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Bois Belleau Seventy-five Years After.

BJ Omanson

NEW copy. (Monongahela Press, 2017). First Edition. Paperback, 6x9, miracle binding. Illustrated. Approximately 32 pages, unpaginated.

Night after night through heavy shellfire, Alpheus Appenheimer, a private with the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, 4th Brigade of Marines, hauled ammunition to front-line positions of his company with a 4-line mule-team and wagon during the fiercest fighting at Belleau Wood.

For years after the war, Alpheus hoped to return to Belleau Wood with his wife, America, to show her where he had served during those desperate days and nights in June, 1918, when a single brigade of Marines stood against the German drive on Paris. But the realities of raising a family on a small Illinois farm during the agricultural depression of the 1920s made a trip to France all but impossible, and it was not until seventy-five years after the war that the first member of Alpheus's family was able to make the pilgrimage to Belleau Wood for him.

A single poem composed of fourteen irregularly-rhymed sonnets, "The Tower at the Edge of the Wood" was originally published in Sparrow: A Yearbook of the Sonnet (Bordighera Press, 1996). Several sections of the poem were later quoted in the essay, "Effects of War: how one Illinois farm couple's experience of the First World War inspired a cycle of regionalist poems," which appeared in a 2016 issue of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly.