THE NEW YORK TIMES CURRENT ***
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[Transcriber: The original document contained a number of errors. Obvious spelling mistakes have been corrected and a notation included for each. There were three places with missing text that have also been annotated. In addition, there were also a number of inconsistencies in spelling (ex. Perceval Gibbon vs. Percival Gibbon; Rennekampf vs. Rennenkampf) which have not been changed or noted given the desire not to introduce unintentional errors.]
[Illustration: FIELD MARSHAL SIR JOHN FRENCH Commanding the British Forces in France and Belgium (_From Painting by John St. Helier Lander._)]
[Illustration: GEN. SIR HORACE SMITH-DORRIEN One of the British Corps Commanders (_From Painting by John St Helier Lander._)]
THE NEW YORK TIMES
CURRENT HISTORY OF THE EUROPEAN WAR
JANUARY 23, 1915.
Sir John French's Own Story
The Famous Dispatches of the British Commander in Chief to Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War.
*First Report from the Front*
7th September, 1914.
My lord: I have the honor to report the proceedings of the field force under my command up to the time of rendering this dispatch.
1. The transport of the troops from England both by sea and by rail was effected in the best order and without a check. Each unit arrived at its destination in this country well within the scheduled time.
The concentration was practically complete on the evening of Friday, the 21st ultimo, and I was able to make dispositions to move the force during Saturday, the 22d, to positions I considered most favorable from which to commence operations which the French Commander in Chief, Gen. Joffre, requested me to undertake in pursuance of his plans in prosecution of the campaign.
The line taken up extended along the line of the canal from Condé on the west, through Mons and Binche on the east. This line was taken up as follows:
From Condé to Mons inclusive was assigned to the Second Corps, and to the right of the Second Corps from Mons the First Corps was posted. The Fifth Cavalry Brigade was placed at Binche.
In the absence of my Third Army Corps I desired to keep the cavalry division as much as possible as a reserve to act on my outer flank, or move in support of any threatened part of the line. The forward reconnoissance was intrusted to Brig. Gen. Sir Philip Chetwode with the Fifth Cavalry Brigade, but I directed Gen. Allenby to send forward a few squadrons to assist in this work.
During the 22d and 23d these advanced squadrons did some excellent work, some of them penetrating as far as Soignies, and several encounters took place in which our troops showed to great advantage.
2. At 6 A.M., on Aug. 23, I assembled the commanders of the First and Second Corps and cavalry division at a point close to the position and explained the general situation of the Allies, and what I understood to be Gen. Joffre's plan. I discussed with them at some length the immediate situation in front of us.
From information I received from French Headquarters I understood that little more than one, or at most two, of the enemy's army corps, with perhaps one cavalry division, were in front of my position; and I was aware of no attempted outflanking movement by the enemy. I was confirmed in this opinion by the fact that my patrols encountered no undue opposition in their reconnoitring operations. The observations of my aeroplanes seemed also to bear out this estimate.