventh had been chiefly composed of New 
York State boys; they wore the Statue of Liberty as an 
army insignia upon their uniforms. The Thirty-second 
came from the Middle West from Wisconsin and Mich- 
igan chiefly. It had been in the lines northwest of Soissons 
-the only American Division in the sector and there 
had cooperated most efficiently with the French. Its regi- 
ments were being used there as shock troops to capture the 
town of Juvigny and territory beyond which seemingly the 
tired French Army was quite unable to take. They were 
accomplishing their huge task with typical American bril- 
liancy, but also in the American war fashion of a heavy 
loss of precious life. Because of the isolation of the 
Thirty-second from the usual American bases of supply it 
became peculiarly dependent upon our Red Cross for its 
tobacco and other creature comforts, responsibility which 
our Red Cross regarded as real opportunity. In addition 
to the ordinary comforts it ordered some four thousand 
newspapers each day from Paris, which were enthusiasti- 
cally received by the doughboys. And you may be assured 
that these were not French newspapers. They were those 
typically Parisian sheets in the English language, the New 
York Herald, the Chicago Tribune, and the London Mail. 
Thereafter and until long weeks after the signing of the 
armistice Kellogg remained with the Thirty-second, but did 
not cease his Pilgrim's Progress. For the Division moved ; 
here and there and everywhere. For several weeks it was 
at Vic-sur-Aisne, while Red Cross Kellogg who by this 
time was a real Ford expert was making hot chocolate 
in a huge cave that once had been an American division 
headquarters. Then it moved to a new sector, not far from 
Bar-le-Duc, and Kellogg moved with it. In the meantime 



172 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

he had performed temporary work at ISTeufchateau al- 
ways an important division headquarters of the A -men' can 
Eed Cross at Bar-le-Duc and at Eosnes; but these jobs 
were merely stop-gaps the real task was forever at the 
front lines. And when, on the twenty-fourth of September, 
Kellogg came up with his Division at Wally, he was ready 
for hard fighting once again. So was the Thirty-second. 
It was moving forward a little each day and in fact was 
already considered " in reserve " on September 26 the 
day of the beginning of the great Argonne offensive. Two 
days later, with a borrowed army truck and an American 
Red Cross camionette both filled with supplies to their 
limit Kellogg and two of his Red Cross associates moved 
forward nine miles to the Avecourt Wood and there joined 
the Sixty-fourth Brigade of the Division. The brigade 
commander furnished them with an old dugout which 
for nearly four years past had formed a part of the French 
trench system. After their supplies had been dumped into 
the place there was just room left for the bedding rolls of 
the Red Cross men, and even these overlapped one another. 
It rained steadily for several days and the mud upon the 
floor of the dugout became entirely liquefied. At night 
water came in through the doorway and trickled in innum- 
erable sprays down from the roof. The men lived in mud 
knee-deep. Oh, it was some fun being a Red Cross man at 
the front in those days of actual fighting! But the fun 
was some distance removed from those popular reports of 
" the Battle of Paris " which used to come trickling back 
to America for the edification and joy of the folk who 
stayed behind. It was prunes and preserves being a Red 
Cross worker in France in those autumn days of 1918. 
Only the trouble was that no one ever could find the prunes 
or the preserves. 

On the thirtieth day of September, the Thirty-second 
moved from the Avecourt Woods to those of Montfaucon 
and assumed a military position of " support." 

" The intervening country had been No Man's Land for 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 173 

four years and the condition of the roads can only be 
imagined,' 7 says Captain Kellogg. " We followed the 
troops, who left at about eleven o'clock that morning, but 
were soon caught in that tremendous congestion that existed 
on all the roads during the first days of the drive. By 
dark we were still on the road, having progressed less than 
'two miles. We finally became hopelessly stuck, being 
stalled, and were obliged to remain stuck throughout the 
night. During the day we had given out many packages 
of cookies to the tired and hungry men along the road. 
Many times since the soldiers have spoken to me in appre- 
ciation of those cookies. That night was one of the most 
uncomfortable experiences that I had in France. It was 
so cold that we could not keep warm. This, coupled with 
the occasional whine of incoming shells, prevented sleep, 
although frequently we threw down our bedding rolls at the 
side of the road and attempted it. 

" In the morning we found a number of ambulances 
among the other stalled vehicles. For more than forty- 
eight hours they had been on the road with their wounded 
and neither drivers nor patients had been able to obtain 
much of anything to eat or drink. We supplied them with 
cookies and gave them what water we had in our canteens. 
Two of the wounded had died during the night. Two 
others were unconscious and another was delirious. The 
congestion ahead of us on the road that morning seemed as 
bad as ever. Finally we managed to get out of that road 
entirely, making a fresh start by a longer but less crowded 
way. At dusk that first day of October found us still quite 
a distance from our Division. We spent that night with 
some Signal Corps men in the cellar of a shell-shocked 
building in Varennes. The following morning we suc- 
ceeded in reaching our destination and located ourselves 
with several enlisted men of the Forty-third Balloon Com- 
pany in a dugout which until a few days before had been 
occupied by German officers. 

" This place was interesting. Reached by a steep flight 



174 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

of steps, it was sunk fully fifty feet below the surface. It 
consisted of three rooms and a kitchen, the walls of each 
nicely boarded and the whole comfortably, if roughly, 
finished. 

" The combat regiments and battalions of our army were 
all around us in the woods. We continued serving them. 
On the morning of the third I drove back to Froidos for 
fresh supplies. Upon my return I found that the troops 
of our Sixty-fourth Brigade were already on the road, mov- 
ing toward the town of Very. We knew what this meant 
that in the morning they were going into the front lines 
and probably over the top. We quickly unloaded cookies 
and cigarettes from the car and, standing by the roadside 
in the dark, handed a supply of each to every soldier who 
passed by. 

" The troops went into the lines at Epinonville before 
daybreak on the morning of the fourth of October. Lieu- 
tenant McGinnis of the Red Cross and I arrived there 
about noon. Never shall I forget it. The battle lines lay 
just a little way ahead of us. Machine guns still occupied 
the town which then was under violent bombardment. In 
fact during the entire three weeks that we made our head- 
quarters at Epinonville there was not a single day or night 
that the town was not subjected to shell fire. 

" Our boys had made a first attack early in the morning 
of the fourth. All that morning the wounded had been 
returning in large numbers. Some of them were 
brought to regimental dressing stations of the 128th In- 
fantry, but the majority were handled at that of the 127th. 
It was here that we did most of our work during the next 
few days. The station was in a sort of dugout, made of 
boards and builded into a sidehill. In the ditch beside it 
a sizable salvage pile had materialized already, clothing and 
bandages both blood-soaked, rifles, shoes, helmets, mess 
kits, here and there a hand or a foot. On the ground, 
lying on stretchers, were a number of wounded men waiting 
for the ambulances that would take them to the field hos- 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 175 

pitals. All about were soldiers ; slightly wounded, gassed, 
shell-shocked, or just plain sick or exhausted. Down the 
road could be seen a bunch of prisoners just captured that 
morning. On its opposite side lay the bodies of several of 
our fellows who had just died, while across the fields beyond 
stretched slow-moving, irregular processions of litter bear- 
ers, bringing in their burdens of wounded men. 

" Such were the scenes and conditions that greeted us in 
Epinonville. There was work a-plenty awaiting us, and 
we lost no time in taking possession of a shack for our out- 
post of the American Red Cross. We quickly unpacked 
our supplies and moved into it. McGinnis had a rather 
formidable job of making some twenty gallons of cocoa, 
while I, equipped with cookies, cigarettes, and canteens 
filled with water, did what I could for the wounded in and 
around the dressing station. 

" Late in the afternoon it became necessary for me to 
return to our dugout in the woods for supplies which we 
had been unable to bring in on the first trip. So, leaving 
McGinnis to take care of the dressing stations, I started 
back, taking with me a load of wounded men for whom no 
ambulance was available. Our route took us over a dilap- 
idated plank road through the narrow valley between Epin- 
onville and Very. We had covered perhaps half of this 
road when Fritz began a bombardment of the valley which 
lasted fully fifteen minutes. A French artillery outfit was 
moving ahead of us at a snail's pace and we could not pass 
it because of the narrowness of the road. Some of the 
shells were breaking close at hand, showering the car with 
shrapnel and fragments, but there was no way I could re- 
move the wounded to a place of safety. There was nothing 
to do but pray for luck and keep going as fast as the slow- 
moving artillery ahead would permit. Several men within 
our sight were hit during those fifteen minutes, but fortune 
favored us. Not one of our men was even scratched and 
I delivered my load safely at the triage at Very. 

" Arriving at Epinonville late that evening I worked at 



1T6 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

the dressing station most of the night, serving hot cocoa, 
cookies, and cigarettes to the wounded and the men who 
were working for their comfort. During these first days 
there was hardly any food, and the doctors worked contin- 
uously day and night with only such sleep as they could 
snatch for a few minutes at a time. 

" During the sixteen days that the Division was in the 
front line after we went into Epinonville, our first atten- 
tion was given to the dressing stations and the wounded. 
As fast as new stations were opened at farther advanced 
points, we reached them with our cocoa and cookies. The 
ordinarily simple task of making cocoa became, under the 
conditions which we faced, a huge job. We usually made 
enough at a time to fill our four five-gallon thermos con- 
tainers and almost always we had to do the work ourselves. 
Water was always scarce and to get enough of it was a 
problem. Wood had to be cut and fires made and handled 
with the utmost caution so that no smoke would show. 

" Other conditions aside from the danger that constantly 
threatened were equally difficult. The weather was awful 
cold and rainy, with deep mud everywhere. Eating 
was an uncertain and precarious proposition. The shack 
that we called home was well, you would hesitate to put 
a dog in it in normal times. 

" Our most interesting work generally was done under 
the cover of darkness. For instance, there came a night 
when we particularly wanted to reach Company K of our 
128th Infantry. One of its cooks offered to go with us as 
guide, and so, with our car loaded with hot cocoa, cookies, 
cigarettes, sweet chocolate, and chewing tobacco, we left 
Epinonville shortly after dusk. A mile or so out we 
diverged from the road, our route then taking us across the 
shell-torn fields, with only a faint footpath to follow. Of 
course no light was possible and a blacker night there never 
was. Tommy the company cook and McGinnis 
walked immediately in front of the car indicating the 
course I should take. We continued thus until we had 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 177 

penetrated beyond some of our machine-gun positions. 
Ahead of us and back of us and all around us shells were 
bursting. The sing of machine-gun bullets was in the air. 
Our mission seemed hopeless, but we knew that those boys 
of Company K had been lying in the shell holes and the 
shallow dugouts for two long days with little to eat, drink, 
or smoke. We determined to reach them. Star shells 
were lighting the fields ahead of us, and finally we dared 
not proceed farther with the car for fear it would be seen 
and draw fire. Figuring that we could get a detail of boys 
to come back for the cans of cocoa and other things, we left 
the car in the lee of a hill and went ahead on foot, taking 
with us what we could carry in our pockets and sacks. K 
Company had shifted its position, however, and we could 
not locate it. We distributed the stuff we had with us to 
the soldiers we passed and then returned to the car. Here 
we sought out the officers of the outfits lying nearest us and 
gained their permission to let the men a few at a time 
come to the car, where we served them until our stock was 
exhausted. Most of these men were from the 127th. 
Some were from a machine-gun battalion. These boys for 
several days had been dependent upon their ' iron rations.' 
Mere words cannot express their appreciation of our hot 
cocoa and other things. I recall that our chewing tobacco 
made a great hit with them. They could not smoke after 
dark and welcomed something that would take the place 
of smoking." 

Enough of the incidental detail of the Red Cross worker. 
I think that you have now gained a fair idea of what his 
job really was ; of not alone the danger that it held for him 
at all times, but the manifold discomforts, the exposure, 
the almost unending hours of hard, hard work. Multiply 
Red Cross Kellogg by Eed Cross Jones and Smith and 
Brown and Robinson to the extent of several hundreds 
and you will begin to have only a faint impression of 
the magnitude of concerted work done by the men of our 
American Red Cross in the battlefields of France in those 



178 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

fall and summer months of 1918. A good deal has been 
written about the Red Cross woman before you are done 
with this book I shall have some more things to say about 
them, myself. A word of praise at least is the due of the 
Eed Cross man. They are not the shirkers or the slackers 
that some thoughtless folk imagined them decidedly not. 
They were men generally well above, the army age of 
acceptance, even as volunteers who found that they 
could not keep out of the immortal fight for the freeing of 
the liberty of the world. 

Take the case of Lieutenant Kellogg' s right-hand man 
now Captain McGinnis. He was a Coloradian and nearly 
fifty years of age when the United States entered the World 
War. He is not a particularly robust man, and yet when 
we finally did slip into the great conflict, it was this Eed 
Cross McGinnis who recruited an entire company of in- 
fantry for the Colorado National Guard and was commis- 
sioned a first lieutenant in it. When the National Guard 
was made a part of the Federal Army, McGinnis was dis- 
charged. He was too old, they said. 

The man was nearly broken-hearted ; but his determina- 
tion never wavered. He was bound to get into the big 
fight. If the army would not have him there might per- 
haps be some other militant organization that would. 
There was. It was the Red Cross our own Amer- 
ican Red Cross if you please. And what McGinnis, of 
Colorado, meant to our Red Cross you already have 
seen. 

Multiply the McGinnises as well as the Kelloggs and you 
begin once again to get the great spirit and power of the 
Red Cross man. Danger, personal danger? What mat- 
tered that to these ? They consecrated soul and spirit, and 
faced danger with a smile or a jest, and forever with the 
sublime optimism of a youth that will not die, even though 
hair becomes gray and thin lines seam the countenance. 
And now and then and again they, too, made the supreme 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 179 

sacrifice. The American Eed Cross has its own high-set 
honor roll. 

After the signing of the armistice, Kellogg's beloved 
Thirty-second Division was one of those chosen for the 
advance into the Rhineland countries. It had fairly 
earned this honor. For in those not-to-be-forgotten twenty 
days of October that it had held a front-line sector, it had 
gained every objective set for it. Therefore it was re- 
lieved from active duty on the twentieth and sent back to 
the Very Woods in reserve. But Kellogg and his fellows 
were not placed " in reserve " not at that moment, at any 
rate. 

They found " their boys " tired and miserable, liv- 
ing in the mud in " pup tents/ 7 and greatly in need of Red 
Cross attention and assistance. Finally, on the twenty- 
eighth and under the insistence of their commanding of- 
ficers, Kellogg and McGinnis went back to Bar-le-Duc for 
five days of rest. They needed it. There was a Red Cross 
bathing outfit at Bar-le-Duc, and the two men needed that 
also. It had been more than six weeks since they had 
even had an opportunity to bathe. 

Armistice Day found the Thirty-second in actual fight- 
ing once again and Kellogg and McGinnis with it by 
this time one might almost say " of course." It was 
located in and about Ecurey and kept up the fighting until 
the fateful eleven o'clock in the morning set for the cessa- 
tion of hostilities. The Division remained at Ecurey for 
just a week after the signing of the armistice. Then it 
began its long hike toward the east, passing through Luxem- 
bourg and down to the Moselle at the little village of Was- 
serbillig, where it arrived on the twenty-ninth day of No- 
vember. 

Kellogg, McGinnis, and some other of our Red 
Cross men to say nothing of a big Red Cross truck 
kept with it. While it had been assumed by the Paris 
headquarters of the American Red Cross that it would be 



180 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

impossible to serve the boys on their long march into the 
occupied area and so no provision was made for the for- 
warding of comfort supplies, as a matter of actual fact 
there was a good deal that could be done and was 
done. 

In such a situation was Red Cross opportunity, time and 
time and time again. And if Paris for a little was neglect- 
ful of the fullness of all of it, our R,ed Cross men who 
were at the Rhine were not not for one single moment. 
They were on the job, and, with the limited facilities at 
hand, more than made good with it. One single final inci- 
dent will show : 

On the morning that the Thirty-second swung down into 
Wasserbillig from the pleasant, war-spared Luxembourg 
country and first entered Prussian Germany, the Red Cross 
men with it found that two of their fellows Lieutenants 
R. S. Gillespie and Robert Wildes were already 
handling the situation. These men had previously been 
engaged in similar work at Longwy, and had been sent for- 
ward with a five-ton truck, loaded with f oodstuffs, for such 
returning prisoners and there were many of them as 
the Thirty-second might encounter on its eastward march. 
Under Lieutenant Gillespie' s direction a canteen already 
was in operation at the railroad station there in Wasser- 
billig. Equipped with a small supply of tin cups, plates, 
and the like to say nothing of several stoves it was 
serving soup, bread, jam, beans, J>acon, corned beef, and 
coffee. The prisoners (soldiers and civilians men, 
women, and children, and many of them in a pitiable con- 
dition) came through from Germany on the trains up the 
valley of the Moselle. They had a long wait, generally 
overnight, in Wasserbillig. And there the American Red 
Cross fed them by the hundreds, and in every possible way 
ministered to their comfort. 

It saw opportunity, and reached to it. It saw a chance 
of service, and welcomed it. The record of its welcome is 



THE RED CROSS ON THE FIELD OF HONOR 181 

written in the hearts and minds and memories of the boys 
who marched down the valley of the Moselle, through 
Treves and Cochem, to Coblenz. From those hearts and 
minds and memories they cannot easily be erased. 



CHAPTER VIII 

OUR BED CROSS PERFORMS ITS SUPREME MISSION 

AFTER all is said and done, what is the supreme pur- 
pose of the Red Cross ? 

I think that any one who has made even a cursory study 
of the organization its ideals and history should have 
but little hesitancy in finding an answer for that question. 
Despite its genuine achievement in such grave crises as the 
San Francisco earthquake and fire, for instance, its real 
triumphs have almost always been wrought upon the field 
of war. And there its original mission was definite the 
succoring of the wounded. That mission was quite as 
definite in this Great War so lately ended as in the days of 
Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton. The canteen 
work of our Red Cross in the past two years for our boys 
who came and went across France and Germany was inter- 
esting and important; its field work, which you have just 
seen, even more so. Yet its great touch almost, I should 
say, its touch divine came not merely when the boys 
traveled or when they went upon the field of battle, but 
rather when the iron hand of war cruelly smote them down. 
Then it was that our Red Cross was indeed the Greatest 
Mother in the World the symbolic spirit of its superb 
poster most amply realized, in fact. 

The hospital work of the American Red Cross in France, 
particularly in its medical phases as distinct from those 
more purely of entertainment, was, in the several suc- 
cessive forms of organization of the institution over there, 
known as the Medical and Surgical Division or Depart- 
ment, although finally as the Bureau of Hospital Adminis- 
tration. In fact it was almost the only department of our 
Red Cross in France which did not, for one reason or an- 
other, undergo reorganization after reorganization. This, 

182 



SUPREME MISSION 183 

in turn, has accounted for much of its efficiency. It was 
builded on a plan which foresaw every emergency and 
from which finally the more permanent scheme for the 
entire Red Cross was drawn. 

" We divided our job into three great steps," the man 
who headed it most successfully told me one day in Paris. 
" The first was to meet the emergency that arose, no matter 
where it was or what it was ; the second was to perfect the 
organization, and the third and final step was to tell about 
it to make our necessary reports and the like." 

A program which, rigidly set down, was rigidly adhered 
to. Remember, if you will once again, that under the 
original organization of the American Red Cross in France 
there were two great operating departments side by side; 
one for military affairs, the other for civil. In those early 
days the Department of Military Affairs grouped its work 
chiefly under the Medical and Surgical Division which was 
headed by Colonel Alexander Lambert, a distinguished 
New York physician who then bore the title of Chief Sur- 
geon of the American Red Cross. It was this early divi- 
sion which planned the first of the great American Red 
Cross hospitals in France, of which very much more in 
good time. 

In January, 1918, this Medical and Surgical Division 
became known as the Medical and Surgical Section of the 
Department of Military Affairs, while Captain C. C. Bur- 
lingame, a young and energetic doctor who had met with 
much success in the New England manufacturing village 
of South Manchester, Connecticut, became its guiding 
head. Of Captain Burlingame he attained the United 
States Army rank of lieutenant colonel before the conclu- 
sion of the war you also shall hear much more. It 
would be quite difficult, in fact, to keep him out of the 
pages of this book, if such were the desire. One of the 
most energetic, the most tireless, the most efficient execu- 
tives of our Red Cross in France, he accomplished results 
of great brilliancy through the constant use of these very 



184 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

attributes. Within six months after his arrival in France 
he had risen from first lieutenant to the army rank of cap- 
tain, while his real achievements were afterward recog- 
nized in decorations hy the French of their Medaille 
d'Honneur and by the new Polish Government of its 
precious Eagle. 

In these weeks and months of the first half of 1918, 
Burlingame found much of his work divided into several 
of the functions of the Department of Civil Affairs par- 
ticularly among such sectors as the Children's Bureau, the 
Bureau of Tuberculosis, and the Bureau of Refugees. 
This was organization business. It took strength from 
that very arm of the Ked Cross which soon was to be called 
upon to accomplish so very much indeed. And when, on 
the twenty-fourth of August, 1918, the Gibson reorgan- 
ization plan divorced the Medical and Surgical Section 
entirely from the work of the Department of Civil Affairs 
and combined its entire activities into a Medical and Sur- 
gical Department, Burlingame and his fellows had a free 
hand for the first time, a full opportunity to put their tri- 
partite policy into execution. 

For a time Colonel Fred T. Murphy was director of this 
newly created department. On January 6, 1919, however, 
he was succeeded by Colonel Burlingame, who had been so 
instrumental in framing both the policies and carrying out 
the actual operations of the department. On that same 
day the former Medical and Surgical Section of the De- 
partment of Military Affairs became the Bureau of Hos- 
pital Administration. The Bureau of Tuberculosis was 
transferred as such to this new department, as was also 
the Children's Bureau. The Women's Bureau of Hospital 
Administration which, under the old organization, was 
reporting to the general manager, became the Bureau of 
Nurses, while the work for the mutiles, which was being 
conducted by both the departments of Military Affairs and 
Civil Affairs, was relegated to a new bureau. 

I have given these changes in some detail not because 



SUPREME MISSION 185 

they were in themselves so vastly important, as because 
they tend to show.how firm a grasp Burlingame gained not 
only on the operations hut upon the very organization of 
his work. He did not reorganize ; he perfected, and finally 
was able to perfect even the Gibson general plan of or- 
ganization for our Red Cross in France which was recog- 
nized as the most complete thing of its sort that had been 
accomplished. 

For the purpose of better understanding the activities of 
this bureau, it may be well to divide its activities into four 
great classes. The first of these would group those activi- 
ties conducted directly by the Surgeon General's office of 
the United States Army, but to which our Red Cross gave 
frequent aid in the line of supplies, supplementing those 
normally furnished through the usual army channels. 
Sometimes not only supplies but personnel was furnished. 
Such aid was given upon request of army officers. 

Under the second grouping one finds those great hospi- 
tals, in most cases established by the American Red Cross 
while the medical and surgical plans of our army were still 
forming and were in a most unsettled and confused state. 
These were known, even after the Surgeon General had 
taken them under his authority, as American Red Cross 
Military Hospitals. They were then operated jointly by 
the United States Army and our Red Cross; the army 
being usually responsible for the scientific care and disci- 
pline of the organization, while our Red Cross took upon 
its shoulders both the actual business management and the 
supplying of the necessary materials. 

The third and fourth groupings are smaller, although, in 
their way, hardly less consequential. In the one were the 
American Red Cross Hospitals which were operated purely 
for military purposes and for which the American Red 
Cross assumed the full responsibility of operation, while in 
the other were the hospitals, infirmaries, and dispensaries 
which were operated by the Red Cross in some few cases 
jointly with the other organizations for the benefit of 



186 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

civilians, including several thousand American civilian war 
workers who found themselves in France during the past 
two years. 

If I have bored you with these details of organization it 
has been to the direct purpose that you might the better 
understand how this important phase of Red Cross opera- 
tion functioned. Now, for the moment, forget organiza- 
tion once again. Go back to the earlier days of our Red 
Cross in France the days of Grayson M.-P. Murphy and 
James H. Perkins and their fellows. 

None of these men either realized or fully understood 
either the importance or the overwhelming size to which 
the hospital function of the United States Army would 
attain before our boys had been in actual warfare a full 
year. The army itself did not realize that. Remember 
that for many weeks and even months after Pershing had 
arrived in Paris its hospital plans were in embryo. In 
this situation our Red Cross found one of its earliest op- 
portunities, and rose to it. With Colonel Lambert he 
then was Major Lambert in charge of its Medical and 
Surgical Division it began casting about to see how it might 
function most rapidly and most efficiently. 

To the nucleus of the army that began pouring into 
France in the early summer of 1917, it began the distribu- 
tion of emergency stores a task to which we already have 
referred and shall refer again. It hastily secured its own 
storerooms in those days quite remote and distant from 
the American Relief Clearing House and the other general 
warehouses of the American Red Cross and from these 
in July, 1917, sent to 1,116 hospitals, practically all of 
them French, exactly 2,826 bales of supplies. In Decem- 
ber of that same year it sent to 1,653 hospitals including 
by this time many American ones 4,740 bales of similar 
supplies. It was already gaining strength unto itself. 

