5 Octobre Merriman comes down with a fever and delirium

October 5, 1937
Robert Merriman’s diary for October 5, 1937
Rollin Jones Dart, Source: ALBA Photo 11_0636, Tamiment Library
Patience Darton
Patience Darton, photo courtesy Sparticus International.

Merriman awakes on the 5th of October in a much better mood and reveals that the boys were out “dating” in Grañen the previous night.   Hospitals and nurses were favorites of these men who had been without women for many months.   Merriman kids Rollin Dart about Patience Darton.

Like so many others in October 1937, Merriman gets the fever (typhoid was rampant in the camps and General Walter reported in his memoirs that nearly 2000 men had typhoid in the Brigades in October 1937).   Merriman gets delirious.  Delirium is one side affect of typhoid fever, which can reach 104°F.   While he is drifting, he includes snippets of conversations that he may actually have overheard or perhaps some that were dreams.   He hears Copic and Crespo talking about “nothing” and then he hears that Crespo is asking for his own vehicle.   Merriman has been waiting weeks for a vehicle of his own.   Merriman also is still waiting on his promotion.

Eisenberg and Shapiro
Abraham Eisenberg and Henry Shapiro, photographed in November 1937, ALBA PHOTO 11 – 0979, Tamiment Library, NYU
Photograph of the trial of deserters in Senes in October 1937. Man at the desk may be Slater, acting as prosecutor. ALBA PHOTO 11-0819, Tamiment Library, NYU

Merriman hears the results of the trials in which Hugh Slater presided.   Two of the 13 deserters were sentenced to death.   The majority will get front line duty during upcoming battles and then be taken out (so as not to serve as “bad elements” in disgruntling the other men).   Merriman says that Henry Shapiro was the worst and (as mentioned on yesterday’s page) he will die in action at Teruel.   A 20 year old got the least sentence, 1 month presumably at labor.   William Cantor‘s (he was 21 at the time) sentence is curious.  He will be recognized in a few days for valor at Quinto, but desert again later in the war.  Fishnelson is singled out for rebuke.  He, too, will die at Teruel.   The man Fishnelson deserted with, Benzion Lasher, went missing in action during the retreats in the Spring of 1938.

Second page of Dave Doran’s report on the trial of the 13 men.
Page 1 of the report by Dave Doran on the trial of the 13 Americans. Shapiro and Isenberg are sentenced to be shot. Since both would live (Isenberg returned to the US and Shapiro was killed 3 months later in Teruel), their sentences were never carried out.

The report on the trial by Dave Doran is given to the right and left here.¹

Merriman is removed to a hospital in Torralba where he gets better over the next few days.



¹ RGASPI Archives, Fond 545/Opis 3/Delo 435, pp 81-82,  RGASPI Moscow, Russia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *