A Special Contribution From
That which follows is a transcription of the diary kept by Wayne W. DeSilvey, 1st
Bugler of Company I, 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, serving with the
American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I. The complete diary
covers the period from January 1, 1918, through April 15, 1919. The diary is
transcribed as written by Bugler DeSilvey except for the insertion of punctuation and
minor wording changes necessary for purposes of clarity. All editorial comments are
enclosed in brackets [...].
Bugler DeSilvey, a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was wounded and
gassed twice during his battlefield experience. His second wounding occurred on
November 11, 1918, the last day of the war. And while he recovered from his wounds
sufficiently to return home to Harrisburg, he eventually died as a result of the two
gassings he suffered.
[The geographic location at the start of the diary is Camp Hancock, Georgia, near the city of Augusta.]
Tuesday New Years Day was ushered in in fine style. The various bands were out celebrating the
entrance of the New Years on Pennsylvania Avenue. Stood Revelie at the usual time. Had quite
a breakfast. Asked for permission to visit Augusta, permission granted as it being a legal holiday.
While in Augusta the entire Company placed under quarantine for measles. Returned to camp late
in the evening but not allowed within the bounds of the Co. Street. Slept in H Co.
Wednesday, Jan 2
Told by the Cap't of H Co. I could go to Augusta. Received pass from the Adjutant.
Went to Augusta. Had dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Kress. The manager of Silver's 5&10c store.
Returned to camp & reported to the Cap't of H Co.
Thursday, Jan 3
Asked for pass to go to Augusta, sent to Division Hdqs. Explained that my Co. was
placed out of bounds and under quarantine on Jan 1st while I was visiting Augusta. Given a 24
hrs. pass by Major Thompson the Division Adjutant. Went to Augusta and visited the Strand
movies. Saw the Spoilers. Discusted. Decided to return to camp which I did. Ran the gauntlet
passed the Guard on the Co. street and returned to my respective Co. Street and to my quarters.
Friday, Jan 4th
At the sound of 1st Call tried to put my shoes on but found that I could not get them on,
on account of my feet being swollen. Decided to write Senator Hardwick Senator of Georgia,
also to Vance McCormick and May. [May was Bugler DeSilvey's wife] Wrote a letter to each one
of the above in regards to a transfer from my present Co. to any other Co. in the Regiment.
Mailed the letters the same evening to A Co. mail box. Found four new cases of measles in the
Co. and various other Co's. Entire Reg. quarantine.
Saturday, Jan 5th
Stood Revellie at the usual time. Had an exceptional good mess to start the day off.
Learned that they were going to have the first entire Divisional Dress Parade and Review this
afternoon. Received several letters and this fountain pen. Saw two pugilistic artists mix it up at
the head of the Co. Street. They were Pvts. Axe of Co. K. York Pa. & Pvt. White of Co. B.
Tamagua Pa. Both old Eighth Reg. Men. White was the winner by K.O. route.
Sunday, Jan 6th
Stood revellie in a downpour of rain. Later on it cleared up in fine style. Moved to
another tent, the men of my old tent put down over the hill in the measles camp. Nothing of
interest going on. Wrote several letters home.
Monday, Jan 7th
Entire First Squad found to have either the measles or Typus [Typhus] Fever except
myself. I was later detailed and put in charge of the C.P. [Convalescent Patients] for 35 days at
the end of which the quarantine would be lifted. Moved my entire equipment to the Convalescent
Tuesday, Jan 8th
No revellie to stand for 35 days. Lucky boy am I. Under expert Physician's eagle eye for
observation for Meningitis, Typhus, & Measles. Allowed all priviledges of writing which I was
glad was not taken from the Ward.
Wednesday, Jan 9th
Received orders that some of the men in the Ward would be used for detail of which I was
to take charge. Detail of 20 men and myself reported to Cap't Ryan an English Officer at the
huge dry reservoir for filling in certain places in the reservoir which is used as the physical school
and bayonet school. Officers training camp opened here today for 482 men to be chosen from the
various Co. Rosters.
Thursday, Jan 10th
Serg't Green chosen as the man to represent Co. I at the officers training camp which was
opened on the site of the old 1st Pa Cavalry camp yesterday. New schedule layed down for the
entire 28th Division. This schedule to comprise a period of not more than 12 weeks of the most
Friday, Jan 11th
Dull day over the entire camp this being due to the rain. Not much doing except writing
of letters. Wrote home for some luxuries and stamps. Rain is very cold and naturally the day is
dismal and full of gloom. Temperature is 4 above Zero.
Saturday, Jan 12th
General inspection and clean up day in general all over camp. Entire Division out for
Review before Maj. General Muir. Washed up all of my clothing and had a general cleaning out
of all the quarters in the entire ward.
Sunday, Jan 13
Terriffic wind storm over the entire camp, tents blown to the ground. We were forced to
get out in our underwear in a terriffic gale and down pour of rain. Electric wires blown to the
ground. Giant trees uprooted. The storm caused havoc everywhere imaginable.
Monday, Jan 14th
Received orders that I would report with a detail to fix and clean up the ruined
Chautauqua Amusement tent. Reported and found it would take nearly 3 times as many men as I
had. Tent located at the junction of the Wrightsboro & Division Road.
Tuesday, Jan 15th
Detailed again to the dry reservoir to erect modern trenches and a modern No Man's
Land. We found this work very interesting. Busy Erecting wire entanglements, dummies and
Wednesday, Jan 16th
Reported to Cap't Ryan at the dry reservoir to finish work we started yesterday. Told to
start work on a thousand inch rifle range. Later on, constructed modern parapets on the trenches.
Received all my mail.
Thursday, Jan 17th
Reported again to Cap't Ryan at the Dry Reservoir. Erecting a hugh bayonet course and
physical training grounds. Finished work on the reservoir. Received a letter from home with five
stamps. Was very thankful for these. Bucky received an S.C.D. Discharge. [SCD = Service
Friday, Jan 18th
Learned today that the entire 112th Infantry Regiment was sent down over the hill into the
measle camp. Called in by the Physician for an examination. Asked for a new pair of shoes.
Saturday, Jan 19th
Told by Cap't Detweiler not to report with any details unless I was given a pair of new
shoes. Just layed around camp all day. Wrote several letters home. Received no mail, no candles
available and completely out of stamps and money.
Sunday, Jan 20th
Regular weekly inspection of the Ward by General Muir, Lt. Col. Tilson, and Cap't
Detweiler. Made application to Cap't Detweiler. Corp. Clark made a note of the same.
Monday, Jan 21st
Corporal Clark put directly in charge of the entire C.P. Ward. I was put in charge of the
mess hall and the bath house. Seen that both places are in a strictly sanitary condition. Seen
Cap't Detweiler personally in regards to a transfer from my present Co. To Battery D of the
108th Artillery. Told not to ask for transfer. Wrote May. Rec'd no mail.
Tuesday, Jan 22nd
Seen to the bath house detail and to the mess hall detail. Had quite an easy day of it.
Wrote a poem. Received some mail from the Co. Together with a photo of a Roll of Honor of
the Ridge Ave. M.E. Church [in Harrisburg, Pa.]. My name appearing on the same. No stamps.
Wednesday, Jan 23rd
Called down by Corporal Clark for the condition of the tent. Told him I had detailed 1
man for that work. Seen to the cleaning up of the mess hall and bath house. Rec'd 8 - 3c stamps.
Immediately mailed May's letter. Received our rations which were to last us for 10 days.
Thursday, Jan 24th
Seen to the cleaning up of the Mess Hall and Bath House. Learned rope splicing. Started
to make a rope ladder for Cap't Detweiler. Wrote a poem entitled An American Mothers
Dream. [No poem by this title appears in DeSilvey's journal.]
Friday, Jan 25th
Severe rain storm over the entire area of the camp. Several tents swept away. Seen to the
Mess Hall & Bath house cleaning. Rest of the Ward in quarters on account of the rain. Received
no mail. Wrote May.
Saturday, Jan 26th
Storm continuing. No work for the rest of the Ward. Cleaned up Mess Hall and Bath
House myself. Received word of a box of goodies on the road. Was exceedingly Happy.
Sunday, Jan 27th
Nothing doing except cleaning up camp for inspection. Cleaned up bath, latrine & Mess
Hall. Layed around all day. Ideal spring day. Saw several preliminary bouts between Harry
Kilburn and several other Philadelphia pugilistic artists. Enjoyed the sport as well as the spring
day. Kilburn seem to be master of any of the other pugilists.
