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3. And Becomes Acquainted With Paper Work


HISTORY OF THE 305th FIELD ARTILLERY
by
Charles Wadsworth Camp
1919


III

AND  HE BECOMES ACQUAINTED WITH PAPER
WORK

PAPER WORK had now become our perpetual companion. Neither by night nor by day did he leave us lonely. He strutted at mess. He paraded across the drill ground. He sat by one's cot through the troubled watches of the night. It becomes, therefore, necessary to study the creature's habits.
Let us take a fanciful case that everyone can understand, since even in those early days Corn Willy was omnipresent. Let us suppose that a mess officer desires some information about this old friend. His impulse might be to dash off a note like this:
"Capt. Blank. Dear Sir: Having heard that you've made a life study of the subject, it's occurred to me that you might tell me how it is possible to make Corn Willy palatable."
If one didn't care to bother the colonel about details of paper work, Captain Gammell was always glad to put one right.
"Not at all, my dear young mess officer. Not at all. You must send it through channels."
"I don't think his office is far away. I might just run up and see him."
"What nonsense, my poor ignorant young mess officer! In that case what record would exist of this matter? "
So picture the mess officer in question studying in " Army Paper Work " all about going through channels. As a result he might turn out something like the following:

"Camp Upton, N. Y.
"October-, 1917. From: 2nd Lt. Blank, To: C. 0. Dept of Household Enemies. Subject: Corn Willy.
1. Information is desired as to any known method of making corn willy palatable.
(Sig) JOHN BLANK,
2nd Lt., 305th F.A.

That would occupy some two inches on a sheet of fools-cap. A few months later Lt. Blank, probably in charge of stables now, might receive a breathless messenger, bearing a huge envelope with his original sheet of foolscap pinned to reams of endorsements. These would run something like this:
Ist Ind. From C. 0., Bat'ry Blank, To C. 0., 305th F. A.
1. Forwarded.
92. Approved.
2nd Ind. From C. 0., 305th F. A. to Com. Gen. 152nd F. A. Brigade, with, perhaps, a paragraph or two.
3rd Ind., From Com. Gen. 152nd F. A. Brigade, to Com. Gen. 77th Division, with, perhaps, several paragraphs, scarcely ever more than a word in length.
4th Ind., From Com. Gen., 77th Div., to Adjutant General of the Army.
1. For investigation of record of Private C. Willy.
5th Ind., From Adjutant General of the Army to Com. Gen., 77th Div.
I - Received.
2. Contents noted.
3. No record.
4. Should be forwarded to Quartermaster General of the Army.

6th Ind. From Com. Gen. 77th Div. to Quartermaster General of the Army.
7th Ind. From Quartermaster General of the Army, to C. 0. Subsistence Division.
8th Ind. C. 0. Subsistence Division, to Chief Q. M., Dept of East.
9th Ind. Chief Q. M., Dept. of East to C. 0. Eastern Subdivision Department of Household Enemies.
10th Ind., From C. 0. Eastern Subdivision of Household Enemies to Lt. Blank. (Through Channels)
1. Received.
2. Contents noted.
3. No method Known.

"What shall I do with it now that I've got it?" asks Lt. Blank.
"What would you suppose?" is the tolerant answer of the expert. "It has become a matter of official record. Consequently it must be preserved forever, or nearly so. File it away."
"There isn't much room left in our barracks," says Blank hopelessly.
But the expert, you may be sure, doesn't let him brood over that very long.
"Your morning report was in a shocking state today, Blank."
"But I sat up all night, making out individual horse records."
"No excuse. How many horses have you got, anyway?"
Blank gulps.
"In the stables, or on paper?"
He retreats with visions of facing charges.

That matter of preparing charges, by the way, sprinkled with gray the temples of organization commanders, and the scanning of charge sheets made many an enlisted man fancy his last hour had arrived. Every "Whereas," and "In that he did", must be in its proper place; and, no matter how accurately the sheet might set forth the vivid language usually employed by the accused, unless "or words to that effect" capped the quotation the whole busi-ness was sent back to the drawer with caustic comment.

In those days men learned to be expert witnesses, and officers became judge advocates, counsels for the defense, and judges with supreme power. But most of the cases brought before the regimental courts martial were not vicious ones. There really were surprisingly few of any sort. It was inevitable we should have one type of case, for home was very near Camp Upton, and passes were not plentiful. A handful of men, when they did get home, found it strangely simple to miss the proper trains back. When they missed too many, battery punishment wouldn't cover the crime, and they had to stand trial.

