The Davenport New Era (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 9, No. 41, Ed. 1 Thursday, November 22, 1917 Page: 12 of 14
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THE DAVENPORT NEW ERA
Hoosier Sends the First
U. S. Shot Into Germany
South Bend Man Is Hero
Initial Action by the
GEORGIAN GIVES THE ORDER
Indiana Sergeant Pulls the Lanyard
Which Starts Pershing's Attack
on the Kaiser's Armies—
Americans All Eager
Amerlcnn Field Headquarters In
Frnnce.—Indiana and Georgia divide
the honor of having Inaugurated Amer-
ica's land warfare against the Ger-
A sergeant from South Bend., Ind.,
pulled the lanyard to send the first
shell tearing across the valley In the
direction of the German positions.
A Georgia lieutenant gave the order
The facts were established during
the first visit paid by a correspond-
ent to the first American battle front.
The correspondent reached the
American position after a long motor
ride through shell-battered towns.
Leaving the motor in one of the towns,
he walked the rest of the way.
The first American battery was al-
most walked upon before it was dis-
covered. It was so well hidden under
the trees and with foliage about it on
a low-hung wire netting.
Gun of .75 Caliber Used.
Through the foliage In every direc-
tion the ground was undulating. At
that moment there was a flash of flame
through the mist. It was the crack
of a .75 gun, and following It closely
came the noise of the shell rushing
through the air, becoming fainter and
fainter as the projectile went on Its
way to the German position over the
crest of a hill farther away. The mud-
digging artillerists continued
work without even looking up.
A lieutenant from Georgia emerged.
He was the officer who directed the
first shot. He led the way down the
slippery, muddy hill to a dugout cov-
ered over with sandbags and logs.
There was met a lieutenant from Iudl- i
nna of the same battery who directed
the first 18 shots of the war against
Germany from an observation point
On the other side of the hill was
found the first gun fired. The muddy
gunners were hard at work cleaning
"This was the first gun fired In the
war," the Jaunty lieutenant said. "The
sergeant Inside the pit there fired it."
Looking into the pit, the lieutenant
•aid: "Sergeant, where are you from?"
He's From South Bend.
A husky voice replied: "I'm from
South Bend, Ind."
"Are you Irish?" asked the lieuten-
"No, sir," the sergeant laughingly
At this time orders came for this
gun and others of the battery placed
In nearby hills In sight and sound of
en eh other to commence firing. The
gun on the farthest hill went off with
n roar and a faint stream of smoke
was blown backward from the pit.
Inside the pit In which the corre-
spondent stood a voice shouted out
the range figures anil the lieutenant
repeated them. A voice inside the pit
n moment later yelled that the gunner
was ready to fire. The lieutenant gave
the command to the gunners: "Watch
The lieutenant, who was standing
on a pile of mud which bail been re-
moved from the jilt, cautioned those
about him to place their fingers in
their ears. This was done and the
nontenant shouted the word "Fire!"
The gun barked quickly, the noise
being MhiwitJ by a metallic clank and
the shell case was ejected and the gun
made ready for the next load. The
lieutenant told the correspondent the
story of the first shot of the war, punc-
tuating the narrative throughout with
the orders "ready to fire," and "fire,"
which each time was followed by the
report of the gun and the whizz of
"We came up the night before," the
lieutenant said, "and got Into position
In a driving rain. No horses had ar-
rived. I was anxious to get off the
first gun and so were my men. I
asked them if they were willing to
haul the gun by hand to this place so
that we could get the first crack at the
Germans. They agreed unanimously,
so we set out across the fields until wo
got over there at the base of that hill
you can Just see In the haze.
Hours to Prepare Gun.
"We had n hard time getting the
gun, which we have not named yet,
over those shell craters. But we la-
bored for many hours and finally
reached the spot. Then I got permis-
sion to fire.
"Strictly speaking, the first shot,
which was in the nature of a tryout
for the gun, simply went Into Ger-
many. The sergeant put a high explo-
sive shell there at 6:15 o'clock in the
Another officer here took up the nar-
"I was In an observation point," he
said. "There was a fog as the first |
shot went singing over. Suddenly the
fog lifted and I saw a group of Ger-
mans. I directed my gun at them. The
shrapnel burst overhead and they took
a dive into the ground like so many
The lieutenant grinned broadly,
shook the water off his shrapnel hel-
met, and using both clinched fists to
punctuate his remarks, said expres-
sively : "It was great."
From the artillery lines to the In-
fantry trenches was a considerable
side the trenches. There also were
many wires which ran Into switch-
boards, and American and French op-
erators were sitting side by side di-
Bell for Gas Attack.
A guide is necessary to reach the
first line, especially when some of the
trenches resemble Irrigation ditches.
The trenches the Americans are occu-
pying begin from a screened position.
On the way there shovels and tools
were piled high below a hill on which
there was a great bell for giving the
alarm in case of a gas attack. There
under cover were the company cookl
busy warming up food that had been
brought up In wagons.
