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Realizing he was very likely the only U.S. Naval officer to be captured in the war.  Lt. Iccas arrived in Villingen angry and determined to escape. With possible execution as a penalty for failure, his several attempts show his great courage and he never gives up.

His observations of the camp life and the men, his survey of possible escape routes and plan sketch of the camp are valuable in filling in the picture of life in the camp.

Capt. Cousart is not mentioned by name in his account but due to the small number of officers in Villingen there is no doubt they were acquainted. If fact in "Odds & Ends" Lt. Iccas has written in his own hand and there is a photograph of them playing on the same volleyball team.


PRISONER OF THE U-90

BY EDOUARD VICTOR ISAACS
LIEUTENANT UNITED STATES NAVY


BEING the personal narrative of the adventures of the only line officer of the United States Navy to be captured in the Great War.
WITH an Introduction by the HONORABLE JOSEPHVS DANIELS, Secretary of the Navy.

BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
The University Press Cambridge
1919

COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY EDOUARD VICTOR ISAACS
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

THIS BOOK IS LOVINGLY INSCRIBED TO
THE ONE FROM WHOM CAME THE INSPIRATION
FOR ALL GOOD DEEDS

MY WIFE


CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION, by the Honorable Josephus Daniels

PROLOGUE

I. THE SINKING

II. CAPTURED

III. BOMBED

IV. THE U-90

V. SUBMARINE JOY-RIDING

VI. IN WILHELMSHAVEN

VII. THE LISTENING HOTEL

VIII. THE CAMP

IX. PLANS OF ESCAPE

X. THE BEST EFFORT

XI. PUNISHMENT

XII. THE AMERICAN CAMP

XIII. ROUTINE

XIV. INCIDENTS


XV. PLANS


XVI. MORE TROUBLES

XVII. THE ENLISTED MEN


XVIII. THE ESCAPE

XIX. ON THE WAY

XX. THE RHINE

CONCLUSION




 



INTRODUCTION


THE chief by-product of the Great War is the revelation made to this generation that we associate every day with men of heroic mould. Before the call to battle came, we had not the vision to see the stuff of which our American youngsters were made. When the hour for achievement struck, we discovered all about us men who by valor and initiative and resource not only preserved all the best traditions, but made new and glorious traditions.

The story of the President Lincoln is one that thrills, for it is a concrete case of how Navy men meet emergencies and look death in the face with out a qualm. Lieutenant Isaacs has told the story of its torpedoing and of the courage of its captain and all on board in a way to increase the confidence and admiration we have for men in the naval service. His recital of his capture, his rare experiences, his alertness to secure information that would aid his country, his resolve to find or make a way to escape and bring back the knowledge his terrible experiences had imparted, his resourcefulness and will to overcome what seemed insuperable obstacles—these make a story that will live in the annals of naval daring and naval disregard of danger.

JOSEPHUS DANIELS

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Prisoner of the U-90

PROLOGUE

THE old Hamburg-American liner President Lincoln was one of the German ships taken over by the United States when the President announced that a state of war was considered to exist between America and Germany. She was considerably damaged by the Huns before they were taken off and interned, but within six months had been repaired and fitted up as a Navy transport mounting four six-inch guns and capable of carrying 5000 troops and 8000 tons of cargo. Her name, that of one of our most illustrious Presidents, was left unchanged, and she shoved off from Hoboken piers on October I8, I9I7, bound for St. Nazaire, France, on her maiden voyage as an American man-o'- war.

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CHAPTER I
THE SINKING


THE morning of May 3I, 1918 broke clear and cool. We had left the coast of France behind and were running west with a fair breeze in company with three other transports.

The U.S.S. President Lincoln, the Navy's most useful transport, in returning light from her fifth trip to France since America entered the Great War, was making twelve and a half knots, although had she been alone standard speed would have been her maximum of fifteen knots. The escorting destroyers had left us the preceding evening twenty-four hours out from Brest. A few hours later, as we were running with all lights out and zigzagging according to plan, the German submarine U-90 cruising on the surface at six knots speed sighted us by the light of the moon. Increasing her speed she trailed us unknown to the convoy. We were four huge shapes looming up in the darkness and visible to her over a mile away—she was a small black object lying low in the water and visible for not more than a quarter of a mile.

All night she trailed us until her captain was sure of our base course. Then, circling around, he made a wide detour and took up his position intercepting our course and a few miles ahead. When we bore in sight he submerged and approached to the attack.

At eight o'clock, the gunnery officer forward and I aft, came off watch from the control towers after a night of practically no sleep. We were finishing breakfast. Two bells had just struck. Suddenly the ship was rocked by a double explosion, the second following the first with scarcely a perceptible interval between. We instantly rushed to our battle stations, and that was the last I saw of any of the heads of departments, for my station was aft alone, theirs were forward.

As I ran aft another explosion shook the ship. The first two had been forward, but this one was aft directly in my path. The force of the explosion crushed in No. 12 lifeboat and threw it up on deck not ten feet from where I stood, but only showered me with water. The submarine had approached, submerged, to within eight hundred yards of us with only the periscope showing. She was directly ahead of the ship; on our left, but disregarded her in the endeavor to "get" us the Big One, and on e of the two six-masted steamers in the world," as he afterwards said. He aimed for No. 2 mast and fired two torpedoes, and the aiming for No. 4 mast he fired the third. All were perfect hits.

When I reached the after control tower all guns and boats were manned and perfect discipline prevailed . This was the "green" crew of over six hundred men who eight months before had never seen a man-o"-war, not to speak of ever having manned one.

At ten minutes past nine I received the report that holds No. 5 and No. Six were flooded and the water approaching No. 1 deck. I reported this over the telephone to the captain, who ordered me to abandon ship. At nine-fifteen all hands aft were off the ship in lifeboats and on rafts. The main deck was then within a few inches of the surface of the sea, for we had been gradually settling since the third explosion. In fact some waves were already washing over the deck. I then jumped on a life-raft with my messenger, who had never left me, and together we tied our raft to those near by; then giving our painter to one of the boats, I ordered them to pull away from the sinking ship. At nine-thirty we were well clear, and the old ship, turning over gently to starboard, put her nose in the air and went down. As the waters closed over her we rose and gave three cheers for the President Lincoln --- the best ship that ever carried troops in the cause of Freedom.

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CHAPTER II

CAPTURED


FOR fifteen minutes after the Lincoln went down, we busied ourselves tying together rafts and boats in order that they would not be scattered over the ocean and so that the survivors could be easily and quickly picked up by the rescuing vessels when they should arrive on the scene.

Debris of all kinds was floating about— immense timbers, broken topmasts, and other gear were being propelled out of the water in all directions. There was great danger of some of these striking us, but fortunately none found a mark. Finally, after being in the water on the raft for three quarters of an hour, a half-filled boat happened along and picked me up.


About this time, the other three ships having disappeared in the distance, the submarine came to the surface and approached the boat. In answer to the entreaties of the men in my boat I lay back in the stern sheets and covered the gold stripes on my sleeves with my body. I could not bring myself to the humiliation of hiding in the bottom of the boat and leaving them to face alone the displeasure of the pirates, although they begged me to do so or at least to remove my uniform. I saw later, however, that there was no use in trying to deceive the captain, for the submarine approached to within fifty yards and he could at that short distance readily distinguish every detail of uniform. I had lost my cap, but had on an old blouse under my lifejacket. Recognizing this, the commanding officer of the U-boat put a megaphone to his lips and sang out, " Come aboard." We pulled alongside, and as I rose to step out of the lifeboat, the men, realizing that I was about to leave them, perhaps never to return, raised their voices in protest and tried to restrain me. I turned to calm them, telling them not to worry, that it was only the fortunes of war, and stepping on the gunwale I grasped the hands of those nearest me in a heartfelt good-bye and jumped on the deck of the submarine. I had endeavored to wear as pleasant an expression on my face as I could muster in that trying time, although, as I released the fingers of my little gunner Cochrane, I felt I was bidding farewell to a real friend for perhaps the last time.


As I walked along the deck a German sailor came behind me and took my pistol. I then gave him the whole belt. Going up to the conning tower I saluted the officer whom I took to be the captain. He addressed me in rather fair English as follows:

"Are you the captain of the President Lincoln? "

"No, sir," I replied. "I believe the captain went down with the ship, for I have not seen him since. I am the first lieutenant.

"I am Captain Remy," he said. "My orders are to take the senior officer prisonerwhenever I sink a man-o'-war. You will remain aboard and point out your captain to me."


At that time Captain Foote, of the Lincoln, was pulling stroke oar in one of the lifeboats. It was his duty to remain with his men and so be in a position to look after their safety until aided by rescuing vessels. The manner in which he performed this duty is one of the most striking incidents of the Great War. Of the seven hundred souls aboard the President Lincoln only twenty-three men and three officers were lost, and that a greater loss of life did not result must be attributed to the grand discipline which prevailed, for which he alone was responsible, and to his coolness and skill in the long trying hours which elapsed before destroyers arrived at eleven o'clock that night.


