Field Hospital No. 104 at Luzancy, 8/6/1918


Dear Em,


It will some what surprise you to learn where I am but I want to say right here that Im getting along alright and when I get some of my old time strength back again (which will be in a very few days now) I will go from here. If my last letter reached you alright and if you will recall what it said you will remember that I wrote it just after we were relieved after a very tough seige of it.


Well we stayed in those woods for two or three days after I sent that letter and then we started on a two day hike. I felt myself going it seemed at every step the second day but I stuck it out until I finished and (then) I went all to peices. You all know what I am when my stomack goes back on me. To sum it all up I was completely all in. Even then I tried to stick it out and not come to the hospital (this lasted two more days) but at last I was driven to this place. The first time (as far as I know) that I was ever in a hospital in my life. Of coarse if I was home there Lena could have fixed me up in no time (but you’re not at home in the army). That song “I don’t want to get well” dont go with me.


Ive been here since the second and I know there must be some mail back at the company for me. Another reason why I want to get well. We expect to get furloughs soon, and Ill at least have had a good rest before getting mine.


To change the subject, what do you think of the Hun? The N.A.’s are at em now and I hope they finish them. You will no doubt see now why you havent heard from me for so long. Give my regards to all and rest contented that Ill be O.K. very soon. I hope you are well settled in the new place. Ill have to close




Samuel E. Avery Hdq. Co. 103rd Inf.


P.S. Well in looking over the letters you sent I can’t find the one with the new address so I will have to send this to the old stand. The only envelope I could scrape up. How do you like it?



© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well, it’s not good to know that you’re in hospital, but it’s good to know it wasn’t Fritz that put you there. Not sure if we’re on the same page here, but I’ve run myself into the ground once or twice just by not knowing when to stop, and with all the hoo-ha you’ve had just lately it wouldn’t surprise me if you crossed the line without noticing.

  2. Thanks Kit! Actually it did turn out to be Fritz after all. Sam had gas poisoning and was triaged first to an evacuation hospital and then to a couple of base hospitals where he remained for the next 2 months. Read the page “Recovery in the Hospitals” for more information on the process of triage and treatment that Sam went through. It is very likely that he was poisoned through contaminated food and/or water after the capture of Epieds. Although better off than many others, the effects of the gas would flare up and bother Sam occasionally for the rest of his life.

  3. I have read online some about different gasses that were used in WW1 and the effects were (putting it lightly!) horrible. Do you know what kind of gas/did they ever find out? (If I may ask?)

    Also do you plan on writing a book about your Great Grandfather’s letters/experience? I would be one person who would buy it for sure. I have been reading Harry Lamins’ blog; and find Sam’s letters much more interesting.

  4. Oh Lord! Mustard gas is filthy stuff – never having been exposed to it myself I had never realized food, water, and the landscape itself could also be contaminated. I suppose you’re getting dosed with castor oil? YUCK! (not sure which is worse, symptoms or cure!) I hope you have some pretty nurses to make the experience a bit more pleasant.

  5. Hi Tina:

    Thanks again for your kind words! You can read some very brief information about the various types of gases used during the Great War on the page “Recovery in the Hospitals.” Different compounds achieved different effects from asphyxiation to tissue destruction. Not sure what type of gas it was that poisoned Sam, but it may well have been a form of mustard which he ingested with contaminated food or water following the capture of Epieds.

    There is indeed a book in the works called Soldier’s Mail which pulls together the material on the site. I am presently in the midst of the manuscript and will be sure to provide further information once it is at the publishing stage. Keep reading!

  6. Thank you; I did read “Recovery in the Hospitals”. I hope his injuries weren’t as bad as some images I’ve seen. He certainly keeps on the bright side of things. His family at home must have been worried sick to know he was in the hospital, and not knowing what his injuries were, etc…. But on the other hand, probably just glad to know he was still alive.

    I can’t wait to see the book!! Thanks for your great work.

  7. My grandfather was Walter P. Connolly. He was born in Prince Edward Island Canada but enlisted in the NH National Guard and was assigned to Company C 103rd Infantry Regiment. I have his discharge and it states that he participated in the battles of Xivery, Belleau Woods, and Chateau Thierry. He was discharged as a Corporal and lived with us in Somerville MA – the adopted hometown of Medal of Honor winner George Dilboy. Are there any histories of the regiment and company C? Are there any company photos ? Great website- Mike McC – Commander US Navy retired

  8. Hi Mike:
    Thank you for your service and also for your kind words! All the resources I have used in researching this project are listed on the Bibliography Page. Each Regiment of the 26th Division published an official unit history prior to the demobilization and discharge of the troops in April, 1919. Here is the work if you can find it: Hume, Frank M. (Col. 103rd Inf.). History of the 103rd Infantry 1917-1919. Boston: H.I. Hymans, 1919. This book is about 60 legal-sized pages with detailed history and plenty of photos including each Company in the 103rd. No doubt your grandfather and Sam Avery would have known each other and went through the same types of experiences. Please be sure to read through the site as there is much information here about what your grandfather went through and where he served.

    Best Regards,

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