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Ferris Wellman Myrice Diary - MMS 1729
Ferris Wellman Myrice enlisted in the Army March 28, 1918, aged 21 years, 10 months. Born in Deshler, Ohio, he served in Company L of the 332nd Infantry. He was promoted to Corporal on March 1, 1919. He saw service at Vittorio-Veneto and in the Defensive Sector. He was with the American Expeditionary Forces from June 6, 1918 to April 14, 1919 and was honorably discharged on August 5, 1919.
Ferris W. Myrice, WWI diary - 1918-1919
[at top of page] Copied from small note book
|March 28, 1918.||Reported for selective service at Napoleon, Ohio|
|March 29.||Arrived at Camp Sherman - 7:40 P.M. Moved to 1st Co 1st Tr Bat. 158 Depot Brigade M 31. then to I 21. Drill and detail work until|
|April 21.||Transferred to Co L. 332 M.-Apr. 22 '18. Practiced sighting all day. Received Rifle belt, bayonet, pack etc.|
|" 27.||Sat. we left for 5 days on the rifle range. Some experience work from 5 A.M. until 8 P.M. every day.|
P'lynegar-Crinkie- very realistic at retreat when the band played "Star S.B." and they were having rapid firing practice in the range.
|May 2.||Dirty as pigs - return to camp S. took half a day to clean up.|
|May 3.||First day at bombing and bayonets drill. Also "discovered Bart." Evening semaphore drill had charge of several fellows.|
|May 4.||Learning to pitch tents.|
|May 5.||Passed in Review before Ge. Glenn and Gar. Cox.- Pearl and Homer over to see me. Heaps of fun getting ready for bunk inspection - changed model for equipment six times.|
|May 7.||Received the "Devils" picture|
|May 11.||Co L. on guard Fuzzy acting corporal. Mother also comes.|
|May 12.||Visitors galore - Received my first pass - 7-17 uptown with mother|
|May 13.||Started gas drill night hike of 8 miles Received a big bunch of violets from Margaret also a letter from H.I.S.|
|May 15.||Big day - on kitchen police - pay day and entered the gas chamber in gas drill.|
|May 19.||Skermish drill on the range. hiked out and in on sunday|
|May 25.||Left C. Sherman at 1 P.M. Arrived in Cleveland at 10:30 - Passed thru Buffalo - also near Albany - Red + [cross] at Syeracuse gave us lunch. Capt. Postun say - front line in 40 days. Fine news along the Hudson arrived at C. Merritt at 12 P.M. Lt. John seems very unsober.|
|May 28.||Hike around town in the morning. Bought a 50 hane certificate for $8.85. Thinks look serious on the western front. We'll probably be pushing up daises before many moons|
|May 29.||Listened to a lecture on veneral disease in the morning - drill in afternoon.|
|May 30.||Shut in - one of the boys with measles.|
|May 31.||One great inspection by major etc.|
|June 2.||Hike to the Hudon. Some view. 331st left for (?) I suppose we leave tomorrow.|
|June 3.||Roy down.|
|June 4.||Another Hike to the Hudson Sir Johns on war path as usual - He surely takes the pep out of the company. Morrillio-says "I have a broken sex."|
|June 6.||Thursday - up early breakfast - policed up Hike with full pack about 2 miles to Dumont station - Erie R.R. New York - across Hudson on a Ferry boat to Cunard dock and then on board the Agutanea - Bolton deck - "G" - Hill - hot etc. farthest from the propeller - corpalthea first to the Titanic's aid - lying alongside, walked deck for two hours watching crap and poker games - $100 a throw.|
|June 7.||In harbor all day - L. Co goes on guard Shore a post on deck near front end. Fire drill.|
|June 8.||Called to quarters at 7:45 - ship started at 8:10 - just saw about ½ of statue of Liberty - on guard 15 out of 24 hours - Mess certainly soften. Bloomin Hinglish starve us and then sell us foot at high prices. In bed with a dizzy feeling + a fine watch is kept - a destroyer lead the way - a plane also watches over us.|
|June 10.||All's well - I watch the sea about half my time. spend the rest - reading. Water - wild water - blue-black on instance pure white the next saw a school of flying fish - the fish were 4 or 5 inches long.|
|June 11.||-With a cork preserver for a desk - all on top as yet - they say its our last night to sleep without clothes- on this trip. Real danger zone tomorrow. On cleaning up detail with squad today.|
|June 12.||A mine sighted. - order, sleep with clothes on. danger zone. Danger every where - but one never realizes it - . A trifle homesick.|
|June 13.||June 13. This old sea is sure rocking the boat.|
|June 14.||Land sighted sure looked good. One of the convoys sighted a sub - not so good. Sea looked green. So near Ireland, I suppose.|
|June 15.||In the Merci river-Liverpool England - off ship and on train. Trains are sure strange affairs - fine ride to South Hampton.|