Surgical dressings formed an important portion of the 
contents of these packages Our Red Cross did not wait 



SUPREME MISSION 187 

upon America for these ; the huge plan for standardizing 
and making and forwarding these from the United States 
was also still in process of formation. It went to work in 
Paris, and without delay, so that by the end of 1917 two 
impressive manufacturing plants were at work there one 
at No. 118 Eue de la Faisandre, where 440 volunteer 
workers and a hundred paid workers were averaging some 
183,770 dressings a week, and a smaller establishment at 
No. 25 Hue Pierre Charron, where a hundred volunteer 
and ninety paid workers were at similar tasks. Eventually 
a third workroom was added to these. And it is worth 
noting, perhaps, that immediately after the signing of the 
armistice these three workrooms were turned into manu- 
factories for production of influenza masks, for which 
there was a great emergency demand. In three weeks 
they turned out more than 600,000 of them. 

The hospitalization phases of the Medical and Surgical 
Department of our Red Cross over there were, of course, 
far more difficult than those of the mere production or 
storage of dressings and other medical supplies. And they 
involved a vast consideration of the human factors of the 
super-problem of the conflict. 

" In this war there were two kinds of fellows," Colonel 
Burlingame told me one evening in Paris as we sat talking 
together, " the ones who went over the top and those who 
didn't. It was up to the second bunch to look out for the 
first at every time and opportunity, which brings us 
squarely to the question of the French hospitals, and the 
American soldiers who woke up to find themselves in them. 
You see the Red Cross was just as responsible for those 
fellows as for the ones who went directly into our own hos- 
pitals over here. The French authorities told me not to 
worry about those boys. ' We will take very good care of 
them/ they said, and so they meant to do. ' Who will take 
care ? ' I asked them in return. 

" I went straight to one of the chief surgeons of their 



188 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

army. I put the matter to him as plainly as I could. 
' You are the best ever/ I said to him, ' but don't you 
see ? you are tired out. We want to help you. Can't 
we ? Won't you let us loan you nurses and other American 
personnel as you need them ? ' 

" Would they ? Say, the French fell for that suggestion 
like ducks, and we sent them thirty or forty girls, just as 
a beginning.. Can you think of what it would mean for 
one of our Yankee boys wounded in a French hospital and 
perhaps ready to go on an operating table to lose an arm 
or a leg and then finding no one who could speak his kind 
of language? And what it would mean if a nice girl 
should come along his own sort of a nice girl ready to 
let him spill his own troubles out to her in his own sort 
of jargon? " 

I felt, myself, what it would mean. I had heard before 
of what the Red Cross Bureau of Hospital Administration 
was accomplishing under the technical designation of the 
Service of Professional Aid to the Service de Sante this 
last the medical division of the French Army establish- 
ments. The first opportunity for this service came when 
General Pershing told Marshal Foch that the American 
Army was there to be used as the French high commander 
in chief saw fit to use it. Whereupon Foch moved quickly 
and brigaded our men with his between Montdidier and 
Soissons, which meant, of course, the evacuating of the 
casualties through the French hospitals. The helpless con- 
dition of our American boys who did not speak French 
and very few of them did can therefore easily be imag- 
ined. They could not tell their wishes nor be advised as to 
what was going to be done with them. It was then that 
Burlingame sensed the situation in its fullness; that, with 
much diplomacy, he first approached Dr. Vernet Kleber, 
the commander of the French-American section of the 
French Service de Saute, saying that he realized that its 
service had been taxed to the uttermost and proffering the 



SUPREME MISSION 189 

use of American Ked Cross personnel. And Dr. Kleber 
accepted. 

The thirty or forty nurses did not come at one time. 
But within twenty-four hours, four of them two nurses 
and two nurses' aids, and all of them speaking French 
were dispatched to the French hospital at Soissons where 
the first American patients were being received. The 
movement of the First and Second Divisions in the Beau- 
vais and Montdidier sectors right after increased very 
greatly this flow of Yankee doughboys into French hospi- 
tals and the American nurses were thrown into them in 
far greater numbers. Soon a still more definite plan was 
adopted, which resulted in American nurses, speaking 
French, being installed in each and every French military 
hospital which received American wounded. Under this 
arrangement our nurses were given French military papers 
for free travel at the very outset, one of the many time- 
saving arrangements in a situation which all too frequently 
was a race between time and death. Another time-saving 
scheme provided for the reassignment of nurses used by the 
French Service de Sante without the necessity of approval 
in advance by Paris headquarters. This very flexible and 
sensible plan relieved the situation of much red tape and 
made for immediate results. And not the least of its ad- 
vantages was the fact that it actually did much to enhance 
the entente cordiale of the fighting forces of the two allied 
nations. 

The first call for nurses under this new arrangement 
came in May, 1918, when a nurse and an aid were sent to 
the French Military Hospital at Besangon.in the extreme 
east of France and south of the fighting zones. The second 
came from La Bochelle, down on the Atlantic coast. After 
that the calls were almost continuous, until our American 
nurses had been sent to all corners of France ; the service 
covering thirty-one departments and eighty-eight cities. 

Sometimes, when the calls were particularly urgent and 



190 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

the distances not so great, the nurses were sent in camion- 
ettes, for time always was an important factor. But more 
often the nurse and her aid rode by rail, armed with the 
military permits that were so necessary a feature of travel 
in France during the days of the actual conflict. One of 
these girls wrote quite graphically of one of these journeys. 

" It was quite dark ; there wasn't a light in the car or in 
the countryside/' she said. " Off on the horizon we could 
see the guns flashing. A very nervous man sat opposite 
me, pulled out his flashlight about every five minutes, con- 
sulted his time-table and announced the next station. Fi- 
nally he alighted and the only way that we knew when we 
had reached our station was because heads appeared at 
every window when we stopped, asking the name of the 
stopping place. After the information was given the pas- 
sengers would pile out for that particular place and step 
into the inky darkness. After which they might resign 
themselves to spending the rest of the night curled up on 
one of the uninviting small benches in the station." 

The diet of the average doughboy and the average poilu 
sick or well was almost always different. To accom- 
plish this each Red Cross nurse, upon being sent to her as- 
signment, was given small sums of money to spend for the 
comfort of her patients. In this way she was often able to 
obtain such things as milk, eggs, or a chop for a Yankee 
boy who wearied of the diet constantly given to the poilu. 

These nurses, like those which were held by the Red 
Cross in reserve for the emergency needs of our army in 
France, were in direct charge of the Nurses' Bureau of 
Colonel Burlingame's department. Incidentally, this 
bureau furnished some ten thousand nurses in France, of 
whom eight thousand were army reserves. 

The great need of this service in the French hospitals was 
shown in the extensions of the plan. In several instances 
where a United States Army hospital unit was stationed 



SUPREME MISSION 191 

near a French one, the American patients were gradually 
evacuated to it, our Red Cross nurses being retained on 
duty as long as was necessary. There were, of course, 
many of these American hospitals some of which you 
shall come to see before you are finished with the pages of 
this book. In all of these our Red Cross functioned, both 
in the furnishing of many of their supplies as well as in the 
giving of entertainment to their patients. Of all these 
things, more in good time. Consider now, if you please, 
the distinctive Red Cross hospitals themselves some of 
which long preceded in France the coming of the larger 
regulation hospitals of the United Sates Army. 

The first of these great institutions of our own Red 
Cross to be secured over there it bore the distinctive 
serial title of Number One was located in the Neuilly 
suburban district of Paris. It was a handsome modern 
structure of brick a building which had been erected for 
use as a boarding school or college. It was barely com- 
pleted at the time of the first outbreak of the Great War, 
and so was easily secured by a group of patriotic Ameri- 
cans in Paris and, then designated as the American 
Ambulance Hospital, placed at the service of the French, 
who then were in grievous need of such assistance. 
When we came into the war, this hospital, which contained 
between five and six hundred beds, was put under the 
United States Army and the American Red Cross and 
turned over to the Red Cross for actual operation. 

American Red Cross Hospital Number Two a private 
institution of the highest class was formerly well known 
to the American colony in Paris as Dr. Blake's. Like the 
Number One, it was one of the chief means by which the 
Stars and Stripes was kept flying in Europe throughout the 
early years of the war. It not only contained three hun- 
dred beds, but a huge Red Cross research laboratory, where 
a corps of bacteriologists was quickly put to work under the 
general control of the Surgeon General's office of the army 



192 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

and making valuable investigations, records, and sum- 
maries for the American medical profession for many years 
to come. 

Number Three, on the left bank of the Seine, was for a 
time known as the Reid Hospital. It was at one time a 
home or dormitory for girl art students in Paris. Later it 
was transformed into a hospital by Mrs. Whitelaw Reid of 
New York, who gave it, furnished and equipped, to the 
American Red Cross and arranged to pay practically all 
its running expenses. It was a comparatively small es- 
tablishment of eighty beds, which were reserved almost en- 
tirely for officers, and personnel of our Red Cross. 

From this most modest nucleus there was both steady 
and rapid growth until, at the time of the signing of the 
armistice, there were not three but eight of the Ajnerican 
Red Cross Military Hospitals : the three of which you have 
just read; Number One in Neuilly; Number Two (Dr. 
Blake's) in Rue Piccini; Number Three (the Reid Hos- 
pital) in the Rue de Chevreuse ; Number Five, the tent in- 
stitution which sprang up on the famous Bois de Boulogne 
race course at Auteuil ; Number Six at Bellevue ; Number 
Seven at Juilly; Number Eight at Malabry (these last 
three in the suburbs of Paris), and Number Nine in the 
Boulevard des Batignoles, within the limits of the city 
itself. 

The so-called American Red Cross hospitals were gener- 
ally somewhat smaller. They were Number 100 at Beau- 
caillou, St. Julien in the Gironde, Number 101 at Neuilly, 
Number 102 at Neuf chateau, Number 103 also at Neuilly, 
Number 104 at Beauvais, with an annex at Chantilly, Num- 
ber 105 at Juilly, Number 109 at Evreux, and Number 113, 
the Czecho-Slovak Hospital, at Cognac. In addition to 
these there was a further group of smaller hospitals, which 
were operated in the same way as the American Red Cross 
military hospitals. These included Number 107 at Jouy- 
sur-Morin, Number 110 at Villers-Daucourt, Number 111 



SUPREME MISSION 193 

at Chateau-Thierry, Number 112 in the Rue Boileau, Paris, 
Evacuation Hospital Number 114 at Fleury-sur-Aire in 
the Vosges, Base Hospital Number 41 at St. Denis, and 
Base Hospital No. 82 at Toul. While outside of all of 
these lists were three small institutions in Paris, operated 
in cooperation with the French, but far too unimportant to 
be listed here. 

There were twenty-six of these American Red Cross 
hospitals of one form or another established in France 
through the war. Yet, impressive as this list might seem 
to be at a first glance, it, of course, falls far short of the 
great total of the regular base and evacuation hospitals set 
up by the Medical Corps of our army throughout France 
and the occupied districts of Germany. Yet even these, as 
we shall see presently, were constantly dependent upon the 
functioning of our Red Cross. And, after all, it was 
chiefly a question of the mere form of organization. 

" Form ? " said Colonel Burlingame to me that same 
evening as we sat together in Paris. " What do you mean 
by form? There is no such thing not in war, at any 
event. When they used to come to me with their red tape 
tangles I would bring them up with a quick turn, saying : 
e See here, the Red Cross is not engaged in winning the 
war for the Allies, or even for the good old U. S. A. We 
are here to help the United States win the war. 7 ' 

Not such a fine distinction as it might first seem to be. 

" That was our principle and we stuck by it/' continued 
Burlingame. " And any one who deviated from it got 
bumped, and bumped hard." 

You could trust the young military surgeon for that, just 
as his own superior officers could trust him to produce re- 
sults, time and time again. For instance there was that 
week in July when the news came to him through an 
entirely unofficial but highly authentic channel that the 
First and Second Divisions of the United States Army 
were going to be used somewhere near Chateau-Thierry as 
shock troops against the continued German drive. For 



194 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

weeks past he had been carefully watching the big war map 
of France that hung upon the wall of his office, indicating 
upon it with tiny pin flags the steady oncoming of the 
enemy. And in all those weeks he had been making pretty 
steady and definite plans against the hour when he would 
be called upon to act, and to act quickly. 

Already he had formed that habit of quick action. 
Once, it was the seventeenth of June, I think, he had had 
good opportunity to use it. The First and Second were 
already in action along the Marne, brigaded with the 
French, and Burlingame was driving along the rear of their 
positions. But he supposed that the Divisions were in re- 
serve ; he did not realize that it was in actual fighting, not 
at least until he espied a dust-covered and wounded Amer- 
ican quartermaster sergeant staggering down the road. 
The Red Cross man stopped his car and put the wounded 
man into it. 

" What are you doing here ? " he demanded. 

" I got hit with a machine gun," stated the sergeant. 
" That is, I was with the machine gun. I'd never seen 

one of the d d things before, but we were fighting. I 

got a squad around me and we tackled it. We were making 
the old bus hum when well, they tickled me with a lot 
of shrapnel." 

Burlingame waited for no further explanations. He 
headed his car around and at top speed raced back to Paris. 
As he rode he studied a pocket map that he always had with 
him. Montmirial! That was the place he had set out 
in his mental plans for this sort of emergency; in just this 
sort of an emergency. 

The stop at Paris was short; just long enough to load 
some fifteen tons of hospital supplies in the swiftest trucks 
Major Osborne's Transportation Department could supply, 
to pick up the highly capable Miss Julia Stimson then 
chief nurse of the American Red Cross then off to the 
front once again. Beyond the fact that the emergency 



SUPREME MISSION 195 

hospital would be somewhere in the neighborhood of Mont- 
mirial, the destination of the swift-moving caravan was 
quite uncertain. Burlingame and Miss Stimson were both 
route makers and pace makers. They led the way right 
up behind the front-line positions, to the chief surgeon of 
that portion of the French Army with which the First Divi- 
sion was then brigaded. An American colonel was talking 
to a Frenchman at the moment 

" We're here/' reported Burlingame. 

" Who's we ? " asked the Yankee officer. 

" The emergency hospital of the American Red Cross," 
was the instant reply. 

The French staff located the outfit immediately, in an 
ancient chateau at Jouy-sur-Morin near by, which imme- 
diately became A. R. O. Military Hospital lumber 107 - 
and in a single memorable day evacuated some 1,400 Amer- 
ican wounded. 

It took real work and lots of it to set up such a hospital 
as this ; also an appreciable amount of actual equipment. 
First there came the tents and the cots the most import- 
ant parts of a mobile evacuation hospital afterward, in 
orderly but quick sequence, the portable operating room, 
with four tables designed for the simultaneous work of four 
operating teams; each consisting of a chief surgeon, an 
assistant, two orderlies, and two women nurses. The 
tables were, of course, but the beginning of the operating- 
room equipment alone. There had to be huge quantities 
of instruments, anaesthetizing tools, and the like. 

" Not merely half a dozen forceps," says Burlingame, 
" but dozens upon dozens of them." 

" How could you get them all together ? " I asked him. 

" It was easy. We figured it all out when we still 
had less than fifty thousand American soldiers in France. 
So that when we had a call for an operating-room outfit 
we did not have to stop and wonder what we should send 
out for a well-equipped one. All that was done well in 



196 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

advance, with the result that in the high-pressure months 
of May and June, 1918, we began to reap the benefits 
of all the dirty work and the drudgery of the fall of 
1917." 

I interrupted myself purposely. I was talking of 
that first week in July when the word came that the First 
and Second Divisions no longer brigaded with the 
French, but standing by themselves as integral factors of 
the United States Army were going into action at 
Chateau-Thierry. The results of that action need no re- 
counting here. They have passed into the pages of Amer- 
ican history along with Saratoga and Yorktown and Gettys- 
burg and Appomattox. They are not germane here and 
now to the telling of this story of our Ked Cross in action. 
It is germane, however, to know that within fifteen minutes 
of the receipt of the news of the beginning of the Chateau- 
Thierry fight, Burlingame of the Ajnerican Eed Cross was 
in his swift automobile and on his way there. 

Information already had reached him that our troops 
were to be pushed northward from Chateau-Thierry and 
the sectors about Rheims and southeastward from Mont- 
didier. Acting upon this somewhat meager information 
he headed his machine straight toward Soissons. A wild 
ride it was, every mile of it; for Burlingame well knew 
that every moment counted in the crucial battle against 
the Germans. 

From time to time he would meet motor cars or camions 
or little groups of soldiers who, in response to his signal- 
ings, would stop and frankly tell him what they knew about 
the position or the movement of our army. But all this 
information was also meager, and much of it was contra- 
dictory. Finally, however, at an obscure crossroads he 
stumbled upon a group of more than ordinary intelligent 
Yanks who gave him news which seemed so accurate and 
so vital that he halted his car and pulled out his road 
maps. He located himself quickly. And it was not a 



SUPREME MISSION 197 

long guess that decided him then and there to establish a 
hospital. 

Remember, if you will, that this man Burlingame is 
exceedingly long on common sense, quick thinking, and 
quick acting ; short, if you please, on that abominable thing 
known as red tape. Sensing the situation with a keenness 
that, in the light of after events, was uncanny, he decided 
that, when the clash came, it would come midway between 
Soissons and Chateau-Thierry, a little to the east of the 
point where he had halted his car. And there it came. 
" It was bound to be a hard bump/' said he, and so it was. 

He at once got in touch with the American Red Cross 
warehouses at Beauvais and at Paris and ordered medical 
and surgical and hospital supplies in abundance forwarded 
to Chantilly the point where he had so quickly decided 
he would locate the emergency evacuation hospital. He 
ordered eight surgeons, sixteen nurses, and twelve enlisted 
men, who were on duty at A. R. C. Hospital Number 104, 
at Beauvais, to proceed at once to Chantilly, where they 
were met by additional Red Cross personnel sent on direct 
from Paris. He made arrangements with the Ambulance 
St. Paul, which was then located at Chantilly, to establish 
the material and men and women being rushed from Paris 
and from Beauvais as an annex to its formation. Thus, 
in a mere twelve hours, was established an American hos- 
pital along the French lines of communication. 

And none too quickly. On the following morning the 
big fighting set in to the north of Chateau-Thierry. And 
within a few hours the American wounded began pouring 
into the old French chateau town of Chantilly. In three 
weeks just 1,364 of our boys had been accommodated in our 
emergency Red Cross hospital there ; after which there was 
a shifting of positions and of armies with a removal of the 
victorious Americans to other sectors, and only French 
were left in the neighborhood. Which, in turn, rendered it 
quite easy for our Red Cross to turn over the entire equip- 
ment to our French allies, who stood in great need of it. 



198 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

Chateau-Thierry was in fact the first really great test of 
the American Bed Cross. It was its first opportunity to 
perform its chief and most vital service the succoring of 
the wounded men of the United States Army. It met that 
test. As a single example of the many ways in which it 
met the test consider the request for three thousand 
blankets, in addition to several thousand pillows, pajamas, 
dressings, surgical instruments, and medicines that poured 
in upon the Bureau of Hospital Administration at Baris 
at four o'clock on the afternoon of the eighteenth of July. 
Osborne's department was a little short of motor cars at 
that particular moment; the continued emergency at 
Chateau-Thierry, with the multifold demands that it 
brought upon every function of the Bed Cross, had fairly 
exhausted his garages. There might be cars in, in a 
few hours, said the transportation dispatchers. But Bur- 
lingame's men took no such chances. They poured down 
from out of the Begina headquarters and, taking their 
places in the middle of the Bue de Bivoli, halted and 
commandeered taxicabs as they hove in sight. 

With a half dozen of the Barisian " one lungers " 
screeching their very souls out in the second speeds, they 
visited four of the Baris warehouses in quick succession. 
A truck was brought up out of the offing. By eight o'clock 
it was loaded, and by midnight it was at the firing line 
and being unloaded of its precious supplies. 

On another night during the same battle, a veteran 
army surgeon major arrived in Baris at one o'clock in 
the morning. He found the medical offices of the Bed 
Cross open there were no hours in those strenuous 
days when one found them closed and demanded sup- 
plies. The man was faint from lack of sleep. He was 
put in bed for 120 minutes not one minute less, not 
one minute more. When he was awakened, his supplies 
were at the door. They had been gathered in a motor 
truck from three warehouses immediately roundabout. 



SUPREME MISSION 199 

Later this army man returned to Paris and reported that 
the work of our Ked Cross that night had made it possible 
for every man in his Division to have a chance for recovery. 
H!ad it not been for the supplies, he added, sixty per 
cent of them might have died. 

But it was in the quick establishment of hospitals that 
I think that Burlingame's function of the Red Cross at- 
tained its most satisfactory as well as its most dramatic 
results. Take Number 110 at Coincy, also no great dis- 
tance from Chateau-Thierry. It, too, sprang up as a direct 
result of that famous battle. A radical change of loca- 
tion of our troops in that territory and increasing activities 
in the neighborhood of Fere-en-Tardenois made an Ameri- 
can evacuation hospital at or near that point an immediate 
necessity. Burlingame, in the same trusty motor which 
carried him so many miles over the battle-scarred and 
shell-holed and traffic-worn highroads of France, went out 
with Colonel Stark, of the Regular Army force, to find a 
site for it. They decided on a little town of Coincy, on 
the direct main line of evacuation from the American 
sector. 

The only things that stood in favor of Coincy were its 
location and the fact that it had water. There was little 
else left there ; not a chateau or a ruined church or even a 
barn in which to locate, temporarily at least, a hospital. 
Moreover, there was no time for picking or choosing in 
that country through which the boche in the beginnings 
of his final retreat had just passed. In the center of some 
partly demolished buildings, Stark and Burlingame found 
a pump, still in working order. This, they decided, would 
make a splendid site for their new hospital. The road 
which ran close by the ruins was the main road to the front 
not far away, as the constant booming of artillery at- 
tested and the fact that the railroad also was fairly near 
simplified the problem of evacuations. These two factors, 



200 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

together with that of the water, which was both pure 
and abundant the French already had marked the 
pump, " Eau potable " - decided the question. 

So the two men staked a claim to the ruin. Before they 
returned to the car Burlingame picked up a piece of 
board. He fished a bit of charred wood out of the debris. 
It served as chalk. With it he began slowly marking the 
board: "A. E. C. Hospital No. - ." He hesitated for 
just a moment. What the deuce was the number of that 
last hospital? Well, no matter. Number 110 would do. 
And Number 110 it became and so remained even after 
the hospital was ancient whole weeks ancient and 
finally had been moved to Villers-Daucourt. 

" And so with a little burned wood, a piece of busted 
wall, and a cow yard, the most advanced American hos- 
pital in the battle of the Vesle started in," says Burlin- 
game. " We took our burned-wood sign, fastened over 
the pump and, voila, there was Eed Cross Hospital 
Number 110. And then we hustled to the first military 
telephone and began phoning Paris and other Eed Cross 
headquarters to hustle the stuff out to it. c Send it up the 
road from Fere-en-Tardenois/ I told them, ' until you come 
to the cow yard with the sign. Only look out you don't 
miss the sign.' . . . And all the time it was raining like 
hell." 

One other of these Red Cross hospitals deserves especial 
mention in the pages of this book the tented institu- 
tion upon the race course at Auteuil just outside the forti- 
fications of Paris. This institution, situated within the 
confines of the lovely Bois-de-Boulogne, also was estab- 
lished to meet the hospital necessities arising at the crux 
of the German drive of 1918. It was first planned to take 
cases far advanced toward recovery and so to relieve the 
badly overcrowded Eed Cross hospitals at Neuilly and 
other points in the metropolitan district of Paris. And 
because of this type of cases, and the fact that summer 



SUPREME MISSION 201 

was close at hand, it was felt that tent structures properly 
builded and floored could be used, and so much time saved. 

That at least was the plan in May when the race course 
was commandeered through the French authorities and 
work begun. In twenty-one days the hospital was com- 
pleted with six hundred beds, while draughtsmen were 
preparing to increase its capacity to twenty-four hundred 
beds. 

But as the ~boche came closer and closer to Paris, that 
original plan was quickly swept aside, and even the Ked 
Cross made quick plans to transfer its general head- 
quarters to Tours or some other city well to the south of 
France. Auteuil became, not a convalescent resort, but 
a military emergency hospital of the first class Ameri- 
can Bed Cross Hospital Number Five, if you please. It 
soon reached great proportions. In the five months that 
marked its career from May 30 until the end of October, 
1918 it received 8,315 patients who had a total of 
183,733 days of hospital treatment and 2,101 operations. 
Nearly five per cent of all the surgical cases of our army 
in France passed through its portals. And when under 
the sudden and almost unexpected pressure that was 
placed upon it, it found itself seriously short of personnel 
the men and women already working it fatigued al- 
most to the point of exhaustion nurses and other workers 
were drawn from the Children's Bureau, the Tuberculosis 
Bureau, and other functions of the American Red Cross. 
They were not registered nurses, to be sure, with neat little 
engraved diplomas in their trunks, but they were both will- 
ing and efficient. And that, at that time, was all that was 
necessary. I think that I have already referred to our Red 
Cross in France as a mobile institution. 

When the Auteuil plan was first brought to the atten- 
tion of the officers of the Medical Corps of our army they 
were inclined to scoff at it. To them it seemed vast, 
visionary, impracticable. And as Burlingame went stead- 
ily ahead with his plan in those days, remember, it 



202 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

was to be chiefly a rest camp there were folk even in 
the ranks of the Red Cross who criticized it. Then 
it was that Burlingame answered criticism, not by draw- 
ing in on his plans, but by greatly extending them, by 
planning to build a full surgical evacuation hospital out 
there on the race course in the park. The criticisms grew, 
and finally Perkins, whom you already know as the head 
of the Red Cross organization in France, called the young- 
doctor to him. 

" They say that we already have two excellent Red 
Cross surgical hospitals here in Paris and that they are 
quite enough," suggested Perkins. 

" We shall need more," insisted the hospital expert of 
his organization. 

" The medical sharps in the army don't think that it is 
necessary," added the Commissioner. 

" Then they are wrong," said Burlingame. " We are 
going to need Auteuil and we are going to need it 
mighty badly." 

" Then go to it, Major," said Perkins. 

And Burlingame went to it, with the results that we 
have just seen, while those very army men who came to 
scoff at Auteuil remained to praise it in unmeasured 
terms. 

" It was a godsend," said Colonel Samuel Wadhams, 
medical officer on General Pershing's staff. " I don't know 
what we would have done without it." 

Done without it ? I sometimes wonder what the Ameri- 
can Army really would have done without the hospitals 
of the American Red Cross. Although far fewer in num- 
ner than its own, they performed a valorous service indeed. 
In the six great eventful months from the first of June to 
the first of December, 1918, these Red Cross hospitals 
together furnished an excess of 1,110,000 days of hospital 
care to our troops, which was approximately the same as 
giving to every battle casualty in the A. E. F. five days of 
care. It admitted to its hospitals a total of 89,539 sick 



SUPREME MISSION 203 

and wounded men, and cared for them not merely ade- 
quately, but with a real degree of comfort at a total cost 
of 9.57 francs (a fraction less than two dollars) a day. 

Back of, and closely allied to, these distinctive Red 
Cross hospitals were several groups of auxiliary institu- 
tions, which also had been financed and equipped and were 
under the care of our American Red Cross. The first of 
these groups was that of the military dispensaries, the 
value of whose work can be roughly estimated by the fact 
that Number Two, down at Brest, cared for 1,751 cases in 
the first month of its existence. The others of the so- 
called permanent dispensaries were at Bordeaux, Lorient, 
Nantes, Neuilly, Paris, and St. Nazaire, while temporary 
ones were operated from time to time and as the emer- 
gency demanded at Dijon, Senlis, Verberie, Compiegne, 
and La Rochelle. 

Nine American Red Cross infirmaries were operated 
at base ports and along the lines of communication for 
our doughboys. These served and served efficiently 
men taken ill on trains, or casuals passing through. Dur- 
ing October, 1918, one of them treated 659 cases, while 
another in three weeks had 850 cases, while with the in- 
crease of deportation of our sick and wounded the work 
of our Red Cross infirmaries was greatly increased. In 
November, 567- cases passed through the one at Brest and 
in the following month 6,549 cases through the Bordeaux 
infirmary. In addition to these two most important base 
ports, infirmaries were also operated at Dijon, Bourges, 
Angers, Nantes, Tours, Limoges and St. Nazaire. 

A still more interesting line of Red Cross work closely 
allied to its hospitals was in the convalescent homes which 
it established at various places in Erance, almost invariably 
at points which had especial charm of scenery or climate 
to recommend them. There were eleven of these; at St. 
Julien, at Biarritz, at Morgat, at St. Cloud, at Vetau, at 
Le Croisdc, at Rochefort-en-Terre, at Villegenic-le-Buis- 



204: WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

son, at Hisseau-sur-Cosson, at Avignac, and at Antibes. 
In some cases, these were established in resort hotels, tem- 
porarily commandeered for the purpose and in others in 
some of the loveliest of the chateaux of France. It so hap- 
pened, however, that our convalescent home at Antibes, 
at the very point where the Alps come down to meet the 
sea, was in a hostelry the Hotel du Cap d' Antibes, 
Through the courtesy of a young Eed Cross woman who 
was housed there for a time as a patient I am able to pre- 
sent a picture of the life there a picture which seems 
to have been fairly typical of all those immensely valuable 
homes. 

"It is a quiet place," she writes, "truly peace after 
war and there the tired nurses and workers find the 
rest they need. Those who want to be really gay must go 
to Nice, Cannes, or Monte Carlo. In the morning nearly 
every one goes out on the rocks with a rug and a book for 
a sun bath. But if you had as fascinating a perch as 
my favorite one it would have to be an absorbing tale that 
could hold your attention. For, from the warm wave- 
worn rock that made a comfortable seat, I could look out 
across a broad sweep of blue water to a ragged range of 
dark-blue mountains against the paler blue sky. To the 
left is a little point of rocks where some one had built a 
villa in the shape of a Moslem mosque, which raised 
crescent-tipped domes and towers from among a grove of 
dark-green firs and gray-green cactus. To the right, where 
the mountain peninsula joins the mainland, the coast 
sweeps toward me in long, tawny curves. Villas make 
tiny dots among the green of the hills and along the shore, 
while at a distance, but I know that near by one finds in 
them a variety of shades of cream and buff, yellow and 
pink, and above the last bit of coast to the extreme right 
rise snow-capped Alps. 

" If one is restless there are rocks to climb and fasci- 
nating paths to explore. One leads over the rocks, around 



SUPREME MISSION 205 

a wall, and tip through a jungle-like tangle of neglected 
gardens and walks into the estate belonging to the King of 
the Belgians. The villa, begun before the war, is un- 
finished now, but a truly adventurous spirit will go on past 
it and be well rewarded. In what was once a formal gar- 
den, hyacinths and many colored anemones are blooming in 
the long grass ; roses nod gayly from the walls, and almond 
blossoms lift their delicate pink flowers against that glo- 
rious sky. In a grove of olive trees near by, narcissus 
and daffodils are scattered in thick clumps here and there. 
There is a fragrance in the air that is like spring at home. 

" Noon at Cap d'Antibes brings every one together 
for lunch and after that some go back to the rocks, others 
to their rooms, and still more take the afternoon bus to 
Cannes. You can shop there and get your films developed 
and your hair washed, but of course there are far greater 
attractions. From three until four an American band 
plays in the pavilion and all the world walks down the 
promenade to hear ' Smiles,' ' The Long, Long Trail/ 
and ' Over There.' Just such a band played just such 
tunes last summer at lunch time on the White House lot 
in Washington only there the audience was composed 
of hundreds and hundreds of women and girls war 
workers with a few men in uniform, while at Cannes 
it is the other way about. The place simply swarms with 
American boys on leave or convalescence, officers and men, 
and besides their familiar khaki there is plenty of horizon 
blue and the mustard-colored coats of Moroccans, with 
red fezzes atop. There are French women, of course, and 
then a handful of Red Cross and ' Y ' girls, nurses, and 
foreign sisters. 

" There are a variety of places to go for tea from the 
conventional, cosmopolitan rooms of the Carlton or Kum- 
plemeyer's to the ' Y ' canteen where one can get good hot 
chocolate and bread and jam for forty-five centimes. This 
' Y/ by the way, is considered their star establishment. 
There are reading and billiard rooms, movies and dancing ; 



206 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

and on Sundays, services are held where one used to play 
roulette. 

" There is also a Y. M. C. A. club for officers, and here 
there is dancing to be had as well as tea. But at five 
o'clock the girls for the Cap must run, or they will miss 
the bus going back No one wants to do that, and miss, 
too, the pleasant ride along the coast with the sunset glow- 
ing back of the Esperal Mountains and shimmering in a 
thousand colors across the ripples of the quiet sea; espe- 
cially when the alternative to missing the bus is an hour's 
ride on a French i tram.' So, singing as a rule, the bus- 
load swings along the smooth white road with twenty-five 
or thirty girls, as like as not, in the places where fifteen 
are supposed to be. 

" That same big bus is used several times a week to 
take parties for the long ride along the Riviera, to Nice, 
Monte Carlo, and Menton one of the supremely beau- 
tiful drives of the world. There is an hour's stop in 
Nice, another in Monte Carlo for lunch, and then, after a 
glimpse of the Italian border, the party turns back. The 
Hotel Cap d'Antibes, with its many lights, looks very 
pleasant after the long, cold ride it is always cold on 
the Riviera after the sun goes down and dinner, always 
good, tastes especially so to the hungry tourists. 

" The Cap is too isolated to be gay in the evening ; but, 
after all, most of the women there have come to rest and 
recuperate, so they are glad of a quiet game of bridge, a 
book before the open fire, or a short walk in the magic of 
southern moonlight. The energetic younger ones usually 
pull back the rugs and dance a hen party, to be sure ; 
fun just the same, if one judges by the faces of the girls. 
There is generally singing, too. One nurse while I was 
there had a very lovely voice (you kept thinking how much 
pleasure she must have been able to give the men in her 
ward) and after she had sung the verse of some popular 
song, every one joined the chorus. And it was at one 
of these singsongs, in the big white-paneled drawing-room, 



SUPREME MISSION 207 

with the yellow light falling on many faces about the piano, 
that I had a glimpse of a gray hospital ward and one of 
those tragic commonplaces that make up the life of a 
nurse in times of war. 

" The singer had been singing a favorite song of the 
British Tommies with a strong cockney accent: 

" ' Oi want go 'ome, 

Oi want to go 'ome, 

Now that Belgium is Belgium again, 

Now that France has got Alsace-Lorraine, 

Carry me over the sea, 

Where the Allymand cannot get me, 

Oh my, I'm too young to die, 

I want to go 'ome/ 

when a girl near me, who had been rather silent, spoke 
for the first time: 

" ' That song reminds me of a boy I used to have in 
my ward. He had a broken back and it was just a ques- 
tion of time, but he didn't know that. He sang that song 
until I thought I couldn't stand it. ? 

" The singing was still to be heard as I slipped into my 
coat a few minutes later and went out of doors. Down 
on the rocks the water slipped against them softly, over- 
head were a million stars in the dark sky. 

" And so, war hideous and relentless intrudes 
even on the peace of beautiful places, as it always will for 
most of us as long as we live. But even if the memories 
of what lay behind them came back to the nurses who had 
their leave at Cap d'Antibes, the days there were mostly 
happy ones. Nothing that the Red Cross has done has 
been more worth while than this place that they have had 
for the nurses who needed rest and recuperation. There 
were the creature comforts of hot water, good food, and 
soft beds; there was sunshine after an eternity of rain; 
peace after war." 



CHAPTER IX 

THE KED CROSS 1ST THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 

AT no time was it either the object or the ambition 
of the American Red Cross to build or equip or oper- 
ate all the. hospitals of the United States Army in France. 
For a more or less privately organized institution to have 
taken upon its shoulders, no matter how broad they might 
be, the entire hospitalization of an army of more than 
2,000,000 men would have been suicidal. So our Red 
Cross in its wisdom did not even make the attempt; it 
was quite content to build and equip hospitals in the early 
days before the American Expeditionary Forces had com- 
pleted their organization and so were themselves unable to 
work out their hospital problem as they were forced to do at 
a later time. The Red Cross did more ; it conducted hos- 
pitals during the entire period of war as you have just 
seen and attempted to make these models, experiment 
stations, if you please", from which the medical experts of 
the army might derive inspiration and real assistance. 
But at no time did it seek to usurp any of the functions of 
the Surgeon-General's office of the army on the contrary. 
" When the army was ready to tackle the hospital prob- 
lem in fine theory we should have gotten out," Colonel 
Burlingame told me ; " but we did not We were follow- 
ing out the first clause of our creed, which was to meet 
emergency whenever or wherever it arose and no matter 
at what cost. And at all times during the progress of the 
war the emergency compelled the Red Cross to at least 
maintain its hospitals. And so it did, with a total capacity 
up to the time of the signing of the armistice of some 
14,000 beds. After that we dropped off pretty rapidly. 
Our pay-roll lists of personnel show that. On November 

208 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 209 

11, 1918, these contained the names of 1,771 men and 
women ; by the first of the following March this total had 
dropped to a mere 270." 

So it was that upon the heels of the first established Red 
Cross hospitals in France there came the huge hospitals of 
the United States Army in great size and profusion. 
Sometimes these were gathered in groups as at Savenay 
or Allerey or Dijon or around about Brest or Bordeaux 
and at other times they stood alone and at comparatively 
isolated points. Even these last were sizable institutions, 
huge even according to the hospital standards of our larg- 
est metropolitan cities in America ; while, when you came 
to a point like Savenay halfway between Nantes and 
St. Nazaire you beheld a group of seven individual 
hospitals which, shortly after Armistice Bay, attained a 
total capacity of 11,000 beds and were- planned, in fact, 
for some 9,000 more, with a further capacity of another 
10,000 feasible and remotely planned. Into this great 
group of institutions there came* between August, 1917, 
and May, 1919, some 85,000 wounded American boys. 
Its maximum staff consisted of 500 officers, 500 nurses, 
and a general staff of 4,000 enlisted men. 

When I visited the place at the end of April, 1919 
it still had some 6,500 patients, the most of whom were 
well out of danger and were enjoying the warm sun- 
shine of a rarely perfect day in France I found the 
headquarters staff ensconced in a group of permanent stone 
buildings which, in the days before the war, were part of 
a normal school standing alongside the highroad to Nantes. 
This, itself, formed a hospital for general cases. Some of 
those that were grouped with it in the open fields around 
about specialized in serious bed surgical cases, in con- 
tagious diseases, in tuberculosis, in mental cases. This 
last had handled 7,500 cases in the progress- of the war. 

In each of these hospitals as in each and every one 
of the United States Army hospitals in France and the 



210 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

occupied areas of Germany the Red Cross functioned. 
At Savenay it had not only erected recreation huts for the 
men of each of the individual hospitals, but a huge audi- 
torium or amusement hall, permanently fabricated of brick 
and steel and glass, equipped with a complete theater 
stage, and capable of seating between 1,500 and 2,000 
doughboys and their officers. This super-playhouse was 
in use every night of the week for cinema, for drama, 
sung or spoken, for dances, and, from time to time, for 
meetings and for religious services. 

To this entertainment phase of the American Red Cross 
in the hospitals we shall presently return. For the mo- 
ment I shall ask you to consider the part it played in the 
essential job of supplying hospital supplies. It was not, 
of course, either practicable or possible for our Red Cross 
to supply all of these or even any tremendously large 
part of them. But it could and did supply goodly 
quantities of all of them when they were most needed, 
and so worth ten times their value and quantity at any 
other time. 

Time and time again it furnished materials, both for 
their regular and for their emergency necessities. Some- 
times the army itself did not function properly there 
were instances of red tape disgraceful and some, too, of red 
tape inevitable. And yet there were other times when all 
the tape cutters in the world could not have saved the situ- 
ation, but the American Red Cross, with its emergency 
warehouses and its well-organized transportation system 
all the way across the face of France, did save it. A truck- 
load, two, three; perhaps even four or five truckloads of 
beds or bedding perhaps even a small camionette filled 
to the brim with dressings and drugs or surgical instru- 
ments could, and did, save precious lives by the dozens 
and by the hundreds. Do you remember, in the preceding 
chapter, the several instances where our Red Cross played 
its part and no small part at that in the winning of 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 211 

the big fight at Chateau-Thierry ? Those were not unusual 
instances; they were fairly typical. 

There came one day when the commanding officers of 
the U. S. A. hospital center at Allerey one of the larg- 
est in all France sent for Captain James C. Ramage, 
the American Red Cross representative in the district. He 
told the Red Cross man that a tremendous convoy of 
wounded soldiers from the Soissons-Rheims district was 
expected within a few days and asked his help in securing 
a real bulk of medical supplies. Those were the days when 
the Surgeon General's department of the army was not 
always able to furnish even drugs and dressings when they 
were most needed. 

Ramage lost no time in discussing the thing. He said 
that he would do his best and caught the first train into 
Paris ; spent several days there in getting together the nec- 
essary supplies, personally supervised the loading of them 
into a freight car, and then performed the unheard-of feat 
of inducing the French railway authorities to attach the 
freight car to a fast passenger train bound down to Dijon. 
Camions were rushed from Allerey to Dijon, and two days 
later the necessary supplies were all at the hospital center 
and well in advance of the coming of the wounded 
soldiers. On another night in that same summer of 1918, 
some 2,250 wounded Americans poured into that selfsame 
army hospital center of Allerey. The hospital ware- 
houses were exhausted. The Red Cross's were not; do 
you remember what we said at the beginning that the 
fullness of its job lay in its being forever ready to meet any 
emergency which might arise ? 

It was being ready that made it able that hot August 
night to turn into the crowded hospital in a space of time 
to be measured in minutes rather than in hours, 10,000 
blankets, 10,000 sheets, 8,000 towels, 8,000 pairs of pa- 
jamas, 2,000 yards of Dakin tubing, 1,000 operating gowns, 
1,000 helmets, and two whole carloads of surgical dressings. 

Emergency work! How it always does count! 



212 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

The securing of these supplies in the beginning was, 
of itself, a master problem. It involved not alone pur- 
chase but manufacturing manufacturing upon a really 
enormous scale. We saw at the beginnings of the Red 
Cross work in France the various workrooms in Paris 
which devoted themselves to the making of dressings 
of one sort or another and in tremendous quantities. Yet 
the actual beginnings of this work antedated even the 
establishment of the Paris workrooms ; immediately on the 
outbreak of the European War, a special department was 
established at the National Headquarters of the American 
Red Cross in Washington for giving advice concerning hos- 
pital garments and supplies for European relief and fur- 
nishing patterns and samples for the same. A New York 
City committee, organized for the same purpose by Mrs. 
Mary Hatch Willard, began the sending of old linens 
to French hospitals. This work grew into a unit known 
as the Surgical Dressings Committee of the United States, 
for the making of dressings by volunteers in this country, 
and finally led to the establishment of the first of the Paris 
workrooms. By the time that Pershing had first arrived in 
France this work in America had grown to a point where it 
employed more than two thousand committees and subcom- 
mittees. Its output increased so rapidly that in the week 
ending August 27, 1917, ninety-two hospitals were sup- 
plied and 155,261 dressings were made in the Paris work- 
room alone. And that, of course, was long before there 
were any American wounded. In the summer of 1917 the 
National Surgical Dressings Committee entered into co- 
operation with the American Red Cross and from that date 
its efficient distribution service in France became the Sur- 
gical Dressings Service Department of the American Red 
Cross. 

Then came the imminent necessity of standardizing these 
surgical dressings which was accomplished by a special 
board which Pershing appointed at the end of August, 
1917. Its standards were followed, but its energies only 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 213 

dimmed at the time when it was actually seen that they 
were quite exceeding the necessities of the situation. And 
the volume of those selfsame energies is perhaps the better 
understood when it is realized that from October, 1917, 
to January 22, 1919, 147,230,777 cases of surgical dress- 
ings alone, both donated and manufactured, were received 
at the Red Cross warehouses in Paris. 

Splints, of which an immense number were necessary 
even for the very short period in which we were actually 
engaged in the conduct of the war, formed a real Red Cross 
specialty. Our army hospitals were entirely dependent 
upon the American Red Cross for these necessities the 
total orders for which in July and August of 1918, totaled 
some 15,000 to 20,000 weekly. For that entire year the 
output was 94,583 splints, the factories often working from 
eighteen to twenty hours a day to keep pace with the requi- 
sitions upon them. Our Red Cross also supplied all the 
nitrous oxide used in American hospitals of every type in 
France. The use of this ultra-modern anesthetic, to the 
increasing exclusion of ether and of chloroform, forms one 
of the fascinating chapters of the medical conduct of the 
war. Although it had been employed as an anesthetic in 
the United States for a number of years before the begin- 
ning of the war, its first use in Europe was when Colonel 
George W. Crile the distinguished surgeon from Cleve- 
land, Ohio introduced it into operations in the then 
American Ambulance Hospital at Neuilly afterward 
the American Red Cross Military Hospital Number One. 
That was in 1915. Nitrous oxide as an anaesthetic imme- 
diately attracted the attention of a number of eminent 
British surgeons. 

" It is good," said Colonel Crile, tersely. 

And so it is good. It is so good that Colonel Alexan- 
der Lambert, at that time chief surgeon of our American 
Red Cross, immediately made it the standard anaesthetic of 
its medical service. For, like so many other American sur- 
geons, he quickly concurred in the opinion that nitrous 



214: WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

acid, used in combination with oxygen, three parts to one, 
is the least dangerous as well as the best adapted for use 
when operating upon cases of chest surgery, abdomen 
wounds, or of shock. Under this anaesthetic the percentage 
of recovery is seventy-two per cent, as compared with 
fifty per cent for either chloroform or ether. More- 
over, it has none of the disagreeable after effects which 
come almost invariably with the use of chloroform or ether. 
To quote Colonel Lambert: 

" The use of nitrous-oxide anaesthetic to the exclusion 
of ether or chloroform in case of at least the seriously 
wounded seems to me not only advisable but beyond the 
advisability of discussion." 

Its official use, therefore, was predicated. It was first 
supplied to the casualty-clearing stations; American and 
British cooperating for the sake of an exchange of ideas 
as to its best use. Our Red Cross supplied an apparatus 
of special design that had gradually been evolved from those 
already devised. This allowed the separate administration 
of the nitrous oxide, of oxygen, or of ether which at 
times was used in small quantities or of the three in 
various combinations. And all our American nurses 
were trained as anaesthetists in its use. 

The making of the nitrous-oxide gas itself was one of 
many similar tasks assigned to the Manufacturing De- 
partment of our Eed Cross, of which Major Arthur W. 
Kelly was department chief. He ordered a huge gas- 
making plant from America which, after some considerable 
delay, finally was set up at Montreau, fifty miles distant 
from Paris. In the meantime the Red Cross had dis- 
covered a man in the French Army who had had some 
experience in the making of nitrous oxide. He was re- 
leased from active army service and at once started to 
work making an emergency supply, the limited quantities 
carried to France by Colonel Crile having become com- 
pletely exhausted. This small plant had a daily capacity 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 215 

of about 4,000 gallons. But when the bigger machinery 
from America had finally been set up in the midsum- 
mer of 1918 this output was increased to 75,000 gallons 
a day. This could easily have been doubled, had it not 
been for a single limiting factor the extreme difficulty 
of securing 3,280 gallon cans in which the gas was trans- 
ported. Finally the Red Cross secured some hydrogen 
tanks that had been captured from the Germans in their 
first July defeats. It was then and not until then that 
the nitrous-oxide plant began running at anything like 
its real capacity. And with the definite result that from 
September, 1917, to October 23, 1918, our Red Cross was 
able to supply our army with 699,420 gallons of this 
precious anaesthetic, its own hospitals with 405,620 gal- 
lons, and some miscellaneous institutions with an addi- 
tional 251,110 gallons, while it saw Great Britain for- 
mally acknowledge nitrous oxide as an anesthetic par 
excellence and even conservative France making the first 
steps toward its adoption. 

A few of the medical and surgical requisitions of a 
typical American Army Division the Second upon 
our Red Cross -are before me as I write. They are indica- 
tive of the overwhelming demands that were made upon it, 
not only from every corner of the front, but from every 
corner of France that was occupied by our fighting men 
and what corner was not ? 

It was at the request of the chief surgeon of this Division 
that one of its field hospitals originally supplied direct 
from the army's own sources of supply was amplified 
by the American Red Cross, by the use of Bessoneau tents 
and other equipment so as to become practically a mobile 
unit, capable of handling far heavier cases. The supply- 
ing of the equipment shown by these requisitions began 
while the division was still in the vicinity of Montdidier 
and continued until after it had moved to Meaux and was 
in active preparation for its great role at Chateau-Thierry. 



216 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

In addition to the Bessoneau tents, the following were the 
requisitions which were delivered to this single formation 
while it was under heavy pressure: 

June 1 : 1 tortoise tent and 100 collapsible cots. 

June 8: 12 antitoxin syringes for anti-tetanus serum, 200 
packages of absorbent cotton, 30 feet of glass tubing, and 
25 operating gowns and caps. 

June 4- 250 single blankets, 100 litters, 5,000 anti -tetanus 
serum, 2 autoclaves, 4 thermometers for autoclaves, 50 
wash cloths, 1,000 pairs of socks, 50 towels, and 200 com- 
fort kits. 

June 6: 50 clinical thermometers, 2,000 temperature charts, 
1 gallon of green soap, 36 bottles of ammonia, 5,000 Greeley 
units, 20 syringes, 15 liters of Lysol, 20 chart holders, 100 
rubber sheets, 2 small instrument sterilizers, 500 night- 
shirts, 500 blankets, 1,000 sheets, 500 forks and spoons, 100 
bedside tables, 100 folding chairs, 50 hot-water bottles, 36 
maps, 50 hand basins, 20 bolts of gauze, 10 bolts of muslin, 
100 beds, and 100 mattresses. 

