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THE SUN, SUNDAY, JULY 21, 1918.
12 Judge Wadhams Sees Our Boys Fighting Much Impressed With Their Spirit, and Says Germany Soon May Sue for a Real Peace Incredible Amount of Work Already Done Toward Victory, Comprehensive Ob servation Shows HZOU ask what impressed me most among the things I observed while visiting the American Expedition ary Forces in France. I reply that I was most impressed by the spirit of the Ameri can soldiers now on duty there and by the preparations that are being made for the reception of a still greater American Army." The speaker was Judge William H. Wadhams of the Court of General Ses sions, who lately returned from a three months visit to England and France, dur ing which he spent five days in one sec tion of the American front, visited the front line trenches on a sector held by the old Fighting Sixty-ninth, now the 165th; talked with Premier Clemencean, crossed No Man's Land to visit an Ameri can observation post, travelled in a motor car over a shell swept road with Major Gen. Clarence R. Edwards, commander of the Twenty-sixth Division, for a distance of a half mile or more; made an airplane flight with one of the most famous of Canadian aviators; visited hospitals and listened first hand to accounts of the fight ing from the pioneers of the American Army and finally fired a French 75 at the German trenches and then crept for ward to examine the damage he had done. Expects an Early Offer of Peace. Incidentally Judge Wadhams would not be surprised to leam of a very definite peace offer from Germany, one that will at least demand serious consideration, be fore the end of the present year. The Judge had consented to tell a representa tive of The Sun something of what he had seen and been through, and at the same, time describe the conditions among the American soldiers as he found them. But at the outset he interrupted himself long enough to ask his interviewer what the attitude of the American people might be in the event of a genuine peace offer being made by Germany in the near future. 'That is what I am concerned about," cont inued the Judge. "If Germany should exhibit a willingness to make peace, will the American people be content to cry quits or will they fight, not necessarily until Germany is annihilated but until we can impose a peace on our own terms T "But I suppose," the Judge continued, answering his own question, "that will be largely a question of politics. "Much to a person who has not been there to see for himself, an incredible amount has been done by the United States already toward terminating the war. We are new in this modern war fare and at the beginning had much to leam. Naturally mistakes have been made, but they have been rapidly recti fied and the spirit of cooperation between the staffs of the American and French armies is such that there is no doubt of the ultimate outcome. Besides that the fighting qualities of the American boys, as demonstrated at Seicheprey, are such as to . win the admiration and respect of all the European armies." Relates Intimate Experiences. Here are a few individual and intimate instances in the experience of the Amer ican toldiers as related to or observed by Judge Wadhams and put down here just as he recorded them in his notebook at the time. Before the Seicheprey engagement Lieut. Charles E. Loekhart with thirty seven men was doing outpost duty with machine guns. Twelve hours after the fight Lieut. Loekhart with eight of his men turned up in his own lines, and salut ing his commanding officer said: "I beg your pardon, sir, for not being shaved. Theso arc all the men I have. The rest have been left at their posts.'' The bodies of Lockliart's machine gunners . were found bullet ridden or bayoneted at their posts, but that day the Americans buried 124 Germans. Here is the way Private Clyde Thoznp- MA30R GENERAL CLARENCE R EDWARDS son of New Haven, Conn., described the same fight to the Judge: "The Seicheprey scrap startod at 3:15 A. M. I was in my dngout at battalion headquarters 350 yards behind the front line. A barrage came over, and it was some barrage, and when they lifted it the Huns came from the right flank at right angles to the barrage. "When I started from my dugout five Bodies were running toward me yelling 'Raus mit 'cm!' I stepped back inside and closed the door, but the Boches let some hand grenades go and blew the door off. I made a getaway through another side door, drew my revolver and fired and saw one German fall. "Two of the others carried him away. The other two threw more grenades, which we ducked by good luck, and I fired again and brought another Boche to his knees. Then I turned and the two of us mo and the Major's orderly went to bat talion headquarters and found them fall ing in to hold the town. Held a Reserve Trench for Hours. "I went to the ammunition dump where Lieut. Ingersoll was issuing ammunition for us to hold a reserve trench. Eight of my squad and fifty others took a posi tion behind a camouflaged fence which we held till 5:30 or C o'clock in the morning. "I was helping to carry wounded when I saw three Boches coming up beside the fence. I fired and killed one and the other two disappeared. I'm from Com pany B of the 102d and my home is at 152 Lloyd street, New Haven, and I think I'm recommended for a cross." A German sharpshooter in a tree was causing considerable trouble in a portion of a trench held by the old Sixty-ninth. The officer in command detailed one of the best shots in the regiment to go out and try to get the Boche. The Ameri can, who formerly worked in New York city, crawled out to a good position, took a shot and his comrades behind saw the German fall out of the tree. When the American returned his comrades congrat ulated him: "Sure an' it was nothing at all," he replied. "The fall would have killed him anyway." While Judge Wadhams wa3 visiting the old Sixty-ninth a seel ion of the front line trenches was being held by Company L, temporarily under command of Lieut. Rowley of Company M. Instructions were received from battalion headquarters to identify if possible the German troops in the opposite trenches. Lieut. Fred Cassidy with eleven men formed a small raiding party and identified the Germans by the simple method of going out, sur pruing and capturing a German outpost and bringing a dozen or more prisoners to the American lines. They proved to be members of the Fortieth Ersatz regiment. 3UDGE W-H. WADHAM5 tjr PAUL THOMPSON It was while visiting the men of the old Sixty-ninth that Judge Wadhams took his hand at strafing the Hun and thereby laid himself open to summary execution if ever captured by the Germans. A bat tery of French 75s,;ommanded by Capt. Lawrence B. Bobbins and Capt. J. M. Dickinson, son of former Secretary of War Dickinson, wa3 supporting the in fantry. When the gun layers found tho range and had dropped a shell or two in the Hun trenches Judge Wadhams was asked if he would like to fire one of the guns. It was an enviable experience and the Judge said that he pulled the cord with considerable pleasure. Afterward he made his way through a communicating trench to the front lines and through an officer's glasses had a look at the spot whero his shell hit. While Judge Wadhams is enthusiastic over the accomplishments of America so far in the war he believes from his obser vations that American prestige in France has suffered through reckless boasting of what America would do in twelve months of war. He also believes that tho Amer ican people are being misled by reports and pictures put in circulation depicting the German soldier as a half starved, wornout and dissatisfied individual. "The German prisoners tltat I saw were actually fat, and rather than being de jected they hail the demeanor of con querors," he said. On that point Judge Wadhams quoted from his notes remarks by Colonel, now Brig.-Gen., Douglas MacArthur of Gen. Pershing's staff: "The German soldier is a fine fighting man, very active and vigilant and sup ported by splendid artillery fire, but we have driven him out of No Man's Land and we go into his front line trenches every night." High Tribute to French Artillery. Gen. MacArthur paid a high tribute to the French artillery cooperating with the Americans at the places visited by Judge Wadhams. Here is the Judge's memoran dum of what the American officer had to say of his French allies: "We have had superb artillery support from the French. The French General in command of the artillery supporting us is a wonderful old scout and certainly knows his business. They have a wonderful ma chine, a wonderful staff and woudcrful organization." Perhaps the experience that stands out most vividly in the Judge's recollections of his visit to the front is the memory of the wild ride in a powerful motor car around the face of a hill that at the moment was the target for German artil lery. Judge Wadhams was permitted to accompany Major-Gen. Clarence R. Ed wards, commanding the Twenty-sixth Division, and Col. Hume of the 103d United States Infantry on a tour of in spection to some of the American positions. "The Germans were trying desperately to get the range of the road over which we travelled," said Judge Wadhams, "and they were altogether too near it for com fort. We could see the flare of the big guns and then hear the explosion of the shell after an interval of about eight stconds." Gen. Edwards Lauds His Men. Gen. Edwards, whom Judge Wadhams described as enthusiastic over the morale and fitness of the troops in his command, was occupying for his headquarters at the time of the Judge's visit an old French chateau that was built in 1352. "Gen. Edwards," said Judge Wadhams, "is exceedingly proud of the fact that the men of his command were the first Americans to fight on European soil, and that from the very beginning they dem onstrated their worth beyond any question nnd immediately commanded the respect of their allies. 'In this fighting business Gen. Edwards told me, 'it's 90 per cent, guts and heart, and our men arc all right because they have both.' " But Judge Wadhams did not find tho American soldiers in France entirely with out complaints. It takes a certain num ber of kickers grouchers is the army term to make up an army, just the sama as it takes a lot of persons with differ ent opinions to make up n successful polit ical convention. In the case to which he re fers, however, Judge Wadhams believes that the American boys abroad have a cer tain amount of justification for their com plaints, which he hastens to add arc made in a perfectly proper way. "The boys over there who arc doing the actual fighting, particularly the First and Second Lieutenants, cannot understand the system of promotion that is in effect in Washington," he explained. "Understand, what they say about it mnst not be construed as indicating dissat isfaction with their lot, for the boys that are there in the fighting hue that I saw are too jubilant over their good luck, as they term it, in being there to kick. Wonder About Bombproof Jobs. "But the qualified officers, the West Point graduates and the graduates of two or three training camps who are in actual command of men in actual fighting with the rank of First or Second Lieutenant don't understand how it is that some others frequently men of their own acquaintance at home who never wore a uniform are commissioned Majors or Lieutenant-Colonels, are assigned to a desk in Washington or St. Louis or some place equally distant from the fighting line and draw down the pay of a field officer. I don't mean that any of the men I heard speak of the matter would exchange places with the others, but they arc curi ous to know just what sort of system is in voguo among the powers that be." Judge Wadhams spoke in glowing terms of the work of the American hos pital units in France, ne visited Mobile Hospital 39, which is composed of tho Yalo unit and under Major Joseph M. Flint, formerly a professor of surgery at Yale. Tho hospital consists of 300 beds and has sterilizing and X-ray apparatus mounted on fast motor cars. Just before leaving the front Judge Wadhams visited one of the headquarters of tho American airmen, arriving there the day after Lieut. Norman Hall was killed. He talked with a number of tho officers of Ninety-fourth and Ninety-fifth Pursuit Squadrons, commanded respec tively by Major J. W. Buffer and Major Davenport Johnson. Each squadron has its own particular emblem. Just at present, Judge Wadhams said, tho American aviators were somewhat handicapped by lack of equipment, but as soon as American built battle and pursuit planes begin to arrive in Franc in quantities he is certain tliat the Ameri can airmen will concede nothing in point of efficiency, daring or accomplishments to their gallant fellow air fighters. ii'ii ii 'Hi ii TiMi