When Captain Remy finished speaking he offered me a glass of sherry, which I took with thanks, for the water had been rather cold and I was numb from my waist down. We then cruised slowly among the boats and rafts. I sang out to two or three boats and asked if they had seen the captain. Receiving negative replies I turned to Captain Remy and told him I was sure my captain had gone down with the ship. Thereupon he sent me below and gave me warm clothing.

The submarine then left the scene of the sinking and cruised up and down on the surface for the next two days. Early the following morning a radio message from an American destroyer was intercepted and Captain Remy gave it to me to read. It said: "President Lincoln sunk. Survivors saved. A few missing."

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CHAPTER III
BOMBED


IN cruising in that vicinity we were merely following out what appeared to be Remy's routine schedule. He called those waters his cruising ground. We remained constantly on the surface, submerging only when it became necessary to avoid ships, and once a day to get the proper trim. I was up on deck most of the time standing on the conning platform behind the officer of the deck. The weather was moderate, and although we rolled slightly it was dry and comfortable there. I had plenty of time to look at the sea and the sky and review my novel situation.


When I was ordered to the President Lincoln from the Fleet and realized that I would actually have an opportunity to do my share in the winning of the war, I was pleased beyond description. I rather expected to be wounded or killed or even drowned, for I conjectured that if the "game" went on long enough it was only natural that, by the laws of choice and chance, the Lincoln would finally be torpedoed; and with her torpedoed and sunk it was to be expected that some would be wounded, some killed outright, some drowned, and the remainder rescued little the worse for the experience. But never once had the thought of being taken prisoner entered my mind; I dare say it is or was the same with the most of us. And so I had food for thought during those first few days, and the more I thought about it the less I liked it. The only one taken among the seven hundred souls on the President Lincoln! Worse still, the only United States Navy Officer captured by the Germans during the war! I decided it could not be.


The afternoon of June Ist, about five o'clock, as we were sitting in the tiny wardroom sipping our "Kaffee," the officer who had the watch on deck sent word to the captain that two ships had been sighted. They were two American destroyers, apparently the ones who had picked up the survivors of the President Lincoln, and were on their way back to Brest. Remy went on deck, took the cone, and turning away from the destroyers went full speed ahead. Just at this time the submarine was sighted by the destroyers who gave chase. When Remy found he was seen, he quickly submerged and zigzagged while making about eight knots speed. We ran at a depth of two hundred feet. All officers and men were at their stations—I was alone in the wardroom with no companions but Hope and Fear: hope that they would "get" the submarine and fear of that very eventuality.


We were submerged but a few minutes when a dull concussion slightly rocked the boat. It was the first depth bomb! Others followed in quick succession until a total of twenty-two were counted. Inside the submarine it was as quiet as the grave —the only sounds that broke the stillness were the frequent reports from the petty officer at the microphones to the captain telling him when the sounds of the destroyers' propellers showed they were approaching or receding and in which direction.


Five of the depth bombs exploded so close that the boat was shaken from stem to stern, and I fully expected to see the seams open and the water rush in. At that time I did not know which side I was cheering for. But she stood the shocks well, and soon the sound of the propellers grew fainter and fainter, and finally could be heard no more. We remained submerged an hour longer and then came to the surface finding all serene and calm again.


During the "show" I looked into the control room to see how officers and men were taking their medicine. There was one cool person among the five officers and forty-two men and he was the captain. I saw two of the officers shaking their heads over the affair, and the blanched faces of the crew told better than words what their feelings were. Remy afterwards told me there was one part of his business he dreaded more than what I had just witnessed—and that was the passing through unknown mine fields.


The following morning, June 2d, we sighted another American destroyer. This time Remy took no chances of being seen, but submerged immediately.

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CHAPTER IV

THE U-90


The U-90 was built in 1916 and was commissioned in I9I7. She was about two hundred feet long and mounted a four-inch gun forward and another aft of the conning tower. The guns were rigidly fixed to the deck and so were in the water whenever the ship submerged; but all the more delicate parts were covered with a thick coat of tallow, and as far as I could tell the salt water did little damage to the guns. Extending up through the top of the conning tower were two periscopes about twenty feet long which housed inside, but could be extended at will; so the submarine could cruise along submerged to a depth of fifteen feet, and at the same time, by running up a periscope, see everything that happened on the surface. The submerged speed was eight or nine knots, but on the surface it was fully sixteen knots. She carried folding radio masts which were hoisted every night, until one night they were damaged in a storm and from then on dependence had to be placed in the aerial stretched between the heavy cables running from stem to stern over the conning tower. These cables passed above guns and conning tower in such a way that all projections on the submarine were protected from nets and the like. At the stem the cables were made fast to saw-edged steel bars which were expected to cut the strands of wire whenever a net was encountered. Right below the conning tower was the control room where there were always two men on watch and where were controlled all devices for submerging.


In good weather all the navigating was done from the top of the conning tower while the steersman was inside the tower; but in very rough weather the officer of the deck went inside and the hatch was closed. With the hatch closed the U-boat could submerge immediately by simply tilting the horizontal rudder. The descent was very gradual and the submarine, instead of dropping like a heavy weight, was forced through the water by the propellers at a very slight incline. With the hatch open it took about ninety seconds to shift from the internal combustion or Diesel engines to the storage batteries, close the hatch, and submerge.


Just forward of the control room were two very small compartments, one to starboard and one to port, with a passage between. The starboard compartment was used as a cabin by the two youngest officers. It was probably seven feet long by four feet wide. The port compartment was somewhat smaller and was used as the radio room. Forward of these two compartments was the wardroom, about seven feet long and six feet wide, on one side of which were two bunks, one over the other, used by two of the officers, and on the other side a washstand and some lockers built against the bulkhead in which was kept the wardroom food. A collapsible table occupied the center of the roon1 and on this our food was placed. In the evening after the food was put away a hammock was swung in the center of the room and in this I slept every night I was aboard.


Forward of the wardroom was the captain's cabin, a room of about the same size as the former. He had a bunk, a desk, and a chair, and no place for anything else. Two other compartments were forward of the cabin: the large sleeping compartment for the crew (in one corner of which was the officers' toilet) and the forward torpedo room.


At the stern was the after torpedo room, but these two compartments I was never allowed to enter. However, I learned that the U-go carried eight torpedoes. She had sunk two twenty-five-hundred-ton ships before she torpedoed the President Lincoln. Three torpedoes were expended on us and one each on the others, so she still had three left. It was to get an opportunity to fire these remaining three that Captain Remy stayed two days longer on his cruising ground after sinking the Lincoln.


Abaft the control room was another large sleeping compartment for the crew, and here also was the galley where all the food for both officers and men was prepared. Between this compartment and the after torpedo room was the engine room with its two Diesel engines.

Although the quarters were cramped and there were many inconveniences to be put up with, life aboard was not so unpleasant as people are likely to imagine. We had only sufficient water for washing our hands and faces once a day, and the crew had hardly that much. The submarine rolled considerably in a heavy sea, but when submerged there was absolutely no sensation of being in motion. The air in the boat was very good and seldom did it become disagreeable.


Besides "Kapitan-Leutnant" Remy, the commanding officer, who was a "regular," and who had entered the German Naval Academy in 1905, there was a young engineer lieutenant who had graduated from their Engineering School and who was responsible for the efficient condition of the machinery; a young lieutenant who had entered the Naval Academy in I9I3; and a reserve lieutenant who had been in the merchant fleet before the war. Then there was another officer of the same rank as Remy, who was making the cruise preparatory to taking command of one of the new submarines Germany was building.


The crew was composed of young men, happy and in good physical condition. They seemed to like the duty aboard, but I found out that the reasons why it was so popular were: first, after about three round trips they were given the Iron Cross; second, they had the best food in Germany; third, half the crew were given leave of absence every time they were in port; and, fourth, they received the highest rate of pay in the Navy and this was further increased by a certain sum for each day they submerged. So for all these reasons the Germans were able to keep their submarines manned by voluntary enlistments, at least until the last months of the war.


Captain Remy treated me with extreme consideration and politeness. He tried to make things as pleasant for me as possible and his officers took their cue from him. I messed with them at their little table and took part in the conversation which, for my sake, was often in English—for nearly all the officers could speak English fairly well, the " regulars " being required to study it at the Naval Academy.


We had many sociable evenings, and they helped me to forget for a few hours at least the trying position in which I found myself. I had played bridge in English, French, and Spanish, but it was not until my sojourn on the U-go that I learned to play it in German. Every evening when the remnants of the last meal were cleared away we gathered around the little table in the wardroom and played cards. I was agreeably surprised when one evening after I had learned how to play a real German game, Captain Remy suggested that we play bridge. And a very interesting game they made of it.

We had four meals every day: breakfast at 8 A.M., which consisted usually of canned sausage ("vorst," as they called it), canned jam, canned bread, canned lard, and coffee; dinner at twelve o'clock noon consisting of soup and the rest the same as at breakfast; "Kaffee" at 4 P.M., which was coffee and bread with the lard (they called it marmalade) spread over it; and supper at 8 P.M., when we had potato pancakes, or some such delicacy of the cook's, together with the same old standbys—sausage, bread, lard, and coffee.