Tuesday was the worst day. Then such little dramas as this were not infrequent:
Scene: The orderly room. Battery Commander at his desk, outwardly tyrannous and uncompromising; at heart, fighting a very human sympathy (Some battery commanders have been known to wish that they, too, might have stayed an extra twenty-four hours with their families). Opposite: Culprit stands, shame-faced, pulling at his hat. B. C.-Stop pulling at your hat. Stand at attention. (Culprit snaps his heels together)

B. C. -Now, Doe, what possible excuse have you for overstaying your pass twenty-four hours? The time was written down. The other men got back. You know what it means, Doe, to be A. W. 0. L.
(That sequence of four letters has a sound suggestive of blank walls and firing squads.)
Culprit, (Head drooping, voice thin and tremulous) Well, sir, you see me mother-in-law was down already with the rheumatiz. She was that bad that-
B. C., (Impatiently) Go on. Go on.
Culprit, (less confident)-and me wife was took Sunday night with the same terrible disease. I was just leaving for the train, too, and I couldn't get a doctor, and-
B. C. (In an arctic voice) That's enough, Doe. Those excuses were old when Noah overstayed his leave from the ark.
Culprit-(A gleam of disappointed tears in his eyes) I told 'em I wouldn't get away with it, but, hones' to Gawd, Captain, they was the best lies we could think of, and me mother-in-law said the last thing: "Stick to it, Tim, no matter what your cocky officer says."

In an army, plentifully sprinkled with men of German or Austrian descent, it was, of course, necessary to be cautious. "When is an enemy alien not an enemy alien? " became for a time the pet riddle of the paper workers. From month to month the successful answer appeared to alter, yet, except from the point of view of paper work, it troubled us little.

There were, however, conscientious objectors-not many, just enough to irritate soldiers who couldn't express their displeasure in a natural, fistic fashion without infringing the law. Were the most of these creatures nervous or sincere, men asked? Their days and nights in barracks, I fancy, weren't to be coveted. For a conscientious. objector, whose sincerity you couldn't question, you might conceive a certain admiration, but with such a war facing a nation the burden of proof, unfortunately, rests on the objector.

Worst of all, conscientious objectors complicated paper work. From many, sources came orders and suggestions as to their treatment; and when they flagrantly refused to obey commands, as they had a nasty habit of doing, they had to be court-martialed, and they usually picked the most inconvenient times for their performances, arguing, perhaps, that salvation lay there. We desired to see the last of them. But how? Providence reaches its ends in devious ways.

This is really not straying to another topic. Just then one of our castles tumbled. We weren't going to live, fight, and die together as we had started at Upton. Specific orders commenced to arrive, demanding large numbers of men. Up to the end of November we had lost by transfer two assigned officers, two attached officers, and 346 men. We got in return First Lieutenant Frederick H. Brophy, of the dental corps, on October 16th; Second Lieutenants George H. Hodenpyl, Karl R. McNair, and William A. Walsh, on November 12th; Second Lieutenant H. Stanley Wanzer, on November 29.d; and some straggling enlisted replacements.

It is impossible to say where those friends of a few weeks went. They left, more often than not as casuals, bound for some remote division in the South or West. We didn't see them again.

This abrupt snapping of barrack ties painted for us more colorfully the serious nature of our new profession. With a sober comprehension we watched the small bands of casuals, bent beneath blue barrack bags, go lurching down Fourth Avenue to the station-away from Upton, away from us who had more often than not learned to like them, away from the land of passes home.

The philosophy of the average soldier is direct and competent. It was after such an exodus that one explained to his companions during mess:
"What's the use of grouching? That's what war is- saying good-by. Just saying good-by, fellows. Might's well get used to it now."
These partings, nevertheless, weren't all sentiment. Let us value them at one-third regret and two-thirds paper work. The orders demanding them frequently slipped into the regimental area during the quiet hours before the dawn. Anything that awakened you was known as a Trick Order. Trick Orders seldom came singly. For several nights running they would glide in, lights would gleam from orderly rooms until shamed by the sun, and all those concerned would display at reveille acute symptoms of insomnia. There was no evasion when trick orders rustled through the camp. If a battery commander sought a way by preparing a list against unexpected transfers, Paper Work merely sneered, thinking of the devices he had up his sleeve. At three A. m., it might be, a red-eyed battery clerk would appear at a captain's cot.
"Sorry to disturb you, sir."
A groan.
"Barracks on fire?"
"No, sir. An order's just come to transfer five men.
The captain cries out, sitting up.
"Don't you know this is the first sleep I've had for three nights? Didn't I give you a list just so I could get some sleep? "
"Yes, sir," replies the battery clerk gently, "but this is a very tricky trick order. The men are to be reported at the station fully equipped, at 5:30 this A. m. They'll be equipped, even though the supply sergeant does lead a hunted life for a while. Meantime I've brought the service records for the captain to initial."

The battery commander surrenders, convinced that, no matter how artfully you may dodge, paper work will always tag you around the corner.
The preparation of these lists for transfers was a delicate matter. That's why the subject wasn't changed when we slipped away from conscientious objectors a moment ago.

Some soldiers, clearly, could be better spared than others. A few, officers and men desired enormously to get rid of. But we couldn't picture running along at all without the greater part. It had been impressed upon us that by "men" was meant men of the first quality. At conferences on the subject developed a touching and sublime faith in human nature, an out-and-out belief that in the very worst of artillerymen resides a mine of extraordinary virtue only requiring the delving of the receiving officer. And, one might add, even in the very most conscientious of conscientious objectors. . . .

The battery commander glances up from his roster.
"Could we, he asks, spare this man Richard Roe?"
"It would be like amputating a limb," a lieutenant answers, "but it might be managed."
The battery commander grunts.
"Didn't realize he was as bad as that. What the deuce is the matter with him? Isn't he strong and handy? Doesn't he look like a soldier?"
"If you look hard the other way."
The first sergeant says in a small voice.
"He's a conscientious objector, sir."
"Goodness gracious! I'd quite forgot that."
"Do we sit in judgment on a man's religion?" someone asks gruffly.
"My dear boy! It isn't a religion at all. It's a state of nerves."
"I don't care what any one says," the lieutenant puts in, "he's got the makings of a good soldier-if properly handled."
The battery commander's indignation is arresting.

"Who's been mishandling him here? It's clear someone has, and I'll look into that later. I'm bound every man shall get a fair show. It's clear that Doe isn't getting his here. No matter whose fault now. I'm going to give him his show-send him where he'll get all that's coming to him. Put his name on the list for transfer."

One day the trickiest of trick orders came down. No more conscientious objectors would be transferred. An attempt would be met by the return of the objector and the prompt trial of the offending officer. The 305th read the thing complacently, glancing down the sturdy brown lines. It had no significance for us then. Had we ever had a conscientious objector? No one seemed able to recall. At any rate there was none then. There was none when we sailed for France.

Now and then the trick orders contained troublesome particulars. Perhaps an organization would be called on to furnish a man equipped to become a battery or company clerk. Then the committee on transfers would really get down to work, for good battery clerks were as rare as good first sergeants. You can see the members anxiously scanning again and again the well-worn qualification cards. You can picture the shaking of heads, the helpless frowns. Then, perhaps, you can remember one speaking up victoriously.
"Here's the very bird."
"Read the chief particulars of his qualification card," the chairman demands.
The other holds the card to the light, declaiming in a sing-song voice:
"'Ivan Stroffowski. Born in Russia. Occupation: push cart peddler. Education: None. Neither reads
nor writes English."'
The members of the committee glance at each other. A tentative whisper filters through the room. It isn't one whisper. It is a sibilant chorus.
" Ivan! Thou art the man! " *

Aside from Trick Orders and routine paper work, there were family allotments, insurance allotments, and liberty loan allotments. And it mustn't be forgotten here that up to October 28th the regiment had gone into its pocket and subscribed $70,300 to the second liberty loan. All of these records figured on the pay-rolls, at the making up of which Paper Work had some of his cheeriest moments. Pay-rolls, too, gave the men rather more than their share of paper work. Everybody recalls that spirited lyric, set to the tune of "John Brown's Body."

"All we do is sign the pay-roll. All we do is sign the pay-roll. All we do is sign the pay-roll. And we never get a blank, blank cent."

Like much poetry, this was a trifle exaggerated, for on pay day, when the long lines formed, there was always some real money on the orderly room table. Nevertheless, on pay day night groups could be heard intoning such another lyric of the war as this:

"The U. S. pays us thirty per, Or so the papers say; But if you get a dollar ten, It's a heluva big pay day."

Yet consider the soldier who gets nothing-the replacement, perhaps, who was entrusted with his own service record and who has lost it.

