Seeded Earth

11/17/2009

Seeded Earth Studio has a New Home!

Bumblebee at Work

Bumblebee at Work

Don’t hang around here. Please visit my new blog at http://seededearth.com.

Advertisements

11/11/2009

America to France: A Diary 1918-19

My Grandfather's Diary, written 1918-19

Veterans Day 2009

These are excerpts transcribed from the diary of Pvt. H. S. Wood 5 Div APO 745. The cover of this thin black journal reads “America to France.” Its first entry is dated May 13, 1918; the last is dated January 12, 1919. It is a simple accounting of making it from one day to the next. It ends abruptly, though a dozen or so pages after the last entry are ripped out.

(May) Left Huston, Texas at 430 May 13, 1918 on fine train with 1000 soldiers on board. Every body feeling fine except boys who had girls and they were feeling rather blue.

Crossed the Miss. River the 14th. Cars being taken across on barge. 6 cars at one time. Arrived at Vicksburg, Miss at 430 P.M. stayed there 3 hours. Got great reception there. Marched through main streets with band playing.

Next big town was Memphis Tenn the 15th there for 1 hr. Then thru the town of Paduca Ky. We hiked thru this town and got a good reception. We then crossed the Tenn. river then the Cumberland River next was Central City.

One of the fellows jumped from the car window. Stopped train and went back after him.

We got off the train at Jersey City, N.J. and marched through great crowds to the ferry boat. Left New York to Long Island City at 5 A.M. Had a fine trip across the channel looking at New York, Brooklyn and other cities. Arrived at Camp Upton all tired and sleepy.

(June)

Marched on to the transit “Mauritania.”

Sailed on June 4 at 4 P.M. Large crowds on the ferries waved us farewell. Passed 3 vessels coming in and then we had to go inside until we left the harbor. 9000 soldiers on board and 800 crew. I was on the top deck where I could see everything. Soon got dark and went to bed. Slept fine.

June 5 Morning is a fine day. Nothing to see but water and the boat was making good time. Never sighted a vessel all day. Smooth seas. We had life boat drill twice per day. Had to go to bed at nine oclock. Had to keep all lights out at night on account of submarines.

June 6 This boat has six big guns six inch size and is able to take care of itself. Had target practice today and did some fine shooting.

June 11 Arrived at Liverpool England. As the boat came into the harbor the English band played, “Johnny Get Your Gun,” “The Yanks are Coming.” We arrived at the station and boarded those odd trains and rode all night across England. Sun set at 11 P.M.

I was transferred to Ambulance Co. 27.

Aug 6 Made several trips over to the infirmary. Most of my time I make canes and pick off bugs. Went to the front line trenches with medicine. Heard the trench mortars send over a small barrage. Went back to company and found several of our boys in the hospital. They had been in the opening battle of our division.

Oct 17 Went into action at Septarges. Dressing station in an old barn. Had many patients which kept us dog tired for 5 days and 5 nights. I never got any sleep for 82 hours. There were 2600 men injured in this one place. They had out 250 men burying the dead which was 1450 Americans and many Dutchmen.

NOVEMBER 11, 1918 FIRING CEASED AT ELEVEN OCLOCK. WE CAN’T HARDLY BELIEVE IT. EVERYTHING SEEMS STRANGE AFTER ALL THE NOISE OF THE GUNS AND SHELLS. WE WERE TOO TIRED TO CELEBRATE AS OUR DIVISION HAS BEEN UNDER SHELL FIRE FOR 27 DAYS WITHOUT RELIEF. HAD A GOOD SLEEP. THE FIRST ONE FOR OVER A MONTH.

"The Ship That Brought Us Home"

Postcard of the USS Zeppelin

He also brought back over 200 postcards. Many of the postcards were simply photographs that had been taken during the war – photos of trenches, soldiers in hospital, battlefields, camouflage, children posed with soldiers – with a postcard backing. Some were postcards of the towns and cities he visited.

He returned to the States in September of 1919, married, raised a family, worked as a truck farmer and in a paper factory. He never spoke of the war, even when asked, but in his last year, when he was bedridden and confused, he spent much of his time re-living the events of the war he wrote about so quietly.

11/08/2009

Sunlit Forest

Devils Lake State Park

Devils Lake State Park

Pleasures lie thickest where no pleasures seem:
There’s not a leaf that falls upon the ground
But holds the joy of silence or of sound,
Some spirits begotten of a summer dream.” ~Laman Blanchard

On one of the few sunny days in late October, we traveled 40 miles north and visited the premier state park in Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake. The lake is a big draw for most visitors, but I prefer the trails through the many hardwood forests. The trees had lost just enough leaves that sunlight was filtering onto the forest floor.

Blog at WordPress.com.