The YD Cemetery

Temporary American Cemetery, France 1918


The peasant children pass it as they leave the village school,

The pious strangers cross themselves along the road to Toul,

The captains call attention as the dusty troops plod by,

The officers salute it though receiving no reply;

‘Tis a spot all brown and barren ‘mid the poppies in the grain—

The Y-D cemetery by a roadside in Lorraine.


A row of wooden crosses and beneath the upturned sod

The hearts once wild and restless now know the peace of God.

The brave young lads who left us while life was at its flood,

While life was fresh and joyous and fire was in the blood,

Their young lives now enfranchised from mirth or joy or pain,

They sleep the sleep eternal by a roadside in Lorraine.


Of all the myriad places for the dead of man to rest,

The graveyard of the warrior for a freeman is the best;

Oh! Not for them our pity, but far across the foam

For the gray-haired mother weeping in some New England home,

‘Tis she who has our pity, ‘tis she who feels the pain

Of  the Y-D cemetery by a roadside in Lorraine.


The plodding columns pass them along the old Toul road;

New companies come marching where yesterday they strode;

Above, the whirr of motors—beyond, the roar of guns,

Where their allies and their brothers join battle with the Huns.

And the sunlight of their glory bursts through the clouds and rain,

O’er the Y-D cemetery by a roadside in Lorraine.

—Col. Harry B. Anderson, 26th Div. Judge Advocate

Somewhere in France



A soldier boy lay dying,

On a road “somewhere in France;”

He had tried to get thru a barrage

Tho he knew he stood no chance.

A pal knelt down beside him

While the tears ran down his cheek

For this soldier was his life long friend

And he longed to hear him speak.


When the dying soldier opened

Up his eyes, and looked around

And saw his dear old pal

Kneeling side him on the ground

He smiled and said “They got me Jim

Yes got me with a shell.”

“My orders were to take this note

Thru water, fire and hell.”


“Take this message Jim and run it thru

Do not stop for me

It means two hundred lives and more

Its for our company

Fritz made a fake attack this morn

Just at break ‘o day

If you can only get it thru

We’ll make those dam Huns pay.”


“And when you get around to it

Just write a line or two,

To my mother and my sweetheart Jim

Old pal so good and true;

Tell them I tried to make it

Thru gas, barrage, and shell

That my resting place is heaven

For I went clear thru a hell.”


Then the dying soldier closed his eyes

His pal with tender care,

Gently laid him down

And smoothed his bloody ruffled hair,

And with a sob of anguish

He started down the road,

In his hand he held the message

That was written out in code.


Jim got the message thru in time

To call the German’s bluff,

He told the story to the boys

How the blood got on his cuff,

The dying words of Bill his pal

A runner dead and gone

And the company paid their last respects

To the brave but silent form.

(Wrote at Apremont at the conclusion of a dream)

—Batt. Runner Blanchard, Co. F 103rd Inf.


Many thanks to for sharing this rare find written by Pvt. C.R. Blanchard of the 103rd Hdq. Co. Signal Platoon while assigned to Co. F at Apremont in the Toul Sector. Please visit PortraitsofWar for many other fine examples of vintage military photography and interpretation.

New England’s Own



There’s a sound that swells to the listening sky, and breaks, and swells again
A sound to the April breezes blown of a host of marching men;
And the people’s hearts lift up to hear, and the city’s gates swing wide
To the tramp of twenty thousand strong, the beat of a tawny tide.
They come, they come with the throbbing drum! Let the glad word be known.
Fling the flags to the four free winds, and greet New England’s Own!

These were the eager-hearted ones when first the bugles blew;
The clean north winds had swept their souls before the war-flags flew.
They set their faces like the flint of the old north country hills;
They pledged their manhood without stint, and their young, intrepid wills.
They did not stay for the perilous way. Forward! their cry was thrown;
Stout hearts might well have faltered then — but not New England’s Own!

They caught the spurt of the first red stars that flamed the battle sign;
They gave their bodies as iron bars to weld the battle line;
Aisne-Marne, Chavignon, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne east and west
The old strange names, familiar now as heart-beats in each breast,
And keen with memories of those they left to sleep alone,
Dust to dust in an alien land, yet still New England’s Own.

They dreamed the dreams of peace and youth, but when the storm was rife
They counted comfort less than truth and honor more than life.
Each with his starry flag above, his weapon in his hand,
Fought for earth’s liberty, and love, and his own dear native land;
Walked blindly in the smoking ways, that the light his eyes had known
Might never perish from the shore that sent New England’s Own.

