Ross Buchman's World War One Diary
transcribed by Joseph G. Buchman, Ph.D. Copyright, 2009.
Last revised: 18 March 2009
Sergeant Ross A. Buchman
2610 Smith St.
Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
Supply Company, 322 Field Artillery, AEF.
Pistol Number 40023 S.W.
May 20th 1917. Enlisted
June 3rd 1917. Arrived Ft. Thomas Kentucky. Sworn in service.
June 22nd 1917. Arrived Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. 1st class private. Co G 46 Indiana #17
September 6th 1917. Arrived Camp Sherman Ohio. 322 FA. Supply Co #11. Made corporal. Made sergeant. RO # 33. Oct 14-18
June 3rd 1918. Left Camp Sherman.
June 5th 1918. Arrived Camp Mills, LI.
June 8th 1918. Left Camp Mills.
June 12th 1918. Left New York Boat Canopic, White Star Liner.
June 24th 1918. Arrived at Liverpool England. Rest Camp Knotty Ash.
June 27th 1918. Left rest camp for South Hampton.
June 28th 1918. Arrived at La Havre France. Night trip.
July 3rd 1918. Left La Havre, arrived at Messac. All night in cattle cars, hold forty men, room for twenty.
August 15th 1918. Arrived at Camp Coetquidan France. Marched twenty-two miles.
September 15th 1918. German prisoners say when Metz is captured, war will end soon. Trip from Coetquidan will take five days riding in boxcars. Not very crowded, plenty of room.
September 18th 1918. Left Camp Coetquidan for front. Metz. Verdun. From Guer loaded, 6:30 p.m. Very bad cold for two weeks, sure was feeling low. Huston, 1 rod barracks. Campbell returned: 1 rifle, 1 scabbard knife, 1 bayonet and scaffold, 100 30 caliber cartridges, 1 breech cover, 1 (???) thong case, 1 cartridge belt 30. Loaned until Burnett returns.
September 21st 1918. Souilly. Arrived on front within six miles of firing line. Unloaded at 9:30. Slept in woods overnight and next day.
September 22nd 1918. Sunday. Left woods at night for our positions at front. Everything is run by the American Army in this sector, even railroads are operated by U.S. men. Rained all day and sure was cool. The place where we are has been shelled several times.
September 23rd 1918. In same town, two shells hit in this town. Brabant.
September 24th 1918. Gas was in this town last night at 4:00 this morning. Part of our regiment reached their new camp, the rest returned. Two horses were killed. Five men from another outfit.
September 25th 1918. Left Brabant for our base. Arrived in large field. Just as we were leaving Brabant, the town was shelled. All night in field. Big drive started at 11:00 (A.M.) Sure some noise. Shells bursting all around us. Big guns open up just to our right and rear. Four miles out of Brabant, two horses dropped. One horse died of lung fever. One horse killed by vets.
September 26th 1918. Just had our dinner. No (breakfast). Still in same place. Our artillery is going there the 1st time
September 27th 1918. Yesterday the drive was going fine. Saw over three hundred Germans coming in on the road passing (us alone). Quite a few were carrying their own machine guns. (25) old men and young ones all glad to be captured. We are right in the center of the three-inch guns. Also six-inch shells are bursting all around us. One Frenchman was killed here, tore all to pieces. We are too far ahead. Going back about a mile. We are in hilly country. The roads are packed with men, horse and guns going and coming. We are on the edge of a woods, a bad place for a supply company. So far none of our men have been hit, although some horses have been killed. Yesterday two French balloons were shot down by German airplanes. Sure went down fast. Two men jumped in parachute, OK. One German airplane was shot down. Saw over three hundred shots fired at six airplanes. Sure is a fine sight to see. Germans are glad to be taken prisoners.
September 28th 1918. No shells fired at us today. Quiet tonight. Twenty airplanes tried to make our lines, but were not successful. Heard that the infantry advanced ten miles. Nothing but big guns can reach us. The place we are in, a little woods, or what was a woods, about four acres, has a shell hole every five feet. Saw quite a few tanks today. Big naval guns mounted on trucks. Looking through a large glass you could see the fighting hand to hand. Americans chasing the Germans with bayonets from trench to trench. Some more prisoners went past our position. Paper says 5,000 were captured. Rained all night and part of today. No shells were fired at us today. Suppose the German artillery is on the move. Captured twelve large guns. Three horses turned in to remount by vets, credit later.