Monday, Jan 28th
Started new week fresh and strong in charge of a detail to build the new office in the rear
of the mess hall. Was fortunate enough to see the new schedule for the first time. No mail.
Tuesday, Jan 29th
Started to blow up cold. Later it started to rain. It resembled a cloud burst the way it
came down. Entire camp flooded. No work. Layed around all day long. Wrote several letters
Wednesday, Jan 30th
Quite a mean disagreeable day. Rained as usual. Some of the boys in spite of the rain
hauld lumber enough to complete the office..3 truck loads was enough for the job. Received a
box of eats but no mail.
Thursday, Jan 31st
Was told by the Physician that in 9 more days I could go back to my company if I wished
to or I could remain there. Had quite an argument with Corporal Clark concerning a new pair of
shoes. Received no mail.
Friday, Feb. 1st
Put in charge of a detail in the Dry Reservoir again. Reported to Cap't Ryan. Issued the
old reliable tool to the boys. I mean the shovel. Dug new lines of trenches. Saw French and Eng.
Instructing the American Officers in bayonet work. Officers were clumsy.
Saturday, Feb. 2nd
Still on detail at Dry Reservoir. Reported to Cap't Ryan. Saw very interesting manouver
of the 28th Divisional Artillery on the Parade ground of the 111th Infantry. Saw for the first time
a smoke screen and a curtain barrage. Afterward saw a general inspection on the field.
Sunday, Feb. 3rd
First school of French lesson at the Y.M.C.A. #76 of the 56th Infantry Brigade Officers in
training above C.P. 28th Division detailed to training camp to receive instructions on trench
Monday, Feb. 4th
Asked permission to wash clothing in the morning. Permission granted. Washed up every
dirty rag I possessed in A.M. Asked for a detail to the Dry Reservoir in P.M. Reported to Cap't
Ryan in P.M. with my detail. Saw French officers construct a miniature wire entanglement in
record time of 12 minutes.
Tuesday, Feb. 5th
Asked for an insurance blank. Received the same. Filled out blank for $10,000 insurance
policy in favor of May. Artillery on Artillery range firing at invisible targets. Saw aeroplanes
deliver instructions. Also an arial manouver. Artillery receiving instructions by observation
balloons. Getting 4 hits out of 5 shots an an invisible target.
Wednesday, Feb. 6th
Quarantine lifted today. Reported to the Co. Lecture by French on trench warfare at Big
Thursday, Feb. 7th
Drilled in bayonet fighting, also in stringent physical excersise. Put over a general course
on trench and dummy bayonet work. Seemed to be very interesting work. Drilled also in bomb
throwing, the proper and improper way.
Friday, Feb. 8th
Drilled in close order and extended order. Something new, two lines skirmish. Received
instructions as a body on the trench course and general manouvers. Very interesting.
Saturday, Feb. 9th
General review of the 112th Infantry in the morning by Lt. Col. Of the Regiment. Review
was in full field equipment and done first at quick time and then at double time. Furled all tents.
Scoured pots and pans in P.M.
Sunday, Feb. 10th
Lonesome Sunday in Camp. Layed around most of the P.M. Went to the ward to see if
there was any mail for me. Found none. Went to Augusta in the afternoon.
Monday, Feb. 11th
Stood revellie in morning at the regular time. After mess a detail to sweep and scrub mess
hall. After scrubbing mess hall fell in with the company to drill. Went before the Regimental
doctors at 10:30 A.M. and were inspected for measles. Received instructions in trench digging
for the first time as a unit.
Tuesday, Feb. 12th
Abraham Linconl's birthday. Did not observe it as a military holiday. Kept very busy with
drills in the A.M. and in Gas Mask lectures by Lieut Trollinger on the Co. Streets in the P.M.
Progressed with our work on digging regimental trenches, took up positions exactly where we left
off yesterday. Under observation and instructions of French officers.
Wednesday, Feb. 13th
At sound of the drill call fell in and were marched to the drill field while the band played at
Regimental Hdqs. Put through a hard day of bayonet work on the various courses in the A.M.
Half holiday in the P.M. Went on guard at the Divisional Quarter Master Warehouses and hay
Thursday, Feb. 14th
On guard at Warehouse No. 4. Assigned by command of the Officer of the guard to post
No. 1. Quite hungry. Nothing available to eat but one slice of bread. Came off of guard at 5
P.M. Relieved by Co. I, 109th Inf.
Friday, Feb. 15th
Put through severe physical tests most of the morning. Over the top on the dummy course
twice. Paid at 12:30 P.M. Took up our work on the trench digging in the P.M. as per schedule.
Finished traverse and parapet and traverse.
Physical Training at Camp Hancock
Saturday, Feb. 16th
Told to prepare for our regular Sat. Morning inspection. Inspection completed and
Regimental Review in the A.M. Half holiday in the P.M. Prepared to go on guard at the
Regimental Guard House in the P.M. Informal Mount and relieved Co H from Guard Duty at
Sunday, Feb. 17th
Lonesome Sunday in Camp Hancock. Co. I on guard. Helped Co. H police entire
Regiment Area. Preparing for an inspection by Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker to take place
this P.M. Went to Augusta, Ga. with Lee Warner in the P.M. Co. I relieved from guard duty by
Co. K, 112 W.S. Inf. at 4:45 P.M. Had a fine supper in the New York Cafe. Went to the St.
Johns church in the evening. Met Mr. Kress and rode to camp with him in his automobile after
Monday, Feb. 18th
Change in bugle schedule. Calls sounded fifteen minutes earlier. At the souund of drill
call went to drill field. Put through gas mask drill. Learned sterilization of the entire mask. First
time for drill on the Gas Mask. Later drilled on close order in Co. Formation. Digging fire step
and paradose [an embankment along the back of a trench as to protect against fire from the rear]
together with the birm in P.M. Trenches completed. Rained after recall.
Tuesday, Feb. 19th
Severe Gas Mask drill. Made to put on the mask in six seconds. Bayonet exhibition
advancing under Artillery Barrage. Barrage laid down by entire brigade of the 28th Division
Artillery. Started digging a new line of trenches in P.M. Wrote to May on both the 18th & 19th.
Rec'd no mail.
Wednesday, Feb. 20th
Rigid Gas mask drill under Sgt Major Johnson the Battalion Gas N.C.O. in the A.M. Half
holiday in the P.M. with a boxing tournament to take place at Division Hdqs. Tournament to
consist of 200 bouts by various Ameture and Professional artists.
Thursday, Feb. 21st
On police duty in the Co. Mess Hall. Joined the Co. on the Gas drill after policing the
Mess hall. Later drilled in both Co. And Battalion close order drills. Saw and heard the
Divisional band for the first time. Band consists of 412 pieces. Drilled on the School of
Musketry in the P.M.
Friday, Feb. 22nd
Formed at the head of the Co. Street at the sound of first call. Left the Co. Street for our
Washington's Birthday Parade in Augusta. Left Camp at 10:30 A.M. Route Penna. Ave to
Wash. Ave to Wrightsboro Rd. Wheeles Rd. To Millidgeville Rd. to Walton Way to 10th St. to
Broad. Counter march on Broad to 13th St. to Walton Way to Wrightsboro Rd. to Camp.
Saturday, Feb. 23rd
Hiked by the Major to the Divisional Gas House and put through a room filled with
Chlorine Gas to prove the efficiency of the American Gas Mask. Half holiday in the P.M.
Sunday, Feb. 24th
Gloomy Sunday in Camp. Saw an interesting Baseball Game between Co. G & Co. H,
both teams from the 112th Inf. Co. G Victorious. Score 5 Co. G, 0 Co. H. Hart, an old Connie
Mack man, twirled for Co. G.
Monday, Feb. 25th
Hiked to Divisional entrenchments for our first hitch of real trench living in the newly
constructed 75 miles of entrenchments three mile from Camp. Arrived at entrenchments and went
on duty in a downpoour of rain.
Tuesday, Feb. 26th
Division fatigue at the trenches in the huge dugouts. Works around make one think of a
huge contractors business. Worked on hurdles and wicker work. Gathered lots of trailing
Wednesday, Feb. 27th
On Division fatigue working on obstacles of obstruction for a retreating Army to check
the advancing enemy. Sent to the dentists for an exhibition of perfect upper teeth. Had my ears
treated by Dr. White. Rec'd certificate and permission to attend boxing match at Augusta.