June 7: 200 litters, 250 blankets, 100 rolls of cotton, 200 
rolls of gauze, 144 rubber gloves, 100 operating gowns and 
caps, 96 tubes of catgut, 500 Carrel pads, 100 gowns for 
nurses, 20 sterile water containers, 5,000 folded gauze com- 
presses, and 5,000 small sponges. 

I rather feel that this record of a single week of the 
demands of one Division upon our Red Cross will show 
quite enough the burden which it was forced to bear ; and 
bore most joyously as a part of the opportunity for serv- 
ice which was given unto it in France. In a single day 
and night during that same great offensive of 1918, 128 
different requisitions each comprising from one to fifty 
items were started out on the road from Paris ; while 
on the twentieth of August of that same summer the 
day which marked the beginning of the St. Mihiel drive 
120,000 front-line emergency parcels and more than fifteen 
carloads of surgical dressings were shipped to the scene of 
activity. From the Paris headquarters of the Red Cross 
alone, supplies were shipped that summer to sixty-six 
base hospitals, two naval-base hospitals, fifty-four camp 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 217 

hospitals, twenty-one convalescent hospitals, twenty army 
divisions, seven evacuation hospitals, nine field hospitals, 
eight hospital centers, nine mobile hospitals, six medical 
supply depots, and the central medical department labora- 
tory all of the United States Army in France. This 
great record does not, of course, include the supplies sent 
to the Red Cross's own hospitals or those sent to the 
A. E. F. hospitals from the nine zone headquarters of the 
American Red Cross ; nor even emergency supplies sent to 
eighteen detached American Army units, far away from 
their bases of supplies. In a single month and from one 
warehouse, our Red Cross made the following shipments to 
formations operated entirely by our army: 77,101 surgical 
instruments, 2,820 beds and cots, 24,733,126 surgical dress- 
ings, and 15,300 pounds of drugs. 

It also supplied specialties, and all for the comfort of 
our wounded boys over there. Take ice that simple 
product of our modern civilization so indispensable to 
the American. It is second nature with us to-day and 
yet little used by the French. Ice is as much an essential 
to our up-to-date hospitals as drugs or nurses or the beds 
themselves. Properly packed, it cools the fever and so 
greatly eases the sufferings of wounded men as they toss 
upon their cots. Its beverage use is too universal to even 
need comment here. 

" My, that's good ! " more than one sick boy murmured, 
as the nurse held a spoonful of it to his hot lips. " It's 
just like home." 

Yet, while our government planned ice-making machin- 
ery for each of its hospitals, large or small, they were not 
always ready as quickly as the rest of the plant. There 
again our Red Cross stepped into the breach, supplying 
small portable ice-making plants not only to the field 
hospitals for which they were originally designed, but 
even for larger installations. Each of these portable 
plants consisted of a gasoline engine of fifteen horse power, 
water-cooled and attached to a compressor, which in turn 



218 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

was connected to the water piping in the brine tanks. The 
capacity of each of these was about two tons and a half 
each twenty-four hours. And each was accompanied by 
two Ford camionettes builded with special ice boxes 
to carry its product to the wards roundabout. 

Second only to ice in importance as a hospital auxiliary 
was light. In the early years of the war, the surgeons of 
the allied nations worked under great difficulties at night 
and undoubtedly many lives were sacrificed because of 
the lack of proper lighting facilities. I have heard of the 
doctors ripping off a wounded man's clothing by the light 
of one star shell and waiting for the next to give them 
enough brilliancy to examine his injuries. 

For at least ten or a dozen years past our larger Ameri- 
can circuses have used portable electric-lighting plants on 
their various itinerant trips across the land with a fair 
degree of success. Those circuses gave our Eed Cross in 
France an inspiration. Lieutenant Harry C. Hand, a 
director in its Central Department of Requirements, in 
studying the markets for the proper sort of equipment, 
used them as models and so evolved, as a plant most 
practical for Red Cross needs, a three-and-a-half kilowatt 
outfit consisting of a gasoline engine, an electric generator, 
and a switchboard. This outfit, mounted upon a stout 
camion, would light 135 incandescent lamps of twenty-five 
watts each. On its travels it carried in its lockers the 
lamps, extension cords, sockets, and the like to make them 
available for almost instant service. And the Red Cross 
in the heart of the war emergency had five of these outfits 
at its service in France. 

One other allied factor in this hospital supply service 
deserves attention before we finally turn away from it. I 
have referred from time to time to the vast quantities of 
drugs which our Red Cross distributed to both its own and 
other hospital centers. It was obvious that this distribu- 
tion had to be centralized, and because of the delicate 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 219 

and extremely valuable nature of this particular form 
of supplies be kept quite separate and distinct from 
the others. So " The Red Cross Pharmacy/' as it 
was generally called, came into existence, at a former 
apartment building at No. 10 Rue de Tilsitt, Paris, and 
quickly came to such importance that it was made the 
headquarters of the Section of Hospital Supplies, which 
in turn was a division of the larger Bureau of Hospital 
Administration. 

Throughout all of the hard months of the war this sec- 
tion boasted that each night found the requisitions for that 
day filled. There were no left-overs; not even when a 
single day's work meant fifty-six huge orders entirely com- 
pleted, and little rest for a staff which averaged forty-one 
men and women. 

The pharmacy was well systematized. In its basement 
were the receiving, the packing, and the shipping depart- 
ments, while upon its broad main floor the drugs and anti- 
septics were actually stored, the second floor being given 
to dental supplies, surgical instruments, rubber goods, 
sutures, serums, laboratory equipment, and the like. Each 
of these various departments was in charge of a specialist, 
a man of many years' experience in the line which he 
headed. 

By June, 1918, the pharmacy in the Rue de Tilsitt had 
become of such importance that it was re-created into a 
Section of Supplies, with Major George L. Burroughs, of 
the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston, as its 
sectional chief. Within a month he had found the demands 
upon his department so much increased that he was forced 
in turn to increase its facilities by the addition of two 
warehouses. In another six weeks a new burden was 
placed upon his shoulders the distribution of all alcohol, 
ether, oxygen, and nitrous acid issued by our Red Cross, 
which meant, of course, more space needed so the un- 
used powder magazine at Fort D'lvry and the riding acad- 
emy at No. 12 Rue Duphot both loaned by the French 



220 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

Government authorities were added to the quarters of 
the pharmacy. 

Some idea of the amount of work undertaken and ac- 
complished by this Red Cross pharmacy may be gained 
when it is understood that in the six months ending Jan- 
uary, 1919, 75,016 pounds of drugs were issued from it. 
There were in that time 3,954,178 tablets, 21,566 phials of 
serum, 271 surgical units, 15,108 pairs of rubber gloves, 
and 22,059 feet of adhesive plaster, in addition to many 
hundreds of packets of other drug supplies. 

Seemingly we have drifted away from our American 
boys, sick or wounded and in hospitals. In reality, of 
course, we have not Every one of these provisions, large 
or small, was aimed directly at their comfort, while each 
deserved to be rated as a necessity rather than comfort 
comfort, at least, as the average luxury-loving American 
knows it. It was comfort rather than luxury that I found 
our boys enjoying there at Savenay long, comfortable 
huts, builded hurriedly but furnished with great care, 
great taste, and great atrractiveness. Savenay, itself, was 
a good deal of a mud-hole, a fearfully wretched place un- 
derfoot. The Eed Cross huts shone brilliantly in contrast. 
Here, as in the canteens all over France, the boys might 
congregate practically at all hours and amuse them- 
selves as their fancies dictated; or, if fancy grew a bit 
bored, it was part of the job of the directress one of 
whose essential qualifications was resourcefulness and an- 
other versatility to find some new form of amusement. 
It was not enough to hand out the cigarettes one or two 
packs a week or the pipes and the playing cards and the 
tobacco, pretty much as requested there had to be shows. 
The American passion for play-acting is something to be 
reckoned with. 

Perhaps you do not quickly understand how versatile 
those very shows might readily become. Let me quote 
from Toot Sweet the little fortnightly newspaper which 




* 



C . 










IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 221 

our American Red Cross printed for the boys convalescing 
there at Savenay. That is, the Red Cross furnished the 
printing press, the type, and the rest of the paraphernalia 
for the making of the publication ; the boys, themselves, 
supplied the brains that made it so very readable at all 
times. 

" ' Stunt Night/ advertised in Base 69 Hut for March 
13, brought a lot of inquiries," says Toot Sweet, in its 
issue dated April 1, 1919. " ' Whadaye mean stunts ? ' 
Probably the announcement of pies and doughnuts for 
prizes was responsible for the crowd that appeared that 
evening when a large part of the floor space was cleared 
and a couple of Red Cross hut workers started the stunts. 
The first stunt with a large slice of apple pie as prizes 
- was to sit upon a piece of iron pipe, diameter six inches, 
place the heel of one shoe on the toe of another, and while 
thus insecurely balanced, light in one hand from a lighted 
candle in the other a cigarette. Shrieks and howls from 
the delighted mob who began betting on results encouraged 
a number of aspirants and the pie was finally won. Stunt 
after stunt followed in quick succession, all sorts of queer 
and absurd contortions varying from picking up folded 
newspaper from the floor with your teeth while holding 
one foot in the air with one hand to a ( puttee race,' when 
the contestants raced from one end of the hall, took off their 
puttees, and then put them on again, then raced back, with 
various obstacles in the way. Finally the boys began 
challenging each other to their favorite stunts, so that Pri- 
vate California might have been showing Private North 
Carolina a pet trick, while Sergeant Oklahoma and Cor- 
poral Louisiana gravely discussed the merits of their ideas 
on stunts. The winning team was presented with a large, 
juicy apple pie, vamped from the mess sergeant by a Red 
Cross girl. 

" ( Aonateur night ' was announced for the same hut 
two nights later by a stunning poster done in colors by one 
of the 309th Engineers. A box of homemade fudge was 



222 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

the prize for the best act. Seven of the best vaudeville 
acts ever seen in the huts appeared. The sergeant major 
of Base Hospital Number 69 was the master of ceremonies. 
A l dummy ' act, a i wop mechanic ' in song and mono- 
logue, a ballad singer, a ' song and minstrel man/ a man- 
dolin and guitar player, who gave remarkable imitations 
of Hawaiian instruments, a ' tramp monologuist/ and a 
clog dancer composed the bill. Harry Henly, the ' song 
and minstrel man/ won the box of fudge which was dis- 
played in all its glory and pink ribbons during the contest." 
Sometimes there was not quite so much fun in the situa- 
tion. The girls who ran the Red Cross hut in the tuber- 
culosis hospital of the Savenay group, almost directly 
across the highroad from Number 69, had a far weightier 
problem upon their shoulders. To amuse there, was a 
vastly more difficult task. For they knew as most of 
its patients knew that the man who entered the portals 
of that particular hospital was foredoomed. If he had a 
fighting chance of conquering the " T. B." he was packed 
into the hospital ward of a transport and rushed home. If 
he did not have that fighting chance well, why waste 
precious transport space? To Savenay with him. And 
to Savenay he went to spend his days and end them 
in a cheery, camplike place where there were croquet and 
less strenuous games and broad piazzas that looked down 
across the valley toward the embrochure of the Loire, while 
Red Cross girls came and went and did their womanly 
best to comfort and amuse a fellow and make him for- 
get ; forget the back door of the little hospital where, night 
after night, four or five fellows went out in pine boxes, 
never to return, and the rows of wooden crosses down in 
the American cemetery at the foot of the hill steadily grew. 

Turn back with me, if you will, inland from Savenay 
to the curved streets of Vichy little Vichy situated in 
the very foothills of the high Alps. It is January now, 
not April. We have turned backward in full earnest, and 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 223 

are breathing the air of those hard weeks and months lhat 
followed immediately upon the signing of the armistice. 

Vichy, in its very compactness, with the flat yellows of 
its curious old buildings and its equally curious modern 
hotels, with the fifteenth-century tower in the background 
and the quiet Eiver Allier slipping by, has the fascinating 
unreality of a stage setting one of those marvelous ef- 
fects with which the genius of a Belasco or a Joseph Urban 
from time to time delights in dazzling us. In spring or in 
summer we might find it prepared for carnival with 
green'-painted chairs and tables underneath the still 
greener foliage of its small park. But this is January and 
the park is deeply blanketed in snow. In such a serene 
midwinter setting it seems far more ready for silent drama 
than for the blare of carnival the figures in olive drab 
are indeed quite the figures of pantomime brown against 
the whiteness of the snow. The only touches of color in 
the picture tiny splotches of green or blue or purple or 
yellow are supplied by the tiny cloth bags that the men 
carry with them. They are preparing to entrain the 
first step of many on the way back to the homeland and 
the vari-colored bags, each marked with a crimson cross, 
are the comfort kits they genuinely cherish. 

Before war was come upon Prance, Vichy was a resort 
to be reckoned with in the comings and goings of her elect. 
It was a watering place and much more besides. There 
men and women ate as well as drank, bands played, beau- 
ties intrigued, wheels, flat-set, spun merrily, and entire 
fortunes were flicked away at the gaming tables; but war 
changed these things as many, many others. It took 
the viciousness out of Vichy and brought back to it all of 
the gentleness which it must have possessed in the begin- 
ning. The small city, where formerly the ill and the 
bored made pilgrimages in search of health (health bub- 
bling up to the lips in the faint concealments of a glass of 
sparkling water), became a city of wounded; all too often 
a city of death. 



224: WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

The French Army moved in ; and, commandeering hotel 
after hotel, transformed them into its hospitals. On its 
heels came the American Army; it alone took more than 
eighty hotels for its own hospital purposes. That was the 
signal that our Red Cross would be needed, and without 
further urge it moved in. Wherefore the comfort bags in 
the hands of the doughboys as they moved across the park 
toward their waiting trains. 

If memories were half as tangible things as war " sou- 
venirs/' those tiny bags of the crimson cross would have 
held other things than soap and razor blades and tooth paste 
and playing cards and tobacco and the like. They would 
have held definite memories of Vichy and all that it had 
meant to the wounded men of our a-rmy. Some of them 
would have carried the pictures of lights shining out 
through opened doors into the darkness of the night and 
litters coming in through those opened doors litters 
bearing American men, when they were not American 
boys -men clad only in hospital robes, but whose first 
bandages were drenched with blood and spattered with the 
mud of ~No Man's Land. There would have been a mul- 
tiplicity of pictures of this sort, for Vichy in the days of 
actual fighting never was an idle place. There were times 
there when, within a cycle of twenty-four hours, as many 
as six thousand men would be sent away from it to make 
room for an equal number of incoming freshly wounded 
soldiers. In the early days of November that many came 
to it direct from the dressing stations, and the problem of 
our Red Cross there became a little bit more complex. 

There might also have been pictures in those selfsame 
comfort bags of the Red Cross girls on the stone platforms 
of the railroad station young women who in warm days 
served iced lemonade there and in cold, hot chocolate, or, 
when it was requested, hot lemonade ; for the fact remains 
that lemonade was the only food or drink that many of the 
gassed cases could endure. And it was ready for them 
there at all hours of the day or night, and at all days ; 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 225 

even though to make that possible the girl workers would 
sometimes stay on duty for thirty-six hours at a stretch: 
without having the opportunity of divesting themselves of 
their clothing and so gaining a little real rest. 

A final picture of Vichy might have well been a mental 
photograph of the " hut." This formerly had been the 
Elysee Palace a gaming and amusement center of none 
too savory a reputation ; yet with its central location on the 
main street, its ample lounging space, and its small theater, 
self-contained, it was ideal for the purposes of our Red 
Cross and so became a living heart of Vichy. It was the 
canteen or club in which some five thousand doughboys 
were wont to congregate each day to write letters home, 
to play games, or the tireless piano, to read the newspapers 
or the magazines, to visit, to gossip in every way possible 
to shorten days that passed none to quickly for any of 
them. 

During the first months of its organization this Eed 
Cross superhut did not include the entire " Palace." 
Gradually it spread, however, until the entire two floors 
of the place were busy with American Eed Cross activities. 
And the doughboy passing from the comfortable clubrooms 
on the main floor wherein, for the comfort of the con- 
valescents, a full-fledged army commissary had been set up 
upstairs found a " first-aid " room of a new sort. It 
was, in fact, an operating room, where expert surgery might 
be applied to torn and ripped and otherwise wounded uni- 
forms. And the head surgeon was a woman a smart, 
black-eyed French seamstress who could perform wonders 
not alone with torn buttonholes but who also possessed a 
facility with a hot sadiron that made her tremendously 
popular upon the eve of certain festal occasions. 

" How would a dish of Yankee ice cream taste to-day ? 
You know, the same sort that Blink & Smith serve down 
there in the Universal, at the corner of Main and First 
streets ? " 



226 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

Imagine something like that coming out of the blue, 
and to a boy who has been " fed up " on army cookery 
and who even has lost his taste for the delicacy of French 
cookery. You may take it direct from me that the hut 
there at Vichy held a kitchen and that it was a good 
kitchen. Can you imagine any first-rate American club 
that ever would fail in such an essential ? And from that 
modest cuisine there in the pulsing heart of the bubbly 
town came truly vast quantities of the trivial foodstuffs 
that are forever dear to the stomach of the doughboy. Ice 
cream of course and small meat pies, each in its 
own little coat of oiled paper and creamy custards 
and, of course, once again coffee and all manner of sand- 
wiches, imaginable and unimaginable. And, because there 
were many of the doughboys who could not possibly make 
their way to the hut, even on crutches or in wheel chairs, 
a camionette drove away from its kitchen each day with 
seventeen gallons of ice cream tucked in it all for the 
benefit of bedridden American soldier boys. 

Remember, if you will, that this once disreputable Elysee 
Palace in the glory of war aid becoming not only 
reputable but almost sanctified held a theater; small, 
but completely equipped. Our Red Cross workers did not 
lose sight of that when they chose the place as a headquar- 
ters for their endeavors. Four days a week this became 
a moving-picture house just like the Bijou or the Or- 
pheum back home. On Wednesday French wounded 
for whom comfort provisions were never too ample 
were guests there of the American Red Cross, and each 
poilu carried away a little gift of American cigarettes 
to any Frenchman the very greatest of all treasures Sat- 
urdays were set aside for " competitive vaudeville " or an 
" amateur night " very much as we saw it at Savenay. 
Gradually a stock company capable at least of one-act 
plays was evolved from the dramatic material imme- 
diately at hand - : soldiers and Red Cross and hospital men 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 227 

and women workers with the result that by Thanksgiv- 
ing Day, 1918, a very creditable production entitled " The 
Battle of Vichy " was produced there in the hut, after 
which the company moved on toward the conquest of the 
neighboring " metropolitan " towns of Moulins and Chatel- 
Guyon. 

Some one is going to come along some day and write the 
analysis of the innate desire of the American to dabble with 
play-acting. The plethora of war-time musical shows that 
became epidemic among the divisions of the A. E. F. and 
spread not merely to Paris where one of these enter- 
tainments followed upon the heels of another but event- 
ually to New York and other cities of the country, affords 
interesting possibilities for the psychologist. It was a 
huge by-product of the war and one not entirely expected. 

When the resources of the amateur Thespians of Vichy 
had become well-nigh exhausted, a New York professional 
actress Miss Ida Phinney who not only had real 
dramatic ability but considerable experience in staging and 
producing, was enlisted in the Red Cross service there. 
With her aid, the attractive little cinema theater with its 
blue upholstery, its tiny boxes, and its complete and up-to- 
date stage equipment, even to the scenery became a full- 
fledged playhouse. Stage hands and property men were 
assigned from the army, and Vichy began seriously to 
stage, costume, and produce and criticize plays. Soldiers 
with a knack for design took keen delight in advising as 
to " creations " for the wardrobes of the cast and them- 
selves watched the garments grow into reality from inex- 
pensive stuffs in the sewing room. A clever artist wrought 
a full set of stage jewelry even to the heavy bracelets 
and the inevitable snake rings of the Oriental dancers 
from stray scraps of shells and other metals that came to 
his hungry fingers, while the Red Cross sent a full comple- 
ment of musical instruments down from Paris. And so 



228 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

the Vichy A. E. F.-A. E. C. Playhouse came into the full- 
ness of its existence and night after night hung out the 
S. K. 0. sign. 

After all, what is the doughboy's idea of a good time? 
That is the very question our Red Cross asked itself - 
again and again. And because the correct answer could 
not be evolved in a moment, established not only after it 
had arrived in France a Bureau of Recreation and Wel- 
fare whose real job was, after plenty of practical experi- 
mentation, to establish the correct solution of the problem. 
For a long time this Bureau consisted of a small desk at the 
Paris headquarters, a Ford camionette, and Major Harold 
Ober. The camionette and Ober went from village to 
village along the lines from Bar-le-Duc to Gondrecourt 
with books, magazines, tobacco, writing material, and a 
small moving-picture show. These efforts many times fur- 
nished the only amusement to our early troops, billeted in 
quiet villages, where the quaintness of French pastoral 
life soon lost its novelty. 

From that small beginning, Ober's work grew steadily. 
And because the Red Cross specialized more and more in 
that phase of army life which was its original purpose 
hospitalization Ober's task became in turn more and 
more devoted to the hospital centers, large and small un- 
til the time came in practically every hospital ward in 
France where the men were not so desperately ill as to 
make even music an irritant that the " rag/' and " jazz," 
or the latest musical comedy hit direct from Broadway were 
constant and welcome visitors to long rows of bedridden 
boys. In most cases these were phonographs, and because 
whenever I wish to be really convincing in the pages of 
this book, I fall back upon figures, permit me to mention 
that 1,243 phonographs, calling for 300,000 needles and 
29,000 records, helped relieve the tedium of the American 
convalescents in the hospitals of France. 

And, while we are still in figures, remember that there 
were times unbelievable as it may seem to some folk 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 229 

who were frequent visitors to our hospital wards over there 
that the doughboy tired of music, canned or fresh, and 
turned gratefully to the printed page. To anticipate his 
needs in that regard, American residents in Paris and in 
London gave generously of their private libraries a 
nucleus which soon was greatly increased by purchase. 
The books were sent around in portable boxes, a service 
which steadily grew until a library of from 1,000 to 10,- 
000 books was maintained by the American Red Cross in 
each hospital a total of some 100,000 all told, and of 
which a goodly proportion were histories, French gram- 
mars, dictionaries and technical works. 

The demand for periodical literature was tremendous. 
In the months of December, 1918, alone, our Eed Cross 
distributed nearly four million magazines and newspapers 
among our doughboys. Prominent among these last was 
the Stars and Stripes, the clever and ingenious publication 
of the enlisted men themselves. A special " gift edition " 
of this remarkable weekly was obtained from the publishers 
for distribution in hospitals alone, and this ran into the 
hundreds of thousands each month a high limitation 
which was reached only when the stock of print paper be- 
gan to run low. The demand upon writing paper was 
hardly less than that upon print. The doughboy was a 
regular and prolific correspondent, and before January, 
1919, our Red Cross had furnished him with seven million 
illustrated post cards, seven and a half million envelopes, 
and fourteen million sheets of writing paper. 

But his eternal joy was in " shows." These might be 
two come-uppish lads, with gloves, going it in a roped 
arena, a flickering lantern displaying the well-known and 
untiring antics of Mr. Charles Chaplin or Mr. Douglas 
Fairbanks, the exquisite artistes of one of the opera houses 
in Paris in a composition that brought unforgetable joy to 
the ears and memories of the many, many lovers of music in 
our khaki or a homemade production of the doughboy 



230 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

himself. Of these the " movie" was, of course, the 
simplest to handle, and therefore by far the most universal. 
It began its A. E. F. career in France as a true " barn- 
stormer." As early as July, 1917, a Red Cross man with 
a French motion-picture operator as an assistant had hied 
himself out from Paris, riding in one of the universal 
Ford camionettes, upon which had been mounted a genera- 
tor and a projector. Upon arriving at an army camp, the 
show would be " put on " with little fuss OT delay. The 
smooth, whitewashed side of a stone building would make 
a bully screen and there was never even doubts of an audi- 
ence or of its enthusiasms. For from wonderments at this 
additional strange contraption from the Etats Unis, the 
peasants and the poilus> who were its very first admirers, 
grew rapidly into Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin and 
Billie Burke fans. This taste followed closely that all- 
conquering admiration for our chewing gum which over- 
came the French and left them quite helpless. 

Eventually this " movie " institution of the Red Cross 
overseas grew to sizable proportions, under the direction of 
Lawrence Arnold, of New York. At least five and some- 
times fourteen performances a week were given at each 
of our American hospitals in France and with a com- 
plete change of program each week even to the Pathe 
weekly news, which was purchased and sent overseas by the 
Westchester County (N. Y.) Chapter of the American Red 
Cross as its own special contribution. But I think that 
the most interesting feature of this entire work and the 
most human was the ingenious scheme by which the pro- 
jectors were so adapted as to throw the pictures upon the 
ceilings of the wards and so give an untold pleasure and 
diversion to the tedious hours of our boys who were so 
completely bedridden as not to be able to even sit erect. 
And there were many such. 

