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TWO 23RD AMBULANCE COMPANY MEMBER’S BATTLE DIARIES
- World War I diaries (2) kept by Edwin G. Emmert, 23rd Ambulance Company, 2nd Division. The diaries are two identical books, each titled on the front cover with “My Service Book.” One diary is for the year 1918, the other 1919. Emmert actually entered the Army in 1917, and on August 30 of the 1919 book, the soldier wrote, “Joined U.S. Medical at 1226 Arch St. Phila.” The 1917 entries continue through the end of the 1919 book, including his voyage to France aboard the transport “Huron.” This two-diary set contains battle content.
Emmert enlisted on September 5, 1917 and was discharged April 16, 1919. The blank page before his 1 January entry in the 1918 diary book includes this sentimental message—“De(d)ciated to ‘Billie’ The Only Little Girl in The World,” a reference to his girlfriend or wife. On March 11, an entry reads, “Rec’d orders for the front. Hurrah. Take only that which we can carry on our backs.” March 16—“Up at 3 a.m. grub at 4 leave 4:30 for Bourmont…15 mile hike from Verdun. Land at Troyan 4 p.m. Roads shelled so took other route. Beat the Huns to it. The guns are barking all around. Weather fine.” March 17—“Take a bath and watch aeroplanes. Saw one fight. The Hun beat it. 2 Hun planes came over, we shell them but on it. Shell clouds all along their path.” March 20—“two stiffs are brought in.” March 31—“Turkey for dinner. Heinie shells the town but he didn’t get any of us. Gee it was funny to see the French run for the caves.” April 5—“A.M. In first aid sta from 4-8. Breakfast at 8, goes to good to cook. Haven’t killed them yet. Town shelled for 12 hours. 1st shell came near getting a bunch of us. But on our face we went into the mud. Drop shells all around us.” And the next day, the 6th—“Relieved move stove into dug out. T’is getting to(o) hot out there to be healthy.” April 13