Somewhere in Belgium, 7/30/1918

Somewhere in Belgium

July 30th, 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

I received your three letters dated June 21st, 25th and 30th and believe me dear sister I am very proud to see that you have been so faithful to me in writing as often as you have.  I haven’t written you in weeks although of course it wasn’t my fault as I have been through practically everything since we left France.  You all have been constantly on my mind and my every thought is of you all back home.  I received quite a few letters from John and Anna and as soon as I reach my rest camp I promise to write you a nice long letter.  This letter that I am writing you is being written in the line where shot and shell have been and are falling all around us.  My experiences have been great and many since I came into the line some days ago.  I have been in the front line where right in front of us lied the dirty Huns front line and “no man’s land”.

Now dear sister if the censor permits I will tell you a few of my many adventures and experiences.  The trenches which we have occupied have been waist deep with mud and water and more rain showed up every day.  We rested during our rest periods in small dugouts known as “bivys”.  My first nights sleep was in a shell crater wear rats and other animals visited us both day and night.  About thirty yards to the rear of us could be seen a dead Hun who was shot just above the waist line in the rear.  I examined him personally during the day and cut one button off his coat for a souvenier [Several lines removed by Censor].

Its beyond me to tell you of the mans condition as he lies their on “No Man’s Land” but you can imagine a person lying on a field perhaps at least two weeks.  He was killed during the raid and advance of the british troops a little over two weeks ago.  The poor lad was only about sixteen or seventeen years old but looked rather large for his age.  I crossed over what is known as death valley and expect to venture over same again soon.

That’s all about the front line but now for the reserve.  We were all tired out and anxiously waiting mess time and sleeping quarters.  We rested all night and part of the day and when I awoke I found myself cootied up.  It is not very pleasant to talk about but I want you all to know about my experiences.  Our casualty list was small and I came out into the reserve in the best of condition except for a pair of water soken feet.  That’s about all of my experiences except a few things which I doubt the censor would pass on but sometime as soon as I can get details that will allow me why I will try and tell you in one of my coming letters.

I know dear sister that very shortly we will move up to the front line but I have no fear as its either me or him.  But just now its him as I have a few special bullets which I think have at least one Huns name on it and that means no blightly for him (hun) but sure death.  I have seen while looking over the parapet a few hun soldiers out on working party but as soon as we let fly with both gun and bomb you ought to of seen poor Jerry (as the english call him) run and get off.  We do our own cooking and a mixture of beans, corn beef and potatoes is nothing to strong for us.  Our rashions are great but a shortage of water is our greatest enemy.

As yet I did not receive my photos that I had taken recently but will send you one as soon as I receive it.  Oh yes I received Bob’s picture and he surely looks great.  Dear sister you know Bob and Baby are my great pride and do everything in our power to make them happy.  I know dear sister that you are and always will do everything in you power for Pa, Baby and Bob but for my sake see that Pa does not worry.  Guess I will close now as I think I have said about all I know, I am

Your Brother

Joe

P.S. Love and kisses to you all my friends.  Enclosed find button and picture card for Bob.  As yet I did not receive the stars but have a letter ready except for corrections which I will write to our paper.

Corp. Joseph Maus

105 U.S. Inf. Co A

American E.F.

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Postcard from Somewhere in Belgium, 7/29/1918

Master Bob O’Farrell

Jeffry Avenue

Jamaica, L.I.

N.Y

USA

Dear Bob:

Isn’t this a beautiful picture of a French madamselle.  I’ve received your photo that ma sent to me you surely do look great.  I have been in the line and have been through quite a lot.  Best of luck and love to you all, I am.

Uncle Joe

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

From John, Jamaica N.Y. 7/24/1918

John J. O'Farrell, Joe's brother-in-law

Jeffry Ave, Jamaica, N.Y.

24 July 1918

Dear Brother Joe:

I neglected to write you for a couple of weeks and ought to be kicked but you will forgive me I know.

Well, at last we are getting good news and the Huns are beginning to feel something new, the American spirit of youth and rightesnous which has never yet tasted the dregs of defeat, and I feel sure that before long Fritz will be back in his own yard, a pretty well licked cur, and when this war is over, the rest of the world will look up to Uncle Sam and his boys and salute them as the saviours of the world and liberty.

John Wulforst is now down in Georgia and will be going “Over There” before long.  My old boss, Paymaster Karker, is now on duty in France and has asked me to join him if possible.  I am seriously thinking of it and will go if I can arrange things in the Navy Dept for an indefinite leave of absence; I am sure that if I get duty with him it will only be a short time before I get a commission.

This war, as I told you once before is a man’s size job and is no skylarking expedition, but I know that when the time comes to show what you are made of, you will show the true American spirit of fearlessness and will do your duty as a real American patriot.  I trust that you will distinguish yourself and earn promotion by your valor in a true Spartan manner.  Our daily thoughts and prayers are for you, that you may do your duty and that God may decree that you shall come back to us again safe and sound and a better man for having gone through the fire and seen men do things that shows the fibre of which they are made.

I will close now, dear Joe, and trust that when this letter reaches you, it will find you in good health and spirits, and ready to knock hell out of any hun that you run up against.

With love from your father, Madaline, Robert and myself, I am, as ever,

Affectionately yours,

John J.

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere in Belgium, 7/23/1918

July 23rd, 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

At last I’ve found the opportunity to write you as military engagements have kept me busy continually not only days but sometimes nights.  I surely did feel bad to think as each day would go bye that I did not write you.  It is raining and our small tent is leaking and this kinder brings on more sorrow and discontent.  Well dear sister we are still going through with our daily drill and other interesting work.  The other interesting work is doing a few days in the trenches many miles away from the front line.  Nevertheless the noise of the shells bursting far and near could be heard.  Sleep was really out of the question.  I have quite a few letters to write as I have received quite a few letters from folks and friends.  I am going to write the daily star today which I think the censor will pass on.

