Clayton M. Sherwood:
Diary of Foreign Service, August 1917 to February 1919


[August 1918]

Thursday, Aug. 1
Liberty bonds and allotment run out in July so for this month which [we] will get paid for in Sept. [we] will get nearly full pay. Hauling rock again. Boucoup vin rouge [a lot of red wine] from Frenchman. Detail rather happy, Corkhill especially spirited and doing more work than he had in a week. Signed payroll after supper.

Friday, Aug. 2
Worked on [No.] 1 pit and for Richardson in store house. Pretty rainy. Letters from home, little Marshall, Iva and Net[tie], Bertine, Lill and A[lice].C. Nettie had been to Boston for a visit. Said Orel [Champney] was in [Outer] Banks getting ready to leave soon for France.

Aug. 3, Saturday
Rain in morning but nice most of day. B.C. [battery commander/control] station done and No. 1 gun dugout nearly finished. Timbers in and being covered. Bathed in P.M. Several shells came near camp, one piece cutting limb off tree in battery st[reet]. Had some eggs cooked for Wleklinski and I, but three other fellows were given a part by lady who cooked them. Also had to pay for them twice. Ha Ha. Beer there that was good though. Have to stay in tonight to have night drill between 9 and 10 [P.M.], so no one can start to Nancy this evening. Would like to go myself early in morning. 1st and 2nd divisions are there so [I] might run across Jim [Burwell].

Sunday, Aug. 5 [date is actually Aug. 4]
Heard 26th regiment was in Griscourt so started in. Second batt[ery] only there so went on to Sarzerais where saw some of 18th Reg[iment]. It had been hard hit in recent fighting so that only a small handfull of the old regiment was left. Went on through Marbache to Pompey where caught St[reet] car to Nancy where [I] am now in big café, rich place lined with heavy mirrors on all sides. Got crystal for watch. Fine city with modern appearance. St[reet] cars operated by girls. Two large beautiful cathedrals. Excellent stores with fine goods. Many Americans here. Marines, Engineers, the 9th and some 6th. Most of 1st and 2nd divisions around here. Walked around town considerable seeing sights. Is fine town. Got cards with good views of several places. Started back on st[reet] car (20 c[entimes]) to Pompey and passed 23rd Inf[antry] and 5 marines going out. Met Finke and Peatfield in Pompey and got eggs, cheese, lobster, bread, pears and got lady to cook us the eggs and some French fries. She gave us some fine rabbit also and 3 quarts beer, charging 8 francs. Well filled up. Best feed since at front. Started for Marbache and were having beer at a road house where girl worked when big French truck came along and Finke stopped it. We piled on and road to Dieulouard through Belleville. Started walking to Griscourt but were overtaken while resting by a Morrocan in one-horse cart and rode in nearly to camp. Got in about 11 o’clock. Found lost Infantry man in tent, Henry on guard. He was out of 1st Batt[ery] 26th and knew of Jim [Burwell]. Told us of their fighting. Jim has been through a lot and I only pray God he is all right and will be all through the war.

Monday, Aug. 5
Got letter from home, from Ma and Edna and Elmer dated July 10 pretty good. The 26th, 28th and 18th are going in close here in front of us releiving [sic] the Morrocoans [sic]. Wrote home. Just at dark Sgt. Robinson came up with Jim [Burwell] and brought him to my tent. He had seen sign of headquarters in Griscourt where he came last night and inquired for L battery and me. Sure was tickled to see him and guess he was me. Had big talk. He had missed Soissons fight but was on Somme at Cantigny near Montdidier. He stayed with me all night and I got leave from
Aug. 6, Tuesday [date inserted between lines]
work today and went to Griscourt with him. Had good time there. Stayed to dinner and had good talk. Got him towel and socks and handkerchiefs out of my barrack bag. Talked over good old times till after 3 [P.M.] when I came back and started to a kind of groupe [sic] school here. Review of Trig[onometry] etc. Jim wrote some in my letter this A.M. and he and I wrote a letter to his folks in Griscourt. Sent home picture of [city of] Nancy also.

[The next two entries were entered in reverse order, then redated, an arrow from the second drawn to a point above the first. The entries are presented here in the original order as they appear in the diary.]

