An account of

How I Spent My Life

June 1917 to July 1919

 

 

by

 

 

Sergeant Ross Alfred Buchman

322 Field Artillery

 

 

World War I Diary and Journal of Letters Home

 

compiled by

 

Blanche Goldie Buchman and Joseph Geddes Buchman, Ph.D.

 

Reviewed and edited by Marshall Harding Buchman, M. D.

 

 

 

 

Please do not reporduce or report without permission

(c) 2010

 

If you have additional information, please contact me at: drbuchman@gmail.com


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All entries are from Ross Buchmanís letters home which were transcribed,

and apparently edited, by his older sister Blanche Goldie Buchman

into a bound journal, except where indicated by italic font.

the latter having been transcribed directly

from his handwritten pocket diary

by his grandson,

Joseph G. Buchman, Ph.D.

 

 

 

 

Ross Alfred Buchman
2610 Smith Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Supply Company, 322 Field Artillery, A. E. F[1].

 

 

 

WD# 1951520

Pistol Number 40023 S. W.

488991 Pistol


DATE†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Page

1917

††††††††† May†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††2

June†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††2

July††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††9

August††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 14

September†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 17

October†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 22

November††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 26

December††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 33

1918

††††††††† January†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †† † 36

††††††††† February††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† † 40

††††††††† March††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 44

††††††††† April††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 49

††††††††† May†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 53

††††††††† June†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 57

††††††††† July††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 64

††††††††† August††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 67

††††††††† September†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 70

††††††††† October†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 79

††††††††† November†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††90

††††††††† December††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †† †† 98

 

1919

††††††††† January††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †† 107

††††††††† February††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† 113

††††††††† March†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† †††††††††††††††††† 116

††††††††† April††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 122

††††††††† May†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 129

††††††††† June†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 132

††††††††† July††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 133

††††††††† Notes from the last pages of Ross Buchmanís diary ††† † 134


This is an account of how I spent my life during the years of

June 1917 to July 1919.

May 20 1917

Enlisted. (at age 24.)

June 3 1917

Arrived Fort Thomas Kentucky. Sworn in service.22 Company, 250 Squad.

June 3 1917

Arrived here Sunday morning at 9 oíclock, was passed by 5 oíclock.It took about 4 hours and I passed very good.I had a shot in the arm today and get one Sunday for 3 Sundays to guard against fevers.Saw quite a few fellows I know; all are looking good and feeling fine.I have no suit yet, but have 2 blankets, toothbrush, cot, shoe polish and a lot of other things.They have a prayer meeting almost every night this week and it is good to listen to.We sleep one in a cot.Had corn, mashed potatoes, chicken, gravy, pie and ice cream for Sunday dinner.Potato salad, baloney, cheese, butter and pickled something for supper[2].You go down the line, one gives you a bit of everything you want and more than you can eat.When through you empty your pan in a can then wash and dry it and put it back in your room.It is great to see 700 men coming down the street with their outfits for feed.I will not drill for 24 hours after each shot in the arm, as we get 24 hours of rest, then we do most anything.It is the prettiest place I ever saw for scenery.Riverboats you can see five miles down the river and you are about 1,000 feet above them.I get all my writing paper free from the Y. M. C. A. It is a great life, believe me and I know I will like it better than anything I have ever done so far.

Your soldier boy, Ross


June 5 1917

I am off duty every night at 4:30 and we go all over Fort Thomas grounds.It is a little town, but it is so pretty here.

 

June 6 1917

I am sure feeling good, no more hard work for me.Donít forget to send the morning paper.

 

June 6 1917

Just went on kitchen duty at three bells this afternoon, each squad gets a shot at it.You must mop the floor, wash dishes, peel potatoes, about 10 bushel for one meal, wash garbage cans, dish out food to the men, set table for officers.The boys eat their meals sitting on sidewalk or lawn.They have about 20 men in the guard house for doing things against orders.One man would not go on kitchen duty.He got 30 days at hard labor, he now works with an armed guard and will shoot to kill if he tries to beat it and he sleeps in the can every night.The Y. M. C. A. will follow us wherever we go.They have pens, ink, writing materials and five rows of benches to write on or play games, free.It causes more men to be late for retreat than anything else.If we are late on call, we work all the next day on guard duty or something else.Saturday night the Y. M. C. A. will give us some more candy.There is a man here tonight talking on Bible preaching.Last night they had some pretty girls singing and telling jokes.I was almost called for shipment today, but they had enough.We get just a little training here.It is mostly a receiving camp.We have no guns here, just work on foot drills and hikes.We have a good corporal.It is fun to watch the boneheads get bawled out, not meaning me.It is hell when they dig into you; they cuss and bawl you out.They say, ďYou are in the Army now.ĒWe are allowed to go a mile away from the Fort and no further.God bless you and the rest of them.

June 9 1917

I am still enjoying myself.Have some of your friends write, as a letter makes you feel at home.

 

June 10 1917

I am at the Y. M. C. A. We have a lecture tonight and some candy for a treat, last night we had moving pictures.It is very nice for us to come here and rest.They have a talking machine, football, gloves, balls and checker boards.We took a hike yesterday about 5 miles going out all down hills and coming back walking up hills.We are in tents, 8 men in a tent or squad.We drill at 7:30, 10:00, 1:00, 2:15 till 3:00 in the afternoon, about ĺ of an hour at a time.We get up in the morning at 5:00; go to bed anytime we feel like it.All lights must be out at 9:00 and all noise stopped at 11:00, and in their tents.Some come in after 11:00 but if guards catch them they get to work the next day.When we eat we sit on the ground or any place we get, sometime in the bunk houses they are building, that is when it rains.They are building about 30 of them.It rained here all night and up until noon.We do not drill when raining hard.The mud is bad after rains.It looks like a hog pen running through it.Lots of men are in hospitals from different things, some from trouble they had before they came here.One man was cut for rupture.They have some of the best doctors.I get my second shot tomorrow.Lots of fellows fall over after getting it, but come around alright.Had my picture taken.Lot of people come here to watch us eat.They look at us like we were pigs, stand right by and watch every mouthful we take.We donít know they are near us.If we donít like our grub, we eat what we want, then dump the rest in cans.If we want more, we get in line, go thru and get some more.We walk thru the mess hall and each thing we want we stick out our pan and a fellow will dab on a spoonful.Friday for dinner we had ice cream, orange coffee cake, mashed potatoes, gravy, meat and coffee.You can get a pint of milk for 5 cents.I havenít seen a fight since I have been here.There are a lot of Kentucky fellows here, good fellows they be.


June 10 1917

My arm was sore about a day.We have a preacher in our tent, he is a little fellow.We are drilling every day now except Sundays.Nice and hot here today.Feeling fine, sleep good, eat hearty and donít drink a drop because I canít get it.Will wash my clothes about tomorrow.We have more fun with a fellow in our tent, he sings like a tongued-tied Jew and such funny songs.He said he wished he was back home where he got his corn bread and sweet milk.He got sick on some fish hash we had for supper one night and heaved over the floor.

Your Son Ross.

 

June 12 1917

I am still fine and look the same.This picture of me looks like an innocent little girl, donít it?I am sleeping better now than I did at home.

Your goodie boy Ross

 

June 15 1917

Feeling fine.We moved our camp two blocks away.I guess we will be sleeping in a bunk house soon.It is pretty cold here all day.We did not drill as we had to move tents and clean up the place.Received quite a few letters from the girls and fellows.They are sending a lot of fellows to Fort Benjamin Harrison.I donít think I would want to go there.Received a letter from Esther Korn[3].Sure do like to hear from the good girls.

Your son Ross


June 18 1917

Fine as I ever was.We are now sleeping in our new bunk houses, about 90 men in one house.We had our share of work today digging trenches for some new houses they are building for the drafted men.You can see about 100 march to the job, some with shovels, picks and sledges and the water boy all are in overalls.I like that kind of work; they donít rush you at it.You can take your own time about it.We are now old men.I donít think we will do much more drilling.We work one day and lay around two.I will not get any more shots in the arm as I got my last one Sunday.We get examined by the doctors every two weeks and if sick or have any kind of a disease we go into the hospital.Nice and hot here in these clothes, but they are good for you.Too far away to get my mail today.We get our mail on weekdays at 10:00 until 11:30am. and 3:00 to 4:00pm.If you are working on a job you have to sneak out to get it.Lot of people come here to see us.Tell Vera I got some soup here called Slumgullion,[4] it is everything we didnít eat for the last couple of days.You canít eat it if you wanted to; I donít.I got five papers and three letters.I am with a fellow from Elkhart Indiana, a nice fellow.

Your Son Ross

 

June 19 1917

Have about 15 beans to spend.[5]Donít spend too much only for ice cream, candy and smokes.Havenít tasted any beer since I have been here.Coming back to old Indiana on June 22, would like to sooner if I could.I like it here alright, but would like to get back to my old State.I will be up for inspection tomorrow at 9 bells and then get my equipment, then will take train to Fort Benjamin Harrison.There are 98 of us in this shipment about 59 go to some place in Georgia, I think Chattanooga.

Your Son Ross


June 22 1917

 

Arrived Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. 1 class private. Company G 46 Indiana #17.

 

June 23 1917

Arrived here about 8 oíclock last night.We left Fort Thomas about 2:30 yesterday afternoon.This is some big place.They say it is 12 miles long; donít know how wide.One boy said they had about 15,000 men here, sure is a bum looking place.All you see is bunk houses and tents.They donít feed you as good as we got at Fort Thomas.This morning for breakfast we had 2 sausages, 2 potatoes, 2 slices bread and coffee.I donít care what we get.If I am hungry I eat it all.We will be drilled here about 7-Ĺ hours a day.The bunch that came a week before us has small pox and are in a camp by themselves.We all get vaccinated again, that is those that didnít take first time.I am feeling alright.Received a letter from Henry Hentzler.I will have to stay in camp here 15 days before they leave us out, that is if any of us have a disease so we canít spread it.We can go over the grounds but not outside.We are about 8 or 9 miles from Indianapolis.The interurban runs all thru this camp.We are allowed $2.00 a month in canteen checks; they are good for anything at the Post Exchange.

Your Happy Boy Ross.


June 24 1917

I am good and feeling like a brick.Just got thru with a good dinner.You can go and get another meal here.We had steak, corn, potatoes, onions and coffee.It tastes better every time you eat again.We started to drill with rifles and bayonets Monday morning.We got them today, all new ones.They have a swell place where the officers sleep.They are all brick buildings.This sure is some place when you get around.We play ball or anything we want to.I donít know any fellow here from Fort Wayne.I get along by myself fine.They sell as much stuff here your money donít last long.We have to buy soap, scrub brushes, tobacco, matches and anything we need.We eat ice cream by the pint and eat it all our self.It is nice and hot here.Some of the fellows get under the bunk houses and sleep in the afternoon.They are a couple of feet above the ground.We will have to drill about 9 hours a day for about three weeks and then I donít know what they will do with us.Maybe to France and maybe not.You never know where you go until you are notified at the last minute.If a man canít pick up his drills right off the bat, he gets hell and you canít say a word, if you do they punish you.I seem to get along alright.When they ask you a question just answer and if not look straight ahead and donít even bat an eye, that is the way you are suppose to do.They donít say much to you unless you laugh at them, then they get mad and raise hell.Sometimes it is hard to keep from smiling when you happen to see a mistake someone made.I get along alright because I can see, hear and think, thatís all you have to do and you wonít make a mistake.The second sergeant said I was alright.I left most of my friends I had made at FortThomas and some went North, South, East, and West, all split up.They have a nice Y. M. C. A. here.It is made for winter weather.The other one is about a mile from here and is a tent.I like to come here to write because everything is for us that is here from piano to talking machine, books, magazines, and electric lights.

From your Boy Ross


June 28 1917

Just got through with my washing.Washed four pairs of socks, one suit underwear, some job.It rained and thundered here yesterday and last night.Received another shot in the arm yesterday; that makes my fourth one.I had two vaccinations but they did not take.I donít get any more for awhile.We are all lined up in a right squad; we have eight men in a squad.One is a corporal; he has been in the service a long time.They take the men that have been here a month or two, one that knows all of his orders and drills food and make him a corporal and have him in charge of a squad that is to drill them.You sure do have to remember a lot of every little drill call.We are now drilling with our guns.

We are now getting very fair meals.Sometimes I go and get another feed, if there is any left over after we all get ours.There are about 18 squads in our company, one sergeant that is a first sergeant and two second sergeants and one commanding officer.They read the rules of war to us and we are to remember.There are no rules for us, they are all we get; if we disobey them we are punished.This place is growing like some town.

Your son Ross.


July 5 1917

Received letter from Uncle Will.[6]So far I havenít been paid, but will get it any day now, have $5.00 left.Leave the door open Saturday night.We did not have any kind of Fourth here.Several of the boys went to the parks around Indianapolis, but I stayed in camp.Went on a hike today and I sure am tired tonight.It is not hard but tiresome in the hot sun.The reason I didnít come home last Saturday was that I did not shave Saturday morning.They called us out for inspection about 10:00 oíclock and inspected our clothes and guns and looked at our hair and face.I was going to shave about noon, but didnít.The captain asked why I did not and I told him I didnít have time.So he told the sergeant to put us in the kitchen for Saturday afternoon.I and three others worked all Saturday afternoon.I am sleeping good and eating food here.Sent my shirt and breeches to the laundry to be washed.It costs only a little so I donít wash my outside clothes, but do all my underwear and socks, handkerchiefs, towels and fare.I hear this place is 3,600 acres and has now about 2,500 men here.They are spread all over the place.The batteries came in here sometime this week.I have only seen their mules, as I donít know how many miles their camp is from us.We have a Victrola in our amusement bunk with 500 records, all latest pieces.It is beside our bunk house.We get so much of the profit from the post that is with our regiment and they buy things for us in there.I guess we will dig trenches in about a week or two, then go on target practice, and before long will be regular soldiers.We do not shoot with bullets until we learn how to drill good, and believe me they sure get you if you make a mistake and drill you about 2 hours after supper.I was lucky so far.They give the orders fast and you sure do have to move.We have a good company in our bunch only about two wops.One company has 40 of them and it is hell when a man going to drill canít understand an order and gets the rest of them bawled up.We take exercises every morning.When we drill they sure do make them hard.Donít forget to leave the door open.

Son Ross


July 9 1917

Arrived here all OK and went to sleep about 1:30 this morning and got up feeling fine, did not even know I was home, just like a dream.Just finished my dinner.It was a good one.I can eat it better here than the kind you eat at home.Chicken, pie and dope like that I donít believe in eating as it donít do you any good.I will look for something in the line of eats.Everybody said I was healthier now than when I left.

So long yours, Ross

 

July 12 1917

I am OKEverything at camp is so high such as soap, towels and shoestrings 10 cents a pair.I guess I will use wire.I donít see why the government donít furnish us at cost.We started to dig a trench today, some easy work.I will have a good picture taken as soon as I feel like walking a mile to the place.The other day when out drilling I ate about 80 cents worth of pie.Sure do spend your money fast, thatís why all the canteens here.Some fellows spend $8.00 a week for extras.I will soon get away from eating every time I get hungry.

Your beautiful Son Ross.

 


July 12 1917

Received box.Rudy Kaiser came to see me today.He is on his way to the Navy and brought me 10 packages of smoking tobacco from the fellows.There is a report out that we will go to Louisville, Kentucky or Chillicothe, Ohio in a month or two.It rained and hailed here this afternoon.I might be here two days and then it might be six months, you never can tell, only when you get orders to pack and move.You donít know where or when you will go, unless they are not sealed orders, then we will know at least twelve hours before we leave.If you want to send some apples I sure would like some good ones, if they donít cost too much as I can get along without them.Donít go to any expense that will hurt your purse as I know how it is when you rob yourself to please someone else.Sunday for dinner we had chicken, mash potatoes, green beans, jelly, lemonade and lots of ice cream, almost a quart and then some good cake.

Your big brother Ross.

 

July 14 1917

Today is payday.Received $28.00.Some fellows lost all of theirs one half hour after they got it in craps games.I have not and will not get in them.Let the boys at the pool room see the pictures I am sending.Leave them a couple of days, then get them because they cost me 50 cents a piece.

Your Son Ross

 

July 15 1917

Having the best time here sight seeing and believe me I donít miss anything.Sure is some large city.

Your Brother Ross

 

July 16 1917

Was to Indianapolis Sunday all day, was out to River Side Park, some nice place, but I donít like it near as well as Robinson Park.It is so bum looking, that is the buildings.Your park at home has more amusements than here.All the girls around here are little girls, about 12 years old.And you see wops and men 30 years old with them.I sure was surprised when I saw them.The town here has about more coon than white people.Sometimes you donít pass a white person on some of the busy coon streets for 3 or 4 blocks.We had a real rain here today.It came down like water out of a hose and now I must wade mud to get over here.

July 19 1917

Everything fine around here.Sure do get tired once in a while, but it seems to agree with me.I am now going to drill with a pack on my back, bayonet at my side and belt, a lot of other things, enough for a horse to carry.Next week we make about a 20-mile hike with enough stuff to last us a week, a complete change of underwear, soap, towel, 2 pairs of socks, water, toothbrush and razor, everything on our back.Then next we will get a tent, what they call a dog tent, we carry that too.We are getting bayonet practice now.We stick a bag and do all kind of dances doing it just like a regular fighter hops around.It sure does make your arm tired holding the gun out in front of you and then jab it thru the bag, then hop back and up at it again.Thatís the way we will stick the Germans if someone holds them for me.The other day we had a drill and made a rush on a hill and then laid down and crawled about a block on our bellies and was not allowed to use our knees.Sure is some hot times around here.We are soaked thru from sweating, even our leggings are wet.Sometimes we crawl right through mud and I donít think anything about it.It sure is fine work for an insurance manís son.We take everything to make us strong, even have finger exercises.We lay on our back and kick one leg up and then both for about 10 minute and then double time it around for 20 minute.Sure is some sport.

Loving Brother Ross.


July 22 1917

I am all OK Am feeling fine.I am going to Indianapolis in a few hours, that is about 9:00 this morning.It sure is a bum town.I donít like it and their Park is not as good as Robinson Park, but it is much larger.I can go to the Y. M. C. A. there and take a bath anytime I want to as it is free to all soldiers.You can go swimming in the pool, they furnish everything free.

July 27 1917

Received box.Sure is hot here.I was out at target range from 11 bells this morning until 5:00 in the afternoon and it sure did make a fellow sweat to lay around in the hot sun.We donít have any shade to get in out there.I donít know what score I made, but made 57 out of 70 the day before.We will be there about a week yet.It sure is fun to shoot the guns we have.They kick like a shot gun.We shoot 200, 300, and 500 yards, slow fire and then we go all over the range at rapid fire.We will get one minute to fire ten shots laying down, kneeling, and then standing.They sure are strict with a fellow while on the range so no one will get shot.I go to bed most every night at 9:30 and get up at 5:30 except Saturday night I go to bed anytime I feel like it because we donít get up until about 7:00 bells in the morning. Do you know that you can spend more money here than you do around home?Some fellows here sell their canteen books for $1.50 and they are worth $2.00.I bought one the other day.We have all our equipment now that is everything we will use in battle and it sure does make a load on your back.Received a letter from Butch Leutwyler and he said they were sending them to France every day.Billie Wehrle has gone to New York to be sent to France with the next bunch that goes over.When we go on the transport we get a lifebelt and 30 rounds of shot in case our boat sinks and we get in a small boat as we can fight off the Germans that try to upset the small boat.Tomorrow I go in the kitchen to help it is my turn.You sure meet all kinds of boys around here, some as crazy as bed bugs and some that think their feet or --- is good enough for a man to kiss.Hope to be clean soon as I am taking my bath in a couple of minutes.Have Mr. Parry to tell Shorty Watson to send me the Booster[7].

 

August 1 1917

I am all OK feeling fine.We are on the target range this week learning how to shoot.I made 5 bulls eyes today out of 5 shots that is a perfect score at 300 yards, better than the older men shoot.Made 20 out of 25 on 400 yard line, that is considered good.On all ranges I made 66 out of 75, sure like to shoot as it is great stuff.I heard today we go to Louisville, Kentucky in about two weeks.Hope to get a chance to come home before we leave.I am broke but donít want you to send any money until I really do need it as it is a bad habit to write home for money.I know it is sure hot here sometimes but we are used to it and think more of our officers than the sun.You donít mind it when you know it wonít do any good to kick as it will get you in worse. Everything suits me alright so far.If they ask me to go to France, you donít have to worry about me breaking my neck to ask to go, but will go only when they tell me that we are going.Donít worry about me as a bad egg will always come back.I must close this letter as it is foolish to talk about war until you smell the powder of the guns and know you must duck fast.About 2,000 more boys came in her from Jefferson Barracks.I believe it is better here than getting married.

