June 27, 1918
Camp Lee Va.
Mr Wallie Thurston
We are still in camp ready for France when Uncle Sam wants us to go. We have learned to work since we came here,. If the boys don't believe it tell them to come and see. They will get all the exercise they want and some more. the boys are all fat and doing good. We have plenty of games to keep our spirits up for Uncle Sam. We have Sunday School and preaching here every Sunday and get a good hike just before dinner everyday. We are all learning fast and are enjoying camp life fine.
Don't worry about us boys we are all coming back to West Virginia safe and sound but we are not coming back until we get old Kaiser Bill. what it will take to get the Kaiser they Tucker county boys have got.
We have a good time visiting the other boys from Tucker and there are a good many of them here.
The boys are all as lively as they were when they left on the 27th of May, they are still singing and we are coming back the same way. Boys keep your Fords, they use them in the Army.
From the "90" Tucker County boys.
and J.F. Ferguson
66 Inf. Co. 17th tr. bn Replacement Camp, Camp Lee Va.
Camp Forest Georgia
The Advocate Parsons, W. VA
Dear Editor. Will give you some news today from Camp Forest as I have a little spare time. We have been quite busy for the past two weeks. We get up at 5:45 a.m. and ready for mess at 6:30 after that we have plenty to do till after supper. then the time is our own, for the remainder of evening. The lights go out at 9:00 p.m.
The weather is quite warm here and the boys from up north sweat profusely, but it gets cool during the night, and is comfortable under a blanket. We have enough to eat but no such a variety as we were accustomed to at home. Most of the boys in G Co. have their full equipment. We got some of it today, I have everything but O.D. coat (woolen dress shoes and tent rope.
We will not be here but a few days longer from indications. The 51st went to rifle range a few days ago but will be recalled. Most all of the boys here think the war will be over, before we get "over there" at least all hope so.
Well Mr. Thurston, I wish you success with the good old Advocate and express my good wishes to you and my many friends who are its readers.
Private Ira D. Phillips
Co. G, 52nd Inf.
Nov. 29, 1917
Will drop you a few lines to let you know I am still alive and doing fine. You ought to see the old Mountain State boys taking all the honors here. We have Kentucky and Indiana boys with us but our West Virginia boys are first in about everything.
They had a big field meet here and West Virginia won in boxing, wrestling, football, baseball and tug of war. We will walk away with Berlin just the same way. I am sending you a piece of poetry our captain wrote, see what you think of it.
I am the company barber. Chet Plum is corporal and in fact all the boys from around home are making good. I received your paper today and say Thurston, if you have any knockers on The Advocate tell them to go away from home about one thousand miles and receive it. I bet he would then subscribe for the good old Advocate before the week was out. When we get it you ought to see the other boys from Tucker county crowding around to get the news. I cannot get the boys together to have that picture taken. The only time I can get them all together is when the Advocate arrives.
I will close for this time, hoping to hear from you soon.
P.S. It is sure some warm down here. Our french officer are here now showing us how it is done "over there".
WHO MADE THE KAISER
Young men were made to be soldiers
The Irish were made to be cops.
Sauerkraut was made for the Germans
And spaghetta was made for the Wops.
Fish were made to drink water.
And bums were made to drink booze.
Banks were made for the money.
And money was made for the Jews.
Everything was made for something.
Everything but the miser
God made president Wilson.
But whothehell made the Kaiser.
Nov. 8, 1917
Oct. 30th 1917
Received one of your papers and it was read with interest as the boys from this outfit happen to be from Piedmont W. Va. and in return will try and give you some notes on camp life.
Somewhere in Mississippi better known as "valley of Death".
There is not a first W. Va. Reg., any more--split is no name for it. Officers and men parted just like brother, the officers telling the men that orders were orders and to go under there new commanders and do the same good service that they had done for them. In some cases there were tears which shows how hardy the parting was.
We ended up in the 137th Machine Gun Battalion, which is one of the most dangerous units of the army today (average life for each man on the firing line is three minutes).
The sunny north is warm and cold--never stays cold very long at one time. The men are working nine hours a day, drilling etc., doing it with the spirit of '76. A person would be surprised what endurance they can go through with . The Machine Gun Regiment consists of four companies of the old 1st W. Va. and the rest are from Indiana and Kentucky, all good scouts.
We of course know what we are out for and if it happens that the 38th Division is sent across the pond we will guarantee you that they will give an account worth while.
This camp takes in an area of 278 sq. miles covered with the tall "Lonesome Pines", that you have to walk a mile to get under the shade of one. And the woods around have plenty of game--we know for we are the happy capturers of the bounty. Not much sickness for a big camp--there is now at least 30,000 troopers stationed here, room for 60,000 more. Cantonments are going up fast. pretty good size city at that.
The army Y.M.C.A.'s are the heart of the army and they need some credit for the work done at this camp. The 24th of this month was a big holiday being set aside for a Division Field Meet. West Virginia boys carried off the honors which is saying alot for their home state--they only had two regiments on leaving the state now they have one. Indiana and Kentucky were W. Va's competitors in same.
Ruth Law gave an exhibition on the 27th in her one passenger aeroplane. The boys had to hand it to her for the dare devil stuff. She made two flights and "lopped the loop about 1500 feet above the ground.
Will be glad to give you anything else of interest
We are respectfully yours, Two Buck Privates from Tucker County.
Address W.V.C. and C.P.H 137 Infirmary M.G. Bns. 38th Division, Camp Shelby Med. Dept. Hattiesburg Miss.
Oct. 25, 1917 Parsons Advocate
Oct, 18, 1917
To the Editor of Parsons Advocate-- I am handing you herewith a letter from the one of the "66". It was interesting to me and i believe that it would be interesting to your readers. Sincerely Yours,
Chas. D. Smith
313 Field Artillery
Camp Lee VA
Oct. 14, 1917
My Dear Mr. Smith: Received your letter some two or three days ago and was indeed very glad to hear from you. We soldier boys always welcome letters and news from the folks back home. We crowd around the mail box "like sardines" as the saying is, when the mail is delivered to each battery barracks. We have mail three times a day during the week and once on Sunday. Our "grubb" is getting better all the time. It was fierce when we first came here. We had chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner today and cocoa to drink. it was indeed a treat to us. We are about three or four miles out of Petersburg. The trolley line is real close to our barracks and the fare is ten cents to town. We are also within about five miles of Hopewell, the "Dupont City". I have never been there yet, but think my brother and i will go down there this afternoon sight seeing.
there is plenty of work here. the first call is at 5:45 and in fifteen minutes every man must be in full uniform a lined up in his proper place in front of the barracks. We have breakfast and ready to go to the field for drill about seven o'clock, and there isn't a minute lost during the day. I am at present a non-commissioned officer, and we "non coms" go to school for an hour after supper, which takes up the best part of the evening for us. We have a room equipped with tables that we use for a place to read and write. We have a phonograph and are going to get a pool table right away. The boys are all feeling better now as they are about well of both the small-pox and typhoid vaccination. They gave us both"shots" at once. It served some of the boys pretty rough. Five of them fainted in ranks one day and had to be carried in. I was some way able to stand the strain and I think it is only a matter of a few days until we will all feel better. Imagine a big hard scab on your left arm just above the elbow about the size of a half dollar and you will see about how my arm looks at present but the soreness is about out of it. We heard the band play "The West Virginia Hills" yesterday and we confess it made us all a little homesick, but of course it would do no good to listen to that feeling. The three weeks we have been here does seem lots longer. The instructions on the guns are very interesting and I am to be the gunner of my section this week. We have never had any actual target practice yet. It will probably be several months before we really load the guns and fire them. I was chief of a section last week ( a section is sixteen men) The reason for changing the men around is to acquaint them with practically all parts of the work. Most of the Tucker County boys, that is the first "66" are in Battery A 313 F.A. myself and Marquess and Hovatter from St. George are in Batter D 313 F.A.
We do not have much time to read books but we all enjoy a newspaper for a few minutes at a time. so you might send us some good newspaper if you can to help us out a little. I am sure it would be appreciated by all the boys. The newsboys want five cents apiece for papers which is entirely too much. Prices are high on all the necessities of the soldier. The "money grabbers" never take his salary into consideration, nor the sacrifice he may be called on to make.
The main thing here is to obey orders to the letter and if one doesn't do that, the next thing is "fatigue duty" or worse yet "kitchen police" which consists of washing dishes, scrubbing floors and tables and a lot of other unpleasant duties. We have inspection every Saturday morning. We must be shaved and in full dress and have all our belongings on our bunks and stand at the foot of same at attention, while the officers go from one to the other and if things are not just right????? One day as a soldier would prove very interesting to an ordinary person, but it soon grows very monotonous to us, but we go through with it just the same.
Must close for this time. Give my regards to all my friends in Tucker and let us hear from you often.
Grover A. Moran.
Oct. 6, 1917
Dear Friend Thurston:
I am in Mississippi now, among snakes, toads, alligators, lizzards and porcupines and U.S. R. Officers one is as bad as another.
The First W. Va. is all shot to pieces and old Co. E, my company, is in the 113th Engineers but we have good officers and lots of good warm work and drill, so time goes like the negroes go fro whiskey, Ha! Well Wallie I have been promoted to Corporal and have a good squad and getting along --------------------- of service has been good hard drills and hard soldiering. I weigh 174 pounds and feel good
The weather is nice and warm down here and seems like spring time. There are about 40,000 soldiers in Camp Shelby and about 4,000 laborers. The camp is about eight miles from Hattiesburg and good road to camp, the ground is level and has tall pine trees and oaks with long clinging moss all over it. It is sure a good place for a camp and one more good thing about camp here is that I get The Advocate and to get the home news means a lot to a soldier. In going over the columns of it I see where U.S. is getting some of the Tucker Boys and I think that they should be proud to do their bit and am sure that the boys have the same spirit and I wish them success and hope to see some of them or all if it be so as our Company is going to get one hundred more men and I would sure like to see more of our own boys in it.
Earl Brooks is still in the same Company with me and a good boy he is. The Captain said to day that we would see France, and I hope he is right for the Kaiser is on that side and he is the very lad that Chet and thousands of other boys just like me wants to have a little chat with and possibly we could change his mind a little. Well Wallie, I had better close and go to quarters as it is now ten o'clock and ten thirty is taps.
In reading the Advocate it just reminded me of an old friend of mine, the editor, and I thought I would let him know that some one in the south was glad to get a squint at the Advocate.
I will close hoping to hear from you soon and to receive the Advocate next week. I remain your friend, Chet Plum.
Corp. John C. Plum, Co. E., 113 Eng'rs, Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Miss.
P.S. Possibly you can find room for part of this foolishness in your columns and if you don't , no hard thoughts.
August 22, 1918 Parsons Advocate
France, July 31, 1918
Mr. E.F. Jennings fine over what I have accomplished. I have been on the front where they fight. We went "over the top" and gave the Germans more than they expected and more than they really wanted. The Yankies are too much for anything in this country. Our company advanced farther over the top than any other and left everything else behind. So we hold the record so far and if anyone doubts my word tell them to come over and we will take them across No Man's Land and if they come back in crazy, I will let them have my place and I will take a back seat.
It isn't much fun when you go over the top untl you see the enemy turn their backs on you and throw heel dust in your face then we have lots of fun catching them. They make real nice pets and the U.S. boys sure can tame them.
If there are any of the boys left in Tucker county who want to fight tell them to come over and join the "Fighting Co. I" and then we will be butties.
I suppose you people back home have read all the newspapers from the 18th of July up to the present day and I was in it and it is an experience not easily forgotten and I feel now that I will be back home sometime to tell you people all about it. I hope you are all farming
France July 14 1918
Dear all at home.
just a few lines this morning as it is Sunday and I have thing to do so I will try and write you a few lines. We are in a very small town. I guess there is only about fifteen families here and you can see by it there isn't much excitement here. We are the first American troops they have ever seen here and it is just the same as a show for them to see us drilling. Last night was the first mail call we have had since we left Camp Merritt, NC and that was on June 5th, you can imagine how glad the boys were to get it. I didn't get any but know there is mail on the way some where for me at lest I hoe so. this s a very nice country but I'll take the states for mine. Money isn't much good to a person here because you can't buy anything hardly. You can't get tobacco or candy only once in a while you can get a little candy. The people wear funny clothes here. They wear wooden shoes and their stockings only come up way to their knees and the --- of them don't wear any at all and you can't understand a word they say. It is awful lonesome here for us boys and there are a lot of them awful homesick and that don't do any good.
Of course we would rather be back but we won't be back until its over "over here" and I don't thin that will be long. I think we will all be back to eat Christmas dinner in the U.S.A. I want you to have an extra ---- turkey because I am going to bring a friend home with me.