Occasionally we had tea and a few times cocoa. Twice we had eggs; but the usual menu was what I have just described. This could hardly compare with the food of the President Lincoln nor with the Navy ration; but as Remy warned me, it was decidedly the best food in Germany and so very much better than I should be likely to see that he begged me to eat while I had the opportunity. God knows he spoke the truth.

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CHAPTER V
SUBMARINE JOY-RIDING


HAVING sighted so many American ships in those waters, Remy decided that things were getting too warm for him on his cruising ground, so he turned northward and began the trip home. He did not try to run through the Straits of Dover, " for," as he said, " the English have finally sewed them up," but instead took the northern route. The weather was fine, and we ran most of the time on the surface at from eight to ten knots speed. Several days it was so calm we shipped no water over the deck, so I sat out in the sunshine and watched the waves roll by.


We zigzagged continually, making sharp turns and large angles with the base course. For four days we ran along the Irish coast and northward without sighting a ship, and finally one morning about four o'clock they awoke me to go hunting.


We were then near the Arctic Circle and being June it was daylight all night long. When I came on deck I found that we had approached to within a hundred yards of what looked to be a barren cliff rising straight out of the water. It was North Rona, one of the little islands lying west of the Scottish Main, and Remy knew it as the abode of a few hundred half-wild sheep —for he had been there before. He told me that years before a hermit had come to live on the island and had begun the raising of sheep. When he died the sheep continued to thrive. From my position on deck I could count about one hundred and fifty, but I got no closer, for when the little bateau was brought out from its place between the inner and outer hulls and an officer and two men with their guns had taken their places in it as it lay alongside the ship, the captain decided it would be better for me to stay aboard.


My binoculars had not been taken from me, so through them I watched the "sport." The boat pulled up to a small inlet where the occupants were able to make a landing. They tied up the boat and the three of them climbed up the rocks to a grassy plain in the center of the island. Then they drove a large number of the sheep up to the top of the cliff on the west side of the island and proceeded to shoot nine of them. One little woolly lamb they caught alive and brought back aboard. We named it Rona, and from that time on Rona and I, being companions in misery, were the best of friends. One of the sheep they shot fell over the side of the cliff into the water. Remy slowly backed the submarine to within three feet of the base of the cliff, where a sailor with a grapnel reached over the stern and caught it up. When the hunting party returned the sheep were dressed on the deck of the submarine by the ship's cook and every day thereafter we had fresh mutton.


Proceeding on our way we rounded the Shetlands and headed south into the North Sea. I had now been aboard a week and already had collected some information. I glanced at the charts whenever I had an opportunity; I also borrowed an atlas from one of the officers. In this way I learned as much as I could about our course and the habits of the U-boats.


We ran down the coast of Norway, then across to the Jutland coast through the Skaggerack and into the Cattegat. One night in the North Sea we met another German submarine that was short of oil. The captain came aboard, talked awhile with Remy, and then returned to his ship lying a few hundred yards away. He decided it was too rough to take oil and said he would try to make it to Kiel with what he had. Two nights later in the Cattegat we had another meeting with him, and this time he asked Remy for enough oil to make sure of an adequate supply for the run to Kiel. The two submarines had exchanged recognition signals and approached. The oil was then pumped through a hose from the U-90 to the other submarine. This took about an hour, and we then continued the cruise.


The following day, June 9th, we ran on the surface until 9 A.M., and then submerged and rested on the bottom in water less than a hundred feet deep. We stayed there a short time and then came to the surface. At noon we submerged again, this time to a depth of over two hundred and twenty-five feet, and at five knots speed approached The Sound, the narrow waters lying between Denmark and Sweden. Great care was taken to avoid the mine fields which are strewn through the Cattegat. We remained submerged more than ten hours, coming to the surface at II P.M. The air was rather disagreeable toward the last, but not unbearable. Several tanks of oxygen were carried to replenish the supply of fresh air whenever it became necessary.


When we came to the surface at eleven o'clock all the officers including myself went up on deck for a smoke. It was barely dusk, for in those latitudes and at that time of year there is practically no night, or at least no real darkness. I found that we were in a small bay with the lights of Sweden on one side, the lights of Denmark on the other. We were probably four miles from land.


A few minutes later another submarine came to the surface about a quarter of a mile away, and then another. The three of us slowly cruised up and down in the middle of the bay for perhaps an hour. It had become a little darker. Suddenly I resolved on a break for liberty.


Many times during my stay on board the submarine I had planned to escape. I racked my brain for ideas. I searched the ship for "escape material." I ransacked the drug locker in my efforts to find something to aid me in either capturing the submarine or taking my leave of it. On the plea of wanting to clean my pistol I got it back again. I cleaned, oiled, and loaded it, and not to arouse suspicion, I put it on the captain's desk, where, however, I could get it at any time—but I had only twenty cartridges and my captors numbered forty-seven. The odds surely seemed against me. At last, however, I felt that the long-awaited opportunity had arrived.


My lifejacket had never been taken from me, and with that on I was sure I could swim to the shore, or at least remain afloat until picked up by one of the little fishing boats common in those waters. But it was still too light for the attempt, and it would be worse than useless to get into the water and then have the submarine pick me up again, which would surely happen unless I could lose myself in the darkness.


I waited until twelve-thirty, and although it was not so dark as I would have liked I decided the time had-come. Just about this time a German destroyer bore down upon us from the eastward making high speed. She was undoubtedly keeping the rendezvous for the purpose of escorting us through Danish waters into the Baltic. I was now sure that I knew their rendezvous and I could trace again their course, if only I could get back with my information.


I casually wandered over to the edge of the deck and made ready to jump. Just as I was going over the side Remy, who had never been far from me, caught me by the arm. Resistance was useless. He ordered me below, but before I passed through the conning-tower hatch, I took one last look around and saw that the destroyer was placing herself at the head of the column of submarines and heading west toward the channel into which I had seen several small fishing boats disappear earlier in the evening. I am sure in that direction lay Copenhagen—perhaps not far distant.


The following morning I arose early and was allowed to go up on deck. I feel positive Remy never held against me my attempt to escape, and to this day has not reported it. I found we were in the Baltic and our companions of the night before were nowhere to be seen. It was a beautiful day and the water was like glass. I sat down on deck with my binoculars and viewed my surroundings.


There was great activity on the U-90. Breech-blocks were being taken out of the guns and cleaned; the "bright work" was being polished, and all preparations were being made to enter port. This was June 10th, the eleventh day of my enforced visit aboard. Three or four merchantmen flying the German flag passed us going east. Later in the morning, near Fehmarn Island, which lies north of Lubeck, we passed the battle cruiser Hindenburg and two other battle cruisers of the same type. Farther on were four smaller cruisers maneuvering individually.


We continued past Fehmarn to Kiel, where we arrived and tied up to the landing at the entrance to the locks at 3 P.M. There was a net across the entrance to the harbor, and outside we passed six or seven small destroyers and four or five submarines. The latter were probably on practice trips. Inside the harbor there were seven seaplanes engaged in making landings near the bathing beach, where many women and children played in the chilly water.


On the other side of the harbor from us were two of the new submarine mine-layers. They mounted a six-inch gun forward and looked to be about three hundred and fifty feet long. They appeared to be still in the "shaking down" stage. In the government docks farther down I could see about ten light and armored cruisers looking real new in their coats of fresh paint.


One of the officers took me ashore for a short walk after I had rid myself of the two
weeks' growth of beard with the aid of Remy's razor. I saw little of the town and was soon back aboard. At 7 P.M. we shoved off, entered the locks, and then proceeded down the famous canal at nine knots speed. Another submarine followed us, and Remy told me it was the one that torpedoed the Celtic and the Tuscania.


I stayed up on deck until after midnight and made mental notes of the canal. It is rather narrow except in a few places where it has been widened to allow of the passing of large ships. The shores are cemented part-way up the slope, and it is in every respect neat and clean. Every hundred meters there is a bollard to which ships may tie, and powerful electric lights are hung at frequent intervals making the canal at night-time almost as light as day. The shores at the top of the slope are patrolled by sentries, and every few kilometers there is a small ferry and a guardhouse filled with soldiers. A very few bridges, and these with high arches, span the canal.


When I awoke the following day we were in Heligoland Bight, heading south toward the mouth of the Jade River, up which a few miles is Wilhelmshaven, the base of the High Seas Fleet. Overhead at a height of about two thousand meters patrolled a huge Zeppelin. Repair ships, small destroyers, and thgs were everywhere. A division of three battleships, of which two were the Kong II and the Grosser Kurfurst, passed us at high speed heading north and escorted by a division of four large destroyers. We entered the locks at 10 A.M. and after passing through went alongside the "mother" ship Preussen. My joy-ride was over.

