November 1, 1918
Very pleasant day but heavy fog at night.
The morning papers say “Turkey Capitulates”. “Austrian Commander begs Diaz to grant armistice”. “Republic declared in Budapest by National Council”.
The general opinion is that the war is nearly over. Everyone is talking peace and speculating as to when they will get home. It would be difficult for anyone that was not actually present to understand the excitement of the next ten days, that is to the signing of the armistice.
For a week there had been nothing but talk of peace. The men were uneasy, unwilling to work, they spent much time in Toul and in the wine shops. There was a marked increase in the number of intoxicated men.
This feeling must have been general. Col. Tucker had read the order from Hdqrs. on Oct. 28 requesting officers to stop talking about peace and to keep on fighting.
In spite of all this he made the remark at supper that the war would be over in ten days - and it was but that was the general opinion and Tucker deserved no credit as a prophet. He only demonstrated his unfitness to command.
The morning paper also told us of the heavy fighting on the part of the Americans on the Verdun front, yesterday.
They capture Bois Des Loges for the sixth time, occupied the Belle-Joyense farm and drove the Germans from the village of Brieulles.
There could be no question but what there were very active operations at the front as we could hear the heavy guns all day yesterday and today.
The reports of peace in the papers, the evident action at the front, the failure of starting the drive on Metz that had been talked abut for some days left the men in a very unsettled state of mind. No one knew what was going to happen and evidently no one cared. Toul once more assumed the activity that was evident just before the St. Mihiel drive.
Added to this unrest was the renewed discontent among the officers of *51. Rumors today are to the effect that Tucker is to be detached.
My own work with the unit is completed.
The pneumonia epidemic has been stopped. The wards are filled with cases but no new cases are being contracted in the hospital from carelessness.
Building A, the medical building is in perfect shape.
The bed capacity has been reduced from 500 to 400. We have nothing but American Hospital beds. There is plenty of room to work. Every bed is separated from the adjoining bed by sheets.
The wards are absolutely clean. No one could possibly object to occupying one of the beds.
There was drinking water or every floor, and means of heating water.
There were wash rooms and a special room for smoking on every floor.
Every patient had sputum cups and they were properly cared for.
There were decent toilet facilities.
Everything was harmonious, thanks to the loyalty of the nurses, the convalescent patients and the appreciation of the patients themselves.
Yet the rest of the hospital was discontented, the officers do not appreciate their rest room, the enlisted men do about as they please. The unit is almost at a breaking point.
Col. Maddux calls me to Hdqrs. again and asks me to straighten things out. I explain the situation and tell him there is nothing more I can do.
It is only fair to say that the nurses are quite happy.
They have a very nice rest room and enjoy it. After much trouble I have given them new mattresses, sterilized baskets, and ample toilet facilities. In addition to this they have an opportunity to do washing if they choose to do it.
The enlisted men are practically without discipline. There are just enough of the energetic type to keep things going.
From MS-397, Box 1 Folder 14. To read the diary in its entirety, visit Rauner Special Collections Library and ask to see the Harry Goodall papers (MS-397).
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