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


[December 1917]

Dec. 1. [Saturday]
In kitchen, plenty to do drawing rations. Hot biscuits for K.P. at night. Assisted Brown.

Dec. 2. [Sunday]
Brown and I went for walk in morning. Did nothing in P.M. Wrote home at night.

Dec. 3. [Monday]
Scrubbed bunks in A.M. and nothing but mend clothes in P.M. Bath also in A.M. [Next sentence inserted later:] Started studying French and teaching Frenchman English.

Dec. 4. [Tuesday]
Hiked under skinny Capt. McCann. Long hike to southeast second town. Went to guns in P.M. and set up gin [engine]. Went out to take down gun at 7:00 [P.M.] but owing to having wrong chain accomplished nothing but got very cold, and no sleep till after 11:30, Weis having three fits at night, two after rest of section turned in [see Sept. 20 for first entry about Weis’s seizures.]

[A corresponding entry from “The History of the 57th Regiment”: “On December 4th, 1917, we were motorized and issued eight of these [G. P. F. 155 M.M.] guns, being the first American troops overseas to be motorized and we drew the first eight guns of this type put out for the American troops. Our guns were numbered from 1 to 8 inclusive, F Battery drawing from 1 to 4 inclusive and G Battery from 5 to 8 inclusive. From the 4th of December to the 23rd of December, 1917, we spent our time in becoming familiar with our new transportation, which, being new to us, required quite a little time to become perfect. For the guns we had Renault forty-five horsepower tractors and Latil thirty horsepower tractors for gun material. For personnel we had three-ton White trucks.”]

Dec. 5. [Wednesday]
Sec[ond?] section undone work done on guns last night. No inspection for us. Turned in about 11:00. Go on guard tonight. Re [?]

Dec. 6. [Thursday]
On guard number 8 post along road by auto sheds and horse shed. After supper had fire call but only formed outside shack. Went to see Frenchman and study. Section went to guns but [I] was not there so [I] didn’t. Kept out of sight till lights were out. Air raid [occurred] while [I was] at French barracks.

Dec. 7. [Friday]
Everyone growling because [we] were kept out so late and [had] nothing to eat after turning in. Hiked in A.M., easy hike, and worked getting 8-inch 2-wheeled guns up to field in P.M.

Dec. 8. [Saturday]
On fatigue detail all day. At Y.[M.C.A.] working in A.M. and at potato storing shack in P.M. Pay day announced. Got paid about 8:00 at night.

Dec. 9. Sunday.

Did not eat breakfast. Barney [Barnacastle] paid me ten francs. Sweet potatoes and steak for dinner. Washed clothes after dinner and went to Y.[M.C.A.] Got feed. Swier drunk and had to help put him in bunk. And started to write letter answering Bernice W[hite]’s received Friday. Wild night in Bat[tery] L. McCoy bit Thomas’ ear off in bunk fight. Finke [see Oct. 16], Patton and others taken to guard house. King [possibly same Pvt. King mentioned Oct. 1] taken about 9:45 with fixed bayonet and rifles. Guard called to get him. Cursed sergeants all the while. Whole battery in uproar.

Dec. 10. [Monday]
Patton and Finke turned loose. Peine put in mill. Scrubbed bunks and took bath. Got

Dec. 11. [Tuesday]
Calesthenics [sic] and artillery in A.M. Inf[antry] drill and gas mask drill in P.M. Got two packages at noon, one from Aunt Edna [Edna McKee] and one from home. Aunt E’s had immense box of finest chocolate and some nut lunch candy. Folks’ box had sleeveless sweater, two pr. sox [pair socks], helmet, box of cookies, dates, some bar chocolate and Nabiscos.

At right: A group of soldiers wearing their gas masks during a drill.

Dec. 12. [Wednesday]
Inspection in morning, name taken for overcoat button. Had picture taken after inspection. Wrote home no. 9 and to Aunty [Edna McKee, see Oct. 18, 1917].

Dec. 13. [Thursday]
Artillery drill and bath.

Dec. 14. [Friday]
Artillery drill. Am on reserve section, new manning table.

Dec. 15. [Saturday]
Artillery in morning. Went to get mistletoe to decorate mess shack in afternoon.

Dec. 16. Sunday
Went to church with Red Leathers [possibly Hosea G. Leathers, listed among Clayton’s addresses]. Wrote letters in P.M., No. 10 home. Got letters from home, Bertine and Cy [Chaney].

Dec. 17. [Monday]
At guns in morning. Laying track to take guns out for trial. On guard at night, 1st relief. Post no. 9. no officer around. To I and Swartz on 10. Snowing a little. Ground white since Mon[day].
Dec. 18. [Tuesday]
Came off guard about 4:00 P.M. At Y.[M.C.A.] after supper.

Dec. 19. [Wednesday]
Wet. Inspection, easy. At Y.[M.C.A.] rest of morning. Brown and Douglas of I [battery] of 8th [division] [are] in mill. [They were] Absent three days in Troyes, 30K [kilometers] south of here. Stout sounding off at noon. Creek [see Oct. 23 entry] and I threw bluff that we would marry a couple really good girls working in café downtown. Are to go see them to-night.

Dec. 20. [Thursday]
Artillery drill in morning. Bath in afternoon.

Dec. 21. [Friday]
Started laying track to move gun for target practice. Big job and poor management, all growl about useless work.

Dec. 22. [Saturday]
Worked some last night and all day today. Emplacements and a dugout made at practice ground.

Dec. 23. Sunday
Got up at first call, ate and went out to work, track laid to move guns in place. L battery doing all work. M [battery] not a tap. Dopey [Capt.] Walker [is the] cause of our working today [see Nov. 23 entry]. Turned in about 3:20.

Dec. 24. [Monday]
Worked on guns all day. Chain on gin broke late in P.M., breaking piece of gun carriage.

Dec. 25. [Tuesday]
No revielle. Excellent dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, cake, beer, etc. Pie for supper. Had mince pie at Y.[M.C.A.] cantine. Entertainment in evening by members of this and other batteries. No mail.

Dec. 26. [Wednesday]
In kitchen. Not very hard. Battery have guns in place now.

Dec. 27. [Thursday]
Received box [of] candy from Zola and Chas. [Clayton’s relative Charles Beebe and his wife Zola] and Red Cross tobacco pound bag of tobacco, towel, soap and leggin strings.

Dec. 28. [Friday]
Went to guns in morning at practice ground. Did nothing there except run about in woods or jack pine scrubs. Stayed in P.M.

Dec. 29. Saturday
Guns in A.M. Infantry in P.M.

Dec. 30. Sunday
Got up about 11:45. Wrote home and to Florence. Went on guard, post. No. 6.

Dec. 31. [Monday]
Came off guard. No mail yet. Talk by Captain on treatment of Germans and insurance. Last day of year and blue and lonesome all evening. Hope will feel better tomorrow. Pray God this war will soon end and we can all get back home before next fall.

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


Foreword and Summary

August 1917 | September 1917 | October 1917
November 1917 | THIS PAGE: DECEMBER 1917

January 1918 | February 1918 | March 1918 | April 1918
May 1918 | June 1918 | July 1918 | August 1918
September 1918 | October 1918 | November 1918 | December 1918

January 1919 | February 1919

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