Wagons placed late for 3 days hike.
Thursday, Feb. 28th
Started our hike. Excellent day for hiking. Hiked to Artillery range about 7 miles.
Pitched pup tent camp. Had General Maneuvers. Saw effect of a Barrage in woods. Went in
swimming in an old mill pond near a huge dam. Band gave an excellent concert. Entire 112th Inf
went out on a night manouvers and trench digging. Seemed very much like a picnic.
Friday, March 1st
Stood revellie in the camp of pup tents. Had breakfast and were told to fill our canteens
for an all day hike. Struck camp at the sound of General. Fell in for a divisional maneuver. Saw
several prominent movie artists posing for movies. Arrived at the same site for camp at 5:30 P.M.
Went in swimming.
Saturday, March 2nd
Stood revellie, and had quite a breakfast. Struck camp at the sound of General. Rolled
packs and started for camp Hancock. Arrived at Camp Hancock at 12 o'clock. Were met by
several bands of the divisions.
Sunday, March 3rd
Lonesome Sunday in Camp Hancock. Furled all tents and washed clothing all A.M.
Prepared to go on guard at Base Hospital at night.
Monday, March 4th
Came off guard and returned to Base hospital for a solution for Poison Oak. Rained all
day long. Went to see the dentist in the P.M. Told to report back on Thursday A.M.
Tuesday, March 5th
Rolled packs and hiked to Division trenches. Out first experience under actual fighting
conditions. Patrols out all night long. In the second line of resistance trenches. Stood [guard]
too. Relieved at 8 P.M. Stood on guard in reserve trenches.
Wednesday, March 6th
Relieved at 9 A.M. from duty at the division trenches. Rolled packs and hiked back to
camp. Enroute long term Georgia convicts at work on Wrightsboro Rd. Sec. Of State Lansing at
artillery range under barrage fire. Visited trenches. Wrote May. Rec'd 1 letter.
Thursday, March 7th
Drilled hard all A.M. on close order drills. Over the Bayonet course. Preparing for
Division and Regimental Guard duty. Put on Guard at Base Hospital from 6 P.M. to 7 A.M.
Friday, March 8th
Relieved from Guard duty at 7 A.M. Allowed to rest in the morning. Drilled in the P.M.
with Co. L, 112 Inf.
Saturday, Mar 9th
Entire Division arranged early and passed in Review before Sec. Of State Lansing and
Major Gen. Muir. Lansing expressed great satisfaction in the efficiency of the 28th Division or
Penna. National Guard. My son W.W. Jr. Died. Did not receive word of it.
Sunday, March 10th
Lonesome Sunday in Camp Hancock. Heard the Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia preach
a sermon on The three great sacrifices, Love, Happiness & Life.
Monday, March 11th
Drilled hard on the bayonet course and in extended order in the A.M. Selected as one of
the players for the Regimental Push Ball team. Played a game before Sec. Of State Lansing in the
Tuesday, March 12th
Reported on Sick report with lame back received playing Push ball game. Unable to get
out of bed. Layed in my tent all A.M. and P.M.
Wednesday, March 13
Still unable to get out of bed. Dr. Trollinger examined my back for torn muscles. Told to
keep still and strapped all over my back with 3 inche adhesive tape. Had an exray picture of my
back. Xray showed muscles torn. Wrote May. Weary & homesick.
Thursday, March 14
Still in bed with severe pain in my back. Wrote a letter to May. Nothing else of any
importance. Baby buried and I am still ignorant of his birth.
Friday, March 15th
Reported on sick report. Reported on P. T. Squad. Drilling in P.T. in the A.M. Wrote to
May and sent the dead and buried baby a post card. Sltill did not know of his death.
Saturday, March 16th
Received word of the baby's death and burial in a letter from May. Very heartbroken and
home sick. Walked Co. Street all night long. Some one in the Co. Received the telegram and
destroyed it in order to get even.
Sunday, March 17th
Very lonesome and homesick. Couldn't forget the dirty trick played on me by one of the
officers of my Co. Can't get the baby out of my mind. Wrote to Mother, Father & May
lamenting over the baby's death. And waiting for the time to get revenge.
Monday, March 18th
Baby still on my mind. Despondent over the ill fortune of myself and over the illness of
my wife, also of the death of W.W. D. Jr.
Tuesday, March 19th
For some reason, can't quit worrying. Went to see Chaplain Hall for advice. Try my best
to forget, but somehow I can't forget.
Wednesday, March 20th
Drilled in ranks and trying my best to soldier. Received a telegram from home stating that
May was very very ill. Asked permission of My Captain for a furlough. Refused. Seen Lieut.
Col. Gamble and rec'd recommendation for 8 days.
Thursday, March 21st
Received permission to go to Augusta. Went to Augusta and to the Western Union
Telegraph office. Wired to the Sec. Of War Work for the P.R.R. [Pennsylvania Railroad]
Employees in regard to my transportation. Did not hear from him. Went back to camp.
Friday, March 22nd
Attended Religious services at the Y.M.C.A. Hut. Heard Professor Delroy of Columbia
University lecture on Hypnotism and Fakers.
Went to Augusta to see about answer from Mr. Buzby. No ans. Went to see Washington
American League Baseball club clean up 108 Field Artillery by the score of 7-0. Johnson twirled
for Wash. Saw Gorman and Murphy go 15 rounds. Secured game for 112th Inf. from Clark
griffith for Sat. one week, March 30.
Sunday, March 24th
Went to Division Hdqs. To see Walter Camp, Jr. Told to get the ball players out for
practice. Washed clothing & wrote letters. Asked the various Co. Commanders for a list of
promising base ball talent for a Reg. Team.
Monday, March 25th
Drilled two B.B. teams hard in teamwork and signal practice. Selected two teams, 1st &
2nd. Second team going at a lively pace. Selected Lieut. Smeltzer a Manager of the teams.
Tuesday, March 26th
Put the two teams in a real game for good practice work. Both teams going fine. Picked
the best men of each team and put them together to work together.
Wednesday, March 27th
Feeling down hearted and worrying quite a lot over my ill luck. Went to practice to try
and get it out of my mind, but no use. Did not pay much attention to the practice game.
Thursday, March 28th
Detailed for guard duty. Taken off on account of base ball practice. Stayed absent from
baseball practice and all drills worrying about W.W. D's Jr. Death.
Friday, March 29th
Good Friday elsewhere but not in Camp Hancock. Put through very stiff practice and
signal practice. Team chosen and told to report at Reg. Hdqs. 12 M Sat. To play Wash Amer.
Saturday, March 30th
Regular Sat. A.M. inspection. Washed cots and ticks to fill out the A.M. A line of
wagons numbering 243 detailed to haul the base ball fans into the game between Washington
Americans [and] U.S. 112th U.S. Inf. Johnson to pitch against Hart. Wittnessed one of the best
games I ever saw. Wash 1 -- 112th 0. 16 innings.
Sunday, March 31st
Easter Sunday. Went to church and later prepared for hike to the Artillery range or
combat range. Arrived at combat range at 7 P.M. Turned clocks back 1 hour.
Monday, April 1st
Rained hard all morning while waiting to shoot a qualifying course on the combat range.
Went on the combat range between showers at 1 o'clock. Record of platoons. First Platoon hit
59. Second Platoon hit 91. Third Platoon hit 59. Beny Kline the Co. comedian had rifle blow up
in his face causing him to lose an eye.
Tuesday, April 2nd
Picked schrubs and hiked back to camp in a downpour of rain. Rather warm. Co. I made
one of the best shooting records of any infantry unit in the Camp.
Wednesday, April 3rd
Fell in to be marched to the dry reservoir and drilled exceptionally hard in bayonet work
over the Division course. Cap't Ryan instructing in the trench attacking. Made finest record in
Thursday, April 4th
Put over the Battallion Bayonet course on the 112th Inf. Drill ground several times in the
A.M. Drilled hard in litter bearing and first aid work to the wounded in P.M. At mail call in the
evening rec'd box from home and enjoyed the contents very much. Shared a great part with my
Friday, April 5th
Drilled in A.m. and prepared for a divisional guard mount. Formed guard mount at 4:15
P.M. Hiked to Division Quarter Master Corps. Assigned to Post #4.
