free ebooks
A Volunteer Poilu by Henry Beston

Produced by A. Langley


by Henry Sheahan

To Professor Charles Townsend Copeland of Harvard University

Dear Copey,

At Verdun I thought of you, and the friendly hearth of Hollis 15 seemed very far away from the deserted, snow-swept streets of the tragic city. Then suddenly I remembered how you had encouraged me and many others to go over and help in any way that we could; I remembered your keen understanding of the Epic, and the deep sympathy with human beings which you taught those whose privilege it was to be your pupils. And so you did not seem so far away after all, but closer to the heart of the war than any other friend I had.

I dedicate this book to you with grateful affection after many years of friendship.


Topsfield, September, 1916


I have ventured to call this book A Volunteer Poilu principally because we were known to the soldiers of the Bois-le-Pretre as "les Poilus Americains." Then, too, it was my ambition to do for my comrades, the French private soldiers, what other books have done for the soldiers of other armies. The title chosen, however, was more than complimentary; it was but just. In recognition of the work of the Section during the summer, it was, in October, 1915, formally adopted into the French army; a French officer became its administrative head, and the drivers were given the same papers, pay, and discipline as their French comrades.

I wish to thank many of my old friends of Section II, who have aided me in the writing of this book.




I A war-time voyage--The Rochambeau--Loading ammunition and food supplies--Personalities on board--The dyestuffs agent--The machine lathes man--The Swede from Minnesota who was on his way to the Foreign Legion--His subsequent history--The talk aboard--The French officer--His philosophy of war--Ernest Psichari--Arrival at Bordeaux--The Arabs at the docks--The convalescent soldiers-- Across La Beauce--The French countryside in war-time.


Paris, rain, and darkness--The Gardens of the Tuileries--The dormitory--The hospital at night--Beginning of the Champagne offensive--The Gare de la Chapelle at two in the morning--The wounded--The Zouave stretcher-bearers--The Arabs in the abandoned school--Suburban Paris at dawn--The home of the deaconesses.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us