September 29th 1918. Sunday. Not much doing today. Was over the hill and took a look at German trenches. Could see dead doughboys also Germans buried. The Germans sure had some trenches. Dugouts, electric lights. Had positions for over three years. Lots of material captured. Could go five hundred feet in some of the German dugouts. Piles of corned beef made in Berlin in 1914 in them. Everything fit up fine. Lights and water in them even beds and pictures on the wall. Have not saw a paper since leaving Camp Coetquidan nor any mail. Can't write now, as we can't get it out very well. Sergeant Enwright has saddle. Sergeant James, pocket. Dropped horse equipments. Sergeant Enwright has saddle pockets, saddle blanket.
September 30th 1918. Airplane battles today. Saw two Germans shot down and one French landed. Suppose there were more. Move soon for new positions. Batteries to go into action. Three horses turned in to remount by vet. Total of four horses. Ninety-two in supply company.
October 1st to 3rd 1918. Orders to leave our place at 5:30. Call off orders came at 9:30 at night. Sure was a joke.
October 4th 1918. Arrive at new camp this morning. Camp Gallieni. French. 1 horse turned in by vets. 91 horses. Samogneux.
October 5th 1918. Big shells are falling around us. We are being showered by pieces of the shells. One fellow got a small piece in his knee. Must be a 12 or 14-inch shell. 12 kilometers to the front, 10 kilometers to Verdun. Orders to leave for a safe place. Shells still fall. Some of the horses were hit with small pieces. 1:30 pm. Camp Gallieni, near Verdun, near the place we unloaded at Souilly. 2:30 another shell just bursted. Saddle hanging about five hundred feet from where we have a kitchen was tore by a shell.
October 9th 1918. In dugouts for the last three days. Have a fire, and a piece of galvanized tin to sleep on. Lot of big rats with us. Airplanes raided the roads around here last night. Not much damage done. Road was packed about four o'clock. Suppose they thought that it was still jammed up. About twenty-five bombs were dropped. About eight planes. Have not done much since we went into position. Me OK. Heard the Austrians and Turkey quit today. We are near a town named Germonville.
October 11th 1918. On guard at picket line. One horse strayed away. Orders to stay and find horse before returning to company. Two other men with me. Company left for Charny near Verdun. Shells sure are all around us. Also our guns are everywhere. Every little bush or clump of trees are full of guns. Last evening I saw over two hundred forty American airplanes going over the German lines. Just looked like one large flock of geese or duck. Found horse we lost about three hours after company left. Loaded him with our packs and made him carry a good load. Can see the city of Verdun. Also the shells falling in the town, or hit in the river. The water was thrown fifty feet high. Saw an airplane shot down today by artillery guns. Took over fifty shots to get him. French are setting up some very large guns in the field and glen. I suppose we will draw heavy fire tonight.
October 12th 1918. Received letters from home. Blanche, Dad, Emma H. Was in Theirville when two shells hit no more than one hundred feet away. Pieces flew all around us. One shell hit the corner of a building at the ground. It threw stone a foot square all around.
October 13th 1918. Received about thirty newspapers dated from July 8th to August 8th 1918. News Sentential. Also four letters, one from Mother, Bob D. Heneretta Dodane. 3421 South Lafayette Street. Do not know who she is. Will write soon. Just about dark. Received two letters from Mother.
October 14th 1918. Received four more letters this morning. Mother 2, Dad 1, Evelyn 1. Letters from Evelyn, September 17th, Emma, Theresa, Bertha Lewis, Dad, September 16th 1918. 2:15 shells are falling in Verdun and a village, Theirville. Also French battery positions. Mayon. Samogneux, was there several times when our batteries were firing. Two men killed and eight wounded. Bellenm from ordinance detachment with our company (was killed). One shell, sixteen horses. Men moved back half a mile. Colonel had them with headquarters. He said at one time he would not go back unless some were killed. 2 horses killed. 1 escort wagon. 2 S. S. wheel (hassen) lost by shell fire.
October 15th 1918. Twenty more newspapers dated September 10th, 14th and 15th. We hear that peace is near. The report is that we quit firing at 2:30 this afternoon and if the Germans keep up fire for half an hour, we will start in again. B.S. Was watching artillery duel this morning. Shell fell about one thousand feet from battery. Sure was a bunch of shells fired last night. The Germans sent over gas and many shells. Some were damn close to us. Also this morning had all the candy and cigars I wanted. Two boxes of cigars, three pounds of candy, and twenty packages of cigarettes. Sure is hell around the batteries. Sure does make the boys feel bad, that was about the five men killed so far.
