July 19, 1918 – Full diary entry:
“Nearly half the company drunk tonight. There were over a dozen fights.”
Good grief, who was running that outfit? Actually, this might be exactly the right question. Leadership of the 140th had changed dramatically over the previous month and it’s entirely possible that morale and discipline were negatively affected. Chaplain Edwards explains in From Doniphan to Verdun:
Col. P. A. Murphy was assigned to us on June 18th, and we lost Col. Linxwiler and Col. Clark. Col Linxwiler had served nearly ten years in the Illinois National Guard and nine years in the Missouri National Guard, serving in Cuba and later on the Border. He remained with us until July 14th, when he became Corps Inspector of the Fifth Army Corps.
Colonel Linxwiler, by his evident ability to handle men as well as the problems of war, and by strict discipline, made possible only by his disposition to be absolutely fair and just, had won the loyalty of the whole regiment. It was a cruel disappointment to him when he was relieved of command. For a month afterward, until July 14th, he remained with the regiment, attached. His attitude during this trying period won the admiration of all who observed him. Without the slightest apparent thought of himself he tried to help the new Commanding Officer and to encourage loyalty to him in the regiment. His work, cheerfulness, unselfishness and loyalty during this trying period showed his complete command of himself and his fitness to command others.
So Colonel Linxwiler had been the Regimental Commander since the 140th was formed back in July 1917. In June, he was replaced by a “regular army” commander but remained with the regiment until July 14. Given how Chaplain Edwards describes the colonel, it’s easy to imagine that the men were upset.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.