Saturday, April 6th
Relieved from Guard Duty by Co. G 112th Inf. Attended Automatic Rifle school under
instruction of Serg't Russell.
Sunday, April 7th
Received a letter from May and also one from Mother. On detail. Attended church at the
Woodlawn Baptist Church, Augusta, Ga.
Monday, April 8th
At Co. Formation for drill many called for detail at the Powder magazine. Loaded and
unloaded 30-ball cartridges all A.M. Half holiday in the P.M. Went to Augusta Ga. to see
Pittsburg National League Club and the famous Athletics Amer. Play. Score 0-0, 5 innings, rain.
Wrote several letters home.
Tuesday, April 9th
Hiked to Combat range and pitched a camp of Dod Tents on the hillside. Severe rain
storm and wind. Sleeping and was woke up by rain hitting me in the face. Tent blown away.
Wednesday, April 10th
Very cloudy day suitable for going over range. Went over the course in A.M. at 1-2 and
300 yards. My score on the course of slow fire was 216 out of a possible 250. Went over the
same course in rapid fire in the P.M.. Score in P.M. Rapid fire 36 out of 60.
Thursday, April 11th
Done marking on the rifle range all day and after finishing marking Went with heavy packs
to the Combat range. Camped on hillside in rain storm at the combat range.
Friday, April 12th
Shot over the course for the second time at figure targets by Platoons. 1st Platoon score
114. 2nd Platoon 119. 3rd platoon 139. Broke camp and Hiked to the Co. Street. Wrote May
in the evening.
Saturday, April 13th
56th Brigade detailed to the Rifle Range to erect breakers in rear of the range to stop stray
bullets. Worked hard till Noon. Half holiday in the P.M.
Sunday, April 14th
General cleanup in the entire camp for inspection, a very busy day in the entire Division.
Pay day. No pay.
Monday, April 15th
Name called for detail on Regiment at road. Constructing road between 111th and 112th
Inf. Hauled clay and graded the entire road. Co. being inspected by Tuesday. Major Smathers.
Tuesday, April 16th
Detailed on the Road again. Worked on the 112th Inf. Road. Rolled packs in the evening
and hiked to the division trenches for life in the trenches.
Wednesday, April 17th
Selected by Co. C for Headquarters Platoon to act as a runner and indeed was kept busy
running all day and all night.
Thursday, April 18th
Relieved by Cos. K & L of 112 Inf. And went in rear of the reserve trenches, pitched pup
tents, layed down to go to sleep. Call to Arms sounded at 10:20 P.M. Beat it double time to
support trenches expecting attack.
Friday, April 19th
Relieved from support. Ate breakfast and marched into front line to prepare for Going
Over The Top Manouvers. Zero hour set as 10:13 A.M. Went over the top under barrage.
Saturday, April 20th
Arrived in camp at 4 A.M. Stood revellie at the regular time. Drilled hard in bayonet
work in the bowl, also in physical training.
Sunday, April 21st
Appointed by Captain Jenkins Co I musician or Bugler. Went to woods for practice.
Taught a class semiphore and Wigwag signals in the P.M.
Monday, April 22nd
Went with the Co. on a stiff hike. Hiked in heavy marching order over a very difficult
Tuesday, April 23rd
Practiced in the A.M. and had a half holiday in the P.M. Checked up all clothing and
started issuing for our services Over Seas.
Wednesday, April 24th
Worked hard issuing clothing. Went to the woods for a practice of 45 minutes and then
dismissed for the day. Blew Retreat and Taps.
Thursday, April 25th
Blew Revellie. Selected by Top Cutter for pistol practice on the pistol range in rear of
112 Inf. Camp. Score was 231 out of a possible 250. Not bad for my first experience.
Friday, April 26th
Checked up all servicable Q.M. Corps property and made note of the same. Sounded call
for inspection. Inspection.
Saturday, April 27th
Serg't Tate, Supply Sgt, issuing several different articles including toilet articles and under
clothing and socks.
Sunday, April 28th
Checked up all personal property and told to dispose of several articles. Sent home one
Monday, April 29th
Complete inventory of all Co. property taken. Co. I selected to go on guard duty. All
men of German descent sent to Kansas.
Tuesday, April 30th
Made our heavy packs and packed a barracks bag for myself. Co. I done last guard duty
in Camp Hancock, Augusta, Ga. Bugler of the Guard.
Wednesday, May 1st
Sounded Revellie at the usual time. Ate breakfast. After breakfast, cars were placed and
immediately started loading Co. Property on cars. Finished loading early in A.M. Men loaded on
train at 3 P.M. Pulled away from Wheeles Station at 3:10 P.M. Soon speeding North through
North Carolina. Don't know our destination.
Thursday, May 2nd
Upon being called for breakfast, learned we were in North Carolina and on the Atlantic
Seaboard R.R. & A.C.L. R.R. Crossed the Va. State Line at 11 A.M. Arrived in Richmond at 12
P.M. Red Cross gave us cakes and various other articles. Arrived Wash. at 4 P.M. Given hot
coffee and sandwiches. Left Wash. on the B&O. Arrived in Phila. at 24th and Chestnut Street
Station at 10:25 P.M. Crowd nearly wild to learn of Pa. troops being there.
Friday, May 3rd
Arrived at Jersey City, N.J., at 3 A.M. Unloaded all of our goods on ferries. Loaded on
ferries to be ferried to Long Island City. Guide explained everything enroute. Unloaded at L.I.
City on to a train waiting on the Long Island R.R. Arrived at Camp Upton at 2:10 P.M.
Occupied barracks in Camp Upton, L.I.
Saturday, May 4th
Washed clothing for first and last time in Camp Upton, L.I. Checked up all unserviceable
goods & turned same in to Supply Serg't. Given credit. Wired home for money.
Sunday, May 5th
Sunday and in Camp Upton. Saw Billy Whitman from Harrisburg. Was looking for Pap.
Wrote him my farewell letter. Stayed up with H.B. Chubbs relatives until after midnight.
Monday, May 6th
Left the Barracks for the L.I. R.R. early after midnight. Loaded on the train at 4 A.M.
Arrived at Long Island Terminal where we boarded Washington, P.R.R. ferry. Ferried to Cunard
Piers. Boarded transport Acquatania. At this time Largest Steamer afloat.
Tuesday, May 7th
Sailed at 8:20 A.M. Raced with a W.J. & S.S. R.R. Ferry down the river. Passed the
Statue of Liberty at 9:10 A.M. Bound for Somewhere on the high seas. A nice calm sea. No sea
sickness on board.
Wednesday, May 8th
Second day at sea. No sea sickness and nothing visiable except huge mountains of water
everywhere. Held a fire drill at 2 P.M.
Thursday, May 9th
Third day at sea. Told that we are due to reach danger zone early at night. On deck in the
P.M. Saw gunners and guns in operation at target practice. Boat drill with life belts adjusted.
Told to keep belts on at all times.
Friday, May 10th
Fourth day at sea. Entered danger zone. Life belts worn even to sleep in. Gunners
sighted something off to the left on starboard side and trained guns on same until an American
Flag was hoisted. On guard as Bugler of guard. B deck aft. Sounded fire call for boat drill and
later sounded recall.
Saturday, May 11th
Fifth day at sea. Just circling waiting for a convoy. Do not advance at all. Taking a zigzag course to dodge submarines. Rough sea and the boat swaying for all it is worth. Huge freighter sighted on the horizon. All guns played on same. Heligraphic signals transferred between freighter & our boat telling us of convoy waiting for us.
Sunday, May 12th
Received three American Submarine Chasers and two torpedo boat destroyers. These boats played all around the boat enroute to the Irish Sea.
Monday, May 13th
Entered the Irish Sea opposite Wales. Could see the mountains of Wales in the distance. Sea as smooth as glass. Never imagined a sea so peaceful.
Tuesday, May 14th
Entered Liverpool harbour early in A.M. and later into dry docks. Unloaded late in the P.M. Hiked to the G.C.R.R. at Liverpool to be conveyed along the English chanel. Left Liverpool at 6 P.M. Saw some fine land enroute.
