1. The Division left the back areas of the Chateau Thierry sector on July 16th, and were rushed in trucks to the area S.W. of SOISSONS, arriving throughout the day and evening of the 17th. The Medical Department detachments accompanied the various organizations to which they were attached. Upon receipt of battle orders that evening, Regimental and Battalion Aid Stations were established at such suitable or convenient places as the dark, rainy night and
congested, muddy roads would permit them to reconnoitre and select near the positions assigned their units for the "jump off" scheduled place at 4:35 oclock the next morning, July 18th. From that time on, the advance of the troops was so rapid that no
definite Battalion Aid Stations could be established, and various
cross-roads, or buildings, or other places on the main
routes to the rear, offering possible shelter, became collecting points for the wounded. These points were in order of the advance, MAISON NEUVE, VERTE FEUILLE Fme., BEAUPAIRE Fme., VEAUCASTILLE [sic] and VIERZY. At the latter place many quarry dug-outs existed and on the 19th, practically all troops, except the Artillery, had established secure aid stations in these with some Battalion Aid Stations forward in the fields, wherever any degree of protection had. The Artillery aid stations were at this time established in VAUCASTILLE [sic] and along the railroad between LONGPONT and VIERZY.
2. The 15th Field Hospital Company and a detachment of the 1st Ambulance Company, consisting of 1 officer, 36 litter bearers and 4 ambulances, preceded the remainder of the Sanitary Train, accompanying the Artillery Brigade. They arrived in new area July 16th, and proceeded to the woods, (BOIS du BRASSOIS,) near crossroads 12 kilometers north of EMEVILLE, where 15th Field Hospital established a Sorting Station, which it operated throughout the engagement. It left with the Division July 24th.
Patients treated:- Gassed: 48; Wounded: 369; Shell Conc.: 7; Injured: 31; Sick: 152; Total: 607.
The litter bearers from the above Ambulance Company detachment were sent to duty with the 6th Marines and the 4 ambulances to evacuate the Battalion Aid Stations of same regiment.
3. The remainder of the Sanitary Train, (less 16th Ambulance Co. and one half of 16th Field Hospital Co.,) after an all night ride overland in trucks and ambulances, arrived at BONNEUIL-en-Valois throughout the forenoon of July 17th. The 16th Field Hospital Co., (less 8 officers and 24 men detailed to 1st and 23rd Field Hospitals, and 17 men to 2nd Engineers,) remained at JOUARRE-Sur-Marne, to care for the sick of the Division left in old area. The transportation section of 16th Ambulance Company, (animal drawn,) arrived in woods ½ kilometers west of HARAMONT on July 17th, but the dismounted members had been left in old area because overlooked in distribution of trucks for their transportation. July 19th rail transportation was furnished the latter by the 3rd Corps and the same date joined the advance portion of their Company at above point West of Haramont, where an Ambulance Dressing Station had been established, This A.D.S. cared for 75 wounded.
4. Contact was not made with the French Corps Surgeon until 7:P.M. of the 17th, and the only instructions given the Division Surgeon by him were to establish one Field Hospital at TAILLE FONTAINE as a Triage and one at SERY-MAGNEVAL to reenforce the French hospital at the latter place. Owing to inability to get through the congested roads, these directions could not be given till the following morning.
5. At 9: P.M., July 17th, orders were received for following distribution, which was immediately instituted, but owing to the dark rainy night and muddy, congested roads was impossible of speedy consummation:
1st Ambulance Co.: The remaining 7 ambulances were distributed as follows: 3 to 23rd Infantry, 3 to 9th Infantry and 1 to 5th Marines. The last one reached destination at noon, July 18th, tho at a distance of only 20 kilometers.
23rd Ambulance Co.: 3 ambulances to 23rd Field Hospital at HARAMONT. 15th Ambulance Co.: Personnel and equipment for 2 Dressing Stations to be established on MONTGOBERT-LONGPONT road at the first crossroads North and SOUTH respectively of main VILLERS-COTTERETS - SOISSONS road. Distance traveled was 18 kilometers but did not arrive till 7:A.M. the 18th. Finding no wounded coming thru these two points, established their A.D.S. at cross-roads of these two main roads, (at MAISON NEUVE,) where wounded were already begining to collect and where Infantry Regimental Surgeons were gathered. This became the main dressing station as all evacuation passed this point. At 3:P.M. the 19th, this Company established an additional Dressing Station at VERTE FEUILLE Fme., which was, however, cleared and withdrawn at 9:P.M. that night.
23rd Field Hospital to HARAMONT. Though only 5 kilometers. to go, this Company did not reach this destination until 7:A.M. the following morning, 18th, being held up on the road all night. At this place they operated a Sorting Station until noon that day when ordered to TAILLE FONTAINE, a distance of 7 kilometers. This was reached at 6:P.M. and a Sorting Station established and operated until the Company left July 26th, with the Division. Personnel from 16th Field Hospital assisted at this place. One small building was used for dressing wounded, another nearby for gassed, the patients after treatment being retained in tents and on litter, in the open until evacuated.
Cases treated:- Gassed: 75; Wounded: 966; Shell Conc.: 13;
Injured: 12; Sick: 180; Total 1246.
