January 1919

January Portrait

January 4/19

The beginning of a new year—wonder what it will bring forth. Our New Year’s dinner was a grand success, even more to eat than at Christmas. Also had some ladies present and two good old French sports, citizens of the city. Watched the old year out with plenty of good French wine and with a little dance. A very pleasant evening. Orders indicate that we will move out sometime this week, going to Le Mans where the records will be checked, the men deloused and re-equipped. Then on to Brest and embark for the dear old States. Same old routine stuff all week—nothing exciting to write about.

My Christmas box hasn’t arrived as yet. Reckon it’s lost now. Got some delayed letters yesterday.

January 8/19

Still at AmbrieresHaving written a book full of this junk I will start back the other way—hope I don’t remain in France long enough to fill the reverse side of every page in this old book.*

Still at Ambrières—no further orders about moving. A Field Order from Div HQ stated we could expect to move the last of this week, but today being Thursday there isn’t a chance. This is a fine old country and although the weather is miserable I am having a good time.

The Embarkation Personnel Adjutant was up from Le Mans, Capt Florence, yesterday checking over our records. Had plenty of work all day. Last night M. & Madam Patry, who owns the villa in which the Colonel, Sweitzer, and I are billeted gave us a wonderful blow-out. The old boy is a big manufacturer and worth some million Francs. He put on some party, the finest dinner I have sat down to in France with more kinds of wine and liquors than I ever imagined existed—everything one could imagine and wish for—and then some. He seemed glad of the opportunity of entertaining American officers. Have a menu card elsewhere, also pictures of the villa.

*The entire journal is written in a classic legal pad. This marks the last page of the notebook, and so Cap continue to write on the back of the pages in reverse order.

January 8th

“We all had fading visions of the Statue of Liberty.”

January 18/19

I did not believe that I would be writing a line in this book in Ambrières under the above date—but we are still here awaiting orders to move. Every day a new order is received from Div. HQ changing the entraining date—a small clipping in the American edition of the Daily Mail* yesterday sent a chill through the whole regiment. It stated that General Pershing had ordered the 92nd to Germany as a reserve unit for Army of Occupation, that our orders to sail for the States had been rescinded. Imagine the sensation it created. We all had fading visions of the Statue of Liberty, old New York—the dear old States—home and all our friends. But thank heaven it was a fake, without foundation.

Ambrières is still as peaceful as ever, not a thing to do—not even a good looking girl to gaze at. It’s a hard life. Sweitzer & I take a long walk occasionally and look over this beautiful country. The beauty of the country, though, is decidedly marred by the beastly weather. Rains every day, mud inches deep. I believe the name of France should be changed to “Muddy France” instead of “Sunny France.”

“Arrested four men for wearing their hair too long.”

Went to [Mayrene?] yesterday to Div. HQ to go over some important things with Div. Personnel Adjutant, incidentally to see the town. Received thirteen letters from the States day before yesterday—first in a month—sure were mighty welcome. My Christmas box from home not arrived as yet—reckon perfectly good pocket Kodak and several other things are no more.

Have got a new Colonel Geo B. McMasters, mighty snappy soldier, and from first impressions one that will keep us on our toes every minute. S— & I went with to inspect companies this P.M. Pulled off some new stunts I shall always remember, arrested four men for wearing their hair too long, another for not saluting. Sure is going to have this bunch on their toes.

*To my surprise, the notorious Daily Mail was founded in 1896.

January 21/19 

Can’t write but a line tonight, am leaving for Paris in the morning. Got a day or so leave through Division HQ, although all leaves were suspended owing to movement of Division. Capt. [Bolemen?], Division Personnel Adjutant got it through for me—find it pays to have someone to pull for you. Expect a big time and will write about it later.

Orders came today that Division would start movement to Le Mans tomorrow. Our outfit leaves Ambrières on Friday the 25th. I will meet them at Le Mans when I return from Paris.

The Paris Peace Conference began January 18th, 1919. "The Big Four" (David Lloyd George of Britain, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando of Italy, Georges Clemenceau of France, President Woodrow Wilson of the U.S) made most of the decisions.

The Paris Peace Conference began January 18th, 1919. “The Big Four” (David Lloyd George of Britain, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando of Italy, Georges Clemenceau of France, President Woodrow Wilson of the U.S) made most of the decisions.

January 26/19

Well it’s all true—they’re here, the good looking women of France. I have seen many wonderful looking girls but never saw them congregated in one place before in such large numbers.

Paris is a wonderful old city. I had some little time there and saw everything of interest. Left Ambrières on morning of 22nd, went to La Val, stayed over there few hours, then went to Le Mans. Also spent a few hours there and took the train for Paris. Returning went by way of Blois, Tours, and Le Mans, arriving there on 26th. It was a great old trip and was indeed fortunate in being able to take it before starting for home. In Paris I bought a taxi and rode all over the place taking in all of the interesting points. Did some hurried shopping and took in some mighty good eating places and theaters. Stayed at a swell little old hotel, very convenient to the Place ‘d’ Opera, which was handy to the gayest part of the city. Paris was filled with American officers and soldiers and prices were in accordance. Lucky I did not stay only a day or so as it sure does take (beau comp?) francs and just at this time I was not exceptionally heavy. In this A.E.F. one hears first of Paris in connection with wine, women, and song, and to one who has not been there the tales that are told seem exaggerated beyond all reason—but—they’re true.

“One hears first of Paris in connection with wine, women, and song.”

It’s not the individual that attracts so much it’s the members—everyone you meet is beautiful, and naturally they know how to make themselves attractive—especially to Americans officers. Never do for me to remain there long. Paris reminds me of New Orleans except on a scale infinitely larger.

Also had an interesting trip to Tours, HQ of the SOS. Rejoined the regiment at Le Mans, they came in by train last night, we are now located at the forwarding camp three kilo’s outside waiting to be deloused and for transportation to Brest. Imagine—mud & rain up to your ankles, cold as h— and in tents—this necessary until men are deloused. Then I understand we get into the clean camp and barracks.

General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces.

General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces.

January 30/19

Still in the lousy camp and it sure is several things besides lousy—cold—muddy and disagreeable. Yesterday it snowed all day, increasing the mud about two feet. Living in tents even with our little Sibley stoves is anything but pleasant. They have promised to start delousing our outfit tomorrow, then they claim we will move into the clean camp. Clean camp at this place means tents with wooden or corrugated iron floors. Wonderful life but thank heaven it begins to look as if we will soon be out and away form it.

Today an order came through that the entire Division would be reviewed by General Pershing at the aviation camp just outside of Le Mans. Regiment led the Division and marched to field at 10 a.m. formed and was reviewed at 1.30 by the C. in C. He inspected each company and battalion and then paraded for his benefit, after he assembled the officers of the Division and made a short talk reviewing the work of the 92nd since its arrival in France. Gave us a mighty good send-off and thanked us for our cooperation and work. Could not help but believe from his remarks that he has political aspirations.

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