July 23, 1918 – Full diary entry:
“Left Fellering with packs. Marched up a mountain above the clouds. Rained.
Slept on the top in the clouds.”
Robert has not been especially poetic in his diary entries, but this is a lovely image. He was at Camp Boussat, on or near a mountain known as “Le Markstein.” Chaplain Edwards, in From Doniphan to Verdun, describes it this way:
After a long march from Kruth, to which point we had been carried in trucks, we reached the top of a great mountain and took charge of a front of many kilometres in the Fecht sector. At last we were to look at the Germans through the sights of our rifles. While the trenches and dug-outs were old it was hard to realize that we were at last in the trenches. Beautiful little cottages were built on the slopes of the hills. Magnificent forests gave one the impression that we wore in the mountains of Maine. Here and there people might be seen working in the fields. It was considered a quiet sector. It was used as a rest camp for both the French and Germans, but the occasional artillery duel or night raid took its toll and almost every day there was a burial in the French Military Cemetery a couple of hundred yards down the hill from headquarters.
The 140th was split apart at this time. I’ll talk later this week about where the rest of the regiment was, but for now here’s Chaplain Edwards on Robert’s First Battalion:
The First Battalion was held in reserve at Boussat nearly at the top of the mountain. All rations and wood were transported up the hill by a cable line which ended at Boussat. As we were brigaded with French troops the French wine ration was most important. It was interesting to watch this cable. One basket would carry up a cask of red wine, the next a bale of hay, the next a cask of wine, the next a box of rations, and then another cask, continuing in about the same proportion.
This 1917 photo shows part of the trail and cable up the mountain; Robert was fortunately not there during the winter. The camp was apparently known for teams of sled dogs brought over from North America.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.