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CHAPTER VI

IN WILHELMSHAVEN


THE old battleship Preussen, now dismantled, small destroyers, and used only as the "mother" ship for six or eight submarines, lay in a backwater from which none of the city could be seen. When the U-90 had tied up, I was sent aboard and was immediately placed in a room with a barred port, the door was locked, and an armed sentry took up his post outside. The commanding officer of the Preussen came to the room later and I asked for a toothbrush, a comb, and permission to take a bath. A few minutes later he returned with a new toothbrush and a broken comb. I saw him no more, and he apparently left my entertainment to my guards.

Later in the day I prevailed on the guard to let me take a bath. He took me to a sort
of laundry, and there in a tin tub I finally got clean again. That noon I had had a plate of soup and a large piece of sour black bread. I could not eat the sour dough on the inside of the loaf, and the crust which enclosed it was over half an inch thick and as hard as a rock. I tried to chew that, but broke one of my teeth on it, so decided that further attacks would be useless. " Anyway," I consoled myself, " this is the small meal of the day and I will have a genuine repast to-night."


About five-thirty that evening my guard brought me a cup of colored water —hot and with some dregs in the bottom. I tasted it and found that it was nothing more nor less than plain hot water. It just did not "taste," that was all. I waited for supper or dinner or anything else they cared to bring me, but as nothing materialized I grew sleepy and went to bed. My room contained, besides the bed, a washstand, a table, and a chair.


In the morning I was up early and ready for a mammoth breakfast. At eight o'clock my guard brought me a cup of "warm Kaffee," as he said. I thought I had better drink it at once before it got cold instead of waiting for the rest of my breakfast. But one taste was enough. The night before I had made the acquaintance of "ersatz" tea made out of strawberry leaves which at least had the redeeming virtue of being tasteless. Now I was face to face with friend "ersatz" coffee made out of burnt acorns and barley, which, however, could not boast of any virtue, and the taste was so bitter that even quinine would have been far preferable. Of course, had there been sugar and cream I might have been able to drink it, but it was sacrilege even to mention those luxuries. Well, that was my ration. No more breakfast came, and at noontime the same routine began again.


I used to look out of my barred port (about ten inches in diameter) and see the ship's crew carrying their food from the galley to their messing quarters. I was an officer, but could I have had even the food the crew was eating, which was infinitely better than what they gave me, I should have been perfectly satisfied. Of course, had I been a German naval officer on an American man-o'-war I should have been messing deluxe in the wardroom and being treated with all the courtesy and consideration due my rank—in fact, as an equal. Yes, even had I been guilty of the murder of innocent women and children I should have been treated as the officers of the U-58 were treated by the officers of the American destroyer Fanning when the U-58 was damaged and forced to surrender. But being an American officer on a German man-o'-war, I was locked in a small room in solitary confinement with nothing to read, and given food we should have been ashamed to feed an animal.

Captain Remy, of the U-90, came in to see me once before he went on leave. I had found a five-dollar bill in my pocket, which was everything I had in the world after the ship went down, and this I asked Remy to change for me into German money, which he kindly did, also buying me some toothpaste and toilet articles. The officer who was on the U-go for training purposes also came in to see me in my prison room. He came to say good-bye, for he had just received orders to proceed to Kiel and take command of-one of the new submarines. It was then that I first realized the un-German character of the treatment I had received on the U-90. While there, all the officers had tried to make things pleasant for me, and although we had many arguments on the war the discussions were friendly. I could not help contrasting this with my treatment on the Preussen.


The second day of my stay on the "mother" ship, a young officer came to take me to the Wilhelm II, flagship of the High Seas Fleet. We entered a waiting launch and shoved off, passing by several docks where ships of all kinds were tied up. I counted fully twenty-five destroyers apparently with no steam up, but partially manned, also six or seven battleships and a few cruisers.


When we arrived alongside the Wilhelm II, I noticed that she was partially dismantled and had her upper works enclosed in sheet-metal to form temporary quarters. She was merely the port flagship I learned, and a new superdreadnought was used as the seagoing flagship. I was taken to a room marked "Chief of Staff," and there met an officer who spoke perfect English, having lived twelve years in England, as he told me. He began by being very courteous and talked about everything except the war. Then he commenced asking questions and tried to get information about our Navy and what it was doing, and also about the Army—how many troops we had in France and how many we were sending over every month. I rather frightened him with the tales I told of the two million men we had in France and the twenty million more who were on the way, until finally he lost his temper and demanded to know why America had entered the war: that it was none of her affair, and that it was all bosh to talk about "making the world safe for Democracy" and other altruistic motives, since no nation ever went to war except for gain; and the only reason why America could have possibly entered the war-was to safeguard the millions she had loaned to England and France.


"Why!" he exclaimed, "we expected you to come in on the side of Germany."
Now all this was old news to me, for it had been the argument of all the officers on the U-90, and I recognized it as the propaganda issued by the Government which is taken as the absolute truth by every German high and low. It finds an echo from the lips of every one of them—they all read the newspapers—for with practically not an exception I heard these same ideas expressed by each German I met during my stay in Germany.


Needless to say the Chief of Staff and I no longer agreed. It took me but a short time to set him aright as to America's reasons for entering the war.


"Do you think America will ever forget the Lusitania?" I asked him; "or ally herself with the authors of the famous 'Hymn of Hate'?"


And then, with the most biting sarcasm of which I was capable: "But then even had we joined with you we could not have. entered the alliance on an equal footing. We had nothing to offer. We had no reputation established in the realms of pillage and rapine. We had not murdered any women and children. We were not even Huns!"


Whereupon the interview ended. I had heard, and I have since proved to my own satisfaction, that the most scathing remark one can make to an educated German is to call him a "Hun."


Another day of my solitary confinement on board the Preussen, and then about dusk a warrant officer and four armed enlisted men escorted me through the streets of Wilhelmshaven for three miles to the Commandatur—a group of buildings surrounded by a high stone wall. Here I was placed in a small room opening off a corridor. A guard with a loaded rifle was outside my window. Another stood in the corridor outside my door which was kept locked. The prison building itself was locked and the place was full of jailers. The adjoining buildings were barracks for sailors and recruits; and the courtyard in the center was patrolled by several guards. I thought of escaping, but I knew that even were I able to get out of the Commandatur, which was practically impossible,
I could never get out of Wilhelmshaven, the most intensely guarded city of Germany.


At the prison I was searched and my identification disk taken from me. I was given the same kind of food (?) I had received on the Preussen. Fortunately I was there only parts of three days, so I was not quite starved—but I lived an eternity in that short time.


About 4 A.M. the morning of my third day at the Commandatur, I was called and told to be ready by five o'clock to leave the prison. Exactly at five an officer and two sailors came for me and I was marched to the station and on the train for Karlsrnhe. We went by way of Hannover and Frankfort-on-the-Main.


Outside of Wilhelmshaven I saw large herds of cattle apparently for the Fleet. These were the only cattle I ever saw in Germany. It was haying-time, and through the fields were scattered women and children (even infants) and old men. Occasionally I saw a prisoner helping and sometimes a German soldier. There was some grain growing, but very little. I came to the conclusion that the soil was so poor nothing but hay would grow.


In passing through the large cities there were many people at the stations, but although the German armies were advancing in France, nothing but sorrow could be seen in their countenances and there was a certain lack of noise and activity that was appalling.


Of course I had had no breakfast and by noontime I was nearly famished. It was then that we arrived at Hannover where we changed trains. I noticed the young officer go out and apparently get dinner in the station cafe. I waited to see if there was any food forthcoming for the prisoner, but nothing appeared. Finally I asked if any arrangements had been made for my entertainment besides the free ride on the train. He must have understood, because he countered with " Have you any money ? " I remembered the remainder of my former five-dollar bill. I had several marks left, so I told him if he could arrange a modest meal the contents of my pocket were his. With this incentive he quickly accomplished the impossible. I had some potatoes and string beans and a very tiny piece of meat. But no banquet could ever compare with that meal.


About dusk we arrived at Karlsruhe where the officer and his men turned me over to the Army authorities.

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CHAPTER VII

THE LISTENING HOTEL


NOT far from the station of Karlsruhe there is a hotel which before the war was probably like any other of the thousands of cheap hotels in Germany. Now, however, it had been taken over by the Government and all the rooms stripped of everything-they formerly possessed. The windows had been frosted over and locked, and for furniture they had placed several beds of shavings, stools, and tables in each room. It was to this hotel I was taken by the Navy guard and was immediately placed in one of the rooms alone.


The next morning a British warrant officer was placed in the same room with me. Here they made no pretense of giving us breakfast. We had nothing until noontime when we were greeted with soup and a plate of black, frost-bitten potatoes. After "dinner" I was ordered down to the intelligence office on the ground floor where I was interrogated by a German Army officer—I had seen my last of the Navy.


The intelligence officer asked me questions from a typewritten sheet and I saw him covertly write in the answers. "How many troops in France?" "Two million, and twenty million more ready to come." "How long will the war last?" "At least five years."—That always hurt their feelings terribly. They were always hoping for peace in a few months, and every German would say, "Oh, yes; the Allies cannot hold out more than two months longer."