September 5, 1918
Dear Editor. Most of the Tucker county readers would no doubt like to hear something of Camp Meade and the boys who have gone there for training.
The most of you know about the parting of friends and the cheer they gave us at Parsons and right here we all wish to thank the people for their encouragement and the things they did for us. The whole spirit of the camp depends upon the people at home and we are very glad to say that patriotism is not lacking in Tucker. We left Parsons about 7:00 o'clock when we were picked up by a train at 11:00 o'clock, we wee not crowded in the least and had lots of company with boy who came from farther on. No more were taken after we left Parsons, it was purely a West Virginia bunch. We had a very enjoyable trip from beginning to end and only such a trip could show the spirit of the people for we were cheered along the way from the old gray haired men and women to the little babes. There came cheers of patriotism which showed their interest.We tried to return the cheers to them all along the way but with twelve hours of travel we became pretty tired as we neared the camp. We stopped in Cumberland a short time but were speeding rapidly to our new home most of the time from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. that evening and when we stopped off the train it wasn't much wonder we were asked where we were from.
We are now getting used to the Reveille at 6:30 a.m. and Taps at 10:30 p.m. and those hours find us in our places and from the first we have had plenty to eat , plenty of pleasure time from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.. Saturday afternoons and Sundays with little work to do and plenty of entertainment at the Y.M.C.A. where we are furnished with stationary and writing material free is it any wonder we are having a good time drilling at Camp Meade and the lif it has. We are quarantined in barracks which holds from 140 to 250 men each depends on the size as some have halls and the others do not. Our eats are the best, for example we had for dinner today chicken, tomatoes, corn potatoes and ice cream. the best of it all is that each fellow has to make his own bed and wash his own dishes and mess kit. the regularity and rapidity of it will train us ll to do the little things and do them at the right time and when we have won the Great cause for which we are hear the training will always remain with us.
James A. Myers
Co. 151, Depot Brigade
Camp Meade, Maryland
Dear Sister and all:
I will no answer your kind letter which I received a few days ago and surely was glad to hear from you again and glad you are getting long good. I am well and getting along just fine and having a good time.
I have been going to church every night for over a week as soon as the meeting closes at one place there is one commencing at another and I go to as many of them as I can. I don't' think I will stay in a night as long as I can go to church. They surely had a good time at the meeting that closed last night and the preacher preached some fine sermons right from his heart. I certainly do like to sit and listen to a preacher that preaches like he does. It is raining here now and it will certainly do the crops good. The gardens here in the Fort are looking fine too. We had one of those West Virginia rains last night, the most of our rains come hard and fast and lasts for fifteen or twenty minutes, but the rain last night was so steady and it reminded me of the West Virginia rains.
I don't believe I could stand it to come home now as nearly all the boys are gone now. I bet lots of them hated to leave their homes and their fathers and mothers.
Wish I was at Camp Meade or Camp Lee I would get to see lots more of the Tucker county boys wouldn't I. They are scarce here in Georgia. yes I remember Mr. Arnett, it is too bad his wife died.
Well, Gertrude my fountain pen has given out so I will have to finish with a pencil I have written more with a pencil since I have been in the service for I used pen and ink all the time before.
The sun is hot down here in day time but it gets cool at night. Well I guess this war will not last much longer but it will take a good while to get settled just right again. The people down here talk a great deal about the war and they think it will soon end. I surely had some car ride Saturday night, there were two other fellows the driver his wife and myself, we surely did have some time, we went over some fine roads too, we rode twenty six miles round trip. It was about 10:15 when we started and we got back at 12:30. We may go out to Stoney Mountain Sunday afternoon. I was at prayer meeting last night I certainly do enjoy listening to the people speak, it makes me feel good and reminds me of being back home. There were some more boys left here and the other day, don't know just where they were going. Have you heard that P.O. Phillips went home, he wasn't fit for overseas duty or anything else he was only here about two weeks until he got his discharge guess he was glad to get it but I will tell the truth I don't want a discharge from the army if it can be helped bu I do want a furlough between now and Christmas.
Well I have been out late so many nights and am real sleepy so will bring my letter to a close. hoping to hear from you real soon. I am as every your
General Hospital, No. 6,
Fort McPherson Georgia
Y. M.C.A. No.2
Parsons Advocate Oct. 3 1918
To: Mr. M.J. Phillips
Dear Father, Mother Brother and Sister,
Received your letters dated July 5th and I tell you I certainly was glad to hear from you. I expect you have been somewhat anxious about me for I can't write you very often but will do the best I can in letting you hear from me. I guess I got all your letters at last, but some did not arrive until I got to Camp Upton.
Paper here is very scarce over here we have t depend on the Y.M.C.A. mostly for writing materials and sometimes can't get any at all. I am well this morning and feeling fine, feel like I was back at old Mt. Zion engaged in Sunday School work and prayer services. I am living a clean christian life and thank God for it. Have no fear that I shall even think of doing otherwise. I pray to God every night to give me hope, strength and faith to live and keep myself clean in mind and heart and to keep and protect me from harm. I always pray that He above who watches over us will keep you and I both safe and provide for you and that I shall be permitted to come back to you.
Tell all my friends I still remember them and hope they all do the same for me. I am glad that crops look so well and that you are getting along so well. I got Zalma's letter and the cards from the little children. Was glad to hear from Lena too. I believe it would be the best for you and mother to go to Davis and take a good rest when your harvest is over. Don't try to keep house any longer for for it is to hard for you both and there is no need for it. Of course you would hate to give up home but better do that than make a slave of yourself in keeping house I think I will be back home before so long now. I hope so at least. It is a nice country over here and the people are very sociable kind and generous and will do anything they can for you.
You keep those recipts from the lodge and take care of them for me. Did you get the Insurance papers and the Allotment I made? I know most that you did but let me know for sure when you write again. Have they done anything towards building the new church yet? Tell mr. Ends I was glad to get his and Elvies's letters. got it just a day or two ago when yours and Zalm's came in fact. It nice and warm here today but was cool last night. The farmers are cutting their wheat here now and some are threshing. They use the old fashioned tread mill I was one being used the other night. There is no corn grown here and fruit is scarce but other crops are grown and all seem to be good.
Well I must close, hoe this finds you all well and happy. Tell Zalma I will write him later. So good-bye and may God bless you all is my prayer.
Love to all.
Your loving son,
Ira D. Phillips
Co. G, 52 Inf. American E.F. via New York
To Miss Angelica E. Adams of St. George
I imagine you have given u all hopes of ever hearing from me again but circumstances alter cases so again you will have to forgive me.
I believe I wrote you a few days before we left our old camp but will give you an outline of our entire trip over here oar as much as is possible to escape the eagle eye of the censor. In reality about all that we are censored on is facts that have to do with definite names and dates, etc. After leaving camp we had a very pleasant trip to the Atlantic Coast, we came through the very finest part of the dear old U.S.A., but I was of course very much disappointed in not getting to come by home or near enough for me to see you all.
In one of the large cities I was fortunate enough to be able to see a bunch of my very best fiends and I will never forget the fine way they treated me. They have me an old time feed to take along and that together with cigarretes and everything you could imagine made the rest of the journey much more pleasant.
We were camped in one of the large embarkation Camps on the coast for a few days where we did nothing much but rest u. while it was a very camp it was nothing like our old place. We were very near the big city but for unknown reasons were not given passes. Still the many interesting things we were able to see more than paid us for the trip.
Finally when we had just about given up hopes, we embarked on one of the largest transports in the U.S.A. Transport Service. Really it was a floating palace. I certainly wish I could make a trip on it when in regular passenger service. The wood work and the many little built in conveniences together with the wonderful machinery and the very size of it all and its carrying capacity made it a thing of wonder. Each day one would find some interesting feature that was overlooked the day before.
Either on account of our good luck or I think more probably on account of the fine protection afforded by our government we had a very quiet and safe journey. Still, even thought we had no excitement of a dangerous nature the beautiful weather, the wonderful ocean, and the many interesting types of mankind that we had on board made this one of the finest trips I ever had. Just the same we were rather glad to reach Mother Earth again.
We landed at one f the large French ports and went into camp there. Although we were only there for a very short time began to see the reason for every one wanting to come to France. The city while a very large one, was not at all like the average American city for the customs of the people over here are so different from ours. Many of the interesting things we see over here will not spoil by waiting and when we come home we will tell all about them.
From our point of embarkation we came by rail to the camp where we are at the present time. I had begun, as I mentioned above to see the beauties of France while in our first camp. but I had no idea how beautiful it was until I came through the country. On account of the large population of this country practically all of the land is under cultivation and one never sees the wasted areas that we find in all parts of our own country.
We arrived here at just the right time of the year to see France at her best for they are just gathering the harvest and the flowers are all in bloom. The large Magnolia trees in full bloom are the most beautiful I have ever seen. almost without exception thethe farm houses are built of stone and one of the features of the country here is the wonderful work in stone walls and houses. The fences that are not made of stone are hedges and it seems to be a more thrifty and a deeper green than our hedge. To this wonderful picture add a people so quaint and unique that one love them at first sight and you have France. To be sure you will have many varied opinions of France from the boys over here but I am giving you one as seen by one who is very much in love with the country. After our journey by rail we arrived here in our present camp and received the surprise of our lives for instead of being deprived of the little things that go towards making life more pleasant, we found a really up to the minute camp. We have fine quarters and the very last word in convenience as to bathing as to washing clothes, and so on.
We are camped in the outskirts of one of the largest cities in France and are allowed to visit the city very often. While our camp is wonderful in itself the city make it complete in each detail.
I have not been in the city very often yet but when I do go I just walk and walk seeing things until I have to take a day or fore rest. The beautiful things I have seen has been more than a school t me. I cannot begin to tell you about them but will just mention a few of them. I have been going to town with one of our sargeants and have enjoyed my trips perhaps much more because I have been so lucky in having him to go around with for he is one of the finest gentlemen have ever met and care for the things that appeal too me most and by the way he is from Virginia, which accounts for it all.
to buildings in the city are for the greater part built of stone and their structure covers the entire period from the 13th century up to the present date. The churches are perhaps the most beautiful of all. Practically all of them are very old and the workmanship is wonderful. All of them are filled with paintings and statuary that it is indeed a treat to be able to see, some of them being done by men whose names are in every corner of the world. The colored windows one finds in these old churches were made by the process that was long ago lost to the world. I have never seen such colors and to see the sunlight shining through them on some Biblical scene done by the hand of a master makes one wish that they could make th Huns repay in blood for all the priceless gems of art they have destroyed with such a ruthless hand.
Sunday morning we went to High Mass in a Cathedral that was built in the early 13th century. I have never seen nor heard such an impressive ceremony. One side of the church was filled with the poorer class of peasants each one in deep prayer for their loved ones at the front, on the other side were the richer folks who though they were richer than the others in this world's goods, were in the same deep devotion, mixed all through the crowd in both p laces one could see the brown khaki of the American Boys and the varied colors of the French uniforms, above the prayers of the people and the chant of the priest in his wonderful robe, one could hear the soft tones of the magnificent pipe organ high above. Do you blame me for being impressed? In another part of the town I found the ruins of an old castle built in the year 358 A.D. and farther out is another one built with all the story book dungeons of early days. This one was erected by one of the Princes who was banished from England, many, many years ago .
In the central part of the town is a beautiful park and here again you can see the wonderful talent the French have for blending colors for they have planted flowers that that in our way of arranging, would simply be a futurists dream but in the way they have arranged them they look wonderful.
all over the entire city with its narrow streets, one finds the most wonderful shops in the world. I have enjoyed window shopping more than anything else in the town. But then i cannot appreciate the pretty things like a woman could I certainly wish you could come here and see what pretty things they have. Everything about the French people seem to be so frail and dainty. I ate lunch in a little restaurant the other day where they had real Haviland china and cut glass that looked like a breath would break them. I suppose you will think I am sight seeing instead of being at war, from my letter, and I suppose after the newness of it all wears off I will think more of the war and less of the sights but I really believe if it were not just for such things as we are seeing over here to interest us that we would never be able to stand the sorrow of leaving all our loved ones over home. We surely miss you all and will indeed pray for the day to come when we will be "Homeward Bound".
The health of the American boys so far as I can find out si wonderful over here. all of us have colds once in a while but on the whole I think we are fortunate. Have been feeling just fine and if it were not for all you dear folks over there whom I just love to death I believe I would be satisfied to stay here all of the time.
No I suppose the censor will have me apprehended for a public menace in taking ups o much of his valuable time so will say Finis. Will write to you as often as possible and hope very much that I will find one of your dear letters in our first mail. Remember me to all the folks and tell Dad I will write to him as soon as I can find time. Take good care of yourself and don't forget to write often.
