In the following pages the reader will find no tactical studies, no military criticism, no vivid picture of a great battle. I have merely tried to make a written record of some of the hours I have lived through during the course of this war. A modest Lieutenant of Chasseurs, I cannot claim to form any opinion as to the operations which have been carried out for the last nine months on an immense front. I only speak of things I have seen with my own eyes, in the little corner of the battlefield occupied by my regiment.
up to these officers I felt my assurance fail me. They looked disturbed and anxious. There was none of that merry animation that had reigned in the interior and that I had expected to find everywhere.
And then a strange and ridiculous fear came over me; the fear of being looked upon as an intruder by these well-informed men who knew everything. I imagined that they would spurn me with scorn, or that I should cause them pain by forcing them to tell me truths people do not like to repeat. It also occurred to me that I was too insignificant a person to confront men so high in office, and that I should appear importunate if I disturbed their reflections. But I was now quite sure that the official announcements had not told us all. Without having heard one word, I felt that things were not going so well as we had hoped, as every day in our little town in the west we tried passionately to divine the truth, devouring the few newspapers that reached us.
A pang shot through me. I now felt alone and lost