We have drifted for the moment quite away from Vichy 
and the lovely blue and white and gold theater of our Red 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 231 

Cross in the heart of that ancient town. While it was 
headquarters, it was, after all, but part of the American 
Red Cross show there ; because while our Red Cross recog- 
nized that the biggest part of its job was taking care of the 
enlisted man it was by no means blind to the necessities of 
his officers. Which led to the regeneration moral and 
otherwise of still another well-known gambling place in 
the town the smart casino in the center of the park. 
This became, quite quickly and easily, an officers 7 club for 
the A. E. F. One room was reserved ordinarily for the 
French, while at least once a week the entire place was 
given over to a dance. 

Dancing ! Neither the enlisted man nor the officer ever 
seemed to tire of it. Each week also the enlisted men 
piled up the tables and the chairs in their hut and conducted 
a dance of their own, of which one of the chief features was 
ice cream not fox-trotting. As in the huts and canteens 
elsewhere across France there were never nearly enough 
girls to serve as partners for the men. But there were no 
" wallflowers." The floor manager always carried a 
whistle. A number of times during the progress of each 
number he blew it as a signal that the men lined along 
the walls were privileged to " cut in " on those already 
dancing. And on the occasions when some restless, impet- 
uous boy blew a whistle of his own and seized the first 
partner available there was ever a delightful confusion. 

Yet with all these things it could not be said that life in 
the hospital center was exactly an even round of social 
events; yet it rarely ever ceased for long to be dramatic. 
Take that November evening when twenty-seven hundred 
of our boys who had been prisoners of the boche came slip- 
ping into Vichy. Their uniforms were filthy and ragged. 
Slung from their shoulders were the Red Cross boxes such 
as had sustained them not only during their incarceration 
in Germany but on their long journey out of that miserable 
place. 



232 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

The limited capacity of these Red Cross boxes for our 
imprisoned men had precluded their containing much more 
than mere food necessities. And the boys in the ragged 
uniforms were hungry, not only for food of the " home- 
cooked " varieties, but for everyday human associations. 
They had both; even though the hut and the casino each 
worked steadily and for long hours six wonderful nights 
in succession. Nearly four thousand miles away from 
home, every effort was made to make this home-coming into 
Vichy from the neutral gateways of Switzerland a real one. 

These prisoners, as well as the greater numbers of the 
wounded, arrived with practically no personal possessions. 
The army promptly re-equipped them with uniforms, but 
the job of the Home and Hospital Bureau of the Army and 
Navy Department, which had this particular part of the 
big Bed Cross job as its very own province, was to antici- 
pate and look after all of their personal necessities. This 
thing it did, and its representatives cooperated with the 
army officers in studying the most urgent requirements and 
finding the very gifts which would provide the greatest 
proportion of real comfort. 

Come back, if you will, once again to statistics. I 
make no apologies for introducing the flavor of the official 
report into this narrative from time to time. Reports oft- 
times are indeed dull things ; but the reports of almost any 
department of the Red Cross have a real human interest 
even when they seemingly deal with mere percentages and 
rows of figures. Take a hospital which solemnly reports 
that 175,872 hospital days have been given to the army in 
the short space of four months. That fact can hardly be 
dismissed as a dull statement. It carries with it pictures 
of white wards, of the capable hands of nurses, of the faces 
of brave boys in long lines along the ways of an institution 
which modestly confesses that it holds but a mere fifteen 
hundred beds. 

Because the following excerpt from the report of a Red 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 233 

Cross captain at Vichy carries with it a picture of the boys 
who straggled into the local headquarters asking for every- 
thing from socks to chewing gum, it is set down here : 

" During the month of October (1918), 78,278 packages 
of tobacco, 7,480 tubes of tooth paste, 7,650 toothbrushes, 
3,650 combs, 3,460 Eed Cross bags, 2,850 packages of gum, 
1,650 cakes of soap, 1,250 pipes, 1,560 handkerchiefs, 1,245 
cakes of chocolate, 1,200 packages of shaving soap, 950 
pencils, 1,000 boxes of matches, 900 shaving brushes, 500 
packages of playing cards, 450 washcloths, 400 sweaters, 
350 razors, 350 boxes of talcum powder, and various 
smaller amounts of pens, ink, malted milk, razor blades, 
checkers, thread, games, pipe cleaners, scissors, and drink- 
ing cups were distributed free ; chiefly, so far as we know, 
to penniless boys. As this is written, this office is having 
a thousand applicants a day and, while all their wants 
cannot be met, no one leaves empty-handed. . . ." 

" No one leaves empty-handed. . . ." 

The boys who marched across the snow-blanketed park 
at Vichy that January morning with their crimson-crossed 
bags in their hands, were, after all, only typical of many 
thousands who had gone before. For three days they had 
anticipated their evacuation by asking for writing paper, 
for souvenir postals, for pocket song books, for gloves, 
sweaters, and the rest of the usual output of the Eed Cross 
the variety of whose resources would put a modern 
city department store to the blush. One youngster came 
to the headquarters on the last day holding his trench cap 
in his hand. 

" It's too dirty for the trip home," he said. " Can't the 
Red Cross get me a new one ? " 

No, the Red Cross could not duplicate the work of the 
army's quartermasters, but it could, and would, help the 
boy out. So it gave him a cake of soap and showed him 
how he could clean his greasy cap quite thoroughly and 
then dry it on the office stove before starting on the march 
across the park. 



234: WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

The difficulties of keeping up a full stock of Ked Cross 
supplies of every sort in a land and in times when shipping 
space of all kinds was at a great premium should be obvi- 
ous. Of necessity surgical supplies took precedence over 
luxuries of every sort. Then it was that such places as 
Vichy and Savenay and all the rest of them had to depend, 
not alone upon their normal receipts, but upon the resource- 
fulness of individual workers and the fruitfulness of the 
surrounding country. That was the reason why in one 
instance when Red Cross bags could not be shipped into 
Vichy, they were manufactured there by the thousands by 
French needlewomen. Indeed no doughboy should leave 
" empty-handed." Near by districts for a considerable 
number of miles roundabout were invaded by automobiles 
seeking the bright-colored cretonnes, which make the bags 
so very gay and, in turn, so much the more welcome. 

On at least two other occasions the vicinage was similarly 
combed for emergency supplies for the American cele- 
brations of both Thanksgiving Day and Christmas, 1918. 
Much was made of both these glorious Yankee holidays. 
The time was propitious for real celebration. Peace was 
not only in the air, but at last actually accomplished. The 
hearts of men were softened. One could sing of " peace 
on earth " and not choke as the words came to his lips. 

So it was that Christmas Day at Vichy was a particu- 
larly gay one gay, despite even the pain and suffering 
that remained in all the great hospital wards there. For 
men American men, if you please, could, and did, hide 
for the nonce their fearful suffering. Pain begone ! The 
carols were in the air. The hundreds of gayly decorated 
electric-light bulbs were flashing on at dusk. And you 
might go from ward to ward and there count all of fifty 
Christmas trees these, too, brilliantly decorated. And 
the decorators in all these instances had been Ked Cross 
women and men and wounded soldiers lying ill at ease 
in their hospital cots. They made a great job of all of it 
a merry job as well. And when the supplies of such 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 235 

conventional raw materials as tinsel and popcorn fell short 
they seemed to find something else that did quite as well. 

For that hospital celebration among our wounded men 
at Vichy just 13,657 socks were filled, which bespeaks 
the exact number of doughboys that participated in the 
celebration. If they could have spoken, each of these 
humble articles of clothing might easily have told a double 
story the tale of its own origin and the romance that 
came to it after that memorable Christmas Day ; for they 
were American knit socks, and no factory no inanimate, 
impersonal place, peopled with machines rather than with 
humans had turned them forth. Each and every one of 
them were hand-knitted. And some of them had come 
from my lady's parlor, situated in an upper floor, perhaps, 
of a great and gaudy apartment house, and some had come 
from the prairie ranch, and some had come from cabins 
upon the steep and desolate mountainsides of the Alle- 
ghenies or the Eockies or the Sierras. From East and 
West and North and South they had come but all had 
come from the United States ; and I am perfectly willing 
to predict that every blessed one returned forthwith to the 
land of its birth. 

The mate of each one of these 13,657 socks was rolled 
and placed in its toe. Then followed other things shav- 
ing soap, cigarettes, tobacco, nuts, candy, handkerchiefs 
by this time you ought to know the Red Cross list as 
well as I. While, by connivance with the head nurse of 
each of the wards, each blessed sock was individually tagged 
and addressed to its recipient. There is nothing, you 
know, like personal quality in a Christmas gift. 

If, after the perusal of all these pages, you still insist 
upon being one of those folk who regard the triumph of our 
Red Cross in France as one of American organization, 
rather than of American individualism, and American 
generosity, permit me to explain to you that in the para- 
graphs of this chapter you have slipped from the work of 



236 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

the Bureau of Hospital Administration to that of the Home 
and Hospital Bureau of the Army and Navy Department. 
The distinctly medical and surgical phases of the Eed 
Cross work in the A. E. F. hospitals across France was a 
major portion of the burden of Colonel Burlingame's job; 
the more purely recreative and comfort-giving phases came 
under Majors J. B. A. Fosburgh and Horace M. Swope, 
both of whom served as directors of the Army and Navy 
Departments during the Gibson regime. But the distinc- 
tion between these two departments was almost entirely one 
of name. Each, after all, was American Red Cross and 
as American Red Cross worked to a common and un- 
selfish and entirely humanitarian end. 

If I have lingered upon Vichy it has been because its 
story was so nearly the story of the Red Cross work in other 
A. E. F. hospitals across France. The narrative of each 
differs as a rule only in the most minor details. Some- 
times, of course, the unexpected happened, as at leaves, 
where our Red Cross under emergency served a double pur- 
pose. During the October, 1918, drive, when the Amer- 
ican Army was functioning to its highest efficiency and in 
so functioning was, of necessity, making a fearful sacrifice 
of its human units, this hut was taken over by the Medical 
Corps of the army and fitted out as an emergency ward, 
with ninety-five cots. For six weeks it so served as a 
direct hospital function. 

In the great Base Hospital "No. 114 at Beau Deserte- 
just outside the embarkation ports of Bordeaux and 
Bassens our Red Cross not only served from 1,200 to 
1,500 cups of coffee a day in its huge hut, but actually 
maintained an athletic field, in addition to the billiard 
tables which were an almost universal feature of every 
Red Cross hut. And at another base hospital in that same 
Bordeaux district, several companies of evacuated men 
were being told off into groups of a hundred each and 
each in charge of a top sergeant ready to sail on the fol- 



IN THE HOSPITALS OF THE A. E. F. 237 

lowing day. Then, just as the men were about to march 
to the gangplank of the waiting steamer, one of their num- 
ber fell ill of the scarlet fever and the entire group had to 
be quarantined. It was one of the many jobs of the Ked 
Cross force there to keep these restless and disappointed 
men amused and as happy as possible, and in turn neces- 
sary to use a little philosophy. 

Philosophy ? 

One Red Cross girl down there at that particular time 
told me how she had experimented with it in that trying 
instance. Her eyes sparkled as she announced the results 
of the experiments. 

" It worked, it really worked," she said. " I found a 
group of colored men, and upon that group used all the 
scientific new thought that I might possibly bring to my 
aid, and with real success. The men were mollified and a 
bit contented, so that one of them I think that back in 
the Middle West he had been a Pullman porter finally 
came to me and said : 

" ' Missy, I's a-found our hoodoo. Sure what could we 
expect when we've got a cross-eyed nigger preacher in our 
squad? '" 



CHAPTER X 

" PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES IN YOUR OLD KIT BAG " 

< i \T\T OTOTDED yesterday; feeling fine to-day." 

V V How many times that message varying some- 
times in its exact phrasing, but never in its intent was 
flashed from France to the United States during the 
progress of the war never will be known. It was a lie - 
of course. Would any sane mother believe it, even for a 
minute ? But it was the lie glorified the lie idealized, 
if you will permit me to use such an expression. And it 
was the only lie that I have ever known to be not only sanc- 
tioned, but officially urged, by a great humanitarian organ- 
ization. For the Red Cross searchers in the American hos- 
pitals in France were not allowed to write to the folks at 
home in any other tenor. Little scraps of messages mut- 
tered, perhaps, between groans and prayers, were hastily 
taken down by the Red Cross women in the hospitals, and 
by them quickly translated into a message of good cheer 
for the cable overseas. Any other sort was unthinkable. 

Here was a typical one of these : 

" Wounded yesterday in stomach feeling fine. Tell 
mother will be up in a day or two." 

Would you like to look behind the scenes in the case of 
this particular message? Then come with me. We are 
" behind the scenes " now in the dressing room which 
closely adjoins the operating room in a big American evac- 
uation hospital not far from Verdun. They had done with 
him on the operating table for the moment. One oper- 
ation had been performed, but another was to follow 
quickly. In the meantime, the soldier boy he really 
was not much more than a boy sat straight upward on 

238 



" PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES " 239 

his cot and watched them as they pulled the tight, clinging 
gauze from his raw and tender flesh. All he said during 
the process was : 

" Do you think that I could rest a minute, doc, before 
you do the second one ? " 

He got his momentary rest. And as he got it, sat, with 
a cigarette between his tightly clinched teeth, and dictated 
the letter home which you have just read. 

Another Eed Cross girl walking through one of the 
wards of that same hospital near Verdun stopped at the 
signal of a wounded man who lay abed. He was a very 
sick-looking man; his face had the very pallor of death. 
And his voice was very low and weak as he told the Red 
Cross woman that he wanted her to write a letter for him 
to his wife back in a little Indiana town. 

" Tell that I'm wounded just a little wounded, you 
understand. Got a little shrapnel in my legs, but that I'll 
be home by Christmas. Did you get all of that ? " 

The girl nodded yes. She took the notes on a bit of 
scrap paper mechanically; for all the time her eyes were 
on the face of the man. All the time save once when 
they fell upon the smooth counterpane of his bed, then re- 
turned to the man's face once again. She knew that he 
was lying, and because she was new, just come over from 
America she did not know that the Red Cross held one 
particular lie to be both glorified and sanctified she 
folded up the memorandum, told the wounded man that she 
would write the letter and went out. 

She went straight to the records room of the place. 
Yes, it was true. Her suspicions as to the unnatural 
smoothness of that counterpane were confirmed there. The 
man had had shrapnel in both legs, but that was not all. 
Both had been amputated well above the knees. 

The Red Cross girl went back to him, her eyes blazing 
with anger. Her anger all but overcame her natural ten- 
derness. 



240 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

" I can't, I can't," she expostulated. " I can't send 
that letter." 

" Why can't you ? " he coolly replied. 

She faced him with the truth. 

" Well, what of it ? " said he. " If I do get home, I'll 
get home by Christmas and that will be time enough for 
her to know the truth. She'll be ready for it, then. 
But " he lowered his voice almost to a whisper " I'm 
not going to get home. The doctor's told me that, but he 
don't have to tell me; I know it. And if I don't get home 

she'll never be the wiser You write that letter, just as 

I told it to you." 

Here was by far the saddest phase of the Red Cross 
work for our soldier boys and almost the most import- 
ant. It was one thing for the girl in the steel-gray uni- 
form, with the little crimson crosses affixed to her shoulders, 
to play and make merry with the wounded men who were 
getting well ; but it was a different and vastly more diffi- 
cult part of the job to play fair, let alone make merry, with 
those who were not going to get well; who, at the best, 
were to shuffle through the rest of their lives maimed or 
crippled or blind. Yet what an essential part of the big 
job all that was ! And how our girls moved by those 
great fountains of human love and sympathy and tender- 
ness that seemingly spring forever in women's hearts, rose 
to this supreme test over there! And after they had so 
arisen how trivial seemed the mere handing out of sand- 
wiches or coffee or cigarettes ! This was the real touch of 
war the touch supreme. After it, all others seemed 
almost as nothing. 

Early in the progress of the conflict our Red Cross fore- 
saw the great necessity that would be coming for its acting 
as a medium of communication between the doughboy and 
his folks three thousand miles or more away. The 
United States Army had made little or no provision to meet 



"PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES" 241 

this need ; it had far larger and far more immediate prob- 
lems ahead of it. And so about the best that it could be 
expected to do would be to notify the folks at home that 
their boy had made sacrifice supreme or very great - 
for his country ; at the best, a sort of emotionless proceed- 
ing upon its part. In the meantime there was hardly a 
waking hour that those selfsame folks were not thinking 
of the boy in khaki. While if anything happened to him 
serious even, but not quite serious enough to justify 
the setting of the somewhat cumbersome machinery of the 
army's elaborate system of notification into motion both 
he and the folks were helpless. France is indeed a long, 
long distance away from the United States. Three thou- 
sand miles is a gap not easily spanned. 

But it was the job of the American Ked Cross to span 
that gap; not only to bring news of the boy to the home 
folks, but, in many, many instances, to bring news of them 
to him. The one thing was nearly as valuable as the other. 
And while in the elaborate organization of the American 
Red Cross they were operated as separate functions and 
bureaus, their work in reality was so interwoven that in the 
pages of this book we shall consider them virtually as one, 
and shall begin a serious consideration of this important 
phase of Eed Cross work by calling attention to a very few 
of the ramifications of a hospital searcher's job. First and 
foremost her task was to tell those same home folks all that 
she could pen, or typewrite, about their own particular 
soldier exactly where he was at that time and just how he 
progressed. The ordinary method of handling the vast 
volume of these messages was in the form of short, concise, 
personal reports which passed through the Paris headquar- 
ters of the American Eed Cross and were forwarded by it to 
the National Headquarters at Washington, where they were 
made up into letters and forwarded to the families. There 
were, of course, many variations in this method; for in- 
stance, when it was advisable for Paris to write direct to the 
boy's parents, and in those other cases, which you have al- 



242 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

ready seen, where the letter to America went direct from the 
Red Cross worker's room at the hospital. The choice be- 
tween these methods was left quite largely to the individual 
worker who, in turn, weighed each situation and its neces- 
sities, individually and separately. 

It was only in these last instances that the lie was sanc- 
tioned and even permitted, and even then only upon the 
absolute demand of the wounded man, himself. He had 
all the rights in such a situation, and the Red Cross bowed 
to and respected those rights in every case. 

The Red Cross reports through headquarters were ac- 
curate invariably, and, at first sight, generally unemo- 
tional. Here is one of them that is quite typical : 

" Private Edward Jones 20th Regiment, Company 
H has been wounded in both legs. Wounds painful, 
but amputation not necessary. In excellent spirits 
sends love to family." 

Short, to be sure. But to a newsless family three thou- 
sand perhaps six thousand miles away, with its neces- 
sary detail, tremendously satisfying. 

Return with me if you will for a final visit to Vichy. 
'No group of Red Cross workers anywhere held a more 
sacred responsibility than the women who were stationed 
there. Day in and day out they passed through the white 
lanes of wards in the military hospitals and each day looked 

and looked deeply into the hearts of the American 
boys that lined them. Heart and soul these women of the 
steel-gray uniforms were at the service of our wounded 
soldier men at their very beck and call, if you please. 
And when of a morning a bed here or a bed there was 
empty, the searchers understood, and prepared to write a 
letter a scant matter of sympathetic record at the best 

that somewhere back in America would at least relieve 
the tension of waiting. 

Some of the messages that these searchers sent were 
as you already know full of gladness ; thank God for 



"PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES" 243 

them ! Others warned gently the boy was coming home 
with his face forever scarred or his limbs or his eyes gone. 
Still others told and told again and again of the 
brave and the battling sonl that finally had slipped away 
into the eternal mystery of the Valley. Each of these last 
held between its tiny pages a single flower plucked at 
the last moment from the funeral wreath. 

Let me quote from one of these letters of a Red Cross 
searcher. 

" I am constantly on duty here," she says, " and visit 
your brother Harry almost daily. He has been unfortu- 
nate enough to have been wounded in the right leg, which 
the doctors found necessary to amputate just below the 
knee. I know this will be a great shock to you, but let me 
hasten to add that Harry is in the best of condition other- 
wise. The wound is healing marvelously clean and 
quickly. He is in the healthiest and happiest frame of 
mind and exceptionally cheerful. Harry wants me to 
tell you that the last dressing of the wound was yesterday. 
He expects to be up and trying his crutches within ten days. 
He received your September money order of ten dollars for 
which he thanks you very much. I have just cashed it for 
him. ... I am sorry to be the bearer of this sad news, but 
am happy that I can assure you of his early recovery and 
his splendid courage." 

Men who were able to write for themselves were supplied 
with paper and encouraged to do so. Others who were far 
too ill or confined prone in surgical apparatus their very 
hands caught and held taut in a cruel network of pulleys 
and weights and drain tubes dictated their letters home 
and invariably lied as to their condition. All was 
" going well." The patient sufferer had but one report to 
pass his lips. " Tell them that I'm feeling fine," was the 
message that he ordered home. 

Sometimes by piecing together information culled from 
a variety of sources, the searcher was enabled to reconstruct 
the picture of the last hour of some soldier's life. Com- 



244 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

rades would recount the story of his death at the front or 
describe the moment of his capture by the enemy. In fact 
persistent questioning revealed such facts as finally cleared 
up the doubt as to the fate of a certain Yankee corporal. 
It happened that the boy had disappeared in April, 1918. 
It was a number of months afterward that a patient was 
discovered at a port of embarkation who said : 

" Yes, he was killed when the Germans were attacking 
and a heavy barrage was coming over. They came around 
back of us and threw hand grenades from the rear. Cor- 
poral pulled his pistol and yelled : ' Here they come, 

boys ! Give it to them ! ' He was awfully generous. He 
used to get a lot of scrapbooks and pass them around to the 
boys. When he got a box from home he shared it. He 
was a mighty generous fellow about lending money, too." 

The women who made those scrapbooks and packed those 
boxes of " goodies " can have no memento from his grave 
over there, but here was the sweet memory of his courage 
and his generosity. Think of the comfort that her 
woman's soul must have found in that frank, outspoken 
boyish tribute and the relief at finally having had at least 
the definite information of the truth ! So it was that our 
Red Cross searchers gave constant and almost invaluable 
aid in revising and verifying the casualty lists of the army ; 
and many who were accounted missing that dread term 
that means nothing and yet can mean so much could, 
because of their work, be accurately enrolled as dead or 
as prisoners. 

As far back as the summer of 1917 five women had been 
definitely assigned to this activity not at Vichy then, 
but at the American army hospitals which already were 
beginning to multiply in France. By December of the 
following year this staff numbered nearly two hundred 
women, who worked either in the hospitals or in the Ameri- 
can Red Cross headquarters in Paris. And while these 
worked in the hospitals, the Red Cross officers in the field - 
men serving as searchers, chaplains, or Home Communica- 



" PACK UP YOUE TROUBLES " 245 

tion representatives were working in close cooperation 
with the statistical officers of the army. These were sta- 
tioned in training camps and concentration camps and with 
various combat divisions. Ten men were assigned direct 
by the Ked Cross to the Central Kecords Office of the 
Adjutant General's Department of the A. E. E. 

Understand very clearly, if you will, please, once again, 
that while in very rare cases our Red Cross did announce 
casualties, that, after all, was not its real province. To 
engage in that would have been a mere duplication of the 
army's own work. Mortality letters were not sent direct 
to the nearest of kin ; they were forwarded to the A. E. E. 
Central Records Office in Erance for final disposition, so 
that their release through the mails would not anticipate the 
official announcement from the War Department; while 
the other information, in most instances, was reported to 
the Paris headquarters of the American Red Cross and was 
later disseminated here in the United States from the 
American Red Cross headquarters in Washington. 

The lists of the missing soldiers were furnished by the 
army. Duplicates of these were then immediately dis- 
tributed to the Red Cross searchers and representatives, 
who at once sought clues to the individual stories to be 
builded about the name of each man. Sometimes through 
arrangements with the army authorities the boche prisoners 
were interviewed, and these occasionally furnished facts 
with reference to American prisoners in Germany and gave 
definite information about aviators who had apparently dis- 
appeared within the enemy lines. 

Incorporated in these lists of the missing were also the 
names of all soldiers and sailors concerning whom inquiries 
had been made of our Red Cross either here in America or 
over there in Erance. In the one case these inquiries and 
in the other through the Paris headquarters in the Hotel 
Regina. In one month 1,955 cables were sent across the 
Atlantic from the United States requiring immediate in- 
formation regarding wounded or missing men. In Decem- 



246 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

ber, just following the armistice, the Paris office received 
more than a thousand individual requests for news of the 
doughboys. Almost literally these came in floodtides ; but 
none was ignored or forgotten. It made little difference, 
either, as to whether any of them was addressed. The Red 
Cross cleared its mail with a good deal of efficiency and 
promptness. Its huge central postoffice in Paris was a 
marvel of precision and it had at all times a difficult job. 
Yet it so happened that it was in charge of a man without 
any previous experience in such a task Senator Henry 
Brevoort Kane, of Rhode Island. It chanced that Senator 
Kane displayed an immediate adaptability for the job 
and with this, combined with great patience and persist- 
ence, he made a real success of it. 

