The New York Times/1918/07/08/Americans' Deeds Send Our Stock Up

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149 Deaths in Camps Caused by Pneumonia

Published Monday, July 8, 1918


AMERICANS' DEEDS SEND OUR STOCK UP

Cantigny, Chateau-Thierry, and Hamel Have Won Respect of Our Allies.


GRIEF FOR MITCHEL'S FATE


Americans in London Pay Tribute to the Inspiration of His Patriotic Sacrifice.

By CHARLES H. GRASTY.

Copyright, 1918, by The New York Times Company.

Special Cable to The New York Times.

LONDON, July 7.—Speculation here about the delayed German stroke has been decidedly optimistic on a crescendo scale; but recently some anxiety has appeared regarding the influenza epidemic at the front. In the peculiar situation it is conceivable that the Allies might get the worst of it. If the German army is suffering sufficiently to delay its attack it need only lie back and await recovery. There is no danger of a general offensive by the Allies.

"Suppose, however," said an American medical man, "the influenza epidemic jumps to our side after the Germans recover. Being on the defensive we would not have profited by their weakness, whereas they, being on the offensive, might profit greatly if the allied troops were weakened by sickness of this kind. This is one of the chances against which no amount of pains or forethought could safeguard us."

The untimely death of ex-Mayor Mitchel, the brief announcement of which appears in the Sunday newspapers, has caused widespread genuine sorrow among all Americans. It was the general topic of conversation today. His turning from a conspicuous position in public life to dangerous air service was an act that stirred the country and stimulated the kind of spirit among the youth which has manifested itself so gallantly at Château-Thierry and in Picardy.

"Mitchel's conduct was a sermon in patriotism, and he has not died in vain, for the spirit he evoked will live after him," said an officer.

Underneath all the Fourth of July enthusiasm one finds a growing English respect for the American soldier. Until recently a good deal of doubt was entertained whether the Americans should be trusted alone for some months. Indeed, such doubts were natural. We have been very fortunate in the way things have fallen for us.

First, there was Cantigny, in which remarkable little success, by the way, we were aided by the painstaking supervision of a descendant of Lafayette, the Marquis de Chambrun. That gallant and accomplished officer for weeks acted as military instructor and taught our men all the tricks of attack. Then at Chateau-Thierry came the opportunity to use the proficiency peculiar to America, and with stomachs and cartridge belts full our infantry gave the Boche something new to think about. Our activities in that neighborhood have in sum established the rating of trained American soldiers in this war, and it is A1.

There remained the question what our new troops might be like when fed directly into European units. The Australians tried them out last week, and all the world knows the result. It is worth everything to have had such a start as these three tryouts have given us. It puts the standard high, but there is no question but that American pluck will measure up to it, and the luck will go with the pluck.

I heard a comment recently that struck me forcibly. "The American showing," it ran, "is an exhibit for the system under which we live and for which we are fighting. The Germans have rather put over on us the dictum that only autocracies can be efficient. Americans come swinging into the war from a civilization that never gave military subjects a single thought, and overnight they are almost the best boche-beaters on the front."


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