Four months later the common people were still being fed the same propaganda —each month was to see the end of the war—but when it did not end what did they do: lose confidence in the Government? No, indeed! They would go on believing forever if the Kaiser or any one in authority told them to. I could see some hope of the people rising up and demanding a change—but it was to be by the few leaders such as Liebknecht, Erzberger, Scheidemann, and the like; never the mass of the people themselves.


When this officer had received my answers to his questions, I was sent back to a room, but not to the same room from which I had come. Here I found seven Frenchmen. They made me welcome and we sat around and talked in French. They had been captured at different points of the front and all had interesting stories to tell. As the day wore on one of them who was so fortunate as to have a razor decided to shave himself. There was a small cracked mirror on the wall which he took down to place in the light. As he did so, one of the others noticed that the wall where the mirror had been hanging was scratched as if with a sharp instrument and upon approaching closer he deciphered the following:
"Beware of the dictaphones." Investigating further, we found the same warning in all the Allied languages, sometimes scratched in the plaster of the wall and sometimes written in pencil on the under side of tables, chairs, and bunks. That day for our supper we were given the same kind of soup as at noon and this completed the day's refreshments.
The following day I was sent to a room where there were three British officers, and in this room a search revealed the same warning. While I was at the "hotel" three dictaphones were found by the officers. They tore them out and destroyed them. I am sure the Germans gained very little information from us, but they undoubtedly learned a few of the many choice ways in which we habitually spoke of our "friends," the "Huns."

By comparing the stories of other officers, whom I met in the prison camps to which I was afterwards sent, I learned how the system works. Ordinarily an incoming prisoner is placed in a room alone. He stays there for a day or two and is sent to the intelligence officer, who plies him with questions. If he refuses to answer, or is otherwise obstreperous, he is sent back to his solitary confinement. When it is considered that he has been alone long enough and will be anxious to talk with the first person he meets, he is placed in a room with officers who speak the same language and are, like him, prisoners. By means of the dictaphones it is hoped to obtain information of value which one is likely to let fall in his eagerness to talk again. Sometimes the officers he is placed with are spies, but this is not resorted to now as much as at the beginning of the war, owing to the prevalence among prisoners of the idea that all "companions" are enemies.

The fourth day at the "hotel" the British officers in my room were sent away to the prison camp. I endured the solitude for a few hours and then asked to see the intelligence officer. When he came I asked why I was undergoing solitary confinement, and why it was being drawn out so long. He assured me that I should that day be sent to the camp which was only a few blocks away. Accordingly, a few minutes later, the guard lined up outside the hotel and I was escorted through the streets to the Zoological Gardens

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CHAPTER VIII

THE CAMP


ABOUT the second year of the war, while Hagenback's Circus was playing in the Zoological Gardens at Karlsruhe, a British aeroplane squadron came over and dropped bombs on the city, one of which fell in the midst of the people who were attending the performance. Several hundred people were killed or wounded. In retaliation the Germans built a prison camp at the scene of the disaster, planning this as a safeguard against further bombing. As a matter of fact, the railway station a few blocks away from the camp was bombed by the Allies' aero squadrons on an average of two or three times a week, but no bombs ever fell near the camp.


When I entered the camp I found a group of wooden shacks in the shape of an irregular polygon with a court in the center and surrounded by three fences. The inner fence was of wire only seven feet high, but the middle fence was of boards surmounted by barbed wire to a height of twelve feet. The outer fence was of wire like the inner and in certain places there was a fourth fence outside similar to the two just mentioned. The distance between the fences was perhaps eight feet. Inside the court there were five armed sentries constantly patrolling and outside the last fence a line of sentries spaced about thirty yards apart who had more or less stationary posts. The whole camp occupied a site about half as large as a city block.


I was taken to one of the shacks where I was searched and everything except my clothes taken from me—even my binoculars. In the pockets of my trousers and blouse which I was wearing when the President Lincoln was torpedoed, I had a few religious articles, a bunch of keys, and some letters. All went as contraband. When the search was finished, I was sent to another hut where I found seven Frenchmen and eight beds. This was to be my home.


The building was constructed very much like a barn. Partitions divided it into four rooms in each of which were eight beds of wood shavings, eight small stools, and a table. When I had made the acquaintance of the Frenchmen I went out into the court and there found many British officers, several of whom were Canadians, waiting to greet me. I was the only American. The Germans were still advancing in France, but were those British lads downhearted ? Decidedly no! As they shook hands with me (I noticed that nearly all were wounded), they wanted to know just one thing: "America, are you with us?" Fortunately I could assure them that America was with them to the end. They did not propose to give up the fight until the Huns were whipped, they said, but they knew America would have to see the thing through with them or they could not win. France had already given her all.


There were about one hundred British, sixty French, fifteen Italian, and five Serbian officers at the camp when I arrived, but the number fluctuated. All the Allied officers were first sent to the "listening hotel" at Karlsruhe which was the headquarters of the intelligence department. Then, while awaiting transfer to the permanent camps throughout Germany, they were temporarily placed in the camp in the center of the Zoological Gardens. I was there three weeks, and in that time saw two or three times the capacity of the camp arrive and depart. Some, however, stayed months and others came in one day and left the next. There seemed to be no intelligent system followed in transferring prisoners: at least I came to this conclusion after seeing several prisoners shifted from one end of Germany to the other for no apparent reason.


After becoming acquainted with the British officers I met most of the French. They had a committee which was in charge of all the food the French Red Cross sent to the camp, and the chairman of the committee took me under his wing, saying he had orders from France to take care of any Americans who should come through. They had very few supplies, but I was treated like one of their own and given whatever they had. Among the first things they gave me were a few very necessary articles of clothing. They also had some dried beans on hand, a little coffee— real coffee—and some hard biscuits. The French hard biscuits have saved many lives in this war. We used to cut a hole in them, pour in water, and soon they would swell up, become soft, and closely resemble white bread.


I quickly became accustomed to life in the camp. We had no breakfast. At noontime we had a plate of soup made out of leaves. This was followed usually by a plate of black potatoes (the good potatoes were saved for the German Army) or horse carrots or some similar vegetable. At 6 P.M. we had another plate of soup and sometimes there was dessert: a teaspoonful of jam. It was terrible tasting stuff and for a long time we could not tell what it was made of; but a few months later we saw peasants gathering the red berries of the mountain ash and they told us they made them into jam. That accounted for the taste.


That was our ration from the Germans with the exception of the black bread. Once a day we were given a piece of this bread about as big as a man's fist. It weighed about two hundred and forty or two hundred and fifty grams. Now half a pound of white bread makes a relatively large bulk; but the small size of this half pound is easily understood when I describe the ingredients. We tried to analyze it one day and this is what we found: first, water and potatoes; second, sawdust and chaff; and third, sand.


As for the soup, in all the time I was there it was never changed. It looked and tasted like water; and the leaves with which it was filled were, of course, not edible. Were it not for the food I obtained from the French committee I should never have lasted out those three long weeks.


The canteen sold cider and so-called wine, and once in a while some dried fish. No other foodstuffs could we buy. They had safety matches for twenty-five cents a small box, "ersatz" cigarettes and tobacco at exorbitant prices, the ten-cent variety of granite-ware plates and utensils for from one to three dollars each, oil-cloth at seven dollars per yard, and a few other articles that I have forgotten. They told me that the tobacco must contain seventy-five per cent of hops, by order of the Government. It looked like wheat chaff, but we bought it just the same, rather than have nothing to smoke.


Our orderlies were British "Tommies" and French "Poilus." Some had been captured at the beginning of the war, others more recently. My little "Tommy," to whom I became greatly attached, used to tell me about his home in "Blighty," and how much longer he would have to wait to see it. One day he told me how he was taken. His battalion was cut to pieces and the remnants captured. After terrible hardships they found themselves in the rear of the German lines. They were then lined up and counted. Three officers and less than a hundred men were left. The officers were ordered to step to the front, and there before the eyes of their men they were shot down in cold blood. I cite this, not as anything extraordinary, but as a sample of the tales told by officers and men alike, who, knowing that land warfare was new to me, a Navy man, used to recount their experiences and then ask to hear mine.


One day six or seven "Tommies" came to the camp to replenish the supply of orderlies. I was near the gate as they came in, and of all the terrible sights I have ever witnessed that was the worst. The poor lads were absolutely skin and bones: I called them walking skeletons. They came in dragging their feet along and were so weak they could hardly stand. They had no shoes nor stockings, but instead had some rags tied around their feet. In fact the only clothing they had consisted of ragged trousers, and a few strips passed over their shoulders and tied to the tops of the trousers.


I learned their story. Since their capture they had been held at St. Quentin, where, although the Germans had accepted the terms of the agreement whereby all prisoners of war were to be kept at least thirty kilometers behind the firing line, they were forced to repair roads under the fre of their own batteries. Their food was only one plate of soup a day. Some of the officers who had just come in assured me that they had seen these same lads a few mornings before under their prison windows at St. Quentin waiting for it to become light enough so they could search the ground for crusts of bread, cigarette stubs, or anything else the officers might have discarded the night before.