With much love to all,
Parsons Advocate, Oct. 10, 1918
To Mr. Minor Nestor
I shall write a few lines today. The air has been cool here, for the last few days. We have a little shower of rain nearly every night or have had for the past week.
I am well and getting along alright. Hope you are all well. Haven't received an answer from any of my letters written home since coming to France. It seems like a long time to wait for mail, but the time is sliding away fast. It is almost two months since I landed in France. The summer s almost gone. I hardly realize where the time has gone. Thirty days is the longest I have stayed at one place yet. Was here four weeks yesterday. Hope we winter in this camp but one can't tell what moment they will move. I have put in twenty-three days and nights traveling since I left Parsons West Virginia. Hope it doesn't take that long to get back. I hope to see more of this country, would like to see some of England. i was talking with a fellow, who has been in England and he said it was far ahead of France. It may be a nice country but the U.S.a. is good enough for me.
I buy a paper every day. I see they have passed the new draft from eighteen to forty-five years and that they will register about the fifth, suppose there will be a lot of them called right away.
We had a Salvation Army in our camp the past week, they had a piano and the French give us moving pictures once a week. They had a concert for us one night, there were six American ladies present. The first I have seen since I left the U.S. They had made one thousand doughnuts and baked a couple of cakes they certainly tasted good. They were free to all. They have them three times each week, but we pay for what we get now. Lemonade 10 cents a glass, eggs are $1.00 per dozen and coal $98.00 per ton. I don't guess the people in West Virginia would burn much at that price. Believe me the French save every bit of wood, when they cut a tree down they take it at the top of the ground and save every twig they bind them into bundles for fuel. I have seen car loads of it going bye by rail.
Did I ever tell you about the four wheel cars they have in this country. they look about like a wagon, the passenger coaches have a running board along each side like the log woods engines back in the states. There are seats in the sides f each department for eight people, you face each other, four riding backwards. the freight cars are marked eight horses or forty men. I spent one night in one of them. There were only fifteen of us to the car, we had three bails of hay spread out to lay on. I got in the front end and piled down, we got started but the car had a flat wheel. Believe me it done some flopping, but I slept a little after midnight. It would take about three of them to make one Western Maryland box car.
I went up on a hill the other evening above our camp and watched the Germans shell a village just about one mile away.
I could hear the report of their guns eight or ten miles away. In a few seconds I could hear the whistling through the air and explode when it struck the ground, I could see the dirt and smoke go up. I could see the same thing in the country a little farther away. That has been a daily thing here for a week, I don't mind them as long as they are that far away. I guess one will get used to anything in this country. The Germans are getting the worst of it they are being driven back every day, the will get to the jumping off place yet. chances are it will take some time yet but they are yielding gradually. I am sending a clipping from a paper. Saw the name f a Mrs. Nestor who is aiding in the war. I seem to be the only one of the name in the 37th division.
To T.C. Isner
Dear Brother: I will try to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and having a fine time. I hope when these few lines reaches you they will find you all well and enjoying life fine. Well T.C. France is a fine country every thing is built out of concrete, brick stone and cement, they certainly have fine horses and cattle, here not many stock cattle, mostly cows but they are certainly fine they use one horse wagons they have large loads but they have fine roads.
Well I guess you are hitting it everyday. Well be good and take care of yourself. As news is scarce I will close for this time with love and best wishes to you all, write me a big letter.
Private James B. Isner,
Co. G. 329th Infantry American P.O. 762 France
Nov. 14, 1918 Parsons Advocate
I don't owe you a letter but will write anyhow. I am not working today. It snowed some last night. not much but it was the first snow that I have seen for some time. How are all the people at home. Well I hope. I am well and feel good. What is Papa working at now? Oh say, if you send me a box fro Christmas don't send too large a one, for the law is only 108 cubic inches. That seems small don't it, maybe you had better send two HaHa. Yes, is Hazel teaching school this winter and where. Tell Dora I said hello and would write soon. I have not received any mail since I have been here and I don't suppose I will for sometime. Well there will be a lot of it when I do get it.
Well, I must close, answer real soon Give my best to the family
Dear Brother and Sister
Your very welcome letter No. 2 came in today and I was surely glad indeed to hear from you and to know you were getting along so well. I got your other letter too. I know from what you say about it. This leaves me me well and feeling fine today. We are having some fine weather now for the past few days, but don't know how long it will last. It looks like fall too over here and that was always my choice time of the year. I suppose you are gathering chestnuts now. Well Zalma I saw one German but he was dead so you see he was a good German as he was dead. Had a short stay in the trenches but did not see anything that came in any way near getting my nerve. You ought to see me while I am writing this, you wouldn't know me. Will tell you why when I get home and can talk with you. I am getting mail every week now and it cheers a fellow wonderfully to get a letter from home or anywhere back in the U.S.A.
Wish I could get to see the good old Advocate now, I surely would enjoy it. You can let Wallie Thurston have this letter if you care to and he wants to get it. He will do the rest.
there is not much more that I can tell you. There is plenty to tell but we take no chances You are getting the news in your papers so that tells you that the A.E.F is capable of caring for the Huns in the right way.
Good luck and best wishes and love to you and family. Love to Father and Mother. Write again soon.
Ira D. Phillips, Co. G. 52nd Inf. American A.E.F. France
A.P.O. 777 Via New York
Dear Friend Thurston,
I will drop you a few lines to let you know where I am, but you will not know very much after I get through telling you. Well Wallie we had some trip, the fellows getting seasick and all standing along the rail, they looked like question marks. Ha. This is some place where we are and it rains here every day, but we don't expect to be here long now at least we are all hoping so for we want to be in the big game before it is over. It is getting pretty chilly here at present. I don't know how cold it get in this part of France but I don't think very cold.
You should see the fellows trying to talk to the French people , the most of our company can say "hello" or something like that and they think they are doing fine. Ha.
Well Thurston keep the good old Advocate coming for I sure have missed it since I left the States, but hope to get it in the near future. Well old man, will close for this time. Hoping to hear from you real soon, give my best regards to all,
Am the same,
W.E. Brooks, Co. E. 113th Engrs, American E. F. Somewhere in France
P. S. Plumb sends his regards.
Nov. 21, 1918 Parsons Advocate
France, Oct. 21
Dear Sis. At last I have found time to answer your letter received in Miss., some time ago. Was more than glad to hear from you again and to know that you still thought of me. I am well and like it fine here so far only it rains here most every day, but you know that a little thing like that don't bother me.
Well, what is going on in the old burg, the same as ever I guess. Are you teaching any place this winter, if so where? Tell Madge I said hello and that I have a real kiss for her when I come home. What has become of your Somerville boy or do you still know him? Ha. Well hazel I wish you was here with me, you can see anything here that you want to look at. France is a nice place but the people are the same as they were three hundred years ago, but at that some of the girls are real good looking but none so good as my Hallie in Elkins. I don't guess you ever met her. Well some day you will get a chance to, ha, get that?
Merle is still with me and he is one of the biggest pests I ever saw. We have not received any mails since we have been here, can you beat that? It seems as if everyone has forgotten us, maybe they have not. Our mail has not got us with us yet, I guess when it does come it will be as good as when it started, don't you think?
Well Sis news is scarce here so I guess I had better close as I suppose you are getting tired of this dope. Answer real soon with a long letter, tell Mother I said hello and my best to the rest of the family. With love and kisses I am the same kid. Chet
Chet C. Plumb, Co., E. 113 Engrs, A.E.F.
Dec. 12, 1918 Parsons Advocate
Dear Mother and Father: I'm going to try and drop you a few lines today as it has been my fist chance for some time. I have been on the lines for some time and of course we don't have much time to write letters up there. I guess I will find time to catch up with my writing now as I have a little vacation .
My division is not relieved yet but I'm relieved now for a while and I will tell you how that is . I was all run down and besides I ran into a bunch of gas the other day and it got my goat so the doctor sent me to the hospital.
Now Mother dear, please don't worry about me for it is nothing serious and in a few days I will be alright. I'm getting the best of treatment and plenty to eat and a good bed to sleep on. Thank God, mother, I don't think it is going to be long any more for us boys over as old John Boche is drawing in his horns more and more every day and I pray every day and night for that time to come. We all expect it to be over by Christmas. I might get back to help eat those hogs yet. so kindly go easy on them. Ha Ha.
I haven't received any mail for a long time now and I guess it will be some time yet until I do. I just wrote to the mail clerk in my company to send my mail to me and if he tends to it as he should it won't be so long until I get it.
Well, Mother, I will close as I can't think of much to write this time but will write again in a few days. Give Dad my best and tell him I would like to see him. Tell him to give my best to the boys on "Fakey Row" and that I hope to be home soon. I will close for this time by asking you to write often and I will do the same. I remain as ever, your son,
Co. H 102 Inf. A.E.F. France
Dec. 19, 1918. Parsons Advocate
Dear Friend Thurston
No doubt you would like hear how I am getting along over here so I concluded tonight I would send you a line. Well everything is well with me. Am having plenty to do but am enjoying the best of health now, and hope I may continue so.
There are none of the boys from old Tucker County with me, but I am not a bit lonesome there are five of us that stay together and we surely have some good times. We get together occasionally on some evening and get a supply of bread and jam and have a hearty meal all to ourselves, smoke, talk and enjoy ourselves and forget that we are engaged in war. It is just such little things as this that help a soldier keep up his spirits.
Would like to be back in Tucker county now. The Yanks are on the job all the time over here as you have learned from the news in the papers, so when we get back home no one can say we have loafed on the job.
Those French people are very good to us and try to do everything they can to help us and make things as comfortable for us as they can.
The weather is growing colder now and we sometimes use our overcoats. have had some real frosty mornings of late and some rain too.
give all my friends my best respects and tell them I'm make good. will see you in Parsons some time in the future.
Ira D. Phillips
52nd Inf. American E.F. France U.S. Army via New York
Dear Mother and Father
As this is such a nice afternoon and I'm feeling so good, I'm going to try and tell you how glad I am that the war is over and I expect to be home before many months. I wasn't in the lines when everything ceased but I'll bet the boys celebrated every way the could, the Americans, and Frenchman sure had some time here in this city. The name of the city is Limoge, the population is 200,000, it is a very nice town. I wasn't feeling very good but went up town awhile that night and we sure had some time but I guess it was nothing compared with the way people carried on in the states. I think my division will be on of the first to get back it was the first full division over here and believe me we sure have had a taught time of it and believe me I sure was one lucky boy to go through what I have and never get a scratch only the gas that I ran into and I think I will be able to go back to my company in a few days when I do get back it will go pretty hard with me for a while getting out of a good soft bed and going back to my little pop tent but thank God there won't be much more of this to go through with, I wouldn't take anything for my experience but I would hate to think I had to go through the same thing again.
Well I'm going to stop talking about my troubles and start something else, how is dad getting along, I haven't had a letter for so long I don't believe I could read it if I did get one. Well mother I can't think of anything more I will close for this time please do not worry about me for I'm O.K. give my regards to all I can't imagine what is wrong with Ethel I have only had two letters from here since I have been in France and I don't know how many I have written to her probably someone is getting her mail. Well mom I will close for this time hoping this finds you and dad as well as it leaves me the same, answer reals soon.
Co. H 102 Inf. American E. F.
Just a few lines today to let you know that I am still among the living and getting along fine. It surely is some relief to live in peace once more. We have been having a pretty good time since the shells have ceased falling around us. The next thing we are hoping for is to get back to the U.S.A. I don't know how soon we will get home but hope it won't be long. I am pretty satisfied thought since everything is over. I presume you had quite a celebration when you received the news. Well I guess Blaine is expecting me home every down now. Tell him that it won't be so very much longer until I will come to see him if nothing happens. I would like to be at home for Xmas so soon. How is the influenza comping along by this time? I hope it is dying out. We have never been troubled with it over here and I guess it is a might good thing too. I will close for this time hoping to hear from you soon. With love to all, your son
Jan. 2 1919 Parsons Advocate
Somewhere in France
Dear Father: I will drop you a few lines. I am fine and dandy and getting along fine. This is some country over here they sure do have fine roads and some fine buildings most all the buildings are rock and cement. I suppose you have butchered before this would like to be there to help eat some of that beef. I suppose you still have the black team and Babe yet. I think I will be at home to help eat the Easter eggs and help you do the farming.
I am well satisfied and getting along fine.
Chauncie M Bright
Dear Mother; I will write you a few lines this Thanksgiving evening. I never felt better in my life, we had a fine dinner today considering everything we are quite aways from a railroad and a town of any size so you see it is hard to get anything extra, we had french fried potatoes, stewed apples, pie with condensed cream cor beef hash , bread coffee, bar of chocolate cigar and a box of cigarettes. I think that is doing pretty good to be out here in "no mans land". We are in a small village, Manzay, same place we were when we stopped fighting. The Germans have had this town for the past four years so you can imagine how the few civilians that are left fell to be free once more. I don't think we will be here much longer as we are getting equipped with all new clothes it looks to me as though we will be home soon at least I hope so although we are having it pretty easy at present living in houses instead of pupp tents we were at the front forty eight days when the fighting stopped without ever being released to so a little rest don't go bad. I suppose there are some happy bunch back there by this time I sure think they ought to be any how. I know for sure that we all are well.
