The 40 and 8, Again

June 9, 1918 – Full diary entry:

“Left Critot today at 1 A.M.

Loaded into boxcars. 30 men to a car. Rode all day + did not get much sleep.”


Some especially poetic description from Clair Kenamore, From Vauquois Hill to Exermont: A History of the Thirth-Fifth Division of the United States Army:

Virtually all of the division entrained at Bushy or at other railroad points near there, after three days of difficult marching…

On this journey the men came to understand why someone had written “sunny France,” for good weather attended. There had been much spring rain at Eu and an impression was spreading that it always rained in France, but on the trip to the south and east the division passed through a beautiful green country usually flooded with sunshine. The farms were tended to the last inch, and the chateaux which rose from the tops of gently swelling hills were like old pictures from a book of travels.

The men rode in the famed “Hommes 40, chevaux 8,” as the little French freight cars were universally called. .. The four-wheeled cars looked flimsy and frail to eyes used to considering the big, sturdy American box cars, but when one of those long trains got under way it moved with a dash and abandon which gave a good idea of French at war.

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Where was Robert today? See the timeline.

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