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BY JEAN BROOKE BURT
Wild geese out of the southland,
Following low on the river's course,
Cool, glad mornings of April,
Wild geese out of the southland,
Sing the song of the young green earth,
BY LIEUTENANT CHARLES C. LYNDE
AME?" asked the captain, as he glanced up at the denim-clad Negro on the other side of the desk.
"Tass," the man replied, shifting uneasily from one foot to the other as the officers in the registering line looked at him.
""Tass who?" queried the lieutenant at the service record desk.
"Po-Potassium Aceta' Smith, Cap'n."
At the full name the lieutenant laid down his pen with a hearty laugh.
"Potassium Acetate Smith,"" he repeated, slowly. "We ought to transfer that boy to the medical department, if only on account of his drug-store name."
The officers were a part of the force enrolling the draft quotas in the Negro division being formed as a portion of the National Army. All day they had been struggling with incomplete registration records, improperly filled out designations of beneficiaries, and slighted physical examination cards. The weather was unusually cold for the time of year, and the incoming men were thinly clad and sluggish from two or three days' ride in day coaches. In consequence, their answers to the questions of the registrars were vague, and the officers' tempers were worn down to the breaking-point by the time ""Tass was enrolled.
The general laugh that followed Potassium's assignment relieved the tension, and the waiting list was all properly recorded and sent to temporary quarters before dark. Qualification cards, involved forms covering almost every possible civilian occupation, were left over until the company organizations were completed, at which time they would be filled in with a detailed history of the man's labor over all of his bread-winning lifethe card to be used by the personnel office in fitting the man to the branch of the service where his qualifications and experience would count for the most to the Government and the soldier. All other records, however, were cared for as the men entered, and a complete physical examination given each recruit to determine the accuracy of the Draft Board doctor's findings.
Potassium Acetate, together with some fifty-odd of his fellows, was marched over to one of the outlying barracks, and his military training begun. Single file the men marched past the door of the supply room and clean underclothing, soap, towels, and a suit of blue denim overalls-fatigue uniforms, in the service nomenclature were issued to them. The line entered one door of the barracks and was ushered out through the other to the bath-house. A shower-bath, with plenty of hot water, was required of each recruit. Most of the men welcomed the opportunity for bathing, though the cold shower ordered at the finish was slighted as far as possible under the deterrent eye of the watchful commanding officer.
There were those, however, who refused to bathe, alleging pains, sickness, weak hearts, or other imaginary ailments as reasons why the bath should be foregone. These cases were settled by reference to the physical examination report cards, and if the remarks under the heading "State of General Health " showed no valid excuse, men who were already stripped were delegated as masseurs pro tem. These assignments were received with great hilarity by the bathers, one man remarking:
"I'se been a car-cleaner on the railway for seven years, and Ah knows Ah's gwine scrub me one nigger clean, effen he ain't got respect 'nough for the United States Army to do hit hisse f And he did.
Many of the darkies evidently had never before met a showerbath, and after the ablutions were finished one of them approached the lieutenant in charge to ask if he might take "one of them there shower pipes" every day. In the course of the conversation which followed the man admitted that he never before had been wet all over at once, except the time he fell off a gangplank into the Mississippi River.
Following mess call, for what, from the avidity displayed at the tables, must have been the first square heal in several days. bed sacks were issued to the men and they were instructed to fill them with straw. Thirty pounds per man was the allowance. and bales were divided to approximate that amount. It was dark at the time the ticks were filled, and supervision of the stuffing was difficult. At inspection of barracks the next morning bed sacks of all descriptions were found-some filled at one end others in the middle, and a few in which the owners had merely stowed away the sections of bale as given them, and had used the lumpy tick thus formed.
At sick call that morning, blown immediately after reveille. one recruit reported severe pains all over his back—“misery,” he called it. On the theory that sick-call malingering could be checked only by examining personally each case up for medical attention, the lieutenant ordered the man to take off his shirt. It was removed, revealing a back crisscrossed at regular intervals by ridges and furrows.
"How long have you been this way?" asked the commanding officer.
"All night, suh lieutenant," was the reply; "didn't get no rest 'tall, mah back was a-hurtin' me so. Anyways I try to sleep 'pear to me like dat misery 'd get worse. I ain't used to dese here army beds nohow!"
