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


[November 1918]

Friday, No. 1, 1918
In kitchen today. Not very hard and filled up well. Old Duke and a john by name of Lynch in mill for drunkenness.

[A corresponding entry from “The History of the 57th Regiment”: “Romange was our worst position on account of such close range and the delay of other units getting into position. At last the stage was set and the order came to open up the big show at 12:55 A.M., the morning of the 1st of November, 1918, and we thought that we had put over some barrages, but this one exceeded all others in every respect and was the last barrage of any consequence on our front, and was the indirect cause of Germany asking for an armistice. A German Major taken prisoner made the remark that there was nothing could live under an American barrage. The ground looked as though it had been freshly ploughed. We remained in this position until November 6th, 1918, when we advanced about fifteen Km and took up position at Beaufort where we remained until the 24th of November, 1918.”]

Sat[urday], Nov. 2
Went to Menil la Tour with Boland where he cashed a money order. Then to Lucy on truck and got beefsteak and eggs and got woman to cook big feed. Rainy today.

Sunday, Nov. 3
Packed up and started again carrying 3 blankets, poncho, shelter half, overcoat and red [?] and bag. Huge pack and long hike around by Villy St. Etiennes to entrain. On train 20 in box car. Had [a] little trouble with Dot Arnold, not very disastrous. Train pulled back around Menil and through Troudres and Pagny sur Meuse. Boland won some in car at Black Jack. Slept little
Monday, Nov. 4 [date inserted]
during night and got to Vignory before daylight. About 22 kil[ometers] from Chaumont. Got some sealed wine with Boland early in morning and champagne at 24 francs a bottle. Marched to a big dairy barn and fromagery a couple kilometers west and north where [we] got billets. Bunks of slats. Otto, Bomka and I in a double decker. Got our extra blankets and had dinner and supper of slum and biscuits. Went out after supper with Bolland, Patton and Bomka to town north of here where there is an ammuinition factory and town always darkened. Had hard time getting in anywhere but found a hotel and also got some bread. Some Americans had raized [sic] a rumpus there last night.

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 1918
Shaved and cleaned up. Slept pretty good as had pay in mattress. In P.M. went to Vignory and [went] up on hill west of town to the old castle. Pretty view, though castle had partially fallen to ruin. Only the walls standing. Church in village [was] built in 10th century.

At right: Clayton’s references are vague about the location of his billet after Nov. 3, 1918, but it is probable that he was in the general region marked here, which indicates the position of Vignory. When the company is mobilized near the end of November, they appear to move roughly 30 miles north-northeast somewhere between the towns of Wassy and Courcelles (not shown).

Wednesday, Nov. 6
Took hike to little towns around here in the afternoon. Saw foundry in town north of here.

Thursday, Nov. 7
Around quarters most of day. Heard at night that Hostilities would cease and armistice be signed tonight. Sure hope so.

Friday, Nov. 8
Hear Germans are showing white flag. Austrian armistice terms in [news]paper of Nov. 6. Germany must give in now that she is alone against the world. Took bath and washed clothes in Vignory.

Saturday, No[v.] 9
Germany asks for armistice terms and will send representatives to [Ferdinand] Foch. Firing [was] ceased on [the] sector through which they must pass from Spa to Guise.

Sunday, Nov. 10
Nearly everyone thinks that Germany must agree to terms. Have till tomorrow at 11:00 [A.M.] to answer, 72 hours being given.

Monday, Nov. 11
Heard at noon that word had come in that the Germans had accepted all terms and hostilities ceased. Flags flying from French houses, churchbells ringing and all happy. Some sad but glad who have lost sons or kin in the war. At night in town where foundery [sic] is, old men and young [were] drinking and feeling happy. First time I’ve seen a lot of them together and drunk since coming over. This is a day to be remembered and will be celebrated by all nations.

Tuesday, Nov. 12
Had inspection of rifles and other stuff, but was not a hard one. Wrote Aunt Edna and Uncle John in P.M. Want to hear terms of armistice now. Detail [has been] picked to go and turn guns over to French.

Wed[nesday], Nov. 13
Detail [has] gone away with guns. Moved into bunk where Bomka slept. Infantry drill from 9 to 10 [A.M.]. Went to town north of here in evening where met Duckworth.

