National Geographic : 1917 Jul
Photograph from Prof. Giorgio Abetti ARTILLERY OBSERVERS ON MONTE CRISTALLO These men are at a height of about Io,ooo feet and are observing activities in a similar Austrian position only 600 yards away in a straight line, but on the other side of a deep declivity, which forms the bed of a glacier, making a difficult path even for the Alpini. great moral courage, which I am able to give, little by little, with prayer and faith in all that is good. "THE ENEMY IS BEING DRIVEN BACK" It is quite impossible for me to write to you coherently tonight. A long letter Imaynotsend,andifIbegantode scribe I should write for hours. We have been here now for 48 hours. The Isonzo is three-quarters of an hour's walk across the meadows, and on the hills, just about to miles away, the battle has been raging since our arrival. The big guns roar and thunder day and night; but we are al ready so accustomed to the noise that we often forget the sound and talk quite lightly of different things. They are pounding as I write, as though they would break off bits of the mountain and crumble parts of it to pieces. Under my window hundreds of cam ions pass day and night-one long pro cession-carrying up fresh troops and ammunition, carrying down the wound ed or those who have stood the strain of the fighting so long that they are being brought away to rest a little. At night the sky is fully illuminated by the flashes of explosives. I was in the cemetery this afternoon. They have knocked down part of the wall to enlarge it, and the soldiers were busy digging new graves, so as to have them ready. There was military music in one of the camps near by and it was really comforting to hear it. Strange, we have a feeling of perfect security and the sensation of believing that the enemy is being beaten back and back and will never cross the Isonzo again. This little town was Austrian a short time ago. Except for a very few simple peasant folk and a few others in little shops, I am the only woman in the town, with its thousands of soldiers, and every half hour of the day I gain some new, unexpected impression impossible to de scribe by letter-very difficult even by speech. I write by the light of one dim candle and leave you now to go to dinner with M. and R. and three officers.