A Thrilling Adventure
This is a true story of three canal barges loaded with 952 American soldiers killed in battle on a voyage from Toul, France to Antwerp, Belgium on their way to the U.S.A.
In 1919, having married a French girl, I was mustered out of the army in France and obtained a job with the American Graves Registration Service which was just being organized in Paris. I worked in the field with Section #1, covering most of France and Belgium until 1921 when I was assigned to help establish a railhead at Toul, France under Captain Glandon. After three barges had been loaded with 952 caskets, I was selected as Chief Convoyer for the trip to Antwerp, Belgium. We left Porte Moselle April 8, 1921 at 4:40 PM towed by horses with a convoyor and poleman or steersman on each barge and the captain and his wife, who cooked our meals, on the leading barge on which I was stationed and which, by the way, was a steam barge but which could not be used until we arrived in the larger canals or rivers. On April 10 we reached Foug and passed through a tunnel which was five kilometers long. At Euville the canal became much larger and we dropped the horses after which the lead barge began towing us with its steam power. On April 11 we stopped for the night at St. Mihiel, where the Americans had fought so gallantly, and on April 13 we were at Verdun where the French had held so stubbornly. The entire trip to