IN this volume an attempt has been made to catch in short biographies the true spirit of those who volunteered to serve with the Field Service in France and died for our Cause. The intent has not been to eulogize their heroisms nor dilate upon their great achievement, but to sketch these men's lives, to touch on their ideals and beliefs, to express a little of their dreams. The work has been undertaken with the deeply-felt, sincere wish to pay deserved tribute to the memory of their living and service, and to the inspiration of their death.
The plan was formulated by the Chief of the Field Service in France, A. Piatt Andrew, with the idea that each story, while complete in itself, should be part of a whole which would set forth the purpose and vigour of thought that animated all of the volunteers. It was carried out in detail by a group of Field Service men who made every effort to put upon paper the real characters of the men of whom they wrote. In all cases the families were consulted, and, except for the exigencies of space on some occasions, their wishes were followed and their suggestions carried out. Always they rendered every aid in their power, furnishing statistics, photographs, personal correspondence, details of home and school life, and anecdotes which bring to life again youthful days and experiences wherein were often foreshadowed the idealisms of the future. All this made the task a very personal and moving one, and impressed on each biographer the significance of the stories thus gathered together --- not only individually, but forming, in the mass, a striking estimate of the temper of the volunteers. It made the writing a thing of heart as well as hand. The editorial staff consisted of Preston Lockwood, S. S. U. 3, Jerome Preston, S. S. U. 15, Arthur J. Putnam, S. S. U. 18, and Frank J. Taylor, S. S. U. 10, each of whom strove to see all angles of each situation and of each man's interests. Stories also have been graciously contributed by Henry Sydnor Harrison, S. S. U. 1, J. Paulding Brown, S. S. U. 1, and Harold B. Willis, S. S. U. 2. Gratitude is owing to the colleges of the men in many cases for precise data and essential facts. Many comrades, likewise, were called upon for help, as were the families, and all have assisted in every possible way, correcting our errors and suggesting chances for improvement.
The frontispiece is a reproduction of the painting by Waldo Peirce, S. S. U. 3, in commemoration of the men whose stories are here told. To him as well as to all those who labored faithfully in sending material, who advised, and criticised, and wrote, but most of all to Colonel Andrew, with his constant enthusiasm and judicial supervision, wishing it to be, above all a tribute of appreciation from the Field Service to its members who are gone, the existence of the book is due. To them, everyone, go very sincere thanks.
--- "AUX MORTS," Painted by Waldo Peirce
WILSON GAILEY PHILIP
WILSON GAILEY PHILIP
THE vision which illumined the world three years ago has paled with the light of common day. The monstrous epoch in which we of the old volunteer Field Service played a very little part now looms like a distant mountain range upon the horizon. It seems almost as remote to us who were participants, as it will seem to those who contemplate it generations hence. Gone are the flash and thunder of battle, and gone also is the willing acceptance of hardship and effort and sacrifice in a common cause. Gone are the grim peril and the anguish, and gone likewise is the readiness with which men did and dared and died, when called, for noble ends. Though millions risked everything only three years ago that others might live in freedom and that justice might prevail, only dreamers, it seems today, would jeopardize their lives for such immaterial and disinterested aims. We need not seek the reasons for this change. Whatever they may be, the fact is all too manifest.
Is it not possible to rescue from extinction some traces of the spirit which exalted those Great Days? Can we not revive an echo of that war-time faith which made it worth our while to strive and give and suffer for something beyond ourselves and those immediately about us? Must the fearful price of the victory be wasted, or may we perhaps hold fast some fragments of the vision which made that victory possible? Can we not at least keep fresh the memory of what was great and beautiful during those epic years, and hand it on to those who never knew them ?