Wednesday, May 15th
Arrived at Folkstone, Kent County, Eng. Saw maimed and crippled and effects of air raids. Went to rest camp #6. Treated royally by English Tommies. Left Folkstone at 4 P.M. for Dover. Passed Canterbury and seen this famous old Cathedral. Arrived at Dover at 7 P.M. and hiked up the Heights of Dover to our billets there.
Thursday, May 16th
Hiked up to the summit of the heights. Saw the Castle of Dover, built 35 years B.C. with famous old moat. Hiked to the docks. Loaded on Channel steamer and arrived in Calais, France 2 hrs. later. Fortifications on the heights of Dover 1500 years old. Saw American, English and French aviators doing tale spins, looping the loop and various other hair breath stunts. In an air raid in Calais the first night in France. Jerry realized we were there. My first experiences under shell fire. Hear the shells of the anti air craft whining and whistling thru the air. Seemed quite unlike one of our own American Fourth of July Celebrations.
Friday, May 17th
[This is the first of several major contradictions in Bugler DeSilvey's journal. According to the May 16 entry, they crossed the English Channel to Calais on Friday the 16th, vice Saturday the 17th.]
Loaded on an English Channel Steamer and fairly flew across the Channel From Dover to
Calais. Landed in Calais and formed the Co. on the Docks. Hiked nearly 3 miles to an English
Rest Camp #3. Some restless Rest camp. Could hear the continuous roar of guns on the Western
Front. Big air raid by Jerry in the night.
Saturday, May 18th
Took our American Eddystone Rifles to the American Ord. Dep't. In Calais, and were
issued the Regulation English Enfield rifle in exchange. Returned to Camp and layed around all
day listening to the roar of the Big guns. Air Raid by Jerry.
Sunday, May 19th
Hiked 5 mile to large English S.O.S. station and were issued the English Gas Mask and
100 rounds of ammunition. Returned to Rest Camp and rolled packs. Hiked 7 kilometers to
Antionettes Station where we were loaded on 3rd Class Passenger train. Left Antionettes at 5
P.M. Arrived at Lombres in Flanders at 7:10 P.M. Loaded our packs on English Lorries and
hiked to Bayenghem. Billetted among French Peasants in Billets better known in U.S.A. as
Monday, May 20th
Were given this day off to clean up and wash our clothing. We were told that we were
going to train under English N.C.Os for a period of 3 weeks.
Tuesday, May 21st
Started our period of training in big Eng. Training camp. Saw One Division of Scottish
Highlanders in their famous kilts on their way to the Front. They were accompanied by their
famous pipes and Pipers. After this parade like movement of troops, settled down to business and
went over the nomenclature of both Gas Mask and Enfield Rifle.
Wednesday, May 22nd
Second day of hard work. Saw big Guns returning from the Flanders Front and going up
to the Somme Front. English Divisions in Flanders relieved by the French Poilou's or Grey
Thursday, May 23rd
Numerous English Lorries going to and from the Front. All day manouver over the huge
1000 yard rifle range.
Friday, May 24th
Severe bombardment on the entire Front by both sides. Extra large Areo attack on the
entire Front by the entire Allied Armies. Great fleets of Aeroplanes passing overhead all day long.
Saturday, May 25th
Rest day for us in Bayenghem, France. Lucky boys. Selected as Lt. Coover's Striker.
Numerous English planes bound for the German Lines to Bomb them.
Exhausted Members of the 28th Division in France
The Pennsylvania National Guard Would Contribute One of the AEF's Most Active Formations
Sunday, May 26th
Heavy Artillery deuling all along the Front lines east of Dunkirk. French confirm report
that they took 1500 German Prisoners in renewed German Drive on this front.
Monday, May 27th
Hiked to drill field early for our daily schedule. Food exceptionally poor. Men of the
Division complaining. Big 6 & 8 inch and 9 point 2 inch long range guns being dragged by
powerful Holt Tractors to and from the front.
Tuesday, May 28th
Germans attacked newly formed French positions and took them together with Kemmil
Hill. In strong counterattack, French retook all lost ground. Perfect slaughter for the German
side. Severe Barrage put up by both sides.
Wednesday, May 29th
Rumored that the Artillery Brigade of the 28th Division were torpedoed and lost 5 men.
Fierce fighting by Scottish Highlanders all along and in front of Kemmil Hill.
Thursday, May 30th
Observed Declaration Day. General Pershing inspected the camp. Large fleet of German
Areoplanes flew over head to raid either Calais or St. Omer. Several machine guns turned on
them with the result that they unloaded there bombs and returned to the lines.
Friday, May 31
On the 1000 inch range. Saw British Tommies giving a demonstration on drill discipline
and disorder. Signed May Pay Roll.
Saturday, June 1st
Drilled in the flag semiphore and Wigwag. Attended Bugle practice in the woods in rear
of the drill field. Climbed to the top of the hill in rear of our billets after dark to watch the front
lines. Saw directly overhead four german Planes caught in flash lights and English Planes engage
them in battle. 3 brought down in flames. 1 escaped. Very interesting arial battle and the front
seems like a huge celebration of July 4.
Sunday, June 2nd
Bugler of the Guard. Regular Sunday inspection. After inspection, Jocko Piffley, Lee
Warner and I had a feast of dandelion and spuds. Artillery duelling along entire front. Sound
nearer than ever. Watched the front from the hillside.
Monday, June 3rd
Examined in Semiphore and Wigwag signaling in Co. M Orchard. Passed with 99%.
Germans began a crisscross or double drive for Paris. Stopped almost immediately by the French.
Americans successful along their entire Sector at Toul.
Tuesday, June 3rd
Hiked to the large Rifle Range and then to the English School of Musketry. Received new
special course on the range for the English Enfield Rifle.
Wednesday, June 5th
Still competing for honors on the Rifle Range. Saw 128 British Planes split up in
Combat groups and loaded with bombs to bomb the lines and also Germany.
Thursday, June 6th
Amex [American Expeditionary Forces] succeed in driving the Dutch back across the
Marne at Normans and gallantly defend their new positions. Resist fierce German Counter attack.
Friday, June 7th
One month since we sailed from the dear old U.S.A. Drilling hard in the Wig Wag,
Semiphore and Morse Code. Bugle practice in the woods. At work hard all day long.
Saturday, June 8th
1st Regimental formation on French soil of the 112 U.S. Infantry. Drilled in the manual of
the Bugle. Jock, Lee, & I enjoyed a meal of French Bread and Milk in an old orchard. Hiked 8
Kilos to Lart to turn in English Enfield Rifle and Ammunition. Received our good old American
Eddystone back again.
Sunday, June 9th
Rolled packs and started our hike for the American sector. Left 8:45 A.M. Sunday. Was
Bugler of the guard. Sick and complaining. Do not feel well.
Monday, June 10th
Started to hike from our billets at Fruquemberges at 9:15 A.M. Hiked to Fruges where
we ate dinner. Hiked 5 mile out of the road to Anzicourt where we were billeted for the second
Tuesday, June 11th
Were told this was our last day of the hike. Not sorry of it. Left our billets at Anzicourt
at 8 A.M. Selected by Cap't Jenkins as a connecting file between the Advanced Guard and the
support. Pvt. Earl Small my mate. Arrived at Wavrans.
Wednesday, June 12th
Located in a field near Wavrans. Broke came early in the P.M. Entrained in side door
pulmans. 8 Chavaux 40 Hommes at Wavrans. Our rations for 3 day travel consist of 1 tin of
Corned beef and 1 box of hard bread. Arrived Eutoples on the Channel in the evening.
Thursday, June 13th
Making remarkable time enroute to our new American Sector. Passed through Paris.
Saw famous Eiffel tower.
Friday, June 14th
Arrived at Sanine Sur-Marne on the out skirts of Paris. Hiked 21 Kilos to our billets in
Ville Pinte. Very comfortable place and well contented here.
Saturday, June 15th
Visited surrounding villages. Treated royally by all classes of French people. Met Mme.
Raynall and Mr. Raynall, a military Officer of the French officer. Co. Paid off in full.
Sunday, June 16th
Attended or rather filled an engagement for dinner with Mr. & Mme. Raynall in Aulnay
Sous Bois. Had a fine dinner and enjoyed myself. Accompanied by Lee & Jacks.
Monday, June 17th
Started to drill under the instructions of French N.C.O.s who all possessed Croix da
Militaire. Visited Livry in the evening. Heard the shells from the long range gun going through
the air and later exploding in Paris. Very unpleasant weather.
