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


[July 1918]

July 1. [Monday]
In the kitchen. Officers to have ladies to supper and bad lot of monkeying to do with the dishes dirtyed [sic] making their feed. On prison guard tomorrow.
Got orders to be ready to leave at moment’s notice. Expect to go to Gezoncourt near where we were before coming here. Show at Lagney in Y.[M.C.A.] but got through too late to go so will write home and get rest for tomorrow. Dread the guard [duty] but will be off the Fourth. Anyway, [I] am on nothing yet.

July 2. [Tuesday]
On prison guard. Some trouble with Keirane. Brooks who has been absent for 11 days [was] brought in and had him after supper. Had Anderson’s Colts on guard.

July 3. [Wednesday]
Got off with permission from Bull to take a bath at Red Cross (or Coody [cootie]) bath house. Several others there. Not much doing in P.M.

July 4. [Thursday]
Rainy and dreary and as [rail] cars came last night [we] are working today. Loaded projectiles and built track in gun pit no. 3 all morning. Dinner of steak and mashed potatoes. Lonesome day. I Pray to God I’ll be at home before another fourth of July comes or Christmas either.
Had some nice beer at cantine here on hill, and went to Lagney and Lucy to Salvation Army tent.

July 5. [Friday]
Took out no. 4 gun. Held up a lot by Frenchmen’s inability to take gun away on the narrow gauge or Decauville. Are to go out again tonight, and after a pretty poor supper of bacon and gravy and bread. Is nice weather today.

July 6. [Saturday]
Took out three remaining guns through about 9:00 or 8:30 [P.M.]. Pillard went this morning so [I] am using poncho as half of tent. Works fine, have place for barrack bag on side. Wish could stay here all summer. [We] Are to be ready to leave in morning though. Everything packed but marching order and blankets.

Sunday, July 7.
Up and packed early and ready to move. No. 1’s platform [came] off track going down hill. Hurt two Frenchmen and [I] think killed one, one who had served a long term in the trenches and now killed way back of lines. It’s hard to think of. In afternoon, [we] worked packing more stuff on [rail] cars. Left Fort du Lucey about 5:00 [P.M.], came through Menil La Tour where saw graveyard where Americans were buried. Poor fellows who will never again see the good U.S. Hardest of all on their people back home. Arrived in Griscourt about 6:30 [P.M.] and are quared [quartered] in shacks like we had in Mailly. In wood and wire double deck bunks.

July 8. [Monday]
Set up no. 1 gun, other emplacements are done. 3 and 4 gun sections sleeping in woods in tents near guns. Are in beech forest, one of largest in France. At Villers en Haye in evening.

July 9. [Tuesday]
Fixed things around gun and digging trench for shelter and sandbags around gun. Wrote home in evening.

July 10. [Wednesday]
Set up no. 2 gun and No. 3 in evening. Went nearly to Dieulouard and could see Pont au Moussons [Pont-À-Mousson] near German lines. Could look way into German territory.

July 11. [Thursday]
All guns in. Helped unload co[mpany] property. Have to wear gas masks, respirators all [of the] time. Worse than St. Jean.


At right: The cross at center marks the site of Pagny. From a position to the northeast of this location, on July 10, 1918, Clayton was able to see beyond Pont-À-Mousson into German-occupied territory farther to the north.

** [SECOND BOOK STARTS, probably the book Clayton obtained April 10.] **

July 12, 1918 [Friday]
Worked in No. 1 trench and carrying sandbags for gun pit. Several Boche [German] air planes over during day but we are well camouflaged here. Eat dinner and supper out here and breakfast in Griscourt. 3 and 4 sections and part of reserves and ammunition details out at guns near Jove Fontaine. Went to Gezoncourt with Daymon in evening. Got mail from home 2 letters one was from Elmer. Also two from Lill.

Sat[urday]. July 13
In kitchen. Not hard as only few eat here except for breakfast. Took bath and washed clothes after supper. Understand mail is to be censored [and delivered] only once a month. If that is so it will be bad for parents and certainly hope it is not true.

Sunday, July 14.
French Independence day, the soldiers celebrating considerably. Quite a lot of mail came in but was mostly pretty old mail that had been delayed. Went to Dieulouard after dinner with Daymon. Quite a large town with a big factory and brewery, factory not running. Had been shelled a lot, once only last week. Were in church there that had been built several centuries ago, as in one vault or recess was buried a woman in 1632. Got back just in time for supper and had cake. After supper had to roll marching order and fall in in five minutes to go to guns. Went out and pitched tents near 3 and 4 section, and stood by to fire. Cut out couple tree tops but didn’t fire. Daymon and I pitched together and slept fairly well despite bugs and shells and hard ground, with only three blankets. Had written letter home in morning but hadn’t mailed it when we had to leave, and can’t leave here now to go in.

Monday, July 15.
Filled sandbags most of day with Thomas, but didn’t over exert. Report of more authority for non coms and pvts [non-commissioned officers and privates] and saluting of sgts [sergeants]. Also separate mess. Will soon be like British army or worse. Everyone is surly and disgusted at such stuff which if true will kill spirit of soldier it seems to me. It’s bad enough to have to salute some of the specimens we have for officers to say nothing of such as some sergeants we have.