It is getting dark and I have not much light so will close for this time, hoping that you are all as well as I am Will write again soon, with best love to all Bill
William H. Brown 313th Field Artillery Hdq Co. American E.F.
Jan. 2 1919 Parsons Advocate
My dear Mother (Sarah Miller)
Your most welcome Christmas package I received O.K. It was the best I ever ate and sure come in good for I was candy hungry and candy is scarce over here.
Well mother, I am well and doing fine and anxious to come back, but I can't say when that will be. I guess you have received my picture by this time and what do you think of them.
I only trust you are all in the best of health and getting along fine. Tell Allen the French don't hit with me and to be a good boy. Give my love to Frank and our little Mary Olga with love to all at home. answer soon as I have only received three letters from you at home. Goodbye your son.
Okey R. Miller
My dear Father and all at home (P.T. Stroup)
This cold rainy Sunday being housed up, I will endeavor to pass a few pleasant moments dropping you all a few lines. Dad I never felt better in my life or weighed as much as I do now. I guess France and army life is agreeing with me first class.
the censorship was lifted this a.m. so I'll outline our trip over here as near as I can . We landed in Liverpool England caught a training there for South Hampton, going through Manchester, Derby, Birmingham on our way, arriving there that eve, staying in a U.S. rest camp for two days , from there across the English Channel to Cherborne, going to a rest camp there for five days. left there for the tank training camp taking four days and nights to make the trip on a French train, with an American engineer and crew. Taking everything into consideration we received very good treatment all along the way the Red Cross met us with coffee and our Commanding Officer looked after us like a father looks after his children. I am in Hdq. Co., and he was always getting us out first, so we would get the best of everything we're lucky to have him over us. I think we'll be home inside of three months and probably before then. I'll tell more about France. i suppose old Parsons done some celebrating when the news arrived of the armistice being signed, we all celebrated over here and especially the French, they tell me in Paris it wasn't safe for a Yankee to walk in the streets for the French were taking their hats or buttons off them or anything they could get hold of for souveneirs and they admit the U.S. saved them from defeat as well as saving our own country from Prussianism. don't you or mother worry about me for I am alright in good warm quarters and plenty to eat.
Dad, you'd be surprised the things the U.S. has done in France. The number of locomotives and tracks we have here and the camps and other things for the soldiers. Do you still have charge of the Willson lumber Co? I suppose you're almost cut out on the old job. I hope the girls are over the Influenza by this time. I suppose Marguerite's school was closed down during the epidemic. I have seen some pretty nice parts of France, some of the cities I saw were Issuntil, Lemogs, Dijon and others I forget their names. These French names are very hard to remember. We are only 190 miles from Paris or 289 kilometers. We expect to go through Paris on our way back home. When you try to find Boing on the map you may not be able to find it so look for Langres, its just a few miles from Boing. Boing is only a small village of a few hundred inhabitants. since the war is over our hours of getting us have been changed, also working hours. We don't arise in the a.m. until 6:30 now, fatigue call and 8:00 and recall at 3:45. making a seven hour working day.
I am company barber and take care of our officers quarters, so you see I am in the dry and warm at all times. Well Dad, I must close this spasm and go to be. Write me often and I'll see you all soon. Love to yourself and all at home, kiss mother for me Dad. I am your affectionate son,
Jan 16, 1919
To: T.A. Isner
Will answer your letters received on the 29th of Oct. and the 8th of Nov. certainly was glad to hear from you. The were the first letters I have received from you since I have been in France. I got five letters from Eva and one from Mother and two from you, it was the first mail I have got since I have been in France. I certainly did feel good as I thought I never was going to hear from any of you. I have never got any letter from Johnson or Delpha yet, I suppose I have a batch of mail back somewhere.
Well it has been quite a while since I have written you. I have had Spinal Meningitis, have been in the hospital about five weeks, it certainly is fierce. am over it now, feeling fine, still a little weak but I certainly am gaining fast. I have been in the hospital about two months. I came from the trenches to the hospital, got a little whiff of gas, the gas I got did not amount to much, it affected my voice for a little while. It certainly was a very unpleasant place up in the trenches for old Jerry certainly did throw over some gas, blacksmith shops and G. I. cans.
Well I was glad to hear you were all well., I guess Mother and Sylvester are getting along very we. Tell the kids I said hello, I would like to see them. Well the hospital is a fine place, we get all we can eat and nourishment between meals, I certainly can put some of it away to. We certainly had a grand Thanksgiving dinner. I will close hoping to get home soon and see you all. With best wishes to you all, hope to hear from you soon.
James B. Isner
To: T.A. Isner
Jan. 6, 1919
Will write you a card to let you know that I am back to the good old U.S.A. landed today at New Port News VA. I am well and feeling fine and stood my trip across the pond fine. Hope these few lines will find you all well. I have no address to give to you. I will write you later.
James B. Isner
To. Mr. and Mrs. Lester Flanagan
Dear Brother and sister
Will this lonesome Sunday morning try and answer your letter received a few days ago. Was real glad to hear from you and to hear you are as well as usual, and that your crops are good. We are still having fine weather here and have never had any snow and only two or three frosts. I am awful glad it does not get cold here for i hate the idea of having to wade snow and mud.
I was down to the city and had some pictures taken, am enclosing one of each for you. The fellow with me is Rupert Andrews from Texas and he sure is a fine fellow, I have been associating with him ever since I come to France. We were to town last Thursday night and we sure did have some fun. Will tell you all when I come home and I think that will be soon, although I can never tell how long it may be.
Charley Judy has been transferred but I see him often, he is all OK. I am still working at my old job repairing cripples. Glad to hear you are getting along so well with your car. Tell Paul that I did not get to get any Germans myself but that they are all finished and we will be coming home soon and we will have a fine time when I get there. Well this leaves me in fine health and in good heart. answer soon and tell me all the news, your Brother
Pvt. McClellan Flanagan
Dec. 12, 1918
Mrs. W.B. Jenkins
St. George WV
Dear Mother and all
Will answer your welcome letter I received of late and was glad to hear from you. I am well and getting along fine,s o you see you have nothing to worry you on that line.
Well, here is where I start and see what I can do to relieve your minds at home till I come home some day.
On the 9th day of June 1918, I landed at Bordeaux and then arrived on the Swiss border for about six weeks and then went to the English front up at Doulens and saw quite a little service there, then came back right below Bar Le Duc and went up to the front at Bethincourt; was there eighteen days and back for a few days rest; and then to the Meuse and Argonne Forest. On Nov. 1st we did so well we came out before our time and then the armistice was signed.
We rested for a few days and started for a ten days hike. We thought we were going for the boat, but have not seen any yet.
We are now at a place called Gland. It is about one hundred and fifty miles below Bar Le Duc.
I understand we are under orders to sail but will not leave France till peace is signed, so I do not know when that will be.
I have ridden almost everything from a transport ship to an airoplane, and I expect to or want to take a ride in one of those birds yet, for they are as thick as flies. The most I ever saw in one bunch was three hundred. I saw Fritzy's giant plane fall. It had five motors and seven men and it came down in flames.
The railway trains are a peculiar outfit. I have ridden from a second class car to a parlor car and the parlor cars are about one third as large as our box cars. Some say they only hold about five tons.
Now, if you saw one of these trains, you would think the world was coming to an end. I tell you an old U.S.A. train sure does look good on one of their railroads; it certainly is great to see and hear old U.S.A> train whistle. It makes a person think of \being in the states.
Very seldom you see tow horses in a wagon; it is always a cart with one horse in front of the other.
Also canal boats are quite a thing here.
The largest river I saw since being in Europe is not as large as Horse Shoe Run, and they call that a large river. I used to think old Cheat was a small stream, but it is like the Atlantic to their rivers here.
On our hike we traveled about one hundred and fifty miles or may a few more. I have seen quite a little bit of France. It seems to be quite a lot larger than a person really thinks it is.
I have on my watch chain a button from a German's coat. It was the first German that I got to lay my hands on and he had his arm broken and I helped to dress his arm, and of course I took a souvenir from him and I hope to show it to you some day.
I surely was surprised and very sorry to hear of Earl Parsons being killed. I have often wondered who would be the lucky ones of the old town to come back, but as you know, it is God's way, not ours. But any way he did not die alone.
No tongue can ever tell of this terrible distress they sure did go through with . When a person stops to think for a moment, which he very seldom does when he walks out on the field of battle, and give it once the look over, he can hardly figure out how a human being can exist on the field under all of the barrage and machine gun fire, but it has been done and it sure was hard. As I said before, no tongue can ever tell, but that has all passed.
Well the boys are all thinking of going home, but we will have to wait till our time comes, which I hope is soon and then I can tell you more.
Must ring off for this time with love to all as ever your son,
Cpl Med. Dept.
Co. 320 Field Hospital
305 Sanitary Train
U.S. Army, France
Company M. 56th Inf., American E.F., France, Dec. 4th 1918 to Mr. W.C. Lipscomb
Route 2 St. George W.Va
Your son Lonzo Lipscomb, who was a member of Company M 56th Inf. which I command was killed in action on November 10th 1918.
There is little I can say or do that will lessen your sorrow, but I thought that you would like to know that your son died bravely doing his duty, a true American soldier. Your son was always an excellent soldier and enjoyed at all times the friendship and respect of of all members of his company. With that great courage and devotion to duty that characterized his daily life in the army, he has made the supreme sacrifice that enables us who are more fortunate to enjoy the peace that has come to us now.
We share in the loss of our comrade and brother-in-arms the grief you feel in the loss of your son. Accept our deepest sympathy in your bereavement.
Francis a. Woolfley
Capt. 56th Inf.
Parsons Advocate Jan 23 1919
Somewhere in France
Dear Mother and all,
I will drop you a few lines. I am well and getting along fine, hope you are all well. I have been enjoying the best of health since I came over here. There are seven of us boys still together that came with me. Jim Lewis and I are buddies, we chase around together. I have never seen an snow over here yet. It isn't very cold either, but it has rained lots. I suppose it is good old winter time over there. I would like to write and tell you where I am at but can't. I am keeping the names of the towns so I will tell you all about them when I get back. I think I will get back about spring, I hope it will be before then. Haven't you got any mail from me yet? I wrote you while I was on the boat and sent you my address. I have got one letter since I came over here., it was for Esta, written Oct. 26 so write soon. I am sending you my address again, give to my friends and tell them to write. Send my address to Blanch Bright I will close, write soon, your son,
Pvt. Chauncie M. Bright
108th Prov. co. Camp Lee J.A. R. D. A.E.F
Parsons Advocate Jan 30 1919
Mr and Mrs George Losh from the nephew
Along the Rhine River
Dear Uncle and Aunt
I will take the pleasure and write you a few lines to let you know that I am well except a cold. Hope this letter will find you both well, would love to see you both. I suppose you have been fixing up for Xmas, wish I could be there. I was in the state of Luxembourg, Thanksgiving day, but I will spend my Christmas here in Germany, I hope it will be the last one I will spend over here. I got a letter the other day from Brother Elmer, he said he was well and liked it fine but I think he is joking for that is more than I can say. I saw Jake Ferguson the 13th, he was well and looking fine. I always was a great fellow to run around but I have got plenty of it now, I have been all over France, in Belgium, through Luxembourg, and now in Germany. I surely was glad when we got up here, we hiked 280 miles on two meals a day, start at 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning and hike all day so you see we are not having as good a time over here as people think we are. We are on guard duty here, I don't know how it will last, I hope they will send us home before long. We have the honor of being the best fighting division over here, the Germans call us fire eaters because nothing could stop us. We surely went through some rough country, worse than the old W.Va. hills, which surely would look good to me now. It snowed here a little yesterday for the first but it has been raining all the time. I don't know if you can read this or not, but I am writing on a cigar box and that isn't a very good writing table. I have a good bed to sleep in here, it surely is better than laying out in a shell hole. We are staying in the German's houses, they treat us better than I expected. I will have to go to bed as I get up a two o'clock to go on guard until six in the morning. Tell all the people hello for me. Answer real soon.
Pvt. M.L. Canan
Feb. 6 1919
Our boys in France
by Master Ray Propst
When the Americans reached France
They knew they had a chance
To make the Huns all dance
To the music of France
When General Pershing reached the Rhine,
He got there just in time
And he saw what a dirty crime
The Germans had left behind.
To: Fred Phillips
Stationed near Epnenid France, State of Youne
Your letter of Dec. 1st received yesterday and you have no idea how pleased I was to hear from you. Your letter found me very busy but tonight as it is Christmas eve I do hate to go to bed even tho' I am tired so am sitting up to write to you. You would think from my letter that it was very late but it is really only 8:30. We sure go to bed early now, often we are all in bed by 6 o'clock and 8 is very late. It get dark before 4:30 and as we have nothing but candle light and there is nothing to do why we go to bed. I know when I come home I am going to have a hard time staying up late.
I will try to give you some idea of what we have done and do now. We came over here the last of July and traveled just about all over France before they sent us to the real front. While we did hospital work before we went up and were hearing of the big guns we were never under fire until in October when we had a month of real war. I would hate to tell you how close some of the shells came for it would sound like a fish story, but will wait until I come home to spring my big ones.
But about our work. We are supposed to follow the Division and look after the sick and wounded ones. At times it is anything but a pleasant job and one gets plenty of the real horror of war. Since coming to France I have been on the office work making reports and keeping all the records of the sick. It sure is hard work for in the army one cannot make mistakes for it may mean someones life if they do. We were working five miles from the Arnse River up to October 31 when we were transferred from the French Army to an American Sector in the Argonne forest. We only arrived there to see the big end of it all. As soon as the fighting stopped we were ordered to come her to Epinenid and walked all they way which is over a hundred miles. Since we have been here it has rained almost every day and the mud is fierce. The trucks can hardly get around. We think we are just waiting here for our turn to come home, but one can never tell. While here we are operating a mumps hospital but I have nothing to do in it for I am too busy working on records.
Our office e is on the third floor of a large chateau which is really like a castle. I have a bed in the office so am a better off than the boys who have to sleep on the floor in the billets. I am getting real anxious to come home and am sure coming to see you when I get back. Don't suppose I would know my old boy, Fred but hop you like Tony as you used to when I was home. Bet Frank is a man by now, I know I would never know him at all.
Am glad you are going to school in Parsons for the school in St. George never did help one much and I tell you a fellow sure ought to learn while he can for it is the school that helps later in life. am anxious to go riding with you in your car. Is it a Buick? I think they are about the best.
Am sure sorry about Papa getting his hand hurt, he sure must take care of it now. Seems like he always has bad luck getting hurt but then he never would take care of himself.
I have been well all of the time and have never been hurt a bit. Our Division gained 13 miles in 4 days so we feel rather proud. I sure am sorry the helmet never arrived and if I can possibly get another before i come back will mail it to you and try it again.
Now I must quit for tonight am going to write your mother a note and you can read this to her. Give Papa, Aunt, Frank and all of our friends my love. Write me again soon with love,
As this is a rainy and dreary evening and I have no place to go to pass away the time, I will write you a few lines I have often thought of writing to you but as I am not much of a hand at letter writing have just neglected to do so. I am well and getting along fine, have been enjoying myself very well considering everything. The weather has been so bad for the past month that it has been most disagreeable. It has rained every day and of course that means that there is lots of mud. We have been drilling everyday except holidays in spite of the weather. We had an Athletic contest last Friday between A.B. and C. batteries and Headquarters Co. The program consisted of Fifty and Two Hundred yard dashes, tug of war, caisson race, equipment race and soccor ball. A battery did not come out very well as all the boys were out of humor for some cause or other. Nevertheless we had a very enjoyable time. We are all anxious to get back to the States and we are sure making plans as to what we are going to do when we do get back. We have some great times talking over old times.
Riley Barb, Asa Agee, Bill Brown and Lester Hinkle are all well and getting along fine. Riley Asa and I are in the same Battery. Lester is in Battery B and Bill is in Headquarters Co. Well Wallie I will give you a little account of our chase after the Jerries. We were in the last forty-eight days of the fight.
During the time we moved fifteen times and took up fourteen different positions between Bethencourt and Manzay. In moving from one position to another we traveled after night to prevent being observed by Jerries observers in observation balloons. We never knew when we went to bed, if at all when we would likely be called out to make our blanket roll and get ready to move forward, as we had to move as the Jerries moved. We never moved unless it was raining as it rained all the time. We slept in small holes in the ground generally enough for two men and then there was no excess room. Some times the water would run in during the night while we were sleeping and when we would wake up our blankets would be wet as well as all the rest of our equipment. It sure was nice to throw an old wet and muddy blanket roll around our necks and hie for ten or fifteen kilometers. There were a number of times that I thought I could go no farther but I just hung on and pushed ahead. I was just about to the end of the string when we reached Mozany on November 10th. The next morning when I heard the Armistice had been signed I could hardly believe it until we received orders from Headquarters too cease firing. It certainly was some relief to lie down and go to sleep without being disturbed by the shells from Jerry's guns bursting around. We left the Jerries there to resume their retreat in peace. We did not do much for a couple of weeks after that, but sleep. I sure did enjoy the rest had all been working hard day and night.
Well I will close for this time but will try and find time to write again before long. Hoping to receive an answer in the near future. Yours truly
A. Battery, 318 F.A. Argentenil France, Jan 12 1919
Parsons Advocate, Feb. 13 1919
To Mrs. A.J. Gordon of Bayard
I received your letter, was glad to hear you and the kiddies are getting along fine. How is Arthur getting along and Gladys. Gladys said she had fell and got hurt, sorry to hear it.
Dessie I will tell you something about France. I have had three long train rides and seen some very beautiful country, we have had a little snow here, it didn't stay on very long, it rains mostly in the winter here which is very unpleasant. I would rather see snow any time.
I got a box from home sent through the Red Cross. What did Santa bring Roy and Will? Tell them to be good and go to see Grandpa and Grandma very often. How is Gladys getting along in school? Have you had the Spanish Influenza yet?
As it is getting late and getting dark, I will close, best wishes, answer soon.
To. Mrs. John Griffith of Kitzmiller MD
I received your letter, was real glad to hear from you and John and glad you are getting along so well. We are in a small French village, it is a very nice place if it didn't rain so much , it rains most of the time.
John I was on the Verdune front for forty eight days from the 25th of September to the 11th of November. Dutch and Boguss told me to tell you they were getting along fine. I saw Billie Rankin the other day, he is driving a car. I received a Christmas box from home but got it too late as it came a couple days after Christmas
Give Mr. and Mrs. Lee my best regards and also Rus Polland. Give Mr. And Mrs. Junkins my best regards and the rest of the family. I spent my first Christmas in France, we had a very good dinner, we had chicken, rabbit pie, cake and jam. We can buy most anything here such as fruit.
There was movies at the Y.M.C.A., the other night, the first we had seen for some time.
I am sending you some view of the place very near where we are billeted.
Best wishes, answer soon.
To Mr. S.D. Hile
From a little town in France
I thought perhaps you would like to hear from a Yank over in France and this s a Christmas letter also. I am well and hope you people are the same. The only think I see that is wrong is I am getting too fat, I weigh more now than I ever did. we have been having some very cold weather but no snow at this writing. I guess the mountains of West Virginia are covered with frost and ice. Are you making props this winter for the Kendall Lumber Co?
We.., Mr. Hile, this is a nice country here in France but for myself I will take the good old U.S.A. to live in. I suppose you helped to celebrate on the eleventh of this month and had the stars and stripes all over your auto. I sure did get sea sick while coming across the ocean but it only lasted two or more days and you can bet I was glad when I landed on soil once more. While coming over we were Attacked by several U boats but they couldn't hurt Uncle Sam. We were twelve days coming across and when we landed we went to a rest camp for about five days before I was classed to my outfit, and while out on the drill field I saw Bill Ellis and Luther Canan, but I haven't seen them since, it was a little over a month ago. I imagine you are getting ready for the spring farming, does the Co., still haul their men in the cars? I guess there is lots of work going on around there. There are some very old buildings here. Just across the street from where I stay is an old house that has been built one hundred and twenty-five years and good for a thousand yet. There are no buildings like you see back in the state, they are all built of rock. there is quite a bit of influenza here in France, and I see in the papers it is bad in the states. I was in the hospital fourteen days with it, I almost had pneumonia. The weather here is so changeable and awful damp and muddy, cold one day and warm and raining the next. The Frenchmen sure like their wine, that is all they serve at meal time but I haven't seen any of them twisted I got a letter from home and they said Ora was teaching school, I wish her success and if the kids don't mind tell her said to use some of those hickory limbs on them. We have church here every Sunday in the Y.M.C.A. and during the week have shows something going on all the time to entertain the soldiers. I saw in the papers where they are going to send the boys back from the camps. As it is getting late and I have some work to do I will close.
Pvt. Okey Fortney
Feb. 20, 1919
To. Mr. John Propst
It has been a long time since I have written to you, but this is just to remind you that I haven't forgotten you. These few lines leaves me well, and I hope that you and family are the same. This was the first Christmas I ever spent so far away from home, and I hope that it will be the last one. Well dinner is over and we are through for the day. We get the afternoon off until New Years, then we go back on our old schedule. Say John,I have had some experiences since I have been over here. I will wait until I come home and tell you about them. Of course I wasn't in the worst of it but I was in enough to suit me. we were under shell fire for one month but not bad enough to be serious. I stood on a hill and saw the Huns make direct hits in a village. I could see the bricks and bust fly. We went up and put over a few greetings for Fritz from behind the lines, but on the morning of the 11th we were up to the front lines to go over with the Inf. when the Co. Commander stopped us and I suppose that it was lucky for us that he did for Fritz sure had things fixed up for us. They had every trench in front of us mined, there sure would have been a lot killed on both sides. There was never known of such an artillery preparation in the history of the world. We were on the Hazrant Farm when the guns stopped firing at eleven o'clock. There was a battery of 75's in the woods to the right of us, one of the guns in the last five minutes fired 21 shots, the record on a French gun, it takes the Yanks for such as that. Christmas morning I took a l little hike in the woods, it was snowing and trying to rain at the same time. I saw three big jack rabbits and say they were some big too. There are deer, wild hogs, ducks and fish. The lacks and full of pickerel and carps. Well this is enough of that stuff for this time.
Say, I surely would liked to have been there when they took in those new ones in the Jr.'s. I suppose you had some time. How many did you take in? I surely am sorry to hear of the influenza getting so many of the people in Parsons. Did your family have it? Are you still working at the tannery? I got a letter from Fred Chace and he told me that his family had the flu for six weeks but none of them died with it. He also told me that that he was working for the W.M.R.R and had a good job. I was certainly glad to hear of it. I also heard that Dale was home for Thanksgiving. I am surely glad he didn't have to go through what i have, but I am not sorry of it now. I can say that I have seen some of the world and he can't. How is Bill Alderton this winter? Tell him that I was asking about him, and that I am not very good in writing to anyone. I expect that you had a good time Christmas, that is more than I had. Well I will close for this time, wishing you and your family a happy and prosperous New Year.
As ever your friend and bro.., in V.L.P.
Pvt. Otto K. Rightmire
Feb. 20, 1919, Parsons Advocate
Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Parsons
St. George WV
Dear Parents of a brave son
Your letter of inquiry for your son reached me several days ago and since then I have conducted a thorough examination of the 47th Company Marines. It is with sincerest regret that I must confirm the telegram that you have had from Washington. Your son, Clyde E. Parsons, was killed in action October 4th, 1918 in the Champagne Sector, France.
No one who was actually with your son at the time of his death has been discovered for the reason that there are now very few officers and men left of those who made up our regiment at that time. We've been through many engagements and our casualties have been heavy.
I personally was with the regiment and the 47th Company through the nine days battle of early October. My belief is that your son was killed by Shrapnel while engaged in an heroic attempt to bring ammunition to his comrades who were all but surrounded by the enemy. He had been fighting valiantly in the extreme front line for hours and the call was made for volunteers to go through the terrific barrage that had been let down behind us to cut us off from the reserves in our rear. Your son was one of the number who went into that terrible shell fire. Wheter he got through and got the ammunition and was returning when a high explosive shell killed him or wheter he was caught before he got to the ammunition dump, I have bot been able to ascertain. Your son lies buried just outside the ruins of the town of Somme Py on the bank of the highway there. I remember the place well as it is located on the map. There is an open field fringed with very tall poplar threes. All around are hills and dense wood. It is a quiet place now and the many graves there of our brave boys are lovingly cared for by the French people who have returned to their ruined homes in the district. These good French mothers and fathers, so many of them have paid the same great price that you have, say that this is the only way they can tell American mothers of the appreciation of the sacrifice they have made for them.
I wish, my dear friends, I could be of more help and comfort to you. Your son was a good soldier and he died the death of a brave man. The cause in which he gave his life so freely and willingly was worth both living for and dying for and he showed his supreme love for you, for his country and his God in that he so gloriously lived and bravely died. "Greater love hath no man that that he laid down his life for his friends."