Tuesday, June 18th
Regular daily routine and drill. Drilled in a heavy downpour of rain. Saw several
Frenchman trying to catch some pigeons.
Wednesday, June 19th
Routine and regular A.M. drill. In P.M. Colonel Finney held 1st Dress Parade of any
Regiment of Amex troops in France. First Dress Parade for the 112 Inf. since leaving the States.
Thursday, June 20th
Rolled packs and started our first lap for the lines. Left Villepinte and arrived at
Courmont where we were located in the Mayor's barns. Arrived late in the P.M.
Friday, June 21
Our signal and scout detail at Roissy. Bought my first pack of American Cigarettes since
landing. Smoked my first American cigarette. Big Division Manouvers.
Saturday, June 22
Practiced in manual of the Bugle in the woods all day. Entertained by several French
Aviators doing the almost impossible flying upside down & the famous loop the loop.
Sunday, June 23rd
Rolled packs and were loaded in French Motor Lorries and hauled to La Tre Toire where
we unloaded and were camped in dog tents in a field beside a french narrow gauge R.R. running
into the line.
Monday, June 24th
Rest day in our new camp. Compelled to do our own cooking on account of the kitchens
being on the road hiking. Had beefsteak & French fried spuds. Washed clothing.
Tuesday, June 25th
Started drilling in a near by field. Hard at it on the bugle. Saw several carload of French
70-shells being taken into the lines.
Wednesday, June 26th
Drilled hard all day. After drill hiked 8 kilometers to a stream and took a bath. First one
for several weeks. No cooties yet.
Thursday, June 27th
Saw several German soldiers graves and several French & Tommy graves who were killed
in the 1st retreat of the Marne 1914. Also 1 American aviator burried here.
Friday, June 28th
Drilled all day, and washed clothing afterwards in a swamp which smelled so bad one
could hardly stand it.
Saturday, June 29th
Rolled our packs and started for 1 more lap nearer the lines. Billeted at Beucherries in a
typical French stone stable.
Sunday, June 30th
A very heavy fire on our front. We could hear a continual roar of artillery. Vaux taken by
the Yanks. Several German planes brought down by Yanks. Saw my first Amer. Liberty Plane
with Liberty motor.
Monday, July 1st
Prisoners of the entire 112th Infantry sent to the front under guard to work with a
regiment of Engineers. There work erecting wire entanglements. Deprived of rifles, ammunition
and firearms of any description. Heavy barrage put up by the Americans. Drilled hard all day.
Tuesday, July 2nd
On duty at Arial observation tower all day long. Sounded to cover as twenty one Bosch
photographing planes flew over head taking pictures. Sounded to cover three times.
Wednesday, July 3rd
Bugle practice in the woods near our billets in the morning. Relieved Bugler Langston on
duty at Arial Observation Tower at 4:30 P.M. On duty until Taps.
Thursday, July 4th
Sounded call to arms at 1:00 A.M. Rolled packs. Hiked 9 kilos to the Grand Forest near
La Chapell. Selected to go on a raiding party at 204 Hill. Jocko, E. Watt, Auchuto, Tate and
myself selected from Co I. Our barrage started at 10:20 A.M. Ceased at 12:20 P.M. Went over
the top at 12:21. Absolutely no resistance until we entered a woods. Ran into several Machine
Gun Nests in the wood. Frank Achuto had Arm blown off. Earnest Watt Killed by German
sniper from a tree top. Got my first shot at a Hun who proved to be chained to his gun and to the
tree. Advanced 1300 yards and took and held against big odds 204 Hill. Relieved by a French
Regiment at 4:35 P.M. Just realized what I had been through. Saw legs, arms and men torn to
bits by huge shells. The ground smelled of the dead bodies who had be [been] laying around for
quite a while. Artillery doing good work.
American Monument on Hill 204 Today
Friday, July 5th
Arose from a peaceful nights sleep not far from the lines. Returned to the woods and to
the company. Went into camp. My nerves none to good for my experiences on 204 Hill the day
before. Just beginning to realize what I had seen and what I had been through.
Saturday, July 6th
Our outfit told to select one platoon to go on duty in the lines that night. Severe barrage
put up by Jerry. Jerry feeling for the woods with his guns. German areoplanes overhead
observing his shots. Landed one big 8 inch shell square in the woods. Fortunately, did not hit a
man. Shelled the woods and the road for 5 solid hours late at night. On Gas Guard at Bat. Hdq.
Sunday, July 7th
Americans busy hauling up big guns into position mile ahead of our camp. Moving of
guns into position done before daybreak. Second Platoon of Co. I selected to go on the lines to
meet resistance and give resistance to and from the enemy. Third Battalion occupying first or
main line of resistance on the Marne River.
Monday July 8th
Companies busy digging in all night long and early in the morning. Formed gas guard at
day break. Flashed signals all night long from my lamp. Sleeping all day long.
Tuesday, July 9th
Received orders to move to the Regimental main line of Resistance and occupied Reserve
line of resistance with Hdqs. Co. Selected Chief of Laison and established my relays of Laison
between Co. & Batl. & Between Batl. & Reg. Second Battalion recieved severe shelling killing
Peanuts Waltz of Harrisburg, Co. E.
Wednesday, July 10th
Received orders to relieve the 111th Inf. As we were with the 109 Inf. Selected as the
attacking party and Co. I as mopers ups of the 112th Inf. 111 and 110 Inf. as Divisional Mopper
Ups. Relieved 111th in the deserted village of Mont Morelle on the Marne River. Expecting the
Germans to launch a second big offensive for Paris. Two German spies captured at Telophone
Thursday, July 11th
Digging in amid a severe downpour of rain. Received word that all our men are all O.K.
Jocko and I are continually together.
Friday, July 12th
Establish outposts in a woods several hundred yards in advance of the rest of the
Regiment. Jocko and I looking for the 1st Platoon.
Saturday, July 13th
Still waiting some orders to move. Meeting difficulty digging in in heavy underbrush.
Germans give us a 55 hour barrage started the day before. Received orders to fall back to the
opposite side of the Marne. Not a man lost.
Sunday, July 14th
French Independence Day observed by all Amex troops who were not in the lines. Jerry
came over in massed formation until he reached the Marne R. Left him proceed and closed in on
him from the rear and flanks. Captured 2800 Prisoners and started the Buffer action without
Monday, July 15th
Started our counter offensive barrage and sounded like a huge trap drum beating
continually. Arrived on the outskirts of Chateau Thierry and going good. Meeting no resistance
to speak of.
Tuesday, July 16th
Started to enter Chateau Thierry at the break of day. Ran into severe Machine Gun
barrage and practically mowed off. Managed to rout them and caused them severe losses. 2
Battalion Gassed by Hun artillery fire. Raining but this does not stop us.
Wednesday, July 17th
Dismal day. Raining to beat the band. Marooned from the rest of the company in a
nearby dugout. After the rain, resumed our chase for Fritz. Could not find him all day long.
Thursday, July 18th
Started our offensive in earnest this day. Went Over the Top after an Artillery Barrage.
Nearly cut off by Jerries Counter Barrage. Nothing at all seemed to stop the boys who were in it
heart, body and soul. Our main objective taken at 3 P.M. Did not stop, but kept on going. In all
we took nearly 5000 Prisoners and about 270 big guns--the 28th Division.
Friday, July 19th
Dug in in the A.M. without rations and wallowing in mud almost kneedeep. Ordered to
resume the fighting until we reach the Ourcq River where we are to be relieved by the 32
Division. Striving hard to reach this point by night. Failed to do so. Dug a little fox hole for
myself and Jocko.
Saturday, July 20th
Dug in sufficiently in our new positions. Still without rations. Big guns immediately in
rear of us following us closely and giving us A No. 1 barrage. After a short preparitory 75
barrage we again started for our final lap before reaching the Ourcq. Met stiff resistance but soon
got them out of the way with trench mortars and 1 pounders and Rifle grenades. Reached the
Ourcq late in the P.M. Relieved by 32 Div.
Sunday, July 21st
32 Division took up the offensive and we went into camp for a day or two of good rest
and sleep. Received orders to move late at night. Loaded in Lorries and hauled toward Chateau
Thierry. Changed our course.
Monday, July 22nd
Unloaded early in the A.M. immediately in front of the big 16 and 18 in. Howitzers.