Your soldier boy for better or worse, Ross.

 

August 6 1917

I am all OK am well and having a good time as we are still shooting on the range.We are shooting for record now.I donít know how I will come out of it.If I make good that means a couple more dollars on the month. The battery came in here Sunday and I saw quite a few fellows from home and they sure did look good.I donít think we will leave here for a while yet as things look at present.We are now getting to be old men on this job, everything is going good.The Company Commander said we were the best drilled men in the 46Infantry.I hope we donít go anyplace until I get a chance to come home first.When you send my next box, put in my hose supports as I can use them.Send me some stamps as this is the last one I have.You canít bum any here as the fellows are sure tight.

August 7 1917

Feeling fine and like it here.We are on the range at target practice.I think I will made marksman which will pay $2.00 on the month.

August 9 1917

Feeling fine, am good for a couple of years at least.Leave the back door open for me, think I will make it alright.

August 13 1917

Today was payday.Not much doing here.We are getting tired of this place.Donít believe what you read in the papers about the batteries here, that we envy them because they are the first to go to France, as there is nothing to it.We didnít even know that they were to go and donít even care who goes first.That is no credit to them as some will wish they were not first.I saw John Heron here, he is in Machine Gun Company and says he likes it.I was on the road work in camp all day spreading cinders, some job.It is easy.I will go on guard duty at 11:00 oíclock tomorrow and stay on until 11:30 the next day.2 hours on duty, 4 hours off until 24 hours are up.They are very strict about that duty.I was made first class private the other day.Just 19 out of our company was all they allowed.It means I must hurry up and learn all a soldier should know.It pays $3.00 more on the month. That makes me $33.00.We had our march with full pack two times this week about 8 miles each time.It sure does make you tired.You feel as though you could fly when you take it off.

As ever your son Ross.


August 17 1917

I am still here, about 15 men leave for France Tuesday.They drew their names out of 150 men in our company.I was not lucky enough to have my name drawn.Some of the boys are crazy to go and others want to go with the company whenever it goes.I am on guard and will be all night, just got off at 8, go on at 12 and come off at 2 in the morning, for two hours I will walk around a couple of tents, sure is a fine job.Have some friends coming to see me Sunday.I will be hard as tacks in a few more months.

 

August 20 1917

Had so many friends here Sunday, missed some of them.I told George Bennigan to tell you I got my eats.They took ten out of our company for France, supposed to go this week.A fellow from Fort Wayne is with them by the name of Roe.He is some relation of Dagrews.Got a box of eats from one of girl friends at home.Going to supper.

 

August 23 1917

Got back here all OK and was glad to get back on my cot.I got here about 12:30 so I had a good sleep.I was examined today as our company had to be.We had our heart, lungs and hearing tested and he said I was in good condition.I just had a bath.We have hot water in our showers.Tomorrow we will go one half day without our packs on our backs.They only weigh about 65 pounds, so that is not so bad.You can do me a favor by having a rubber stamp made with these letters on and size I have printed on the slip.I want to mark my clothes so no one will steal them.I saw Esther Korn with her fellow downtown before I left.I donít like this town anymore.The sooner I get out of it the better I feel.

Your Son Ross

 

August 24 1917

I will be very busy the next few days.I will be on guard duty Saturday noon until Sunday noon so that takes up my spare time.Received a box of candy.The fellows they took from our company leave for France the 28th.I could get an easier job here like driving mules or work around the camp, but think I will go through with the job I have unless I just get tired of it.The pictures I sent; let the boys see them at the pool room for a couple of days, then get them and keep them for me.

Your looking-good angel, Ross

 

August 28 1917

Received box of cigars from George Bennigan.Feeling fine.Some kind of show here tonight.

Your son and brother Ross

 

September 4, 1917, 4:00 PM

Arrived here OK.Got here about 1:30.Did not have anything to do. Monday was in Indianapolis all day, had a good time just the same.I will be in Ohio by the time you get this.I go to Chillicothe the 5th of this month, that is tomorrow; to drill the drafted men.I will be made a Sergeant.That means three stripes if I make good and $38.00 a month.I think I can cut it alright.I am glad to get a chance like that as it means something, so I know we wonít go across until spring, if we ever go.Must pack my junk this afternoon.

Your Son Ross


September 6 1917

Arrived Camp Sherman Ohio.322 FA.Supply Co #11.Made corporal.Made sergeant.RO # 33.Oct 14-18.

 

September 6 1917

Arrived here all OK.Got in about 2 bells this morning.This place is not quite finished but I think I will like it alright.We will be tried out sometime today to see if we can handle a company.I think I will make it alright, if I do I will be Sergeant Buchman at $38.00 a month and then I wonít do any more work, as a noncommissioned officer doesnít have to.About 120 of us came, some went to Louisville, Kentucky.I have not been paid yet, am broke flat.

Son Ross

 

September 8 1917

Still laying around this camp, have nothing to do so far.I donít know what or where I will be placed.I think I will be with supply department.Donít know what rank I will have.Everything is all messed up around here.It is not finished.Could you send me some cash?I have not a cent and wonít get my money for at least another month.Will have to bum some stamps to mail this letter.Donít forget I can still eat a good cake, or smoke a few cigarettes.

Your Son Ross

 


September 9 1917

Everything went better than I thought.I am now a Sergeant in the field artillery.I think I will like it better than infantry.I donít have to carry a gun, nor a pack on my back.All I will have is a pistol and maybe a horse.We will have 3-inch guns, that is large cannons; will wear leather leggings and a red cord.You should see our new quarters everything under one roof with a second storey.

Your son Ross

 

September 12 1917

I am with the Supply Company and like it very much.Donít have to do any drilling, but must work a little once in a while.We wonít be in shape for at least 3 or 4 weeks as all lieutenants and officers are from the training camps and donít know mud from apple butter.It is just like a kindergarten school here.We that know how to drill laugh at some of the new Johns, as they call all the new officers that come from the officerís reserves and they sure are some class.Wear pink and blue pajamas in the Army, think of it.You would think some are made of glass.I will write Kornie when I get a little paper and time.Tell her I still love her.Sure is chilly here in the morning, you almost freeze, too darn cold for me and hotter than hell in the afternoon.Business is good today.I am looking for 1,000 pairs of shoes this afternoon.Let me hear you can still bake good cakes.

I am Ross


September 15 1917

I am OK.Donít like this place one bit.It is so big it makes a fellow tired looking or walking around and the town they call Chillicothe is nothing but a burg, not even a good five minute walk around it and everything is so old.Have a chance of being a Sergeant soon.Believe me they sure have a bunch of smart men in the new army, some used to be bankers or manage firms or other business.They are paying common labor 30 to 80 dollars a week here, but the work is slowing up a little, some are being laid off.My captain has had 25 years in the army so he knows his business.He is some fine man.All I have to do is look wise and he sure does find some little job for me.Have The Fort Wayne Daily News sent to me as that blooming Journal never did amount to a damn.I think I am to get it to the 10 of next month.I havenít got a paper since I have been here.I could use a nice bath towel as mine is all shot to pieces.Have Lillian make me some cookies.Received money and stamps.I do like to receive mail for about the first 3 or 4 weeks in a new place, as it is so damn tiresome to sit around.

I am your son, Ross

September 18 1917

Received box.I like it much better here now, everything is going alright.I donít have much to do.They expect to have 36,000 men in here by tomorrow, all good looking lads.Donít you know what F. A. N. A. stands for?It is Field Artillery National Army.You donít have to worry about me in this army as I can take care of myself by this time.If I do anything you can bet your boots that I thought it over a long while before I do it.This is a whole lot easier here than it was in the regulars.They are not so strict about it.We get good eats here and also lots of sleep.We had a chicken dinner Sunday so you see I donít miss the one you had.I like it better in the Supply Company, because I donít have to drill or fight in this war unless I just happen to get near enough.We donít carry any arms at all, all we do is furnish the clothing.

Son Ross

 

September 27 1917

Everything going fine with me, and things look better than ever.I made two coal boxes for the cooks to keep their coal in.They sure have a mess of mail here.Donít think they can handle it.I will be made a corporal the first of the month.That means $36.00 a month and in a little while will be made Sergeant of the Supply Company that is a good job, nothing to it.

I am your most obedient Son, Bookie

 

September 29 1917

Everything fine here.I will always be with the Supply Company unless they change me.

Your Son Ross

 

September 29 1917

Sending you views of camp.They cost 25 cents so keep them for me.Paste them all on one large card.Arenít the mountains pretty in the background?This camp sure is a large one.We are about in the middle.When Dad passes the poolroom, have him get Elmer Groshís address.I know he is at Camp Taylor but no more.

 

September 29 1917

You need not worry about me, get that.Will look for my box next week.

Ross


 

October 7 1917

Did you buy the yarn for my sweater yet?Get brown wool if you can, or gray.If I have any good winter underwear please send it, as it sure is cold here, believe me.I thought it was cold enough to freeze the other night.The wind sure does whistle around these buildings and through them, as they are cheaply constructed.Our socks are commercial, as they cannot supply us with regular army socks.Everything we have is cheaply made.They make the clothes in an awful rush, so we can get them.I sleep warm at night but during the day sure is cold, if you are not working.We have 100 men come running out and line up in front of you.I tell them what to do and they do it, thatís the nice part about it.It sure makes you feel good, all the boys like me.They will for a while at least until they find out that I treat them all alike.No friends get off any easier.They all give me cigars and cigarettes.They are mostly farmers and nice lads at that.

Your son as ever, Bookie.

 

October 10 1917

Good health and I think a lot of my place. Just received my winter suit of clothes and will have another picture taken soon.This sure is the life for me.Would like to have my basket ball sweater and my winter underwear, as the kind I get here I donít like.Guess I will buy my own.I get all I want to eat here.About five of us officers buy butter and jam, so you see we have something extra.It only costs you a few cents.George told me that I had a peach of a sweater coming.Listen send the one you have and donít breathe a word about it as I can use two of them.

Your son Bookie


October 14 1917

I am still kicking and feeling fine.I am now acting Supply Sergeant.Will get the job next month if I make good.

 

October 16 1917

Well Pud I was presented with my warrants making me a corporal and then got the other one making me a sergeant, so I am now a regular sergeant, no matter what happens I will always have the warrants.Sure have some job, mostly book and paper work.I have a clerk all my own.He does my typewriting.All I do is, you know, dictate.I am right with the farmers and they bring their sergeant chicken, no not girls, but country-fried chicken, apples and other eats.I am what they call a hand-shaker in the army.You know, get wise and let on you know them well and get away with it.They soon will cut it out.You canít tease me with one box of Aurentzís candy.

Ross

 

October 18 1917

Good health and everything I need at present.Received package, pleased with sweater, also watch.Received five packages cigarettes from George Bennigan.Am sending $40.00 home and have $20.00 to keep me awhile.The cake was good, believe me.

Son Ross


October 23 1917

Everything fine here as far as I know.I sure am busy.My sweater sure is a fine fit, about as good as it could be made.Received a box of cigars from George Bennigan.Have not left this camp since I have been here, that is to go to Chillicothe.It sure is some place from what I hear, so there is no need of me going to that place.I guess I will make a trip to Dayton one of these Sundays if everything goes alright.Sure have some fine fellows here from there.It is pretty cold here and a sweater like the one I have comes in handy.We have a little oil stove in the office and it throws quite a little heat.It sure does eat up the coal oil, one gallon a day.More beer than I ever had.Fellows who were home on pass came back and fed me chicken and everything else that went with it.One man gave me half a chicken.My poor little tummy ainít used to this kind of chow and quite frequently I have to blast.

 

October 24 1917

Dear Mother, I want you to use all the money I send home that is what you need of it and the balance you can bank for me.I guess all the money that I give you to spend is not lost.If I need it I know it will be where it belongs.Use all the money I send, donít put it in the bank as I know you need it.You can always find a place for it.I donít expect you to save every cent I send home.Everything fine here.I have a slight cold in my neck, but expect to lose it soon.I sure am a busy boy.I have not time to think about much but work and I sure get enough of that.I am way back on my letters.I think I have 10 to write before I catch up.They are writing too fast.One girl wrote that she writes to me every time she thinks of me.It must be every day.Before long I will have my men equipped with clothes and then I will have the soft job.All I do is keep book on the clothes and ordnance issue.It snowed here last night.I have to take a both either tonight to tomorrow, then will put on my heavies soon.Heard we might go to Pennsylvania for a month soon.Donít think I will vote this year, as I donít care to go to the trouble of swearing my oath, so I donít care to vote this time.

 

October 26 1917

You should not play jokes on me as I might laugh.I certainly was surprised to see myself in one of somebodyís union suits.I guess it was Motherís.I got into it and couldnít get out again, it was so darn big. I thought I was getting out of a balloon.Honest I bet the darn thing was a 72 or larger.I couldnít think of anyone around the house wearing such a large suit except Mother.You know she is the largest person on our street, unless someone much larger moved in while I was here.You might have gotten two suits fastened together.I am fine.I guess I will make good on the job I have.Sure is a fine life here.Give me Bessie Bunchís address, she can expect a letter from one of her old boyfriends that I ran across here.Received a letter from my pal Wehrle in France.He wants me to hurry over as he has a female for me there.Guess I will have to go and see her.I would rather be a private; it is much better job as you get more exercise.It is nothing to be a sergeant or corporal here, only a little more money and worry.You know I joined for my health, not for honor as some did.I might fight for it if I have to.We officers had a pork roast, you know sirloin and believe me it was a peach of a feed.No the rest did not get any as it cost like the devil, only five were in on it.Who said they were going to send mince meat?Thatís alright, go ahead.

 

October 31 1917

I am still in good health and spirits.Every little thing is fine here.We had a very good time at our company tonight.You should have seen the supper we had tonight.We had pumpkin pie, apple cider, ginger snaps, coca, frankfurters, sauerkraut, potatoes, cheese and a lot of other eats.Then we had songs, jigs, speakers, and a pie eating contest, some class to us.I have not been doing very much the last couple of days, so you see I have been looking wise.That is all you have to do and get credit for it.About that underwear, you never will see it any more.I done ditched it already.I was sure there was a mistake.

Your good little son, Bookie

 

October 31 1917

Everything fine so far.I am going out soon to see a football game.Received pipe and can of tobacco from George Bennigan.He sure has the right idea alright.We have our stoves all going fine.It is a nice place.We have about 10 large furnaces in our barracks.I am getting long fine with my new job.I am a regular army nit now.

Brother Bookie

 

(No date in journal, entry is between October 31 and November 6 1917.)

I am still on the job.You should see the conditions under which I am writing this.I am now in bed ready to go to sleep.I have a lantern hanging by the side of my head, am laying on my back with a shoe box lid for a writing table.The new Y. M. C. A. just opened today, have written several letters there, but will write this one this way.This Y is just across the street from where I am and a peach of a one, be she.Wait a minute my pipe went out, alright now it is going good.I have 10 cents left and I hate to see a fellow with his mouth full of candy.You know it doesnít look nice when you have none yourself.Try and get me a Red Cross sweater they knit at home as it will be cold here this winter and I will need one.Lot of the Dayton boys have them.They were given to them.I put out a terrible washing today.1 shirt, pants, 3 suits of underwear, 2 handkerchiefs, and 2 pair of socks.What do you know about that?I donít iron them, just sleep on them and they sure look like they were pressed, that is put them under my tick and let them there until I want them. I will have my picture taken with my mule, that is if the darn thing will be good enough to do it.You canít make them obey as they should.Donít say anything.I wrote Kornie a letter.You know I like her so much, honest.

Your brother Ross.


November 6 1917

I am OK and felling fine.Nothing new today except payday.Weather nice and warm, but no sun shining as it is cloudy.

 

November 7 1917

Still in the same health and have no trouble getting along fine.There are about 45,000 men in this camp and it is very hard to find anyone.I donít know where Dr. Captain Barnet is, but a soldier donít have much to do with officers that have commissions.

 

November 8 1917

Well, I am still here and just the same.I bet you canít tell any chance in me.I just take it as it comes, that is the best way to do.You neednít worry about me getting discouraged around this place.I might in a few fellows, but on the whole I never do.I was out riding a mule this afternoon and am a little sore.Is sure is a great dope.There is not much doing around here except they are transferring a few of the boys to different camps.They want motor truck drivers for service in France at once.I wish I could drive a truck; I would be with them.I guess I will be here until spring at least.The fellows that live close to camp go home every once in a while.They run special trains for them.They sure are spoiling them.They will never get used to it if they keep going home.Received Pegís box.I have eight letters to write yet.Received a letter from one of my girlfriends.She wanted me to tell her what I wanted for Christmas.I told her nothing.She writes back and tells me I must tell her.The only thing I would want would be an honorable discharge, thatís all.Is that asking too much?Ha, Ha.I believe she would come down and marry me if I would let her.I guess I will wait until I get across before I get married, get one of those nice French bar maids.


November 11 1917

They are sending a few thousand men to Camp Pike, Arkansas.They are leaving here every day.All I have been doing lately is riding mules.It sure is fun to get out with the dumb creatures.They donít know anything but balk.They run nice and fast for awhile and then stop all of a sudden and old mister rider goes over his head if he isnít careful.I donít get a sore seat riding now.Donít know what to do to pass the time away.The first sergeant is to leave our company and he wants me to take his place.I donít want it very bad.It is a hard job to handle.You must do all of the office work and look after the company too.Every man is under him.It pays $51.00 a month.I will have my picture taken when I get another woolen suit as the one I have doesnít fit as good as it should.

Your loving son and brother, Ross

 

November 13 1917

Received package.Everything is OK here at present.It will take a long time before we will get all our equipment as they must be short.We have at least 160 mules and 8 horses in this company and I must see they are issued and signed for to me, as the captain holds me accountable for them.

Yours as B/4 Ross


November 14 1917

Everything fine around here.I refused the first sergeantís place as I am all OK where I am.I like this job better.Was to the town Chillicothe the other day.Sure is some bum place.It puts me in mind of your old town 10 years ago, with no street cars except one track.The houses rent here for $65.00 up to $200.00 a month.None but the commanding officers rent them.I have butter on my bread here; about six of us officers take turn buying it.We sometimes chip in and buy a $5.00 piece of pork and have pork roast.Some fine cook we have here.The candy you sent me went like hot cakes.I wonder how soon we get out of this place.Do you know I wish that I were over in France taking my turn, as I would love to be there.I will get a Dutchman friend for each one of you.

Your brother Ross

 

November 17 1917

Still alive and enjoying myself OKOne day it is cold here, the next warm, but the cold or heat never worry me.I send you all a Merry Christmas.Hope you have a good time Christmas like we always did have.I will get a good feed.We will have turkey.About 35 boys will spend theirs at home, mostly the fellows that have not been home before.Donít open the present I send until Christmas when you are all together.Please donít let anyone open the package even yourself.

Your son, Ross


November 18 1917

I am still feeling fine.Received a box of cigars and a necktie from George Bennigan, very much pleased with them.Say did I ever have the mumps?One of our fellows has them and they make us stay away from the rest of the boys.I told them I had them; let me know if I did.There are quite a few fellows leaving for France to work at their trades.I donít know how many will leave here, about 13,000 I guess.Be sure you donít open my package until Christmas.Do you get me?The mumps wonít last long around here; the doctor said just about a week was all.I donít know what to do around this camp as I am getting tired of it.I guess I will be transferred to some other camp soon.I guess the regiment will stay here until spring and then it might be longer.

I am as ever, Ross


November 19 1917

Nothing to kick about outside a few small things, such as no beer, not much time to hang around the corner at night.I am well and happy; nothing can phase me now, at least anything that could happen here.I am getting good eats and lots of drinking water.I have been eating too much sweet things lately.You know the boys around here like your old boy OK as I donít do any of this hard stuff with them unless it is just necessary.Most of them know I am all OK at least think so while I have the three stripes.Hard telling what they would think if I lost them.At times I am a busy man; donít know what to do first sometimes.When anything puzzles me, I go and take a little nap for a few hours, then maybe I go at it.I am almost my own boss.All the same I do everything I am told to do in line of duty.I obey better than I used to.It will take at least six months to let some of these boys know that Uncle Sam has them in his power.I know the old Colonel very well and the Captain likes me.He told me he wished he had more men like me and that is no kidding either.We have the best Captain in the drift and I could do anything for him.You see the Colonel is commanding officer of the regiment and my Captain is commanding officer of the company.There are seven more companies beside the one I am in.In the regiment, if he says OK it is alright.The Captain told me I could have anything I wished as far as he is concerned, but I must have the Colonelís OK first.General Glenn has forbidden furloughs issued for just visits home.I was riding my mule the other day and I am getting used to him.He is one fine dumb piece of mule meat.You could do anything for them and then get kicked for doing it, but I always watch them.

