Page 3725

3725 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

finish, ready to sacrifice as long as is

necessary until final victory for the most

noble of causes, that of the liberty of

nations, the weak as well as the mighty.

Thus the deaths of these humble soldiers

appear to us with extraordinary grandeur.

"We will, therefore, ask that the mortal

remains of these young men be left here,

left with us forever. We inscribe on the

tombs, 'Here lie the first soldiers of the

Republic of the United States to fall on

the soil of France for liberty and justice'

The passerby will stop and uncover his

head. Travelers and men of heart will

go out of their way to come here to pay

their respective tributes.

"Private Enright, Private Gresham,

Private Hay! In the name of France I

thank you. God receive your souls. Farewell."

The American troops naturally were

extremely eager to retaliate. They wished

to carry out raids themselves against

the Germans and to repay the injury

with interest, but it did not accord with

the plans of the French Staff to arouse

any decided activity in that sector, so the

American desire for revenge temporarily

could not be gratified.

For a long time the Americans did not

attempt any independent raids. The first

one planned was to have taken place

on the morning of the 4th of March and

was to have been carried out by ISO men

from the First Division, which was then

in line on the south side of the St. Mihiel

salient. Great preparations were made

for the enterprise, but unfortunately the

detachment of engineers, which had been

instructed to blow up the German wires

with bengalore torpedoes, lost their way,

and the whole plan had to be given up.

Mistakes of this sort were inevitable in

the training period, and in the words of

a writer on the subject, "No one can

appreciate the real accomplishment of

the army, who does not realize how unskilled it was to begin with, and how

dangerous it was to be unskilled in the

presence of a keen and practiced enemy."

Another discouraging experience for the

Americans occurred on April 20, 1918,

when the Germans made a raid in force

on the village of Seicheprey on the south

side of the St. Mihiel salient. About

4 o'clock in the morning, the German

artillery became active; then their firing

died away. About quarter past five,

however, it was suddenly renewed. Shells

fell in great numbers on the village of

Seicheprey and on parts of the American

trenches in front. Soon after, the Germans advanced through heavy fog and

succeeded in capturing the trenches in

front of Seicheprey and the village itself.

Four or five hundred Americans were

killed, wounded, or taken. The German

losses were slighter, but the Americans

subsequently buried 41 dead enemies.

The Germans held the captured trenches

until near the close of the day, and then,

just before the Americans were about to

launch a counter-attack, they returned

to their own lines. In an effort to dampen

American morale, the Germans made

much of their exploit, "sending out reports

by their wireless and printing in their

paper, the Gazette des Ardennes, a list

of the prisoners with a comment that,

as General Pershing was very new at the

game, he might like to know what became

of his men."

Following our declaration of war on

Germany, Austria-Hungary severed diplomatic relations with the United States,

but formal hostilities did not immediately

follow. Many Americans urged that we

should also declare war against Austria Hungary, but the President and a majority

of Congress thought otherwise. One of

the reasons put forward for not doing

so was that there were many hundreds

of thousands of Austro-Hungarian subjects

in the United States and that a declaration

of war against their country would tend

to make them more dangerous.

But the great victory of the Austrians

and Germans over the Italians in the fall

of 1917 created a new situation. To

help redeem the situation the United

States hastened to send ships, money, and

supplies to the hard-pressed Italians,

and the Government considered sending

soldiers who would, of course, fight