Charles Gates Dawes.

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him on his special train on a partial tour of the ports. At St.
Nazaire on Thursday, also at Nantes, at La Pallice on Friday
in the morning and Bordeaux in the afternoon and evening.
We arrived at Tours again Saturday morning. I reached
Paris Saturday night. The achievements of the S.O.S. cannot
be described by me here. General Walsh, General Jadwin,
General McCawley, Colonel McCaw (Chief Surgeon, A.E.F.),
Colonel Smither (A.C. of S. G~4, S.O.S.) , and Colonel Wilgus
were also on the train. Took Francis Kilkenny along with
me at General Harbord's suggestion. Harbord has made good
in the S.O.S. and that statement means something to any one
who has seen the work accomplished.

General Pershing has asked me to go with him when he
decorates Sir Douglas Haig with the "Distinguished Service
Medal " of the United States. Will try hard to get things in
shape to do it. To-night the General told me how much he
had come to think of General Petain, and of how stanch and
able a soldier and good friend he was. The General has
recommended McAndrew and Harbord for promotion to
Lieutenant-General, but Baker replies that while he would
be glad to do it, under the law they must be in command of
line troops. It seems too bad that Harbord, who commanded
the Marine Brigade at Chateau-Thierry and afterward the
2d Division, should now, because he has been placed at the
head of 400,000 men in the S.O.S., be deprived of the rank
which belongs justly to him. But history will take care of
him. And so as Pepys says to bed.

Paris, Tuesday
November 12, 1918 (11.15 P.M.)

So much has happened since last night it seems as if it were a
week ago. Others will tell of the world activities, but I am


near the center of the situation as it confronts our supply
situation. The tremendous change in army supply policy,
made necessary by the armistice yesterday, brings to us a
series of questions so numerous and varied and at the same
time of such far-reaching importance that there is not a min-
ute's relaxation, which would normally follow a victory.

Taking up only one of the great questions considered to-
day : General Merrone called at my office with a telegram from
his Government saying that they (Italy) had 1 ,000,000 prison-
ers and 200,000 Austrian horses and were practically without
food or hay for them. He asked immediate aid from the A.E.F.
General Pershing had arrived this morning, but had gone to
see Foch. I got General Rogers and took him and Merrone to
the General's house where we met General McAndrew (C. of
S.) and General Harbord. I proposed that the A.E.F. take
over 100,000 Austrian horses in order to cut off the necessity
of our Spanish purchasing now going on. At five o'clock Gen-
eral Pershing having returned, we all met again with him and
went over the situation. He will help Italy with flour from
our stock at Marseilles. After outlining about what we could
do, he instructed me to handle the matter if possible through
the Military Board of Allied Supply.

Germany is in revolution and appealing for food. Reports
are that Switzerland is becoming disorderly. Washington is
wiring us to be careful not to sell to our allies, etc. We
have got to act in the great emergencies which confront us as
best we can, make decisions as best we can, and come out for
better or for worse as we may, trying only to do our duty and
act as far as possible under the highest authority at hand.

The day of the civilian is approaching, but it is not quite
here. Since the Allied armies and governments always ap-
proach our army and General Pershing through myself in
supply matters, the crisis which confronts all Europe is re-
flected in the daily happenings of my office.

As a result of the call of the Belgians and the conference I
arranged for them, Rogers sold them about $3,000,000 worth


of foodstuffs to prevent starvation. It was an emergency.
But Washington through various channels is manifesting
opposition to the army dealing with civilian or alien army
relief. I feel that Washington is right on general principles
and that these matters are properly for inter-Allied boards to
handle, but we cannot wait while people may be starving for
such machinery to start operations. The crisis, however,
should soon be tided over.

The General (Pershing) had Davis (Adjutant-General)
issue the order I suggested yesterday and had it wired to
Washington showing that on the day of the armistice we had
acted. To-day came a cable from the War Department sug-
gesting what we had already done and instructing Stettinius
to cooperate with us as representing the War Department.
Harbord also to-day sent a comprehensive order to the chiefs
of the Services of Supply so that we are getting the tremen-
dous machine reversed.

