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A Yankee in the Trenches eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 118 pages of information about A Yankee in the Trenches.

I drew a pretty decent hole myself, and a man came pitching in on top of me, screaming horribly.  It was Corporal Hoskins, a close friend of mine.  He had it in the stomach and clicked in a minute or two.

During the few minutes that I lay in that hole, I suffered the worst mental anguish I ever knew.  Seeing so many of my closest chums go west so horribly had nearly broken me, shaky as I was when the attack started.  I was dripping with sweat and frightfully nauseated.  A sudden overpowering impulse seized me to get out in the open and have it over with.  I was ready to die.

Sooner than I ought, for the second wave had not yet shown up, I shrilled the whistle and lifted them out.  It was a hopeless charge, but I was done.  I would have gone at them alone.  Anything to close the act.  To blazes with everything!

As I scrambled out of the shell hole, there was a blinding, ear-splitting explosion slightly to my left, and I went down.  I did not lose consciousness entirely.  A red-hot iron was through my right arm, and some one had hit me on the left shoulder with a sledge hammer.  I felt crushed,—­shattered.

My impressions of the rest of that night are, for the most part, vague and indistinct; but in spots they stand out clear and vivid.  The first thing I knew definitely was when Smith bent over me, cutting the sleeve out of my tunic.

“It’s a Blighty one,” says Smithy.  That was some consolation.  I was back in the shell hole, or in another, and there were five or six other fellows piled in there too.  All of them were dead except Smith and a man named Collins, who had his arm clean off, and myself.  Smith dressed my wound and Collins’, and said: 

“We’d better get out of here before Fritz rushes us.  The attack was a ruddy failure, and they’ll come over and bomb us out of here.”

Smith and I got out of the hole and started to crawl.  It appeared that he had a bullet through the thigh, though he hadn’t said anything about it before.  We crawled a little way, and then the bullets were flying so thick that I got an insane desire to run and get away from them.  I got to my feet and legged it.  So did Smith, though how he did it with a wounded thigh I don’t know.

The next thing I remember I was on a stretcher.  The beastly thing swayed and pitched, and I got seasick.  Then came another crash directly over head, and out I went again.  When I came to, my head was as clear as a bell.  A shell had burst over us and had killed one stretcher bearer.  The other had disappeared.  Smith was there.  He and I got to our feet and put our arms around each other and staggered on.  The next I knew I was in the Cough Drop dressing station, so called from the peculiar formation of the place.  We had tea and rum here and a couple of fags from a sergeant major of the R.A.M.C.

After that there was a ride on a flat car on a light railway and another in an ambulance with an American driver.  Snatches of conversation about Broadway and a girl in Newark floated back, and I tried to work up ambition enough to sing out and ask where the chap came from.  So far I hadn’t had much pain.  When we landed in a regular dressing station, the M.O. gave me another going over and said,

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