Hiked up a long hill overlooking the Valley of the Ouraq R. Rested here until a shell killed two
Co. C. Men. Packed up and left.
Tuesday, July 23rd
Were told we had a twenty kilo hike looking us in the face. Started out up and down the
hills of the great Salient, through fields, in and out of shell holes, and to make life worth living,
raining to beat the band. Reached our destination and went into camp on a steep hillside. Slept
with Jocko. Awoke in the A.M. to find a Austrian 77 dud lying between the feet of Jocko and I.
Wednesday, July 24th
Located in a dense forest all cut to pieces by shell fire. Received orders to move as Jerry
was going to lay a Barrage around and in the forest. Moved our amid a rain of shrapnel and in a
terriffic rain storm. Ran into the 101 & 102 Inf. Of the 26th Division. Saw several Ambulances
with men who were wounded and died in the Ambulance.
Thursday, July 25th
Located near Mt. Didier which is blown to bits. Not a wall standing over 4 ft. above the
level of the ground. No rations as our limber is broken down. [LIMBER--a two-wheeled,
detachable front part of a gun carriage usually supporting an ammunition chest.] Moved four
kilometers to a forest. Passed by a German plane which was brought down by Major Luffbery
Friday, July 26th
Packed up and started to hike amid a downpour of rain. Our destination the summit of
202 Hill. Located on the summit of hill. Dug in and pitched camp. Shelled during the night.
Saturday, July 27th
Moved down in the Valley to the right of Chery and to the left of Dravigny. Saw 1 Jerry
and a French flyer brought down. Took up position to get the 32nd Division out of a German
flank movement. 32 Division released themselves without the aid of the 28th Div.
Sunday, July 28th
Captain Henderson of Co D. Hit square by an Austrian 88 shell. Could not find anything
of him. Received orders to move. Moved to the Forrey Feren Tardenois. Burried five
Frenchmen who were discolored and smelled. Also some Americans. Visited the General
dugouts of the Krown Prince located in this Forrest at his Hqs.
Monday, July 29th
Dug in considerable and was camped in the Hqs Platoon with Roundy McGill. Anti
Aircraft dud hit in the dugout between our heads. Needed no invitation to evacuate this place.
Which we both did in a hurry. French Cavalry taking Jerry over the open fields followed by
Tuesday, July 30th
Feren Tardenois falls and Americans drive Jerry back along the entire Salient of Soissons
& Rheims 50 kilometers. Casualties of our Company up to this time--had 262 men upon starting;
now have 24. Replaced for the first time.
Wednesday, July 31st
Entire 28th Division mentioned in a G.H.Q. order for citation and decoration for starting
this successful counter offensive Against the C.P & Jerry.
Thursday, August 1st
109th & 112th Infantry in hand to hand bayonet fighting with crack Prussian Guards.
Punished and inflicted heavy losses on this crack unit of the German Army at Surgy near
Friday, August 2nd
Several villages taken along our entire front. Great booty such as guns and many
thousands of German Prisoners taken. Moving along roads in mud knee deep. Falling in shell
holes and various death traps such as trenches filled with water with barbed wire to hold you fast.
My height is all that saved me.
Saturday, August 3rd
Relieved and started to hike. Hiked in a terriffic down pour of rain. Weary and very
hungry without rations now 3 days. Wore gas mask continually. Germans sending over plenty of
Mustard and Phosgene Gas. Fell in shell holes and trenches and finally reached our destination.
Bunked with Jocko Piffley in this downpour of rain. Soaked through and through. So played out
that I never slept any better in my life.
Sunday, August 4th
Layed out in the sunshine and allowed the sun to dry our clothing on our bodies. Went
into near by forrest to camp for the night. Compelled to sleep in several inches of water which I
gladly done For I was glad enough to have a hole to crawl into. Slept fine. Raining but did not
Monday, August 5th
Hiked in mud amid a furious downpour of rain into St. Giles. Shelled by the Bosche and
received severe gassing. Now in support and due to relieve the 4th Division on a flank manouver
under actual fire of the enemy Machine Gun emplacements.
Tuesday, August 6
28th Division relieved the 32 Division at or rather in Fismes. We occupy one half of this
important town on the Vesle River. German outposts sending a rain of bullets down the streets at
all times. Received an extra heavy artillery barrage shelling in our lines.
Men of Iron: The 28th Division at the Marne
Wednesday, August 7
Told by our captain to prepare to attack in force at 11:45 with a machine Gun and one
pounder barrage. Artillery unable to get into position on account of the mud and the rain.
Crossed the Vesle and Fismes fell late in the afternoon. In advancing was given aid to Arthur Van
Sile whose hand was blown off and in turn was painfully wounded in the leg by a German 88 high
explosive shell fragment. Received a 12 minute 1 pounder barrage and changed our course in
looking for the 1st Aid station. Ran into Gas near Fismes and gassed by phosgene. Went into
dugout in a woods. Leg stiff and causing me trouble. Pains badly.
Thursday, August 8th
Still lost as to direction. Hunting 1st aid station. Being helped by Arthur Van Sile also
wounded. While wandering around woods ran onto a road. Followed road until reaching a body
of troops. Asked for 1st Aid. Given attention. Ambulance hailed, loaded on and hauled to the
advance dressing station. Taken to field Hospital in turn at Coan. Ran into Quentin Roosevelts
grave. Took piece of aluminum from the fragments of the plane. Taken from Field Hos. To
Evac. Hosp #6 at Chateau Thierry. Evacuated after an operation & had shrapnel removed.
Evacuated on Hos. Train 54 from Chateau Thierry. Destination as yet unknown.
Friday, August 9th
Still on Hos. Train. Passed through Sezanne enroute to the Switzerland Border. Name of
the Town or No. Of the Hospital unknown.
Saturday, August 10th
Arrived at Vittel in Vosge Province near Nuefchateau and Epinal. Put in Base Hosp. No.
23. Ate my first bite since going into the lines on the Vesle River early in the week. [Ref August
3 entry: DeSilvey indicated they had been without rations for three days at that time. Thus, August 10
would have been the tenth day with no food.] Leg dressed. Xray taken and fleuroscopies taken.
Sunday, August 11th
Leg operated on the second time. Leg dressed and put in floating swing. My Nurse a
Penna Girl Miss Hunt. Saw several boys from the Co. Hocker, Tomb, Piffley, Garman and
Fosburg all wounded and me the only one not able to get out of bed.
Monday, August 12th
Slept like a rock last night. Ate a hearty breakfast. Taken for a second Xray just before
dinner. Leg Paining me very much and needs dressing. In the afternoon tube put in wound and
dressed. Wound also packed with gauze.
Tuesday, August 13th
Found that a bone is broken and a other operation is necessary. Piece of bone removed.
Leg dressed by my doctor and Nurse who are both very gentle. Leg pains me greatly.
Wednesday, August 14th
Foot gives me trouble. Allowed to set up. Given a lap table. Wrote several letters home.
Rather uncomfortable to set up with your foot higher than your head. Boy next to me who is
quite interesting he being from the 168th Inf., Rainbow or 42nd Division, Pvt Larson, Co. F,
Ottesen, Iowa. Talked and read all day.
Thursday, August 15th
Quite a warm day out of doors. One does not know there is a War going on except to see
these poor cripples and gassed. Told Lt. Muth, my Dr. about being gassed. Did not make a note
of it. Gave me some kind of powders. Leg dressed late in the P.M.
Friday, August 16th
Quite miserable out of doors. Still in bed. Good and tired of it but must be contented.
Red Cross girl visited all wounded boys. Read Magazines and wrote May and Mother each a
letter. [Assume the reference to "Mother" is either DeSilvey's stepmother since his own mother died in
Saturday, August 17th
Given a pair of crutches and had a Thomas splint put on my leg and told to move around
and go to the park. Given a suit of convalescent clothing. Saw several men from my Co. Who
are here wounded and gassed.
Sunday, August 18th
Went to the park and saw quite an interesting base-ball game between Base Hospital 23
and a crack Canadian team. Base Hospital #23 won by the score of 7-2.
Monday, August 19th
Cleaned up and was asked if I could master my crutches good enough to look after and
wait on a seriously gassed patient. Decided I could, accepted and went on duty a 7 P.M. All
night work. Patient crying My, God in Italian Oh! Yeazush.
