Towards midnight we halted, and almost immediately afterwards orders arrived. Our original instructions had been to move on at daybreak, but the orders just to hand were to the effect that we should remain here. So we were able to sleep until past nine o’clock.
A never-ending stream of refugees was now flowing down the dusty road.
We again heard a rumour that we had been replaced on the Meuse by the 6th Army Corps; and that we were going into Haute-Alsace under the command of General d’Amade. This name, which was very popular, elicited general enthusiasm.
“Now it will be different!”
I questioned a Chasseur, one of General Boelle’s orderlies, but either the man knew nothing, or he would not tell what he knew.
The carts of the refugees had to be lined up on one side of the road in order to make way for the infantry of the 2nd Army Corps arriving from Clermont-en-Argonne and Sainte-Menehould. These troops seemed to have suffered less severely than the regiments of the 4th Corps, but they had no more notion as to their destination than we. They also spoke of d’Amade, of successes in the north, and of naval victories. They appeared to be quite unaware that the Germans were advancing behind us. But were they really advancing? Was it not merely a fresh allotment of French troops? How we wished that it were!