In answer to such questioning, and with such purpose as it indicates, this book has been composed. It is not alone a backward glance upon cherished personalities, closely associated with us in the war, which in the melancholy course of that catastrophe were blotted out. It is not merely a tribute to those tenderly regretted companions of romantic and tragic hours in France. It is all this; but it is intended to be something more. We have hope that the stories of what these young Americans did and gave may help to perpetuate the vision which their brief lives reflected. The pages that follow, drawn from the little circle of our comrades' lives, portray the exalted spirit which among the Allied peoples translated the war into a religion and made its battles a crusade. They show the faith which inspired those peoples and which, even in the darkest hours of German ascendancy, spurred them, with certainty of ultimate success, to any sacrifice,--- a faith in the ineluctable final triumph of justice and right. In commemorating these men, we hope to keep alive some embers of the spirit and the faith with which their lives were consecrated.
There is another purpose which was fundamental with the old Field Service, and which every one of these men would have hoped to see continued,---the furthering of friendship and understanding with the people of France. The men whose life stories are here recounted went as volunteers to France, most of them many months before our government had ceased to be neutral, all of them before an American Army had been sent there. They went to serve with the Armies of France. The lives of some of them had already terminated in active service with those armies a year or more before our government had decided to join hands with France. Not one of these men but had formed warm comradeship with the French soldiers whose hardships and gaieties they shared, whether plodding through the wintry mud of bleak, war-ridden villages, resting by dusty roadsides under the summer sun, or waiting by night in the fetid squalor of black dugouts. Not one who had not grown to regard these soldiers,---- their blue-coated comrades,---with affection and more --- with something akin to reverence. Not one who did not become attached to France as to no other country save his own. Of this their letters and their diaries give abundantly the proof.
How then could we better commemorate these men than by encouraging through future generations that friendship and understanding between the youth of the two countries which so marked their relations in old Field Service days, and which so imbued their lives and fateful destinies? What could be more fitting than that through all the years to come young Americans should be stimulated to go to France, to explore the fountains of her learning, and to bring back sympathetic comprehension of her traditions and her traits, and that young men of France should reciprocally be enabled to study here our ways of thinking?
With this idea in mind, a plan has been undertaken which, when it succeeds, will provide in perpetuity an annual fellowship in memory of each and every one of these men, either to send an American student to France, or to bring a French student here. Thus will the fraternity of war days be cherished and kept alive for posterity. Successive generations of French and American youth will forever go back and forth between the two countries, fostering mutual comprehension and mutual sympathy, just as these men were glad to do. If endowments for these fellowships can be found, they will build a noble and enduring monument to the hundred and twenty-seven comrades who gave all that they were and all that they might ever have hoped to be to the common cause of America and France. They will help to make perpetual the spirit in which these men gave their lives.
If there is anything in this volume to awaken solemn and mournful thought, it must not be regret for lives that have ended, and for youths that are gone. The book will have failed of its essential purpose if the impression that it conveys, so far as these young men are concerned, is one of blighted hopes, or loss, or unfulfillment. It is really the story of dreams that have come true, of careers that have been completed without disappointment, without retrogression, without regret, of lives that have counted as much as individual lives may count, in the final reckoning. These men had the fortune to depart gloriously at the pinnacle of their career. They achieved the summit, and facing eternity in the morning of their lives gallantly offered life's noontime and its evening upon the altar of their country. They "bartered dull age for immortality."
"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn."
And we who are left, their erstwhile comrades of great days and nights in France, shall think of them "at the going down of the sun, and in the morning," and we shall think of them as always young and always happy. For us they can not alter. They are beyond all sorry chance of change.
I know no words that more perfectly express how we shall remember them, as time and life speed by, than those of the sonnet written many years ago by a great American, bravely facing the loss of his son.
"At eve when the brief wintry day is sped,
I muse beside my fire's faint-flickering glare --
Conscious of wrinkling face and whitening hair
Of those who, dying young, inherited
The immortal youthfulness of the early dead.
I think of Raphael's grand-seigneurial air;
Of Shelley and Keats, with laurels fresh and fair
Shining unwithered on each sacred head;
And soldier boys who snatched death's starry prize,
With sweet life radiant in their fearless eyes,
The dreams of love upon their beardless lips,
Bartering dull age for immortality;
Their memories hold in death's unyielding fee
The youth that thrilled them to the finger-tips."*
A. PIATT ANDREW