A kiss on each wave for yourself, Ross


November 23 1917 9:00 AM

Everything is going fine around the old camp today.I am feeling fine.It is snowing here today.Have not been busy of late, but have some little jobs to take care of.I have charge of men who are the company mechanics, such as carpenters, horse shoers.I do not have much to do.The Captain said I havenít been on pass since I got my job, could have had five days pass this month, but I must be here to sign the pay call and muster in on the 27and 30 of each month.

 

November ?(no date; between the 23 and 27th)

It is raining and is a little colder.Donít think I will leave here for some time.The camp is getting better right along.By the time I get used to it I will be moving someplace else.You say car rides are five cents straight?I wouldnít pay it.I would get a good pair of shoes.I donít spend any car fare around here because I donít need the ride.I know the Kaiser will get his soon, you watch and see if he donít.It is time I was moving to my bunk.

 

November 27 1917

I have done a little work today, but it donít count much.I am getting lazy.I hear we are to have a food dinner Thanksgiving, but you know I am not used to swell eats any more and I donít know if I could stand a very big dinner.

Yours as always, Ross


November 28 19179:00 pm

Received box.Tomorrow is the big day here.I donít doubt for one minute, but know we will have a better and bigger dinner than most of the people at home.We will have turkey and everything that goes with it.I have a little work at times, but outside of that, I am thinking a lot.I must make all my property that is issued to me jibe with the Quartermasterís book, so I do a lot of figuring sometimes.Most of the boys were given a pass over Thanksgiving Day, that is about 36 hours.I could have one to Dayton, but am going to lay low until I get a pass home.You might leave The Front door open the first, second, and third nights of December because if I come it will be those nights.Will go from Chillicothe to Dayton, then to Richmond, then Fort Wayne.

I am as ever your Son, Ross.

December 3 1917

Maybe you think I wasnít lonesome when I first hit this life, but I sure do like it now.I have more covers at night than you have.I have six blankets and one comforter.I sleep on one blanket; have one for my pillow and the comforter and three blankets over me.

Your loving brother, Ross

December 4 1917

I am a little sore some place in the rear.I just got through with my mules, was out riding this morning, also this afternoon.It sure is fine, but oh my poor little seat.Had only a blanket on and it felt like paper.Monday night I will start and take boxing lessons of Johnny Kilbane, the champion.Received letter from Peggy today.Everything is just grand around here.Will take my annual bath tonight and hope to be clean soon.

Your son, Bookie

December 11 1917

Everything OKArrived in Camp at 9:30.Every train was late.Started to work same as ever.Cold here, 12 below zero last night, but I slept in a nice warm bed.People working outside have handkerchiefs tied around their ears.Have a lot of work to do as they transferred a few men to other camps and also had some new materials in.

As ever your Son, Bookie

 

December 23 1917

Just had my Sunday dinner and breakfast as I just got out of bed at 11:30, some class to me.Havenít a thing to kick about, everything going fine.Received your letter and glad to learn I had the mumps.The 2 Lieutenant asked me if I ever had them and I said no, when they took a check I told the boss that I did and he questioned me so that is why I wanted to know, so you see I was right on my second guess.Pleased with my presents.The helmet fit like the paper on the wall.You couldnít have made it any better.I won $5.00 on a football game here Friday.I bet five our team would win and we did.Altogether I had 31 beans on the game as I covered what one of the other companies put up.The snow has all melted and it is muddy around here.We had to stay in the two days for the mumps but only one fellow has them and he is at the base hospital.One company here has scarlet fever and are penned up.Outside of that the regiment is in fine shape.We are to have a good dinner Christmas.We even have a tree, also each man here buys a present for two bits and then one man sees that each one gets a gift, so I guess we will enjoy it.I guess I will get George Bennigan a pillow top, that is the only thing I can think of.I am not used to buying many presents.Wishing you the best and most cheerful Christmas on the market.

I am as ever yours, Bookie.

 

December 24 1917

My friend Clara and her husband sent me a box of candy for Christmas.I think it was awful nice of her.Received your Christmas box, well pleased.The only thing I missed was a few glasses of suds that they make at home.

Your brother Ross.

 

December (no date, after Christmas and before January 2)

I certainly did have a fine Christmas, all I could eat and smoke.You would hardly believe it if I try to tell how much we had beside the dinner.We all received a Red Cross Kit.Will try to list the different articles: 1 handkerchief, 1 can S. H. Talcum powder, 1 10 cent cake, H. C. candy, 1 cake soap and case, 1 tube toothpaste, 1 pipe, 1 pair of shoelaces, 1 tube white Vaseline, 1 folding cup, 1 tablet, 1 washrag, 1 comb, 1 toothbrush and holder, 1 housewife, nail clippers, 1 small hand brush, 1 box corn plasters, 1 nickeled mirror, 1 pack tobacco, 1 large bath towel, 1 can foot powder, pin, button, thimble, tape, thread, 1 checker cloth, waterproof cloth, 1 cake shaving soap.Thatís about all I can remember.There were over 150 in this regiment.They came from all over Ohio.The one I received came from the Mahoning chapter, Youngstown, Ohio.For Christmas dinner we had 75 men, about 25 were on a pass home.We had snow here this morning when I woke up.The ground was white.It was around 9 oíclock when I rolled out this morning.Everything is now OK in our regiment, no sickness any more.You can tell everybody this was the best Christmas I ever had.I enjoyed it much better than at home because the little thing you get here and from your friends are better than any big gift anyone can give, even a Christmas card is thought a lot of.Everybody felt good.I didnít hear a fellow kick about Christmas today, even the new men that came in a week ago.Some said it was the best and biggest meal they ever sat down to and it sure was.Sent George Bennigan a large pennant from here.Hope he likes it very well.It was the only thing I could buy.It cost me a little better than a few dollars.I have all I need at present.I canít think of anything I could use.

 

January 2 1918

Glad to hear you had a good Christmas.I certainly had mine and enjoyed myself very much.You know a Christmas like we had here would be a swell treat to a lot of people.I sure did get all that was for me.We got those Red Cross comfort kits.The first time I ever received anything from the Red Cross.I got 2 of the kits, but no one knows I did.You see I had charge of issuing them to the men.I had quite a few left over and everyone in this company had one, so I got two.I have enough of everything at present.The New Year came in like any other night, no noise around our company.A lot of the boys would like to have had something to drink.We did not get a chance at it this year.Everything going fine around the old shack tonight.I am acting First Sergeant for 3 days as the regular top kicker is on a pass.I have charge of the company for 3 days only,Donít like the job very much.I am glad it is only for a short time.My big sister Lillian sure does think I did a lot by giving her $3.00 for her Christmas.I would have sent more, but that $3.00 was enough for the first time.I will make it more the next time, see.Yes I wouldnít forget anyone for Christmas.I donít know when we are to leave here, but hope we go someplace soon, even if to Hell.You know I have to be on the move to feel just right.I canít stay at one place long.We are forbidden to let any news out as to when or where any troops move.I get up at 5:30 tomorrow and stand reveille with the company as first sergeant.It will be the first time since I came back.I hate to get up that early.I always get out about 6:00, 7:00 or 8:00 oíclock.You see the rest get up at 5:30.I have it on them.I might have to do the same soon, but as long as no one kicks, I wonít either.I havenít rode my mule since coming back here.I guess I will take him out for a walk next Sunday if he will go.

I am as ever your son, Ross


January 8 1918

Best of health, have nothing to kick about.The wind is blowing and I think it is getting colder.The entire camp is quarantined for measles.We just received an order with these instructions: No one will be given a pass outside of Chillicothe.Out of 100 men we have 13 in base hospital with measles, mumps, chicken pox and a few other such cases.The result is the camp is under quarantine.I hope we donít get them. I donít like any of those sicknesses.The fellows that go home on passes are the ones that bring them back.Our company transfers three men to France in a few days.They are lucky birds.Received a letter from Ulysses Woods[8] the other day.I wrote him.

January 11 1918

Today was payday.I am well and everything going fine.Raining like everything today.You canít walk far, the ice is so slippery.I signed up for my insurance for $10,000.00.You should get the policy in a few weeks.If killed or crippled so I canít work, it will pay $57.50 (a month) for twenty years.It will cost me $6.75 a month.I guess it is worth it.I am paying out of wages just $11.75, that leaves me about $27.00 a month, while I am sergeant.My $50.00 Liberty Bond will be paid in July, if I am I the army that long.

January 17 1918

We have bad mail service at this time.I guess the weather is the cause.Everything fine around here.It is getting a lot warmer.We all have plenty of clothes.We have Artics now, also winter caps, they sure come in fine.I wrote old man Bowser to send me The Booster and he did.He also wrote me a letter saying he would pray for me.He didnít write a word about the Christmas present of $2.00.

Your son, Ross
(no date, between January 17 and January 25 1918)

Received your nice wristlets and sure do like them.I am not in the cold very much.Everything fine around here, even the weather is better.Tell the girls I havenít seen any good candy for some time, everything has run out around here and I looked high and low and canít find any good candy like Aurentzís.My insurance cost me $6.60 a month with a ten-cent increase every year or two.After the war is over, I can get a lower rate or can make any kind of policy out of it.I can make it a twenty-year endowment if I want it.No one but the men in the service of Uncle Sam can get insurance like it.I can drop it anytime.If you donít take it you must sign a statement to that effect.You know the government wonít give them anything if they donít have this insurance.

Sonnie, Ross.

 

January 25 1918

Am well and always hope to be.The snow is melting fast.Whenever the government gets time my policy will be sent to you.Will be pleased to get the box the girls will send, because they know how to put one up.I sure do love candy.If you are wondering what to get for my birthday, I will put you wise.I could use a good razor.Be sure to get one like I use, the old kind, no safety for me.Outside of that I donít need anything.


January 27 1918

I must admit I am broke, but what do I care?I will be paid about February 11 or 20.You hear so much about peace.I donít know what I would do if I were discharged.I guess I would lay around about 10 years resting up and doing things we are not allowed to do here, see?Supper is just about ready and feel rather hungry, so I guess I will eat a little chow tonight.Sometimes it is fine and again not so good.We have a fellow beside me now.Married?Yes.

Yours always.Ross.

 

January 28 1918

Received box candy.I am acting First Sergeant again, have been for the last few days, nothing to it, but work.I was out riding my mule around and got a little exercise.What do you think about the peace talk?If peace comes it will be here without me worrying my few brains about it.The weather here is rotten today.I guess it will be all ice in a few days.I heard if there was not room for the new men coming to camp soon they would send those that are here home so they could drill the others.The ones going home would be on reserve subject to recall any time.That would be fine.

I am as ever, Ross.


January 31 1918

Everything just the same around here.Nothing new but the weather and that changes every five hours.We have plenty of cold, I mean coal to burn.Take some of my money, what you saved for me, and get me a darn good razor.I want the old style just like I have always used.I donít want a safety razor, never.I donít know when, where or what will happen in the next two months.I have not more idea than you people and whatís more I am willing to go wherever they want me to go, see?I would like to go over about spring; you know when the weather is warm.I am now taking lessons in first aid work.The reason I need money is I want to have my mug shot.

As ever your son, Ross the Banker.

 

(no date, entry is between January 31 and February 3 1918)

Am all OK.Donít like this place one bit.Suppose I will have to get used to it.I have it easy, but that doesnít amount to much.I am with the supply company, same as stock keeper.Men are coming in by the hundreds.The captain told me today we would go over sometime in February.Just received a notice we enlisted men would have to stay with this outfit and we would not be transferred out.We might get something good out of it.All I do is unpack shoes and hand them out.I have four blankets also a rain tick.The rest have only two blankets.I can have all I need, just take them out of stock.They cost the government $4.00 a piece.Must be in bed at 10 bells.

Your son, Ross


February 3 1918

Received box of eats and started on it today.Everything is just the same here today.I am in the best of health.The weather here is just the same as at home.It sure was cold last night and this afternoon, but the boys are warm.We all have received Red Cross sweaters, helmets, wristlets and heavy wool socks, two pairs per man.I issued all of it to the men.They are charged with it on their clothing records, that is so one doesnít get more than he really needs and so he canít sell any of it if he needs a little cash.It is the best way.They sure do come in handy.I never really thought the Red Cross did so much as I have already seen done.

Your Son, Ross

 

February 7 1918

Everything is going fine.My health is just as good if not better.Have not had a very bad cold like I used to get.Received box.Ice and snow melting, getting muddy, but who cares about mud.Think I should be a private.I would like it better.What do you think about the ship that was sunk[9]?I donít think I would like to be on any that goes that way.

I am as ever, Ross


February 10 1918

Best of health.Nothing of importance has happened lately.Enclosed find a most wonderful picture.You can have it printed in The Journal, but not the letter.The lad with me is Private First Class Elmer Reynolds of Washington, Pennsylvania.He is manager of one of the largest music stores in the western part of Pennsylvania.You give him a write up.I donít care what you say about me.You can put in that I went to Fort Thomas, transferred to Fort Benjamin Harrison and then to Camp Sherman.Make up the others yourself[10].

 

(no date, between February 10 and February 16 1918)

Everything fine around the old camp tonight.The wind is blowing hard.Today was payday.I was at the dentistís yesterday and had a tooth filled.Sure is fine work to sit in that chair, had my teeth cleaned also.That makes two teeth I have filled.It had just started to decay.Just came back from the canteen.I bought some nice apples, cigarettes, candy, writing paper, ice cream, coconuts, and a few bottles of pop.When I eat, I believe in getting your fill.

 

February 16 1918

Best of health.Weather changes every other day, turning cold now.I think it will be warm by morning.Mr. Reynolds has returned to his home for 10 days.I think he will be a married man when he returns.Taft is here a few days lecturing.I did not go to see him.I sure would love to go over this spring, but I donít think I will get the chance to go.I would hate to come home saying I laid around the training camps while the others are getting the best part of this life by going over.It sure would be a fine trip if a fellow could come back home.

Your son, Alfred.

 

February 19, 2:00 pm.

I am all OK.Nothing new around this place.I would like a nice homemade fruitcake, one just loaded with raisins and whatever goes in it.

Your son, as always, Bookie.

 

February 24 1918

Everything is fine around here, even the weather is nice.

Brother Ross.

 

February 24 1918

Today is Sunday.Send me a small printing outfit that you can buy at the 10 cent store.I want to make out some new records for my accounts here.I want to start on them by Thursday at least.

Son Ross.

 

February 27 1918

Have nothing to kick about this time.Have been busy the last week transferring men out of this camp.Eight left our company for other outfits.I think we will be getting down to real soldiering soon, as I have to go to school every morning for one hour and I just love school.

Son Ross


February 28 1918

Package received.Everything fine around the old camp.Sure have been doing my share of work this week and will be for some time.Donít even get time to read the papers.Received letter from Ida Stevens today.

Ever your son, Ross.

 

March 1 1918

Things are going fine around this place.All I have been doing is work head and feet. I just got through fitting on 85 pairs of shoes on the men, took about 2 Ĺ hours.Just shaved and now ready for bed.Tomorrow is Saturday and inspection will be in the morning, so everything has to be in fine shape.Monday I will attend a school of signaling with flags and wig wag system, one hour each day except Sunday.Weather is OK at present but the mud is bad.I am trying to have my eyes repaired and if I can get glasses to fit them, I will wear them.The girls are writing to us from all over Northern Indiana.We get a paper from Pierceton, Indiana now.Nine bells.

As I used to be, your son, Ross

 

March 9 1918

Good health.Had my eyes tested, but so far I have nothing done to them.Yesterday I woke up with a stiff neck.My eyes are a little weak from the dope that I have to put in them.I go the 12th of March to have them tested.The wind is sure blowing and raining.

As ever, Ross.

 

March 11 1918

Received package in afternoon mail.Going to base hospital tomorrow to have my eyes tested again.Have been putting medicine in them for the last five days.I can see very well, but canít read very much.I have a hard time reading letters I get, if the room is dark, I can see better.Weather like spring.

As ever, Ross.

 

March 12 1918

Today I am 25 years old, sure donít feel like it.I made my last trip to the hospital today.I will wear glasses soon.They will cost me $3.50.I wonít be able to see very good for at least four or five days, as my eyes are still enlarged.I am going to have my coat cut to fit me as I got a new suit, then I will have my picture taken.It just started to rain.We have had three regimental formations so far.Saturday we will pitch tents just for practice.

Your son, Ross.

 

March 14 1918

My eyes are a little better today.Hope they will be all OK in a few days.I guess I will get the glasses they fitted for me.I hate to wear them.Sure getting rotten around this camp.I am getting a little bit tired.Weather is warm tonight.Look for a wind storm.The fellow that died was in our regiment.I did not know him.I am so warm, I am uncomfortable.No I havenít taken my heavyís off yet, I wore lightweight all winter.

I am always, Ross.


March 16 1918

Feeling fine.I can read good, my eyes were only dilated to test them out.I paid for my glasses today.I will go to the base hospital and have them examine my nose.I wonít let them do any cutting on me.Sometimes they cut for cataracts, all I want is treatment.Today we had inspection with tents, went very good.I was out riding for three hours, went all over the camp.I think it wonít be long before we move, never can tell.Have been busy these last few days, have to hustle.Try and keep the old State wet until the boys come back.

Same as ever, your old son and brother, Ross.

 

March 20 1918

Everything fine around Ohio.Well and feeling fine.My eyes are OK, can see same as ever.Will get the glasses and try them out.Have been busy the last two weeks.We had an inspector come here and check up on the whole camp.Sure did have me busy issuing everything the men were suppose to have.I think summer is darn near here, this weather can make one feel fine.

Your son, Ross.


March 24 1918

Rainy afternoon, not much doing around the company.Most of the men are either home on Passover Saturday and Sunday, or out with friends.We had a very good dinner today.Roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, radishes, lettuce, apple pie, string beans, and good coffee.This morning I ate five fried eggs, so I am not very hungry today.I often wonder if you people at home have as much to eat as we do.Sometimes we have corn bread and fish and then we have fish and corn bread again.We have mush and canned milk and fried mush.What do you think about the war now?Donít you think they need a few more good men over there like me?The reason the Germans are so good is they have a system.You know they dig their graves before they are dead and thatís what they are doing now, so why worry about the war?

I saw the funniest thing yesterday, a fellow from one of the other batteries was riding a wild horse and trying to show the fellows how good he could stick on.He sure could stick, but the nag he was riding didnít know a thing.He went wild and ran around like he didnít know where he was going.He ran straight into a water trough and bumped up against it and done one of his funny kicks.The fellow went straight over the horseís head and landed square into the water trough half full of water.You sure would have laughed.He was betting the other fellows he could stick on.I have a good mule now, when you say, ďWhoa,Ē he stops like a brick house.

Your son, as ever, Ross.


March 28 1918

Everything is going good around this place, nothing new but a few more inspectors.They are coming regular now, almost every day.You know just before you leave, they inspect the regiment for a couple of months.We have at least one more month of it.The weather sure is fine.I donít know when it has been such nice weather in March.Sure do hope they will be driving the Germans back soon, which they will be doing, watch and see.I am scarce of news this time.You neednít worry about me going over, because I wonít go until my turn comes and then nothing could keep me here, so you neednít worry about this little boy.

 

March 29 1918 9:30 pm.

Received package, made me feel good.I noticed the other fellows were getting Easter packages, so mine came as a surprise.Received a letter from Rosana Bryan, one of the girls wrote it for her.She also sent me a nice box of candy.She wrote she was very much pleased to hear from me.Received a box of 10 cigars from George Bennigan.So you see I am full of pleases.I hope all you good folks at home have all the pleasures and Godís good will as you have had.On the past Easter, I know that I am thankful for what I am and have had, no matter where I am.We are having gas-mask instructions for two weeks and from what I hear, I would rather be shot than gassed.You must get your masks on in less than six seconds.Itís fun and sure makes a fellow mad to wear the mask.You have a rubber tube in your mouth and a clip on your nose.Canít spit, have to be very careful with them in the gas house.I donít know how soon we will leave, but artillery is what they are in need of now and they sure will use them, so can sell Lillian my suits, donít know when I will use them, so I canít say just what to do.I could get new ones when I come back (if) ha ha.The Lieutenant said that both Germany and the US are working on a kind of gas and if it can be made to fire in a shell, and be made six or seven times heavier than air, there wouldnít be any more war as they would get nothing to stop it, as it was the most deadly gasses.


March 31 1918

Sorry to hear Emma Helbig had to come to our house to get her letter.I wrote to her.Sure had a fine Easter.Had eggs for breakfast this morning, three fried and two hard-boiled.We also had pork, ice cream, and cake for dinner. Donít know anything new around here.Fine weather.I see in the paper we wonít get any more passes until after the war.Only passes will be issued to men that must have them.

Son, Ross.

