Somewhere near Vaudesson, 2/22/1918

Same dug out.


Dear Em.


I have just finished a letter to Katherine, and sent it back to the base with the ration wagon that brought up two letters from you today dated Jan. 19 and Jan. 29 which I tell you is going some for Uncle Sam’s Mail Service after all. When you realize where we are and the extra amount of energy and work to forward mail to the front line trenches, and that, in the space of time between Jan. 29 and Feb. 22, well it is well, thats all. Your letters are great Em, I can assure you. Like water to a man that is ready to give up. If you could see the bitter disappointment shown by the boys here who fail to receive a letter you would consider me very fortunate that I had you and others to get mail from.


We have been under a very heavy fire all day so please excuse all mistakes. I beleive I told you that I wouldn’t write much for reasons not my own but I just can’t help it. Every spare minute I get I write to some one, and it is not a bad fault I tell you for the result is a very rich harvest of letters. You see some of the boys dont think of writing at all and they call me a lucky dog in receiving so much mail. I forgot to state that I also got two cartons of Lucky Strikes from the shipper at the shop. Just think of how Uncle Sam is looking out for us. Sending packages clear up to within pistol shot of the Boshe. The best part of these cigaretts is that Id just got down to my last package although Ive still got that pipe and some of the Dills that came in your Christmas Package. I think I wrote and told you I got this package, and probably before this you have received this letter. You see this means another letter to the shipper but its great to get a lot of smokes for a letter.


It has cleared off cold, the moon shines very brightly, the Boshe still plays a tune with the big boys over our heads trying to find our artillery, and our artillery is hitting a good tenor as the machine guns play to time by sweeping the opennings around and between the dug outs. You can call it music, rag time or any thing you want to but really now Em it isnt pleasant for the nerves. Play us that Soothing Melody on the machine will you, or Temple Bells.


Im glad you like the picture. The fellows all said I look like a girl in that “Hat Over Coat Picture” so I guess the Hollands top it off as a sure thing. I wonder if they ever saw me in a bathing suit. OH you Babe at that music box. Im glad Henry is over his cold, and by the way Em tell him to excuse me for failing to answer his letter also Bert. They can read yours and get as much Im sure as they would were I to write to them. Ill thank them for some letters though. Im some bloke what?


By this time I hope the cold weather you speak of is a thing of the past and warmer weather the rule. You say you dont go to dances on account of the cold weather. “Say Em I just aint getting old thats all.” Sometimes my bones creek and Im lame all over due to the continual dampness but say little one, one good two step would fix me up in fine shape Id be willing to bet. Things must be pretty hard to get over there all right when you can only buy ½ ton of coal at a time and sugar and flour etc. We are scoffing very well and get three squares a day so far.


You open up you letter of Jan 18-18 with Harrah, three letters today. Well Em this is a holiday in the States and although all the holidays that you have there are not even thought of here Ive had a holiday every time Ive received letters from you. Im telling Lena that if she ever had this hat to wear she nead never fear a windy day, and as for the coat, it was an order to have them cut off to two inches below the knee and a belt made; the belt to be two inches wide. For the trenches.


You say you would like to see the Sammies in France. And I will tell you that you would never think they were the boys that came back from the Border. (For the Army in France is the self same Sammies that were willing to Hit the Trail for Villa as well as they are now willing to Hit the Trail for the Kaizer.) You say I take a crack at the draft men every chance I get. Just like the draft men took a crack at us every chance they got. At the same time Em we are here on the firing line now, and it didnt take Congress, and the President months of voting, it didnt take a lot of politicians, it didnt take thousands of dollars worth of paper, it didnt take a lot of weakening in the knees nor exemptions board, to put us here. Yet we were tin soldiers in the eyes of these same millions of driven men for after all draft means driven. Im laughing too Em, so dont think Im mad. The draft army is going to win this war but we will lead the way. If you saw some of these chaps, all in, from loss of sleep, and chilled from continual duty in the advanced posts, you also would draw some distinction between those who chose it and those who had to be shown their duty some of which after being shown denounced even Missouri. It is well that I am drawing to a close in this letter for my eyes are very tired from the flicker of this light. Im still well and hope this letter finds you all well…


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

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