Tuesday, July 16.
Worked in no. 1 pit and filled bags. Trench is to go 12 feet in one end and have covering. Seargeants [sic] must not wear fatigues. Sent letter to Elmer through Base Censor. Mail leaves here all right though so what [I] heard about not being censored was untrue. Was at Foyer du Sodat. Nice place, sells coffee and have piano. American agent helps run shack. Get water there in canteen and Frenchmen’s bucket we found. Went in and bathed and got blankets and rest of things.

Wednesday, July 17.
Filled sandbags most of day. Got letter from home yesterday and from Bert and Lill, one from Ruth Syres, Alice C. and Iva a few days ago. Sgts [sergeants] will have own mess and buy things from commissary. Guess it’s all right for them to be respected more than [they] have been if they keep their end of it strictly and don’t gamble or get familiar with favorites. Does away to great extent with democratic spirit among enlisted men before.

Thursday, July 18.
Filled sandbags and helped unload stone for B.C. [battery commender/control] station. Are building another white elephant. B.C. officers seem pretty precious in their own estimation at any rate.

Friday, July 19.
Wrote to Lill and sent it. Worked in trench of no. 1 gun. going to have dugout small one in end of trench. Heavy barrage by French this morning starting about 3 and lasting till 6 [P.M.] Germans shot up the vicinity of batteries north of us a little. Some French hurt. In raid this morning after barrage 30 Boche

Sat[urday], July 20.
Moved camp to woods south of guns, and back of French Engineers, all in little company streets and will probably have to change tomorrow. One shell in center would get half [of] battery. Should be well scattered out. Am bunking with Kuntz. Sgts [sergeants] and corporals must bunk with men of like rank so couldn’t get [bunk] with Daymon. Went to Griscourt and took bath and washed clothes, got pair of shoes condemned by Lieut. Vann. Didn’t get new ones for them as didn’t have my size. Walked back out to supper and got wet in rain on way. Hail storm just before supper pretty large hail. Got letter from home. Kerman and [I] think Homer [Chaney] went in draft about June 24.

Sunday, July 21.
One year ago today we left Ft. Andrews for Ft. Adams and got there in P.M. across bay from Newport. Today rather rainy in A.M. and cannot leave camp. Wrote home and to Bert. Went to movies in Griscourt at night and got pancakes from kitchen there also.

Monday, July 22.
Tubby and Kuntz drunk for couple days. Moved tents again in evening so pitched by myself with poncho and half tent. Kuntz absent also Tubby MacDonald. Went to Griscourt with Daymon swimming.

Tuesday, July 23.
Stored barrack bags in group store house and office was moved out here. Went on guard at night first relief from 5:30 till 10:10 [P.M.]. Rained some and slept in powder magazine with Taylor and Bresket and several boxes of powder charges.

Wednesday, July 24.
Came in off guard. Fixed tent some. Trench being dug just back of it for shelter. Clearing off nicely. Wrote home and to Jim [Burwell]. Called in office to find if [I] wanted to be candidate for school for officers at Samur. [I] Did and was examined by Captain as were also Pillard, Taylor, Spitler, Koontz [Kuntz].

Thursday, July 25.
Worked at gun pit and in P.M. in shelter trenches back of my tent. With Daymon went to Griscourt and Villers-en-Haye after supper. No-one recommended for school, Pillard said. Rather disappointed in [a] way.

Friday, July 26.
On projectiles with Masse cleaning fuse recesses, working for Sgt. Robinson, a fine chap to work for, who by good treatment and [good]will toward men secures better results than those who try and drive men. Worked in trenches. At camp again in P.M. [Was] Called in office to see Captain again concerning the school. Was questioned about education, athletic[s], schoolwork, age, etc. Told that [I] would be recommended to go to the school. Reported at hosp[ital] for physical examination. Got cantine of vin rouge [red wine] and went to Jezainville after supper with Peatfield. Talked to Moroccan who had been cowboy in Chile, a fine looking man, spoke Spanish. Saw large statue of Joan of Arc on hill near lines, also looked on No-Man’s-Land in distance but couldn’t distinguish trenches. Letter from Ruth S. and Lill.

Saturday, July 27.
Rainy most of day. Bathed in P.M. Went to report to Major Grace but he was not at his office. Orders to come back and stand ready to fire.

Sunday, July 28.
Tent held good through heavy rain all night. Slept and read most of forenoon. Clearing off this P.M. Wrote home. Found from Top that [I] had been rejected again on account of age for the school, Maj. Grace saying I’d be held till the next school started probably from 1 to three months. Went to Griscourt to see Pillard who is pretty apt to go. Orders against leaving camp but came back early and there had been no formation.

Monday, July 29.
Worked in no. 1 dugout and in trenches back here in P.M. Henry, Snyder and another Italian back to Bat[tery] after an absence of several weeks on account of being gased [sic]. Tells tale of terrible soldering [soldiering?] at Camp Mailly where Chamberlain is in full command. Am bunking now with Henry.

Tues[day], July 30.
Paid in P.M. a letter from home also.

Wednesday, July 31.
Worked on B.C. [battery commander/control] station hauling rock, nearly done. Mustered at noon formation.

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 | THIS PAGE: JULY 1918 | August 1918
September 1918 | October 1918 | November 1918 | December 1918

January 1919 | February 1919

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