Perhaps the most satisfactory part of the searcher's job 
was in many ways the search for missing men by inter- 
viewing the boys in the hospitals about their friends and in- 
timates, getting tremendously tiny details about these in 
camp or in battle, or even in the hospitals themselves, and 
from these details evolving the web of evidence Conan 
Doyle or E. Phillips Oppenheim could hardly have had a 
more fascinating time of it than did some of our Red Cross 
women in unraveling the tangle of confusion which they 
found wound about this boy or that, or the other fellow. 
Many an agonizing situation, indeed, was cleared up 
through the efforts of these men. And such times were al- 
most the sole relief from a task that- frequently was dreary 
and almost always distressing. 

If you would the better understand the real task that 
these women faced, permit me to quote from a letter written 
by one of them : 

" The most entertaining part of my work is writing let- 
ters home for the wounded boys. In answer to my letters 
the replies that come back are more than adequate reward. 
The letters come from farmhouses in Vermont, from fac- 
tory towns in Connecticut, from busy Massachusetts cities, 
and from lonely Western ranches. They are pathetic, sad, 



" PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES " 247 

funny ; but all of them are overflowing with surprises and 
gratitude for the person in the mysterious ' over there ' 
who had taken the trouble to visit and write home for her 
' particular boy ' after he was wounded. These letters for 
the boys were usually written to a woman mothers, sis- 
ters, or t girls ' the favorites first, of course, although oc- 
casionally ' aunty ' or t teacher ' came in for a message of 
reassurance. 

" The first letter I had to write was for a boy who had 
lost his right eye. He wanted me to write his girl, whose 
photographs I had seen several times. She had very fluffy 
hair and usually seemed to stand in an apple orchard. Af- 
ter this he made a rather staggering suggestion : Would I 
please read all of Alice's letters so that I should know what 
kind of a girl she was and so answer her letters better! 
Realizing that a Bed Cross worker should flinch at nothing 
and trying not to think of Alice's feelings in the matter, I 
took the letters out of a bag at the head of his bed and 
plunged into the first one. 

" To my intense relief they all began ' Dear Bill/ and 
ended ' Your true friend, Alice/ Her only reference to 
matters of the heart was the hope that he would not fall in 
love with any of those pretty Red Cross nurses over there. 
For the most part Alice seemed to prefer impersonal topics, 
such as the potato crop, the new class, and the party at 
the grange Saturday night. Bill thought she was a mighty 
fine writer and, I think, was a little worried lest I be un- 
able to compose a letter worthy of her. He was worried, 
too, about the best way to tell her that he had lost an eye. 
' You know, I don't care. The left one is working better 
than it ever did and I know it won't make no difference in 
the way she thinks of me, but she'll feel pretty bad for me, 
I know that, and I want you to please tell her about it real 
gentle.' We finally decided to tell her in this letter 
that he had been seriously injured in his right eye and 
then, in the next letter, which he would write himself, he 
would tell her it was gone. 



248 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

" In due time I received a grateful note from Alice in a 
very long, elegant, and exceedingly narrow envelope inclos- 
ing a correspondence card covered with high-schoolish- 
girlish writing. ' Thank you so much/ she wrote, ' for 
your letter giving me news of Bill, who I was getting so 
anxious about, as I had not heard from him for so long. 
I am glad he is getting better and that he really is not 
suffering.' 

" Another grateful letter came from the mother of 
Michael Holihan. Mike had been badly wounded and at 
first no one thought he could possibly pull through, for 
he had a piece of shrapnel in the liver. He survived the 
operation, however, and became very anxious to write his 
mother. ' Now you just please write her what I tell you/ 
he said. ' Mother is pretty old now and she is always 
worrying, but I got it all thought out just what I am going 
to say to make her stop.' This is what he dictated : 

"'Dear Mother: 

" ' I was hurt the other day but not enough to keep me down 
very long and I am as well as ever now. They certainly do use 
me fine in this hospital. I am having a great time. Gee, I 
am a happy boy, and don't you worry none about me, mother. 

" l Your son, 

" < MIKE.' " 

" After making this effort he lay back on the pillow and 
shut his eyes for a moment, tired out, only to open them 
anxiously to ask : ' That'll fix her, won't it ? 7 Apparently 
it did not entirely ' fix her/ for her answer came back to 
me an anxious scrawl i I received your letter and, 
dear Red Cross lady, it was so kind of you to write when 
you must be so busy and let me know how my son was get- 
ting along, as I was waiting day after day for a letter from 
him and I didn't know what could be the matter as he 
always writes regularly like the good son he is. I am 
worrying day and night and even if Mike did say I 
shouldn't because what do boys know about it if they are 



"PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES" 249 

sick or well and my Mike would say that lie was well if he 
could only lay flat on his back and look at the ceiling he 
would. As this is all I have to say, I will bring this letter 
to a close. Tell Mike, I and all the family have wrote 
him! 5 

Our Red Cross as well as our army officers, themselves, 
recognized almost from the beginning that an untroubled 
soldier always is the best soldier. It also appreciated as 
this book already should have told you that its primary 
object in Europe was to bring the utmost comfort and relief 
to America's fighting millions. That was why, in the early 
summer of 1918, it issued a small pamphlet telling the 
doughboy to " pack up his troubles in his old kit bag " and 
to hand them to the first Red Cross representative he met. 
He was assured that there was no worry of any kind, 
either on the one side of the ocean or the other, that the 
Red Cross could not or would not shoulder for him. These 
pamphlets were printed by the hundreds of thousands and 
distributed to every American soldier in France. And 
they were an evidence of the real desire of the great organ- 
ization of the crimson cross to make itself invaluable, not 
alone in the comparatively few large ways of succor, but in 
an almost infinite number of smaller and individual ones. 
It was in this last sort of help, of course, that the Home 
Communication Service shone. It was its own particular 
sort of a job to take from the harassed minds of individual 
soldiers their individual problems as varied and as com- 
plicated as the temperaments and the conditions of the 
doughboys, themselves. Take a single instance : 

Here was a man who was owner of a small but growing 
business in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. When 
a unit was being recruited near Utica and a call for volun- 
teers was being issued, he responded with instant 
promptness. At the time he donned the khaki the two 
banks in the little town from which he came held notes 
against his business for a sum of a little more than a thou- 



250 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

sand dollars. They had been indorsed by his brother, a 
hard-working farmer of the valley. 

Before this boy had been mobilized he arranged to have 
his voung wife conduct the business with the aid of his 
long-time assistant. The banks told him that the notes 
would, in no event, be called before his return from the 
service of his country. They were fairly perfervid in their 
expressions of their desires for patriotic service, and the 
young man left for France, his mind well at ease. 

His first letters from home were full of optimistic com- 
fort. A little later, however, they were not quite so serene. 
Finally this soldier received a letter from his wife stating 
quite frankly and without reserve that the two banks had 
called the loans, forced his brother to sell part of his farm 
stock, and then had sold out their little business. 

The boy in khaki was furious. A week before he had 
stuffed into his musette the little American Eed Cross book- 
let which told of that organization's sincere desire to help 
the individual American soldier who found himself in 
trouble. " I'll take them at their word," thought he and 
immediately sought out the Eed Cross man with his unit, 
and to him spilled the entire story. The Eed Cross man 
boiled. He was not a young man being a bit too old for 
regular army service, he had taken the Eed Cross way as 
being the best for him to serve his country and he had 
heard stories of that sort before, and decided to take prompt 
action on this one. 

It so happened that there were some pretty big American 
bankers on the American Eed Cross staff over there in 
France. When this incident was rushed through to them 
with vast promptness they, too, took action. They 
did not even wait for the mails, but cabled the main facts 
of the story to the secretary of the American Bankers' As- 
sociation, saying that the proofs were coming on by post, but 
requesting immediate action. A representative of the As- 
sociation took the first train up into central New York and, 
through a personal investigation of the books of the two 



"PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES" 251 

banks, quickly verified the incident in every detail. 
After that he promptly returned to New York city and, 
placing the matter before the executive committee of the 
Bankers' Association, asked that justice be quickly done. 
It was. The two miserly and hypocritical banking insti- 
tutions were forced to return the young soldier's business to 
his wife and to pay back the brother the money which they 
had taken from him. After which they were both kicked 
out of the national association. 

Along with the pamphlet advising the doughboy to pack 
up his troubles in his old kit bag and then carry them to 
the nearest Red Cross man or woman, there was prepared 
a poster originated by a man out in the Middle West, who 
because of his understanding affection for boys was par- 
ticularly well qualified to prepare it. It was used to pla- 
card Brest and some other port towns. As I recall it, it 
read something like this : 

AMERICAN SOLDIER AND SAILOR 

Are you worried about anything back home; your wife, 
children, mother, insurance, allotments, taxes, business affairs, 
wills, powers of attorney, or any personal or family troubles of 
a private nature? 

THE AMERICAN RED CROSS HOME SERVICE MEN 

will help you by cable, telegraph, letter assisted by forty 
million members of the Red Cross at home. Information Free. 

Troubles ? The American doughboy seemed to have all 
the troubles that the poster catalogued and then some 
more. The response to the poster and the pamphlet was 
immediate. Soldiers sought out the American Red Cross 
Home Communication people all over France. At Brest 
the first office was in a tent near Camp Pontanzen. Later 
two offices were established. One, for the sailors, was lo- 
cated in Brest itself, and fairly accessible to the landing 
stages. Another was located in a stone barracks that had 
been builded by the great Napoleon. This office not having 



252, WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

an outside door available to passers-by, wooden steps were 
built up the wall to a French window. Another set of 
steps was affixed to the inner wall and led right down to 
the desk of the Red Cross representative. Eventually this 
work at just this one point became so great in volume that 
four of these offices were pressed into service. 

" What does Home Service really do for a man ? " asked 
a magazine woman who was " doing " France for her pub- 
lication at one of these offices. The answer to her inquiry 
was definite. 

" It does everything," they told her, " from giving a sol- 
dier a needle and thread to letting our tears mingle with 
his between sobs when he tells us of his home troubles." 

Upon the request of our men, wills in proper form were 
drawn up by Red Cross attorneys and forwarded to the 
men's families in this country. There were men with 
wives not only in the United States, but in every corner 
of the world in Russia, in Assyria, in Italy, for in- 
stance who wished to be assured that their allotments 
from the government were being delivered. During the 
influenza epidemic here and at a time when the flames of 
a forest fire were winging their way across great spaces in 
our West, the American Red Cross offices in Paris were 
besieged with tragic appeals for immediate information 
from home. 

In some of the army divisions the movements of troops 
were so sudden and so uncertain that mail was badly de- 
layed. Then the doughboys begged our Red Cross for re- 
ports from home and our Red Cross furnished them 
through its service here. 

" Our visitor found daddy and your wife and baby at 
luncheon," read one of these reports from America. 
" They had roast chicken, stewed tomatoes, mashed pota- 
toes, hot bread, and jam. . . . Your wife is teaching 

school. . . . The B family has moved. . . . Your 

mother has one boarder and the crops are fine. . . . Willie 
and Carrie are going to move away in the spring." 



"PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES" 253 

Can you imagine what such a report might mean to a 
man who had not heard from home in over five months ? 
There were many such. There were times when men 
American fighting men " went over the top " with ach- 
ing hearts for some one who faced a particularly difficult 
problem of life back here at home. Then it was that the 
Ked Cross did not hesitate to use the cable. It is hardly 
necessary to emphasize the relief which the following ex- 
change of messages must have meant to some one fighting 
man in our khaki : 

PARIS, August 6, 1918. 
To AMCROSS, Washington: 

Report concerning confinement, Mrs. Harold W , Rural 

Free Delivery Five, H , Penn. 

WASHINGTON, August 14, 1918. 
To AMCROSS, Paris: 

Answering Inquiry No. : Mother and baby son three 

months old well and happy. 

In this instance the worried fighter was an officer a 
captain of infantry. During the time which elapsed be- 
tween the two cablegrams he was wounded and the answer 
found him in a hospital, side by side with a French blesse. 
A Red Cross searcher acted as interpreter for their felici- 
tations and in her official report of the incident included 
this notation : 

" Captain W was much improved as a result of the 

good news. He is sitting up and eating roast chicken to- 
day. He says the American Red Cross has cured him." 

The Red Cross representatives here in America could not 
enter a home unless they were welcome ; neither could they 
force their way into the hearts of men. They were com- 
pelled to wait until their help was sought. The growing 
mental depression of a certain major of a fighting division 
during those tense months of the midsummer of 1918 did 
not escape the attention of the Ajnerican Red Cross man at- 
tached to that division. Suddenly the man, who had been 
marked because of his poise, became taciturn isolated 



254 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

himself. A reference to the Ried Cross Home Service which 
its division worker tactfully introduced into the table talk 
at the mess at which both sat, however, did elicit some 
trivial rejoinder from the man with the golden oakleaf upon 
his shoulder ; while the following day that same major wrote 
a letter to the Red Cross man and bared the reason for 
his most obvious melancholy. 

It seemed that back here in the United States he had a 
little son, from whom he had received no word whatsoever 
in more than six months. The child was with the major's 
divorced wife, and his father was more than anxious to 
know if he was regularly playing out of doors, if he was 
receiving his father's allotment, and if he was buying the 
promised Thrift Stamp each week. The army man already 
had his second golden service stripe and greatly feared that 
his little son might be beginning to forget him. 

Under conditions such as these, visiting the boy was a 
diplomatic mission indeed. Finally it was intrusted to 
the wife of an army officer. And because army officers' 
wives are usually achieved diplomats if not born ones, the 
ultimate result came in weekly letters from the boy, which 
not only greatly relieved his father's mind but greatly in- 
creased the bonds of affection between the two. The 
Greatest Mother in the World is never above diplomacy 
which is, perhaps, just another way of expressing tact and 
gentleness. 

There were many, many occasions, too, when the rela- 
tives at home depended upon that selfsame diplomacy of 
hers to tell the disagreeable stories of losses or perhaps to 
prepare the boys overseas to face an empty chair in the 
family circle. There was one particularly fearful mo- 
ment when a brilliant young officer had to be told that the 
reason why his young wife had ceased to write was because 
she had gone insane and specialists believed that she could 
not recover. Boys were driven to Eed Cross offices by 
hidden affairs that flayed them hideously and of which 
they wished to purge themselves. Some wanted to set old 



"PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES" 255 

wrongs right. Others had fallen blindly into the hands of 
the unscrupulous and had only fully awakened to see their 
folly after they actually were upon the battlefields of 
France. Then there were the softer phases of life the 
shy letters and the blushing visitors who wished to have a 
marriage arranged with Therese or Jeanne of the black 
eyes and the delicate oval face. I remember one of our 
boys who had fallen in love with a girl in Nancy. Theirs 
was a courtship of unspoken love, unless soft glances and 
gentle caresses do indeed speak more loudly than mere 
words; for they had no easy bond of a common tongue. 
His French was doughboy French, which was hardly 
French at all, and her English was limited. So that after 
he had gone on to the Rhine and the letter came from her 
to him in the delicate hand that the sisters at the convent 
had taught, he needs must seek out Red Cross Home Com- 
munication and intrust to it the task of uncommon delicacy, 
which it fulfilled to the complete delight and satisfaction 
of both of them. For how could any mother, let alone the 
Greatest Mother in the World, blind her eyes entirely to 
love? 

She apparently had no intention of doing any such thing. 
For how about that good-looking doughboy from down in 
the Ozark country somewhere, who arrived in Paris on a 
day in the autumn of 1918 with the express intention of 
matrimony, if only he knew where he could get the license ? 
French laws are rather fussy and explicit in such matters. 
Some one suggested the Home Service Bureau of the Amer- 
ican Red Cross to the boy. He found his way quickly to it 
with little Marie, or whatever her name really was, hang- 
ing on his arm. A Red Cross man prayerfully guided the 
pair through the legal mazes of the situation. First they 
went to a law office in the Avenue de V Opera where the 
necessary papers were made out ; then the procession 
solemnly moved to the office of the United States Vice Con- 
sul at ISTo. 1 Rue des Italiens, where the signature of the 
American official representative was duly affixed to each of 



256 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

the papers; after which to the foreign office, where the 
French went through all the elaborate processes of sealings 
and signatures which they seem to love so dearly, and then 
the work of Mother Red Cross was finished. They were 
quite ready for the offices of the Church. 

With the signing of the armistice all this work was 
greatly increased was, in fact, doubled and nearly 
trebled. When a man was fighting his physical needs 
seemingly were paramount ; but once off the field, the wor- 
ries that lurked in his subconscious mind seemed to rise 
quickly to the surface. He then recalled that long inter- 
val since last he heard from home. That troubled him, and 
he turned to the Eed Cross those pamphlets and posters 
did have a tremendous effect. And if he had no definite 
troubles over here, such as those we have just seen, he was 
apt to be just plain hungry for a sight of the home and 
the loved ones that it held. 

It was in answer to a demand such as this last that a 
Red Cross representative right here in the United States 
took her motor car and drove for a half day out to see a 
family of whose very existence she had never before even 
heard ; and, as a result of her call, wrote back a letter from 
which the following excerpts are taken : 

" I want to tell you about a never-to-be-forgotten trip that 
I took the other day out to see a one hundred per cent 
patriot; an American mother who has three sons in the 
service. The home is one of the coziest, homiest, friend- 
liest places you can imagine; one story, with that cool 
spacious plan of construction that makes you want to get a 
book, capture a chair on the wide, comfortable porch, and 
forget the world and its dizzy rush ; a great sweep of lawn 
and with some handsome Hereford calves browsing in one 
direction and a cluster of shade trees nearer the house. 

" The hills surrounding the house make a lovely view and 
all were covered with grazing stock, also the fine Hereford 
cattle for which the place is known. But the best part of 
the home is the dear little woman who hung a service flag 



"PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES" 257 

in the window with the name of a boy under each of the 
three stars. She is the type of mother that draws every 
one to her; tender, sensible, capable, broad-minded, and 
with a shrewd sense of humor that keeps things going and 
makes life worth living for the entire household. 

" She took us to a roomy side porch where her sewing 
unit of the Eed Cross meets each Tuesday. A marvelous 
amount of work has been turned out in that side porch, and 
I'll wager a dollar to a doughnut that I know the moving 
spirit of the workers. Off in a big, cool parlor bedroom 
there were stacked up several perfectly enchanting ' crazy 
quilts ? made by these same busy women at odd moments. 
These are ready to be sent to Serbia or they may be sold 
at auction for the benefit of the Red Cross. 

" We saw pictures of each boy in the service one in 
the navy, one in the heavy artillery, and Milton, whom we 
all hope is not in the hospital by now. Each boy had in 
his eyes the same intrepid look that the mother has one 
can tell that they made good soldiers. Knowing how busy 
farm folk are, we reluctantly took our leave after seeing all 
these interesting things and, as we swung out into the coun- 
try lane, we looked back and there stood the mother waving 
and smiling the very best soldier of them all." 

Can you not see how very simple it all was how very 
human, too? As you saw in one of the earlier chapters 
of this book, a fairly formal and elaborate plan of organ- 
ization had been laid out for all this work; but, perhaps 
because war after all, is hardly more than a series of vast 
emergencies, the American Red Cross searchers, either in 
the field or in the hospitals, could hardly confine them- 
selves to any mere routine of clerical organization or work 
in the great task that was thrust upon them. The unex- 
pected was forever upon them. 

As a single instance of this take the time when, in the 
Verdun sector and in the hottest days of fighting that the 
American Army found there, so many demands were made 



258 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

upon our Red Cross by the officers and men of the A. E. ~F. 
for the purchase of necessities in Paris that a definite shop- 
ping service quite naturally evolved itself out of the situa- 
tion. The man who initiated that service raced a motor 
car from Verdun to the Paris headquarters in order to 
secure the materials necessary for its inauguration. For 
when the American Red Cross made up its mind to do a 
thing, it did it and pretty quickly too. 

So it went a service complicatedly simple, if I may 
so express it. For, despite its own batteries of 
typewriters and card indexes, there was, at almost all times, 
that modicum of human sympathy that tempered the cold- 
ness of mere system and glorified what might otherwise 
have been a mere job of mechanical routine into a tremen- 
dously human and tender thing. The men and girls of the 
Home Communication Service had a task of real worth. 
Of a truth it was social service of the most delicate 
nature. It included at all times not only the study of the 
physical needs of the soldier or sailor, but also at many 
times that of his mental needs as well. In reality, it be- 
came a large part of the scheme of preserving and enlarging 
the morale of the A. E. F. Every time a soldier was freed 
of endless, nagging worry, he became a better soldier and 
so just that much more strength was added to the growing 
certainty of victory. 



CHAPTEE XI 

WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 

ON November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed and 
the fighting of the Great War ceased almost as 
abruptly as it had begun. And the ebb tide of American 
roops from Europe back to the United States began ; almost 
at once. For a time it was an almost imperceptible tide; 
in the following month but 75,000 soldiers all told 
officers and enlisted men were received through the port 
of New York, at all times the nation's chief war gateway ; 
yet this was but the beginning. Each month of the early 
half of 1919 registered an increase of this human tide 
inflowing as against the preceding months, until May, with 
311,830 troops received home, finally beat, by some 5,000 
men, the record outgoing month of July, 1918, when under 
the terrific pressure induced by the continued German 
drive, 306,731 officers and men had been dispatched from 
these shores. Yet June, 1919, overtopped May. In that 
month 342,686 troops passed not only under the shadow 
of the beloved statue of Liberty, but also into the friendly 
and welcoming ports of Boston, Newport News, and 
Charleston, while the Secretary of War promised that the 
midsummer months that were immediately to follow would 
break the June record. A promise which was fulfilled. 

Long before the signing of the armistice, Pershing had 
ruled that the work of the American Eed Cross with the 
well men of the A. E. E. was specifically to be limited to 
them while they were en route from one point to another 
along the lines of communication, as you already have seen 
in an earlier chapter. To the Young Men's Christian 
Association was intrusted the chief burden of caring for 

them in their more or less permanent camps. This meant 

259 



260 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

for our Eed Cross in the final months of the war before 
peace was actually signed and declared a task almost 
exactly like that which had confronted it in its very first 
months of war experience in France. The stations along 
the railroad lines of eastern France, Luxembourg, and the 
Moselle Valley the lines of communication between our 
French base ports and the occupied districts of the German 
states offered to the American Eed Cross the very same 
canteen problems as had once faced it at Chalons-sur-Marne 
and fipernay. Treves and Coblenz were hardly different 
from either of these save perhaps in their increased size. 

Because Coblenz is rather more closely connected in the 
mind of the average American with our Army of Occupa- 
tion, let us begin with it, here and now. It was, in fact, 
the easternmost outpost of the work of our Red Cross with 
our army over there. There the lines of communication 
officially began, and ran up the railway which ascends the 
beautiful but extremely tortuous valley of the Moselle. 
And where the lines of communication began in the 
great railroad station of Coblenz the American Red 
Cross also began. It had two canteens in that station ; one 
just off the main waiting room, and the other, for the con- 
venience of troops who were merely halted in the train 
shed of the station while going to and from the other 
American mobilization centers in that Rhine bridgehead, 
right on the biggest and the longest of the train platforms. 
Both were busy canteens ; never more so, however, than just 
before 10 :30 o'clock in the morning, which was the stated 
hour for the departure of the daily leave-train toward the 
border lines of France. Then it was the Red Cross coffee 
and sandwiches, tobacco and chewing gum were in greatest 
demand ; for the long leave-train boasted no such luxury as 
dining cars, and there was scarce enough time at the noon- 
day stop at Treves for one to avail oneself of the lunch- 
room facilities in the station there. 

Yet Treves for the American Red Cross was a far, far 
more important point than Coblenz. It was the head- 



WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 261 

quarters of all its work in Germany, and boasted in addi- 
tion to the large American Eed Cross canteens in each of the 
two railroad stations, on either bank of the Moselle, and the 
recreation huts at the base hospitals for that matter, 
there were also recreation huts at the base hospitals in and 
about Coblenz well-equipped clubs for both enlisted men 
and officers. Of these the club for the enlisted men for 
the rank and file of doughboy quite properly was the best 
equipped. 

In the beginning it had been one of those large combina- 
tion beer gardens and music halls that always have been 
so very dear to the heart of the German. It was the very 
sort of plant that could be, and was, quickly adapted to the 
uses of a really 'big group of men. Its main bierhalle made 
a corking dining room for the doughboys. The meals kept 
pace with the apartment. Three times a day they ap- 
peared feeding daily from 600 to 1,600 boys and they 
were American meals in fact, for the most part com- 
posed of American food products meats from Chicago, 
butter and cheese from New York State, flour from Minne- 
sota, and the like. For each of these a flat charge of two 
marks at the rate of exchange then prevailing, about 
eighteen cents was made. But if a doughboy could not 
or would not pay, no questions were asked. The Treves 
Enlisted Men's Club which the American Red Cross gave 
the A. E. F. was not a commercial enterprise. It was run 
by an organization whose funds were the gift of the Ameri- 
can people given and given freely in order that their boys 
in khaki might have every comfort that money might 
provide. 

