Somewhere in France, 9/29/1918

ymcalogo

September 29, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

We have passed a very busy week since I wrote you last. The big French and American drive north and west of [censored] opened up a couple of days ago and is keeping all of us almost constantly on the go. We hear reports of large gains in territory and prisoners. We feel confident of its success.

This has been a great week for the Allies with the big victories in Palestine, Serbia and Bulgaria, Verdun and around St. Quentin. It begins to look certain now that there can be only one outcome to the war, the only question is when.

The papers we get here do not tell us of any German gains nor is there ever anything the least unfavorable to our side. Some of us are not blind enough to think that everything is so rosy all the time. If you can I wish you would send me the Sunday Tribune. We can get Tribunes here but there isn’t anything to them. They are only a half a sheet and there is no Chicago news in it.

There is a German prison camp near here and of late it has constantly been in use. The prisoners are kept here only a short time and then sent back somewhere. I don’t know whether any have gone to the States yet, I think not. When Alice was here there was a train load going out. They were willing to trade almost anything for tobacco. We are issued tobacco now, so having some on hand I traded it off to them for a couple of poor rings, a cigarette holder and a few little buttons and things. It is hard to send these things home now.

I understand that the Red Cross has small boxes that can be filled and sent to us at Christmas. I saw a little article in the paper to that effect. I know that all the boys will be glad to get a little something from home, no matter what it is. We are not really suffering from want of anything but anything that comes from home makes us feel better than anything that we get over here.

I have one pupil now. A young fellow from a wireless station nearby comes over a couple of times a week. He isn’t exactly an advanced pupil but he plays fairly well. He just came in and gave me a melon and some tomatoes that he managed from someplace. They will be welcome additions to my supper.

The weather is miserable lately. It is quite cold and very damp. We have already had a number of pneumonia patients. A Red Cross man attached to our hospital died of it this morning.

I am still awaiting news from the YMCA. It is hardly time yet for word to get back from Paris. I hope to hear this week, though. I wish I knew where some of my musician friends are as I might be able to get some of them to to, too. I know there are several in the service somewhere. I think I shall try to find out where Carl Hakes is. I don’t know whether he has been called or not. The newspaper talk about Steindel and other orchestra men looks rather foolish. I am sure a lot of them were pro-German before the U.S. got into it, but one would expect that as nearly the whole organization is German. Haven’t all the unnaturalized Germans been interned?

We have a number of prisoners at the hospital. Some are sick and some we are using to carry litters, dig graves and other work. They seem happy enough to do their little work. I enclose a German medical card. I don’t know whether it is attached to the men when they are found on the field or after they are in the hospital.

In addressing me it might be well to include “France” as there are Americans in Russia and possibly Italy and a letter might go the wrong route and have to go all around the world to get to me. It took sixteen days for a letter to come 150 miles so I don’t know how long it would take from Siberia. If it hadn’t been for that delay in the letter from Paris I would have been out with the concert troupe a month ago. I need some strings and I understand that it is almost impossible to get them in Paris. I think they could be sent from home alright as there are envelopes for them so they would not come under the head of packages. I would like two G’s and 6 A’s and 6 E’s. I have had one wire E on for a year and a half now. What I need more than anything is to have my bow rehaired.

If I leave here I will arrange to have my mail forwarded. I think I will write to Loomis in Emporia and have him make up a few of the pictures he took when I was there last April. I will send him some money and have him send the pictures to you. Give my regards to all.

Much Love from

Joe

© Copyright 2014 by Alice Kitchin Enichen, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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