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A Daily Diary of the Great War — November 9, 1917

By John Hale Chipman, Class of 1919

"Young poilus" [Ed: Poilus were French army infantrymen. The term poilu means "hairy one" and implied the rustic origins of most of the soldiers while directly referencing their typically hairy faces.]
"November 9, 1917. Friday, Intermittant rains.

Up at 7:45 and got to roll call just in time only to hear read to us one of the most dastardly orders I ever heard. A captain down here, tho fulfilling his duty I suppose, but not understanding the nature and calibre of Americans threatened to put into prison with one blanket, bread and water anyone who did anything contrary to his orders or rules. Well, in the course of our morning, we were informed six of our boys were ordered to the "jug." This was our limit. We have been used hard and been "sat on" and our high motive to serve with which we came over has gradually been turned to hate toward men who refuse to acknowledge our motive and to understand us, but treat us as if we were 2nd class low down poilus. The climax came this morning when the captain came down and took six of our men, one of whom was Georgie Pratt, my old remorque-mate [trailer-mate]. We got the boys together and chose a committee and signed a statement (88 in all) that if these boys were not released and real military punishment given them instead of this monarchial action, after the boys had been told for what reason they were being punished, we would hereafter cease offering our services. Anyway, the boys had to go up to the jail, and stay there all day, but in the P. M. we got the chefs busy and our captain was forced to release them by orders of Captain Mallet, the head of this transport service. He is a wonderful man, anyway, and this action made him all the more our favorite. Well, to come back to Georgie. The sergeant of our new section here, Winslow, and I started up to "prison" with a good feed for our boys (we were going to smuggle in the grub if they wouldn't let us by) when we no sooner got started than they came past us and sprung us the dope they were released from the service and were leaving for Paris at 1 A. M.  So I was helping George pack up when he was all of a sudden sent for to report to the bureau. On his return we found he was free, that he had gone to prison for nothing and that it was another Pratt they wanted and not George. Believe me, I was relieved but I was sore for the error they made. Anyway, Alberts, formerly of our section 184, was sent but still I don't know for what reason and I guess he doesn't. He is a good sort of a boy, so I am sending him out to the house to call with the preceding papers of this.

After supper we played cards and turned in, 9:30 after someday."

November 9, 1917 (1 of 2)
November 9, 1917
(1 of 2)
November 9, 1917 (2 of 2)
November 9, 1917
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To see the actual diary, come to Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall and ask to see MS-1229 during normal hours of operation.

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