|June 16.||Arrived at 10:30 P.M. bed 12 P.M. up at 5:30 - sandwich at 10:30. 4 or 5 planes flying over head all the time. Some pretty place - but has such an oldish look, some "fast" town.|
|June 17.||Across the channel to Hurn T. for a day of rest. This place is much different from England much better looking - the French people seem very much "down at the heels" everyone working at some war work.|
|June 18.||Rest. - Reading by daylight at 10 P.M. - some country.|
|June 19.||Off for the front in a box car. Fine scenery - the people all seem to be beggars. "biscuit" is about all one could hear about the track - Women washing along the Seine River.|
|June 20.||Arrived at Foulain - some where in France. After miles of riding in a truck then magnificent country and finally dropped off at 10 P.M. at Essy des Eaux. They say it's a typical french town - a regular mud hole houses and barns combined. The street and barnyards are "one" and a very dirty and smelly "one". Billeting in an upper room - fine, rain came thru the roof and on my clothes.|
|June 21.||Up and very hungry - not much doing all day - reporting at 9-2-6 every day. Evening and all is well - about ½ miles from the village - seated on a stone - such a beautiful country, but oh! what a dirty town. The people sure do need help - why can't they keep their homes, streets and silver looking as beautiful as their hills, fields and cattle? The people did not expect us last night - thot the germans had broken thru - but all O.K. this A.M. all smiles and willing to help all they can, which is very little - they themselves have nothing but work. Only one good looking girl in town - "school marm" and she talks a little English - very much monopolized by officers - no chance for privates. Just a trifle homesick for U.S.A., home and friends. May this war - end and end quickly, here's a prayer at least - Bon Soir.|
|June 22.||Up and drill until noon after dinner welcomes the town or I should say started to - I am afraid the cows had a hard time finding their homes - for we sure did make a hole in the years of dirt and manure lying around on the street. The place doesn't look half bad now Trouble with that squad of mine - I wish it was in Heaven. Tomorrow is Sunday but - I suppose it will be shovel manure all day. Firing could be heard today - must be some guns.|
|June 23.||Up at 6:30 - Inspection of quarters at 9. - call for review before Gen. Pershing, but he did not show up. Explored "the hill" after dinner. After supper helped the "monsuir" to put up some hay. U.S. soldiers will leave an impression in France other that as soldiers.|
|June 24.||Still cleaning up Essey. Was in charge of squad hauling manure all day. On detail works - corporals - do have a scrap. Hunted 3 hours for "acting private" Korn. 3 drunks pounded stone as a punishment. Hope it does some good.|
|June 26.||Received word that the 332d leaves for Italy in a few days. For my part - I think that we are going to "show off." The war will soon end - so I prophecy and U.S. must be represented in as many countries as possible. We hear that 2 German spies are working in the territory. The old women - around here drive their cows out to pasture, accompanied by a couple of dogs. She watches her cattle - also knows when the cattle stray - she sends the dogs after them. One can see 3 or 4 women sitting, watching, and sewing at most any time of the day. One queer thing I have noticed - In hauling in a load of hay a farmer uses only one horse, but if he hauls manure, on a cart, he uses 3 or 4 horses. About the only occupation around here is cattle raising for dairy products when haying is done the heaviest work is done. The implements used are far behind ours - tho one sees some modern machinery from U.S.A. over here. Horses are not harnessed beside each other - they are placed one behind the other. One doesn't see farm houses sitting off by themselves. All are together - the farmers running up to the town and like the spokes of a wheel. Boys wear big black aprons over their other clothing.|
|June 28.||Sham battle with M.Co. We wiped them out.|
|June 29.||Releif of all releifs - squad 7 was given to Ronshien No doubt but I'd like to have a squad - but not one like the peanut squad and its sure a releif not to have to look after one. We haven't much to do to day or tomorrow - resting for out trip to Italy - I suppose - May it come soon. - I think we will make a good showing down there when the slow ones are removed.|
|June 30.||Muster - the names of those who are to be transfred from Co L. - are read the sure did break up the peanut squad Kanic, Carlin, and Grin Onean.|