Have you heard anything about the advancement the allies have made recently.  Their are quite a few American troops around this section and you can’t realize how happy I am to be an American.  Our troops are the pride of the Allies and we are treated very well by both the Belgium and French people.  I am now in Belgium their language is quite different from the French.  They speak a very well English and think very well of us boys.

Guess I will close now as I am going to write Anna today, I am.

Your Brother

Joe

Corp. Jos. Maus

105 U.S. Inf. Co A

American E.F.

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere in France, 7/20/1918

July 1918

Dear sister.

It’s a terrible picture and poor print but it shows just what my condition is.  How do you like my Carnegie hat.  Some dip hey.

Your Brother

Joe

[Editor's Note:  This picture is still in the frame that Madaline kept on display until she passed away in 1983.]

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Postcard from Somewhere in France, 7/18/1918

I am well.

I have received you letter.

Letter follows at first opportunity.

Corp. Joseph Maus

July 18th 1918

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere in France, 7/16/1918

Somewhere in France

July 16th, 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

Am just about settled as we moved again and am under canvas.  The weather have is terrible but just the same our small dog tent is holding out in great style.  I am tenting with another corporal.  He and I have been like brothers since we left the states.  I surely do take a great liking to him and only hope that him and I can stay together at all times.  Mail is coming in very regular now as I received another letter from John, Mr. Grill, Rudy Kunkel and Uncle Art.  I expect to write them all today during my spare moments.  I had my photo taken in the last town that we were stationed at.  As yet I have not received them nor do I know how they turned out but believe me I shall send one to you as soon as I do.  I have plenty of time to myself of late as we drill about six hours per day and at night we are forbidden to leave the company street.  At night I generally write letters or wash clothes.  Washing facilities are very poor here.  In order to bath a man has to wash on a cup or canteen of water.  Empey was right when he said that the billets were all cootied up.  This isn’t very pleasant to write about but just the same it might be interesting.  No matter how clean a man might keep himself he is bound to get cootied.  I received a few stars from a girlfriend from Flushing dated from May 1st to 15th but did not as yet receive the ones you sent me.  I found some real interesting news in the papers and am going to write a short letter to Mr. Gelwicks editor and lawyer for the star who is a personal friend of mine through business dealings while working in L.I. City.

Must close now dear sister with love and kisses to you all, I am

Your Brother

Joe

Corp. J. Maus

105 U.S.Inf. Co A

American E.F.

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Postcard from Somewhere in France, 7/15/1918

I am well.

I have received you letter.

Letter follows at first opportunity.

Corp. Joseph Maus

July 15th 1918

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere in France, 7/13/1918

Somewhere in France

July 13, 1918

Dear sister Madaline

Well here I am again although I only wrote you yesterday.  You can’t realize how happy I was when I reported back from drill and found mail awaiting me.  I surely was lucky as I received thirteen letters in all.  Three from you, one from John, three from Anna, one from Mrs. Grabow and one from Bob Paulsen and the rest from my friends.  I also received the money order you sent me which amount to five dollars.  I surely do appreciate your kindness buy sending me money but please do not send any more as I have about 600 francs, this you see amounts to about $115 in American money.  As yet I did not receive the papers and would gladly write the home paper but I doubt as if the censor would permit.  Your letters were all very interesting and I feel from what you wrote you are all feeling in the best of health.  In all your letters which dated June 10th and 16th you say you did not hear from me only that I arrived safe in France.  Well I am sure that I have written you almost every day and by now you surely ought to of received at least one letter from me.  I also received very interesting letters from Anna, John and Aunt Gertrude.

The weather in the last few days has turned from good to bad as we are bound to get rain at least every day.  Our billets are water or rain proof but some how it doesn’t seem to be rat proof as each night our small friends pay us a visit.  I can’t see why they come to us at nights as I can assure you dear sister that they can’t come for eats as we only get enough for ourselves.  Isn’t it to bad Harry Ahrens joined the Navy poor child he should go away from his ma like that.  I honestly think the Navy discipline will make a man out of Harry.  How does Fisher like the Army life.  Does it seem to agree with him.

Well I guess I have said about all I know so I will close with love to you all,  I am

Your loving brother

Joe

Corp. J. Maus

105 U.S.Inf. Co A

American E.F.

Thank you very much for the money.

Joe

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere in France, 7/11/1918

Somewhere in France

July 11th, 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

I really do not know what to write about as news is very scarce and their isn’t anything of interest taking place here except our daily routine of drilling.  I am going to the movies tonight as I really do not feel just right for all day my mind was towards home.  It surely is terrible when a person feels slightly homesick.  Otherwise I feel fine and can honestly say that my condition is the best ever.  I am stationed near a large town where candies, chocolate and plenty of eatables can be bought.  This is the first good large town we have hit so far and of course during our leisure hours we boys generally spend in walking and buying a luncheon almost each evening.  The bill of fare generally consists of eggs, chips, wine, coffee, bread and lettuce salid.  So you see dear sister I am very well taken care of and can always tend to myself and stomach.  It surely is a shame for a young fellow like me to have such a large appetite my stomach somehow can never be satisfied.  Although between the meals that Uncle Sam is giving us each day and my meals which I buy on the outside I think I am getting plenty.

I guess I will close now dear sister with love and kisses to you all.

I am

Your Brother

Joe

Corp Joe Maus

105 U.S.Inf. Co A

American E.F.

PS:  Love and kisses to you all.  Tell pa that I am feeling fine.

Joe

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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