As mentioned yesterday, Robert did not write in his diary on September 20-24. I’ll fill in as best I can using other sources.
We know Robert spent the next few days at Camp Marquette, preparing for the Meuse-Argonne battle (although they didn’t know that yet). Finding the location of Camp Marquette was surprisingly difficult. At first all I had to go on was a vague description from Chaplain Edwards, quoted below. Then I found an amazing map in the Truman Library’s collection:
It doesn’t look like much, right? Then I zoomed in to see the hand-written annotations showing the 140th’s movements:
Éclaires is at the bottom of this map. Follow the red line up to a point marked “140th” in the upper right. And note the distinctive little peninsula of treeless land that they would have marched through before reaching the camp. That cleared area is still recognizable 100 years later, allowing me to pinpoint the camp:
Here’s my old pal Chaplain Edwards in From Doniphan to Verdun:
During the night, September 21st, the entire brigade marched northward, directly into the Argonne Forest, keeping carefully hidden from observation. The regiment halted at Camp General Marquette, about sixteen kilometres north of Eclair. By crowding troops into the wooden shacks, poor accommodations were secured for nearly all. A few were still in shelter tents. There was plenty of rain and mud, but little water for drinking or bathing, in fact during our whole stay in France, including our return journey on board ship, the amount of water was limited and had to be carefully conserved. At Camp Marquette the men were partially dried out. All excessive equipment was collected, carefully tagged, and placed under guard.
From Sergeant Triplet in A Youth in the Meuse-Argonne:
After spending a few days idling in the forest bivouac near the former St.-Mihiel salient, awaiting the usual counterattack, we made two night marches to the northwest and billeted in Camp Marquette. This camp of log hutments, well concealed in the Foret de Haye, was normally occupied by French reserve troops. Again our orders were to lie low, no daylight activity, blackout at night, and don’t run out to gawk at any airplanes.
(I think Sergeant Triplet is mistaken or misremembering here; they were in the Argonne Forest, not the Foret de Haye)
Chaplain Buswell, whom Robert mentioned earlier, also recorded his memories of Camp Marquette:
Just before the Meuse-Argonne offensive, we were billeted in Camp Marquette for about five days. Everyone knew that we were going into a drive; the spirit of soberness was in the air. We had a revival there…. About thirty-five presented themselves for baptism, and in two days about a hundred and fifty men came to one or the other of us, the two regimental chaplains, stating that they wanted to be known as Christian men. Some of these were already devout Christian characters, and others had just then found Christ as their Saviour…. They were men who had come to Christ as a result of the simple preaching of the old Gospel.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.