September 9, 1918 – To the front

From Saint-Amand, the 301st Engineers traveled for three days across France to the war zone passing through the towns of Auxerre, Troyes, Bar-sur-Aube, Chaumont, Neufchateau, and Toul. Closer and closer they got to the front.

1918.09.09a

Late in the afternoon of Sept. 9th, the 301st pulled out of St. Amand for Toul in two sections, travelling again in the toy cars marked ‘Cheveaux 8, Hommes 40′ (8 horses or 40 men).

–  A Short History of the 301st Engineers

Benches in a box car may be an advantage if the journey is a short one, but when it is necessary to spend four days and three nights in a side-door Pullman, they become a nuisance.  During the journey from St. Amand-Montrond to Toul, we blessed those seats eloquently, frequently and loudly:  they took up space and space was at a premium with thirty-eight men, and as many packs and rifles in a French freight car.  Of course, being human we wanted sleep after a few hours, and to sleep we preferred to lie down; but to lie down was out of the question: the benches were in the way and though we curled up in every conceivable corner on them and beneath them, there were many of us who were out of luck and had to sit up: and on a wooden bench with the car rocking and swaying, this is not the most comfortable position in the world.

– Our Memoirs: Company A, 301st Engineers

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