Tuesday, August 20th
Relieved by day orderly at 7 o'clock in the morning. Visited dentist by permission and
appointment of the Dr. Had 1 tooth extracted and several ground out and filled. Asked for
clothing and permission to go to the bank to cash a check for Pvt. Larson. Given both.
Wednesday, August 21st
Went to the bank after being relieved from duty in the morning. Bought several things for
Pvt. Larson. Hunted through Base Hospital #36 for Jocko Piffley. Finally found him in Building
B of Base #36.
Thursday, August 22nd
Foot and leg swelled up nearly double. Doctor ordered me to bed. Gassed patient died
during the morning. Had foot and leg operated on for the 3rd time. Again my leg together with
my foot giving me great pain.
Friday, August 23rd
Still in bed. Nurse ordered to redress my leg at least four times daily. Red Cross gave us
an entertainment of Movies on the ceiling. Given several pieces of good old Lowney's chocolate
candy. Quite a good Chas. Chaplin Movie.
Saturday, August 24th
Saturday and the orderly preparing for inspection. Wanted [me] to get out but told by
the doctor that under no circumstances was I to get out of bed. He need not worry. My foot
hurts to badly to even move it.
Sunday, August 25th
Doctor hesitates as to giving me permission to get up. Finally allowed me to be pushed to
the ball game. Wittnessed one of the best played games I have ever seen Between Base Hos. #23
and the 3rd W.S. Cavalry. The 3rd Cavalry finally won after 16 innings of a scoreless tie. Score
1-0 - 16 innings.
Monday, August 26th
Had a man push me to the movies. Discusted with them. Later this boy pushed me to the
plum orchards where several French people gave me all I wanted.
Tuesday, August 27th
Suffered for going out. Laid up in a floating sling. Machine gun wound giving me quite a
bit of trouble. [This is DeSilvey's first mention of a machine gun wound. His August 7 entry only
indicated his leg wound from shrapnel.]
Wednesday, August 28th
Suffered severe pains during the entire night. Had both wounds thoroughly cleaned and
dressed by Miss Hunt.
Thursday, August 29th
Wound dressed early by Miss Hunt. Later read quite a bit. Wrote several letters.
Haven't heard from home for over a month.
Friday, August 30th
Asked the doctor and later asked the nurse if I could have my foot put on the bed. Both
laughed at me and said they would consider it. Saw movies shown on the ceiling by the red cross.
Saturday, August 31st
Anxious to get a good look at any kind of an English newspaper. None to be had for love
nor money. All of my pals from the Co. Evacuated to another hospital.
Men killed in action: Harry Bashore
Wounded in Action: Fosberg
Hocker Attacking on the
Peffley Vesle River
Borbidge -- In death valley, August 11, 1918.
Sunday, Sept. 1st
Red Cross woman came in and talked with me. Treated very fine by all members of the
A.R.C. here in Vittel.
Monday, Sept. 2nd
Heard lots of French trucks and lots of troops and ammunition, together with artillery,
going up to the lines all night and all day long. Believe a big drive to soon take place.
Tuesday, Sept. 3rd
Troops and ammunition moving by the Hospital all night and day amid a severe downpour
of rain. They have my sympathy for I realize their feelings.
Wednesday, Sept. 4th
Am almost sure and made a remark to my doctor and nurse that a big drive would take
place in less than 10 days. Troops and supplies still going toward the front.
Thursday, Sept. 5th
Very quiet and miserable day. Leg giving me trouble. Selected to blow Taps at all
funerals of this centre. Wrote home again.
Friday, Sept. 6th
Started to read a book called Gettysburg, and tried to picture the War at that time and the
War of today. Quite unlike one another.
Saturday, Sept. 7th
Read quite a lot about Harrisburg, Pa. And this made me quite homesick. First time I
have been homesick in my life. Leg feeling good.
Sunday, Sept. 8th
Played checkers all day. Looked for and could not find my match. Made friends with one
little German Prisoner who is only one month over 16 years old. He was wounded by an
American hand grenade on July 4th at 204 Hill. Interested in him.
Monday, Sept. 9th
Leg put in cast to remain this way for 9 days at least. Played checkers with my dutch
Tuesday, Sept. 10th
Were told that a drive was to be started in front of us in a day or two. Troops going to
the lines in long columns.
Wednesday, Sept. 11th
Could hear a heavy rumble of guns. Said it must be a preparitory barrage for a drive.
Troops still going up.
Thursday, Sept. 12
This news traveled like a shot from a cannon. Drive started in the St. Mihel Salient where
no action or change in the lines of both armies for the past 3 years. Learned that the Yanks had
captured over 1000 German prisoners.
Friday, Sept. 13th
Learned that the yanks had captured Mt. Ses and several other vital points. Had ice cream
and cake. This being General Pershing's birthday the reason for the treat.
Saturday, Sept. 14th
Hospital trains carrying over 300 wounded German Prisoners arrive in Vittel. 352
prisoners arrived this day. Americans can not advance further on account of the shell fire in the
Metz area. Thiacourt and Fresnes taken. Ground taken in 3 days what it took the Germans over
a year to take.
Sunday, Sept. 15th
Operating room going full blast both night and day. In less than 24 hours in the Hospital,
312 Germans had their arms or there legs amputated. This being due to the Gas infection which
set in. Doctors called it gas Purcillious or Gangrene from gas.
Monday, Sept. 16th
Had a German make me a cigarette holder from a fragment of an amputated leg. Regard
this as my best souvenir of the War.
Tuesday, Sept. 17th
Asked the doctor to give me an order to have the cast removed. He told me he would
give me the order tomorrow. Feel as though I can use my foot and leg. Feeling fine.
Wednesday, Sept. 18
Took my crutches and an order and had the cast removed. Leg very weak. Watched an
interesting tennis match on the courts in the park.
Thursday, Sept. 19th
Went to the famous Ludendorf Theater and saw quite an interesting show. Did not see
the finish of it in the Afternoon. Went back in the evening to see the remainder.
Friday, Sept. 20th
Helped the nurse to dress her blind brother who was blinded in the recent drive by Hun
machine gun bullet. The most pitiful sight I have ever seen in my life.
Saturday, Sept. 21st
Sat around and helped all I could. Shaved several patients free who were unable to get
out of bed. Shaved this blind boy who allowed the doctor to transfuse the knee serium into the
broken knee of the ward master who he knocked off a step ladder.
Sunday, Sept. 22nd
Evacuated together with a lot of the old patients. I was evacuated to Dijon and then to Is
Sur Tille to be reclassified before going any further. Arrived at Is Sur Tille late in the afternoon.
Put in barracks after a nice hour's hike along a dark road.
Monday Sept. 23rd
Heard a nice band concert in front of the evacuating office known as the Central Hotel.
The band is one of the famous Rainbow Division Bands.
Tuesday, Sept 24th
Leg still stiff and quite sore. Called in and to be replaced to the Toul replacement camp at
Boid Livec 10 kilos south of Toul. Left Sur Tille late in the P.M.
Wednesday, Sept. 25th:
Arrived at Toul and at the replacement camp early in the day. Sent from the camp to join
my company at Les Islettes. Went through Bar Le Duc, Ravigny, and St. Menehould. Arrived at
Clermont where I joined my company on the front lines. Severe barrage started at 10:20. The
worst I have ever heard in my life.
Thursday, Sept. 26th
Barrage ceased at 6:20 A.M. Went over the top at 6:30 A.M. Passed over what was at
one time the famous Hindenburg Line, now nothing but pulverized ground. Estimated by
Division officers between 8 and 10,000 men burried alive in battered down dug outs. Varens
taken without resistance.
View from atop Montfaucon Looking West
On September 26th the Division Went Over the Top
|[This is Bugler DeSilvey's final daily journal entry. He would eventually die from the damage inflicted by his two gassings.]|
Sources and Thanks: Phil Reese, Wayne DeSilvey's nephew did a tremendous job with his uncle's manuscript. Of course, his uncle was a wonderful diarist. Usually, we prefer to publish excerpts from such works. My feeling, though, was that the accomplishment here was with the total document rather than certain highlights. Phil also created the great bugler graphic at the start of the Diary. Wayne's more detailed accounts of the battles in which he fought will be used in the articles on those actions in the Battle Ground Series of the Dougboy Center. Regular DBC contributors Len Shurtlef and Ray Mentzer helped with the photos. MH.
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