1937年10月，史沫特莱北上去山西省会太原。她采访了许多高级军事官员和医务官员，并观察到，山西军队的医务工作情况堪忧。史沫特莱花了一整夜的功夫，写了一篇关于西北地区伤员状况的报道，并呼吁各国委员会向中国提供医疗援助。她将这篇报道寄给了在上海的约翰·本杰明·鲍威尔（John Benjamin Powell），鲍威尔随即将这篇报道登报和广播了出去。
史沫特莱在随军转移的过程中，常常利用中午休息时间探访部队友邻单位或与村民交谈。1938年12月下旬，史沫特莱在八路军驻地见到了两名外国人，新西兰人詹姆士·贝特兰（James Bertram）和美国海军陆战队驻华情报官埃文斯·卡尔逊（Evans Fordyce Carlson）。卡尔逊此行意在学习游击战策略。
香港医务总监的夫人希尔达·塞尔温·克拉克（Hilda Selwyn Clarke）应史沫特莱的要求抵达了汉口。她在访问了汉口的红十字救护总队后，回到香港建立了红十字救护总队香港办事处。希尔达建立了一个国际救援网，使医疗物资和交通工具能穿越日军战线，加拿大医生亨利·诺尔曼·白求恩(Henry Norman Bethune)也是在史沫特莱的要求下来华支援的。
3)At the front: "This war is more important than the past history!"
Following the Eighth Route Army 1937.8-1938
In October 1937, Smedley transferred to Taiyuan. She visited high military and medical officials, And found out that the medical department of the Shan’xi Army was primitive. She then spent an entire night preparing a report on the wounded of the northwest. To this she appended an appeal for foreign medical aid to China and for the formation of foreign committees to secure such aid. She sent the report to John B. Powell in Shanghai where he had it broadcasted and published.
On the way to the Eighth Route Army's wartime headquarters in Wutai Mountain, Smedley received the good news about the Battle of Pingxingguan.
“The battle of Pingxingguan was important because it was the first time a Chinese army had combined mobile and guerrilla warfare against the Japanese. The reasons for the success of this warfare were because the civilian population had been drawn into the fight and it proved that by using the techniques of a “people’s war” even a poorly equipped Chinese force could defeat a fully equipped enemy.
– Battle Hymn of China, Agnes Smedley
While Smedley marched with the army, she took advantage of the noon hour to rest, to visit other units of the Army or to wander off to talk with villagers. In the late December 1938, Smedley met two foreigners James Bertram, a young New Zealander and Captain Evans F. Carlson, American Marine Intelligence Officer in China.
“He (Captain Carlson) had come to the Eight Route Army to study guerrilla warfare from the point of view of the technician, but he had soon realized that guerrilla warfare is not merely a technical matter, but intricately bound up with a broad and deep political educational system designed to give men something to fight for, live for, and, if necessary, die for.”
– Battle Hymn of China, Agnes Smedley
At the front of Shan’xi anti-Japanese war, Smedley wrote articles based on her interviews in the evening. These articles, her letters and her diary were later published in New York and London in a book titled China Fights Back.
The Fall of Hankou
From January to October 1938, Smedley traveled from Wuhan to Changsha, attending meetings, giving speeches, raising money for the Eighth Army, and requesting the donation of international medical supplies. Smedley attempted to help in obtaining foreign drugs, but as usual she was refused by the foreign institutions in Hankou. In order to help China, build its own Red Cross Society, she met Dr. Jin Baoshan (the later director of the department of Health), Dr. Lin Kesheng and Dr. Lu Zhide with the recommendation of Dr. Berislav Borcic to organize the Society. October 25, 1938, Wuhan fell.
“Hundreds of severely wounded soldiers who could not be evacuated had been left in Nanking in the care of the Chinese doctors and nurses. When Japanese occupied the city, they did not honor the international law and the Geneva Red Cross Convention, they not only put to the sword some two hundred thousand civilians and unarmed soldiers, but fell upon the hospitals, slaughtering the wounded, the doctors, and the nurses. The gruesome story of the rape of Nanking was already common knowledge, for a number of diplomatic officials and foreign missionaries had remained in the city and watched the Japanese in action, and even taken photos of the atrocities. Some seven hundred Chinese Red Cross doctors and mechanics had reached Hankou; many others had been slaughtered in route. Of the ambulances and trucks which had left Nanking, only seventeen, with half of a load of medicine, had reached Hankou.”