The great high-ceilinged Jialle held more than a restau- 
rant. It was a reading room as well, stocked with many 
hundreds of books and magazines. In fact a branch of the 
American Library Association operated and operated 
very successfully a small traveling loan library in one 
of the smaller rooms of the club. Upon the walls of the 
vast room were pictures and many maps maps of the 



262 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

valley of the Moselle, of that of the Rhine, of the Saar 
basin, of the operations in France. These last held much 
fascination for the doughboys. The most of them were of 
divisions which had led in the active and hard fighting, and 
the tiny flags and the blue-chalk marks on the operation 
maps were in reality placed there by their own efforts - 
but a few weeks and months before. It was real fun to 
fight the old actions over and over again this time with 
talk and a pointing stick. 

There were, of course, such fundamental conveniences 
for roaming doughboys as baths, a bootblack and a barber 
shop this last equipped with chairs which the boys them- 
selves invented and constructed ; a plain stout wooden arm- 
chair, into the back of which a board not unlike an old- 
fashioned ironing board was thrust at an angle. When 
turned one way this board formed just the proper headrest 
for a shave; in the other direction it was at exactly the 
right angle for haircutting. 

For the Officers' Club of our Red Cross at Treves, the 
Casino in the Kornmarkt, the heart of the city, was taken 
'over. The fact that this was in the beginning a well- 
equipped club made the problem of its adaption a very 
slight one indeed. And the added fact that officers require, 
as a rule, far less entertainment than the enlisted men also 
simplified its operation. As it was, however, the officers 
were usually given a dance or a show each week in the 
comfortable, large hall of the Casino. In the Enlisted 
Men's Club there was hardly a night, however, without 
some sort of an entertainment in its Jialle', and the vast 
placed packed to the very doors. 

The next stop after Treves in the eastbound journey 
from the Rhine of the man in khaki was usually Nancy. 
And here there were not only canteen facilities at the rail- 
road station, but a regular Red Cross hotel situated in 
the Place Stanislas, in the very heart of the town. In 
other days this had been the Grand Hotel, and the open 




If 



.5 * 

GO 

3s 



S 2 a 



WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 26S 

square that it faced has long been known as one of the 
handsomest in all France. In fact, Nancy itself is one of 
the loveliest of all French towns; and despite the almost 
constant aerial bombardments that were visited upon it, 
escaped with comparatively minor damage. 

The Red Cross hotel there was opened on September 30, 
1918, and closed on the tenth of April of the following 
spring had eighty-eight rooms, capable of accommodat- 
ing one hundred guests, and two dormitories capable of 
providing for some forty more. The room charges were 
invariably five francs for a room with the exception of 
one, usually reserved for generals or other big wigs 
which rented at eight francs a night. For the dormitory 
beds an even charge of two francs (forty cents) nightly 
was made, while in the frequent event of all these regular 
accommodations of the hotel being engaged and the neces- 
sity arising of placing cots in its broad hallways, no charge 
whatsoever was made for these emergency accommodations. 

For the excellent meals served with the fullness of a 
good old-fashioned Yankee tavern a progressive charge 
of four francs for breakfast, five francs for lunch, and six 
francs for dinner was made. Surely no one could fairly 
object to the restaurant prices, which, even in France in 
war-time stress, ranged from eighty cents to a dollar and 
twenty ! In fact it was a bonanza for the American officers 
who formed the chief patrons of the place although a 
bit of thoughtfulness on the part of some one had provided 
this particular hostelry with a dormitory of twelve beds 
and a single room with three which was held reserved for 
American women war workers ; an attention which was tre- 
mendously appreciated by them. 

Eleven miles distant from !Nancy was Toul ; but Toul we 
have already visited in the pages of this book. We know 
already the comfortable accommodations that the traveler 
in khaki found in the group of hotels and canteens which 
our Red Cross operated there. There were many of these, 



264 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

even outside of Paris ; one of the largest the tavern at the 
badly overcrowded city of Bordeaux. That tavern had 
heen little to boast of, in the beginning. It was an ancient 
inn indeed ; but good taste the purchase of some few 
dozen yards of cretonne, and cleanliness the unrelenting 
use of mop and broom and soap had accomplished won- 
ders with it. There were others of these American Red 
Cross hotels in France during the fighting period the 
ones at Dijon, Is-sur-Tille, and Marseilles were particularly 
popular. But it was in Paris itself that the Red Cross ac- 
commodations for the itinerant doughboy in the final 
months of the war, as in the long and difficult half year that 
intervened between the signing of the armistice and the 
signing of peace, reached their highest development. In 
the beginning these had taken form in canteens which were 
operated night and day at each of the important railroad 
stations. These were all right so far as they went. 
Their one-franc or seventy-five centime meals were wonder- 
ful indeed. I have eaten in these canteens many times my- 
self and always eaten well. I have been seated between 
a doughboy from North Carolina and one from North Da- 
kota and been served by a society woman in steel-gray uni- 
form a woman whose very name was a thing to be em- 
blazoned in the biggest headline type of the New York 
newspapers, but who was working week in and week out 
harder than the girls in busy restaurants back home are 
usually wont to work. 

If you would see these canteens as they really worked, 
gaze upon them through the eyes of a brilliant newspaper 
woman from San Francisco, who took the time and the 
trouble to make a thorough study of them. She wrote 

" A brown puddle of coffee was spreading over the white 
oilcloth. The girl from home sopped it up with her dish 
towel. She brushed away messy fragments of food and 
bread crumbs. Again there were few vacant places for 
American soldiers on the benches at the long table in the 
canteen at the Gare St. Lazare. 



WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 265 

" The canteen, one of a circuit of thirteen maintained by 
the Red Cross in Paris, had formerly been the corner of a 
baggage room in one of the most important Paris terminals. 
The concrete floor bruised her feet. She was as conscious 
of them as Alice in Wonderland who discovered her own 
directly beneath her chin after she nibbled the magic toad- 
stool. The girl was tired, but she smiled. 

" It was really a smile within a smile. There was one 
on her lips which seemed to sparkle and glance, waking re- 
sponsive smiles on the faces of the men. At once the gob 
who was born down in Virginia and had trained at Nor- 
folk, decided that she was from his own South. The six- 
foot doughboy from California knew that she came from 
some small town in the Sierras. To each of the men she 
suddenly represented home. 

" That smile stays in place each day until she reaches her 
room in a pension across the Seine on the Rue Beaux Arts. 
There, closing the door upon the world with its constant 
pageant of uniformed men who seem forever hungry and 
thirsty, she lets her smile fade away for the first time that 
day. 

" The smile within is tucked away in her heart with the 
memory of agonizing moments aboard an ocean liner when 
she felt her exalted desire for service ebbing away because 
she feared she would not be needed. Needed ! Now she 
wonders who else could have managed so tactfully the boy 
who had been at sea for one year and discovered that he had 
forgotten how to talk to an American woman. His diffi- 
dence was undermined with another dish of rice pudding 
and an extra doughnut. He became a regular boarder at 
the canteen where breakfast costs nine cents and any other 
man's size meal may be had for thirteen cents. His leave 
ended in a half day of excited shopping for which his 
younger sister will always be grateful. 

" The girl from home had been one of those solemn 
creatures who was called to the Overseas Club in New York 
for service abroad. She was one of hundreds who had 



266 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

clinched their own faith in their ideals by pledging such 
service. It had heen a wrench, saying good-bye at the sta- 
tion in the Middle West. There were no boys in the 
family, and her father had made a funny little joke which 
betrayed his pride about ' hanging out a service flag now.' 
Armed with interminable lists which called for supplies 
for twelve months, she bought her equipment. All the 
time she was saying to herself 

" i I am ready to give all of my youth and my strength 
to the cause and to hasten victory/ 

" Then the armistice was signed. The wireless in- 
strument sang with the message. There was a celebration. 
The ship remained dark, still sliding through the nights 
warily, but her next trip would be made with decks ablaze 
and portholes open. The war was ended. It seemed to 
the girl that in the silence of the aftermath she could hear 
once more the wings of freedom throbbing above the 
world. She was glad and she was sorry. Her fear was 
that after all the Eed Cross would not need her because she 
came too late. 

" Canteen service she pictured the work minus the 
tonic of danger as a social job. Dressed in a blue smock 
and white coif she would bid a graceful farewell to the A. 
E. F. as it filtered out of Europe. JSTow she smiles. 
Needed ? Her fingers are scarred and she wonders if she 
ever will be able to pour one thousand bowls of coffee from 
the gigantic white procelain pitcher without blistering her 
hands. 

" Each day she looks at the line of men jostling one an- 
other at the door. She listens to their interminable ques- 
tions and comes to the full realization that she is one of the 
most important people in Paris, one of two hundred girls 
feeding thirty-five thousand soldiers daily. 

" As some workers leaving for home after more than a 
year of service tell of making sandwiches under shell fire, 
of sleeping by the roadside in the woods to fool the boche 
flyers who bombed the Red Cross buildings, she still feels 



WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 267 

the sly nip of envy. But soldiers do not cease to be soldiers 
and heroes when the war is done. 

" Other puddles formed on the table and she mopped 
them up. She had used three towels during her eight- 
hour shift. A soldier, one of the thousands passing daily 
through the six Paris stations on their way home, journey- 
ing to leave areas, going to join the Army of Occupation or 
assigned to duty in the city, called to her. 

" ' Sister, I want to show you something, 7 he said, and 
unwrapped a highly decorative circlet of aluminum. It 
was a napkin ring which he had bought from a poilu who 
made it of scraps from the battlefield. There was an elab- 
orate monogram engraved on a small copper shield. 

" ' For my mother/ he explained. ' If you don't think 
it is good enough I will get something else.' 

" At once fifty rival souvenirs were produced. Men 
came from other tables to exhibit their own. There was 
the real collector who bemoaned the theft of a * belt made 
by a Russian prisoner in Germany and decorated with the 
buttons of every army in the world including the fire de- 
partment of Holland.' 

" One of the new arrivals had hands stiffened from re- 
cently healed wounds. She brought his plate of baked 
beans, roast meat, potatoes, a bowl of coffee, and pudding. 
A young Canadian with flaming, rosy cheeks divided the 
last doughnut with his friend, the Anzac. Crullers are the 
greatest influence in canteen for the general friendliness 
among soldiers of different armies. A League of Nations 
could be founded upon them if negotiations were left to 
the privates about the oilcloth-covered tables. 

" The boy with the crippled hands protested that he did 
not want to accept a dinner for which there was so little 
charge. 

" ' Say, Miss,' he said, ' I can pay more. I don't have 
to be sponging.' 

" ' You have folks in the states ? ' she asked. He had. 

" ' Then,' she explained, ' they are the ones who sup- 



268 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

port the American Red Cross. When you come here it is 
because the folks asked you in to dinner.' 

" ' But I haven't any folks/ announced a sailor. 

" e I'm from the States, so I am your folks/ she retorted, 
' and the Red Cross is your folks. We invite you to three 
meals a day as long as you stay in Paris.' 

" ( You are my folks/ said the boy who was only a 
youngster, ' and you sure look like home to me.' 

" The soldier with the crippled hands wanted to describe 
his wounds. Like hundreds of others he began with the 
sensations in the field, ' when he got his.' Deftly as she 
had learned to do during hundreds of such recitals, she 
cleaned up the table and stacked the plates without seeming 
to interrupt. It was three o'clock, the end of her day. 
She had reported at seven in the morning. The following 
week she would report with the other members of the staff 
at eleven at night because the doors of a canteen must 
never be closed. 

" The boy talked on. He was explaining homesickness, 
the sort which drives men from cafes where the food is 
unfamiliar and the names on the menus cannot be trans- 
lated into ' doughboy French ' to such places as the little 
room in the Gare St. Lazare. 

" She discovered that her habitual posture was with arms 
akimbo and hands spread out over her hips. This position 
seemed to rest the ache in her shoulders. Through her 
memory flashed pictures of waitresses in station eating 
houses who stood that way while tourists fought for twenty 
minutes' worth of ham and eggs between trains. 

" Red Cross after-war canteens were a social center for 
pretty idlers in smart blue smocks? 

" The smile on her lips never faltered and the hidden 
smile in her heart became a little song of laughter. 

" She was i helping' helping in an ' eating joint/ 
some of the boys called it. But it was an eating joint with 
a soul." 

What more could one ask of an eating-house ? 



WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 269 

.From the canteen at the railroad terminals which 
were all right so far as they went it was an easy step of 
transition to the establishment of hotels for the enlisted 
men in the accessible parts of Paris until there was a 
total of six of these last, in addition to the five railway 
station canteens at Gare St. Lazare, Gare du Nord, Gare 
d'Orsay, Gare d'Orleans, and Gare Montparnasse. The 
winter-time hotels were in the Avenue Victor Emanuel, 
Rue Traversiere, Rue la Victoire, Rue St. Hyacinthe, and 
the Rue du Bac. These were all, in the beginning, small 
Parisian taverns of the pension type, which were rather 
quickly and easily adapted to their war-time uses. 

The great difficulty with the first five of these American 
Red Cross doughboy hotels was their extreme popularity. 
They could hardly keep pace with the demands made upon 
them in the last weeks that preceded and immediately 
following the signing of the armistice ; while, with the com- 
ing of springtime and the granting of wholesale leaves of ab- 
sence by the army, an immediate and most pressing problem 
confronted the American Red Cross in Paris. The boys 
were coming into the town almost literally in whole regi- 
ments, and the provisions for their housing and entertain- 
ment there were woefully inadequate to say the least. 
Not only were these accommodations, as furnished by the 
French, inadequate and poor, but the charges for them 
often were outrageous. 

Yet to furnish hotel accommodations in the big town, 
even of the crudest sort, for a thousand perhaps two 
thousand doughboys a night was no small problem. 
There were no more hotels, large or small, available for 
commandeering in Paris ; the various allied peace commis- 
sions had completely exhausted the supply. Yet our Red 
Cross, accustomed by this time to tackling big problems 
and the solution of this was, after all, but part of the day's 
work, and because there were no more hotels or apartment 
houses or dormitories or barracks of any sort whatsoever 
available in the city of more than two million folks our 



270 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

Eed Cross decided to build a hotel. And so did almost 
overnight. 

It was a summer hotel, that super-tavern for our dough- 
boys, and it stood squarely in the center of that famous 
Parisian playground, the Champs de Mars and almost 
within stone throw of the Eiffel Tower and the Ecole 
Militaire. To create it several dozen long barracks like 
American Red Cross standard khaki tents were erected 
in a carefully planned pattern. Underneath these were 
builded wooden floors and they were furnished with electric 
lights and running water. A summer hotel could not have 
been more comfortable ; at least few of them are. 

The Tent City, as it quickly became known, was opened 
about March 4, 1919, with bed accommodations for 1,400 
men, while preparations were quickly made to increase this 
capacity by another five hundred, for the latest and the 
biggest of American Red Cross hotels in Paris had leaped 
into instant popularity. Between six and nine-thirty in 
the morning and ten-thirty and midnight in the evening, 
the boys would come streaming in to the registry desk, like 
commercial travelers into a popular hostelry in New York 
or Philadelphia or Chicago. They would sleep perhaps 
for the first time in many, many months in muslin sheets. 
And these were as immaculate as those of any first-class 
hotel in the States. 

There was no charge whatsoever for these dormitory ac- 
commodations. For the meals simple but good and 
plentiful the normal price of fifty centimes (nine or ten 
cents) was asked, but never demanded; while merely for 
the asking any of our boys in khaki could have at any hour 
the famous Red Cross sandwiches of ham or salmon or 
beef mixture or jam chocolate or coffee or lemonade 
a-plenty to wash it down. 

Definite provision was made for their amusement ; there 
were " rubberneck wagons " to take them afield to the won- 
derful and enduring tourist sights of Paris and her en- 
virons and at the Tent City itself a plenitude of shows 






WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 271 



and dances as well as the more quiet comfort of books or 
magazines, or the privilege and opportunity of writing a 
letter home. 

" Of what use these last in Paris ? " you ask. 

Your point is well taken. I would have taken it my- 
self before I first went to the Tent City. When I did 
it was a glorious April day, the sun shone with an unaccus- 
tomed springtime brilliancy over Paris, and yet the air was 
bracing and fit for endeavor of every sort. Yet the big 
reading room tent of the Red Cross hotel in the Champs de 
Mars was completely filled with sailor boys or boys in 
khaki reading the books or paper most liked by them. The 
sight astonished me. Could these boys each on a leave 
of but three short days be blind to the wonders of Paris 1 
Or was their favorite author particularly alluring that 
week ? I decided to ask one of them about it, 

" I saw Paris yesterday Notre Dame, the Pantheon, 
Napoleon's Tomb, the Opera House, the Louvre, the 
Follies the whole blame business. It's some hike. But 
I did it. An' to-day I'm perfectly satisfied to sit here and 
read these guys a-telling of how they would have fought the 
war." 

Of such was the nature of the American doughboy. 

Just as it was necessary at Treves and Bordeaux and 
elsewhere because of the very volume of the problem 
to separate his entertainment from that of his officers, so it 
became necessary to effect a similar solution in Paris ; for 
the officer is quite as much a ward of our Red Cross as the 
doughboy, himself. And so early in the solution of this en- 
tire great problem a superb home in the very heart of Paris 
the town residence of the Prince of Monaco at No. 4 
Avenue Gabriel and just a step from the Place de la Con- 
corde was secured and set aside as an American Red 
Cross Officers' Club. Lovely as this was, and seemingly 
more than generous in its accommodations, these were soon 
overwhelmed by the demands placed upon them, and steps 



272 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

were taken toward finding a real officers' hotel for the men 
of the A. E. F. when they should come to Paris. 

These led to the leasing of the Hotel Louvre, at the head 
of the Avenue de 1' Opera and almost adjoining the Com- 
edie Franchise, the American University Union, and the 
Louvre. After being rapidly redecorated and otherwise 
transformed to meet the necessities of the A. E. F. it was 
reopened on the sixth of January, 1919, as the American 
Officers' Hotel in charge of Mr. L. M. Boomer, the direct- 
ing genius of several large New York hotels. Mr. Boomer 
brought to the Eed Cross a great practical hotel experience, 
and the house under his management quickly attained an 
overwhelming success. It had, in the first instance, been 
charmingly adapted to its new uses. Its rather stiff and 
old-fashioned interior had been completely transformed; 
there was all through the building an indefinable but en- 
tirely unmistakable home atmosphere. Our American of- 
ficers fairly reveled in it. 

Into this setting was placed good operation a high- 
grade American-operated hotel, if you please, in the very 
heart of Paris and all her stout traditions. Petit dejeuners 
begone! They are indeed starvation diet for a hungry 
Yank. The breakfast in the American Officers' Hotel, 
which our Red Cross set up and operated, cost a uniform 
five francs (one dollar) and had the substantial quality of 
a regular up-and-doing tavern on this side of the Atlantic. 

Before we rest, here are three typical bills of fare of a 
single ordinary day in this A. E. C.-A. E. F. establish- 
ment. The day was the nineteenth of April, 1919, and 
the three meals were as follows: 

BREAKFAST Five Francs ($1.00). 

Bananas 

Quaker Oats 

Eggs and Bacon 

Griddle Cakes with Sirup 

Confiture 
Coffee, Cocoa, or Chocolate 



WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 273 

LUNCHEON Eight Francs ($1.60). 
Oyster Soup, with Okra 
Scollops of Veal, Dewey 

Nouilles, Milanaise 
Cold Meats, with Jelly 

Russian Salad 

Assorted Eclairs Raspberry Ice Cream 
Coffee 



DINNER Ten Francs ($2.00) . 

Creme St. Cloud 

Rouget Portugaise 

Roasted Filet of Beet, Cresson 

Pommes Chateau Endive Flamandes 

Salade de Saison 

Candied Fruits Coffee Ice Cream 

Coffee 

Yet the charm of the American Officers 7 Hotel in Paris 
rested not alone in the real excellence of its cuisine, nor 
in the comfort of its cleanly sleeping rooms. It carried its 
ideals of genuine service far beyond these mere fundamen- 
tals. It recognized the almost universal Yankee desire 
to have one's shoes shined in a shop and so set up a regular 
American boot-blacking stand in one of its side corridors, 
a thing which every other Parisian hotel would have told 
you was quite impossible of accomplishment. It recog- 
nized the inconvenience of tedious waiting and long queues 
at the box office of the Paris theaters by setting up a theater 
ticket office in its lobby, which made no extra charge for the 
distinct service rendered. Nor was there a charge for the 
services of Miss Curtis, the charming little Red Cross 
girl, who went shopping with a fellow or for him, and who 
had a knack of getting right into those perplexing Paris 
shops and getting just what a fellow wanted at an aston- 
ishingly low price for Paris in war times, anyway. 
Her range of experience was large; from the man with a 
silver star on each shoulder who wanted to buy a modish 
evening gown for his wife at a price not to exceed forty 
dollars, to the chunky Nevada lieutenant who had won 



274 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

three thousand francs at " redeye " on the preceding even- 
ing and was anxious to blow it all in the next morning in 
buying souvenirs for mother. With both she did her best. 
Her motto was that of the successful shop keeper : " We 
aim to please." 

When Mr. Boomer had this hotel set up and running and 
turned his attention to some other housing problems of our 
Red Cross, the management fell to Major H. C. Eberhart, 
who had been his assistant in Paris and before that had 
been affiliated in a managerial capacity with several large 
American houses. He carried forward the job so well 
begun. 

With the slow but very sure movement of our doughboys 
back from eastern France and Germany toward the base 
ports along the westerly rim of France, where they were 
embarking in increasing numbers for the blessed homeland, 
it became necessary for General Pershing to establish con- 
centration areas, or reservoir camps, well back from the 
Atlantic Coast but convenient to it. By far the largest 
and most important of these was in the neighborhood of 
the city of Le Mans, some one hundred and fifty miles 
southwest of Paris, which meant in turn that what was 
finally destined to be the largest of the canteens of our 
American Eed Cross in France outside of Paris was the 
final one established. It was known as the American Red 
Cross Casual Canteen and, situated within three blocks to 
the east of the railroad station at Le Mans, was a genuine 
headquarters for all the American soldiers for ten or fif- 
teen or twenty miles roundabout. And in the bare chance 
that there might not be a doughboy who had chanced to 
hear of it, it was well indicated by day, by a huge 
sign of the crimson cross, and by night that emblem blazing 
forth in all the radiance of electricity. 

When the doors were finally opened about the middle 
of March, 1919 there were sleeping quarters under its 
hospitable roof for 250 enlisted men and forty officers. 



WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 275 

In the canteen portion of the establishment, 200 men could 
be served at a single sitting; in all 500 at each of the three 
meals a day. The comforts of this place almost approxi- 
mated those of a hotel. When the men rose from their 
beds in the morning clean sheets and towels and pillow- 
cases, of course, even though it did mean that the Red 
Cross had to establish its own laundry in the establish- 
ment they could step, quickly and easily, into a com- 
modious washroom and indulge, if they so chose, in a 
shower bath. Eighteen showers were installed for their 
convenience. It represented the acme of Red Cross 
service. 

Finally the beginning of the end for the average dough- 
boy in France that long anticipated and seemingly 
never-arriving day of departure in the troopship for home. 

Our Red Cross was down to see him off when he sailed. 
It might have been from Brest or Bordeaux or St. Nazaire 
that he took his departure or from some one of the lesser 
ports that were used to a greater or less extent. That made 
no difference to the American Red Cross. It was part of 
its job to be on hand whenever and wherever the boy of the 
A. E. F. sailed for home whether it was Brest or 
Vladivostok or Southampton or Marseilles. 

As a matter of real and actual fact, Brest was the 
most used of all the embarkation ports for the journey 
home. It boasted what was sometimes called " the most 
beautiful canteen in France " which had been builded by 
our Red Cross, with the generous help of the army engi- 
neers. It immediately adjoined the embarkation sheds, 
and night and day in the months that followed the sign- 
ing of the armistice, it was supremely busy serving the 
inevitable cigarettes, doughnuts, chocolate, and other hot 
drinks. An interesting and extremely valuable adjunct to 
the place was a bakery, with a capacity of twenty thousand 
buns a day. 

The enlisted men's rest room, with its bright hangings 



276 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

and draperies, its cartoons of army life painted upon its 
wall panels, its big fireplace, its comfortable settees, 
lounging chairs, and tables supplied with games, maga- 
zines, and writing material, held especial attraction for 
the doughboys. In all the mud and grime of the dirty 
Port du Commerce it was the one cheery and homelike 
place. 

