Thomas Herbert Russell.

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horse fretting and suddenly you start from your daze, and fear changes
suddenly to hate. Your hand goes to the saber hilt, your teeth clinch
and you realize that you must strike hard before the enemy, who is now
very close, can strike. Every muscle tightens with the waiting.

"Before your own bugles have sounded two notes of the charge you find
yourself leaning forward over the neck of your galloping horse. All the
rest is a mad gallop, yells of the enemy and your own answer, a terrible
shock in which you are almost dismounted, and then you find yourself
face to face with a single opponent who, standing up in the stirrups, is
about to split your head. You notice that you are striking like a fiend
with the saber.

"After that madness passes it seems almost like a complex maneuver and
soon you find yourself riding for dear life - perhaps to escape, perhaps
after the Germans. You then realize that you have been whipped and that
the charge has failed, or you see the backs of the fleeing enemy,
feel your horse straining in pursuit and know that you have gained a


The official reports of the loss of life in the battles in France tell
of the large number of officers killed. Sharp-shooters on both sides
have had instructions to aim at officers. These sharpshooters are often
concealed far in advance of their troops. Their small number and their
smokeless powder make their discovery most difficult. This lesson was
learned at great cost to the British during the Boer war.

Dispatches from Bordeaux stated that letters found on dead and captured
German officers prove the truth of reports regarding the terrible
mortality in the German ranks, especially among officers. In the Tenth
and Imperial Guard Corps of the German army it is said that only a few
high ranking officers escaped being shot, and many have been killed.
The German officers have distinguished themselves by their courage,
according to the stories of both British and French who fought them.

An officer of an Imperial Guard regiment, who was taken prisoner after
being wounded, said:

"My regiment left for the front with sixty officers; it counts today
only five. "We underwent terrible trials."

A German artillery officer wrote:

"Modern war is the greatest of follies. Companies of 250 men in the
Tenth Army Corps have been reduced to seventy men, and there are
companies of the guard commanded by volunteers of a year, all the
officers having disappeared."


The following is from a letter, written during the prolonged battle of
the Aisne by a lieutenant of the Twenty-sixth German Artillery:

"The Tenth Corps has been constantly in action since the opening of the
campaign. Nearly all our horses have fallen. We fight every day from
5 in the morning till 8 at night, without eating or drinking. The
artillery fire of the French is frightful. We get so tired that we
cannot ride a horse, even at a walk. Toward noon our battery was
literally under a rain of shrapnel shells and that lasted for three
days. We hope for a decisive battle to end the situation, for our troops
cannot rest. A French aviator last night threw four bombs, killing four
men and wounding eight, and killing twenty horses and wounding ten more.
We do not receive any more mail, for the postal automobiles of the Tenth
Corps have been destroyed."


Many men in the trenches have proved themselves heroes in the war. A
wounded British private told this story:

"We lay in the trench, my friend and I, and when the order to fire came
we shot, and shot till our rifles burned up. Still the Germans swarmed
on toward us, and then my friend received a bad wound. I turned to my
work again, continuing to shoot slowly. Then I rose a little too high on
my shoulder.

"Do you know what it is like to be wounded? A little sting pierced my
arm like a hot wire; too sharp almost to be sore, and my rifle fell from
me. I looked at my friend then and he was dead."

In one casualty list made public by the British war office in September,
sixteen officers were reported killed, thirty-eight wounded and ten
missing. The famous Coldstream Guards and the Black Watch regiments were
among the sufferers.


A correspondent in France described the death of General Neil Douglas
Findley of the British Royal Artillery as follows:

"When at dawn the British advance continued toward Soissons the enemy
was fighting an exceptionally fierce rearguard action. A terrible
shell fire was directed against our artillery under General Findley,
temporarily situated in a valley by the village of Prise. It seemed a
matter of moments when we should have to spike our guns and General
Findley saw the urgency for action.

"'Boys,' his voice echoed down the line, 'we are going to get every gun
into position,' Then deliberately the general approached a regimental
chaplain kneeling beside a gunner. 'Here are some of my personal
belongings, chaplain. See that they don't go astray,'

"One by one our guns began to blaze away and the general had a word
of encouragement and advice for every man. In vain his staff tried to
persuade him to leave the danger zone.