There’s a sound that swells in the April air till it shakes the market-place
The tread of a host of marching men who have looked death in the face;
Who have staggered back from the brink of hell to find the world still sweet
And the dust of God’s own country gray once more upon their feet.
They come, they come with the throbbing drum! Let the high flag be flown
The flag they shed their blood to keep, and kept — New England’s Own!

by Nancy Byrd Turner, 1919

The YD Victory Song

(Sung to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic)

“Now the War is over,

We’re headed for the coast,

The grand YD Division

Which the papers never boast.

We’ve done our bit and done it well,

So now we’ll drink a toast

To our General Edwards.

We belong to the YD,

We belong to the YD,

We belong to the YD,

New England’s Volunteers.”

In Memory of “Old Company K”, 1917

Here you have a copy of a poem written by one of the old K men after they pulled, split, and smashed our happy family all to pieces. It is the sentiment of every man. He has written another one about how us twelve sergeants stuck to Tobey even though we reduced ourselves by so doing. Let me say right here that it was an awful mistake when they broke up the best Regiment of them all.


It was July the twenty-fifth,
That K received the call,
And the boys of dear old Somerville
Assembled in the hall;
We all were bright and happy,
And our folks, tho’ sad, all knew
It was the highest honor,
Our duty thus to do;
We may have looked quite awkward,
When we answered to our name,
But after one month’s training,
We couldn’t be called the same.

On July the twenty-seventh,
We left our dear home town,
To keep the German Kaiser
From hauling “Old Glory” down;
Mayor Cliff addressed the boys,
And our people all were near,
And while he spoke those farewell words,
In many eyes were tears,
On my left I saw a mother,
Wipe the tear drops from her eye;
On my right I saw a father,
Who could hardly say Good-bye.

And when at last we started,
We could hear them say “Be Good”;
Our voices were pretty shaky,
As we answered that we would;
It’s not a streak of yellow
That makes the tear drops flow,
It’s the love that’s in a fellow,
For his home and folks, you know;
It’s a man that has this feeling,
(A brute that’s otherwise)—
Even tho’ his voice is shaky,
And the tear drops fill his eyes.

We pitched our Camp at Lynnfield,
A place we’ll ne’er forget;
We were loved by all its people,
And we’re lonesome for them yet;
We had just become acquainted,
When we were ordered on our way,
And there’s many a girl in Lynnfield,
For a soldier boy will pray;
We found them to be ladies,
They found us gentlemen;
And we know that we’ll be welcome
If we’re down that way again.

We then entrained for Westfield,
On the train we had some fun;
And we landed there next morning,
After twenty-three hour’s run;
Beside the track we had our breakfast,
There was plenty for the men;
I captured nine good helpings,
And I tried to make it ten;
But Lieutenant Lunn was on the job,
And he said “Oh, Murphy’s here”—
And our old friend Corporal Marshall,
Escorted me to the rear.

Then we marched into our Camp,
To join the others there;
And for the beginning of the end,
We started to prepare;
Last night came our dividing line,
And now we realize,
What parting in the army means,
To a crowd of regular guys;
They may have torn us all apart,
But in spirit we are one;
And whatever Company we are in
We’ll be behind the gun.

We’ll ne’er forget each other,
Nor the ones we left behind;
And the people we met in Camp,
Will be always in our mind;
The time has come to go to France,
Now K boys don’t forget,
We still belong to Somerville,
And the pace we’ve got to set;
We’ll get together at the end,
Those who do not fall,
And have a hell of a picnic,
In the Somerville High School Hall.

By Private D.D. Murphy


(Editor’s Note: See Postal from Camp Bartlett, Westfield Mass. 9/9/1917) 


With the Militia on the Rio Grande, 1916

Just a passing remark from the border. It sounds pretty good to me. How about it? Im fine.


We joined the militia in the old home town
For the fun to be had each year at the camping ground;
Little thinking as we took the oath in the armory hall,
That quite so soon would we hear the call
To pitch our tents and take our stand
Way down in Texas on the Rio Grande,
There to guard the line with a watchful eye
To see that no Villa bandits pass us by.

And so Texas we’re here we’ll say
To do our duty and draw our pay
We’re here from almost every state—
From Maine to where the sun sets at the Golden Gate,
From up in Washington on the sound,
Down to where the Florida alligators abound.

Some of us came willingly, others not,
But each and all must accept our lot
And do the drilling and standing guard
Although some times we find it hard
To be content with the army chow
Of bacon and beans and some canned cow.

But there are times when it’s not so bad
For there are days when there is fun to be had
And then some evenings down town we stray
And have a good feed at some café,
While some who enjoy their cigars and wine
Find other ways to spend their time
Then back to camp we go feeling fine
Not so sorry to be guarding the line.