October 16th 1918. Rain all day today. Sure has been cold and very muddy. Five more men killed this afternoon, one a lieutenant. Horses sure are going fast, ten almost every night. Have a dugout to hang out in after night. We can have a light in it. Do not care to sleep in it, too damp. Sit in here and smoke and pass the time away as it is dark at 6:00 in the evening. Peace talk was all bunk. Sure had us going just the same, could see the boat home.
October 20th 1918. Throwing hand grenades today. Also rifle grenades. Sure was fun to try to catch some fish in the river. Only got one, about 4 inches long. The rifle grenades are fine to shoot.
October 23rd 1918. Sun shining today. Big guns are firing like hell. Wrote to Father and Mother. Three or four more men killed, it makes about fifteen. Infantry was in trenches for forty days. Near the town of Charny, I heard a shell explode and saw an American soldier hit. Almost tore his head off. Threw him in a food car and (had) him at the hospital nearby in a few minutes after being hit. Car was covered with blood on one side. Head and arms were hanging out of car. I was on a horse at the time. About fifteen shells were fired. No place for me. Mail sergeant talked with tears in his eyes. Try to get a few envelopes from a Y.M.C.A. man. Everyone around here is sore at them. They are having a fine time. If a man could get back at some town, he could buy all he wanted. German soldier with both legs shot off cuts an American soldier who went to help him - either to die or to save him, I do not know.
October 25th 1918. Sixty-four horses in supply company.
October 29th 1918. Left front for rest. Arrived at camp Gallieni. Attached to 29th Division.
November 3rd 1918. Sunday. Attached to 32nd Division since October 29th. Have arrived near Cheppy near Mort. Slept on a stone road last night. Just near road saw two dead Germans all shot to hell. Were caught under a falling tree. Still had on helmets. Had been dead two weeks. We are in billets that the Germans had. Sure are shot to pieces. Lots of German guns and shells around. Many fields were planted with red beats. Saw German graveyard. Also American's. Many dead buried there. Most of the men are buried just where they fall. You can see graves at most any spot. All German graves have the iron cross burned on the marker. Am sleeping in a little hole in the ground, a fox hole. Some American artillery is firing. The shells pass over the place where I am.
November 4th 1918. Monday. We are in the center of many guns, large and small, firing all night. Not many coming our way.
November 8th 1918. Have not heard any guns firing near us, nor any shells coming our way. Can't even hear the guns fire. Some of our men went to the front ahead of the infantry to locate positions for artillery, but were driven back by machine gun fire. Two were wounded. Lot of German dead just over the hill from us. Also a lot of American dead. Some with heads blown off and holes clear through them. Could get a bunch of souvenirs, but don't like the smell of dead men. One place, you can find shoes with feet in them, also hands and arms lay around. A salvage company is burying the dead. We are O.K. I am sleeping in a German constructed building of corrugated iron. Looks like a piece of Swiss cheese, all shot full of holes. It has rained every day and the mud is a foot deep in places. Sometimes you get stuck. I am sleeping on the floor with my head in a box. Just received about thirty newspapers and have them under me for bedding. Received letter from home (dated) October 8th 1918.
November 10th 1918. Bombed by airplanes, sure was an awful night. They dropped all around us. Mobile ordinance men ran like hell. We are now moving forward. Passed through Dun and are now to the right along the river Meuse. Are in a fine room with fire burning. Germans had this place for over four years. The room we are in was for officers.
November 11th 1918. Shell fire left side of road. Burns, Williams 3636425. James J. Nicholas 3991226. Right side. Giuseppi Guriullo, 1910107. Buried Liny, 2 kilometers along road.
November 12th 1918. Buried three Americans today. We are moving from Liny to another camp. Our batteries were so close to the Germans they had to set shells at zero to hit. They had to move back. Would hitch horse to the guns drive back a kilo and fire a bout of shots then beat it again. Received letters from Blanche, Emma 3, (Guni), Theresa, Geo. Bennigan.
(no date) Battery A is with the infantry as a sacrifice battery. The infantry fell back so they are ahead of them. At 300 yards, they hit three tanks. One building had a bunch of Germans in it. So they took a shot at it, just missed. The second hit and blew it to hell, also many Germans.
November 15th 1918. Have bad cold. Can hardly speak. Everyone has.
