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
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
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