September 5, 1918 – Full diary entry:
“Do not know where we got off train. Marched till daylight. Slept in a prune orchard. Saw two wild boars.
Packed and left at dark. Have met 5 other Divisions of Amer. soldiers.”
As mentioned yesterday, this is a big deal. Chaplain Edwards in From Doniphan to Verdun takes the opportunity to needle Army efficiency a little:
For some reason we never detrained at the nearest point to our objective, and on this occasion marched back about thirty kilometers of unnecessary hiking. Headquarters were at Chaligny Sur Mont and Chaligny Sur Val. Chaligny Sur Mont was larger with a 10th century church. Chaligny Sur Val was smaller and dirtier — which is saying a great deal.
Today, there is only one “Chaligny” – perhaps they grew together over time, or possibly Chaplain Edwards was talking about “Chavigny,” which is another village about 5 kilometers away.
Either way, because of their nighttime movements and my shocking lack of knowledge about French railway routes during 1918, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where they were and when. My best guess is that their schedule was something like this:
September 4, noon – boarded the train at Saulxures-sur-Moselotte.
September 5, midnight – detrained at Haussonvile and started marching.
September 5, daylight – camped in a plum orchard
September 5, night – marched to Neuves-Maison (see tomorrow’s diary entry).
Robert says he was billeted in “Maison,” Chaplain Edwards was with the 140th headquarters in Chaligny, and the 35th Division was headquartered at Rosieres-aux-Salines.
This map shows all of these points of interest. If they could have gone directly from Haussonville to Chaligny, the distances don’t make sense. But since Chaplain Edwards says they had to backtrack, and Robert will tell us tomorrow about a 20-mile march, there must be some detour that I’m missing.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.