I told in an earlier chapter of the American Red Cross 
canteen at Bassens, just across the Gironde from Bordeaux. 
It is enough to add here and now that this American-builded 
port with its mile-long Yankee timber pier at which seven 
great ships might be berthed simultaneously, discharging 
or loading cargoes, never justified its worth half so much 
as in the days after the armistice. Thomas Kane's coffee 
attained a new perfection while Miss Susanne Wills, the 
Chicago woman who was directress of the canteen on the 
pier, and her fellow workers made renewed efforts to see 
that the boys that passed through the canteen had every 
conceivable comfort and then some others. I, myself, 
spent a half day questioning them as to these. The verdict 
to the questionings was unanimous. It generally came in 
the form of a grin or a nod of the head, sometimes merely 
in a pointing gesture to the crimson-crossed comfort bag, 
that the big and blushing doughboy carried hung upon 
his wrist. 

For the sick boy, going homeward bound from all the 
ports, very special comfort provisions were made and 
rightly so. All of these last passed through the Red Cross 
infirmaries on the embarkation docks. As each went over 
the gangway he was questioned as to his equipment. If 
he was short a mess kit or a cup, a fork, a knife, a spoon 
or a blanket, the deficiency was promptly met ; in addition 
to which each boy was given a pair of flannel pajamas and 
the inevitable comfort bag, with its toothbrush, tooth 
paste, wash cloth, bar of soap, and two packages of cig- 



WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME 277 

arettes. Books and magazines also went upon each troop- 
ship, while Red Cross nurses accompanied the boys on to 
the ships and saw them safely settled in the hospital wards. 
~No mere cataloging of the work of our Eed Cross in the 
embarkation ports can ever really begin to tell the story 
of the fullness of its service there. Charts of organiza- 
tion, details of operations, pictures of the surroundings 
go just so far, but never quite far enough to tell of the 
heart interest that really makes service anywhere and 
everywhere. Such service the American Eed Cross ren- 
dered all across the face of France and nowhere with 
more strength and enthusiasm than in those final moments 
of the doughboy which awaited him before his start home. 
Have I not already told you that our Eed Cross over there 
was not a triumph of organization or anything like it ? 
It was a big job and with big mistakes. But the big- 
ness of the things accomplished so far outweighed the mis- 
takes that they can well be forgotten ; the tremendous net 
result of real achievement set down immutably and indis- 
putably as a real triumph of our American individualism. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE GIRL WHO WENT TO WAS 

ON" the ship that bore me from New York to Europe in 
the first week of December, 1918, there were many 
war workers and of many sorts and varieties. We had 
men and women of the Y. M. C. A., of the Y. W. C. A., 
of the Jewish Welfare Board, of the Knights of Columbus 
and twenty-five women of the American Red Cross. 
And so, in the close-thrown intimacy of shipboard, one 
had abundant opportunity to study this personnel at rather 
short range, and the fact that our ship, which had been 
builded for South African traffic rather than for that of 
the North Atlantic, nearly foundered in mid ocean only 
served to increase the opportunity. 

There were women war workers of nearly every age and 
variety in that motley ship's company. There were 
school-teachers one from Portland, Maine, and another 
from Portland, Oregon stenographers, clerks, women of 
real social distinction, professional women, including a 
well-known actress or two, and girls so recently out of 
finishing school or college that they had not yet attained 
their full places in the sun. Few of them had known one 
another before they had embarked upon the ship; there 
was a certain haziness of understanding in many of their 
minds as to the exact work that was to be allotted to them 
overseas. A large percentage of the women, in fact, had 
never before crossed the Atlantic; a goodly number had 
not even seen salt water before this voyage. Yet with all 
this uncertainty there was no timidity no, not even 
when the great December storm arose, and with the full- 
ness of its fury lashed itself into a hurricane the like of 

278 



THE GIRL WHO WENT TO WAR 279 

which our captain, who had crossed the ocean a hundred 
times or more, had not seen. And when the fury of this 
storm had crashed in the cabin windows, had torn the 
wheelhouse away, had set the stout ship awash and the pas- 
sengers to bailing, the courage and serenity of these Ameri- 
can women remained undisturbed. They suffered great 
personal discomforts, yet complained not. And with our 
national felicity for an emergency organization that 
sort of organization really is part and parcel of our indi- 
vidualism relieved the steward's crew at night and 
cooked and served the Sabbath supper. 

There were women in uniform on our ship whose mouths 
were tightly shut in the grim determination of service 
one could fairly see " Z-E-A-L " written in unmistakable 
letters upon their high foreheads and there were girls 
who fretted about the appearance of the curls under the 
edges of their small service caps and who coquetted with 
the young British aviators returning home after service as 
instructors on the flying fields here in the United States. 
Between these extremes there was vast range and variety. 
But the marvelous part of it all was that all of them - 
each after her own creed or fashion, for the dominating 
quality of our individualism multiplies geometrically in 
the case of our American womanhood ranged true to 
any test that might be put upon them. The storm showed 
that. I did not have the personal opportunity of seeing 
the Red Cross girls in battle service; but I did see them 
in the canteens in the hard, hard months that followed the 
signing of the armistice, saw them in the wards and the 
recreation huts of hospital after hospital, saw them, too, in 
Paris headquarters, working under very difficult conditions 
of light and ventilation living of every sort and at 
manual or office work or humdrum dreariness. The girl 
in uniform who sat all day in a poorly lighted and aired 
room at a typewriter or a filing case had a far less dram- 
atic or poetic job than the traditional Red Cross girl who 
stands at a battlefield canteen or in a hospital ward holding 



280 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

the hand of some good-looking and perhaps marriage- 
able young captain or colonel. Yet her service was as 
real as uncomplaining and for the reasons we have just 
seen vastly more difficult. 

None of the women's work over there was easy the 
romantic girl who went to France lured on by the dream 
pictures of some artist-illustrator as to the dramatic phases 
of canteen or hospital work was quickly disillusionized. 
The real thing was vastly different from the picture. A 
dirty and unshaven doughboy in bed or standing in a long 
queue waiting for his cigarettes or chocolate, and speaking 
Polish or Yiddish when he came to them, was a far, far 
different creature from the young wounded officer of the 
picture who must have been an F. F. V. or at least from 
one of the first families of Baltimore or Philadelphia. 
And the hours! They were fearfully hard to put it 
lightly. Eight, ten, or twelve hours at a stretch was a 
pretty good and exhausting test of a girl's vitality. Nor 
was this all of the job, either. Many and many a woman 
worker of the Red Cross or, for that matter, the Y. M. 
C. A., too, has stood eight or ten or twelve hours on 
her feet in a canteen and then has ridden twenty or thirty 
miles in a truck or camionette to an army dance, has danced 
three or four or five more hours with soldier boys who, 
even if they do not happen to be born dancers, do covet 
the attention and interest of decent girls, and has returned 
to only a few hours of sleep, before the long turn in the 
canteen once again. And has repeated this performance 
four or five times a week. For what ? Because she was 
crazy for dancing ? Not a bit of it. For of a truth they 
became sick of dancing " fed up " is the phrase they 
frequently used when they spoke of it at all. 

" I feel as if I never wanted to hear an orchestra 
again," one of them told me one day as I stopped at 
her canteen in a French town close to the occupied ter- 
ritory. "But I have four dates already for next week 
and three for the week after. Another month of this 



THE GIRL WHO WENT TO WAR 281 

sort of thing and I shall be a fit candidate for a rolling 
chair." 

" Why do you do it ? " I ventured. 

" Why do I do it ? " she repeated. " The boys need 
us. Have you noticed the kind of girls that drift up 
here from Paris ? If you have, you will understand why 
my job is unending, why it only pauses for a very little 
while indeed at night, when I jump into my bed for six 
or seven hours of well-earned sleep." 

I understood. I had spent an evening in the grand 
boulevards of Paris and had watched a " Y " girl, under 
the escort of a member of the American Military Police, 
save foolish doughboys and their still more foolish officers 
from themselves. In a few minutes after ten o'clock 
that evening an overcrowded hotel of one of our largest 
American war-relief organizations had regretfully turned 
away sixteen of our soldiers and in this time there were 
fifteen French girls waiting to give the hospitality that 
the sadly overburdened hotel had been compelled to refuse 
them. No wonder that our Red Cross was forced into 
the building of the great Tent City there on the Champs de 
Mars. As these French girls of the Paris streets came up 
to the doughboys the job of the " Y " girl began. In a 
few more minutes she had convinced the boys that it was 
not too late to give up hope of securing lodgings in over- 
crowded Paris; and was quick with her suggestions as to 
where they might be found. It was not a pleasant job. I 
hardly can imagine one more unpleasant. But the girl 
had her reward, in the looks of gratitude which the dough- 
boys gave her. One or two of them cried like babies. 

This was an unusual job to be sure. But our American 
Eed Cross also was filled with unusual jobs for women 
as well as for men; jobs that took not merely endurance 
and courage, but in many, many cases rare wit and tact 
and diplomacy, and these were rarely lacking, and some- 
times came where they were least expected. 



"282 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

I am not all anxious to over-glorify these women. It 
would hardly be fair; for, after all/ they were very 
human indeed witness one young widow on our ship 
to Europe who not merely confessed but actually boasted 
that she had received three proposals of marriage upon 
that stormy voyage. And one little secretary girl from the 
Middle West, who was of our ship's company, wanted to 
be a canteen worker, although she was specifically enrolled 
for the office work for which she was particularly qualified, 
but when she found that the canteen to which she was to 
be assigned was located in a lonely railroad junction town 
in the middle of France, demanded that she be sent to 
Coblenz, where the Army of Occupation had its head- 
quarters; she said quite frankly that she did not want to 
be robbed of all her opportunities of meeting the nice 
young officers of the army. She was very human, that 
.young secretary, and eventually she got to Coblenz. In- 
sistence counts. And she was both insistent and consistent. 

But at the Rhine her lot, oddly enough, was not thrown 
in with officers but with the doughboys the enlisted 
men of our most amazing army. She fed them, walked 
with them, danced with them, wrote their letters, and finally 
began to understand. And so slowly but surely came to 
the fullness of her real value to the country that she 
served. 

One evening she dined in the Y. W. 0. A. hostess 
house at Coblenz with two of these boys. Left alone, she 
would have dined by herself. She was tired, very tired. 
There comes the hour when a woman worker wearies a 
bit at sight of a ceaseless file of chattering and khaki-clad 
men. And so when she seated herself in one of the little 
dining booths of the " Y. W." restaurant, it was with a 
silent prayer that she might be left alone just that 
evening. Her prayer was not granted. A big doughboy 
came and sat down beside her, another across the narrow 
table from her. The second vouched for the first. 



THE GIRL WHO WENT TO WAR 283 

"You will like Hank," said he. "He's one of the 
livest in the whole First Division. He's from Waco, 
Texas, and say, he's the best gambler in the whole army." 

At which Hank grinned and produced a huge wad of 
ten and twenty and fifty and hundred franc notes from his 
hip pocket. 

" Don't you let him string you, Miss Tippitoes," said 
he, " but if ever you get where you need a little spare 
change you know where your Uncle Hank is to be found." 

He called her " Miss Tippitoes " because he could not 
remember her real name even if ever it had been given to 
him. But he had danced with her and watched her dance, 
and marveled. And well might he have marveled. For 
if I were to give you Miss Tippitoes' real name you might 
know it as the name of the most graceful and popular 
dancer in a fashionable suburb of Chicago. 

Hank edged closer to her. It was in the crowded 
restaurant, so he took off his coat and unbuttoned his 
blouse, as well as the upper buttons of his undershirt. 
And Tippitoes stood for it it was a part of her job 
and she knew it while Hank leaned closer to her and 
confided some of his troubles they were troubles com- 
mon to so many of the doughboys. 

" It's a dump that we're billeted in, miss," said he," and 
it's all the fault of our colonel him and that Red Cross 
girl he's stuck on. Just because he's got a mash on her 

he had the regiment moved in to G . But I've got his 

number. And as for her why, that girl comes from 
my home town. I've got hers, too." 

Tippitoes' eyes blazed. She could have lost her temper 
so easily. It is not difficult when one is fagged and nerves 
begin to get on edge, but she kept her patience. 

" Don't be foolish, young man," said she, " otherwise 
somebody will have to take the trouble to tell you that a 
colonel does not locate his regiment. He has no more to 
say about where you shall all be billeted than you your- 



284: WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

selves. And as for the Red Cross girl, she is in the same 
position. Moreover, your remark is not worthy of an 
American soldier and a gentleman." 

There was something in the way she said these things 
- no type may ever put in upon paper that, in the 
language of the motion-picture world, " registered." In 
a little time Hank was ashamed of himself, and with <the 
innate generosity of his big, uncouth heart, apologized 
like a gentleman and an American soldier. 

Ofttimes, even though with the American Army 
women were not permitted to go very close to the front 
line, the joh the Red Cross girl was fraught with much 
real danger. The air raid was too frequent and too deadly 
a visitor not to have earned an awsome respect for itself. 
The tooth marks of Big Bertha still show all too plainly 
as horrid scars across the lovely face of Paris the beauty 
of the world. The boche, as we all very well know, did 
not stop his long-distance warfare from the air even at 
the sight of the roofs which bore crimson crosses and so 
signified that they were hospitals and, under every condi- 
tion of civilization and humanity, exempt from attack. 
The story of these hospital raids, with their casualty lists, 
not merely of American boys already sick and wounded, 
but of the wounding and killing of the men and women who 
were laboring to give them life and comfort, is already a 
well-known fact of record ; yet even this was not all. Death 
never seemed far away in those hard months of 19 IT and 
1918, and Death was no respector, either of persons or of 
uniforms or of sex. Upon the honor roll of our Red Cross 
there are the names of twenty-three American women, 
other than nurses, who made the supreme sacrifice for their 
country. 

The experiences of the Red Cross girls in the air raids 
were as many and varied as the girls themselves. That of 
a canteen worker at Toul was fairly typical. She had been 
over at the neighboring city of Nancy to aid in one of the 



THE GIRL WHO WENT TO WAR 285 

innumerable soldiers 7 dances which had heen given there. 
In the middle of the dance it had suddenly occurred to 
her chum and herself that neither had eaten since morning. 
A young lieutenant had taken them to a very good little 
restaurant in the great Place Stanislas that all through the 
hard days of the war held to a long-time reputation of real 
excellence, and had insisted that they order a dinner of 
generous proportions. 

Yet before their soup had been fairly served an air 
raid was upon them. The roar of the planes and the rattle 
of cannonading were continuous. Every light in the place 
went out instantly, and because the proprietor insisted 
even then in keeping his shades and shutters tightly drawn 
the place was inky black. 

" What did you do ? " I asked her. 

" What did we do ? We went ahead and ate our din- 
ner. It was the best thing we could do. I realized for the 
first time in my life the real handicaps of the blind. I 
don't see how they ever learn to eat fried chicken 
gracefully." 

.In an earlier chapter I told of the remarkable work done 
by the Smith College girls at the crux of the great Ger- 
man drive. It was impossible in that chapter to tell 
all of the sacrifice and the devotion shown by these women 
the most of them from five to fifteen years out of 
college, although one of the best of them was from the 
class of 1882 and still another from that of 1917. " We 
were an unbaked crew/' one of them admitted quite 
frankly to me. 

Miss Elizabeth Bliss was typical of these college girls. 
A long time after Chateau-Thierry they were all working 
behind the lines in the Argonne, Miss Bliss herself in 
charge of a sanitary train for the Bed Cross from the rail- 
head back to the base hospital. It was part of her job to 
work up to midnight and then be called at three o'clock 
in the morning to see the four o'clock train start off 



286 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

with its wounded. On one of those October mornings, 
when the weather was a little worse than usual, if that 
could be possible, she exerted a perfectly human privilege 
and decided not to get up. 

But no sooner had this decision been made than the 
still, small voice spoke to her. 

" Can you afford to miss even one day ? " it said to her. 

" I'm all in. I just can't get up," she replied to the 
S. S. V. 

" Can you afford to miss even one day ? " it repeated. 

She got up and dressed and made her way down in the 
rain to the waiting train. As she went into the long hos- 
pital car a wounded doughboy raised himself on one elbow 
and shouted to all his fellows: 

" Hi, fellows, I told you that a Red Cross girl would be 
here, and here she is. I told you she'd come." 

" Just think if I hadn't," says Miss Bliss in telling of 
this incident. 

When life back of the front was not dangerous or dra- 
matic, it was apt to be plain dreary. There is not usually 
much drama just in hard wark. Take once again the 
case of Miss Mary Vail Andress, whom we found in charge 
of the canteen at Toul. Miss Andress came to France 
on the twenty-fourth of August, 1917, one of a group of 
seven Red Cross women, the first of the American Red Cross 
women to be sent over. The other members of the party 
were Mrs. Dickens, Mrs. Lawrence, Miss Frances Mitchell 
(who was sent to the newly opened canteen at fipernay), 
Miss Rogers, Miss Andrews-, and Miss Frances Andrews, 
and were immediately dispatched to Chalons. For a short 
time Miss Andress was the assistant of Henry Wise Miller, 
who was then in charge of canteen work in France. She, 
however, enlisted for canteen work and so asked Mr. Miller 
to be allowed to go into the field and was sent to fipernay. 
From there she went back to Paris and on to Chantilly, 



THE GIRL WHO WENT TO WAR 287 

where she prepared a home for girls in canteen work. 
She came to Toul in January, 1918, and, as you already 
know, was the first woman worker to reach that important 
American Army headquarters. 

" For a while it seemed as if I could never quite get 
down to the real job," she says " it seemed so often that 
something new broke loose and always just at the wrong 
time. While we were working to get the first canteen es- 
tablished here at Toul we had a nurses' club in mind 
at the time word came from the hospital over there back 
of the hill that the Red Cross was needed there to help 
prepare for the comfort of the nurses in that big place. 
I went there at once of course. Within fifteen minutes 
after I got there I was hanging curtains in the girls' bar- 
racks couldn't you trust a woman to do a job like that ? 
I did not get very many hung. Captain Hugh Pritchitt, 
my chief, came bursting in upon me. ' They're here.' he 
shouted. 

" I knew what that meant. e They ' were the first of 
our American wounded, and they must have comfort and 
help and immediate attention. They got it. It was part 
of our job, you know. And after that part was organized 
there was nothing to it but to come back to Toul and set 
up our chain of canteens there." 

And you already know how very well that particular war 
job was done. And doing it involved much devotion and 
endurance and self-sacrifice, not only on the part of the 
directress, but on that of her staff of capable assistants. 

Talk about devotion and endurance and self-sacrifice ! 
Into the desolate ruin of the war-racked city of Kheims 
there walked last October two American Eed Cross women 
on a sight-seeing trip. They had had months of hard 
canteen work and were well tired out, and were about to 
return home. In a week or so of leave they went to Rheims 
because that once busy city with its dominating cathedral 
has become the world's new Pompeii. And the man or 



288 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

woman who visits France without seeing it has missed 
seeing the one thing of almost supreme horror and interest 
in the world to-day. 

The two Red Cross women had but a single day to see 
Eheims. That was last October. They still are there; 
for back of the ruins, back of the gaunt, scarred hulk of 
that vast church which was once the pride of France, and 
to day the symbol of Calvary through which she had just 
passed, there rose the question in their minds: what has 
become of the folk of this town? It was the sort of 
question that does not down. Nor were the two women 

one is Miss Emily Bennet of the faculty of a fashionable 
girls' school in New York and the other Miss Catherine 
Biddle Porter of Philadelphia the sort that close their 
souls to questions such as these. 

They found the answer. It was in the basement of the 
commercial high school a dreary, high-ceil inged place, 
but because of its comparatively modern construction of 
steel and brick a sort of abri or bombproof refuge for the 
three or four hundred citizens that stuck it out through the 
four years of horror. In that basement place of safety an 
aged school-teacher of the town, Mademoiselle Fourreaux, 
month in and month out, prepared two meals a day- 
bread and soup for the group of refugees that gathered 
round about her and literally kept the heart of Rheims 
abeat. The Red Cross women found this aged heroine 

she confesses to having turned seventy working un- 
aided, and within the hour were working with her, sending 
word back to Paris to send up a few necessary articles 
of comfort and of clothing. That night they slept in 
Rheims, and were billeted in a house whose windows had 
been crudely replaced with oiled paper and whose roof was 
half gone. 

In a short time relief came to them. The American 
Red Cross sent in other supplies and workers and estab- 
lished a much larger and finer canteen relief in another 
section of the town. Other organizations French and 




THE GIRL WHO WENT TO WAE 289 

>ritish and American poured in relief ; but Miss Ben- 
nett and Miss Porter stuck it out, and soon began to reap 
the fruit of their great endeavors. 

I have cited here a few instances of women who have 
gone overseas frequently at great personal sacrifices 
to help bear the burden of the war. If space had permitted 
I might easily have given five hundred, and each of them 
would have had its own personal little dramatic story. 
I might simply tell of some of the women whom I have 
met on the job; of Miss Lucy Duhring of Philadelphia, 
setting up the women's work of the Y. M. C. A. in the 
leave areas of the occupied territory; of a girl superin- 
tendent of schools from Kansas, working in the hospital 
records for the Red Cross at Toul; of another girl from 
Kingston-on-Hudson running a big Y. W. C. A. hotel 
for army girls in Paris and running it mighty well; of 
still another woman this one a welfare worker from a 
big industrial plant in Kansas City as the guiding 
spirit in the hostess house at Coblenz. The list quickly 
spins to great lengths. It is a tremendously embracing 
one, and when one gazes at it, he begins to realize what 
effect this great adventure overseas is going to have upon 
the lives of the women who participated in it; how it is 
going to change the conventions of life, or its amenities, 
or its opportunities. How will the weeks and months of 
camaraderie with khaki-clad men, under all conditions 
and all circumstances affect them? Many of the silly 
conventionalities of ordinary life and under ordinary con- 
ditions of peace, have, of necessity, been thrown away over 
there. Men and women have made long trips together, 
in train or in motor car, and have thought or made nothing 
of it whatever. On the night train up from Aix les-Bains 
to Paris on one of those never-to-be-forgotten nights the 
autumn the conflict still raged, two girls of the A. E. F. 
found it quite impossible to obtain seats of any sort. 
Four or five marines, back from a short leave in a little 



290 WITH THE DOUGHBOY IN FRANCE 

town near there, did the best they could for them and with 
their blankets and dunny rolls rigged crude beds for them 
in the aisle of a first-class car, and there the girls rode all 
night to Paris while the marines stood guard over them. 

The gray-uniformed woman war-worker knows that she 
may trust the American soldier. Her experience with the 
doughboy has been large and so her tribute to the high 
qualities of his manhood is of very real value. Moreover, 
she too, has seen real service, both in canteen work and in 
the still more important leave area work which has followed 
this last the great problem of keeping the idle soldier 
healthily amused. 

" I have known our girls," she will tell you, " to go 
into a miserable little French or German town filled with 
a thousand or twelve hundred American boys in khaki 
and in a day change the entire spirit of that community. 
There has been a dance one night, for instance, with the 
boys restless and trying stupidly to dance with one another, 
or in some cases, even bringing in the rough little village 
girls from the streets outside. But the next dance has 
seen a transformation. The girls of the A. E. F. have 
come, they are dancing with the men ; there is cheer and 
decency in the very air, there are neither French nor Ger- 
man present the place is American. 

" You have told of what the American girl has been to 
the men of our army ; let me tell, in a word, what the army 
has been to the American woman who has worked with it : 
We have trusted our enlisted men in khaki and not once 
found that trust misplaced. Night and day have we 
placed our honor in their hands and never have trusted 
in vain." 

" The reason why ? " we venture. 

" The mothers of America," is the quick reply. 

I know what she means. I have read letter after letter 
written by the doughboys to the mothers back here, and 
the mass of them still stay in my mind as a tribute 
that all but surpasses description. Some of them mis- 



THE GIRL WHO WENT TO WAR 291 

spelled ; many of them ungrammatical where have our 
schools been these last few years ? a few of them humor- 
ous, a few pathetic, but all of them breathing a sentiment 
and a tenderness that makes me willing to call ours the 
sentimental as well as the amazing army. Add to these 
letters the verbal testimony of the boys to the women of 
their army. 

" We're not doing much," one after another has said. 
" but say, you ought to see my mother on the job back 
home. She's the one that's turning the trick." 

It was a large experiment sending women with our army 
overseas in the minds of many a most dubious experi- 
ment. In no other war had an army ever had women en- 
rolled with it, save possibly a few nurses. It is an experi- 
ment which, so far as the United States is concerned, has 
more than justified itself. Our women have been tried in 
France in other European lands as well and have 
not been found wanting ; which is a very faint way, indeed, 
of trying to tell, of a great accomplishment. For if the 
American soldier, through many months of test and trial 
and test and trial that by no means were confined to 
the battlefield has kept his body clean and his soul pure 
through the virtue of woman which has been spread about 
him through the guarded years of his home life, how about 
the virtue of the women that, clad in the uniform of our 
Eed Cross and the other war-relief organizations, guarded 
him successfully when he was far away from home? 
There is but one answer to such a question, but one ques- 
tion to follow after that. Here it is : Is it fair to longer 
consider such a real accomplishment a mere experiment ? I 
think not.) I think that it is rather to be regarded as a 
real triumph of our Americanism. 



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