 

April 2 1918

Still in the best of health, am feeling fine.Sure had some rain last night, also hail.Well, mother, as your birthday comes on the fifth, I wish you many more birthdays and may the rest of your life be filled with joy and happiness.I will do all I can to make it that, and hope the others will too, as I know they will.Now donít forget if there is anything you need, get it.Coal or anything that you need for your comfort.

I am always your Son, Ross.

 

April 4 1918

Am well and feeling fine.Not much news.I know you all miss me, but it canít be helped.If you do lose your boy, it wonít be any worse than what lots of other people will have to take.It is all in the game.But one thing is sure, some will come back.There is no use worrying as everything will go just the way it must be.

Your son, Ross.

 

April 8 1918

Your boy is still alive and feeling well.Everythingís the same around the old camp tonight.Just received my pay.It wonít be long until my $50.00 bond will be paid.I might take another bond, but donít know for sure.My insurance comes to $6.60 a month, my bond $5.00, laundry runs around $1.50 to $2.00, so I draw around $24.00.Weather has turned a little colder the last two days.I believe it will snow if it keeps up.Remember if you need coal or anything that you should have, thatís why I send it to you and it is to be saved on one condition only, that is if you donít need it, so do with what I have as it is yours.

Ross.

 

April 11 1918

I am OKEverything fine around the old place, nice and warm.Have been busy the last two weeks.Sure do need a rest soon.I hear there is a lot of grippe[11] around the camp, so a fellow has to watch out.

I am as ever your son, Ross.

 

April 8 1918

I am well and feeling fine.Nothing new around this camp.Sure have a lot of work to do, am being very busy and donít see any rest in sight for a while.The company will go on rifle range soon.They are now getting ready.It is raining tonight.A girl wrote and said she had 41 of my letters.Ouch, I hope she looses half of them.

I am your brother, Ross.

 

April 15 1918

Everything fine around this place.Nice weather and eats and everything else.I am now in the base hospital, with a few other boys.The joke, there is nothing wrong with me.I am in the best of health.I had a little cold and the doctor sent me over here.I guess he was afraid I would get grippe or pneumonia.I guess I will be back with the company by the time this reaches you.It is a joke to stay around this place, they would sure make you believe that you were sick.I just have to laugh at times, the nurse brings in your meals.I eat them in bed, then get up and take a bath, then go outside and have our fun.Sometimes we have to work.Today I had to go to the mess hall and eat.Ten of the boys were let out today.What makes me laugh, I was just kicking about feeling bum so I could get out of going to a meeting I didnít like, instead they sent me here, see.I know I am not sick and no one can tell me I am.I have been a whole lot worse and never said a word.I am sure they will let me out before tomorrow.Well, I donít know what to do around this place.All I do is eat, play, and sleep.All the medicine I have taken is two capsules, think of it.My bond will be out in July, one more month and she will be mine.P. S.This has been just like a vacation to me.I will have to laugh about it every time I think of it.

I am as ever your son and brother, Ross

 

April 17 1918

Just returned to the barracks today.I was discharged out of the hospital, am back at work.Weather is bum.

Ross


April 20 1918

Best of health and back at work same as usual.Received box.Two boys in our company broke out with scarlet fever and we were quarantined over a week.Three other companies are penned-up too.I think it will be lifted by Sunday, tomorrow.I am playing base ball whenever I get a chance.Sometimes I get as sore as a boil.It is raining tonight, has been all day.I donít know what to think about this war.Someone has got to be licked soon or all of the boys here will be old men before we can go over.I owe about 25 letters.

Son, Ross

 

April 23 1918

Everybody here busy.Everybody working hard.I am still acting first sergeant and sure am all in.We are on the rifle range this week.Get up at 5:00 a.m. every morning and walk about five miles to the range.It seems I am the old man of the company.We had a sad affair the other day, one of our boys died at the hospital, lung trouble, a fine healthy fellow.Quite a few passing away around here. Received a four pound box of candy from Peggy.Bless her little heart.I have to check in dead menís clothing now.Had to get all of his own property and turn it over to his relatives.I am so tired.I have enough work in front of me to make two men look sick.

Your loving brother, Ross.


April 28 1918

Will have it a little easier now as we are through with the range, will not fire out there any more.We also have a first sergeant now, so I wonít have so much to do.We are in quarantine again for scarlet fever.Three of the boys are at the base hospital now with it.Just got through playing base ball, sure did have a hot time.I was out riding this afternoon for two hours.Sure do like it.One of our boys died last week.He had a cold settled on his lungs.I heard we wonít be long at this place.We are slated to go over soon.We are ready for sea service.Might try for a furlough about May 20 if I can.It will be one year since I have been in the army on June 3, 1918.Doesnít seem over five months to me.Donít have too much for me when I come home.

Your son, Ross.

 

May 3 1918

I am in the best of health and feeling fine.Have been on the jump of late.I was taking lessons in riding every day.I know we are getting ready to go over, but donít know how soon, maybe within three months?I sure will be ready whenever the order comes.If any of you get very sick and want me to come home, be sure that you have the doctor send a telegram signed by him or a fellow canít go.

I am as ever your son, Ross

 

May 5 1918

Had a review today.The whole company was in it.Heard it was the last one we would have.We will receive another examination tomorrow to see if we are fit for overseas service.

Your son, Ross.

 

May 9 1918, 7:00am.

Best of health, not much to kick about.Today was payday.We had a hike the other night with our mules and full equipment.It poured down rain when we started, but stopped and cleared up.We rode over 14 miles at night.The train was over five miles long.I was the last one.

Ross

 

May 12 1918

Best of health.Raining like everything, sure have had some rains, wind and storms, but are lucky to be in a good company.Donít have to be out much, so I can thank my lucky stars.Today is Motherís Day.Most of the boys are wearing carnations, the Y. M. C. A. are giving them to the boys.Donít know how long I will stay here.

I am your Son, Ross.

 

May 16 1918

Feeling fine.Wish I was home to plant and make the garden grow.You know it would be the best you ever had.Have been busy the last few days listing the property we need when we pack for a trip.Will have to bum a few stamps to mail this.Sure am flat.This warm weather makes the money go.You should see one of these canteens do the business.One dayís sale would make a couple of months wages for a high priced man.

Son Ross Alfred.


May 25 1918

Good health.Fine boxes, not many of the boys get them like the ones I get.Thanks.Well I donít think my time will be long in this camp.We will leave sooner than some of the boys think.Donít think we think we will see the last part of June in this camp.Donít know where we are going and am sure I am not going to worry much about it.If I do go over I donít want any of the folks to fret much about it.There is nothing to it but luck.We are not allowed to give out military information.It is against the army regulations and a person is subject to punishment, as just when and where we will go, I canít say.The boys are not allowed furloughs or passes anymore, canít even leave camp.If you donít hear from me around the 20, you will hear from me wherever I am stationed.Sure busy getting all property boxed and crated.Received ten spot OK.Glad to see it and still have it.Bad night raining like the dickens.Had another march last night, a hike march, made about twelve miles, sure is fine dope, donít mind it much.Sure will feel fine to hear the grind of the car wheels turning under the car.Since I am going to some new place, donít send any boxes after June 10.

Son and brother, Ross

 

May 26 1918

Best of health.Am doing my share of the work around this camp.Sure am busy and will be until we leave, which will be before the 10 of June, am sure we will be on our way by that time.Sure will feel like I was here for something.Anything I like best is to be on the move.The weather sure has been hot around here.I am still working on the box you sent me, sure was a dandy.Couldnít have wanted anything better.Would have come home but no one can get a pass or furlough.Orders are we will leave here about the 8of June.That is the best guess I can make.

Son, Ross

 

May 30 1918

OK.Busy last few days.We leave this camp Sunday morning the 7th, I think.There are about 60 cars a day leaving here.I think we go to New York or a camp near there.Well, Mother, I think this will be the last letter from this camp.I will try to be reduced to private before long as I put too much of my time on this job.Glad to hear if I went over you wouldnít worry about it, but you can stake all you have that your boy will take good care of himself, so donít let anyone tell you differently.I think we will be across in a month if everything goes good.

Ross

 

(no date, between May 30 and June 1 1918)

Feeling fine.Working hard packing shoes and other supplies and keep on eating all I can get.Another bunch of fellows came in yesterday, sure are some class.Some are bright and others are wops, but they will soon be soldiers same as I.Gave my address to a little girl at Saint Paul, Indiana, coming here and you should see the letter I got from her.Can any of you mutts at home knit?If so, knit me one of those Red Cross sweaters.Only make it out of heavy wool yarn and a little bigger.Do you get me? When you write put in a few stamps, as I only have a few nickels and the place I go for stamps is a mile from here.I write about 20 letters a week.I have a fine first sergeant to work under.He is from New Hampshire.He has about five months service.He is a college man, a farmer by birth.It is a nice place here.You can see five mountains here just about five miles from where I am.Call Cy Haley and ask why he doesnít write, also George Bennigan.

Your Brother, Ross.

 


June 1 1918 7:30

Will write to you once more from this place.Have been doing work that you could not get me to do on the outside for less than $200.00 a month.Here I will do anything I can put over.We are ready to move any minute, time not set but wonít be here longer than 28 hours.Donít just know to what camp we will go, but know we soon will be on our way.Sure would like to get a nice glass of beer and hit the shade for a few hours as I sure feel like I were at the other place already.Sure will be glad to leave this camp.I met Ed Corkwell here the other day.He just came in.Didnít know him at first.Take good care of yourselves and donít worry about my outcome.I might win out.I am sending home my slippers as I donít think they will be of any use to me, besides I havenít the room to pack anymore.Well, goodbye to you all.

Your Son and brother, Ross

 

June 3 1918

Left Camp Sherman.

 

June 4 1918, on train.

I am still on my way.Am now in the mountains of Virginia and soon will be in Maryland.Have been riding since 9:00 oíclock yesterday morning.Will go through Pennsylvania to the old mountains.We went through Clarksburg, Virginia yesterday and Cumberland today.I guess I will be riding by late tonight.I think Camp Mills, N.Y. is where we will go.Canít write very well as we have an old day coach and they sure do wobble.This is sure some trip, am awake and enjoying it very much.Our train just ran over a man.I think it killed him as he was all cut up.We are at Brunswick, Maryland.

Ross.

 

June 4 1918

Washington, D. C.Sure like this part of States.Lots of new sights.

Son, Ross.

 

June 4 1918, 9:30pm

Washington, D. C. Stopping an hour at Washington.Can see the Capitol from where I am.Enjoying this trip very much.I mailed a letter from a town in Maryland, I think Vicksburg.The coach I am in ran over a man, guess he was killed as he was all cut up.I am feeling fine.Didnít sleep last night.No use when a fellow has new things to see.Sure was a fine ride through the mountains, tunnels and rocky mountain sides.I think we will cut through Pennsylvania to New York.Let my friends know I am on my way and like it very much.I am supposed to let one of the officers read my letter, but canít find one as they are all out.

I am your son, Ross.

 

June 4 1918

Went through Baltimore Maryland.Large place.Fine time.

Ross

 

June 5 1918

Arrived Camp Mills, Long Island.


June 6 1918

Camp Mills.Sure is some place.

Ross

 

June 6 1918

I am okay.Had a good sleep last night.We had to sleep two nights on the train and you know you cannot get much sleep in an old day coach.This sure is some place around here.I saw most everything that was to be seen.We crossed on the ferry from New York City to Long Island.You should see the air planes flying around here.It is nothing to see fifteen at once in the air.The sure do look fine.We are now sleeping in the old tent again.I donít know how long I will be here, sure do not care.The States I went through are as follows: Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D. C., Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.Nine States.At one place the train was in three States at one time.West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland.After this I will number my letters starting with no. 1, then I will know if any did not reach you.I will be very busy the next few days.I can get a pass for 24-hours to visit New York, but I donít think I will go as I have plenty more to see.Henry Hentzler wrote me from France.He likes it very much.He wrote he saw airplanes battle and thought nothing of it.I donít think I would either if they didnít reach me, see?They say the submarines are off the coast of Jersey??I will do a little work tonight.

Your son and brother, Ross

 

June 8 1918

Left Camp Mills.

 

June 9 1918

Enjoying this life all okay.Sure like this place.Fine sights around here.The airplanes are nice.One went so high today that it looked like a speck and they went behind the clouds.One plane carried ten persons.Sure have some camp here.All are tents except the airmen, they have barracks.My one year service in the Army passed June 2, so I am now a regular soldier.No rookie any more.

Your son and brother, Ross.

June 12 1918

Left New York. Boat Canopic, White Star Liner.[12]

June (no date) on board ship

Best of health and feeling fine.I am writing this now so I can mail it as soon as we reach port, which will be in ten hours.Today was the first time we saw land since we left the States, and believe me we were glad to see it.I did not get seasick, was surprised.We had some nice cold weather the last few days, but is now a little better.We did not have any trouble so far and am sure we wonít have.I want you all to write and do a lot of it. You can send me packages not to weigh over seven pounds.Send some cigarettes and chewing tobacco, Beechnut or Union Workman.I do chew once in a while.Whenever we get to our camp, I will write to you again.I have been in the Army now, one year and twenty one days.Seems like five years.Give George Bennigan my address and let him write.I will write to him as soon as I can.

Your son, Ross.

Address my mail as - Sgt.Ross A Buchman
322 F. A.Supply COMPANY
American Expeditionary Forces, France
Via New York

 

 

June (no date) on board ship

This will be my last letter for some time.Some officers asked we should write our folks and tell them we were sailing on a good safe ship and there was nothing to worry about, so get that and believe it regardless of what you hear.You will get a card from me when the ship arrives safe on the other side.Hoping this finds you in as good spirits as I am, and sure feel proud that I am one to go over.Enclosed find stamps which I donít need any more.

Your son and brother, Ross.

 

June 24 1918

Arrived at Liverpool England.Rest Camp Knotty Ash.

 

June (no date) Somewhere in England

Have time to spend an hour with the pen.Sure am feeling fine.Had a good nightís sleep and a fair meal this morning.You should see this place we are at.All brick or stone buildings.The fences are of stone or iron, not much wood in sight.Sure is a pretty place.The coast we came in, we could see Ireland, the part we saw was just the hills along the coast.Sure did look nice to see the land and so nice and green with grass.The cars that run here are double deck and short, also the box cars are short, would take 3 or 4 to make one of ours.Sure are a lot of women riding wheels around here.The people here are pleased to see the Yankees.They also have steam busses just like our trucks at home, but they burn coal and have a stack in front of them.The name of the towns we are in we canít let the person we write to know, also date.Would love to tell you so you could trace the route we would take, but it canít be did.Saw quite a few of the soldiers that have seen service in France.Some are wounded.The ones in hospitals wear a hospital suit, you see quite a few.Lots of pretty girls here and then not so many in one place.On the boat over, I sure got enough of English Tea and Fish.The people all are hearty and hale, a lot of children.The thing we saw was the Old John Henrys[13] and sure are a lot of them.All the streets are crushed stone or brick.Sure does look fine.All the roofs are of red tile and at a distance the towns are a fine sight to see.Tell the girls to write as much as they can and also to see that I do get their letters and I sure will write home as often as I can and let you know as much as I am allowed to write.Tell Dad I saw a tug with his name Alfred on it.This place sure has lots of ships around.I donít like the smokes here.Send Camels and Chesterfield cigarettes.Remember the address.

Son and Brother Bookie

H. W.Wales, 1st lt.U. S. N. A.
Edward F.Mac Nichol, 2nd Lt.322nd F. A. N. A. censored by.


June 27 1918

Left rest camp for Southampton.

 

June 28 1918

Arrived at Le Havre France.Night trip.

 

June 28 1918 Somewhere in France

I am okay and in the best of health.I am now in France.The places we went through were very old towns.The weather has been fine the last few days.Have had a few good marches.I like it all okay.Another thing, the food sure is different than what we received in the States.The longer I get it the better you get used to it and you forget there were pies, cakes and other foods that a person does not need.Am sure the boys will be broke most of the time buying sweets and smokes.We are getting good meals.Tonight for supper we had cheese, bacon, bread, jam, good coffee, also potatoes, so you can see our feed is okay.Have seen lots of things I would like to tell you all about, but it would be against the rules to do so.I saw some of the Germans the other day.They sure are a bum lot.I donít see how they could be anything else than what they are classed, as they donít look anything like the ones in our country.The boys with our company and the rest are all in the best of health.I donít think much of the (CENSORED) soldiers.They sure do think they are the fighters, but I think the (CENSORED) are the real backbone of this war.Also the Australians are good men.The boys donít like the English soldier much.They brag too much, also try to make the boys believe that we could not even do half as much.The men from our country that have been in service, say one American is worth two of them.

As ever your son, Ross Buchman

H. W. Wales, 1st Lt.U. S. N. A. censored by


July 3 1918

Left La Havre, arrived at Messac.All night in cattle cars, hold forty men, room for twenty.

 

July 15 1918

††††††††† Somewhere in France.Today was my lucky day.I received my first letter since leaving the States and it was a bill from The Fort Wayne News.I am well and in the best of health, have not a thing to kick about.Sure is some old town where I am at and the customs of the people here sure are odd.We are sleeping in barns or any place that affords shelter.Sure am getting reasonable meals.Can speak a few words of French and think I will learn to speak it a little better.We have had some very fine weather up until yesterday.It rains for short spells, but it doesnít make much difference.One thing that I wish you would do and that is to write as often as you can.Hoping to receive some of the letters you have already mailed.Give my best to the friends at home and have them write if they have not already done so.

I am, as ever, your loving son, Sergeant Ross A. Buchman

H. W. Wales, 1st Lt.U. S. N. A. censored by


July 22 1918

††††††††† Messac, France.I sure was surprised today.Received three letters and all from home.Think of it. They were the first letters I received since leaving New York.I am feeling fine, everything going fine.Have been receiving the best of news from The Front and hope it comes better right along.Your letters were dated June 10, 1918.One from Mother, Father, Blanche, Vera, and Evelyn.Keep up the good work and write often.Received five newspapers.Every time I get a chance to write, I will do it, but be sure not to forget to write at least once a week.I like the people over here very much.They will do anything for you.They all love the Americans and claim they are a very fine people.You need not worry about me because I will always do the very best I can and you know when I do that, nothing could make me do different.Glad Uncle Aldon[14] visited you.Sure would love to see him.You know I will come back, because there is nothing here that will keep me, see?I can speak a little of the French lingo, but can understand it much better.The first words I learned were ďLa Vin BlancĒ meaning white wine.I saw quite a bit of the Army work.France is just full of Americans.I have had fine times here, even if it is a small place.I may be hard to find on a map, so just look for Rennes, it is only a few miles from Messac, Ille Et Velane is the county or state that it is in.

††††††††† I am, as ever, your son and brother, Ross

††††††††† S. J. Howe, 1st Lt. 322nd F. A. N. A. censored by


July 24 1918

††††††††† I am enjoying the best of health.Everything fine, even the weather is grand today.The band is playing just across the road from where we are quartered.We now have our own little caps and wooden putters.As soon as I can get a picture, I will send a few.Went out for dinner and supper the other Sunday with some friends.Sure had some time.They had a few friends of theirs.His girl and her teacher could speak English, so everything was jake for us.Had the best of wines, made in 1902, and believe me it sure is fine.The people here do not drink water, everyone drinks wine or cider.I myself donít drink much of the water.The women here sure do work hard, but they have been doing it for so long they are used to it.They take their washing to the river and so do I.I will send some views of this place as soon as we are allowed to do so.I was paid the other day.Received my money for two months.I received 342 Francs.A Franc is about 17 and one-half cents in our money.It is most all paper and looks like coupons or magazine covers.Sure was hard to get next to it.Starting with August 1st, I will allot to you $10.00 a month.You will receive it a month or two later.We are receiving the best of meals over here, just as good as we received at Camp Sherman, only we donít have pie or such other sweet things.The people here are very good to us.They act as if there was no war.They do not like the English very much, but sure do love the Americans.I saw quite a few Germans. They are working all through France.Some were captured when the war started, and like others are at home here.I donít believe you could drive them back to their country from the looks of them.Send a postal card or some other good views of Fort Wayne to this address, on card enclosed (this card was not allowed to be sent).Monsieur Charles Vallet, Messac, Ille Et. Vilaine, France.He is a good friend of mine.Now donít forget to write to him.He knows me as Alfred.If you want to send any packages, they must be requested by me.I must have an order from the captain of our company stating the package can be sent, otherwise it would be returned by the postmaster at New York, so donít send anything unless I ask for it.I am taking a paper here called The Stars and Stripes and will send it home when I get it.Give my love to all and be sure and write often.

