The war continued to drag on in October of 1918, although hopes for an armistice were brewing. Negotiations between Germany and the western powers had indeed begun, but many of these hopes would be dashed as the fighting intensified and the push into German-occupied Belgium continued.
For Cap, the days seemed to dither between great excitement and total boredom. On October 13, he wrote:
“Sunday and absolutely no indication that it has been a day different from the rest. One loses all track of the days and dates up here in the front lines. All days are alike, the only difference being that each successive day is one day nearer the end of the war.”
Just nine days later, Cap wrote the following:
“We pulled off an attack and we were up with the Colonel at the telephone until way late. Heinie threw over plenty of gas shells and our gas sentries were busy sounding the claxons. The attack was for the purpose of getting prisoners but altho’ we penetrated far into the Boche lines we were unable to accomplish our mission. The German lines are held very thinly in this particular sector.”
In one illuminating entry on October 9, Cap references a famous quote by General Sherman (of Civil War fame): “War is Hell.” It seems the one certainty in the depths of this horrendous conflict.
I’ve also updated the photo collection. It’s truly fascinating just how well documented World War I was—the sheer volume of photographs and first-hand accounts that exist in varying degrees of decay.