“Quarry of the Americans” at Froidmont

The 26th Division Front, Chemin des Dames 1918

The 26th “Yankee” Division first entered the front lines in early February, 1918 on the Aisne front north of Soissons and the Aisne River where it was assigned to reinforce the depleted XI Corps of the French 6th Army in the Chemin des Dames sector. Brigaded with French troops in a mentoring role, the 26th Division held 30 kilometers of the Aisne line for more than a month until late March, 1918  under the instruction of the French Army.

Froidmont Quarry, Today (J.C. Gutner)

The Chemin des Dames sector featured numerous limestone quarries and underground caves of ancient origin which were used by German and French armies alike to shelter their reserve troops from enemy artillery fire and aerial observation.

These underground caverns featured electric lighting and abundant fresh water supplies, and also served as natural galleries for the artistic expression of the men sheltered there who fought boredom and rats when they were not directly under fire in the trenches above.

Stars marking large quarry locations used by 26th Div. troops, 1918

Following are examples of artistic expression by men of the “Yankee” Division’s 51st Brigade located inside the “Quarry of the Americans” at Froidmont which have not been lost to history. Images and writings were carved into the soft limestone walls and also tattooed with fountain pen ink.

26th Div. Sentry at Quarry Entrance, 1918

Froidmont quarry entrance, Today

A Gallery of New England's Own (J.C. Gutner)


Doughboy profile

Christian motif by William Holmes, Co. C 102nd Inf.

Flag and Cross by William Gonzales, Co. E 101st Inf.

Indian Head; Regimental Insignia of 101st FA

E.J. Greene, A.M. Canora, Co. K 102nd Inf. (Conn.)

Marks by Auto-Rifle Squad, Co. E 101st Inf.

Indian Warrior by Alfred Sivanson, Co. I 102nd Inf.

C. Bowen, Co. E 101st Inf.

Sgt. William LeRoy, Co. K 102nd Inf.

P.J. Kuchiss, Co. K 102nd Inf.

Masonic Symbols, 102nd Inf.

Indian Head motif

Charles Sabo, Co. K 102nd Inf. (Mass.)

John Sweeney, Co. F

American flag and Cross, Co. I 102nd Inf. (Initials unfinished)

Joseph Gen, Co. I 102nd Inf. (Conn.)

C.H. Curtiss, Co. A 101st Machine Gun Battalion

102nd Machine Gun Battalion

J.E. Liason, Co. K 102nd Inf.

Here are some additional wall carvings made by men of the 103rd Infantry Regiment in the Nanteuil-la-Fosse quarry during February and March of 1918…

Eagle Monument

Initials R.W.M., 103rd MG Battalion

Initials D.E.G., Co. G 103rd Inf., possibly dated March 9, 1918

P. Bullard, Co. H 103rd Inf.

Pvt. Michael Suszynski, K Co. 101st Inf. (Brockton, Mass.)

American officer's hat device motif

"Take life as you find it and you will find Death is nothing." YD

"From Bangor Maine, USA" by 103rd Inf. soldier

A. Akdine, Co. C 103rd Inf. (So. Brewer, Maine)

Emmet C. Rye, 103rd MG Battalion

Initials J.A.D., 103rd Inf. with "Dagger through Heart" motif

E.J. Laskey, Co. B 103rd Inf. (Manchester, NH)

Herbert R. Crandal, Co. F 103rd Inf.

U.S. Army Eagle Seal

Sketch of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody (J.C. Gutner)

Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown Mass. (J.C. Gutner)



Images at Froidmont taken from the online Battlefield Studies 14-18:  The American 26th Division in the Froidmont Quarry by Aris de Bruijn, 2003 (translated from the Dutch original).

Also please visit WWI-Memorials.com for more outstanding, high-resolution images from the Froidmont Quarry.

The Froidmont Quarry Association is trustee of this historic site; President Gilles Chauwin, 27 rue du Québec, 02000 LAON.

Entrance Marker to Froidmont Quarry, Today (J.C. Gutner)

Published on August 31, 2010 at 7:26 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for finally writing about >Quarry of the Americans at Froidmont
    Soldiers’ Mail <Loved it!

  2. Looking for soldier art in the chalk mines – G. Company, 101st Infantry February 1918

  3. […] Soldiers’ Mail […]

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