If in later days I am able to learn more details. I am keeping your address. I will write to you again.
Please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of your son and also my sincerely congratulations that you have had so brave a son who died for his country.
Chester A. Underhill
Chaplain 3rd Battalion
March 6, 1919, Parsons Advocate
To Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Stokes
Aux Les Barnes, France
My dear Parents:
I will drop you a few lines this morning to let you know that I am well and having a fine time. I left my organization Wednesday on my seven days leave. I stayed in Di Jon Wednesday night and Thursday until after dinner, then I came as far as Lyon and stayed there Thursday night and came into Aix Les Baines Friday. I sure have enjoyed the trip so far. I have seen lots of sights that I never expected to see and never expect to see them again. Di Jon and Lyon are both very nice places and lots of beautiful scenery but Aix Les Baines is the most beautiful town of the three. It is located in the Alps mountains. It doesn't make any difference in which direction you look you see great high mountain peaks, and they are all covered with snow. It looks pretty cold upon the mountains but is not so very cold here. I think I will take a trip up on Mont Revard tomorrow if it is a clear day. From there you can see over into Switzerland and Italy. There are several other short trips that I want to take while I am here if nothing happens.
I am rooming at a very nice hotel, The Splendid Royal. It sure is some place to stay after sleeping and living in holes in the ground and old barns. We get plenty of good eats here and fine beds to sleep in. When I roll into my bed at night I can sleep like a log. Then when getting up time comes I can hardly get out at all. id do not get up for breakfast but lie in bed until about ten o'clock. I would rather lie in bed than get up for breakfast. Of course we do not have to stand any formations here. We can go to bed when we please and get up when we please. We can also stay out all night if we desire to do so . We have the greatest liberty possible. They sure have a fine Y.M.C.A. building here. It is a large stone building finished on the inside with marble. It is in the old building where Harry Thaw used to hang out. Thy have moving picture shows, vaudevilles and band concerts every afternoon and evening, and all other kinds of amusements. In one end of the building is the finest auditorium that I have ever seen.
Well I will close for this time as I want to go out and walk around for awhile. Hoping to hear from you soon. With love to all, your son.
To Harry Canan, Leadmine
I will answer your letter I received last night, was glad to hear from you and to known that you were all well. These few lines leaves me well. I received your letter and one from mother the same night. I have only heard from Elmer once, he was well when he wrote, his address is the same. How is everything back there? Have you been catching any rabbits? Well Harry I don't know if I will get back in time to catch any rabbits but I think I will be there in time to go fishing. We have had two small snows here this winter about an inch deep, but we have had plenty of rain. I wrote mother a letter the 14th and 17th of this month. Well Harry take good care of yourself and be a good boy. I will close for this time with love to all your brother.
To: Mrs; F.M. Glenn
My dear mother:
It has been five months since I have heard from home, but perhaps my changing around from southern, northern and finally central France accounts for same. Anyway I hope ever one is well and getting along fine.
You cannot imagine how anxious I am to return to the dear old U.S.A. Well in fact every soldier in France has the same desire.
there are many interesting places in France, but very few A.E.F. men have the privilege to visit cities, as camps cannot be located only in secluded places away from civilian environments.
Therefore military life is anything but enjoyable under necessary conditions here, but I shall never criticize Uncle Sam's army and proud to serve him to my utmost.
At present I am working in the Inspection Department Headquarters Classification Camp and all soldiers are equipped here and then embarked for the States. So naturally cannot say as to my return, perhaps 30 days or so.
So mother write as something may happen and I may be delayed longer than expected
Your loving Son
To: Wallie Thurston
As I have nothing to do this evening will try and let you know what I have been doing for the last eighteen months as you know in 1917 June 30th I enlisted in the 1st W.Va. Infantry went in camp at Fairmont W.Va. was there until Sept. 14, 1917, landed at Camp Shelby Sept. 17th then my company was transferred in the 113th engineers training there for almost a year, and a year it was Ha. On Sept. 5th 1918 left Shelby Miss. for Camp Mills, N.Y., landed there on Sept. 9th 1918 was there only a short time, went to Hoboken N.Y., Sept. 14 went aboard ship the same day and sailed on Sept. 15. Just then is where the boys took sick, seasick. Was fourteen days on the ocean blue, landed at Brest, France, Sept. 29th 1918 was in Brest for about a month-did engineers work there. On October 26th then is when we began to get close to the war. Landed in Issintille oct. 29, was there one night, on Oct. 3th landed in Lux, France, getting closer all the time, was only to stay there for a few days , then it ended Nov. 11th so we went no farther. We are still in Lux, one of the largest remounts in France, built by Co.E. 113 th Engrs. We did not get up to the front but part of the Regulars did. Well that is part if it, ha. We have a nice place here. I have been in some of the largest cities in France and hope to see some in Germany, Italy and Switzerland. I don't guess we get home for awhile, we are going to move soon and I hope it is in Germany this time. Luxenberg is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and has never been shelled. Well, I guess you are getting tired of this lingo, so i will stop at this. Am well at present, met Floyd Stokes in Dijon last Sunday. I sure was glad to meet a pal from Parsons. Well, I must close and go to bed as it is time for taps. answer soon, your friend
Sgt. John C. Plumb
March 13, 1919, Parsons Advocate
To Miss Zora Jones
Gurgy Le Chateau, France
Will try and write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and getting along fine. Received your letter the other day and was glad to hear from you and that you are all well and that you are getting along fine with your school.
France is like W. Va., some of it is nice and leve, and some of it rough and hilly. I will bring some souvenirs with me when I come home and the I can tell you all about France better than I can now. I am now wearing a service stripe,I have been over here six months from the time we landed in England that was the seventeenth of July.
Ira Phillips is in the same division I am, he is in the 52nd inf., so Bernard said but I have never seen him yet. And Lonzo Lipscomb that went to camp with me, I don't know anything about him, he was transferred at Camp Mills when we sailed across. He took sick with the measles and went to the hospital and I have never seen him since. Don't know whether he came across or not. I was sorry to hear that Okey died but we can't all come home. Idon't know when I will get to come home. We may be over here for a long time yet, I don't know.
Well as news is scarce over here will close, hoping to hear from you soon.
Your loving brother
Pvt. Gordon D. Jones
Some of the good people of Tucker County have asked me to write you a few lines for publication , if you see fit, that they may know some experiences of the boys while in France and Germany. My letter may not be very good but will try to make it, at least, a little interesting. I cannot tell all but will give a brief sketch from the time we left good old U.S.A., till the present
We boarded the Italian ship "Reditali" at Newport News, Va., on July 31st for Brest France. In all there were nine ships in our fleet and the Reditali was the smallest. We were kept below until we were out at at sea, then we were permitted to go on deck only at certain hours. We would have liked to have stayed on deck all the time for the old boat had formerly been a cattle boat and was not in the best condition below. We lived through it however and none of us was affected only by seasickness. I was pretty sick for six days. We had a two day storm and during this storm I was on guard and had a fine chance to feed the fish, which I did, everything I eat. We saw lots of big fish and a few whales, some looked almost as big as the boat we were in. To add to our excitement we were attacked twice by submarines, the first time we were eight days out, but not damage was done as the convoy was sure on the job and drove the sub away. The second time were were in the danger zone. This time th sub shot a torpedo that just missed our boat and hit another one but did not sink it. It had to be towed in by one of the other ships. This time the convoy was more successful, they sunk the sub. Landed at Brest on aug. 12th about 3 o'clock and marched about four kilometers to some old barracks formerly used by Napoleon's troops. I was certainly glad to be on Terra firma once more, and felt fine that I could stretch my limbs again on unlimited space and to be without fear of the subs. We remained here eight days then we took "soldiers passage" to St. Agnia to classification and was here assigned to Co. D. 163rd Inf. I remained here two days and then was transferred to Co. K., 163rd, located at St. George. Here I remained until Sept. 4th, taking instructions on the French automatic rifle. On the morning of Sept. 4th we hiked a distance of four kilometers to a train carrying full packs and rations for two days and again took "soldiers passage" in cars labeled "8 cheavoux ov 40 homines" and headed for the lines. We were on this train two days and one night and was certainly tired when the ride ended. We were being sent to the 127th Machine Gun Co., and found them in some woods just back of Soisoins front. They had just come out of the lines for a rest when before going in on the Verdun front. The regiment remained in this vicinity for four days and then loaded on train for Covel, a little town in rear of Verdun front. We remained here thirteen days learning the French machine gun. Only a few of the Tucker Co. boys were transferred into the thirty-second Division at that time, some f them are Edgar G. Miller of Davis, a scout in Co. K., Martin L. Canan and myself to M.G. Co.
We left Covel on Sunday, Sept. 23 and made our way in tucks to the near rear at the Argonne woods. We were again very close to the big guns and they were were roaring on every side of us. We were also visited by Fritz in the Air every day and he never failed to open up on us. They never did much damage as the men were so scattered they couldn't get a good target and we always gave them a warm reception with five or six of our guns, and generally made it so warm for them they couldn't stay but a short time. We remained here in reserve until the night of Oct. 3rd when we started fro the lines and went in the next morning under heavy artillery barrage. We were in only a few minutes till we had to wear our gas masks and we were certainly glad to put them on, for the gas was very rank and dangerous. The first morning we sent over a machine gun barrage and made an advance of about 800 yards. I will not into details to relate this battle which lasted for sixteen days but will just tell a few of the things that happened. The Machine Gun Co. was used different in this battle than in the previous ones. We were used for barrage work and to help hold the lines, but only went over th top once with the Infantry, so we didn't have very many casualties, only two men killed and very few wounded. We were under some awful heavy shell fire and seemingly all Germans had was machine guns. They had a good position in the hills and woods but the Yanks broke through their line everywhere and kept them backing up every day we were in. We took lots of prisoner, and captured all kinds of guns. On the night of the 20th we were relieved by the 89th Div., and made our way 15 kilometers to the rear. We were so tired that we couldn't go any farther and went into some old barracks for the rest of the night. The next morning it ws pouring down rain but after a good hot breakfast we hiked 20 more kilometers to the rear and out of range of the big guns. We pitched tents and remained two weeks for rest. While here we were visited nearly every night by Fritz who dropped "eggs" all around us, but as luck would have it they always missed us. Here we also got in replacements and made preparations to go back into the Argonne forest. We started by night Nov.4th and went into support, remained in support until Nov. 10th when we took over the front lines again. We did not make any advance Monday, the 11th we were ready and waiting the zero minute to "go over the top" when runners came from regimental telling us not to advance and just hold the lines that the armistice was expected to be signed at 11 o'clock. This was certainly good news to us and we would have leaped for joy but any unneccessary noise was forbidden. We waited impatiently for 11 o'clock and when t arrived the armistice was announced by the Dutch buglers who blew "cease firing" then we felt much better that we could walk on the top of the ground without fear of machine gun bullets, snipers or schrapnel but lost for a while without the nose of the battle. That night the boys had a regular 4th of July with rockets, flares and powder and we all enjoyed a good nights rest, but our minds were so full of happy thoughts we couldn't sleep much. We remained there holding the lines until Nov. 16th then our division was given the honor of entering Germany, we commenced the march starting from Breheville, France and crossed into Luxemburg at Longwy, in sight of Belgium, passed through the city of Luxemburg to the Dutch frontier at Monplach, crossed the Sours river and continued our march to the Rhine. We crossed the Rhine Dec. 13th and continued the march to Hersehbach. This was a hike of 349 kilometers or 218 miles and was a very hard one. Every day men were scattered all along the roads, men whose feet had become so sore they could go no farther and men who had stood the hardest of fighting in the Argonne were entirely given out on this march to and beyond the Rhine. as we came through France, we were greeted as only people who had been prisoners and under German rule for four years knew how to treat us. They met us with flags outside of the little towns and were all decorated up for us. I never seen more happy people than they were. The Luxemburgers were also very glad to see us, and we fared better than we really expected to even after we came into Germany. We established outposts here and are keeping a watchful eye day and night on the Dutch. We are all being granted passes to Coblence. I have had mine and had a fine time We left here on trucks and only took about two hours to run down there. There is some beautiful scenery along the Rhine, lofty mountains with castles on the top , and the pontoon bridge across the Rhine must be included. I spent one day in Coblence and was treated fine. They have everything fixed up fine for us and for our benefit and pleasure.
We are drilling now and having maneuvers now just the same as if we were preparing for war, but we have nothing else to do, and if Fritz should ever happen to start anything we would be good and ready to meet them. But we do not expect that now that we have so much of their territory. We hear from pretty reliable sources that we are soon to start for home and i only hope this is true. I have not seen as much service as lots of the boys but I am awful anxious to get back to good old U.S.A. Well I think I have written enough for one time so I will close wishing you much luck and prosperity in business.
