Neufchateau, France 12/10/1917

Somewhere in France.


Dear Em,


Say Im feeling great. That’s my letter, so if you read all the junk I all ways fill my letters with Im thinking you’ve got nothing to do. Went out to drill both morning and afternoon and the first part of my letter is the result. Gee its great to get up in the morning for reveille at six fifteen, when you can’t see your hand three inches before you, pile out and get the report of the company and listen to the chorus of coughing, and stamping of cold feet, (for the billetts that the men are quartered in are colder than outside.) Well it takes about ten or fifteen minutes to get the details for the day picked and off, and then I double time back to #10 (for this is the number of the house Im in.) We scratched up enough wood to make it comfortable and tomorrow is another day. After that double time stunt back to #10 I wash (that is if I have time) grab my mess kit and hike about a half mile for some bacon, potatoe, bread and coffee.


Has Pa been over to Gray’s latly to get his mornings, or is there enough of Squire’s Best still on hand to save him a bargain hunt for a while. Tell Pa this would be an ideal life for him, especially the morning meal, if it was bacon we got, and not half cooked salt fat pork. Well after mess we hike that half mile back again, shave, make up the days reports and by that time, first call for drill is sounded and I assemble the company for drill.


Hike about a mile, morning exercise, (in which we have adopted the English method by combining work with play and do a lot of running, hopping etc. Then bayonet drill, where the men are taut all the art of trickery, savagry and go-get-emry. We used to think we knew pretty near all that was to be known about handling the rifle and bayonet, but we sure are learning something now. Give any of these men that have had this bayonet training a rifle and bayonet, and put him up against any body with any kind of a weapon and he’ll win. After this bayonet work we drill in the new French formation. It wouldnt interest you if I did explain how much different this method is from our own so I won’t go into detail.


Then we have a little Good Old U.S.A. close order drill, and shoot back to the town and our quarters. Although the weather is sharp, we are sweating when we hit our billetts. All we have to do then is, hike for our dinner (which is hamburg steak potatoes bread and coffee) and hike back and get ready for drill at 1.20. We go to the same field in the afternoon as in the morning and do the same thing with the exception of the exercise. We start back at three so as to be in time for Retreat at four.


At Retreat I lead the band to Hdq. where it plays the Star Spangled Banner and the Marsellis. We then have a parade (me and the band) around the main streets and back to our quarters. Mess is at five (which is stew bread and coffee). Then we get into this room (and it is some crowd too) and talk until call to quarters. When the (I guess Im nuts tonight) crowd goes home the three of us start to write home. This is 9.30 P.M.


Now I hope you can find a little reading in this letter any way. All I can find is a lot of writing in it. Ive sent every body a line now (through you for I forget addresses very easy) except Sat. nights when Im home there. Im starting to make a laundry check out of this letter so I guess Id better stop. Will write soon.






P.S. If there is any one that I haven’t written to that you think should get a letter (address please Address). Mrs Holland will be the next on my list and in the mean time tell them Sam is Sam for all of that.



© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.