|July 1. & 2.||On guard at night while walking post a couple of dogs jumped out behind me and I certainly did turnaround in a hurry. My post was pas on old church surrounded by a cemetery. A very spooky post. Awakened by rifle shots about 11:30 Korn discovered 3 fellers sneaking in and fired up on them - all excaped. Appointed signaling 1st platoon. Looks as if we will leave soon - cooks are getting rid of excess supplies.|
|July 4.||Some 4th scouting work in the morning, sleep in afternoon. New fellows come some bunch. Pay cold squad at 9 P.M. in bed - 11:30 -6! frans recher|
|July 5.||Signal and scouting work. Plans are busy in this part of the country something seem the matter.|
|July 7.||Baldy over in the morning gas instruction in afternoon - over in Nogent from 4 to 8 - tired but in good spirits It sure was good to meet an old friend in a God forsaken world, especially a saint. Also there was an American girl in the Y English language spoken by an American girl sounded like music.|
|July 8.||Up at 4 A.M. started on hike at 6:15 hiked until 12 with only a few halts, every thing on schedule time whole 332nd on the hike 25 miles - dinner at 2:30. Foot inspection at 4 P.M.|
|July 12.||High up in a tree near Easy - squad out on a scouting party - have found enemy and are waiting for the time to go in - sure a fine place to write|
|July 13.||On a 15 mile hike|
|"" 14.||French day of Independence. Did nothing but read all day|
|July 15.||Transferreed to Hdg.. platoon - sure some job - working with sir Johns - I don't see how one could be such a grouch.|
|July 16.||At Donne Marie - all day - learning to read maps - sketch etc. Eat dinner with K. Co.|
|July 17.||Up early - hike - inspection, sham battle - hike about 18 miles - was almost all in. Acted as laison agent for battallion Hdg - the major sure had a pick on me - did more then all the other 3 agents. We hear that the Germans have started the biggest drive of 2 years - Monday morning at 5:27 - Here is hoping it is stopped.|
|July 18.||Our barracks bags leave town - I wonder when we leave.|
|July 19.||Joe Calabria - blows off The Italian sure must look out when they get back to U.S.A. About 50 of us sernaded the town. Paraded the streets etc. We are going to Italy - we're going to Italy - why! We are tired of wading in the cro -|
|July 21.||Sunday and still here. Great news from the front - if its all true.|
|July 22.||A hard day of drill we hear we may not go to Italy. More news from the front - "we" take 20,00 and 400 cannons - and the Bocke still running. The Germans are all entering Paris - dead ones floating down the river. Some improvement in my signal work Roy will have to hurry if he keeps up now.|
|July 24.||Took cow - s - hill for the last time - we rest tomorrow and leave tomorrow night - Received two letters from mother one dated July 1. Received year book and watch yesterday.|
|July 26.||Up at 2:30 - started marching at 4 A.M. hiked 12 miles - packs were hauled. Entrained at Foulain - 40 in a car.|
|July 27.||Saturday - riding thru the Alps - They sure are wonderful but I believe U.S. has some just as fine. The rides are all cultivated very far up grapes - wheat and corn are raised thru here. We see snow on the mountain top - just before learning France - sure are a number of tunnel aroung this country arrived in Italy about 3:15 P.M. This country sure is a revelation to me - seems much more progressive to me than some other countries Being the first troops here every one seems tob e out watching us parade in Turin. Sat eve. Arrived in Verona Sunday - then to Villa Franca where - we are billeted.|
|July 30th.||On guard, more like war every day to us - our post (3 of us and an CO) over the ammunition dump - easy - far away from town. We could see our ships and search lights - guarding the front during the night. the planes heave light on them. We thot they were stars at first but we could hear the engines From the room where we are billeted - we can see a big cathedral very near. In the distance are snow capped mountains There is an old - monistary in "V-F" it is several centuries old. The women of France heard cows - here they watch queese They have mosquitos and flies here - big ones - They have issued mosquitos ban for protection for us.|
|July 31||Worked hard all day getting ready for the big event of the season. We pass in review befor the King of Italy tomorrow.|
|France ||Italy ||-- ||Austria ||Hungary |
From Colonel William Wallace, 332nd Infantry.
To: The Officers and Enlisted men of the 332nd Inf.
Subject: The 332nd Infantry, U.S.A. in Italy.
The Italian Campaign of the 332nd Infantry has been exceedingly credible. The Government, State and friends of the Regiment have reason to be greatly pleased and the soldiers composing it to be rather proud of themselves and of each other for the excellent manner in which they have adjusted themselves through many trying experiences.
The Regiment had two missions, one, to fight if occasion arose. The other, to act as a propaganist or diplomatic agent.
As to the fighting, some regretted not being thrown into battle immeadiatly on arrival. This could not be. There was no fighting taking place, the activity on the Italian front consisting solely in the exchange of occasional artillery complements. More over we were not sufficiently trained. So the time that might have been wasted in boresome guard duty in unhealthy trenches was spent in better fitting us to fight. The result was that no other Regiment ever underwent so thorough a course of battle tactics as did this under the tutelage of Major Allegrette's, 23rd Assalt Bat. of Ardittes. It was as near the real thing as training can be made. And for those who still cherish regret for lost time, it may be said, that there seemed to be more warlike activity around the training camps of the 332nd than at any other place on the Italian Front. The instruction was ideal and marred only by the deplorable accident which killed six and injured 50.
Owing to the, he place and the occasion, these comrades of ours are and should be held as reverently in our memories as tho their death and wounding had occurred in combat with the enemy.
In order to hold a place for the Regiment when the advance should take place and actual fighting begin, one battalion was sent to take over a section of the Piane trenches. It received high praise from all superiors for its conduct there. Three weeks later the rest of the regiment was moved to Trenso to be put in readiness for the expected offensive. Ten days hard marching followed. No doubt it hurt, but if it had not been exacted, the Regiment despite its previous training, would never have reached the Tagliament With any integrity left. As it was, when the order to move against the Austrians came in and crossing the Piane the hard marches that insued were accomplished in a manner that would have been creditable to veterans. We were honored by being made during the advance, the Advance guard, of the 31st Italian Division (major general De Angelis) of the tenth British Army, (General Coran). That is we were an American Regiment in an Italian Division of a British Army, and in a position showing utmost confidence by both our Allies. That the Regiment did not fail this confidence, the attached letters by our Generals fully show.
During the advance, Austrian rear guard action by means of machine gun patrols and nests were momentarily expected and, in all, probability, heavier and more determined stands at river crossings. But the Austrians seemed bent only on getting away and paused only to break all bridges to delay our march. Not until the Tagliamento was reached on November 3d was it possible to catch up. Here (at Ponte della Deligna) the enemy made a slight opposition to our crossing. The 2d Bat. was ordered to clear the way. During the night it field across a narrow plank bridge and deployed in position in the gravel bed of the river. About four platoons of the others Battalions had forced the river during the day and were in position farther to the right. Sixteen machine guns were in place in the line. The 3d Bat. awaited on the bank up the river and the 1st Bat. stood in readiness as Reserve, both to be called upon to reinforced thatail if by any chance it should be checked. At 5 A.M. the attacking line advanced. The Austrain machine guns and riflemen opened fire upon our advanceing line. The line however moved steadily forward and in about 20 minutes charged, going over the top in a line as perfect at a drill and with a cheer that could have been heard a mile, the the position and started the pursuit only one man was killed and six wounded. The Austrian fire had swept the ground only a short distance to the rear of the advancing single line. The 2d Bat. was holded at Lodroipo, four miles to the front, and the only engagement of the campaign was completed. Small as it was it showed your metal and it proved pure gold.
Cpl. Charles A. Kell, the American killed was probably the last man of any Allied nations to lay down his life for our just cause on the Italian front. At 11 A.M. the Armistice was signed and the war, one of whose great purposes was the restoration of Italy's integrity was won. Italy's ancient foe was humbled beyond possibility of recovery, her lost provinces reconquered, and let us hope, her people again cemented together in bonds of lasting loyalty to her good King and Government.
To have had your part in all this and played that part well is great credit to yourselves and a good heritage of honor for your children. As for the diplomatic part of the mission. That was of deepest concern In a land where the language was unspoken by us, where many ideas, customs, and manners differed radically from our own, where the people were sensitive and likely to jarred by one American brusquerros, for 4000 of us to live and march among them for 4 months without a note of friction, is simply marvelous. What praise you may get for having "the fighting spirit" is as nothing in comparison to the credit due all for the self restraint that imposed upon your selves a more tempered conduct than we are likely to employ even at home.
In the reorganization of the Regiment back in France when it was ordered to Italy, it was asked that it might be made up, not only of soldiers but gentlemen, without any of the latter's bad habits, such as late rising and certain prejudices against work. That was a joke - a dread then - but a reality now.
You have more than fulfilled expectations.
Thank you -
Colonel, 332nd Infantry
Purchased book - July 30, 1918
At Villa Franca, Italy
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