Thur[sday], Nov. 14, 1918
Didn’t drill but went to Y.[M.C.A.] and wrote to Charley and Zola. Went to Soncourt with Duckworth in P.M. and came back after taps. Had porkchop supper there, quinquina, cognac, cherry brandy, triple sec, beer and wine and rum.

Fri[day], Nov. 15
Put on detail to go and learn to run trucks. Go in A.M. 8-10:30. Went to show in Vignory, movies by Y.M.[C.A.].

Sat[urday], Nov. 16
Went to trucks in A.M. and in P.M. from 1:30 to 2:30 and in Y.M.[C.A.] wrote to Bert and Enoch Southwell. Hear we’re to move about 25 kilometres.

Sunday, Nov. 17
Nothing about moving this A.M. Outmeal breakfast. Went to church with Gillespie, conducted by Y.[M.C.A.] man and a pretty Y. girl. Duckworth gave me 10 francs though I didn’t ask to borrow it. A pretty good skate [fellow]. Got some cheese for hike tomorrow.

Monday, Nov. 18
Packed and ready to move. Travel light. Big mail this morning, those from home containing gum and chocolate for my birthday and today is my birthday, am 21 years old. Started hiking through Vignory and up over hill west of town. Went about 20 k[ilometers] out of our way that could have been avoided. Ate dinner in Flamerecourt and went on to Brannescourt where [we] are billeted. 8 in our room. Blister on my right heel. Got bedding and bags and went to bed after steak supper.

Tues[day], Nov. 19
Infantry drill in A.M. Rather strenuous on my sore legs and blister. Explored town a bit in P.M. and got straw for bed sack and some bread to eat with beans Barny [Barnacastle] has. In bed early.

Wed[nesday], Nov. 20
Sat around fire most of day and read some in magazine.

Thursday, Nov. 21
Went to Don Martin [Dommartin] when company was drilling with Red Smith. 36th Division moving through. Detail that turned guns over to French [is] back. Were at Mailly and saw some of the old regiment there who are on M.P. [military police] duty. Also a lot of prisoners released by the Germans. Most of these had been innoculated with tuberculosis bacteria and were in horrible condition. Took bath but [I] was out of luck for [obtaining new] underwear as [I had] left my wash on a fence at the fromagery [see Nov. 4 reference].

Friday, Nov. 22
Turned in respirators. We hear that some orders are out for us to start for the States about the middle of December. Capt. Vann (who came back to command the battery at the fromagery) says he came to go to the U.S. with the company and that we would be back before Christmas. Pray God we are and are discharged at once.
Officers and a detail are getting up a program for Thanksgiving.

Sat[urday], Nov. 23
Took walk to Courcelles in P.M. with Red Smith.

Sunday, Nov. 24
Had pumpkin pie for dinner. Sure tasted good. Got paid in P.M. 170 francs. Paid Duckworth ten he gave me a few days ago [Nov. 17].

Monday, Nov. 25
No roll call at revielle as [it was] too dark. No infantry drill on account of rain. Am on guard tonight.

Tuesday, Nov. 26
Rainy all day.

Wed[nesday], Nov. 27
A sign up between here and Don Martin [Dommartin] says “Beware the Bull,” a tip from a friend. C Bat[tery] 51st Arty [Artillery] C.A.C. [Perhaps a reference to the sergeant named Bull.]
Dutner [sp?] speaking to old man with whiskers, [“]Come out of that bush. I saw you. I know who you are.[”]

Thursday, Nov. 28
Thanksgiving day. Good dinner of steak, corn and spuds and pumpking pie. Wrote home. A lot [to] be thankful for if all is well at home and I pray God [that] all is. Went to a movie at night, “The Sawdust Trail,” in D bat[tery]’s mess hall.

Friday, Nov. 29
Rainy most of day, sat around listening to fellows bring in new dope about our going to the states, what this colonel or that captain says or bets we’ll be doing by the first of the year. Signed payroll.

Sat[urday], Nov. 30
Mustered and had inspection at 9:00 [A.M.]. Nice day, cleared off again.

At right: Clayton’s company was mobilized near the end of November, shifting to a position between the towns of Wassy [marked with red X] and Courcelles to the east (not shown). On Dec. 7, Clayton visits Saint-Dizier, which he identifies as the site of Camp Mosely.

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


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