To-night to get a little relaxation for all, I had General
Pershing, General McAndrew, General Harbord, and Colonel
and Mrs. Boyd for dinner at the Ritz and we afterward went
to see "Zig-Zag" at the theater. We had a box and the Gen-
eral thought he was hidden, but somehow the audience must
have learned he was in the house, for they did not leave at the
close of the performance. Our party was taken by the stage
entrance to our automobiles in the street, but a crowd had
gathered at the side entrance to cheer the Commander-in-
Chief. The streets are still packed with people. All day they
have been parading and singing in the streets.

Had McAndrew and Harbord at lunch, as usual talking
over the problems in which we are submerged. Last night
Harbord and Atwood and I went to the same theater as did
our party to-night. Then it was like a night in a madhouse,
the audience and performers were so enthused with the vic-
tory announced yesterday morning.

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Mount Ephraim, Faversham
November 2, 1918


Thank you so much for your letter and for sending me copy
of your telegram to Lieutenant-General Travers-Clarke and
his reply to you. These telegrams will be preserved as a
family heirloom, as I am proud to realize that through Am-
brose our families are from the same root. The family which
moved to America over three centuries ago is so honorably
represented by you in the office of such great responsibility
which you hold, and the next generation by William in the
Heavy Tank Battalion.

My brothers Edwyn, Bethel, and Halford, and my son have
served more particularly in Palestine. Halford has had some
adventures; wounded Gallipoli, twice submarined in Mediter-
ranean, he is now with the Murman Expeditionary Force.
My uncle's son was a soldier before the war, so was out with
the original expeditionary force and was badly wounded on
the Aisne. As soon as he was patched up he was out again,
then badly gassed. At present he is doing home service.
When we look back to that awful period in March and regard
the position to-day, what thankfulness we feel to America.
America has brought a complete transformation. We all
realized American strength, doggedness, energy, etc., but
results are far beyond our greatest expectations. Then the
President what a wonderful man, the greatest statesman
in any time! How grateful the world is that in these awful
times there is one outstanding man to speak for the peoples
and carry them with him unitedly. Our gratitude to the
American arms and American statesmanship is greater than
words can express. People have suffered since August, 1914
their spirit was not broken America has come forward
with both arms and we see the wrong being paid for and a
glorious end in sight and our hearts are uplifted and our grati-
tude is very great.


I was in Scotland in August and September London and
here since and the feelings I have tried to express are the
feelings on all sides. Governments try to express these feel-
ings, but they are deeper down with all than words can satisfy.
In replying to my American cousin's kind letter, I have
ventured in a poor way to add my thankfulness and grati-
tude. With best wishes

Believe me

Yours very truly


P.S. If there are three or four convalescents or on leave
you will personally train or send here, we will do our best to
make their stay at Mount Ephraim as pleasant as present
conditions allow.

November 14, 1918
508 Fourth Street

Marietta, Ohio

It was a year ago in October, after my return from the
Belgian front, that I wrote you the one and only descriptive
letter in which I have had time to indulge since coming to
France with the army. Not alone the pleasure it gave you,
but the interest which one is sure to have hereafter in details
liable to pass from memory unless recorded, both make me
regret that I have not written you more often in this way.
However, one cannot live a life of action over here and do
much writing. My secretary, Lieutenant Mulloney, is taking
this letter by dictation and in it I will describe something of
the happenings of the last three days, covering those personal
details which I am sure will interest the family as my ordinary
short and hasty letters cannot do.