"Do You know what this means? 'I the captain snaps at him. "Do You realize your entire record is gone- punishments and rewards, clothing, allot-merits, everything~ Do you understand that without Your service record You can't be paid?"
The replacement glances at the Paper work suspended from the walls, littering the table, overflowing to the floor. His lip trembles.
"I don't know much, sir, since I got inteh the army."
And, as the captain glances at the paper work, too, there flashes through his mind:
"How much this man and I have in common!

IV

ON THE RANGE

WE LEARNED things, in spite of that curse of efficiency, Simulation. Cold weather found us well along in standing gun drill. One battery would get the pieces one hour, another the next, and so on. Caissons simulated pieces, and limbers, caisson. But we got the mechanics of laying, loading, and firing, and the specialists learned enough to make panoramic sketches of the dreary Upton landscape and to lay telephone lines in suicidal fashion. Stirring in every mind, moreover, was the desire to hear the crack of a rifle and the rush of its projectile.

That wouldn't be long now, for the target range was progressing. Large signs at neighboring crossroads warned the countryside of danger.
When, we asked, were we going to justify such violent displays?

The range outlined to many of us for the first time our mission. It is one thing to call out at drill a range of 5,000. It is quite another to walk from a projected gun position to a target 5,000 yards away.

The range impressed us as enormous. Without reaching its boundaries you could walk across it for hours. Its broad stretches of woodland and brush appeared scarcely scarred by the months of our labor. It hadn't been intended, for that matter, that they should be. The plan had been to have the range masquerade as an actual battle terrain. About the target areas, however, many acres had been cleared, and with a few thrills.

The conflagration happened on a sharp December afternoon. Considering the labor, the hunger, the investigations that accompanied and followed it, it would be an affectation of conservatism to speak of the thing as a mere fire.

Brushwood mysteriously caught at the far end, sprang to the woods, and, a spreading column of flames and smoke before a half gale, swept towards our mushroom city. Practically the entire regiment worked the latter part of the afternoon and half the night getting the flames under control and some toiled for an indefinite period trying to fix the blame. That was never done, but for months shadows hung over suspected spots, and Colonel Doyle's lips were often severe.

Yet the accident wasn't without benefit. Those who surveyed the charred areas pronounced the range about cleared for action.
Horses still lacked. The range was some miles from camp. To get our guns there with a shadow of dignity or comfort we would need horses. While we lacked such vital transport, indeed, we could not look upon ourselves as a real Field Artillery regiment.

There had been rumors. There always are about everything, but early in December an amazingly real order came to send details to the remount depot. On December l0th eighty-seven horses were brought up and quartered in our stables.

They didn't appeal to us as at all what we would have chosen for our own stalls. They fell into two classes -cavalry and artillery, that is, individual mounts and draft animals. They were shaggy and unkempt. Some seemed overburdened by the cares of life. Others endeavored to express through vivacious gestures a desire to get at the greener officers and men who hitherto had been mounted only in the tables of organization.

Often, while struggling with the curious replacements we received in France, did we look back wistfully to these our first and best animals.
From this moment Paper Work clutched at Department B officers and stable sergeants.
The horses arrived just in time for our first target practice, which was scheduled for December 12th.

Each of four batteries had the pleasure of harnessing, with make-shift harness, a team of the new, untried ani-mals to a piece and drawing it from the park to the range.

That day, everyone will recall, was the first bitter one of an uncommonly severe winter. It distilled in those
horses a vaunting, ambition. It nearly, in consequence, upset one carriage, and it delayed the rest because of cold
hands and stiff equipment.

Cannoneers and spare drivers stood in line along Fourth Avenue, between Fifteenth and Seventeenth Streets. The scarlet battery guidons fluttered before a frozen wind. Yet, as the first carriage appeared at the top of the grade, there was a satisfied warmth in all our hearts. At least a share of all the trappings was ours. We could grin and shout " Finis " to that inefficient monster, Simulation.

The carriages rumbled down the slope, swaying from side to side. The drivers didn't look happy. More often than not the near horses were out of hand. Some animals pulled; others ambled, enjoying the prospect. But the carriages did advance. It was these city-bred men, abruptly informed that they were artillery drivers, who controlled untrained stock to that extent.
They got past the difficult turn into Seventeenth Street.

Later they swung with more confidence into the Middle Island Road. They drew the guns into position. They trotted off with the limbers in really dashing fashion.