††††††††† I am, as always, your loving son, Ross.S. J. Howe, censored by

 

August 1 1918

I am in the best of health and feeling fine.Sure am enjoying myself the best I can.Nothing new has happened around this place.Donít know how long we will stay here and do not care.So far I havenít heard from you except the letters mailed to me at Camp Mills.Right now the morale of the Allies is fine.I suppose you get most of the news as soon as we get it.All the boys are fine around this place.Try and write as much as you can because we sure do love to get mail.We are in the middle of plenty.Everything is coming fine.Things look bad for the Boche[15].Tell mother she need not worry about me.

 

With a kiss for you all, I am your son and brother, Ross.

S. J.Howe, 1st Lt., censored by.

 

 

August 10 1918

 

Feeling fine, am in the best of health.Nothing worrying me at all.Received a letter from Emma H. today.The first letter I have received in answer to the card I sent.Glad to receive it.I received over 50 newspapers, both The Fort Wayne News and Journals, all at one time.The last one was dated July 6 1918.I havenít received any mail from home since the letters mailed to Camp Mills.Today is Sunday and the weather is fine.I was fishing yesterday but I did not get any.The name of the river is the Valaine River, about as big as the Saint Maryís at home.Well all the news received from The Front sure is fine and I know it will be better right along.I heard the people in the States sure did have a great time when they heard the first good news.The other day we had blackberry pie for dinner and will have some today.The boys go out and pick them, the berries. The people here do not pick, the reason is they cannot get enough sugar to can them.

I am with love and kisses, your son, Ross Buchman.

 


August 12 1918

HOTEL DE LA GARE

Mme H. Gaillard

MESSAC (Ille et Vilaine)

 

Today is Monday and everything is just grand.The weather sure is fine, hotter than hell.Sure is the hottest it has been for some time.You can tell the girls not to worry as I donít think there is a chance for me to bring back a French girl, see.We are quartered in the rear of the Hotel De La Gare, just a small place.Everything here is Hotels and Cafes or Cider Houses.So far I havenít heard from you.Sure do want to hear from you all, and often too.Lot of boys are over here but it is luck if you run across any of them.Everyone is working and drilling hard.Give my best to June and Billy[16].

 

I am as ever your son and brother, R. A. B.

S. J. Howe, 1st Lt. censored by.

 

August 14 1918

 

Today I received a few pictures I had taken, so am sending you a few.They are not so very good, but they will pass.Everything is about the same.Am in the best of health and feeling fine.Hope you all can beat that.We will leave this place tomorrow.We go to our camp for training.It is about 28 miles from here.It is a regular camp.So far I have received no mail.Am looking for it as most every one here does.Something is wrong someplace.Hoping I receive some of the letters you have mailed me.

 

I am as ever your son and brother, R. A. B.J. E. Hayes, 1st Lt. censored by.

 

August 15 1918

Arrived at Camp Coetquidan France.Marched twenty-two miles.


August 17 1918

 

Somewhere in France.Camp Coetquidan.Sure was glad to hear from you.Received a letter from Mother, Father, dated July 23 1918, a letter from Lillian dated about the 21st.I am still in the best of health.We are now in a large camp.We did about 22 miles on foot the other day, sure was covered with dust when we arrived.Also a little tired, but we were up and at it early.I sent a few pictures in my last letter, also a few in this one.Save them for me as I sure do want to keep them.One is Mr. Vallet and family.We have now left their place.They were sorry to see us go.Real nice people.The other is his girl and her friend, Miss Murphy from Ireland, not England.Tell Lillian France sure does get her name of sunny France honest.Sometimes it is very hot.We had little rain and no mud at all.It might be worse near The Front, caused by the firing.Sorry I did not remember Evelynís birthday.I read in todayís paper about the gas they let loose in the States.The more stunts they pull like that, the more they show the signs of being licked.Where we are now, we can buy most anything we want.We sure have a large camp here.We are now sleeping on cots.Received a letter from Bob Digman.

 

As ever your son and brother, Ross.J. E. Hayes, censored by

 

 

August 23 1918

 

Received two letters from home dated July 29 1918.Sure was pleased to hear from you.It has been a few weeks since I received your last letter.Received pictures Blanche sent.Everything the same around this camp.Am still in the best of health and always expect to be.Received a letter from Emma H. today.Just keep on writing even if you do not hear from me.I was watching some of the large guns firing here today at practice.It sure is great to watch the big shells go and I hear the boys sure can handle the guns.Tell Dad to have a nice big keg of suds for me when I come home.

 

Your son and brother, Ross Buchman,†† S. J. Howe, 1st Lt. censored by.

 

August 25 1918

 

Will write to you to let you know I have not forgotten Dear Old Dad.I should think you would be singing every morning now as every day the news is good and will still be better.Just wait until they let all of the boys loose and then see or hear what comes off.I am in the best of health and everything, nothing I could want right now.We can get most anything, Cigars, candy and lots of other smokes and eats.We buy eggs and jam.Eggs cost us four in French money.Starting with August, I am sending $10.00 a month home.

 

I am as ever your loving son, Ross Alfred.S. J. Howe, 1st Lt. censored by.

 

August 30 1918

 

Received letters from Vera, Dad, Evelyn at Milwaukee, George Bennigan at.Detroit.I am in the best of health and feeling fine.Never was any better than I am now.Everything is going fine.Have not a thing to kick about, so you see I am OK.The weather is fine in the daytime, at night rather cool.Sure would love to sleep in the morning.Saturday up it must be.We are now fitted with helmets, gas masks, that is the most useful article we have.When a man learns to wear one all day, then he is OK and not much chance of being gassed.I read in the paper here of George Lauerís death[17].Sure is hard luck to be killed and not get it really fighting.Donít you think so?Am glad Dad is making good.He can lay up a nice pile for me so when I get back, I wonít have to take in washings.Wonít that be nice?Donít know when and how this war will end and am not worrying about it.When it is over then I will think about quite a few things, if I can think.They sure are giving the Germans hell and will for some time to come.Before long they will cry for peace.Give my love to all.

 

I am always, Son, Ross.J. E. Hayes 1st Lt. censored by.


September 4 1918

 

I am still in the best of health and enjoying the best that can be had.We are having the best of weather and think we will have until the rainy season starts in, that will be about Christmas.Donít know just where we are bound for from here and am sure I would not tell you if I did know, because I could not.I weighed myself the other day and tilled the scales at 152.I gained about 10 pounds since coming over, so you see there is nothing wrong with the food or weather.Give my best to all and tell them we will be back soon.By the time or before you receive this letter you will be reading good news.We get plenty of smoking, chewing and candy, so donít send any.Tell Blanche I will chew when I return and she can make me a present of the Ďtoon[18].

 

 

September 9 1918

 

I am still here and in the best of health.Sure had some rain yesterday and today.Sure does rain when it does.I am eating fine and having plenty of sleep now.Had pistol practice some time ago, can shoot very good with one, better than I thought I would.We are receiving our mail quite often now.Would like to send a little present from here, but will wait until we start back and then I will bring all I can.

 

Your son and brother, Sgt, R. A. B.S. J. Howe, 1st Lt. censored by.

 


September 13 1918

 

Received Blancheís letter August 18th, also Motherís, Dadís, Lillianís and two others.I do not get much time to write of late, very busy, like we always are when ready to move.Donít worry about me and the wine, it is hard to get, that is good wine.No it wasnít this Buchman that went down with the ship.She wrote to me about it, said she was glad it wasnít me.Tell Lillian I have seen and been with a few French maidens.Give me real girls.Lillian asked me to describe houses of the French.The poor or common people like me or you live in a building called a barn or stable.Cow on one side, chickens or pigs on the other and the people live in the center.The rich own a very large farm or chateau as they call it here, and they sure are someplace.The French here live just like anyone else.The main part of life is eats as you know.They never keep meat on ice.In fact, I donít believe they use ice at all.Anything they kill must stand a week before they think it is good to eat.We are now wearing our woolen underwear and we sure do need it at times.It has just started what we call the rainy season of six weeks.I hope it is not so hot in Fort Wayne.

 

Your brother, Ross. S. J. Howe, 1st Lt. censored by.

 

 

September 11 1918

 

Received your letter dated Oct. 16 (sic), also Dadís two letters.I am still in the best of health and enjoying life.Have not been sick since landing over here.I have not run across any Fort Wayne lads so far, but I think I will before long.I suppose by the time you receive this letter, I will be someplace else.Keep right on smiling.I will always be the same.

 

Your loving son Ross.S. J. Howe, 1st Lt. censored by.

 

 

 

September 15 1918

 

German prisoners say when Metz is captured, war will end soon.Trip from Coetquidan will take five days riding in boxcars.Not very crowded, plenty of room.

 

 

September 15 1918

 

I sure am feeling fine today, am in the best of health as usual.I did have a little cold the other week, but soon got rid of that.I sure had a good feed today.Bought some eggs and butter and got some good meal.Will try and send you some postcard views as the censor said we could now send them.I have not heard from Butch Leutwyler, Wherle, nor Hentzler since coming here.

 

I am as ever your son, Ross.Sgt. Ross Buchman, censored by

 

 

September 18 1918

Left Camp Coetquidan for front.Metz.Verdun.From Guer loaded, 6:30 p.m.Very bad cold for two weeks, sure was feeling low.

Huston, 1 rod barracks.Campbell returned: 1 rifle, 1 scabbard knife, 1 bayonet and scaffold, 100 30 caliber cartridges, 1 breech cover, 1 thong case, 1 cartridge belt 30.Loaned until Burnett returns.


September 18 1918

 

Somewhere in France.I am in good health as always.Received a letter from H. Hentzler.He says he is in the best of health, also that three other lads from Fort Wayne are with him.I just wonder who they are.He said he was near me but cannot tell me just where, so you see a fellow might be a few miles from each other and never would know it.The weather is fine today, although a little cloudy.I donít pay much attention to the peace talk started.I canít believe they should ask for peace when they donít quite deserve it.We should worry.Lillian asked me what my work was.It is just the same as ever, supply sergeant, although I may have anything to do at The Front.Tell her my work is anything I am told to do.

 

Your loving Son and Brother, Ross.S. J. Howe, 1st Lt. censored by.

 

 

September 21 1918

Souilly.Arrived on front within six miles of firing line.Unloaded at 9:30.Slept in woods overnight and next day.

 

September 22 1918

Sunday.Left woods at night for our positions at front. Everything is run by the American Army in this sector; even railroads are operated by U.S. men.Rained all day and sure was cool.The place where we are has been shelled several times.


September 23 1918

In same town, two shells hit in this town.Brabant.

 

September 24 1918

Gas was in this town last night at 4:00 this morning.Part of our regiment reached their new camp, the rest returned.Two horses were killed.Five men from another outfit.

 

September 25 1918

Left Brabant for our base.Arrived in large field. Just as we were leaving Brabant, the town was shelled.All night in field.Big drive started at 11:00 a.m.Sure some noise.Shells bursting all around us.Big guns open up just to our right and rear.Four miles out of Brabant, two horses dropped.One horse died of lung fever.One horse killed by vets.

 

September 26 1918

Just had our dinner.No breakfast.Still in same place.Our artillery is going there the first time.


September 27 1918

Yesterday the drive was going fine. Saw over three hundred Germans coming in on the road passing us alone.Quite a few were carrying their own machine guns.Old men and young ones all glad to be captured. We are right in the center of the three-inch guns.Also six-inch shells are bursting all around us.One Frenchman was killed here, tore all to pieces. We are too far ahead.Going back about a mile.We are in hilly country.The roads are packed with men, horses, and guns going and coming.We are on the edge of a woods, a bad place for a supply company.So far none of our men have been hit, although some horses have been killed.Yesterday two French balloons were shot down by German airplanes.Sure went down fast.Two men jumped in parachute, OK.One German airplane was shot down. Saw over three hundred shots fired at six airplanes.Sure is a fine sight to see.Germans are glad to be taken prisoners.


September 28 1918

No shells fired at us today.Quiet tonight.Twenty airplanes tried to make our lines, but were not successful.Heard that the infantry advanced ten miles.Nothing but big guns can reach us.The place we are in, a little woods, or what was a woods, about four acres, has a shell hole every five feet.Saw quite a few tanks today.Big naval guns mounted on trucks.Looking through a large glass you could see the fighting hand to hand.Americans chasing the Germans with bayonets from trench to trench.Some more prisoners went past our position.Paper says 5,000 were captured.Rained all night and part of today.No shells were fired at us today.Suppose the German artillery is on the move.Captured twelve large guns.Three horses turned in to remount by vets, credit later.

 

September 29 1918.Sunday.

Not much doing today. Was over the hill and took a look at German trenches. Could see dead doughboys - also Germans buried. The Germans sure had some trenches. Dugouts, electric lights. Had positions for over three years. Lots of material captured. Could go five hundred feet in some of the German dugouts. Piles of corned beef made in Berlin in 1914 in them. Everything fit up fine. Lights and water in them even beds and pictures on the wall. Have not saw a paper since leaving Camp Coetquidan nor any mail. Canít write now, as we canít get it out very well. Sergeant Enwright has saddle. Sergeant James, pocket. Dropped horse equipments. Sergeant Enwright has saddle pockets, saddle blanket.

 

September 30 1918

Airplane battles today. Saw two Germans shot down and one French landed. Suppose there were more. Move soon for new positions. Batteries to go into action. Three horses turned in to remount by vet. Total of four horses. Ninety-two in supply company.

 

(no date)

 

Somewhere on The Front.Just heard our mail would go through, so will write you.I am sitting in my tent, writing this on the lid of my mess kit.I am in the best of health and feeling good.I am seeing quite a bit of this part of the battle.(X)The other day shells were close to us; sure have a fine sound when going over your head (X).I saw the prisoners coming in, sure was a bunch of them, all kinds, mostly young and old men, some carrying the machine guns they were captured with.Lot of German dope around our place now.Guns, pistols and other junk.I was in the dugouts the Germans had for over three years.They sure had a fine home to leave, electric lights, beds and running water.I guess they were officers quarters (X).They had piles of corn beef stored away in them, made in Berlin in 1914.Our big guns are roaring all around us.Saw quite a few airplane battles, also saw two balloons shot down, sure are some fine sights to see (X).We were in several towns that have been shot up.Have not seen a newspaper for over two weeks so you know more about the war than we do right now.This is the first letter I have written since leaving Camp Coetquidan.We are having the best of eats, so there is nothing we really need.Had several showers the last few nights, but am under cover most of the time (X).The mud is quite bad, but I have a pair of rubber boots now.I saw a Frenchman who was shot; sure was torn up some (X).German prisoners say when Metz falls, the war will soon end.

 

Son and brother Ross.Albert Fishborn, 1st Lt. censored by.

   


October 2 1918

 

Somewhere along The Front.I am still in the best of health and feeling fine.The weather around this part of the country is punk, rain most any time.We are still in the same place.You should see some of the troops around here, just packed with them.One Coon got lost from his regiment.He told the other boys that he ďdone lost ten thousand other shines.ĒOne Nigger was just looking around the German dugouts when he run into a German captain.He brought him in.There was a few of them hiding around the dugouts.Sure was some place.Sure was glad to hear about the prisoners the Allies have taken, also about the Belgians signing peace.The part of France we are in sure is shot up.Canít see a farm house for miles when we go on some of the hills around here.We can see a few towns.We are now in what I would call a wilderness.All the German belts have ďGott Mitt UnsĒ on them.Sure would send some junk home, but I have all I can do to look out for my own equipment.There is not much doing where we are today.Can see the airplanes fighting and hear their machine guns firing.It is very hard to write often.If you donít hear from me for sometime, donít worry.

 

I am as ever your son, Ross.Censored by Albert Fishburn, 1st Lt.

 

 

October 3 1918.

Orders to leave our place at 5:30.Call off orders came at 9:30 at night.Sure was a joke.

 

October 4 1918

Arrive at new camp this morning.Camp Gallieni.French.1 horse turned in by vets. 91 horses.Samogneux.


October 5 1918

Big shells are falling around us. We are being showered by pieces of the shells. One fellow got a small piece in his knee. Must be a 12 or 14-inch shell. 12 kilometers to The Front, 10 kilometers to Verdun. Orders to leave for a safe place. Shells still fall. Some of the horses were hit with small pieces. 1:30 pm. Camp Gallieni, near Verdun, near the place we unloaded at Souilly. 2:30 another shell just bursted. Saddle hanging about five hundred feet from where we have a kitchen was tore by a shell.

 

October 9 1918

In dugouts for the last three days.Have a fire, and a piece of galvanized tin to sleep on.Lot of big rats with us.Airplanes raided the roads around here last night. ††Not much damage done.Road was packed about four oíclock.Suppose they thought that it was still jammed up.About twenty-five bombs were dropped.About eight planes.Have not done much since we went into position.Me OK.Heard the Austrians and Turkey quit today.We are near a town named Germonville.


October 11 1918

On guard at picket line. One horse strayed away.Orders to stay and find horse before returning to company.Two other men with me.Company left for Charny near Verdun.Shells sure are all around us.Also our guns are everywhere.Every little bush or clump of trees are full of guns.Last evening I saw over two hundred forty American airplanes going over the German lines.Just looked like one large flock of geese or duck.Found horse we lost about three hours after company left.Loaded him with our packs and made him carry a good load.Can see the city of Verdun.Also the shells falling in the town, or hit in the river.The water was thrown fifty feet high.Saw an airplane shot down today by artillery guns.Took over fifty shots to get him.French are setting up some very large guns in the field and glen.I suppose we will draw heavy fire tonight.

 

October 12 1918

Received letters from home. Blanche, Dad, Emma H. Was in Thierville when two shells hit no more than one hundred feet away. Pieces flew all around us. One shell hit the corner of a building at the ground. It threw stone a foot square all around.

 


October 12 1918

 

Received two letters from you today, the first mail I have received since leaving camp for The Front.Have been in the best of health and feeling fine.Sure have seen enough to make me believe there is a war going on.We have been camping almost anyplace dugouts, woods, old buildings that were shot up.It sure is a shame the way the Germans are shooting up the towns.One place where we are at.There is part of a town.They have been shelling it the last three days.I was there this morning when two shells hit just about one hundred feet from us, sure does make one take notice.The weather has been quite good the last week, not so much rain.We are having the best of food.Saw a German airplane that was shot down, also the German.On my way to The Front I passed the town where Mr. Vallet lives.He met us at the train with two bottles of wine.They said they had received letters from you.He sure was pleased to get them.I would like to be there now, as I sure would be at home.You wonít hear from me so often as it is hard to write, also to send mail out.

 

Your son and brother Ross.Albert Fishburn, 1st Lt. censored by

 

 

October 13 1918

Received about thirty newspapers dated from July 8 to August 8 1918. News Sentential. Also four letters, one from Mother, Bob D. Heneretta Dodane, 3421 South Lafayette Street. Do not know who she is. Will write soon. Just about dark. Received two letters from Mother.

 


October 13 1918

 

Received three letters, 30 newspapers, the Fort Wayne News and the Journal.One letter from Henrietta Dodane, Lafayette Street.I am still in the best of health and feeling fine.It has been raining for the last two days, just a cold damp rain.I used the newspapers for bedding.I am writing this in my pup tent.Shells were falling a little ways from us last night and all day yesterday.They were trying to get our guns that were firing on the Fritzes.Havenít taken time to figure what peace would mean to me and others, although there is a lot of talk about it.I used to like camping very much, but the camping we have now is different.We move every once in a while, have been on The Front at several different places and might change any minute.Mother you neednít worry about the mail you send to me.It takes time to get it where we are at and it is hard to tell how many times we have moved.

 

Answers to Blancheís questions.The band you see on the manís arm in the picture is what we call a brassard.The police wear them, also regimental guards wear the red, the military police wear blue or different color.The spot on his cap is a pin like the chevron we wear on our sleeve.The roses are real ones.The chains you saw are for the whistles we have.The girls in the picture are just girls.We nor they never saw each other before.No brothers nor sisters, see?Thank goodness I have that out of my system.Wait until I get home and I will answer all your questions.Get a book and everything you want to know, write it down and save it, see?

 

Your loving son and brother, R. A. B.Sgt. R. A. Buchman, censored by.

 


October 14 1918

Received four more letters this morning. Mother 2, Dad 1, Evelyn 1. Letters from Evelyn, September 17th, Emma, Theresa, Bertha Lewis, Dad, September 16 1918. 2:15 shells are falling in Verdun and a village, Thierville. Also French battery positions. Mayon. Samogneux, was there several times when our batteries were firing. Two men killed and eight wounded. Bellenm from ordinance detachment with our company (was killed). One shell, sixteen horses. Men moved back half a mile. Colonel had them with headquarters. He said at one time he would not go back unless some were killed. 2 horses killed. 1 escort wagon. 2 S. S. wheel (illegible word) lost by shell fire.

