June 23, 1918 – Full diary entry:
“Moved up to the Front in Auto Trucks. On Alsace Loraine front. Billeted in an old school house. The town is Thann, 1 Kilo from the trenches.”
Chaplain Edwards, in From Doniphan to Verdun:
On June 23rd we were transported in French motor lorries through the Bussang tunnel, crossing the Provincial Boundary line, into German-Alsace.
The remainder of the regiment, under Colonel Murphy, was billeted in the delightful old town of Thann. The men were impressed by the fact that the school children carried gas masks. Old Thann, the older village, lies close by in utter desolation. Thann itself seems almost completely wrecked, great damage having been done by destructive artillery fire. The people speak German and a great many are evidently pro-German in their sympathies. There is a beautiful old church in Thann of the 14th century, which contains some paintings of great value and a very famous pipe organ. These works of art and the pipe organ were removed to the back area when the Boche advanced in 1914. The storks in Thann were an interesting sight. The stork is a symbol of Alsace, but the bird is almost extinct. In spite of the shelling, at eventide, perched on a chimney in Old Thann, a lonely stork could be seen outlined against the sky.
Sgt. William Triplett, in A Youth in the Argonne, remembered it similarly:
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.