Tuesday Wed[nesday], Aug. 7 [overwritten above a “6”]
Worked on gun pit dugout. Went to Griscourt in eve[ning] but Jim was gone so [I] came back. Jim came over late and I went bck with him to his billet in woods south of Jezainville. He brought me some [news]papers and letters from his father and mother.

Tues[day; overwritten above “Wed”] Aug. 6
Worked on no. 1 [gun] and visited with some of 7th. F.A. [French Army] that are here back of us in French Engineers billets.

Thursday, Aug. 8
On B.C. [battery commander/control] detail mixing concrete. This for [the] day [starting?] about 9:30. [A.M.?] Went to Jezainville and met Jim on road then went to his shack on road back and gave him his letters I had read. Came back nearly all of way on a supply wagon for F.A. [Field Artillery] 7th.

Friday, Aug. 9
Worked on [No.] 1 dugout nearly all done. Just killing time now. Expect to move now that we’re nearly completed if [the situation is] anything like previous positions. Attended the batt[ery] school again at 3:00 [P.M.]. Dismissed at 4 and am going to write Iva and Nettie and maybe Bernice White. Battery now changed to Battery C. 51st Art’y [Artillery]. Sold $10 bill [I] had bought in Mailly to Kelly for 56 francs[,] same as I paid.

Saturday, Aug. 10
In kitchen with Beaver, Parker and Bomka. Took bath in creek in P.M. Fed fellows of 16th inf. who had been absent in Paris.

Sunday, Aug. 11
Formation at 8:15 [A.M.] for church, mostly to keep men from going away. Passes to Nancy [were] begun a few days ago for a day and ten men were cut out a couple days ago. Trucks can’t be out on road in daytime nor wagons. Went to see Jim [Burwell] right after church. Stayed for dinner and got beer from wagon which a couple girls drive out to the camp. Read [news]papers he had received from home. Jim came back nearly to camp with me and saw our guns. Got nuts at Salvation A[rmy] and gave Jim half of 50 francs I had. On guard at night, 3rd relief and [a] good night.

Monday, Aug. 12
Did 3rd relief, fine night. American balloon [was] shot down by German in French plane yesterday. Has shot several that way. British are driving before Montdidier. Hope they straighten line. Off all day today. Yesterday saw Jim’s automatic rifle. He is automatic rifleman now.

Tuesday, Aug. 13
Jim [Burwell] came over just before supper and ate and we went to S.A. [Salvation Army] and back near his cantonment. He leaves for 2nd line tomorrow night. Is acting corporal and has got rid of automatic rifle. Pray God he comes through all the rest of war all right and we both get back to the states and home as good in all ways as we came away. Also that our people are all alive and well when we get there. Went on to Dieulouard and [got] back rather late. [Had a] Couple bottles beer.

Wednesday, Aug. 14
Anniversary of our leaving New York harbor for Europe. Went to Dieulouard in evening for pitchers [of beer?]. Night lighted up by brilliant flares when [we were] coming back to camp.

Thursday, Aug. 15
think this is Granddad’s birthday. Hope he keeps well for many more. [William Nelson Marshall would be 77 on Aug. 25, so Clayton appears to have confused “25” for “15” in his grandfather’s birthdate.] Went to D[ieulouard] with Thomas for pitchers [of beer?].

Friday, Aug. 16
Boucoup [A lot of] mail this morning, 3 from home and one from Uncle Clate with picture of Dot in car [Clayton Walter Sherwood, younger brother of Clayton’s father Charles, with his daughter, presumably “Dot” or Dorothy]. Elmer expecting to start work for Doyle Aug. 1. Hope he likes it and won’t have to go in army. Got rid of a lot of extra clothes and boots and overshoes last Tuesday. Supposed to have only 3 suits of underwear, 2 pr. [pair] shoes, 2 shirts, 2 O.D. [olive drab] suits, overcoat and 1 leggings. Are having Infantry drill 2 1/2 hours now in A.M. Get out of most it by going to the groupe school.

Saturday, Aug. 17
Bath in P.M. and washed clothes. In Griscourt in evening [I] saw [entertainers?] Naysa McMein and Anita Parkhurst at Y.[M.C.A.] Got some wine in cantine.

Sunday, Aug. 18
Took walk in P.M. to Griscourt. Wrote home and started letter to Uncle Clate. Began to feel sick and had sickness at stomach all night.

