The pattern of war on the western front hadn’t changed much. One side or the other would launch an offensive, maybe with only limited objectives. The infantry might gain a few yards, but they would usually be driven out shortly.

The advantage was with the defense and machine guns. One of the factors which helped change that equation was the tank. Another was a change in infantry tactics, relying more on speed than mass charges.

Anyway, the St. Mihiel offensive was an unusually quick operation. By Sept. 14 the Associated Press was reporting that the entire St. Mihiel salient, which had existed since the early days of the war, had been eliminated. The news service was reporting that 20,000 prisoners had been taken in the first real American offensive of the war.

Success was also reported from Macedonia, where French and Serbian forces were reported to be having success against Bulgarian forces.

A story in the Sept. 14 Daily Banner, said Charles N. Price of Fredericktown, a member of the 26th Infantry Division, was reported to be a prisoner in Cassell, Germany.

In Cleveland, also on the 14th, Socialist leader Eugene V, Debs was convicted to violating the Espionage Act and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

The sentence was commuted to time served by President Warren Harding in 1921.

Sept. 14 was a busy day. Sources in London claimed that there were confirmed reports that the Bolshevik government had broken up, with Lenin and Trotsky fleeing to Switzerland. Of course, it was not true.

British troops were reportedly involved in heavy fighting Sept. 15, plunging further into the Hindenburg Line north of St. Quentin and withstanding viscous German counterattacks west of Cambrian.

Sept. 19, it was reported that American ace 1st. Lt. David Putnam of Massachusetts, a descendent of Gen. Israel Putnam, was killed while on patrol over American lines. He was a leading American ace with 12 victories at the time.

Also Sept. 19, the Banner carried a report that 5,000 soldiers at Camp Devers in Massachusetts were suffering from the Spanish flu. Six deaths occurred the night before.

The next day, a story said there had been outbreaks at Camp Upton, N.Y.; Camp Dix in New Jersey and Camp Lee in Virginia, with more expected.

On the 14th, the Banner published excerpts from letters from a number of members of E Battery. They are not dated, although one reported on a parade staged July 4.

One letter, written by Lawrence Walker to his parents on East Hamtramck St., wrote: “Well, we are back to the battery again working as hard as ever. We are at Camp Souge, which is altogether an artillery camp.

“We go to the range today to fire and stay there until we are qualified to go to the front which will be in about a month’s time.

“The Americans are doing some wonderful work at the front and they think the war will be over by Christmas, so we are all anxious to get up there so we can be there when the end comes and also to get in the fight before it’s all over.

“We have gas drill and everything else that goes to make up regular army life here.”

 

Chuck Martin: 740-397-5333 or cmartin@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews

 

 

 

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