1st Field Hospital to HARAMONT. After proceeding three kilometers was blocked in the traffic until daylight when they completed the other two kilometers, arriving at 6:A.M., the 18th. No suitable site was available, but a few cases were received and dressed. The Director of Field Hospitals started a search for a suitable site and found a large chateau, well located on main road, midway between VILLERS-COTTERETS and CREPY. At 10:A.M. left for this place, where they started to established, when ordered to SERY-MAGNEVAL, 4 kilometers North of CREPY, as French Hospitals at this place and at CREPY,-the railhead,- were unable to care for all the wounded being received. Arrived at this place at 2:30 P.M. and immediately set up tentage. Here they functioned as an Evacuation Hospital for the Division and also operated the non-tra[n]sportable wounded, a number of which were also operated by the French Hospital at this place and at CREPY.
Cases thru 1st Field Hospital:- Gassed: 200; Wounded: 1034; Psychoneuroses: 45; Injured: 81; Total: 1522. Left Sery Magneval July 24th.
6. At 4:A.M., July 18th, all available ambulances and litter bearers, not already ordered, were sent forward. These ambulances were utilized to carry forward as many of the litter bearers as they would accomodate, but were soon blocked in the traffic and the litter bearers proceeded on foot, being able to march the 18 to 25 kilometers much faster than the motor ambulances could make the same distance over the congested roads.
July 18th, the Ambulance Companies moved their headquarters and remaining personnel to TAILLEFONTAINE, where they
remained until the Division was withdrawn from this sector.
7. Evacuation Transportation: The Sanitary Train arrived in this area very short in transportation, having only 32 serviceable G.M.C. ambulances and 21 trucks, as against an authorized allowance of 39 and 44 respectively, and had no S.S.U. or other ambulance service attached and was called upon to do the evacuation, not only to its Field Hospitals, but also the evacuation from these Hospitals to the Evacuation Hospitals and furthermore to evacuate from the Evacuation Hospitals at the railhead and to Hospitals 20 to 34 kilometers to the rear of these. At 8:P.M. on the 19th, 5 Ford ambulances of the relieving French troops were offered us, but only one trip was made with them.
During the 18th, the greater number of evacuations were made by ambulances, Sanitary Train trucks and returning ammunition trucks. On the 19th all these, together with Supply Train trucks carried on the evacuation.
On the 19th the American Military Police took over control of traffic on the roads and unnecessary blocking of these congested roads was practically eliminated.
By 2:A.M. of the 20th, all aid stations had been cleared.
8. July 20th, all forward Field Hospitals were cleared and all ambulances and Sanitary Train trucks sent to SERY MAGNEVAL where 1st Field Hospital was cleared as rapidly as Hospital Trains would arrive to evacuate. Here Evacuation Hospital No.5, was also cleared by our ambulances and trucks during the following two days, as was also the 1st Division Field Hospital operating at this place. Our ambulances also assisted in evacuating great numbers of French wounded from the French Hospital at this place.
9. No knowledge was had by the American S.O.S. of the intended attack and attempted telegrams for evacuation assistance and operating teams prior to the attack were, for reasons of military secrecy, not permitted by the French, who assured us that our wounded would be amply provided for by their service.
This Service included Hospitals at PIERREFONDS, SERY MAGNEVAL and CREPY, - the railhead, - but during the first day these places were overflowing and unable to admit more.
They had in addition, hospitals at the following places:-SENLIS, (for all classes,) CHANTILLY, (slightly wounded,) OGNON, (fracture cases,) Some cases were sent to these places and admitted, but soon all were turned back, making this difficult extra trip of 22 to 34 kilometers from our Evacuation Hospital, and return, to no purpose. Owing to the preference given ammunition and supplies over the railroads, the arrival of French Hospital Trains was delayed many hours, and there being insufficient accomodations in buildings at the railhead, many wounded, mostly of other Divisions, were left for hours in the railroad yards at CREPY, where the French had sent them from their overfilled hospitals. This situation was considerably relieved upon the arrival on July 20th of Evacuation Hospital No. 5, which set up at SERY-MAGNEVAL.
10. The Medical Supply Unit remained at LA FERTE, but during the night of July 17th sent up 2 Sanitary Train trucks with litters, blankets, front parcels, gauze, cotton, bandages, iodine swabs, alcohol, Greely units, Thomas' splints, etc., which had been loaded and awaiting our orders as soon as we should arrive and know our destination. July 19th a message was received from the Division Surgeon to send up 500 litters, 500 blankets, Thomas' Splints, etc., This was telegraphed to Medical Supply Depot at LIEUSAINT and by them delivered to LA FERTE, 3:A.M. the 20th, thence direct to TAILLEFONTAINE where they arrived at 11:A.M., same date. Though too late to be of service to our Division, they were of great help to the 1st Division, to whom they were delivered.
11. July 22, the Division having been withdrawn, a detachment from 23rd Ambulance Company was assigned to 2nd Artillery Brigade which was to remain in line. This consisted of 3 officers, a Dressing Station Party and 4 ambulances. An Ambulance Dressing Station was established at VERTE FEUILLE Fme., and operated till July 25th, when it was withdrawn with the Artillery. During these three days it cared for many wounded, mostly from the Scottish and Brittish troops, sent into the line to relieve the 1st Division.