Monday, Aug. 19
Quite sick. Stood formations but fell out afterward. Got some pills at hospital. Lay it to wine I got Sat[urday] eve[ning] though only drank a little. Henry on fusing detail has to stay at guns now at all times so [he] moved out today. Hoffman also went so [I] am with Fuller who had bunk and fixed up pretty well. Don’t feel much like fixing anything myself. Miss McMein was at guns and made some drawings on each this P.M. which I missed seeing done.

Tuesday, Aug. 20, 1918
Feeling better and went to guns. Nothing doing there much now. Understand we will have to build some railroad soon. Is being surveyed now. Germans bombed Dieulouard Sunday eve[ning]. They are over or around us here nearly every night.

Wednesday, Aug. 21
Are expecting to move before long, as we hear we’ll get new guns. [I] Don’t put much stock in what we hear any more. This is first time we ever got things completed and have very little to do. Airplane duds fell in edge of camp in evening. Finished letter to Uncle Clate. No water tonight as [we] can’t get it anywhere nearby.

Thursday, Aug. 22
[We were] Paid about 2:30 [P.M.], F. 29.10 my share. 18 more from Henry on the kicks [having complaints?]. Had 10 so that squares us. Am on guard tonight. Wrote home at noon.

Friday, Aug. 23
Jim [Burwell] came out from Villers-en-Haye. Had come from 1st line in morning and is leaving for somewhere tonight. Ate dinner with me and had a good visit. Had letters from Hainstock and Getty who are in France in G.M.C. Went back about 3 while I was on post. Came off guard, ate and went in with White, saw Jim and was with him when whistle blew for them to fall in and start. I hope he comes through everything all right wherever he goes and we both get back to Kasky [Kalkaska] soon.

Sat[urday], Aug. 24
Insections in A.M. and bath and washed clothes in P.M. Bunch of replacements here, 60 of them. Mostly regulars from the Pacific coast. One from near Cadillac and a couple from near Bay City [cities in Michigan]. A lot better looking bunch than the last 30 we got, which was most by national guard. Expect [we] will move soon for we don’t need so many on these 270mm guns. Heavy rain in P.M.

Sunday, Aug. 25
Fine day. Been looking at a Luger Tommy Gillespie has. Got it from 1st division man. Would like to get one. In P.M. went to Pont-au-Moussons [Pont-À-Mousson] near the first lines, went through part of old foundry there and got factory check from office as souvenir, no. 807. Back for supper and missed a roll-call in P.M.

Monday, Aug. 26
Drilled in A.M. and started communication trenches for telephones which [we] worked on in P.M.

Tues[day], Aug. 27
On trenches yet. Got [news]papers from home. One printed under new management and looked good. Nowacks is editor.

Wednesday, Aug. 28
Still working in the telephone trenches, getting such poor chuck [food] that men are kicking [complaining]. Officers and sergeants get the best of what is issued and all the milk, jam and most of butter [is] in their kitchen. When a man works ten hours and a part with his gas mask on, as if he was a kid and needed practice so he would know enough to keep it on in gas, he should at least get as much as those who don’t touch a pick or shovel all day and set by watching or reading a [news]paper.

Thursday, Aug. 29
In the kitchen. Not a bad day though, battery worked till nearly dark. Are going to move guns up farther now to reach a different target, so our work has all been for nothing again, having never fired a shot here. Shuster and Mahon out of kitchen now. Two new men in their places.

Friday, Aug. 30
Started moving guns. Got no. 4 ready to take out, gin up and all set in forenoon. Signed payroll at noon. $6.40 coming for insurance. Should get 168.7 francs.

Sat[urday], Aug. 31
No [rail] cars yet for guns. Amm Powder being taken up. Muster at noon formation. Hear [we] aren’t going to move guns now. Tested big box [of] gas masks at 5:30 [P.M.] in Griscourt. Bunch of negro engineers in Y.[M.C.A.] singing.

Original text © 2002-2003 by, Willowshade, West Grove, PA


Foreword and Summary

August 1917 | September 1917 | October 1917
November 1917 | December 1917

January 1918 | February 1918 | March 1918 | April 1918
May 1918 | June 1918 | July 1918 | THIS PAGE: AUGUST 1918
September 1918 | October 1918 | November 1918 | December 1918

January 1919 | February 1919

Battle analysis | Definitions | Names | Family

© 2002-2003 by, Willowshade, West Grove, PA

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