The dismounted men marched out. They were stationed near the guns so that they might see exactly what happens when the lanyard of a three inch rifle is pulled with a shell in the breach.

Later we may have fired as many as 8,000 rounds in an evening, while to-day we were to expend only 19. But many soldiers were to hear for the first time the sharp crack of the piece, and the swishing, rocket-like flight of the projectile; were to watch that pleasing white ball of smoke, like a pretty cloud appearing without warning, that is a shrapnel burst.

In order that all this might be appreciated the target was in clear view from the vicinity of the guns, although indirect laying was to be used.
News of the event had spread. Officers of the 304th and 306th came to admire. Several officers of marines walked up the road. Where they had come from no one knew, and there was too much else on hand to bother about finding out.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stimson was to fire the first problem. He walked with Colonel Doyle and a knot of officers to the observatory a few hundred yards ahead. Everything seemed to be ready. Lieutenant Hoyt, in charge of the range party, was said to be down near the target. As soon as he announced that the range was clear--

Crews from each battery were to fire in turn. The battery commander and his executive ran here and there, giving final words of advice to the gun squads, examining the sights, inspecting for one last time the bores. The telephone officers and their details struggled with the primitive system of communication. There were no switchboards. All lines were party lines. There would have been no wire if a friend of Colonel Stimson's hadn't presented the regiment with sixty miles or so of heavy twisted pair. Yet we were quite proud of that net. We had done our best according to the sacred precepts of Volume III. One shudders trying to conceive what it would have done to us at the front.

Anyway it worked most of that afternoon in the winter peace of Long Island. We limited our faith, however. On nearby crests lonely figures etched against a sullen sky the broad strokes of the semaphore code. We had even erected two wireless stations, using Lieutenant Church's homemade set. They didn't work particularly, but they looked exactly as well as if they had. It took an expert to know one way or the other.

The men, standing waist-deep in the underbrush, shaking from the cold,, and, probably, a little, too, from the excitement, craned their necks in the direction of the target, 2,000 yards away.

The white flag on the hill continued to flutter, advertising that there was no firing and that the range was safe. We knew, until white was replaced by red, nothing of interest to us would happen. The gray afternoon waned. Cannoneers blew impatiently on their hands. The ranks in the underbrush stamped their feet and waved their arms, setting up a crackling like the advance of a vast army. Little groups ran up and down the road to keep warm. Whispers lost their stealth, became audible, burst into an impatient chorus.

"Why don't they shoot and let us go home?"
Through the mysterious army channels of rumor drifted down a fact.
"Somebody was seen on the range nearly an hour ago, and they haven't been able to find him."
"Where's Hoyt? Why doesn't Hoyt get him off?"
"Hoyt's on the range, seeking the cheerful villain."
The executive strode to a man stretched beneath a shelter tent with the receiver of a service buzzer at his ear.
"Get me the observatory."
(Or didn't we call it B. C. station in those ignorant days?)
After a time the operator passed him the receiver and transmitter.
"It isn't altogether clear, sir."
"Observatory?
A pause.
"Hello! Hello! Hello! Observatory? Hello! Hello! Hello! (Very low.) My God! (Very high.) Hello!-Hello!-Hello! "
The telephone officer stood by, watching. He made a gesture of disgust.
"Don't say 'Hello!"' he offered. "It's meaningless. It only wastes time. It never gets you anywheres."
If a telephone officer has ever talked to you like that when you held a dead instrument and big things were afoot, you need precisely no analysis of the executive's emotions.
The executive sprang up, casting the offending parts from him. He glanced dangerously at the telephone officer. He, as they say, collected himself.
"I've said 'hello!' all my life," he muttered, "and I'll admit it's never got me less than it has this afternoon."
"Oh, don't get sore," the telephone officer said breezily.
The executive confided quite in private.
" If you do as well as this at the front the Huns will court martial the first man that hurts you."
"Buzz it," the telephone officer said indifferently.
The executive chained his wrath.
"I'd rather give it to you straight. Wantanymore?"
"No, no," said the telephone officer pityingly. "I mean your message. The buzzer often goes through when the voice won't."

