3449 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
between seven and nine the same morning,
the soldiers gave themselves up to pillage
and arson, going from house to house and
driving the inhabitants into the street.
Those who tried to escape were shot.
About nine in the morning, the soldiery,
driving before them, by blows from the
butt ends of rifles, men, women, and children, pushed them all into the Parade
Square, where they were kept prisoners
till 6 o'clock in the evening. The guard
took pleasure in repeating to them that
they would soon be shot. About 6 o'clock
a captain separated the men from the
women and children. The women were
placed in front of a rank of infantry soldiers,
the men were ranged along a wall. The
front rank of them were then told to kneel,
the others remaining standing behind
them. A platoon of soldiers drew up in
face of these unhappy men. It was in
vain that the women cried out for mercy
for the husbands, sons, and brothers. The
officer ordered his men to fire. There
had been no inquiry nor any pretense of
a trial. About twenty of the inhabitants
were only wounded, but fell among the
dead. The soldiers, to make sure, fired
a new volley into the heap of them. Several citizens escaped this double discharge.
They shammed dead for more than two
hours, remaining motionless among the
corpses, and when night fell succeeded
in saving themselves in the hills. Eighty-four corpses were left in the square, and
were buried in a neighboring garden." Other
wholesale executions took place in the same
town, while many of the inhabitants were
sent as prisoners into Germany.
Of this massacre the American Minister,
Brand Whitlock, wrote to his Government:
"One scene surpasses in horror all others;
it is the fusillade of the Rocher Bayard
near Dinant. It appears to have been
ordered by Colonel Meister. This fusillade made many victims among the nearby
parishes, especially those of des Rivages
and Neffe. It caused the death of nearly
90 persons, without distinction of age or
sex. Among the victims were babies in
arms, boys and girls, fathers and mothers
of families, even old men.
"It was there that 12 children under
the age of 6 perished from the fire of the
executioners, 6 of them as they lay in their
"The child Fievet, 3 weeks old.
"Maurice Betemps, II months old.
"Nelly Pollet, II months old.
"Gilda Genon,18 months old.
"Gilda Marchot, 2 years old.
"Clara Struvay, 2 years and 6 months.,
"The pile of bodies comprised also many
children from 6 to 14 years. Eight large
families have entirely disappeared. Four
have but one survivor. Those men that
escaped death-and many of whom were
riddled with bullets-were obliged to bury
in a summary and hasty fashion their
fathers, mothers, brothers, or sisters; then
after having been relieved of their money
and being placed in chains they were sent
to Cassel [Prussia]."
Similar happenings occurred at Aerschot,
Tamines, Andenne, and numerous other
places; but the scene of the most famous
outrage was Louvain. This city lies to
the eastward of Brussels and is the seat of
one of the oldest universities in Europe.
The Germans occupied the city on August
19th, and for several days there was relative peace and quiet. But on August
24 and 25, the Belgian army made a sortie
from the entrenched camp at Antwerp,
defeated the Germans in the region around
Malines, and drove some of their forces
back to Louvain. According to the German story, the inhabitants fired upon the
returning troops; according to the people
of the city, one detachment of the Germans
fired by mistake upon another. In any
event a carnival of death and destruction
ensued during the night of the 25th and
the two following days. Fire was deliberately set to the place, and the University, with its precious library of rare
books and manuscripts, the church of
St. Peter, and many houses were burned
to the ground. Many of the inhabitants
were shot or otherwise killed, while hundreds of others were seized and sent to
The captured diary of a soldier of the
Prussian Guard contained the following