 

October 14 1918

 

Received about 20 letters in the last 24 hours.I am still in the best of health and feeling fine.The news is sure fine today.We heard the firing would cease at 3:30 this afternoon and if not, there sure will be something doing on The Front where we are at.Peace must be very near or the Germans will know who will make them beg for mercy.It is fine weather for ducks today, and the Germans must go back.Something new, no B. S.Well I have seen enough around here since coming to this Front.I donít care how much more the other fellows have seen or done, I donít care to see more unless it must be so.I would go just as far as the next man or farther, if it must be.I have everything I need just now.I have chocolate bonbons, cigars, cigarettes, plenty for a month or two.The first I had a chance to get so much.About my Liberty Bond, write to Quarter Master General, Washington, D. C.Stop the paper and do not pay for it in advance as we are doing enough of advancing right at present.

 

Your Son, R. A. B.Albert Fishburn, 1st Lt. censored by


October 15 1918

Twenty more newspapers dated September 10, 14 and 15th. We hear that peace is near. The report is that we quit firing at 2:30 this afternoon and if the Germans keep up fire for half an hour, we will start in again. B. S. Was watching artillery duel this morning. Shell fell about one thousand feet from battery. Sure was a bunch of shells fired last night. The Germans sent over gas and many shells. Some were damn close to us. Also this morning had all the candy and cigars I wanted. Two boxes of cigars, three pounds of candy, and twenty packages of cigarettes. Sure is hell around the batteries. Sure does make the boys feel bad, that was about the five men killed so far.

 

October 16 1918

Rain all day today.Sure has been cold and very muddy.Five more men killed this afternoon, one a lieutenant.Horses sure are going fast, ten almost every night.Have a dugout to hang out in after night.We can have a light in it.Do not care to sleep in it, too damp.Sit in here and smoke and pass the time away as it is dark at 6:00 in the evening.Peace talk was all bunk.Sure had us going just the same.Could see the boat home.

 

October 20 1918

Throwing hand grenades today.Also rifle grenades.Sure was fun to try to catch some fish in the river.Only got one, about 4 inches long.The rifle grenades are fine to shoot.


 

October 20 1918

 

Everything fine but the weather and it sure is bum.Talk about mud.Received a letter from Lillian.She wrote, ďEnclosed find a letter written by a French girl,Ē but none appeared.I am well and in the best of health.I am as ever,

 

Your son, Ross

 

 

October 21 1918

 

The weather has been one grand bum.Bunch of rain and cold.Mud sure is a fright.Rain most every day, but we are getting along fine.I am still in the best of health and feeling good.Took a bath in the river the other day, sure was some cold, but it did the work alright.We have been in this place over a week, and know it is much better than we will find when we advance a little father up the line.The place where we are along this line is one of the toughest there is and it sure will take a little time to drive the Huns out, but they are doing it.Son Ross

 

Sgt. R. A. Buchman, censored by A. J. Mealand 1st. Lt.

 


October 23 1918

Sun shining today. Big guns are firing like hell. Wrote to Father and Mother. Three or four more men killed.It makes about fifteen. Infantry was in trenches for forty days. Near the town of Charny, I heard a shell explode and saw an American soldier hit. Almost tore his head off.Threw him in a food car and had him at the hospital nearby a few minutes after being hit. Car was covered with blood on one side. Head and arms were hanging out of car.I was on a horse at the time. About fifteen shells were fired. No place for me. Mail sergeant talked with tears in his eyes. Try to get a few envelopes from a Y. M. C. A. man. Everyone around here is sore at them. They are having a fine time. If a man could get back at some town, he could buy all he wanted. German soldier with both legs shot off cuts an American soldier who went to help him - either to die or to save him, I do not know.


October 24 1918

 

Enclosed my Christmas Package Coupon.Send either very heavy socks, or some good candies.Today is just one grand day.The sun is shining and the weather is nice and warm, but the mud is still bad, but it will soon dry up.I am sure feeling fine and in good health.The big guns are roaring like one grand thunderstorm without a quiet moment, and they sure are sending shells over to the Huns.Some of the big ones are close to us.I suppose the Infantry has gone over or are over by this time.You have the right idea by getting all you can of supplies for winter, who knows, maybe I will help you finish up on them.

 

Now listen, if you need any of the cash I have in the bank, go to it as you certainly are welcome to anything I have that you can use.Donít think too much of the future.I never did very much myself, but perhaps will someday.Look the papers over carefully and put them away for me, so when I come home I can read over just what I was doing at the time I wrote to you.It sure does look like home to see real American engines going around this part of France, and the sizes of them.One thing that puts me closer to home is the American engines and the maple trees over here. The leaves are falling from the trees now, just like the maples in front of our house.You know the ground was always covered with the leaves, so you see it looks real to me.

 

We have lost some men from our regiment and company so far.I hope it wonít be many more, mostly by shell fire.There is not much sickness, only one death that I know of.This is the only paper I could get my hands on and the last envelope I have.Everyone is out of them.The Y. M. C. A. doesnít seem to see us anymore.I donít know where they are, but do see a truck of theirs pass by once in awhile.We have asked them for paper, but they canít hear us.I think the K of Cís (Knights of Columbus) does more for the boys than the Y.At least I know of one day the men passed out paper, cigarettes, where there was no Y nor canteen.Most of the boys are sore because they cannot get writing paper or envelopes.

 

Received letter from Dad.Sure was glad to hear from dear old Dad again.I received a few letters from some girls I never knew.Have not answered them as yet, because I havenít the paper.Say Dad, you know how hard you worked digging out the cellar, well if you had Fritz to put a shell there, you would have worked twice as hard to fill in.

 

Your loving Son, Ross, censored by A. J. Mealand, 1st Lt.

 

 

October 25 1918

Sixty-four horses in supply company.

 

October 27 1918

 

Received letter from Blanche and Dad.It has started to rain today.I suppose we will have bum weather again.Enclosed find my Christmas Package Coupon.It is an extra one.Send it a little later than the other one.Make it three pounds of chocolate candy, get me?The place where we are now has all other battle fronts in the shade.This is one of the most blood letting fronts there is and the shells coming our way sure are bad.You never can tell just when one will hit.I sure do see and hear a lot about it.I saw a man killed just the other day from shells.We never think of any harm from them, until just happen to be close enough to see the pieces fall.

 

I am as ever, your son Ross censored by A. J. Mealand, 1st Lt.

 


October 29 1918

Left front for rest.Arrived at Camp Gallieni.Attached to 29th Division.

 

November 3 1918,Sunday.

Attached to 32nd Division since October 29.Have arrived near Cheppy near Mort. Slept on a stone road last night.Just near road saw two dead Germans all shot to hell.Were caught under a falling tree.Still had on helmets. Had been dead two weeks.We are in billets that the Germans had. Sure are shot to pieces.Lots of German guns and shells around.Many fields were planted with red beets.Saw German graveyard.Also Americanís.Many dead buried there.Most of the men are buried just where they fall.You can see graves at most any spot.All German graves have the iron cross burned on the marker.Am sleeping in a little hole in the ground, a fox hole.Some American artillery is firing.The shells pass over the place where I am.

 

November 4 1918, Monday.

We are in the center of many guns, large and small, firing all night.Not many coming our way.


November 7 1918

Have been on the march for about five days.Have had bad weather.I am in the best of health and feeling good.The mud sure is a fright around this place.It has rained quite often.We are now in a place where the Germans have been.Sure had some places.They had wheat and beets planted.They left this place in a hurry.I saw quite a few Germans, dead, laying around just where they had fallen. They bury their dead most any place.I saw quite a few graveyards where they had buried their dead from 1914-15-16-17.Sure was a large place.They say the Germans are leaving this place fast, and in Paris they are betting the war will be over on the 15 of December.In fact, they are betting every way; but still the shells go over and come.There is quite a few peace reports out but the only peace I will believe is when they unload us at an American port.Paper is very short around our section, so when you write put in a sheet of paper and envelope.If anyone asks why I do not write, tell them we have no paper.Have not seen any for over a month.Donít believe the Y. M. C. A. can spare any, they need it for some other place?!?I am, as ever, your son and brother, Ross

 

Sgt R. A. Buchman, censored by, 1st Lt.A. J. Mealand

 


November 8 1918

Have not heard any guns firing near us, nor any shells coming our way. Canít even hear the guns fire. Some of our men went to The Front ahead of the infantry to locate positions for artillery, but were driven back by machine gun fire. Two were wounded. Lot of German dead just over the hill from us. Also a lot of American dead. Some with heads blown off and holes clear through them. Could get a bunch of souvenirs, but donít like the smell of dead men. One place, you can find shoes with feet in them, also hands and arms lay around. A salvage company is burying the dead. We are O.K. I am sleeping in a German constructed building of corrugated iron. Looks like a piece of Swiss cheese, all shot full of holes. It has rained every day and the mud is a foot deep in places. Sometimes you get stuck.I am sleeping on the floor with my head in a box. ††Just received about thirty newspapers and have them under me for bedding. Received letter from home (dated) October 8 1918.

 

November 10 1918

Bombed by airplanes, sure was an awful night.They dropped all around us. Mobile ordinance men ran like hell. We are now moving forward. Passed through Dun and are now to the right along the river Meuse. Am in a fine room with fire burning. Germans had this place for over four years. The room we are in was for officers.

 


November 11 1918

Shell fire left side of road. Burns, Williams 3636425.James J. Nicholas 3991226.Right side.Giuseppi Guriullo 1910107.Buried Liny, 2 kilometers along road.

 

November 12 1918

Buried three Americans today.We are moving from Liny to another camp.Our batteries were so close to the Germans they had to set shells at zero to hit.They had to move back.Would hitch horse to the guns drive back a kilo and fire a bout of shots then be at it again.Received letters from Blanche, Emma 3, Guni, Theresa, George Bennigan.

 

(no date)

Battery A is with the infantry as a sacrifice battery. The infantry fell back so they are ahead of them. At 300 yards, they hit three tanks. One building had a bunch of Germans in it. So they took a shot at it, just missed. The second hit and blew it to hell, also many Germans.

 

November 15 1918.

Have bad cold. Can hardly speak. Everyone has.


 

November 15 1918

 

Sure am feeling fine.The weather is colder, the ground has frozen at night, but am making the best of it as it wonít be many more months until we will be home.I bet they sure had some times in the States.I saw quite a few prisoners the Germans have released.They sure were a fine looking bunch of happy lads.I suppose as soon as peace is signed, we will come home.We are attached to the 32nd Division, have been with them two different times.We have been attached to several Divisions.We have had only two men wounded, sure have been lucky.We are now in a town not shot up very much, so we will have a good place to sleep for a few days.A newspaper you spoke of was from me, who could have done it but me?I thought you would think someone else did it.(censored).I hope we will be with the first bunch to leave for the States and guess we will as soon as peace is declared, which wonít be long.The envelope I am using was left by the Germans.It is all I could get.

 

I am, as ever, your son, Ross.Censored by, 1st Lt. A. J. Mealand

 

November 18 1918

We are now in an old castle. Sure is some place. Only one way into its courtyard. Germans left last place the day before we arrived at 3:30. We hit town at 4:30 the next day. Lots of German junk left in the place. Quite a few people are moving back to their homes. Honor to their liberators. Passed through these towns on the way to the German front:

Brabant en Argonne, Hesse Woods, Charny, Camp Gallieni, Madeleine Farm, Liny, Haraumont, Ecurey, Vittarville, Merles, Mangiennes, Pillon, Sorbey, O.U., Constantine, Arrancy, Beuveille, Cons-La-Grandville.


November 19 1918

 

We have been on the march ever since we quit the fight.The Germans just left the town we are in.The weather has been very cold.The ground was frozen a few nights ago.We are now in a large building which the Germans used for a hospital, lots of good beds, also ďcooties,Ē maybe?So far I am not aware of having them.The place where this town is located sure is beautiful.It is in a valley.Lot of the people who lived here are returning.You can see them coming along the roads to their homes, or what used to be home to them.They say here that the German soldiers are shooting their officers, and the officers are dressing the same as a private to escape death.I donít know just when we will leave this place, nor where we will go, but will keep close to the Germans.You should see the equipment they are leaving behind.Helmets are laying all along the roads and through the fields, also gas masks.

 

I am, as ever, your son and brother, Ross.Censored by, 1st Lt. A. J. Mealand

 

 


November 20 1918

 

Well we have now hit a town where you can spend your cash.The Germans left this place yesterday.Most of the people speak German.You see we are not in France, now in Luxembourg and still going.We sure have done some marching in the last week.Sure have seen some of France.In this place you can buy candies, apples, beer and other drinks.I am smoking cigars made in Germany.We are now sleeping in a school house.The people are glad to see the Americans.You should see them when they see a piece of white bread.They think it is cake.I guess there is not much meat or food here, although the people sure do look fine.It seems like home to get away from the ruins of France and see real people and buildings.The country around here is one hill after another.Most of the towns are on the hillside of valleys.We are now spending German money, Marks.I would send you some but I can use what I have.I am glad we are taking this trip as it sure is wonderful.I donít know just what Division we will come home with, but I hope it is in the million to come home.As soon as the Germans have a good solid government and sign the peace treaty, which I think wonít be very long.I guess we will be doing guard duty in Germany before long, at least while the food question is as bad.Tell my friends I canít write very often as it sure is some hike.

 

November 27 1918

We sure have been on the march the last few weeks.Yesterday I was watching the German troops marching back through their own country.I was only across the river from Germany, so you see we are right on their heels.I was in the town of Echternach in the country of Luxembourg.Talk about pretty scenes, they have them here.The towns are so much cleaner than the ones in France.I am now with the 32nd Division, have been for some time.The Germans left us all kinds of kraut and cheese.We get it from the Q. M.They also left a few thousand bales of hay and a lot of other things.I am now in a home and we are trying to eat dinner with them.I guess they will let us.I am out on a job now piloting trucks back to the company with rations.It sure is some job.

 

 

November 27 1918

Am at Reuland in a private home.Have been for three days.We have best of meals.Tonight we will have chicken.Had eggs for dinner.Cost a Mark, (or about) 25 cents a piece.Donít cost us a cent as we exchange food for it.Bacon, sugar, corn beef, and bread.Chicken supper at this manís home is where we had great times.Must send a card to each name every Thanksgiving Day.Amen.

Edw. W. Bobyean, 726 Segis Ave, Toledo Ohio. (married)
John L. Barnes, 1050 Neil Avenue, 8 East Broad, Columbus, Ohio.
Andrew Milles, 3478 Independence Road, S. E. Cleveland, Ohio.
G. Virgil Hutchison, Claysville, PA.
C. R. Walker, 302 Warrington Ave, Pittsburgh, PA.

J. P. Demuth Sims Reuland Larochette Canton Mersch Luxembourg

(Note: Rossís diary indicates he wrote to all of them in 1919, 1920, 1921.)

 


November 28 1918

 

Reuland, Luxembourg.Today we give thanks.I am thankful for my good health, also for having a good skin without any holes in it.I had a very good time of it.Six of us boys are staying with a Luxembourg family.A few of the boys speak the German lingo, so it accounts for it.We have had pancakes, homemade butter, helped make it myself, jams, fried ham, eggs and a lot of other good things to eat.The best part of it is we sit down to a table with a white covering and eat off of dishes with real forks and knives.We also sleep in the house, talk about style.We were here just about a week ago.I was put on a new job to act as a guide for trucks hauling our ration from the railroad to our regiment, so that is the reason I am at this town.The company is at Mauternach.I have been at Echternach also.It is just across the river from Germany.I saw the German troops moving back to their own country singing like everything.I sure have seen some wonderful sights over here.This little country has it all over France a hundred ways.The people also.They are very clean and keep their town nice and clean.Fruit trees are planted along the roads instead of other trees.Miles and miles of apple trees are planted that way.The roads sure were a fine thing, just like pavement.Quite a few people speak English.We are now assigned to the 32nd Division.They had the arrow as their sign.I suppose I will have one on my coat sleeve soon.

 

I am, with love, your son, Ross. 2nd Lt. C. C. Jordan, censored by.

Sgt. R. A. Buchman

Supply Company

322nd F.A.A.E.F.

A. P. O.734.

 

December 1 1918.

Am still boarding with my friend.I am the only one in the room with them tonight.Canít speak much German so you can imagine me.But still I am there.Came on the 25th of November.


 

December 7 1918

 

I am still in good health and feeling fine.The weather has been bum of late, rain and cold.I sleep most any place.This country is sure one mass of hills, all you do is go up and down and you seem to get there just the same.I do not know just how long it will be until we leave for home, but hope it is soon.We hear quite a lot about it, but it is the same dope as when the war stopped Ė no one knew just when.We will be at our place in a few days, the river Rhine, and then we will have a little rest.It is as bad now as when the war was on, only the shells are not falling.These hills are sure hard on the doughboys.We have a hard time to send our mail out, also to get it, while on this march, but I think it will be better when we reach Coblenz, which will be in 2 or 3 days.Well, if I get home before my birthday, I will be lucky, donít you think so?At least I will be glad to make it before that.I can tell you more about it when I come home.Hoping to see you soon.

 

I am, as ever, your son, Ross.2nd Lt. C. C. Jordan, censored by.

 

 

December 12 1918

Cross the Rhine River at Coblenz.Dierdorf.Start to convoy trucks at Manternach, Luxembourg.Have not marched since then.


December 15 1918

 

I am still in the best of health and feeling fine.We have now crossed the river and are in the town of Dierdorf.It is some nice little burg.The last two nights I have been sleeping in a real bed, but will leave tonight for another town just a few miles from here.Everything is going just grand.I guess we are as far as we can go, so we will make our stand about 30 kilometers, or 20 miles, from the war.I donít know if I will get my Christmas package or not, but it doesnít make a great difference to me.If you havenít sent it, donít worry about my Christmas as I am glad I am alive and no shells are falling.So you see I have a lot to be thankful for, donít you?I assure you we will not be the last ones to leave.You know as soon as peace is signed, we must leave here.Today is Sunday and the band is playing not far from us.Some of the towns here lost quite a few men.One town of 25,000 lost 800 men killed.That is what a German woman told me, so I guess it must have been hard for them.Wrote a letter to your Uncle Richard Foss[19] the other day.Hope it will please him.Ross.


December 15 1918

 

I can tell you that I am fine in health and I am not worrying about anything.We sure have had some bad weather for our trip to the Rhine, but it makes no difference rain or shine, we go just the some.I am glad we are near the end of our journey.We will make a stand some place near here until we are sent on to our homes.How long no one knows.It might be one month or six.Whenever the time comes for us to go, I am sure we will all go wild.I hope the trip back will not be like the one over.I know it wonít take longer than it did coming over.

 

We landed at Liverpool, went to Southampton, crossed the English Channel to La Harve, France at night.The boat sure was crowded, no place to sleep.From La Harve we went to Messac.From there to Camp Coetquidan.From there to Scoully and to Beabrant.The first front we were on was in the Argonne, the Hess Woods and then we went to the front around Verdun, and Charny.We were there the longest time with the 29th Division.Then on the 29th of October we left that place and went to Camp Galliene.Then we went with the 32nd Division through Dun, Ling, and Harammont.That was around the 11th of December when the Armistice was signed.We had a fine nightís sleep when we heard there would be no more firing.The night before about 15 airplanes came over and dropped about 25 bombs, and talk about noise!It was bad enough to waken the dead.We thought that they were after us, but luck was still with us.They fell all around.That was one thing that I did not love Ė was to be near when they sent the bombs down.You should have seen the junk the Germans left at Lorgway Ė eats and most everything.The weather is quite a bit warmer the last few days and I am glad of that.I donít think I will bring much back with me when I come home, as it is very hard to take care of the junk.The Iron Crosses issued to the Germans are selling all the way from a piece of soap, to 50 Marks.I donít care much about any of the souvenirs.I would like to bring a German machine gun Ė ha, ha.

 

I am, as ever, your old friend, brother Ross.1st Lt. S. J. Howe, censored by


 

December 21 1918

 

We are just a few miles from our stopping place.I am with the 32nd, which is one of the best Divisions over here.We all feel proud to be with them.We sure have done some marching the last few weeks.We go along just as fine as ever.I am still in good health and feeling fine.I do not see any boys from home that I ever knew.I am having a fine trip so far sightseeing.We came across Luxembourg, am now in the town of Mayer.Coblenz is where we will be Ė or near there.The people are surprised at the strength of the American Army, so far they have respect for us.I was speaking to one of the soldiers of the Luxembourg Army.He said if the United States had another way, Luxembourg would declare war too.I asked how many soldiers they had, he said 250 was all.Well Mother if there is any work for me around the house when I get back, I sure will be glad to do it, so save me some.

 

As ever, your son, Ross.