" Oh! "
The executive turned to the operator.
"Tell them it's nearly dark, and what the deuce is the delay? "
A whining buzz came from the shelter tent. It lacked conviction.
"Your man up there got the Saint Vitus dance?" the executive wanted to know.
On the nearest crest one of the lone figures was now etching with eager and excited strokes.
"Says," the private in observation read off, "Colonel -Doyle- wants-to- know- why- wire- communication -has-ceased-functioning."
"Test your instrument," the telephone officer called to the man in the tent, "and you," he ordered another, "get out on the line."
A stooped figure threaded the underbrush, letting the wire run through his fingers. In a few minutes he was back, saluting.
"Line was cut, sir, not fifty yards out there."
"Probably one of your cannoneers," the telephone officer complained to the executive. "They must learn that wires -are sacred. Court-martial offense-carelessness with wires."
"Speaking of courts martial," the executive whispered. "Remember that the Hun that hurts you'll be tried by some bigger Hun."
"Got you the first time," the telephone officer grinned.

Behold! The white flag fluttering down! The red flag streaming up!
"Lieutenant Hoyt is back," came over the wire. "The range is clear."
The chief actors became rigid and expectant.
" Cannoneers posts! "

The men sprang to the pieces like a football formation jumping into play. From the shelter tent the operator commenced to shout out the firing data that drifted over the repaired wire from the observatory.
"Aiming point that bare pine tree five mils to the left of the left hand edge of target. Deflection, six-three hundred and fifty. On second piece open ten. Site three hundred. Korrector thirty. Battery right. Two thousand."
The sights and the tubes responded to the febrile motions of our amateurs. The executive repeated the commands one by one. You fancied that through the taut atmosphere came their echoes from the far target.
A captain ran along the line, verifying the laying. There was no longer any stirring in the underbrush, nor any movement on the road. A branch snapped. Lt. Norman Thirkield, the recording officer, balanced in a tree, precariously raised his glasses.
The brown cloth of the shelter tent bulged. The voice of the operator ran with awed vibrations across the tight silence.
"Fire when ready!"
The executive raised his hand. He brought it down with a sharp motion, bawling out:
" Fire! "
The section chief of the first piece repeated the gesture and the command. The silence was destroyed. It seemed to fall away before the snapping concussion of the discharge, and the departure, invisible but fairly sensed, of the projectile.
The operator cried:
"On the way!"
The first shot fired by the 305th sailed majestically over Long Island.

In succession the other pieces followed, and far off, in the general direction of the target, one by one, appeared after several seconds the white smoke balls.
The stirrings in the brushwood recommenced. A great sigh went up. It resembled an exclamation of childish wonder.
A relaxation took place. It was as if with that first shot we had altered from an inert, incoherent thing into a body abounding with an ordered and flexible purpose. We sensed it as we swung back through the sharp, early dusk. The rumbling of the carriages behind us expressed it. Ahead the lights of camp twinkled at us with a new appreciation. We had made a crossing.

We said good-by that night for a long period to Lieutenant-Colonel Stimson. He had been ordered to report to the port of embarkation at Hoboken for transportation to France. That firing of the first problem was his last duty with the 305th until he rejoined us nearly six months later when we were training in the south of France. After that, until a few days before we sailed, Colonel Doyle was the only field officer with the regiment.

On the thirteenth we took our materiel to the range again and fired ten rounds at the same target, Captain Gammell conducting.

Glancing back from our veteran viewpoint, it may require a difficult focus to see those pitifully few rounds in their just perspective. Each one might have been a priceless jewel released by some patriotic collector. It took the better part of two afternoons to sprinkle their contents on the target, or near it. They were responsible for hours of discussion in preparation, and evenings of the same in retrospect. Every burst became the subject of orations. Each was recorded on special forms, and the War Department in general and the ordnance people in particular were told all about it. Temporarily one of the shell cases was mislaid. The dark eye of suspicion rested on possible souvenir hunters. Those in any way responsible were frowned upon as unique criminals, because that was in the days before the Regular Army got over its ritual attitude towards ammunition. Only when the case had been found did the atmosphere clear.

We had trained for more than three months before firing the precious twenty-nine, and we were to wait more than three months before firing another; but-for one must focus-they taught us what a rifle would do if rationally treated. Each gun squad had had a chance. Incredulity as to sights and scales and instruments of precision had been demolished by the men's own labor. To that measure they had already become artillerymen.

It was of even greater advantage that those nineteen rounds had let us measure the results of our training. We could judge ourselves and each other; could see that, on the whole, we were good. The various details had had practical experience. Operators had actually transmitted over lines laid by their own hands words of the highest importance.

Twenty-nine rounds at twenty-five dollars a round! They did more to make our regiment find itself than millions of dollars spent in other ways.


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