The armistice was declared, as you know, at about 5.30
Monday morning, November u. At eight o'clock Colonel


Robert Bacon, who has come to be a very good friend and
whom you will remember as former Secretary of State and
Ambassador to France, called me on the telephone at the hotel
and announced the news. On my way to the office Lieutenant
Kilkenny met me to say that General Pershing wanted me
immediately on the telephone from Chaumont. For once I
did not anticipate an emergency call and supposed he simply
wanted to talk- over the great victory. It was characteristic,
however, of General Pershing that he was hard at work at his
desk and wanted to discuss certain prospective changes in our
General Staff organization covering a finance section and also
the tremendous change of policy with which the American
Expeditionary Force was immediately confronted as a result
of the armistice. Under his direction my day was given (as
was his and General Harbord's, we three being in constant
telephonic communication) to reversing suddenly the tre-
mendous business engine of the American Expeditionary
Force. One does not know how many tens of millions of
dollars saving to the people of the United States depended
upon prompt and intelligent action. I only noticed casually
the singing and cheering crowds on the streets and gave my-
self over unreservedly to the consideration of orders and in-
structions to the purchasing services under the authority of
the Commander-in-Chief and the Commanding General,
Services of Supply. General Harbord left Tours by motor at
noon and arrived in time to take dinner with me in the eve-
ning. General Pershing left Chaumont for Paris, arriving
Tuesday morning November 12.

As I have told you practically all supply negotiations
between the American Expeditionary Force and the Allied
Governments, as well as many other governmental negotia-
tions, center in my office. On the morning of the I2th my
friend General Merrone, of the Italian army, who represents
that army on our Military Board of Allied Supply, called with
a telegram from the Italian Government stating that they
had on hand one million Austrian prisoners and 200,000


horses with nothing to feed them and appealing to the
American Expeditionary Force for help in the crisis which they
feared might possibly precipitate them in a revolution. Gen-
eral Pershing in the transportation crisis at the front had put
upon me the prime responsibility of animal supply. I had
managed to get horses moving from Spain, and through a
trip to British General Headquarters and by sounding "the
call of the blood," had induced the English to rob their own
home divisions of about thirteen thousand horses which were
arriving. The Treasury Department is strongly objecting to
our securing horses in Spain because of exchange conditions.
I immediately put the proposition for consideration to the
Italian Government, through General Merrone, that they
loan us 100,000 of the Austrian horses if we could find trans-
portation. I then secured a meeting between the Chief of
Staff, Quartermaster-General, General Harbord, and myself,
and got the situation ready to present to General Pershing
upon his arrival from Ptain's Headquarters at five o'clock
in the afternoon. As a result, just as we have recently let the
Belgians have $3,000,000 of food supplies, we are now in shape
to furnish from our A.E.F. stock of flour at the Marseilles
base enough to feed the one million Austrians for twenty
days, to which General Pershing has given his approval, but
asked me as a member of the Military Board of Allied Supply
to conduct the negotiations if possible under the international
authority possessed by it. I cite this as simply one of proba-
bly ten similar questions of policy, each as important, under
consideration during the three days. 1

Again on the I2th it was in a dim and indistinct way that I
was conscious of the tremendous celebration on the streets,
and it was only when the conference between General Per-
shing, General McAndrew, Chief of Staff, General Harbord,
Commanding General, Services of Supply, General Merrone,

1 Revising the stenographic copy of this later enables me to say that
Washington has notified Pershing to turn over the matter of sale of sup-
plies by the army to Mr. Hoover, who is on his way here. The Italian
matter, therefore, passes to his hands.


of the Italian Army, and myself had terminated at 6.30 P.M.,
with things pretty well cleared up, that I began to take more
notice of things. I took General Pershing and the other
American officers to dinner at the Ritz and then to the theater,
where we had a box. We thought we had slipped the General
in unobserved. He had been recognized in his automobile
during the afternoon on the streets and there was such a
demonstration of enthusiasm that his safety was really en-
dangered. That night, however, when the curtain went down,
the audience remained, and it was evident that in some way
they had found out the General was there. It was necessary
for us to go through a side entrance in an effort to get the
General away, and even then the crowd had filled the side
street cheering for him and making progress slow. This will
give you a little indication of the scenes which have been
going on.