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CHAPTER IX

PLANS OF ESCAPE


I HAD been at Karlsrnhe but a few hours when I made a tour of the camp and sized up my chances of escape. Realizing my ignorance of the subject and knowing I could get good advice from the other prisoners, I let them know I had information which I was anxious to get back to the Navy and that I proposed to escape at the first opportunity, or failing an opportunity that I intended to make one. The British and French officers immediately offered me money and food, maps and a compass.


Karlsrnhe is about one hundred miles from the Swiss frontier. A good map was almost a necessity and the compass would be my only guide in the long night marches. The trip would take at least fifteen days and food to last that long would be difficult to escape with. But with concentrated food, such as sweet chocolate, loaf sugar, and French biscuits, a very little would keep a man going indefinitely.- Those of the officers who had been taken prisoner a long time before were receiving food of all kinds from home; and from them I got what I needed.


Money would buy many things. In an emergency, a hundred-mark note dangled before a guard's eyes would probably mean the difference between recapture and freedom. Of course I had no money, but I knew that I was entitled to some, so I asked for an interview with the commandant, got it, and told him that in my understanding of international law I was entitled to at least a part of my salary as an officer of the United States Navy. He informed me that his Government had no agreement with America and therefore he had no authority to pay me. When he heard, however, that I had no money at all, he agreed to pay me the same as the British officers with whose Government there was an agreement. The lieutenants were paid sixty marks a month and the captains and above, one hundred marks.


So he ordered the paymaster to give me one hundred marks, since my rank corresponded to that of an Army captain. Then the paymaster deducted sixty marks for my "board" and gave me the balance. This money was never paid in good specie, but always in the form of camp paper money, good only inside the camp, at the canteen, and for similar purposes.


I could hardly hope to buy my way to freedom with forty marks, but several of the officers were able to secrete good French, German, and British money in their clothes in such a way that it escaped detection in the search which every one had to undergo when entering or leaving a camp. One French major came in with twelve hundred francs in good money and hearing my plans he came right over and handed it all to me.

Among my fellow prisoners were several who like me wanted to escape. We talked over the many plans that had been tried since the beginning of the war, and in this manner I learned what to do and what not to do. Allying myself with two French aviators and some British officer prisoners, I planned my first Karlsruhe escape.


Working at night we were able to loosen some staples that held the wires of the inner fence to the posts. In this way we made an opening large enough to pass through, and then quietly attacked the board fence. It took several nights of painful work with the sentries only a short distance away, but finally we had one board loosened in such a way that a single wrench would tear it off.


By judicious use of money and French biscuits we had acquired two friends among the sentries—one of whom was a young Swiss boy who had run away from Switzerland and been impressed into service by the Germans. Through him one of the French aviators communicated with friends he had met in Karlsrnhe before the war. One of these, his fiancee, a German girl, was preparing her basement for us to live in for a few days after we should escape from the camp and while the search was still hot. Then, when the uproar should have died down, we would crawl out under cover of darkness and begin the march to the frontier.


For sentimental reasons I chose the 4th of July as the day for the attempt. When the sentries on the inside of the camp were properly disposed, we were all to slip through the inner fence and line up near the loosened board, the first man was to wrench it off and go through, and the rest were to follow. Then we were to storm the outer wire fence and climb over, feeling sure that the size of our party would so frighten the guards that they would be unable to fire until we were safe behind a row of trees and bushes which grew only fifty yards from the camp. After that it would simply be a case of running through the town to the forest beyond. On the way four of us would drop out and make our way to the basement mentioned before. The others would divide up into twos and threes and scatter.


All plans were completed, our food, maps, and compasses assembled, and all was in readiness by the morning of July 3d. The last letter to friends in town had been given to the Swiss guard and we waited only for the darkness of midnight. As the guards were relieved at rr A.M. I noticed a commotion of some kind at the main gate. Hastening over I saw that our guard had been searched and the letter found in his clothes. Things happened rapidly then. The young aviator who had written the letter was sent for, but he refused to tell the names of the rest of us. The commandant immediately telegraphed to Berlin asking for instructions and the guard was doubled both inside and outside of the yard. Of course that plan was ruined, but we did not lose hope.


The next day was the 4th of July and we celebrated as best we could. Five American aviators had just come in and with them I observed the Day. We collected as much food as we could find, except, of course, the reserve for escape purposes, which was never touched no matter how hard-pressed we were. One of the aviators had brought in a tiny silk " Stars and Stripes," and with this waving over the table we had our banquet.
The next morning orders came from Berlin to clear the camp of all officers. That day nearly all the French and British officers were sent to camps in Northern Germany. Two British generals, some Serbian and Italian officers, a few French aviators, and I were left. With one of the aviators I planned to get away that night.


In one corner of the camp there was a large tree which had very thick foliage and one limb of which extended out over the three fences. I conceived the idea of climbing the tree before "Taps," which was at eleven o'clock, hiding in the foliage until about 1.30 A.M., then crawling out to the end of the big limb, making fast a line, and sliding down outside. A scheme similar to this had been planned a few nights before by one of the American aviators and myself, but we were unable to climb the tree before "Taps" sounded and the sentries ordered us inside our barracks.


I had some trouble in getting a line which would hold our weight, but after searching the camp thoroughly I finally found an electric wire in the little theater which the prisoners had built years before in the center of the camp. This wire was heavily insulated, and upon testing it we found that it would hold our weight.


That night after dark we placed our reserve food in knapsacks, made from pieces of an old shirt, and strapped them to our backs. I wrapped the electric wire around my body, and then, draping blankets about our shoulders in the manner of German officers with their cloaks, we donned caps furnished by some of the other officers and left the barracks. This disguise would aid us after we were outside the camp and in getting out of the city. We walked directly to the tree, found the coast clear, and climbed up. Soon the sentry in that part of the yard walked over and took up his position directly under us. He was relieved at eleven o'clock and the next sentry never moved out of his tracks. He in turn was relieved at I A.M. and the latter again at 3 A.M., but for some unknown reason they all refused to leave that spot. We could not move for fear of making a noise.
It was cold and we were terribly cramped; and it was not until after sunrise that we were able to climb down and mingle unnoticed with the other officers inside the yard.

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CHAPTER X
THE BEST EFFORT


A FEW mornings later I was awakened by an interpreter at six o'clock and told to be ready to leave the camp in half an hour. Rising hastily I dressed and then looked around for some way of hiding my compass, money, and maps. The food would excite no suspicion; but I knew I should be searched for contraband articles, as was customary, and that, unless I could secrete these things in a way that no one else had ever tried, they would surely be found.


I had a jar of lard that the French committee had given me, and in this I placed my compass. My money I put in a jar of shaving-cream. For my maps only could I find no hiding-place. I had several detailed accounts of how French officers had escaped—their itineraries with notes and plans—which had been smuggled back in loaves of bread and bars of soap and in other innocent-looking packages. But all of these I had to destroy. I put my faith in one large general map, and finally hid it in a box of cocoa that a British officer had given me. I took out the paper lining of the box and placed my map folded to the correct size inside. I then dusted some cocoa over it and replaced the lining which, bag shaped, contained the rest of the cocoa. Then with my knapsack full of food I reported to the Mess Hall.


I was told to take off my clothes. One interpreter searched my knapsack while another went through my clothing. The latter took each garment separately, kneaded it between his fingers, listening the while for the rustle of paper, turned it inside out, and finally cut open the seams in places where it looked suspicious. Even my insignia and gold stripes were cut open, but of course nothing was found.


But in the meantime the contents of the knapsack were having troubles of their own. As soon as the interpreter espied the jar of lard he reached for it. I was ahead of him, and talking volubly, I thrust my finger in the jar on the side away from the compass, showing him it was only lard, and explaining that I was taking it to the next camp because I did not know if I should find any there—and, of course, it was very valuable, there being so little in Germany, etc., etc. I talked in this strain until he reached for something else. Soon he came to the box of cocoa. With a long steel needle he began feeling inside. I took this opportunity to slide the jar of shaving cream back into the knapsack; and then, as beads of perspiration slowly gathered on my brow, I watched and prayed that he would overlook the map. After what seemed centuries to me he made one final jab with his needle and put the box down. I had won the first skirmish.


When the search was finished I was marched by two guards to the railroad station. On the way out of the camp I noticed that the Serbian officers and some Frenchmen who had come in during the night were lining up to be also marched away. There were about thirty of them and they had four guards. A lone American usually had two. We arrived at the station and boarded a train, and then the guards told me we were bound for Villingen in the Schwarzwald—or Black Forest, as we call it.


I was unfortunate in having to travel in the daytime, for at Karlsruhe we had always considered a passage on the train the best time for making an attempt to escape, provided the traveling was done at night. The darkness would render it next to impossible for the guards to find a person if he jumped from the train, even though he might be wounded. Of course I did not want to force the hand of Fate, but it seemed that most of the opportunities had been closed against me up to this time and Fate therefore needed a little moral persuasion to open up those doors to me. So I planned to jump from the train when the time looked propitious, but preferably when we had reached the point nearest the Swiss frontier.


All the way down to Offenburg, which we reached about noontime, the guards watched me like hawks. There we changed trains; and leaving the main line behind, our train headed southward up into the mountains. We were in a fourth-class carriage filled with German soldiers back from the front on furlough, who obstructed the passageway in the center of the coach and thronged around the door. Little wooden benches about three feet long jutted out from both sides of the car toward the center.. On one of these I set with one guard beside me, the other on the next bench facing me. Each held his gun pointed toward me and I took pains to see that the guns were loaded.


About two o'clock in the afternoon we reached a place called Sommerau, where I noticed an engine was switched back. Then we made higher speed, and of a sudden I realized what had happened. Up to this time we had been making only ten or twelve miles an hour and were on the upgrade. At Sommerau we reached the crest of the mountains and from then on were on the downgrade. Had I known this before I should have taken my chances with the low speed, but it was now too late.


At three o'clock we were nearing Villingen. The train was making about forty miles an hour and we were passing through a valley which was rather thickly populated. The guns of the guards were still pointed toward me and they did look ugly; but the window near our seat was open and I was sure that I could reach it at a bound, so if they fired they would be just as likely to hit one of the other passengers as me. It was warm and close in the carriage and one of the guards was dozing. I waited until the other slightly turned his head to answer a question put by one of the soldiers with whom he had been talking. Then, jumping up, with my knapsack hanging from my neck, I leaped past both guards and tried to dive through the window. It was small, probably eighteen inches wide and twenty-four inches high; and as there was nothing on the outside of the car to hold to, I had to depend on my momentum and the weight of my head and shoulders to carry the rest of my body along. My head and shoulders went through nicely; and then with the shouts of the guards ringing in my ears I simply fell and all went dark.

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CHAPTER XI
PUNISHMENT


WHEN I disappeared from view the guards must have pulled the bell-rope, for the train came to a stop about three hundred yards farther along. In the meantime I had landed on the track that paralleled the one on which the train was running. The bed was of crushed rock and the ties of steel. My head struck one tie and I was stunned, but rolled over and over; and the shaking up must have brought me again to my senses, for by the time the train had stopped I was struggling to my feet.


Then I made a terrible discovery: my knees had apparently struck the tie next to the one that damaged my head, and when I tried to run I found they were so cut and bruised that I could not bend them. My feet, too, had been cut across the insteps, my body was all bruised, and my hands and arms had small pieces of rock ground in; but in spite of all this no bones were broken. Had it not been for the condition of my knees I should have been able to make my escape; but by the time I was on my feet trying to shuffle away, the guards had descended from the train and were rapidly advancing toward me firing as they came.

I tried to run, but could make very little headway, and soon I was exhausted. My breath came in gasps and I finally fell to the ground. I was dragging myself along by pulling on the grass when the last shot passed between my ear and shoulder and buried itself in the ground in front of me. The guards were then less than seventy five yards away, and I just had time to turn over, raise myself to a half-sitting and half-lying posture and elevate my hands above my head as a sign that I surrendered, before they were on me.


With fiendish fury the first guard, turning his gun end for end and grasping it by the muzzle, rushed on me, and dealt me a smashing blow on the head. It knocked me unconscious and I rolled down the hill. When I came to my senses I was lying in a
shallow ditch at the foot of the hill and the guards were cursing and kicking me trying to make me get up.


Many of the people from the hayfields near by had gathered to watch the fun. Among them I noticed many women and children and a few old men. One old veteran with a pitchfork in his hands came running up and offered his services to the guards in case I should become dangerous. No one in all that crowd offered a word of sympathy or tried to remonstrate with my captors in the punishment they were administering—and these were the best people of Germany, the pious, church-going Baden peasants!


And I must have made such a pitiable looking spectacle! The blood was streaming down my face from the wound in my head where it had struck the railroad tie; my trousers at the knees had been ground into the flesh; and my hands were torn and bleeding.


After a few minutes I was able to pull myself to my feet; but I had no sooner done so than one of the guards knocked me down again with a blow on the back of the head. With their heavy boots they kicked me, and with their fists they pounded me. Each time when they got me to my feet, they would knock me down again with a blow of their guns. The seventh or eighth time I was felled to the ground, one guard had passed behind me and raising his gun full length had struck me on the back of the head above the left ear. The fact that the leather sling was between my head and the gun and acted as a cushion when the blow was struck undoubtedly saved my life; for the force was so terrific that I was knocked several feet away, the gun broke in two at the small of the stock, and for several days I was totally deaf in the left ear

.
Now all this time I had not even tried to protect myself. Had I done so, it would have given them the opportunity they wanted of shooting me, and they would have had many witnesses to testify that I had resisted arrest. But a cold-blooded murder in the presence of so many civilians was a dangerous business; for if the truth ever leaked out, as was likely to happen under those conditions, it would go hard with the guards and perhaps with the military authorities if it were taken up by my Government and reprisals ordered. Things like that were common enough behind the lines at the front where there were no civilians to tell the tale and where many dark deeds could be done under the plea of military necessity.


After the gun was broken I lay for a few minutes on the ground unconscious. The next thing I knew I was being beaten over the neck and shoulders with a saw-edged bayonet and driven back to the railroad track. Better care was taken of the remaining rifle, but there was little danger of breaking the bayonet or the wooden soles of those heavy boots. The train had not waited, so we marched back to a signal station a few hundred yards up the track. There, while the guards inquired about the next train, a woman in a farmhouse near by was sent to fetch some bread and milk. When she returned the guards paid her, took the food, and compelled me to stand at attention while they refreshed themselves. Then, deciding they would not wait for the next train, they turned me around and, prodding me with their bayonet and gun, started me for Villingen and the prison camp about five miles away.


As I shuffled along they would kick me trying to make me go faster. Of course I was walking practically stiff-legged, for I could not bend my knees, and so did not make the speed they desired. My knapsack with all the food was still hanging from my neck and before I had gone far the weight began to tell. I had to march at attention and could not raise my hand to ease the strain.


Occasionally, in a burst of rage, one of the guards would run up behind me and knock me down with a blow from his gun or fist—probably when he would remember how close he had come to losing me. That would have meant for him at least two weeks' solitary confinement or a trip back to the trenches, which was much less desirable than the easy garrison duty he was performing at Karlsruhe.


During one of these little spasms, when one of the brutes had just struck me down with his gun, two women and a man came running out from a farmhouse and scolded him roundly. Both guards answered very insolently, but they desisted from their brutal treatment while we were in sight of that house, and then later on continued the beating. This was the only time any German ever said a word in my defense.

I shall never know how I bore up under that torture. During the last mile I was choking for breath and so weak I could barely stand, but still I was prodded onward. In my mind were two thoughts contending for supremacy: that this was my road to Calvary and I should bear my cross like a man; and that I must live to ask God for the privilege of being the instrument of his vengeance against the German people. Anyway, I refused to die. And then between five and six o'clock we came to the camp.


More dead than alive I staggered inside the gate and fell in a heap on the guardhouse porch. I do not know how long I lay there; but later, when I became conscious, I found myself on a bed in a cell of the guard-house, with the commandant towering over me and bellowing in German that if I attempted to escape again I should be shot. An interpreter told me what he said, although he condensed in one sentence what it took the Oberstleutnant Ehrt five minutes to deliver.


Ehrt, the commandant, was a fat, porkish, scowling individual, the very image of Ludendorff. When he had exhausted his vocabulary (such words as " Schwein " were by this time familiar to me), he left the room and a doctor came in. We were told later that he was a sophomore at a medical college and had just been impressed into the service. He treated my wounds, covered my body with wet dressings, and finally wrapped me from head to feet with paper bandages. "Ah, you will live to be hanged," he said, as, shaking his head, he left the room.


My knapsack and clothes were then given to the camp guards, and I heard later that they had found my compass and money very easily, but could not find the map. So they tore open all the seams of my clothing and ripped off the soles and heels of my shoes; but, finding nothing more, finally gave up the search.


When the doctor left me the door was closed and locked, and I quickly passed into a deep sleep from which I did not wake until late the following day. Imagine my horror to find on awaking that my body, which was one mass of cuts and bruises, had been still further lacerated by untold numbers of vermin with which the cell was infested. And I was helpless! I could move neither arms nor legs trussed up as I was like a mummy. For three days I endured this agony, but it was almost unbearable. Of all my sufferings in Germany I believe this was the worst. There is probably in this little world of ours one thing more poisonous than the German fleas—and only one—and that is German propaganda!


After the bandages were removed from my arms and upper body (I was young and my wounds healed rapidly), I was able to keep away most of the vermin, at least while I was awake; but when finally time had erased the worst marks of my beating, my body was still covered with large red eruptions. I shall always bear these scars. Two months later my knees were entirely healed, although I was able to walk within three weeks.


About my sixth day in the cell I was given a sort of court-martial at which were present three German officers and an interpreter. They asked me what I had to say about my attempt to escape—where I had obtained the money and compass and if I had a map. As usual I gave them very little information. I did tell them, however, about my treatment at the hands of the guards and the complaisance with which it was viewed by their good people of Baden. I told them that the inhabitants of Southern Germany no longer enjoyed in my estimation any higher pedestal than the Prussians: and I pointed out that the people of the Allied nations and especially of America were just about correct in their opinion that the Germans were a brutal beast-like race, when their civilians so plainly showed themselves to be as bad as their military. This one little incident amply proved it, I said.


A few days later they told me that my two guards were to be court-martialed and asked me to make a deposition as a witness. I did so, but as they translated it into German I am not sure that I signed my name to the exact truth. Anyway, I never found out if the guards were really court-martialed, and if they were whether it was for inhuman treatment or for breaking the gun—" destroying government property," as we say in the Navy.


After my court-martial, I was notified that I had been condemned to two weeks' solitary confinement in my cell as punishment for attempting to escape. Those days were terribly long and I should have starved had it not been for the food sent in to me by the American officers at the camp, who asked for and obtained permission to do so. By this time several of them had been in prison over three months and were regularly receiving parcels from the Red Cross. They even sent me cigarettes, but these I was not allowed to receive. What a comfort they would have been in those hours of loneliness!


At last my prison term was served. I took one parting look at my hard bed, my table and stool, and finally at the little barred window high up in the wall through which a few rays of light sometimes found their way, and without any regret followed the guard to the court and the barracks of the American officers. I had lost thirty pounds weight and was very weak, but I walked those fifty yards with a light step. Hope had come again.

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CHAPTER XII
THE AMERICAN CAMP


WITH almost my first breath of fresh air, I vowed that I would surely escape the next time. If I had been lukewarm in my intention before, I was determined now.


I found the camp to be a rectangular shaped enclosure about one hundred and fifty yards long and fifty yards wide. Low, white barracks ran along the outside of the rectangle; and a large assembly hall, a canteen building, a small music room, and a library shack occupied the ground in the center of the camp. There was space enough left around this group of buildings and between them and the barracks for a tennis court, a volley-ball court, and a sort of track around which we walked or ran to get the exercise we needed.


Each barrack building was partitioned, making the rooms about twenty-five by thirty feet; and twenty prisoners were supposed to occupy each room. The outside windows of the barracks were covered with iron gratings, and a few feet beyond was a deep ditch filled with barbed-wire entanglements and surmounted by a four foot barbed-wire fence. About eight feet beyond the ditch and fifteen feet from the windows of the barracks was a barbed wire fence about ten feet high, whose upper wires were bent inward out of the vertical plane of the rest of the fence in such a way as to prevent any one from climbing over—a simple matter with wires straight up and down. Patrolling outside the fence was a line of sentries armed with rifles. They were at first spaced about fifty yards apart; but later there was a sentry every twenty-five or thirty yards, and they formed a regular cordon around the camp. Inside the yard or court formed by the barracks was one sentry who patrolled up and down continuously.

The barracks were made of some kind of stucco and were one story in height. They sat on the ground and had no foundation, although there was a cellar under each barrack, built with the evident intention of making it impossible for the officers to tunnel out under their rooms: for this made access possible from the outside, and six or eight times every day and night guards with flashlights inspected each cellar looking for evidences of tunneling. Since the building of the camp at the beginning of the war (or before) five or six tunnels had been constructed by the prisoners and many had succeeded in escaping in this manner. I say "before" advisedly, for the furniture in the barracks, which consisted of an iron bed, a wooden locker, and a small wooden stool for each officer, was all marked "K. G. 1913," which stands for"KriegsGefangenenlager 1913," and which translated means "Camp for Prisoners of War." As the world knows, war was declared in 1914.


Before we entered the war, the prisoners at Villingen included Russian, French, and British officers; but at the time of my arrival there were only Russians and Americans—about one hundred and fifty of the former and forty of the latter. The Russians, many of whom had been there since 1914, were terribly emaciated. Even then they were as a class of larger stature than the officers of any other nationality. Most of them were excellent men, well educated, and represented the best Russia could produce; but there were a few Bolsheviki among them. Since the defection of Russia, the fall of the monarchy, and the rise of the Bolsheviki, parcels from home had ceased coming, and the prisoners were forced to depend almost entirely on the ration from the Germans.


The Americans used to share their food with the Russians, but at times the supply ran very low. There were weeks when no parcels from the Red Cross would get through, perhaps owing to transportation troubles, and then several parcels for each officer would come together. Often the boxes were plundered; but enough food came through to make us independent of the German ration.


The French and the British allowed parcels to any number to be sent to prisoners in Germany; and these, coming from relatives and friends, usually contained great quantities of candy and other luxuries, while the Red Cross committees sent the necessities. We, however, used to wonder why no luxuries came from home until one of the officers received from his family in New York a list of the things that could be sent from America—as somebody laughingly said, "one pair of shoe-laces per month."


As a matter of routine we "paraded'' in the assembly hall at 9 A.M. and 7 P.M. for muster. As each one's name was called he stepped out of ranks and marched out of the hall. A German reserve officer was always in charge, and he was assisted by an under-officer who called the roll. The Germans had on duty at the camp four officers, one of whom, the commandant, was a "regular"; also sixty or seventy soldiers, who were there for guard duty principally, but who were also called on, when off duty, for any emergency that might arise.


We received no breakfast from the Germans, but at noontime soup followed by a vegetable was served in two small rooms one at either end of the yard, and the officers
ate there in two shifts. At first we had only Russian soldiers for orderlies and some of these acted as waiters. A knife, fork, and spoon were furnished every officer when he arrived at the camp and we carried them with us to meals; but the plates that we used were kept at the mess halls. At 6 P.M. supper was served: soup again with sometimes a vegetable and sometimes a bit of 3am. I have already described this most unpalatable stuff, and in fact nothing that was ever served to us could truthfully be called palatable.

Every Wednesday and Sunday noon, except during meatless weeks, which came every third week, we were given a tiny piece of meat which had had the blood squeezed out of it, and which by actual measurement was one inch wide, two and one half inches long, and one eighth of an inch thick. One day I got a ruler and verified these measurements, so I know they are correct.


Every week the Germans hung up a menu in the mess halls, showing an elaborate programme for each day of the week. Once, to satisfy my curiosity, I looked at it and found that for supper we were to have soup, barley, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage—a veritable function. That night when the supper was served I found our old stand-by soup, with half a dozen grains of barley in it, and a dish of mush that might have been at one time the three vegetables mentioned above; but that menu would be strong evidence of the humanitarian way in which the Germans treat their prisoners!


Two of the barracks next to the main gate were used as the guard-house and the office building respectively. The first one, the guard-house, had a room for the officer of the day, a room for the sergeant of the watch, two cells, one of which I had occupied, and a few small rooms for the relief watch. The next barrack building had several rooms used as offices by the commandant and his assistants; also a large dormitory used by the guards off watch; and one other room in which was kept the food we received from the Red Cross.


At the end of one of the barracks was the latrine for officers and orderlies. It was the dirtiest and most insanitary place I have ever seen. Why all of us were not ill from it is incomprehensible, for the orderlies were frightfully unclean and most of them diseased. They were all Russians of the most ignorant class and only a few could read and write. Whenever word was received that visitors were coming, such as inspecting officers and embassy officials, the latrine was cleaned; those were the only times.


The lighting at the camp was by electricity. There were many lights inside the yard and a complete row ran around the outside of the barracks perhaps twenty-five feet above the ground. Also a few very powerful lights were on high poles outside the camp and lighted up the fields in the immediate vicinity.


The prison camp was situated on the western outskirts of Villingen. There were no houses of any kind near it, except the caserne of the Villingen battalion, which was across the street. It was filled at the time of my arrival with about five hundred seventeen-year-old youths, and every day and night they were engaged in drill and target practice. Many times at 1 and 2 A.M. we were awakened by the singing as they marched down the road to or from the practice trenches a mile or so away. "Sing!" would shout the drill sergeants as they whacked one lad here and another there with the flat of their swords. And all would burst out with " Die Wacht am Rhein," or some other patriotic German air.


One day in August away marched the "Ersatz" battalion as the Villingen newspaper, the " Schwarzwalder," called it. They were escorted to the train by a band; and the townsfolk gathered to throw flowers in their path and to bid them goodbye.


At KarlsruDe also we had often seen youngsters marching past the camp on their way to the station; and, attracted by their singing, the Frenchmen and I would mount tables and peer over the high board fence that obstructed our view of everything outside. "Ah," the Frenchmen would say, "they sing to forget their hunger!"


When the older boys left for the front the caserne at Villingen was immediately filled with a new class—the sixteen-year olds, as the guards told us. And then their military training commenced.


So this was the place where I was destined to spend three months of my existence; fortunately the armistice put an end to the taking of prisoners, or more of our officers would have come to know it as a place to be left with little regret.