Claude and Gerhardt went out to the barn and roused Hicks and his pal, Dell Able. The men were asleep in dry straw, for the first time in ten days. They were completely worn out, lost to time and place. Many of them were already four thousand miles away, scattered among little towns and farms on the prairie. They were
a miserable looking lot as they got together, stumbling about in the dark.
After the Colonel had gone over the map with Captain Maxey, he came out and saw the Company assembled. He wasn't going with them, he told them, but he expected them to give a good account of themselves. Once in Beaufort, they would have a week's rest; sleep under cover, and live among people for awhile.
The men took the road, some with their eyes shut, trying to make believe they were still asleep, trying to have their agreeable dreams over again, as they marched. They did not really waken up until the advance challenged a Hun patrol, and sent it back to the Colonel under a one-man guard. When they had advanced two kilometers, they found the bridge blown up. Claude and Hicks went in one direction to look for a ford, Bruger and Dell Able in the other, and the men lay down by the roadside and slept heavily. Just at dawn they reached the outskirts of the village, silent and still.
Captain Maxey had no information as to how many Germans might be left in the town. They had occupied it ever since the beginning of the war, and had used it as a rest camp. There had never been any fighting there.
At the first house on the road, the Captain stopped and pounded. No answer.
"We are Americans, and must see the people of the house. If you don't open, we must break the door."
A woman's voice called; "There is nobody here. Go away, please, and take your men away. I am sick."