As the General desired me to take the trip of which I am
about to write you, I put in yesterday in getting all im-
portant matters in shape so that I could spend to-day away
from the office. Last night I left with General Pershing
on his special train for the Field Headquarters of Marshal
Haig where the General was to decorate the Marshal with
the American Distinguished Service Medal, acting under
the authority and by the direction of the President of the
United States. Other officers on the General's train were
Colonel Quekemeyer, his aide, and Colonel Bacon. We left
at eleven o'clock at night and reached the ruined town of
Cambrai at about eight o'clock this morning. English offi-
cers waiting for us there took breakfast with us, and at 9.15
the General, Colonel Bacon, and I got into an automobile
and started for Marshal Haig's Field Headquarters which
were on a special train near a little town called Ewey, sit-
uated about eight kilometers distant from Cambrai. Before
going the General told me that if I landed smoking at Marshal
Haig's, he would not only invoke upon my head the combined
maximum military penalties for capital offenses, but in ad-


dition would endeavor to apply personal chastisement on the
spot. After this discussion the machine suddenly stopped in
the fog and Field Marshal Haig appeared at the door on one
side and General Lawrence, his Chief of Staff, on the other.
The morning was quite foggy and one could not see a very
great distance ahead. Haig and Pershing walked a little
ahead of General Lawrence and myself, and in a few minutes
turned off into a field where a large American flag attached
to a pole made of a tall sapling was planted. Drawn up in
a square around it was a brigade from the most famous
division of the English army, the 5ist Highlander Division,
who presented arms. ' Then Marshal Haig and General
Pershing stepped to the middle of the square, Marshal Haig
being accompanied by General Lawrence and General Home,
Commander of the First British Army, and General Pershing
being accompanied by Colonel Quekemeyer and myself. The
General then briefly conferred the medal, pinning it on
Sir Douglas Haig's coat, and Sir Douglas responded. Stand-
ing on the far side from us were General Davidson, head of
the Operations Section of the British General Staff, and
General Lord Clive, head of the Intelligence Section. Cap-
tain Demarenche, of the French army, Captain Thornton
(who used to manage the La Salle Hotel and is now Quarter-
master in charge of the General's train), and four or five
English officers were present, and this was the entire audience
save the magnificent Scottish Brigade. This ceremony took
about five minutes, and then the American flag was moved
about one hundred yards to the left and planted in the
ground and we took up our stations for the review of the
Brigade. The mist had cleared away enough to give a full
view of this famous organization. The first battalion to pass
was from the Black Watch and the fifty bagpipes which were
stationed opposite Marshal Haig and General Pershing
played the Black Watch air. All the troops were in the regu-
lation Scotch kilts and held their heads high in the air as they
turned "eyes left" in the customary salute when passing



the High Command. They were followed by the Argyll and
Sutherland troops. Then I knew "the Campbells were
coming," for the bagpipes suddenly started that air. As
these magnificent and battle-worn troops passed, it was not
of them that I thought, but of the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer
Infantry marching down the Emmitsburg Road on that
Second of July with Father at their head, his fife and drum
corps playing the same air with which, because of this, as
you know, I had been familiar from my earliest childhood. I
thought of the sudden order which came to him to stop the
music and of the famous charge which followed in which he
led his regiment on foot and captured the Second Mississippi
Regiment in the railroad cut. He lost every other man killed
or wounded in that charge over a space of only one hundred
.and seventy paces. Before no braver set of men was this
Scotch air ever played than before the Sixth Wisconsin and
those who were then passing before me in the mist. After
the brigade had passed, we went back to our automobiles.
Before we left, Sir Douglas Haig stepped over to me and told
me what he had heard of me and my work and invited me to
make him a visit when he returned from his Field Head-
quarters. I greatly missed seeing my good friends Lieutenant-
General Travers-Clarke, and Major-General Reginald Ford
of his Staff, who are absent, and of whom I have come to
think so much. General Ford represents the English army
on the Military Board on which I represent the American
Expeditionary Forces.