 

December 18 1918

 

I am still in good health and feeling fine.The weather us getting colder.I think we will put part of the winter here.We are all billeted in private German homes.Some of us have beds, some on the floors, others have stores, and some not so lucky.A few cases of flu broke out in our regiment, one or two of the real time.So if it gets any worse, the boys will have some of it to fight and from what you say of it, it will be a real fight.So donít worry about your boy getting it, as everyone has the same chance in this world.We are just about one mile from Dierdorf.I am sure I will be home by the 12th of March[20], at least that is the day I set for it.Letís hope so.Of course if it is sooner, I will not be disappointed.

 

Loving Son, Ross.Sgt. R. A. Buchman, censored by

 

 


December 23 1918

 

I am in good health and making the best of our life over here.We are quartered in a small village, just two miles from Dierdorf.The weather is a little bad, rain and snow the last few days.Most of the boys expected to be on board ship by Christmas, but no such luck.I heard the Armistice was extended another month.I donít know just when Germany will elect their president, but hope it is soon.I received a letter from one of my girl friends stating that she could not write to me any more.She had been starting my letter with, ďDear friend,Ē for over a year.She claims she saw my picture and a French girlfriend in the paper.Also a letter by her[21].She wrote, ďI hope you can keep her supplied in wine and cigarettes as well as yourself.ĒShe also said maybe I had a wife by this time.What do you think of that?Some joke!I suppose at least if I do lose all of my girlfriends, I am sure I have at least a few sisters who think of me.I should worry.Received a letter from one of Veraís girlfriends who works at the same place as she does.

 

Your loving son, Ross.1st Lt. S. J. Howe, censored by.

 

 


December 25 1918

 

I am in the best of health and feeling fine today.This is Christmas morning about nine bells.Last night it snowed very much.This morning we have a white Christmas.It must be six inches deep and still snowing, but the weather is warm.Last night the men in our company received a present bought for us from the company funds by our captain.We were to receive a present from the Y. M. C. A., but you never can depend on them for a thing.So not to be forgotten, the captain foresaw to our best and bought enough from the Y for us.His purchase consisted of one package of cookies, three packages of cigarettes and quite a few books to read.Just as we were about to receive them, we received a package of cigarettes, 1 pack of chocolate, 1 can smoking, and cakes.Now listen, this is the first time the Y ever gave us boys a thing free, outside of writing paper.I just read an ad in the paper about the Y, what they did for the boys.I and the rest of the company never saw them on The Front.The ad reads like a fairy tale.The Knights of Columbus give what they have free.We must buy what the Y has, if we can get it.I never bought a thing from the Y. M. C. A. because they were never near us.If a person could go to Paris, I know you might find one there, if they have anything to sell.Enclosed find a clipping I cut from The Journal.It sounds like a dream to me.Coming over on the boat we had, or was suppose to have, a Y. M. C. A. canteen.Instead it was run by the ship and talk about a gold mine for them.I guess it was, but we had the shipís canteen.Thanks to the Y, I sure was sore about that trip.When we were at camp in France, we couldnít get candy, cigarettes and other things because they were for the boys at The Front and we were glad to hear they got it.But when we went into action, we never saw any of it.Once a government commissary truck came and passed our camp near Charny.We did get some candy and cigars and cigarettes, if we had the money.But never from the Y.

   

Well mother, one thing I am thankful for is that you at home have all stood the test, and I soon will be with you again.I am sure The Lord has answered all your prayers for your boy, as I seem to have gone so far through this life without much fear and have always been of the best of spirits.God Bless You All.You neednít worry about your boy, he will take care of himself.I understand Germany will elect a president on the 19th of January.The German people call Hindenburg the ďHorse Butcher.ĒI guess he lost quite a few men and horses in his drive.Most of the young German people are glad the Kaiser is gone, but some of the old men are still with him.For dinner today we will have a fine meal.It will be more than we usually have and we always feel good.Today we are entitled to our first service stripe for six months service in France.We will also wear a stripe for our service in Germany, or a star, I donít know which.I donít think it will be much longer until I will be able to make myself understood in German.

 

I am, as ever, your son and brother, Ross. 1st Lt. S. J. Howe, censored by

 

 

December 27 1918

 

I am in the best of health and feeling fine.The snow is still on the ground and it is much colder.I am staying with a German family, at least have a room at their home, and it sure is a fine place to be.They have one girl about 17 years old, very pretty, her father, mother and two other men.Two of them were in the war three years.Both are old men.The other man is about 76 years old and sure is a jolly bird.All are glad the war is over.Around the 15th of January 1919, we will leave this advance guard job and be released by another Division.We will then be stationed in the back of the advance guard until Peace is signed and then leave for some fort.It wonít be longer than three months from today.

 

Son Ross.2nd Lt. C. C. Jordan censored by.

 

 

December 28 1918

 

I am in the best of health and feeling fine.Just at the present time it is hailing, snowing and raining.It is very slippery outside.Our regiment is in five different towns, mostly because there is not enough room in one for all of the men.I hear we will all be together soon.About January 15th we will go in to some town or camp back across the Rhine.I think from there we will leave for home.The German people seem to have plenty to eat, at least meat, potatoes and other things.Their flour is very dark.One loaf of bread weighs about five pounds.They, at that, make some very good cake out of it.They have no coffee, it is made from grains and tastes like Postum[22].They have their coffee about six times a day.At the place where I sleep, they have a large tub of fresh pork, and believe me it sure was fine eating.They will try their best to make you eat with them, even if you just had your own supper.I suppose they think we donít feel good.I never eat very much with them because they need all their food for themselves.

 

I am, as ever, your son, Ross.2nd Lt. C. C. Jordan, censored by.

 

 

December 31 1918

 

I am feeling fine.Everything is good around this place except the weather and it is not so bad.Cold a few days, then warm again.Well, this is the last day of the year and it is just about a year since I was at home.It does not seem that long to me.Received a letter from Peggy (Albricht) of Milwaukee.I have not received my Christmas package, but I am sure it will be here in a few days.I will have enough money to last me until I get home.I donít think I will need any on the trip back home.

 

I am, as ever, Bookie.2nd Lt. C. C. Jordan, censored by.

January 2 1919

 

I am well and feeling fine.Everything is about the same around this place.Yesterday was New Yearís Day.I put the night in, and sure made a night of it.I was on guard the 31st December until the 1st of January from 4:00pm until 4:00am. Nothing doing around here except a few parties that had some of the boys.Everything is very quiet around here, nothing excites the boys at all.It sure is a very, very bum place to be.From Christmas until today the boys had nothing to do in the afternoon except feed the horses.There is a lot of dope flying around as to just when, where, and how we will leave, but they are mostly fairy tales.I hope some of them come true.

 

Say, donít you think the Dries slipped something over on the boys over here when they made the country dry[23]?We would like to have a few drinks.You know there is at least about 2 Ĺ million boys here.It doesnít look fair to them, does it?Did you ever hear of the Y. M. C. A. and Military Police?Well, in France, they won the war!The Y. M. C. A. laid down a fine ďbarrageĒ and the M. P.s went ďover the top,Ē according to the doughboys.The worst that one shell of the Germans did to our regiment was to kill two men, wounded five, killed ten horses, and blew up a wagon.

 

Well, Mother, how is the old burg getting along by this time?Has the flu let up?So far, I have not received my package.I am sure it will be here tomorrow.Does anyone call up at home to find out if I am married?On account of the pictures one more friend wrote me she wished me good luck.

 

I am, as ever, your son, Ross. 1st Lt. S. J. Howe, censored by.

 


January 4 1919

 

Just received your Christmas package today.I should say an expert must have packed it.You could not have sent me anything I wanted more than what you did.I wrote I needed socks, but shortly after I got all the socks I needed.I looked for a package of socks, but sure was pleased to find only one pair.It sure was luck for me.There is a new rumor out, we might go to Russia.What do you think of anything like that?I donít know who started it, and donít believe anything like it.They say one Division has started for there, but here is hoping I donít hear of it again.Lot of the boys tried to send a cablegram after the 11th of November, but being so far from a large town, we couldnít do it very well.

 

I am with love to you all, Ross.Sgt. R. A. Buchman, censored by.

 


January 9 1919

 

You neednít send any more paper as I can buy paper here in Germany.Instead write a little more about the old town.See?Well, about me being alive, so far I guess I am, but I would have a lot more life if I was at home.One thing gets my goat is what you read in the papers about all the fine eats we get in the line of chocolate.The candy you sent was the best I have received in two months.I heard we had some coming, but it is not the real chocolate.The other day we were paid in German marks.Now we have to figure again, but from the looks of things we canít buy much because it is not to be had.

 

You can get cigarettes and German made goods.A Mark has the value now of about 12 cents.The Germans in this part of the country are out of luck or they would get quite a bit of it.They donít have anything to sell.The hens donít lay and they cannot sell strong drinks to the soldiers.Think of it.Each soldier has about 400 Marks on him and about the best way to get rid of it is to shoot craps, and then you might get more.I will hang on to all the kale I can until we reach port.There it will be exchanged for real money.There is not much doing around here.Say, remember we are not with the 83rd Division and if they do come home, it does not mean us.Floyd wrote me the other day.He said he was with the 77th Division.I donít think they are with the Army of Occupation.I think he will be home soon.If we do stay here it will be at least four months.Donít that sound fine?Tell Dad our pipes at home are much better than you can get over here.

 


January 13 1919

 

I am still in the best of health and feeling fine.Not much doing today.It is raining again and is a little colder.I hope we have better weather soon.I suppose we will have some snow soon.How is the weather at home?Have you any snow on the ground?We only had it here about two days.The boys are now getting passes for Coblenz for one day, also a furlough for three days ride on the Rhine River.I donít think I want any of the trips as I was in Coblenz.I have seen enough of this country.There is another trip I want to take and one town I want to be in and that is Fort Wayne, while it is.Enclosed you will find a little poem written by a corporal of this regiment.Most of the outfit are from Ohio.You can see what they think of the Dries.You know they made Ohio dry with 200,000 voters ďover here.ĒAbout leaving, things donít look as bright as they did a few weeks ago.

 

 

January 14 1919

 

I am well and feeling fine.It has been raining for a few days and still is.How is everything around the old town?I suppose it is just full of soldiers that were lucky enough to be in the States or England.I read a piece in the paper where England doesnít give the U. S. Soldier any credit for what they did in this war.She claims she did it all with the help of France.I suppose you will hear about it later.I never did like an Englishman and never will.We are still in the same little town and it sure is a slow old place.Quite a few of the boys are real lonesome and guess I will soon be on the list.It is hard to tell just how long we will be here.Do you believe everything you read in the paper about what the soldiers are receiving?If you do, I pity you.I read quite a few pieces in the paper from home and they sure are jokes.One was that the American soldiers are giving the German soldiers chocolate candy, think of it when we donít get much ourselves.

 

Brother Ross.Sergeant R. A. Buchman, censored by.


 

January 15 1919

 

Sorry you have not heard from me since the 7th of November.You should have many cards and letters from me.Have nothing to write in the line of news, but hope to soon.Today the sun is shining nice and bright.It sure is a fine day for January.No snow or rain, nice and warm.I am sorry I was not at home Christmas to receive my share of mince pie.Iím sure the second piece would never have been enough.You might just as well put citron in your cake for some time as I donít think I will eat it for a little while at least.Today for the first time in months, I ate two eggs and I guess they taste just the same as always.Eggs will be my meals for a little while when I get home.I sure can eat them.You should see the Germans make and bake their bread.They bake enough for a month at a time.A loaf weighs about ten pounds, and it is as hard and tough as leather.Well, I am looking forward to the day when I board the Good Ship that will take us back, and when I see the shore fade away, I will pray to God that I sever see this side of the world again and I donít think I will be the only one to do it.Give my love to June and Billy.

 

Love to you all, Son and Brother, Ross.1st Lieutenant S. J. Howe, censored by.

 


January 19 1919

 

I am still in good health and feeling fine as usual. Today is Germanyís first day at voting.Any person over the age of 20 can vote in the part of the country we are.There is not much doing, but I think quite a few will vote.Outside of nice weather, I have not much news.I could not for the love of Mike say when we will leave here.I am waiting for the day to come when we will be ordered to leave this place.You can picture what it would do to us.I hope the time is near.Things around this part of the world sure are upside down.Even Luxembourg has to be in it.You no doubt have read about the killings taking place.I think it will last quite a few years before things are straightened out again.What do you think?The other day I had two eggs to eat and they sure were good.You cannot buy them as the hens wonít lay and a person canít make them.Much love to all.

 

 

January 23 1919

 

We are still living here in the same old town near Dierdorf.Sure will be glad to leave.It sees like ages to me to be here, but I guess it must be.Tell Lillian or the rest that want any German junk that was on the battlefields that I have none of it.You see we made over 200 miles on this trip here and a man that could carry any more than he need for himself could do so.We left it all in France and did not bring any with me.I wouldnít go two steps out of my way for a helmet and I sure did see many.I might bring my own home, the one I wore when at the time I was there.I donít know just when we are coming home, but when we do you can make sure I will do my best to be with the ones that go.I am sure you will not be the only one looking forward to that day.Well, keep a stiff upper lip and I will do the same.I am sure I am going to enjoy anything you may have saved or done for me.

 

Plenty of love for you all.Ross.1st Lieutenant S. J. Howe, censored by.

 


January 30 1919

 

I am still in good health, feeling good outside the fact that we are still here.It has been snowing the last few nights, not much though.I am still without news.It will be a great relief when we leave here.Well Mother, the girls are not writing as often as they should, so if I am still here by the time you receive this, make them write more often.I hope to be far away from this place in two or three months??!?

 

I am, as ever, your son, Ross. Sergeant R. A. Buchman, censored by.

 

 

February 4 1919

 

I am still alive and in the best of health, always the same.The weather here is as good as anyone could wish for.It has never been too cold.The latest is we will start for some front this month or next.I guess I lost my bet about being home on my birthday.Donít you?Life is sure one fine thing to live while laying around in this country.It sure hard to stick with.The last letter I received was dated December 30 1918.

 

Your son, Ross.Sergeant R. A. Buchman, censored by.

 

 

February 10 1919

 

The weather is fine here.It is nice and cold here, not a bit too cold, but just right.How is the old burg coming?

 

Son Ross.2nd Lieutenant C. C. Jordan, censored by.

 


February 16 1919

 

Let the whole family know I am still the same in health and spirits.The weather is not as good as it could be.It has turned quite warm.The snow has melted.I suppose there will be a few more ďflu victimsĒ by the time the American Army leaves here.There will be an American graveyard in Germany.I hope not many will stay there.Well Mother it sure is keeping the boys on their toes trying to find out just when we will go home.It the date was set, the spirit of the going home early would have to rest.I hope the day will soon come.We had another surprise the other day.The Y. M. C. A. really gave the boys a gift.Think of it, and it didnít cost the boys a cent.That makes the second time they gave us anything without charging us for it.A box of cookies that contained six cakes about two inches square and about 1/8th inch thick cost us 19 cents.They couldnít sell them in the States for 5 cents.We have to buy them or do without.We very seldom see any chocolate candy, and if we do it generally is made in Paris and is some sort of substitute at that.I saw a piece printed in the paper from home about the Y. M. C. A.You will find when all the boys come home many other stories of the some kind.

 

February 18 1919

 

I have been in good health until lately, am troubled with a little cold, but soon hope to be rid of it.There is not much doing around here of late, the same thing over and over again.Tell Blanche I will not look for any other town but my own hometown.As soon as I arrive at the old front door, I will then let you know I am there.I think I will be somewhat older when I arrive.I hope the weather gets colder over here instead of thawing lots of mud.Tell Lillian to get that chicken out of the way as it might be an old one before I get a chance at it.Tell Dad I wonít spend good money on a cheap Meerschaum[24] pipe when we can buy a better one at home.

 

I am, as ever, your son, Ross.1st Lt. S. J. Howe, censored by.

 

February 20 1919

 

Everythingís about the same around here, nothing new to write about.You said eggs sold for 47 cents a dozen.I wish I could buy them for five times that price.They are as scarce as the henís teeth are.In this place where we are, they have the all time town criers.It is hard to catch the news because he speaks in the German lingo, but I can catch a little of it.Most of the Germans know just what the Peace Party will make of Germany.They have only one man in their eyes and that is Wilson.They are looking to him to save Germany.If work is scarce, I know of quite a few fellows who will go back to Army life, but I can assure you it would be my last move if I did.You had better have your pocketbook open when I hit there, because you know what it takes to fill my little stomach.

 

I am, with love to you all, Ross Alfred.2nd Lt. C. C. Jordan, censored by.

 

 

February 12 1919

 

Taking a small chance of you getting this.Enclosed were three rings.The one with the Iron Cross on, with the W, I bought.The one with the arrow on it, I made from a two Franc piece.The other one with the I Cross on was made by a Russian prisoner while in this town for over three years.He went back to his country, but left a souvenir in the line of a Russian baby for one of the German girls.It was nine months old and died just a few days ago.This is one of the rings the Germans sell.Almost every kind of jewelry has the iron cross on, sure is some odd.

 

RAB

 


February 24 1919

 

The weather here is about the same you have at home, almost spring weather.I am hearing so much about your Victrola, sometimes I can hear it playing.Whenever I land on good American soil, I sure will drop you a letter.

 

I am your son, Ross.Sgt. R. A. Buchman, censored by.

 

 

February 26 1919

 

The weather is bad here, rain and mud most all the time and then cold and warm.Some of the boys have gone to the hospital.There is not much doing around here, not hardly enough to make a letter outside of the weather and health.Well, sometimes it sounds just about the same around here as it did on The Front, shells flying over your head, but not at us.They have quite a bit of artillery practice, also revolver and rifle and machine guns, just keeping in practice.We might move as our own Brigade, 158 F. A.If that be the case, we might leave sooner or later.No one knows as yet.Love to all.

 

 

March 2 1919

 

I saw some wonderful places while coming here, but believe me we didnít have the car.Tell Lillian to eat the hen she has.Maybe by the time I reach home it might be dead many years from old age.I note what you say about sending candies.Can you buy some in small shapes so you could roll it in a newspaper?You can send a small package as long as it goes first class.If I am still over here when you get this, try it even if it is stick candy.I know it can be done.Donít worry about me losing my spirits.If a fellow can go through what I have gone through, not much danger of me losing my spirits.

 

Your Bro. Ross.2nd Lt. C. C. Jordan, censored by.


 

March 2 1919

 

Everything is about the same around this place, the same old stuff all the time.We are having very fine weather, just like Spring.You wrote in your last letter it was snowing.No snow here.I do not drink any of the beer or wine they sell here because it is no good.Will wait until I come home.

 

I am your son, Ross. Sgt. R. A. Buchman, 1st Lt. S. J. Howe, censored by.

 

 

March 6 1919

 

I am in the best of health and will be.The weather here is very bad.The rain is no good for anyone.The roads and fields are very bad.I donít get out very often when the weather is not good.Well the 12th is the day I am to be 26 years old.Seems as if I am getting there fast.My but the years do fly.I suppose I will be old before long. The Germans that live around here have to go to work on the roads.They take them from the age of 16 to 60.The men of sixty are pretty good looking men as far as health is concerned, not their faces.Most of the people will not sell eggs, but will trade for eats.There is an order out by our Army punishing anyone who buys certain foods from the Germans, because they claim not to have enough for themselves.The place where I stay, they have given me a few eggs, but most of the boys find them.The people are kicking about it to the officers.I heard eggs cost 80 Pfennig[25] each, or about 7 cents.

 

I am your son, Alfred.2nd Lt. C. C. Jordan, censored by.

 


March 11 1919

I owe George Deuis 100 Franc.

 

March 11 1919

 

Today has been a fine day.You know I never write when I donít feel good, so that is the reason you receive so many letter from me.I sometimes have a touch of Spring Fever, as most everyone of us will have soon.We are getting about all that we can, at least the best we can have.The other day we received our issue of chocolate from the government.We are supposed to get it with our rations, but this was the first we got.Have been getting some cheap candy made in France by the Q. M.It seems as if I never can get enough chocolate.When I get home, I will make up for my shortages I have over here.Well, Mother, hoping when I return I can stay for a few years without having to be bothered by another trip like I have had, although it is worth the price it cost me.

 

I am your Son, Ross.2nd Lt. C. C. Jordan, censored by.

 

 

March 12 1919

Pass for 14 days at AIX-les BAINS.[26] Hotel Libions. Saw where Harry Shaw shot at picture on wall of a womanís tit.Jazz Band.Look from window in hotel on mountain.Nothing but high class people here in the peacetime.