Now cheer up boys there’ll come a day
When these Mexican troubles will have cleared away
Then back to our homes and loved ones dear
We’ll march with good will and many a cheer
And in after years as time goes by
We’ll often laugh and wonder why
We didn’t take things more as a joke
Instead of cursing when we were broke
We would of had more fun along with the rest
When the militia encamped in the great Southwest.

—A.R.H., El Paso, Texas
(Copyright Applied For)


(Editor’s Note: See Postal from Camp Cotton, Texas 9/18/1916)


Greetings from the Border-Land, 1916


Here’s greetings from the Border-land
Where the wind blows to beat the band,
O’er valleys fair and mountains high
Kissed by the sun from a cloudless sky.
Where the soldier boy with his ready gun
Tramps the desert under a scorching sun.
Yes, this is the land where the cacti grow
And the long-eared burro tries to crow.
Where the centipede walks on a hundred legs
And the rattlesnake lays its soft-shelled eggs
The tarantula too, and vinagroon
Bask in the sunshine and lazily roam
Over the rocks and through the sand
Away out here on the Border-land.

By the Poet-Lariat
(Copyright Sept. 1916 by Jos. T. Grant)


(Editor’s Note: See Postal from Camp Cotton, Texas 9/15/1916)


The Day of the Soldier Boy, 1916




WHEN it’s morning on the border, and the sun is breaking through,

And the sands begin to glisten like the good old home town dew,

I look across the river, and it makes me kind of blue,

When it’s morning on the border, Love, my thoughts go back to you.


WHEN the sun is in the heavens and the air is mighty hot,

And its hard to breathe and stifling, and my throat is dry as rot,

I’ve got to grin and bear it, I’ve got to see it through,

To make the burden lighter, Love, my thoughts go back to you.


WHEN the sun has passed the border, and the after-glow is red,

And the silver moon is shining on the silent desert bed,

I’m feeling kind of lonely like, I know you’re lonely too,

When the sun has passed the border, Love, my thoughts go back to you.


WHEN the greaser stops his sniping and skulking in the sand,

When the raider hies himself away beyond the Rio Grande,

And the “spick” doffs his sombrero to the old red, white and blue,

And its calm along the border, Love,  THEN I’LL COME BACK TO YOU.


 Segt. Wm. H. Barter, 5th Mass. Infy. El Paso – On the Border


(Editor’s Note: See Postal from Camp Cotton, Texas 9/5/1916)


Watchful-Waiting, 1916



The Germans have their “Wacht am Rhein,”

the English play “God Save the King,”

The Frenchmen sing their “Marseillaise,”

while Russians chant their National Hymn.

Our Spirit shuns this war-like ring;

peace breathes in what we proudly sing.


Oh! long may it wave,

o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

By these colors we stand ever true,

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue


(Editor’s Note: See Postal from Camp Cotton, Texas 8/8/1916)


Hell In Texas, 1916

Here is a poem that just suited this place the first week I landed, but now I am beginning to change my mind in the opposite direction…


The Devil in hell we’re told was chained,
And a thousand years he there remained.
He neither complained nor did he groan,
But determined to start a hell of his own.

Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being chained in a prison pen.
So he asked the Lord if he had on hand
Anything left when he made this land.

The Lord said, “Yes, I had plenty on hand,
But I left it down on the Rio Grande;
The fact is, “old boy,” the stuff is so poor,
I don’t think you can use it in hell any more.”

But the Devil went down to look at the truck,
And said if he took it as a gift he was stuck,
For after examining it carefully and well,
He concluded the place was too dry for a hell.

So in order to get it off His hand
The Lord promised the Devil to water the land,
For he had some water, or rather some dregs,
A regular cathartic and smelled like bad eggs.

Hence the trade was closed, the deed was given,
And the Lord went back to his home in Heaven;
The Devil said to himself, “I have all that is needed
To make a good hell,” and hence he succeeded.

He began by putting thorns all over the trees,
And mixed up the sand with millions of fleas;
He scattered tarantulas along the roads,
Put thorns on cactus, and horns on the toads.

He lengthened the horns of the Texas steers,
And put an addition to the rabbits’ ears;
He put a little devil in the broncho steed,
And poisoned the feet of the centipede.

The rattlesnake bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mosquito delights you with his buzzing wings;
The sand-burs prevail, and so do the ants,
And those who sit down need half-soles on their pants.

The Devil then said that throughout the land
He’d arrange to keep up the Devil’s own brand,
And all should be Mavericks unless they bore
Marks or scratches, of bites and thorns by the score.

The heat in the summer is one hundred and ten,
Too hot for the Devil and too hot for men;
The wild boar roams through the black chaparral;
‘Tis a hell of a place that he has for a hell.

By the Author of “Texas A Paradise”


(Editor’s Note: See Postal from Camp Cotton, Texas 8/1/1916)