We returned to Cambrai and left at 10.30 A.M. And this
reminds me that the moving-picture operators of the Signal
Corps were present, and not being able to take pictures as
usual of the ceremonies, took pictures of us as we returned to
the train and as we were seated at dinner. They also took a
picture of General Pershing at his desk in his fine new office
car which has recently been added to his special train. The
progress of the train was very slow, as the track had been
recently relaid, the Germans having destroyed the old track


in their retreat. This gave me a fine opportunity to see the
general ground over which Lieutenant William M. Dawes
fought in his tank. And here I want to say something of
William, who knew the great dangers of the Tank Service
before he entered it and before the attack in which he had
persuaded his commanding officers to allow him to partici-
pate. Colonel Bacon, who was on the train, had been with
the 27th and 3Oth American Divisions at the time of their
first attack on the Hindenburg Line on September 29, and at
the time of the second attack on October 8, just over the
line, in which William participated in command of a tank
manned by Englishmen. The old canal, after having been
an unfinished project for many years and finally completed
by Napoleon in 1802, runs through a tunnel between the
villages of Bony and Bellecourt for a distance of about six
thousand yards. It was across this ground that our di-
visions attacked under the concentrated fire of massed
German artillery. On this first attack, September 29, to
give you an idea of tank mortality, not one of the eleven
tanks which progressed beyond Bony but was destroyed. I
suppose I saw twenty demolished tanks from the train win-
dow. Judging from William's letter he must have started
with his tank, October 8, from somewhere near Bony, and
proceeded in the attack to some village to the north, the
name of which he does not state. I understand there are
several villages not far to the north of Bony. If you can
corkscrew the further details of the operations from this
modest young man, what I write here may be of more help
to you in explaining his part in that tremendous and suc-
cessful fighting on account of which the English so praise the
bravery of their American cousins in the 27th and 3Oth
American Divisions and the Heavy Tank Battalion.

I arrived in Paris this evening at 6.30 and am dictating
this at my room to-night. I know I shall always be glad
that I took the time to do it, especially because I know it


will give you pleasure, to whom I owe so much. I think
I wrote you when I was at the front between the Argonne
Woods and the Meuse, in the midst of those terrible scenes,
of how my mind reverted constantly to what Father and
Uncle Eph had gone through in the Civil War. I could not at
that time write of such experiences as I had along the line,
and I am glad on some accounts that I could not do so.
General Pershing and his troops fought here a greater Battle
of the Wilderness, and history will, I think, record it as the
greatest of American battles. To have been with him the
time I was and where I was marked an epoch in my life.
As you know I have been a number of times along the lines
at the front, but the fighting before that, in the particular
spots in which I was, consisted for the most part only of artil-
lery activity. To see, however, the German shells put down
on our front lines and to see the effects of them gave me my
first true idea of what this war has been. There on the for-
ward slope of Montfaucon in early October far in advance
of our own artillery, I felt as far in the rear of our thin line
ahead as the United States of America was in my rear. And
so I take off my hat to Lieutenant William Mills Dawes who
advanced in his tank in the face of similar artillery.

The service of Beman and Charles has been as honorable
as that of William, although despite their efforts they did
not succeed in getting so much service at the front. Charles,
after his service in the Advance Zone with the Engineers,
made the endeavor to get into Aviation, and finally suc-
ceeded, despite his youth, in getting into the American Ex-
peditionary Forces Artillery School at Saumur where he is
now stationed. The war has ended, however, before his
course is completed. Beman's service at the front was before
his enlistment when he was at the head of a motor transport
unit for the French. At Beman's request I had about com-
pleted arrangements with my friend General Harbord to
have him transferred to the Marine Brigade, when Harbord
left that organization to take command of the Service of


Supply, which prevented their consummation. While to
both these young men it has been a disappointment that their

Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 19 of 30)