The last remark, about the army bed, solved the puzzle. The man had filled his bed sack properly, and then had spread a blanket over the wire springs of his cot and crawled under the tick to sleep. Naturally the springs left their imprint on his body, with some two hundred and twenty pounds of avoirdupois to counteract the slight padding effect of one blanket.
The first two meals were prepared from anything that was available, and the men were fed much as they would have been cared for on the march. At the first opportunity kitchen equip ment and supplies were taken over from a company whose men had all been transferred, the lieutenant personally supervising the checking of material from one kitchen to the other. Among the articles listed was one bottle, pint size, of lemon extract. It was noted as being loaded on the transfer truck, but failed to put in an appearance when the property was checked into the new kitchen. All the men of the transfer detail were questioned, but none even remembered having seen the bottle, much less knowing anything concerning its later whereabouts. There the matter was apparently dropped.
After supper the organization was called together to hear s short talk by the commanding officer. But instead of giving the expected lecture on the care of the feet, the C. O. announces
THE THIRD LIBERTY LOAN-A SPIRITED POSTER BY A DISTINGUISHED ARTIST
One of the striking posters which have
AMERICA HONORS ITS MARCHING SOLDIERSThis particular parade took place on Fifth Avenue, in New York City, but its counterpart might have been seen in many another place in the land. Patriotism, ica's momentous part therein. The detachment seen in the picture on the right-hand page belongs to the 302d Engineers, National Army (selective
BEECHGROVE RODEN, CLUMBER SPANIEL, FIRST PRIZE IN
HAYMARKET FAULTLESS, BULL TERRIER, JUDGED THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE SHOW
always ablaze on the birthday of the Father of his Country, was this year fanned to a finer enthusiasm than usual by the consciousness of the great war and Amerdraft men), and its bearing was characteristic of the ten thousand men from the training ground of Camp Upton, Long Island, who took part in this parade
that he would take up for the evening the Army ration, and show reasons for the various foods and their amounts. At the outset the talk was very general, portraying the need for a balanced ration, and defining the customary method of obtaining this result. Then gradually the talk worked around to certain articles included in the ration, and their wholesomeness.
"But when it comes to seasonings," the lieutenant said, "that is a different matter. Take the flavoring extracts, for instance. Both vanilla and lemon extracts contain a poison which, if accidentally taken in large enough doses, would probably prove fatal. In ordinary use, and with the amount of flavoring used in preparing one meal for this entire company, there is not enough of the poison to have any bad effects, even if it should all happen to be concentrated in the portion served one man. But the effect of a large amount of this extract taken without foods to lessen its attack might easily prove disastrous."
All of the statements made were true, as the alcohol which forms eighty-odd per cent of the extracts is generally acknowledged to be deadly if taken in large enough quantities.
The C. O. then went on to give antidotes for the poison, stating that an excellent palliative to be taken by the victim, if secured soon enough after the dose had been administered, was whites of eggs with a little mustard and salt. After the conclusion of the talk the mess sergeant was privately instructed to send any applicants for eggs to the company office, where the lieutenant would await developments.
In less than half an hour they arrived. The mess sergeant knocked, and on being bidden to enter came in, followed by a darky so badly frightened he was an ashy gray instead of his customary glossy black.
"Suh lieutenant, this man wants to borrow three eggs." And the mess sergeant saluted and stepped back.
"Didn't you get your supper?" asked the lieutenant. "Y-yassuh, Ah done et. But Ah feels Ah des got to have dem eggs now, cap'n boss, Ah sure has!"
The earnestness of the plea was evidenced by the drops of sweat which stood out on the darky's face, though the temperature was well below the freezing-point outside.
Further questioning developed the fact that the man had been one of the detail for transferring kitchen supplies, and that he admitted taking "des one swallow" of the extract, and that he felt sure he would die if the antidote were further denied him.
With the sergeant's help a dose of eggs, mustard, and salt was prepared, and the man's request granted. For about fifteen minutes he was a sick man-too sick to care what happened to him-but he soon recovered and was sent to bed. Since then he has been trusted in the pantry on several occasions, and there have been no further mysterious disappearances of lemon extract in the organization.
The man was one of three brothers, Isador, Isaiah, and Isaac Brennstein, each as black as the translation of the surname (coal) and as Hebraic of countenance as the given names suggested-the Yiddisher Silhouettes, as they were known to the officers of the division. Isaiah was asked if he and the others were kin.
