For Cap and many men of the 365th Regiment, September 1918 offered a brutal introduction to combat: constant artillery bombardments, trench warfare, nighttime raids, even a few gas attacks. It really does seem to be the month that weathered Cap, turning him from a young Massachusetts bloke into a seasoned officer of the United States Army. It was also the month that launched the final assault of the war, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The months-long battle stretched along the entire Western Front and involved some 1.2 million American troops. While it ultimately brought an end to the war, the battle remains the bloodiest in American history.
Despite the severity of combat in September 1918, Cap was not without his characteristic wit. Here is one of my favorite passages from the entire journal:
“I threatened to take a bath this afternoon but Heinie opened up with his big ones. As they were dropping all around the village I saw it was no time to be caught with your clothes off—so had to put my bath off another month. Great life—if you don’t weaken—but not having chance to bathe I know I am getting stronger each day.”