Page 3721

3721 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

All this preparation was desirable, but

it naturally grew tiresome. The fact

that the British and French were fighting

the enemy all this time led the men of

the First Division to feel that they were

not doing their part. One soldier said

it was like standing on the bank and

watching a man drown without going

into the water to help him. The division

was inspected by Generals Petain, Castelneau, and Foch, and President Poincare,

who watched them march past, and, of

course, praised them in high terms to their

officers. But still the order to go into the

trenches did not come. Another French

division took the place of the Chasseurs-Alpins who were coaching the men, and

British instructors came to give training

in some of their specialties, especially

the bayonet. The Americans took all

the instruction offered them, and yet,

despite the long years of trench fighting

and the comparative disrepute into which

the rifle had fallen as a weapon in the new

warfare, General Pershing insisted that

the men be given careful training in marksmanship. Time was to show that this

was a wise decision. The Allied soldiers

had, in fact, become so accustomed to

the use of hand-grenades and bayonets

that it had come to be so that sometimes

troops would try to catch enemies instead

of shooting them down as they ran.

The French naturally were anxious for

the Americans to begin fighting. The

French general public, which, at first,

had expected impossible things from the

Americans at an early date, gradually

changed its opinions, and some pessimists

began to doubt whether the Americans

ever would go into the trenches. German

propagandists naturally declared, of course,

that the Americans were only "bluffing"

and did not intend to risk their skins in

actual warfare.

There were, of course, good reasons why

the men did not begin fighting sooner.

Though the regiments composing the

First Division were all regular regiments,

they were in reality only skeleton organizations