In The Horror Zone

From a letter of Eugène Lemercier, the French painter who fought and died in World War I.

Wednesday, September 16, 1914

In the horror zone.

The rainy twilight shadows the road, and suddenly, in a ditch—the dead! They have dragged themselves here from the battlefield—they are all corrupt now. The coming of darkness makes it difficult to distinguish their nationality, but the same great pity envelops them all. Only one word for them: poor boy! The night for these ignominies—and then again the morning. The day rises upon the swollen bodies of dead horses. In the corner of a wood, carnage, long cold.

One sees only open sacks, ripped nose-bags. Nothing that looks like life remains.

Among them some civilians, whose presence is due to the German proceeding of making French hostages march under our fire.

If these notes should reach any one, may they give rise in an honest heart to horror of the foul crime of those responsible for this war. There will never be enough glory to cover all the blood and all the mud.


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