—Battle Hymn of China, Agnes Smedley
Smedley joined the Red Cross Medical Corps to provide publicity. She focused on the condition of the wounded and on the endless problems of the Army Medical Service and the Red Cross Medical Corps. She also wrote reports to organizations throughout the world begging for trucks and ambulances, gasolines, medical and surgical supplies.
Hilda Selwyn Clarke, the wife of the Hong Kong Medical Director, arrived in Hankou at the request of Smedley. After visiting the Red Cross Rescue Corps in Hankou, she returned to Hong Kong and established the Hong Kong Office of the Red Cross Rescue Corps. Hilda organized an international rescue network, a complex system that enabled medical supplies and transportation across the Japanese front. In addition to Hilda, Dr. Henry Norman Bethune a Canadian doctor also came to China to help Smedley at her request.
The Red Cross and New Fourth Army
After the fall of Canton and Hankou, on October 29, 1938, Smedley went to Jiangxi along the lower Yangtze River. She was accompanied by several Red Cross ambulances and trucks filled with all kinds of supplies. In addition to donations from the Red Cross and civilians. Smedley also used her savings to buy bandages, gauze, quinine, soap and towels.
Smedley marched eastward, passing through Jingdezhen and Qimen. She and her party arrived at the rear base hospital of the New Fourth Army in Xiaohekou, Jiangxi Province on November 9, 1938. Dr. Shen Qizhen, director of the Military Medical Department of the New Fourth Army, welcomed Smedley and her party. Smedley was surprised that the New Fourth Army already had a working hospital system modeled on the first-class hospitals in the West, including medical staff guidelines and medical supply system. General Ye Ting and Dr. Shen made contributions to the medical situation.
Smedley came to the field headquarters of the 22nd group army (Sichuan Army) in Hubei in the late December 1939. Later Smedley continued on to the 33rd group army and met General Zhang Zizhong and his chief of staff, Zhang Kexia. On May 5, 1940, Japan launched their spring counter offensive. General Zhang Zizhong was ordered by the Central Committee to take command of all the troops in the front line of and drive the enemy out of Zaoyang and the surrounding towns. On May 18, Zhang Zizhong died at the front. In early June 1940, a wounded staff member of General Zhang Zizhong came to see Smedley and told her the news that Zhang Zizhong had died.
Smedley visited the New Fourth Army headquarters in Hubei Province with a female writer An’e. During their stay, the headquarters assigned a "Little Red Devil" and a woman to be her orderlies. The kid who was assigned to Smedley called himself Shen Guohua, his family was attacked by bandits, so he left his hometown and begged for a living. When Smedley was about to leave, she decided to adopt Guohua as her son. Smedley proposed to Guohua that see would adopt him and send him to school in Western China to get a good education, Guohua refused. He wanted to grow up and become a Red Army soldier. He agreed that Smedley could see him after the victory. However, their farewell was final.
Shortly before the fall of Yichang in June, Smedley arrived in Chongqing by ship along the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. In Chongqing, the industrial cooperatives founded by Rewi Alley held a national industrial exhibition. Smedley gave lectures to the clubs associated with the various exhibitions. In late June 1940, the Japanese bombing was trying to reduce Chongqing to ashes. Dr. Lin took Smedley to the headquarters of the Red Cross rescue team in Guiyang and performed surgery on Smedley's gallbladder. By this time Smedley had been suffering from multiple physical ailments including back problems, stomach issues and gallbladder disease for a long time. In September, Smedley's condition got worse and was sent by Lin Kesheng to Guilin, Guangxi and finally to Hong Kong.
“My decision to leave China had brought to a close the most important chapter of my life. Looking back, I was far from satisfied. I knew I had made countless mistakes; I hoped I had done a little good. For the future I still had one great job to do—to tell America the truth about China, how the Chinese had fought and were fighting. I had vowed by everything that I believed not to forget Chung Yi’s words: “Tell your countrymen…tell your countrymen…’”
– Battle Hymn of China, Agnes Smedley