Claude A. Miller
March 20, 1919, Parsons Advocate
Dear Mother and all
I will try this eve to pen you a few lines to say I am feeling fine and hope that these few lines may fine all wall at home. Well Mother, I suppose that you are still having some cool weather there, must say that we have a little snow here but not very cold. I have nothing to do at the present writing but think of home and wonder when we will get back to a civilized country. why of course I can not say very much but am going to go a little further in this letter and tell you a few of my experiences. First we left New York on the sixth of July and went to Liverpool, England, arriving there on the seventeenth of the same month and sure had a fine trip. We were quite a good way north for it got dark at about 11 o'clock p.m. and daylight at about 2 a.m., long days and short nights and of course I was afraid I would miss many sights so I can say that I did not get very much sleep. But we arrived safe and sound. We had a stay in England for very near two weeks then left for France, arrive in La Harve after crossing the English channel in a little -=--- of some kind which I think must have had the capacity of one hundred and fifty and they crowded about one thousand so you can imagine our comfort. there were about three piled on top of me when I woke up and when I tried to get out of the pile I had to do some acrobat stunts before reaching the main deck. Nevertheless there was a happy bunch for we knew that we would be trench bound to do our bit for humanity., and we then did arrive there on the first of September and had some stay in the Alsace Lorraine sector, left on October the tenth and believe me we sure did see some beautiful country for mountains. We had two weeks rest and the we were bound where the big noise was going on and we sure did put on out some foot work for we hiked some days 25 or 30 miles with a full field pack and we sure did have some time of it. Talk about sunny France, well I sure have changed the name of it into rainy and muddy France for that is all I have seen since I arrived in this frog country. Well anyway we were so tired out at the end of our days hike that any place we could put up our tent and many times we slept in mud and rain but no one grumbled for each one knew that to get the best of the Huns was to get up and at it so we were up bright and early next morning with a little bullie beef and a hard roll or two if we were lucky enough to have a rolling kitchen with us and if not we would shoulder our packs and go without until the next morning
and now I must tell you the secret of so fast a retreat was because the 6th division was close on their heels and believe they sure done a wise thing if they wanted to see their own country for the 6th sure was a fierce looking bunch and were almost praying for them to stop and we sure would have left some of them with their faces turned up to the sun for there was no mercy to be seen in any ones faces. We were still on our long hikes for we had by this time reached Storme, France, where we were relieved by the French and English at Sedan. then were ordered to got to the Verdun front so we started on our usual way of getting there by foot, but we had only gotten two or three days hiking when on the eleventh of November we were told of the armistice being signed and talk about a happy bunch we were some of them for we thought that our hiking days would soon be over, but sure was mistaken for we as usual up and at it again but it begun to tell on the bunch for the began to grumble why such would be when we had the best of the Huns, but mother the main secret was because we did not have the excitement to keep us up so we commenced to lag in our hikes but at last we arrived on the Verdun front footsore and hungry, when we found our dugout which were of course German's, we found that they were filled with cooties which sure are a little troublesome for the darn things were not a bit particular who they made a feed off for the way that they feed on us poor American boys they must have taken a liking to us and some them have nerve enough to stick with us yet so do not be surprised if there are a few sticking on us when we arrive in the good old U.S.A.
Well mother we are still in France and still are asking the question when are we getting to come home, so will close for this time. Hope to see you all soon. I remain
Your loving Herschel
La Rochelle, France
Well after a real long delay I will try and write you a few lines.
How are you by this time? I have had a bad cold for quite a while but I'm getting better now.
Gee, but it has been cold here today, much colder than it has ever been since I came over here. It snowed a little the other night.
I have received two letters from Maggie this month but one was written Dec. 1st and the other one Jan 6th. I was sorry to hear she had the flu. I wrote you a letter while I was at camp Upton N.Y. but you never answered. I don't know how many letters I have written mother. I have also written about three to Floyd and two to Russell and I have not heard from any of them.
How long did you stay with Maggie?
I think I'll be coming back soon. When I first came over here I was pretty busy but now I don't have hardly anything to do I only weigh 160 lbs. Ha!
well, news is scarce "over here," so I'll have to close. Hoping you are all well, and tell all hello, and write real soon. Love and best wishes to all.
march 27, 1919 Parsons Advocate
To. Mr. C.I. Smith
Le Mans France
I have been here eight days and it has rained six days out of the eight and the mud is terrible. I came to the hospital December 21st with tonsilitis and was sick for about a week but I am feeling fine again. I first went to Evacuation Hospital No. 5 near Dunkerque, left there Christmas day and went to a British Hospital near Bologne, was there until December 31st and then came to this camp which is an Embarkation Camp and there sure is a bunch of the boys here.
I stopped at Paris from 7 a.m. until 4:40 p.m. It sure is some city. I walked on top until I was tired and then went down into the subway and rode on the cars for awhile, but the nice part of it was I had so much money, 2 centimes, but I got along all right.
This is a classification camp where we are re-equipped for they take everything from us when we go to the hospital and the closest come thru here to be equipped. My Division is on its way here, so I hear, and I guess I will wait here for it unless they make up a casual list and put me in it. I do not care if they do just so they send me back tot he U.S.A
I hear the 37th Division is to sail soon but one can hear so much in the army and I have heard those things that make a whistling noise and causes one to hit the dirt, so I will wait and see what happens.
We have a good Y.M.C.A. here which is a good place in which to spend the time. We can not get out of the camp with out a pass and it is hard job to get a pass. We only have to stand Reville and Retreat and line up for mess, so you see we have it rather easy here. Will close for this time, hope you are all well
P. Carroll Smith
A.P.O. Ardoye, Belgium
My dear Mother:
I received your letter Sunday and was surely glad to hear from home again. I am well and feeling fine with the exception of a slight cold. I do not know what s wrong with my mail for I know I should get more than I do. I may be on my way home when you get this letter, at least I hope so.
I certainly am glad this awful struggle is over for I have seen enough of it. My division was on the front when the guns ceased firing and I was up right up there with the rest of the boys and I consider myself lucky to get through it all without a serious wound, although I have been lifted clear off the ground by the explosion of the large shells and the only thing that saved my life was that I heard them coming and made one desperate leap for a ditch and just hit it in time for a shell landed on a bank on the other side of the road, and by making myself as flat as possible I escaped, but was completely plastered by mud and dirt from the explosion. You may guess that I disappeared from that spot, but two shells never land in the same place. By a lot of ducking and bellysliding I came through all right.
I have been on five different battle fronts and have been in three of our largest drives. The first one was the Argonne Forest. We started that drive and the other two were here in Belgium.
We are now on our way to Le Mans, in Souther France. We are due for a long weary train ride. There is a large American Camp there and from there we hope to come to the good old U.S.A. So do not be surprised if you hear of the 37th Division being on the way home. We have had some long hikes but i believe they are about over. I never have fallen out on a hike yet. Ass soon as we get to our destination I will write you more often as censorship has been lifted to a certain extent. Take good care of yourself.
P. Carroll Smith
To Mr. George Losh
Dear Uncle and Aunt:-
I take pleasure to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I hope you and Aunt are the same. Received a letter from cousin Albert Knotts and he said that Aunt had the flu again, hope she is better now. got a letter from home the other day and they were all as well as usual. I just got through taking a bath and I feel like a new man, it was the first bath I have had since the armistice was signed, so you may know the bath didn't hurt me. Well Uncle I think I will get to see you before long, the 32nd, division is supposed to leave here the last of May, that is the report that we have now.
The Germans don't like to be bossed by the Americans, we make them keep everything clean, they were used to living like hogs, all their buildings are in one , the average size of a houses about seventy-five feet long and from thirty to forty feet wide, they live in one end the stable is in the middle and the chicken coup and hog pen is in the other end. I will send you a picture of the town so you can see what it looks like. will tell you all about this country when I get home. Hope aunt is better she surely has her share of sickness. Well I will close as it is about time for retreat and I will have to get back in K.C. fort now.
With love to both
Pvt. M.L. Canan, M.G. Co. 127 Inf.
A.P.O. 34 A.E.F
Apr. 3 1919
To Mr. John Propst
Dear Friend and Bro.
It was certainly a pleasure to receive a letter from you, was glad to hear of you being well. These few lines leaves me well and hoping to be home in the near future. Today makes seven months since i set sail from the good old U.S. and I certainly weish that I was there again. This army is all right but I have enough of it for awhile. I got a letter from home stating that Dale had come home the 26th of last moth. We he can be thankful that he did not have to come over her. Of course he would have seen something of this world and also some of this war. I was pretty lucky in not getting hit or gassed but sometimes there were awful good chances. I was sick for three weeks and a half in the hospital at Montrichard, France. I had the French flu, but that is nothing like the Spanish flu that they had in the states. I heard of Jim Bedfords, Bob Reeds and Morris Perrys death in letters that I got from home. The papers claim in their latest reports that the flu kille dmore than the bullets did over here. I would like to step in the JR O.U.A.M.Hall and see how the boys are. I am going to write to Geo. Higgs and Dutch Ridenour. Who went to state meeting last fall with Dutch Ridenour? I hear from Fred Chase once in a while, he said that at Xmas they tookl about 60 members in the Juniors. I sure would have liked to be there to play Chaplain. This divisin is the second to sail in May and maybe before that. We have it pretty easy for the last two months. I don't think I have drilled a day in that time. There is no use for us to drill for the war is over and we don't need it now. Well John as this is about all that I can think of this time until I see you for I can talk better than I can write. Hoping to be home in the near future. I will close. From your friend and brother in V.L.P.
Pvt. Otto K. Rightmire
To Mrs. Harry Shaffer
I will try to answer your letter of Feb. 24th, I am always glad to get a letter from any one in the states or elsewhere.
I am well and getting along good for army life in war times. I do not drill and have not since last fall. I have been in the office here at headquarters all winter. I am doing printing for the whole Military Police Corps.
I have not seen any of the boys I know since I have been in the Military Police Corps, six months ago and I have not received any letters from them. They are in the third army or most of them are, and I am in the first. The third army is at Coblenz in Germany, that is about two hundred from here. I heard John Harsh, Ernest Auvil and two of Mr. Ferguson's boys were up there. They are doing guard duty there.
We did not have much snow here this winter but a lot of damp, foggy weather. A cold mist comes over here from the north. We are farther north here than Montreal and the air is so much different from that at home. I get a cold most every week and it lasts most of the time. I was up to the battle front Feb. 26. Was in a lot of towns and cities that were destroyed or nearly so. These are the names of some of the places I visited: Chateau Thierry, Belleau-Wood, Reims, St. Menehould, Argonne Forest and I passed through many small towns and villages. No one can imagine just how they are until they can see just the way they are laid waste. The forests are all ruined, the trees are cut down by shells and bullets, till the timber s not much better than a tree that was hit by lightning. Grain fields are full of shell holes and trenches.
I will close with best regards from your nephew.
Pvt. Albert E. Adams
March 6, 1919
I received your welcome letter yesterday and will try to answer it tonight. We have been working on the roads every day and it also rains every day. We are not supposed to work in the rain but as it rains most of the time we are bound to get in some of it. This finds me in good health and not a thing to worry about.
I hope that everyone at home is getting along fine and dandy. I guess your roses will soon be blooming again, i do not think I will back in time to see them. We shall not be back until September at the earliest is the latest news. Of course one can never tell because the army is so uncertain. If we go up in Germany it will be that late anyway. We stand a chance of being transferred into another division tho' that is billed for home. I wish that something like that would happen.
Well mamma every place we go we are bound to get in the mud and I do not think there is a dry place in this country maybe we will have some dry weather this summer.
Yes. Coburn is well as fat as ever, we are still in the same company, I do not think we will ever be separated.
I hope you are still getting better and can get out in the open air. Yet is is very important that the kids should stay in school.
Well mamma we only work seven hours a day that is enough to give me an enormous appetite. I spend most of my evenings reading books and plenty of them, thanks to some of our officers. It is too muddy to play football or baseball.
I would like to spend the rest of this year in the states. If I could be there for three months I would be content to stay another two years.
I have not seen Grover Moran yet but I heard he was in the hospital. No I do not think I have heard of Murl. I did not know there was an 108th Div. Well mother when we get all the French roads repaired we will be home. I am writing this on the typewriter so you can read it easy. I cannot use a pen very well anymore.
give my love to all and tell them I will be back some day.
hoping for some more adventures
I am your loving son,
Pvt. Ralph Hansford,
Co. E. 11 th Engrs,
Seventh Division, American E.F.
