The 18th of September  was a Wednesday. It was the day Benjamin Franklin Potts turned twenty-four years old. Any letters from home wishing him a happy birthday would have found him around Foucaucourt-sur-Thabas, six miles west of Les Charmentois, sixteen miles south of the Butte of Vauquois.
—from A Very Muddy Place: War Stories
Foucaucourt is a tiny village in the Argonne region of France. It lounges on the south bank of the Thabas, a shaded stream.
It’s more difficult to find on a map than it is to pronounce. I can help you with both. In my American accent, I say fook-oh-cor sur ta-ba, and you can find it on the interactive map below.
Also on the map, I marked other places on Private Potts’s itinerary in North America and Europe, as well as those of his brothers.
And on this Wednesday, September 18, I am happy to announce I am hard at work on the electronic version of the book. A Very Muddy Place: War Stories will be available for Kindle in the autumn.
Happy Birthday, Bennie.
An intimate account of a soldier’s experience in World War I, A VERY MUDDY PLACE takes us on a journey from a young man’s rural American hometown onto one of the great battlefields of France. We follow Private B. F. Potts with the 137th US Infantry Regiment through the first days of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. We discover a personal story—touching, emotional, unforgettable.
In 1918, twenty-three-year-old Bennie Potts was drafted into the US Army to fight in the World War. He served with the American Expeditionary Force in France. At home after the war, he married and raised a family, and the war for his children and grandchildren became the anecdotes he told them.
A century later, a great grandson brings together his ancestor’s war stories and the historical record to follow Private Benjamin Franklin Potts from Tennessee to the Great War in France and back home again.