“Nothing there but the real things,
absolutely no sham of any kind.”
saw a scene last night in Neuvilly that I want to tell you about.
church about the size of ours at home, with all the north wall out except a supporting column in the
middle, holes in all the other walls, all the windows gone, the floor covered
with debris of wreckage. Over the altar is a beautiful picture
of Christ ascending to heaven; beneath the picture is the office of the field
hospital, some wounded on stretchers in the northeast corner.
About one fourth of the way from the west
end of the north wall, a fire had been built, around which were three
Salvation Army lassies (God bless them), among about two hundred men. These
were the men who had been facing death a thousand times. Men who
looked as though they were chilled through and through; soldiers on their way to the
front, doctors who had been working for days without rest; drivers off ammunition
and ration trucks, who had been at the wheel day and night; wounded on their
stretchers enjoying a smoke.
And as I stepped in the door there were the feminine voices singing the good
old American tunes we all know so well, and not a sound in the church but the
distant booming of big guns…
Every man in the building that night was in the very presence of God. It
was not a religious meeting; it was a meeting full of religion. There was nothing there but the real things,
absolutely no sham of any kind. Oh, it was wonderful!
This picture will ever stand fresh in my memory and I hope you
can get just a little idea of what it was. I wish you would keep this letter. I
want to be able to read it in future years.”
September 1918 –
American officer’s letter to his wife, talking about
the scene he witnessed in this church of Neuvilly.
War Romance of the Salvation Army – American Women in World War
I: They Also Served
Photo: Historic photo taken September
20, 1918, in the church of Neuvilly, Meuse, France, showing men of the 110th Sanitary Train setting up a field hospital.
See more interesting photos of this
chuch, the village of Neuvilly, & then and now photos HERE.