Following the guide, the way winds
In and out from left to right for many
yards between interwoven branches
that have been placed on the sides of
The American privates in the front
splashed through without hesitating,
sometimes getting a footing on step-
ping stones in the muddy water and
sometimes not. The trench turns
sharply to the right and a voice warns,
"Keep your head down," and the rest
of the way the walking Is difficult.
Halting near a machine gun, the Ger-
man positions directly opposite on a
hill could be seen across the barbed
wire of No Man's land. Lights ap-
peared in a little town to the left.
There Is a sort of a gentleman's
agreement in this sector that towns
over the line are not to be shelled. If
one side violates the agreement the
other side promptly fires shell for shell
Into a hostile town.
General Slbert, who has Just com-
pleted a tour of the trenches, was
asked how the morale of the Ameri-
cans In the trenches was. He replied:
"Morale? How could the morale of
Americans be anything but good?"
EFFECTS OF NOTED BATTLES
Snake Fell From Belfry.
Laurel, Del.—A six-foot blacltsnake
fell from the belfry of the Rlvertou
(Md.) Methodist church onto the shoul-
ders of Sexton Benjamin F. Kennedy,
while the latter was ringing the bell.
After a lively chase the snake was
cornered in the church auditorium and
killed. It evidently hafl made Its home
Probable Results if Outcome Had Been
Different, Explained in Book by
English Writer Years Ago.
About 60 years ago an English
writer, Sir Edward Creasy, published a
book which he called ''The Fifteen De-
cisive Battles of the World." His pur*
pose was to describe those great mill*
tnry events which have had the great-
est influence upon human history.
Each battle described, had it re-
sulted differently, would have com-
pletely changed the course of civiliza-
tion, says the World's Work. Had
Charles Martel not have won the bat-
tle of Tours, for example, the whole of
Europe, and that means also North
and South America, would very likely
have become Mohammedan In religion.
"Perhaps the Interpretation of ths
Koran," says Gibbon, describing the
consequences of this battle, "would
now be taught In the schools of Ox-
ford and her pupils might demonstrate
to the English people the truth of the
revelation of Mohamet."
Ten of Creasy's epochal battles have
been fought since the beginning of the
| Christian era. Four of them represent
victories which were won on French
soil—the battle of Chalons, A. D. 451;
the battle of Tours, 732; Joan of Arc's
victory at Orleans, 1429, and the battle
of Valmy, in 1792. Another was a
great French victory won on English
soli—the battle of Hastings in 1066.
Two others—the battle of Blenheim,
in 1704, and the battle of Waterloo la
1815—were great French defeats. It
appears, therefore, that of the ten
most decisive battles fought In the
Christian era five were great French
victories and two were French defeats.
No other nation has any such military
history as this. This mere record In-
dicates the part which France has
played In advancing civilization. So
far as Europe is concerned the great-
est events in modern history have
taken place on French soil. At this
time, when the democratic nations
have Joined hands to deliver France
from the cowardly attack which Ger-
many has made upon her, it is well to
keep this fact In mind.
their distance over more muddy hills. The In the belfry and fed on birds which
4 correspondent found the infantry In-' roost there.
DEMONSTRATING USE OF NEW "STORAGE VAULT"
Council of National Defense.
The Council of National Defense
was created under an act of congress
passed August 29, 1916, and the same
act provided for the creation of an
advisory commission of seven to act
i with, under and by the authority of
the council. By the terms of the act
this council, with the "co-ordination of
industries and resources for the na-
tional security and welfare," and with
the "creation of relations which will
render possible in the time of need the
immediate concentration and utiliza-
tion of the resources of the nation."
The main body, or central council of
defense at Washington, consists of the
secretaries of war, navy, Interior, ag-
riculture, commerce and labor. The
advisory commission consists of rail-
road presidents, financiers, manmfac-
turers, educators and specialists In
particular lines. The board acts as a
clearing house for the war Industry
needs of the nation with authority to
determine the most effective ways of
meeting them, and the best means and
methods of increasing production, in-
cluding the creation or extension of
industries demanded by the emer-
| gency; the relative urgency of the dif-
ferent needs, also considering price
factors, industrial and labor aspects
and conditions affecting food supplies
and prices. The authority of the couth
cil is nation wide.
Mrs. Schuyler F. Herron of Boston showing how to bank away potatoes
In the food conservation bureau's new "cold storage vault." The vault Is
built of layers of straw or rubbish and earth and covers the tubers safely
from the frost.
Vacuum the Horse.
The latest application of the vacuum
cleaning principle is to the grooming
of horses. Walter B. Guild of Rox-
bury, Mass., has Invented a kind of
glove which takes the place of ths
old curry comb and brush and cleans
the hide thoroughly and quickly, says
Popular Science Monthly. Between
the fingers of the glove small, stiff
bristles are set. These stir up ths
dust In the hide. The brushes are sep*
arutod froui the walls of the glove.
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Tryon, W. M. The Davenport New Era (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 9, No. 41, Ed. 1 Thursday, November 22, 1917, newspaper, November 22, 1917; Davenport, Oklahoma. (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc109454/m1/12/: accessed September 17, 2021), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.