Somewhere in France
Dearest sister Madaline
I haven’t written you in such a terrible long time it looks as if I have forgotten you but it isn’t so the reason was on account of being in the line. I spent fourteen long days in the line and therefore you see my letter is going to be long and interesting. Well dear sister after you read what I have to say you will notice that it was not only my praying but also yours and the gift of god. God surely was with me and I can honestly say that I am the luckiest man on two feet to be where I am today. Of course dear sister a man when writing gets an opportunity to exaggerate things but everything I am writing is so true that it would be impossible to exaggerate a single thing.
Well we started for the support line on a bright moonlight night in which we stayed for a short time. We then advanced to the front line for a few nights. Heres where my first experience on patrolling comes in. After spending one night in the front line I was told to report to company Hdqs. After doing so I was ordered to go out on patrol in “No Mans Land” to go out and get a prisoner. Of course dear sister you understand the predicament I was in to go out never before being out their and capturing a prisoner for information. I reported that same night and our platoon Lieutenant and myself went out as far as Jerries Bob Wire which was about 120 yards away from our trench and eighty yards from Jerries. We ran into a few Jerry patrols but did not battle them as they out numbered us. I will say dear sister that I held myself fairly well but my throat was a bit dry this showed a bit of nervousness but we returned back to our lines safe. The night we hit the front line it started raining until we came out yesterday.
After resting the next day I was ordered to go out on patrol again that night but my objective was different. I forgot to say on my first patrol I did not get my objective but on my second I did. My second objective was to get the exact location of Jerries trenches. After crawling for about 180 yds 20 yds away from Jerries line I drew a small map of Jerries trenches for about 100 yds. Now dear sister after doing a bit in the front line our division went over the top advancing and capturing a big hill. That day they advanced 300 yds. While out on my second patrol my feeling was this way well I don’t give a rap I’m just as safe here as if I were home although I wasn’t but returned back safe.
Well the next day we went over the top this being my first time over and we advanced 800 yards capturing many prisoners. After holding our new position Jerry counter attacked and me having charge of a machine gun my men got two Jerries and you ought to see the dammed beasts hit the dust. Their counter attack was unsuccessful. After getting relieved we moved to the support and Jerry sent over a barrage and heres where your prayers and every one homes who is praying for my safety was answered. We were in our trench and for one hour and fifteen minutes shells as high as nine inch fell near and around us and for that length of time I held the rosary in my hands and said prayers constantly for that length of time. Now dear sister after going throw all this I can vouch if I get back home safe I’m going to live thats is home first and my church shall be my second home.
Well dear sister I haven’t rested as yet since I came out of the trenches and being that its getting kinder late I guess I will stop and continue in the morning. Now about cooties every man is pretty well cootied up and my body is covered with nothing but cootie bites but as soon as I get a good wash and a new set of clothes Mr cootie will then vanish.
Our troops are doing wonders and from what I know this war will be over soon as Jerry is on the run. The whole allied troops have and are still advancing on the entire front and Jerry surely be back at his own front very shortly. It is rumored that we get paid today. Did pa receive my money order yet? Is pa receiving his monthly allotment regularly.
I guess I will close now with love and kisses for you all.
I received your cable gram. Thanks very much. Joe
Corporal Joseph MAus
105 U. S Inf. Co. A
American E. F.
[Note: This letter contains reminiscence of experiences during the Ypres-Lys Offensive]
© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.