"Our range was perfect, the German fire slackened and died away and with
a yell our men prepared to advance. The outburst came too soon, one
parting shell exploding in a contact with Findley's horse, shattering
man and beast."


While their men battled on a road near Antwerp, it is said that a
Belgian cavalry sergeant and an officer of German Uhlans fought a
revolver duel which ended when the Belgian killed his foe, sending a
bullet into his neck at close range.

The daring Uhlans had approached close to the Antwerp fortifications on
a reconnoitering expedition. They were seen by a small Belgian force,
which immediately went out on the road to give battle. As they neared
each other, the German commander shouted a jibe at the Belgian sergeant.
There was no answer, but the sergeant rode at a gallop straight for
the Uhlan. Miraculously escaping the shots aimed at him, he drew up
alongside the officer and informed him that his life was to be forfeited
for the insulting words he had uttered. Both began firing with their
revolvers, while at the same time their men clashed.

Only a few of the soldiers witnessed the thrilling duel, for they
themselves were fighting desperately. After their officer's death the
Uhlans withdrew, leaving a number of dead. Someone carried word of the
duel to King Albert, who had just arrived in Antwerp, and he called
before him and personally congratulated the sergeant, Henri Pyppes. The
latter was wounded in the arm by one of the Uhlan's bullets, but he
refused to be taken to the hospital and remained on duty in the field.


Count Guerry de Beauregard, a French veteran of the war of 1870, thus
announced the death of a son at the front: "One son already has met the
death of the brave beyond the frontier at the head of a squadron of
the Seventh Hussars. Others will avenge him. Another of my sons, an
artilleryman, is with the general staff. My eldest son is with the
Twenty-first Chasseurs. Long live France!"

A wounded French soldier who was taken to Marseilles verified a
remarkable story of his escape from death while fighting in German
Lorraine. The soldier owes his life to a small bust of Emperor William,
which he picked up in a village school and placed in his haversack. A
German bullet struck the bust and, thus deflected, inflicted only a
slight wound on the soldier.

Twenty German prisoners taken during the melee near Crecy, were herded
together in a clearing, their rifles being stacked nearby. In a rash
moment they thought that they were loosely guarded and made a combined
rush for the rifles. "They will never make another," was the laconic
report of the guard.


Edouard Helsey of the Paris newspaper, Le Journal, reported to be
serving with the colors, wrote under date of August 29:

"It would be difficult to estimate the number of Germans killed last
week. Whole regiments were annihilated at some points. They came out of
the woods section by section. One section, one shell - and everything was
wiped out.

"At two or three places which I am forbidden to name corpses filled the
Meuse until the river overflowed. This is no figure of speech. The river
bed literally was choked by the mass of dead Germans. The effect of our
artillery surpasses even our dreams."


Lawrence Stern Stevens, an artist of Detroit, narrowly escaped death
near Aix-la-Chapelle at the hands of a crazed German lieutenant, by whom
he was suspected of being a spy.

Stevens left Brussels on Aug. 24 in an automobile. He was accompanied by
a photographer and a Belgian newspaper correspondent, and his intention
had been to make sketches on the battlefield. His arrest at Laneffe
thwarted this plan. He underwent a terrifying ordeal at the hands of his
demented captor, although he was not actually injured.

On the evening of Aug. 24 he was court-martialed and sentenced to death
and held in close confinement over night. Early on the morning of Aug.
25 he was led out, as he supposed, to be shot, but the plans had been
changed and instead he was taken before Gen. von Arnim. After being
forced to march with German troops for two days, Stevens fell in with
a party of American correspondents at Beaumont, from which point he
traveled to Aix-la-Chapelle on a prison train, and eventually reached
Rotterdam and safety.


M. Brieux, the noted French dramatist, who witnessed the arrival at
Chartres of a train full of fugitives who had fled from their homes
before the German advance, described his experience for the Figaro. The
fleeing people gathered round him and told him stories and he wrote his
impressions as follows:

"Children weep or gaze wide-eyed, wondering what is the matter. Old
folks sit in gloomy silence. Women with haggard cheeks and disheveled
hair seem to belong to another age.

"They tell of invaders who scattered powder around or threw petroleum
into their houses and then set them afire.

"And when did this happen? Yesterday! It is not a matter of centuries
ago in distant climes, but yesterday, and quite near to us. Yet one
cannot believe it was really yesterday that these things were done."

One of the fugitives explained to M. Brieux why after the first hour of
their flight she had to carry her elder child as well as her baby. She
showed him a pair of boots.

"I felt the inside with my fingers," says Brieux. "Nails had come
through the soles. I looked at the child's feet. They were dirty with
red brown clots. It was blood."


Chauncey M. Depew, former United States Senator for New York, was in
Geneva when the trouble began. He said on his return: "After crossing
the border into France we picked up men joining the colors on the way to
Paris, until our train could hold no more.

"Whenever I stuck my head into a corridor the soldiers would set up a
cheer on seeing my side whiskers. They mistook me for an Englishman and
cried: 'Long live the _entente cordiale!_'"


The fiercest fighting of all that preceded the Russian victory at Lublin
was in a gorge near the village of Mikolaiff, which the Russian soldiers
reverently named the "Valley of Death."

The gorge was full of dead men, lying in heaps, according to an officer
who participated in the battle. "When we attacked at 3 o'clock in the
morning," he said, "the gorge contained 15,000 Austrians, a large
proportion of whom were mowed down by the artillery fire which plowed
through the valley in the darkness. The Austrians surrendered and we
entered the gorge to receive their arms, while their general stood
quietly on a hill watching the scene. Eight of his standards being
turned over to the Russians was more than he could bear, for he drew a
pistol and shot himself."


The war put everybody into khaki, with a few exceptions. On the battle
line or in the field the English soldier and the English officer get
out of their richly colored and historic uniforms and into khaki, of a
neutral hue. The Germans are in gray. The Austrians have most of their
soldiers in khaki, and the Russians all wear khaki-colored cloth. The
French still cling to their blue coats and brilliant red trousers,
although steps are being taken to reclothe the army in more modern
fashion, and the Belgians have a uniform that is very similar to the

The French and Belgian officers are dangerously ornamented with gilt
trimmings during warfare and present such brilliant targets that some of
the Belgian regiments during hard fighting with the Germans have lost
nearly all of their leaders.

The new twentieth century mode of warfare puts the ban on anything that
glitters, even the rifle barrels, bayonets and sabers.


On a cot in the Red Cross hospital at Ostend, September 12, lay one of
the heroes of the war. He is Sergeant van der Bern of the Belgian army,
and only 17 years old. He was only a corporal when he started out with
twenty-nine men on a reconnoitering expedition during which he was
wounded, but displayed such valor that his bravery was publicly related
to all the soldiers, and Van der Bern was promoted.

Van der Bern and his little command came suddenly upon a band of fifty
Uhlans while on their expedition. Outnumbered, his men turned and fled.
The corporal shouted to them and dashed alone toward the Germans. The
other Belgians rallied and threw themselves upon the Uhlans. Within a
few minutes only Van der Bern and two others of his command remained.
Twenty-seven Belgians were dead or wounded. Within a few minutes more of
the corporal's companions fell, mortally wounded. Then the boy picked
them up and displaying almost superhuman strength carried them to
safety. As he was making his retreat, burdened by the two wounded men,
Van der Bern was hit twice by German bullets. He staggered on, placed
his men in charge of the Red Cross and without a word walked to
headquarters and reported the engagement. Then he fell in a faint. WHEN

A vivid description of the rout and retreat of the Germans during
hurricane and rain on September 10, which turned the roads into river
ways so that the wheels of the artillery sank deep in the mire, was
given by a correspondent writing from a point near Melun. He described
how the horses strained and struggled, often in vain, to drag the guns
away, and continued:

"I have just spoken with a soldier who has returned wounded from the
pursuit that will go down with the terrible retreat from Moscow as one
of the crowning catastrophes of the world. They fled, he declares, as
animals flee who are cornered, and know it.

"Imagine a roadway littered with guns, knapsacks, cartridge belts,
Maxims and heavy cannons even. There were miles and miles of it. And
the dead - those piles of horses and those stacks of men! I have seen it
again and again, men shot so close to one another that they remained
standing after death. The sight was terrible and horrible beyond words.

"The retreat rolls back and trainload after trainload of British and
French are swept toward the weak points of the retreating host. This
is the advantage of the battleground which the Allies have chosen. The
network of railways is like a spider's web. As all railways center upon
Paris, it is possible to thrust troops upon the foe at any point with
almost incredible speed, and food and munitions are within arm's reach."


Prince Joachim, youngest son of Emperor William, was wounded during a
battle with the Russians and taken to Berlin. On September 15 it was
reported from Berlin that the wound was healing rapidly, despite the
tearing effect of a shrapnel ball through the thigh. The empress and the
surgeons were having considerable trouble in keeping the patient quiet
in bed. He wanted to get on his feet again and insisted that he ought to
be able to rejoin his command at the front in about a fortnight.

"The prince treats the wound as a trifle," said the Berlin dispatch.
"He smilingly greeted an old palace servant whom he had known since
childhood with the remark: 'Am I not a lucky dog?'"

From an officer who was with Prince Joachim when he was wounded the
following description of the incident was obtained:

"It was during the hottest part of the battle, shortly before the
Russian resistance was broken, that the prince, who was with the staff
as information officer, was dispatched to the firing line to learn how
the situation stood. He rode off with Adjutant Captain von Tahlzahn and
had to traverse the distance, almost a mile, under a heavy hail of shell
and occasional volleys.

"As the Russian artillery was well served and knew all the ranges from
previous measurements, the ride was not a particularly pleasant one,
but he came through safely and stood talking with the officers when a
shrapnel burst in their vicinity. The prince and the adjutant were
both hit, the latter receiving contusions on the leg, but the shot not

"To stop and whip out an emergency bandage which the prince, like every
officer and private, carries sewed inside the blouse, and bind it around
the thigh to check the bleeding was the work of but a moment. It was a
long and dangerous task, however, to get him back to the first bandaging
station, about a mile to the rear, under fire and from there he was
transported to the advanced hospital at Allenstein, where he remained
until he was able to travel.

"Prince Joachim, who was already recommended for the Iron Cross for
bravery before Namur, received the decoration shortly before he was
wounded. The prince, who has many friends in America, conveyed through
his adjutant his thanks for assurances of American sympathy and


The aged ex-Empress Eugenie of France, widow of Napoleon III, has been
living for many years in retirement in the county of Hampshire, England.
She was recently visited by Lord Portsmouth, an old friend, who found
the illustrious lady full of courage and devotion to the French cause
in the present war. In explaining her failure to treat her guest as she
would have desired, the empress said:

"I cannot give you dinner because most of the men of my kitchen have
gone to war."


Just before the war France added to its equipment the most modern of
fighting devices. It is a train of armored cars with rapid-fire guns,
conning towers and fighting tops. As a death-dealing war apparatus it
is the most unique of anything used by any of the nations. This
"battleship" on wheels consists of an armored locomotive, two rapid-fire
gun carriages and two armored cars for transporting troops. The
rapid-fire guns are mounted in such manner that they can be swung and
directed to any point of the compass. Rising from the car behind the
locomotive, is a conning tower from which an officer takes observations
and directs the fire of the rapid-fire guns. Rails running on top of
the cars permit troops to fire from the roof of the cars. For opening
railway communications this "battleship on wheels" is unexcelled.


The scene is a village on the outskirts of Muelhausen, in Alsace. A
lieutenant of German scouts dashes up to the door of the only inn in
the village, posts men at the doorway and entering, seats himself at a

He draws his saber and places it on the table at his side and orders
food in menacing tones.

The village waiter is equal to the occasion. He goes to the stables and
fetches a pitchfork and places it at the other side of the visitor.

"Stop! What does this mean?" roared the lieutenant, furiously.

"Why," said the waiter, innocently, pointing to the saber, "I thought
that was your knife, so I brought you a fork to match."


On a train loaded with wounded which passed through Limoges, September
11, was a young French officer, Albert Palaphy, whose unusual bravery on
the field of battle won for him the Legion of Honor.

As a corporal of the Tenth Dragoons at the beginning of the war, Palaphy
took part in the violent combat with the Germans west of Paris, In the
thick of the battle the cavalryman, finding his colonel wounded and
helpless, rushed to his aid.

Palaphy hoisted the injured man upon his shoulders, and under a rain of
machine gun bullets carried him safely to the French lines. That same
day Palaphy was promoted to be a sergeant.

Shortly afterward, although wounded, he distinguished himself in another
affair, leading a charge of his squad against the Baden guard, whose
standard he himself captured.

Wounded by a ball which had plowed through the lower part of his stomach
and covered with lance thrusts, he was removed from the battlefield
during the night, and learned he had been promoted to be a sublieutenant
and nominated chevalier in the Legion of Honor.

This incident of decorating a soldier on the battlefield recalls
Napoleonic times.


Lieutenant de Lupel of the French army is said to have endeared himself
to his command by a most unusual exhibition of what they are pleased to
term "old-fashioned French gallantry."

Accompanied by a few men, Lieutenant de Lupel succeeded in surrounding a
German detachment occupying the station at Mezières. The lieutenant, on
searching the premises, came upon the German officer hiding behind a
stack of coal. Both men leveled their guns, and for a moment faced each

"After you," finally said the Frenchman courteously.

The German fired and missed and Lieutenant de Lupel killed his man.

The French soldiers cheered their leader, and he has been praised
everywhere for his action.


A correspondent describes a "walking wood" at Crecy. The French and
British cut down trees and armed themselves with the branches. Line
after line of infantry, each man bearing a branch, then moved forward
unobserved toward the enemy.

Behind them, amid the lopped tree trunks, the artillerymen fixed
themselves and placed thirteen-pounders to cover the moving wood.

The attack, which followed, won success. It almost went wrong, however,
for the French cavalry, which was following, made a detour to pass the
wood and dashed into view near the ammunition reserves of the Allies.

German shells began falling thereabouts, but British soldiers went up
the hills and pulled the boxes of ammunition out of the way of the
German shells. Ammunition and men came through unscathed. By evening the
Germans had been cleared from the Marne district.


The Bourse Gazette relates the story of a Russian regimental chaplain
who, single-handed, captured twenty-six Austrian troopers. He was
strolling on the steppes outside of Lemberg, when suddenly he was
confronted by a patrol of twenty-six men, who tried to force him to tell
the details of the position of the Russian troops.

While talking to the men, the priest found that they were all Slavs,
whereupon he delivered an impassioned address, dwelling on the sin of
shedding the blood of their Slav brethren.

At the end of the address, the story concludes, the troopers with bent
heads followed the priest into the Russian camp.


Here is a picturesque story of a British cavalry charge at Thuin, a town
in Belgium near Charleroi, and the subsequent retreat to Compiègne:

"On Monday morning, August 24, after chafing at the long delay, the 2nd
British Cavalry Brigade let loose at the enemy's guns. The 9th Lancers
went into action singing and shouting like schoolboys.

"For a time all seemed well; few saddles were emptied, and the leaders
had charged almost within reach of the enemy's guns when suddenly the
Germans opened a murderous fire from at least twenty concealed
machine guns at a range of 150 yards.

"The result was shattering, and the Lancers caught the full force of the
storm, Vicomte Vauvineux, a French cavalry officer who rode with the
brigade as interpreter, was killed instantly. Captain Letourey, who
was the French master of a school in Devon, was riding by the side of
Vauvineux, and had a narrow escape, as his horse was shot from under
him. Other officers also fell.

"While the bulk of the brigade swerved to the right the others held on

Online LibraryThomas Herbert RussellAmerica's War for Humanity → online text (page 22 of 49)