Somewhere in France, 6/15/1918

June 15th 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

After playing a sociable game of cards I thought I would write you now instead of waiting until evening as I expect to go to confession tonight and communion tomorrow.  Our american boys attend church as often as possible.  Up to now we boys have been issued everything except a few little things.  I received my gas mask, new rifle, and helmit.  If ever we must carry everything that been issued to me why I think I will look more like a decorated tree than a soldier.  As yet we boys did not receive any mail or pay but it is rumored that both pay and mail will be given out shortly.  During my off time I generally read, write letters or take walks as this country surely is beautiful.  The people here are not exactly poor but both husband and wife do farm work.

Now about the women – A La Carte.  You know the average American fellow doesn’t like anything except style and if we were to live here for years we would never find it here.  Theirfore you can see that I am interested in only one girl and that’s Priscilla.  Outside of my folks she’s the sweetest girl on earth.

Must close now dear sister with love to you all.  Will write you again tomorrow.

I am.

Your Brother.

Joe.

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

Somewhere in France, 6/14/1918

Somewhere in France

June 14, 1918

Dear sister and pa.

After going through a hard stiff hike and nothing to do but write and wash.  I am kept continually on the go but am satisfied as long as I can get enough sleep and eats.  I know you are all worrying and thinking of me at all times and praying for my safe return but I feel your prayers will not go unanswered.  Of course dear sister I am in a more dangerous position than when I where in the states but you must consider that I know more now about the trench welfare and also the chances of safety.  The war over hear from what I have been told from men that have been through the mill is very much safer than it were years ago.

I cannot go into details regarding where we boys are billeting or what is going on in this section but what I can say is that we are quite some distance from the front.  My thoughts of home many a times makes me feel bad but I always think of the bright sides.  Although I really do not know whether you are all well but I always make myself believe you all are feeling fine.  My health and condition is good and am if I say it myself ready to go further into this war.  Tell pa that his boy will be home before long.

Must close now with love + kisses to you all.

I am

Your loving brother

Joe

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

Somewhere in France, 6/13/1918

June 13th 1918

Dear sister and Pa:

I really do not know what to write about as I told you every bit of news of interest in my last few letters.  It is almost time for bed as tomorrow we expect to be busy hiking for about ten miles.  As yet I have not received any mail but expect to get some within a day or so.  Cigarettes tobacco and candy are very scarce as I doubt if any tobacco can be gotten in France.  The weather is still continuing to behave good wish helps us as their isn’t very much pleasure in drilling in rain.

Must close now will write you again tomorrow, I am.

Your Brother

Joe

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

Somewhere in France, 6/12/1918

June 12, 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

At last I happened to find a few moments to write you as I have been very busy working.  Yesterday I worked at least seventeen hours and surely did feel tired out today but as long as Uncle Sam feeds me three good squares and at least seven hours sleep why I think I will be able to stand this campaign.  The weather here is very good, this and the country is our only enjoyment.  At night all we do for recreation is to either write letters or wash clothes as this is our only time we boys get for ourselves.  I forgot to mention that the only way we boys can spend our money is for beer or wine as no tobacco or candy can be bought here.  We expect to get paid tomorrow or someday this week.  I am not going to write Anna tonight as I am going to bed early as I am pretty well tired out.  As yet no mail has come in to the company but I hope tomorrow will find some for me.

Must close dear sister and bye bye until tomorrow.

I am

Your Brother

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

Picture Card from Priscilla, 1918

Priscilla in Nurse's uniform, April 1918

I have on a trained nurse’s uniform. I regret that I am not one.  I’d go with you to France.

Fondest love,

Perce

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

Somewhere in France, 6/10/1918

Somewhere in France

June 10, 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

The days and nights go by so quickly and quietly that I cannot seem to realize I am so far away and on foreign soil.  We are not very far away from the trenches and our real training has just begun.  Our training over hear is going to be very much different than what we have been getting on U.S. Soil.  As yet I haven’t heard from you or Anna in fact no mail has arrived in camp since we left the states.  You don’t realize how anxious I am to hear from you about home and when I do you can assume I will feel very much better.  Although my health and condition is the best yet I have been taking good care of myself and haven’t smoked since May 19th.

We drill about six hours each day and get three good meals a dy.  Their are certain hours when we can buy wine for 3½ francs or about seventy cents and real beer for twenty centimes or four cents per glass.  The wine is sold only by the bottle.  How is pa and every one home?  Many a time I think of home and wonder what or how you all are feeling but do not feel sure of myself as its so long since I heard and was sure that you were all feeling fine.

