“Disappointments,” wrote Private William Shepp, “are common in the army.” At the time, Shepp, an aspiring teacher from a small community in West Virginia, was pondering the seemingly unrewarding and unending work that he and the men of his engineering company were doing in support of the American Army then arriving by the thousands near Paris. He had himself arrived in France in the first week of April 1918 just as the German spring offensive, commonly known as the Ludendorff Offensive after its chief architect, had begun to threaten Paris. Shepp, however, seems to have been only vaguely aware of what was happening. Most of his news of the war came from old copies of the New York Herald or Stars and Stripes that he found along the way. To him, the date of his arrival meant nothing except for the coincidence of it landing on the first anniversary of America’s declaration of war.