"Yes, sir lieutenant, we's kin; we three's twin brothers." Happening to work a little later than usual in the office one evening, the lieutenant was surprised to hear loud talking in the squad room adjoining, followed by the unmistakable sound of sobbing.
Investigation proved that one of the Negroes, Anathema Maranatha Johnson, was living up to a part of his name. He had given his occupation as "countryside Gospel stirrer" when enrolled, and he was stirring by exhorting the men of the company to repent and pray for the forgiveness of their sins immediately for they were destined for the front battle-line in a short time, when they would surely be shot down.
He was graphically picturing the slaughter, dwelling especially on the slow deaths from wounds, and was in the midst of a vivid description-wholly imaginary-of the effects of the newest development in German trench gas, when one of the mourners happened to glance around and see the officer behind the group. Military training, embryonic as it was, triumphed over emotional fervor, and the man sprang to his feet, straight ened up, and shouted, Attention!" in the soldierly manner prescribed in the drill regulations. The entire command rose
and faced the officer, the sergeant in charge of quarters coming forward for orders. His excuse that the meeting was in prog ress when he entered the room was cut short with an order to take Johnson into the company office. There the alarmist was shown the glaring inaccuracies of his statements, and was dis missed with a warning that he must stick to the truth in his exhortations if he wished to continue preaching to the men.
Four nights later the officer again overheard a meeting in the squad room. Anathema was preaching again. He had chosen for his theme the possibilities offered the Negro in the present war, showing how he might prove himself fit for greater trust. larger responsibilities, and complete sharing with the white man of the vote and its benefits if he but bore himself as a man during the fight. At the close of the talk the group sang "On'ward, Christian Soldiers," and "Jerusalem the Golden!" with a vigor and a sincerity greater than had been shown in any of the group singing heard by the commanding officer in any of the other cantonments. The Negro division will never lay itself open to the charge of being voiceless if the men are given proper treatment and are allowed to break into song whenever the work permits.
New songs for group singing were taught by taking advantage of the imitative nature of the Negro. A small talking machine was secured, and the song to be learned was played over a time or two. If the music was catchy, it was only a little while before the men would begin to join in on the words, and the first thing they knew the song would be learned. After the men acquired confidence the machine would be stopped suddenly, leaving the group to carry the song.
An example of the unifying effect of song occurred early in the life of the organization. The company was engaged in clearing the ground around the barracks, and it was necessary to move some heavy timbers. Ten or twelve men would cluster around a stick and try to move it, the acting sergeant in charge strutting along ahead and counting" One, two, three, four-r-r!" for the step. Some would start on the right foot instead of the left, and then would throw the entire squad off when they attempted to change cadence. Finally Potassium Acetate, in one of the intervals while the sergeant was calling down one of the clumsy ones, began to chant:
Left, Ah left, Ah had a good home an' left,
and in less than the time it took the sergeant to count fours the men were all in step and carrying the timber with half their previous effort.
The various organizations of the division took turns guarding the camp site. In preparing the men for their first tour of guard duty much time was spent in explaining the meaning of the sentry's general orders and in attempting to teach the men to repeat them verbatim. The teaching bore fruit when the actual test came. The men had been warned that their authority lay only within the definitions of the orders, and that only one of the officers of the guard had power to change the instructions. The first night the men stood guard it was windy-which, in that locality, meant that the camp was in the midst of a dust storm-cold, and pitch dark. Between taps and reveille the sentry was ordered to challenge all persons on or near his post, and to allow no one to pass without satisfactory identification.
The sentry on the main road entering camp was especially careful to watch for entering automobiles, and after one slipped into the grounds without being stopped he decided to spend the remainder of his relief patrolling the road. Within a few minutes he was repaid by seeing the faint glimmer of headlights through the dust clouds which enveloped him. At the command of the guard the machine stopped, and the chauffeur pulled aside his curtain to shout: "It's the commanding officer's car. Stand aside and let us in!"
Mah orders say nobody's gwine by, an' dey ain't!" After a brief attempt at arguing the sentry into passing the car, the officer got out and started forward that he might identify himself as identify himself as belonging to the camp.
"Stop! Stop right where you is!" commanded the sentry, bringing his gun to the ready. "De sergeant say 'twell six