November 18th 1918. We are now in an old castle. Sure is some place. Only one way into its courtyard. Germans left last place the day before we arrived at 3:30. We hit town at 4:30 the next day. Lots of German junk left in the place. Quite a few people are moving back to their homes. Honor to their liberators.
Passed through these towns on the way to the German front:
Brabant en Argonne
November 27th 1918. Am at Reuland in a private home. Have been for three days. We have best of meals. Tonight we will have chicken. Had eggs for dinner. Cost a Mark, (or about) 25 cents a piece. Don't cost us a cent as we exchange food for it. Bacon, sugar, corn beef, and bread. Chicken supper at this man's home is where we had great times. Must send a card to each name every Thanksgiving Day. Amen. Wrote all 1919, 1920, 1921.
Edw. W. Bobyean, 726 Segis Ave, Toledo Ohio. (married)
John L. Barnes, 1050 Neil Avenue, 8 East Broad, Columbus, Ohio.
Andrew Milles, 3478 Independence Road, S.E. Cleveland, Ohio.
G. Virgil Hutchison, Claysville, PA.
C. R. Walker, 302 Warrington Ave, Pittsburgh, PA.
J. P. Demuth Sims Reuland Larochette Canton Mersch Luxembourg
December 1st 1918. Am still boarding with my friend. I am the only one in the room with them tonight. Can't speak much German so you can imagine me. But still I am there. Came on the 25th of November.
December 12th 1918. Cross the Rhine River at Coblenz. Dierdorf. Start to convoy trucks at Manternach, Luxembourg. Have not marched since then.
March 11th 1919. I owe Geo. Deuis 100 Franc.
March 12th 1919. Pass for 14 days at AIX-les BAINS. Hotel Libions. Saw where (Harry Shaw) shot at picture on wall at woman tit. Jazz Band. Look from window in hotel on mountain. Nothing but high class people here in the peacetime.
April 7th 1919. Left for school course of three months. Special order # 94. Start in on truck repair, April 10th 1919.
May 13th 1919. Transferred from Verneuil to school at Decize about nine kilometers from here. Paid today. 165 Franks.
September 26th to October 4th 1918
Offensive north of Verdun
October 8th to 29th 1918
Meuse - Argonne offensive
October 31st to November 11th 1918
March to Rhine -Coblenz Bridgehead. November 16th to December 14th 1918
Army of Occupation (Coblenz, Bridgehead). December 14th.
25 cents = 1 mark
$1.00 = 6 francs
James returned: 1 saddle, 1 feed bag, 1 bridle, 1 blanket. Turned into Sergeant Ward. Enwright 1 saddle, 1 bridle. Turned into Sergeant Ward for salvage.
Souilly. (Riolload) unloaded. Froidos. Loaded on wagon, 2 M property, 7 tents, office and 2 M.
Below Brabant, base Froidos
Divisions we were with:
32 Haraumont, Liny, Dun
Battery A was with the infantry.
2226 Vleet Street
Peter J. All
Company G, 312th Infantry
A.P.O. 755 France
John L. Barnes
1050 Neil Avenue
8 East Broad
X Thresa Bauman
2437 Hanna Street
Company B 52nd Engineers
Camp Upton, New York
2638 East Jefferson Street
Edw. W. Bobyean
726 Segis Ave
328 W. Lherat Street
2707 Weissier Park Avenue
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Mr. Richard Foss
121 East Fred Street
(Note: this was my grandfather's uncle, a Civil War Veteran who lived to be 100 years old.)
2609 John Street
Miss Mary Helfrek
Private H. Hentzler
2nd Ammunition Transfer Company A. A.E.F.
420 Balt Street
316 Oak Street
John M. Hoalle
APO 760 Camp 4
Headquarters Detachment A VC
Camp #4 APO 760
G. Virgil Hutchison
1502 Fletcher Avenue
mailed October 22nd
received December 17th
Good looking girls
3905 Piqua Avenue
Fort Wayne, Indiana
3478 Independence Road
S.E. Cleveland, Ohio.
Miss Imelda Murphy
1 Rue LaFayette
Ille Et. Veliane
Mr. Roy Pressler
2835 Jane Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana
1703 Fletcher name on bed sack
J. P. Demuth Sims
Canton Mersch Luxembourg
Saint Paul Indiana
C. R. Walker
302 Warrington Ave
Balhan Ste. England
W. R. Woods
R.R. 12 Decatur, Indiana
Mrs. H. Michel Yelder
1640 High Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana