“Today we used our first powder for blasting …

 “Today we used our first
powder for blasting in the quarry. It was fizzle!!!”                                

“We were to operate a quarry. We had a definite job to do, so we
took stock of our situation in order to adopt the most practical working plan.

Our equipment had been
scattered over the whole Western Front and was in the hands of any organization
that thought it might come in handy…

We found ourselves in possession of second-hand French straight
handled shovels, crude French picks and stone hammers, and an abundance of that
stuff which prompted us to volunteer: that stuff was called “Enthusiasm”,
Patriotism” and “Esprit de Corps”.

Our job began by the industrious use of those tools, knowledge
of which, disclosed before the examining officers, would have barred us from
the 23rd Engineers. But we
said, “C’est la Guerre!” and “carried on!”

March 1918,
in Menil-la-Tour, Meurthe-et-Moselle,

American engineers in charge of building a command post in a quarry. Company A, Twenty-Third Engineers,
A. E. F
– Photo: March 14 1918 – Menil-la-Tour quarry, a French soldier showing to an American engineer how to use a French rock drill.