Must close now dear sister as drill call is about to sound and that means work.

I am. Your Brother

Joe

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

Somewhere in France, 6/9/1918

Sunday, June 9th, 1918

Dear Sister Madaline:

Today being Sunday and nothing to do I went to church.  The sermon was in french but it was similar or like the American way.  You don’t realize how hard it is for me to sit down and write as their are things that I would like to write you but of course the censor prevents me from doing so.

I am progressing rather slow with my french but will learn sometime I hope.  The french language is much easier to learn than the changing of their money.  Every American dollar that we boys exchange in this town we loss about ten cents.  One franc is about eighteen cents and we get five francs for our dollars so you see we get only ninety cents.

Must close now with love to you all.

Your Brother

Joe

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

From John, Jamaica N.Y. 6/8/1918

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

Jeffry Ave, Jamaica, N.Y.

June 8, 1918

Dear Brother Joe:

We received your letter announcing your safe arrival overseas and you may rest assured that it was most gratifying news to the whole family, for we didn’t want our pride to meet with a mishap on the water.

The last time we saw you at Newport News I will always remember with a great deal of pride, for if ever I was proud of being an American it was that day.  To see the four young corporals, Maus, Jenison, Steed and the other fellow, I forget his name, with the look in their eye that they feared no hun that ever walked; four clean cut, typical American doughboys, the kind the Fritz will be sorry he ever came in contact with before they get through with him.  I always told you that the Marines when they got into action would show people some real fighting; well the last two weeks has proved this and the “hell hounds”, as the huns nicknamed them, have added to their old glory, for they have been pushing him back.  It seems ridiculous possibly for me to write you war news from here but it maybe that in your part of the world news is rather scarce.

This war is serious business and some people may speak lightly of it, but to me it is no child’s play, and I realize the position of yourself and the other boys, but I know that you will never flinch in the face of danger but will prove yourself more than worthy of the good opinion all your friends have of you, and that some day you will return to us with a medal of honor pinned to your breast, and in perfect physical condition.  You must remember that everyone that goes over does not meet his end, and dear Joe, you know that our daily prayers are for you, that you may do your duty and escape any serious injury.

Jamaica has very few of the boys you knew who are not in the service.  John Wulforst goes in a week or so, and as one fellow remarked the other day “its damned near time”.  I think Army life won’t hurt him very much; a little discipline will make a man of him.

The Navy Dept is still keeping me mighty busy and I have little time to myself, but I shall make it a practice to write to you regularly, as will Madaline and your other friends, for I know that word from home will act as the proper inspiration.  Mr. Grill asked me for your address, also John Creegan, and you may expect to hear from them shortly.  By the way, we are getting an “Over There” legend to place on our service flag.

Write to me when you can, I know there won’t be much real news that you will be allowed to give, but a word from you as to general health + life will always be awaited for eagerly.

Affectionately,

Brother John

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

Somewhere in France, Around 6/8/1918

Somewhere in France

Dear sister Madaline:

At last I have found at least a few moments to write you as I did not write either you or Anna in about three days the reason being on account of military movements.  I have already had a few interesting experiences so far.  We rode for a short time in french trains third class which are nothing but an American freight train.  Some trains are marked forty men or eight horses.  My hardest bit of work was to make my rashions last for seventy two hours.

The boys were given part of the time off to visit town this was the first time liberty has been granted to us boys since we left Spartanburg.  Each day seems to be getting more interesting that is something new turns up each day.  Who ever thought that I would ever sleep in a barn known as billets.  I don’t mind this dear sister as you know I’ve waited patiently for the time to show what I am made of and theirfore I am willing to go through a few hardships and sacrifices.  I am feeling fine and am in fine shape and expect to keep well as plenty of food and exercise are given us daily.

Must close now dear sister.  Will write you again tomorrow, I am.

Your Brother.

Joe

Love and kisses to you all.  Tell pa that I am feeling fine and am always thinking of you all.

Joe

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

Somewhere in France, 6/5/1918

June 5th 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

As yet we boys have not been receiving any mail but just the same I have been writing you every day.  I went to confession last night and to communion this morning.  I also washed clothes and bathed, very much to my delight as water is very scarce and in order to wash or bathe we must walk about three and one half miles.  The commissary issue isn’t what it order be and allowances may be made as U.S. supplies us with foods from our own states.  Must close now dear sister with love and kisses to you all.

I am

Your Brother

Joe

xxxx

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

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