To: Mr B.A. Jones
Villiars Montroy France
Will answer your letter and let you know that I am well and will try and tell you a little about my trip to France. We left New York on the 6th of July and landed in Liverpool England on the 17th. We went to Winchester, England, was there about three days and then went to South Hampton and got on the boat and crossed the English Channel, there's where we fed the fish as we all go sick. We landed in La Harve, France, stayed there overnight, got on the train the next morning and rode for about four or five days. We arrived at Latracy about two o'clock in the morning, we lay on the ground till morning then they took us to our billets We stayed there for about one month, it was a pretty good place. we then went to the trenches in the Alsace-Lorraine, we were in the trenches for 31 days,there's where we got our taste of the front. About Three o'clock in the afternoon they shelled us and I certainly did not hesitate to hunt my dugout. While we were there I only had three soldiers get wounded and they were not bad. They we were relieved by the French soldiers the 11th of October. Then we hiked back to Vagney for a rest, we were only there about a week then we started back for the front, we went through the Argonne Forest when the big drive was made but we did not get in action as the Germans were going too fast so we followed them up till we got to Sedan, but we were under shell fire all the time we were going up there. It was a shame\ how the towns were destroyed. Then we got orders to turn back, we came back by Verdun and relieved the 26th Division. While we were coming back the Boche gave up and we did certainly feel happy. We stayed at Verdun but about three days. Then we came back to a camp called Ballrupt, we were there three days, then we got orders for a fifteen days hike. we did not know where we were going but we started and landed where we are now. We have been here since Dec. the 6th. The towns are all built out of stone, some of them are beautiful. I think we will go to Germany soon, if we do I can tell you something about Germany. As it is getting late and I missed my breakfast and dinner I will have to go to supper. Wishing the best of luck. I remain
Pctr. Gordon H. Jones
To Mrs. Pete Phillips
Dear Sis: Just a line before I go to bed. I received your letter Sunday as was glad to know that my big sis still thought of me. I am one of the sleepiest boys in the A.E.F. It is raining and maybe you think I wont cut the shine when i hit the straw.
I just wrote hazel. Oh say do you ever hear from Pa? That girl is crazy as i am. Ha! Ha! I like to hear her rare but am glad I am in France when she does it. Tell that Pete I said hello, and that I would like to see him. Say sis I don't think we are long for France, looks now as though we may get home in July or August. Just think, home. Oh! Oh! what a wonderful time. Well sis, I am well and full of pep, the candle is going out, so I must close. Answer soon. Love and kisses to you and Pete.
May 22, 1919 Parsons Advocate
To Mrs. Pete Phillips
Will answer your letter of the 10th. this has been some day. It rained this morning, snowed at noon and now the sun is smiling down at 4:30 p.M., some climate but I should not worry for I just got back from a four days leave in the Alps. I saw one of the largest glaciers in the world, the Bosson, and Mt. Blonc the largest in Europe, was over the border line into Switzerland, got back the 24th and have done nothing since but i have a job for next week. I guess you are having spring weather by now. I hope I get to eat dinner at home by the 4th of July.
Has Brooks come home yet? he sailed the 19th of April, lucky boy, he had a bum knee. I want to go back with all the boys of Co. E., Well Sis news is scarce. I am well, answer soon love to you and hubby,
Sargt. J.C. Plumb.
Co. E. 113, Engrs 7th Div. A.E.F.
To Lester Flanagan
My dear brother
I will this lonesome day try and write to you again. We have been having some real old march weather here for about a week , it has been snowing and raining and the sun shining all at the same time so you can see that it has been pretty disagreeable. Yesterday morning the ground was all covered with snow but it was gone in a couple of hours. It has been trying to snow this morning but just seems like it can't get started and I hope it don't for it is getting about time for warm weather to begin. I hope you are having nice weather back there for now is the time for you to put your crops in the ground and if you do not have good weather you will be late getting it done.
Well brother I am still stationed at a place called Villers S-Pareid but expect to move from here in a few days. I am not sure where we are going so I do not know where to tell you but will will write and tell you when I get there. Pretty near all of the other boys are gone from here now, there are only 13 of us here and four trucks so we are having it pretty good for the first time since we came to France for we have always had lots of work to do every place we have been yet, and we sure do appreciate having it easy for a few days.
Well I have been promoted to the rank of corporal and I appreciate it very much and it also means a few more dollars on the payroll.
I would like to know why I don't get any mail from you for I have never had a letter from you since sometime in February and I am getting tired of writing and never receiving any in return so I want you to take time enough to sit down and write me all the news of everything that is going on around there. Lester if you ever see Tim Scallon tell him I am getting along fine. Tell Paul I would like to be back there now to go with him fishing for I know we could catch lots of them there now.
I will close with love to all. answer soon
Cpl. McClellan Flanagan
July 10, 1919, Parsons Advocate
To Mrs. Frank Kuh
U.S.S. Seattle at Sea
Dear Mother: We are now two days out at sea on our lst trip to France. This time instead of running in and right out of the harbor at Brest we hung up there for ten days in order to give the boys plenty of time to take a good farewell of all their friends in France.
We were allowed to have five days leave to Paris and since I had never seen the battle front took advantage of the opportunity. As soon as I arrived in Paris at 7:30 a.m. proceeded to take the first train to Chateau Thierry, where the Americans did their hard fighting and having obtained a good view of this place from the train considered it not worth while to waste time by stopping so proceeded on thru to Rheims where the famous cathedral is located.
We arrived at Rhiems about 4 p.m. and naturally being much travel stained proceeded to hunt a hotel which was not so easy as it would seem for nearly all the town of Rheims is a mass of tumbled stone and debris. Finally however we found a hotel that was still doing business at the old stand although it had been badly shut up and the rooms we rented were pierced several places by shrapnel. Here we were glad to find enough water to wash our face and hands although we could get none for a bath. However since we had been traveling all night and all day even this much helped. We then went out to see the ruins of the cathedral and it certainly was in ruins. They may be able to reconstruct it but if so it will take a number of years. They had it well fenced off from curiosity seekers but we managed to slip thru the gate while the guard was not looking and to purloin a small piece of marble out of the interior and a piece of one of the columns out of the cathedral. we were just on the point of getting some samples of the beautiful colored glass which had fallen out of the window when the guard awoke and chased us out.
We then went to the Y.M.C.A. hut where we had supper consisting of boiled beef and potatoes and they certainly tasted fine as it was the first meal we had had in forty eight hours. Here we received an invitation to a dance given that evening by the "Y" girls but as I have not yet learned to dance I did not accept. My three friends however accepted and attended the dance.
After spending the night in our dilapidated hotel we started out a six a.m. minus breakfast, for the reason that there was too big a crowd waiting in front of the "Y" and took a train to Soissons where we arrived at about eleven a.m. Here the town including the church and cathedral was all shot to pieces and ruined. The several thousand people who were still sticking there lived in ruined houses and cellars. Here we again went to the Y.M.C.A. hut and after a light dinner took the "Y" truck to the battle front.
We arrived at the trenches about two P.m. and proceeded to explore dug out after dug out to see what we could find. The first one we entered was full of abandoned German ammunition and I took a belt continuing 14 clips of German rifle shells. these dug outs were immense caves which had been used by the French before the war to store wine but by the Germans for the storage of ammunition and living quarters. We then climbed on the truck and went to the fartherest point at which it stopped where we descended. at this point we found a dead German with all his equipment on except a gas mask. Two American soldiers with us found a German machine gun at this point and rigged it up so as to be able to fire it. Soon afterwards we started to walk to a little town called Anizy-Pinon as the fighting was general between these points and we were travelling over battlefield all the time.
I found a dead German buried with both his feet sticking out and his helmet laying nearby so appropriated the helmet as I did not think he wold need it again. He had probably been killed and buried by the same shell. We then continued walking along stopping here and there to explore dug outs, throw hand grenades etc. finally reaching Anizy-Pinon just in time to take the train back to Paris.
Arrived in Paris about 9:10 p.m. and then spent the balance of the evening until about 12 o'clock hunting a hotel that was not crowded but finally found one.
the next day we spent in sight seeing-- the thing of main interest that we saw this day was the great war painting called the Pantheon Du La Guere. This is a painting extending all around the walls of the a circular building which was built especially for it. It consists of a section of the picture for each one of the allies all of them equal space with the exception of France who has about one sixth of the whole picture. It certainly is a marvelous painting and is so very real that certain things stand out as though they were real. In particular a wreath and bronze statue. They look so real that you would attempt to pick them up if you were not told better. The picture consists of groups for each of the allies, usually with the rulers in the center and on either had figures of the prominent men of each nation. I consider this the most worth while thing in Paris, form one who is not a connisseur of the art.
In the evening of the same day we went to Versailles where the peace commission is sitting and saw the wonderful gardens connected with the palace there as well as some of the palace itself but of course the big fellows collected there could not be seen by the public.
The next morning we again went to the Soissons battle front and spent seven hours in all roaming over the battle grounds. It was rather difficult to fin any thing to eat and our total food for the day consisted of two eggs and a cup of chocolate.
On this front we explored a valley about six miles in length and a mile or more wide at the mouth while it tapered to a point at the other end. The bottom land was swampy and was filled with immense shell holes into which the water had collected.
Between these small lakes was rank grass and brush filled with barb wire entanglements so that we had considerable difficulty in getting through even tho' we were not opposed by the enemy. It certainly must have been a proposition to a soldier under fire and loaded with his pack to charge thru such a place as that and yet they did it. along the sides of the valley there were innumerable dugouts in all states from those in good condition to the ones which had been literally blown to pieces.
In one of the German dugouts we found three boxes of hand grenades, German potato mashers, which were exploded by pulling a button attached to a string running thru the hollow handle. These were in good shape so we started a bombardment of the landscape and scared the Y.M.C.A., man in charge of the party so bad that he took to a dug out.
After this which is the most fun I had on the whole trip we wandered over about ten miles more of dugouts and battlefields and altho many things of interest were seen yet they were in general like those we had seen before so we passed them.
On arrival in Paris that evening we found the Germans had promised to sign the peace treaty and the Parisiens were having a big celebration. I hastened to get cleaned up and then went out and took part in the celebration.
It certainly was a wild one. All the taxicabs in the city. and there seems to be millions of them were taken by the mobs and were to be seen strewed all over the streets. Quite a few cars however had heavy captured German guns behind them and were being hauled through the streets and were invariably covered with an indiscriminate yelling mob composed of French soldiers, sailors and mademoiselles: American dough boys and sailors as well as English and Australians. also heavy trucks belonging to all the allied nations gaily decorated with flags, and filled with a shouting waving mob. went dashing thru the streets and adding to the general uproar.
The people who were walking around were so numerous that it was absolutely impossible to stay on the side walk and as a consequence all the important streets were jammed full of celebrating humanity. There did not seem however to be much drunkenness altho many of them acted more than half intoxicated. Dances were in process in many of the streets which were free for all the music being furnished by the orchestras of the theatres etc.
There was hundreds of officers and sailors lost their hats as the French girls and men also grabbed them for souvenirs and then beat it thru the crowd so fast that it was impossible to recover them. I managed to hold on to mine though as it was the only one I had with me.
Well anyway I got tired and went to bed at 2 a.m. and left the celebration still going. The next morning a friend and I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and in the afternoon started to go to see the art galleries but became confused in the subway and finally gave up in disgust. the Same evening we started back to Brest and after an all night ride reached the ship again.
One of our radio operators had his thumb blown off by a percussion fuse he picked up on the front. Thinking discretion the best part of valor I did not fool with anything I did not understand so am all together yet.
Am expressing home upon arrival in port a box containing the following articles all picked up on the battlefield or found in dugouts at Soisson. 2 German gas masks, 2 German helmets, I Section Machine gun belt with cartridge (German) 1 long tin clip French machine gun cartridges, 1 German bayonet, 1 French gas mask minus nose pan 1 empty German 77 mm shell Etched ("Soissons France" on it), 1 woven sand bag made of paper (German), 1 cartridge carrier containing 11 clips rifle shells (German) also some sweaters that I will not need.
Tell Russel that for the present he can take care of the souvenirs and that some day when I get married and fix up a den of my own, I might want some but not all of them. In the meantime I certainly do not want to carry them around with me.
This time we will cease being a transport and will spend from 1 to 3 month in a Navy Yard somewhere getting repaired after which we may do one of three things viz go to the Mediterranean or the Asiatic or else remain in the Atlantic on of the former two being more probable. I have not enough time to serve to be taken along however so we probably be transferred unless I will extend my enlistment one or two years which I do not think I will do unless they should put through the big increase the have before congress ow which would give me $108 per month as soon as my present time expires in six months.
took an examination for permanent appointment today and am told I passed it in which case beginning with July I will draw $11 more month or $83 in all.
How is everyone getting along with telegrahy. I suppose Austa is very busy now with chickens and garden,, etc.
P.S. The piece of marble in the box is from the interior of the Cathedral at Rheims and the stone is a piece of column on the outside.