Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Great Centennial Resource: The Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress

Visit the Site at:

If you want to hear the story of the war in the words of the American soldiers, sailors, and Marines, this is the place for you. The Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress has been serving as a depository for the personal accounts of American veterans for over a decade. On this website they have assembled some of the most authentic, eloquent, and moving memories from diaries, letters, and unpublished manuscripts of the nation's Great War veterans.

Here are few quotes I enjoyed. However, these one-liners are just samples. These and many more full manuscripts are available for you to read online.

“If I ever wanted to be about the size of an ant, it was when I crawled through that hell of shellfire and slid over onto that sunken road.” 
James Nelson Platt, 4th Division AEF

"Boy, these cooties are great; I don't think that they ever sleep, or if they do, they sure do leave a large detail awake to keep us busy."
John Joseph Brennan, 27th Division, AEF

"I had been scared several times in my life before, but now that I could hear these shells coming over I really began to know what fear was..."
Quiren M. Groessl, 1st Division, AEF

"Tonight a regiment marched by, each battalion playing its band and the men singing as they went up to the trenches. It was a most impressive thing to hear & filled one's mind with the wonders of war." (Last diary entry, April 10, 1918)
Gustav Hermann Kissel, Assigned to 43 Squadron RAF, KIA

"An infantryman cannot combat shells. All he can do is get away or be dug in so deeply that none will injure him."
Mark Lewis McCave, 89th Divison, AEF

"War is mostly work, partly like a 4th of July celebration; partly like a circus, and to anyone with ambition and life in him, extremely fascinating.... I would very much like to get into the an observer, or a range finder, and hope to see real action before the fighting is over."
Albert Lester Kleinecke, 29th Engineers, AEF

"Most of the men were drinking water out of shell holes, taking a chance, as most of the holes were full of gas."
Harry Frieman, 79th Division, AEF

"Those boys up there were still in that Hell, and the end wasn't in sight yet. Closing my eyes I could still see those mangled and bloody bodies of my buddies, and I began to wonder what it was all about." 
Morris Albert Martin, 91st Division, AEF

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