March 14 1919

 

I am not at Bruckrachdorf, Germany today.I was granted a pass of this leave area for fourteen days.I left on my birthday and arrived today, three days coming here.I am staying at the Albion Hotel.Sure do have some good eats and lots of sleep.We will leave here on the 21st of March so that gives us seven days in this place.Sure are some pretty sights along the way we came.Just two from our company could leave at one time.I am sending you postcards from here, also a map.I am in the best of health and feeling fine.I suppose I will enjoy myself very much while here.I am sure I will hate to go back to my old town in Germany, but will in hopes of leaving soon.Was in Coblentz on the 12th waiting to leave for this place.You should see the snowcapped mountains around here!This place is warm all the year around and is a resort.Quite a few large hotels here.

 

 

March 16 1919

 

Everything is just going grand so far.This morning I did not have my breakfast as I stayed in bed until 11:00.Same as I will do when I hit the old homestead.The weather here is just grand, even if the sun does not shine.I am enjoying myself very much.This sure is a wonderful place.I sure wish you all at home could see or be here.This is a place where just the rich can stay, and believe me, if a person was out to spend money here is the place to be.That does not mean I am spending much of it, the reason is because I have just enough to live here the seven days that I am here.We have the best of eats at the hotel and some beer too, but it is more of the near beer class.You can get wines too, but I donít care so much about them.On the 21st of March I will start back for the outfit and hope when I reach there the company will be ready to move for the coast.I heard we would leave from the Port of Brest.

 

Your loving son, Ross.

 


 

March 17 1919

 

Am well and feeling fine.Have been around this place so am now taking the rest of my time here as easy as possible.It was snowing this morning, but it does not get much colder.It is always about the same.I will leave for the company on Friday the 21st.Will take about three days to get back.We go through Metz and through a part of the ruins of the war.When I get back to the outfit, I expect lots of mail from home waiting for me.

 

 

March 20 1919GRAND HOTEL DíALBION, AIX LES BAINS, H. Mermoz, Prop.

 

Am feeling fine and in the best of health.Sure am getting all the real rest I need, but tomorrow we leave this place for our Company.I sure would like to stay a few more weeks here if I had the choice.I hear the 42nd Division will leave for the coast about the 25th of the month.I hope they do go soon because we will follow them home.The weather has been a little cool here the last few days.It snowed today.The mountains are covered with snow all the time.It sure is a fine sight, but believe me we have just as pretty in the States.It sure will be a great day when we leave France and are bound for home.I am writing this at the hotel this afternoon.Just had dinner.We have very good eats here.

 


March 24 1919

 

I returned to the Company yesterday.It took me quite a few hours to read all my letters.I received 14 letters 1 card, about 10 papers.Today it is snowing.The weather sure is bad.You know those big snow flakes that melt as soon as they touch you.Received a letter from Aunt and Uncle Dick of Lancaster, PA.He wants me to pay him a visit when I return to the States.I think France is a beautiful country, if you have enough money to see all the sights.But we have better places at home.When I returned to the company, I received news that one of our members had died from the flu.Buried at Coblentz where they have an American cemetery.I think we will leave in May.

 

I am always your brother, Ross.2nd Lt. C. C. Jordan, censored by.

 

 

March 27 1919

 

I am still in good health and feeling as good as I always have.The weather here is quite bad, but I donít think I will have to put up with it much longer.I heard we would move from here to where the 42nd Division has been.I think Coblentz.We will turn in our horses and other equipment and then go through to Brest without any long stops on the way.The report is that Brest now is one of the best camps and we wonít be long at that place.Well, Mother, I hope it wonít be long from now until I am home.I will let you know as soon as we leave France or the date we are to sail if I know in time, or will let you know as soon as we land.

 

I am, as ever, your loving son, Ross.

 


April 1 1919

 

I donít think they will censor this.All we are having is inspections and believe me the boys are sore, and you sure have to brush up quite a bit.You should hear the boys crab when they have to haul the Germanís manure out on their farms for them.Our captain was made a major the other day and he sure is chesty.Not many of the boys think much of him because he sure was yellow while we were in action.I tried to go to some of the schools the Army has opened.I first put in for farming, but nothing doing.Last night I put in for auto repair and I donít know when I will hear from it.If I go, I will be in France until June 30.I would stay there three months to one year.You hear how hard they treat the Germans, it is not so.The soldiers here work for them!If we are here until June, I suppose the boys will plow their fields for them, but we are not suppose to associate with them.

 

Bookie.

 

April 1 1919

 

The weather has been a little bad here, had snow for the last few days, but today the sun is shining.There is not much news as to when we will go home.I thought I was near to the date, but I think they have forgotten they ever had this outfit with the 32nd Division.It seems their orders do not include us.I sure have heard enough about this life.If a man that has been here and wants to stay it is because he could not make as much money outside the Army and they have quite a few.In the papers I sent to you, you will read about school being opened for the soldiers.A course of three months.I have tried to get to one of them the last few weeks, but so far have not been successful.I would rather put three months in school than two months here.If a fellow believes everything he hears he will never get anyplace.It is just each one passes the bull and get by with it.If I were sure we were to sail soon, I would stay here, but we have to put in better than three months and always heard a new day we were to leave.

 

Your son, Ross.Sgt. R. A. Buchman, censored by.

April 1 1919

 

Dear Mother.Hope you enjoy this Easter better than any other you have had.

 

Your son, R. A. Buchman, 1st Lt. S. J. Howe, censored by.

 

 

Bruckrachdorf, Germany

 

April 3 1919

 

Received quite a few letters today from home.They were dated March 10 and 11.I sent you some papers today telling about us going.We havenít heard anything as yet.We do know the 32nd Division is to leave for home soon.One paper states about May 1 and the other about April 26, but no one can find out if the 158th Artillery Brigade is going with them.Now that has the boys worried.If I go to school, I must sign for three months and if your outfit has not returned home, you return to your Company.But if they have gone home, you return as a casual.I am willing to take another chance with the Army.I did once, but I am sure it wonít never be like the first one.Some of the boys call this outfit the L. B. when speaking of the 158th Field Artillery, meaning the Lost Brigade, and I guess they are about right.In fact, I think the outfit is too good to send home.You can read what General Pershing said about the 32nd and that means a whole lot.Today, certainly, was a lovely day, warm and the sun shining nice and bright.

 

Son and Brother

 

Sgt., R. A. Buchman, censored by

322nd Field Artillery Supply Company, A. E. F.

A. P. O.734

158 Field Artillery Brigade

 


April 4 1919

 

Everything the same, but we still are receiving bad news.The report is we, the 158th Brigade, will stay in the Army of Occupation.What do you think of that?It sure is bad for the boys.The Colonel we had is gone, also the General of our Brigade.When I get home I will tell you some of the big bones pulled by this Brigade.One was to go right up to The Front without any ammunition.Someone got hell for that.Also another bad thing was, some of the officers were so yellow that they wouldnít leave the dugout they were in when nature called them, but made some of the privates carry out what they left in a can or boot.If the boys donít go home soon, they sure will get sore.I donít think this letter will be censored on the inside.I would get hell if they read it.

 

 

April 7 1919.

 

Left for school course of three months.Special order # 94. Start in on truck repair, April 10 1919

 

 

April 9 1919

 

Well, I have landed at this camp in France to go to school.I really did get away from my home at Bruckrachdorf, Germany.It may be better or worse, but I am willing to take a chance.I have a little to gain and nothing to lose.Start at my work in the morning with motor trucks, maybe.I will let you know just what I really will do.I still hold my rank as Sergeant and hope to until I am discharged.From what I have seen of this camp, it looks like a lonesome place.But if I can get interested in my work, I think I will just stand about three months.

 

I am your son, Ross.Sgt. R. A. Buchman, censored by.


 

c/o Casual Unit motor Transportation Corps Reconstruction

Park 772, A. P. O. 772A. E. F. France

 

April 10 1919

 

Today I put in my first day work here at this camp.So far I am well pleased with it.At least I will try and make the best out of it.I am now working on trucks, but hope to work on light cars as soon as I can.It seems like the old shop around here, go to work, but just the same I will be glad to leave, more so than when I came.I will finish this course about June 30 1919 and if the company is still at Bruckrachdorf, I will be returned to them.

 

Son, as always, Ross. N. W. Stokes, 2nd Lieut., M. J. C. censored by.

 

 

Verneuil France

 

April 12th 1919

 

I am feeling fine as usual.The weather is about the same, a little rain.On Saturday afternoons they do not work, so that makes it very much better.I still have the same ideas about this place and think I will get along very nicely until my time is up.Do you see many of the lads home that were over here?I shouldnít think many would be home except casuals.The 42nd started the other day.Well, whatever you do, write quite often and let me know just what is going on at home and I will try and write often.

 

I am, as ever, your loving son and brother, Ross.

 

 


April 16 1919

 

I am in good health, feeling fine and making the best of things here.It did not rain today, as it has for the last three days.This is the first camp where I have ever met any boys from home.Most of them belong to the air service.Quite a few of them here.I hope to meet some of them in a few days.Will let you know if I know any of them.I met one by the name of Auth, I knew when at home.I am still working on auto trucks, but hope to be put on light cars or motors.The shops here are very large and up to date.I see a lot of Wayne Oil storage outfits, but not as many of Bowserís.I often wonder if the Wayne wonít beat Bowserís plant, although I know Bowsers made quite a bit of government goods.I have not made up my mind just what work I will do when I return, but will let that to the future to decide.I think before long the boys that are stationed here will leave Ė such as the tank men and other units that got here too late to go into action.Men are at this camp from every Division over here.

 

I am with love to you all, son and brother Ross.Censored by, N. W. Stokes, 2nd Lieut., M. J. C.

 


April 20 1919

 

Today is Sunday and a day of rest, has been for me, also Easter Sunday.I am still in the best of health and feeling fine.The weather here has certainly been grand for the last two days.I suppose you had a real old time Easter like we always had when I was home.I bet Billy and June had their share of eggs, and I bet Billy was somewhat like I used to be Ė get all or more than was coming to him.Today I took a little stroll in the woods.It sure is one beautiful spring here.Some of the trees are in blossom and birds singing.It is a different France back here.

 

Enclosed you will find a few violets I picked today.I hope they are not in pieces when you get them.I am still working on trucks, know a little more about them than I what I did.By the time I will be ready to leave for home, I will have two service stripes for my years service over here.Thank God I donít wear any wound stripes.Secretary of War Baker was here last night about 9 bells and said every soldier that wanted to go home would be there about the last of this summer, but summer donít end for some time to come.All the boys are crazy about going home.You should hear them yell whenever the motion picture shows New York harbor with some of the ships returning.All you can hear is home.ďFirst over/First backĒ doesnít seem to be the plan as was stated.Most of the Chaplains and Preachers that speak here include in their prayers that the boys will be returned home soon.Believe me I hope they are answered, because this is now no place for the young boys right in the prime of life.

 

Love and fond wishes, Ross.censored by 2nd Lieut. N. W. StokesM. J. C.

 


 

April 21 1919

 

Received my first mail since coming here.I sat here laughing at the way you all must tell on the other one.I took my first lessons at driving a truck, got along nicely.Donít look for me home soon, but remember I am coming someday.You neednít mind about sending anything now as I can get all the eats I wish, because the Army has the canteen and service with them.I am in the best of health as always.

 

I am with love to you all, and Evelyn, son and brother.Censored by 2nd Lieut.M. J. C.N. W. Stokes

 

 

April 28 1919

 

I am still in the best of health.The weather here has been very good, just a little rain.It is much colder today for some reason.So far I am getting along OK here and hope to until my time is up.So far I have no news from the company, but hope to hear from some of the lads soon.

 

I am, as ever, Ross.Censored by 2nd Lieut.M.J.C.

 


May 1 1919

 

I am in the best of health and feeling fine.It seems as if the rainy season has started and for the last few days it has rained quite often.It sure does make things bad to have very much rain.I see train load after train load of boys returning home.They pass through here on their way to the port, and I sure am glad to see them go because I know just what it means to them.You can hear most anything about what might happen if Germany doesnít sign the Treaty, but only one thing would do, and that would be take it all and keep it until the right time came.They couldnít fight more than two months, if that long, but I think they will know their place soon.Does Dad think the Germans got enough of this war?As to when I will return home, I have given up all hope of getting there soon.

 

I am your son, Ross

 

 

May 2 1919

 

Everything fine except the weather and that never bothers me much.It is still raining.One thing you be sure and do, that is write often.I received a letter dated October 19 1918 and I received it on the 2 of May 1919.Some time it spent before reaching me.(It was) from a girl by the name of Cook.I donít write much anymore, only to some of my real friends outside of the folks at home.

 

I am, as ever, Bookie.Censored by 2nd Lieut.M. J. C.

 

 


May 4 1919

 

I am still in good health and feeling fine.I heard that the Brigade would be attached to the 88th Division, but if that is correct, I do not know.We would have been home by this time if we would have stayed with the 32nd, but such is the luck over here.The time passes much quicker while doing real work instead of some that we have done just to keep us busy.For the first time today the sun came out and dried up some of this mud.Well, Mother, the 11th of this day is Motherís Day, but I donít really have to remember that day as every day is the 11th of May with me.

 

I am , as ever, your son, Ross.Censored by, M. B. Nude, captain, M. J. C.

 

 

May 6 1919

 

I do not know to just what Division I belong to.I think it might be the 88th since we were lost from the 32nd Division.I know you have read quite a bit about the ďLost Battalion,Ē well, we have them beat by being the ďLost Brigade.ĒYou neednít worry about your boy because he knows quite a bit about the dangers of this country.

 

I am, as ever, your son, Alfred.

Censored by 2nd Lieut.N. W. Stokes, M. J. C.

 

 


May 11 1919

 

Today is Motherís Day, but as I told you every day was Motherís Day with me.I am feeling fine and in the best of health.It wonít be many more days until I will be leaving for home.You neednít write to me any more unless you hear from me, because we will be out of here in a few days.This school has finished as far as we are concerned.It was a surprise to me to hear the 322nd went back with the 32nd Division, but such is luck.If I had to do it over again, I would do the same thing.It is a good thing the school discontinued as I would have stayed until June 30.I will write you as soon as we land in the States.

 

Your son, Ross.Censored by 1st Lieut.M.J.C.

 

May 13 1919.

Transferred from Verneuil to school at Decize about nine kilometers from here. Paid today. 165 Franks.

 

 

May 18 1919

 

Decize, France.The school at Verneuil broke up and part of us were sent to this school at Decize, about 5 miles from Verneuil.The rest of the lads were sent back to their Companies or to some port.I was unlucky again and was sent here.I donít think I lost much time at that, as this place will close within two weeks and we may leave with it for the port.Havenít received the package, am looking for it this week.Havenít heard from George Bennigan for at least four months.

 

Will see you soon.Ross.Censored by 2nd Lieut. Inf. M. Rize

 


 

St. Aigman

 

June 4 1919

 

Hope this reaches you before I do.In a few days I will be on my way home Ė that is if everything goes as it should.I am in the very best of health and feeling fine.The weather here has been Jake and think we will have such until we reach the States.You neednít worry about me because I will let you know as soon as I reach the States.

 

Your son, Ross. OKby E. L. Feeney, 2ndLt. Inf

 

 

June 14 1919

 

I am still at this camp, have been for 15 days.Will leave Sunday.I am with Indiana and Ohio Casuals Company number 5983.So if you read of such named outfit sailing, you will know I am with the lot.We will sail from the port of Marseilles and will be about twenty days on the boat, so you see we will have some trip.Will tell you more about it when I arrive home, which will be about the second week of July.I am in the best of health and am feeling fine, so donít worry about me.I donít know about the sea sickness, but I am sure I will not get much of it anyway.I donít think we will be long getting aboard ship, although we might be held a few days.It will take a few days on the train, but I think we will be loaded about the 18th or a day later.Hoping to be with you all and find you in the best of health.With love to you all.

 

I am, as ever, your son, Ross.Censored by 2nd Lieut.

 


Camp Merritt

 

July 11 1919

 

I am with H Casual Company 830.Will leave in a few days for Camp Sherman.We hear we will be discharged a few days after arriving there.You neednít worry about me getting home.I will make it OK because I have no enemies.I see where quite a few men never reach home after getting their discharge.I guess there is a reason for some not living long.I came through lucky so far.I have nothing against anyone I had dealings with.I turned in the wool suit I had, looked bum in it.I have a cotton suit now.I donít want much from Uncle Sam but the discharge and when I receive that, I will be satisfied.Hoping to see you in at least a week.

 

I am always, Ross.

 

 

THE END

 


Battles, etc.

Meuse-Argonne offensive
September 26 to October 4 1918

Offensive north of Verdun
October 8 to 29 1918

Meuse - Argonne offensive
October 31 to November 11 1918

March to Rhine -Coblenz Bridgehead. November 16 to December 14 1918

Army of Occupation (Coblenz, Bridgehead). December 14.

 

25 cents = 1 Mark

$1.00 = 6 Francs

James returned: 1 saddle, 1 feed bag, 1 bridle, 1 blanket. Turned into Sergeant Ward. Enwright 1 saddle, 1 bridle. Turned into Sergeant Ward for salvage.

Souilly unloaded. Froidos. Loaded on wagon, 2 M property, 7 tents, office and 2 M.

Below Brabant, base Froidos

Divisions we were with:

91 Hessaloo
32 Argonne
29 Verdun
32 Haraumont, Liny, Dun
79

Battery A was with the infantry.



Peggy Albrecht
2226 Vleet Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Peter J. All
Company G, 312th Infantry
A. P. O. 755 France

John L. Barnes
1050 Neil Avenue
8 East Broad
Columbus, Ohio

X Thresa Bauman
2437 Hanna Street

Fred Begian
Company B 52 Engineers
Camp Upton, New York

George Bennigan
2638 East Jefferson Street
Detroit, Michigan

Edw. W. Bobyean
726 Segis Ave
Toledo, Ohio

Helen Cockley
328 W. Lherat Street
Peru, Indiana

Bob Digman
2707 Weissier Park Avenue
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Mr. Richard Foss
121 East Fred Street
Lancaster, Pennsylvania



Emma Helberg
2609 John Street
Fort Wayne

Miss Mary Helfrek
Box 43
Princeton, Indiana

Private H. Hentzler
2 Ammunition Transfer Company A. A. E. F.

Rose Hoelle
420 Balt Street

Mabel Hoffman
316 Oak Street
Kendalville, Indiana

John M. Hoalle
APO 760 Camp 4

John Hoalle
Headquarters Detachment A VC
Camp #4 APO 760

G. Virgil Hutchison
Claysville, PA

Ruth Howinstine
1502 Fletcher Avenue
mailed October 22
received December 17
Good looking girls

Bertha Lewis
3905 Piqua Avenue
Fort Wayne, Indiana


Andrew Milles
3478 Independence Road
S.E.
Cleveland, Ohio
.

Miss Imelda Murphy
1 Rue LaFayette
Rennes Ille Et. Veliane

Mr. Roy Pressler
2835 Jane Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Donna Seybrik
1703 Fletcher name on bed sack
Anderson Indiana

J. P. Demuth Sims
Reuland Larochette
Canton Mersch Luxembourg

Clam Taylor
Saint Paul Indiana

C. R. Walker
302 Warrington Ave
Pittsburgh, PA

Elsie Wolming
Minot Avenue

Cincinnati, Ohio

Marcelle Vallet
La Retraite
Atkins Road

Balhan Ste. England

W. R. Woods
R.R. 12 Decatur, Indiana

Mrs. H. Michel Yelder
1640 High Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana

 

 

1969 May 2.The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, page 2 A.

 

††††††††††† ROSS H. (sic, should be A.) BUCHMAN

 

††††††††††† Services for Ross H. (sic, should be A.) Buchman, 76, of 2415 Weisser Park Ave., will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in D. O. McComb & Sons Funeral Home, the Rev. Karl Tauber officiating.Burial will be in the New Haven IOOF cemetery.

 

††††††††††† Mr. Buchman died at 1:20 am yesterday in Lutheran Hospital.He retired four years ago from Fisher Brothers Paper Co.He was a World War I veteran and a member of American Legion Post 27.

 

††††††††††† Surviving are his wife, Dessie; a son Dr. Marshall Buchman, New Albany; a sister, Miss Evelyn Buchman, Fort Wayne; and two grandchildren.Friends may call at the funeral home after noon today.

 



[1] American Expeditionary Forces

[2] Traditionally the word ďdinnerĒ referred to the noon meal; and ďsupperĒ to the evening meal.

[3] Esther (ďKornieĒ) Korn (1898 - 1939) and Ross visited each otherís family homes and seem likely to have dated.C.f. November 1 1916, The Fort Wayne Sentinel, page 5.Esther Korn married August Erne on August 10 1919, just a few days after Ross returned home.

 

[4] A watery meat stew.Slum and Gullion are each euphemisms for mud or muddy.

[5]$15.00.

[6] William R. Woods (1858 Ė 1947).Margaret Jane Woodís older brother.

[7] The Booster was an internal newsletter published by the S. F. Bowser company.

[8] Ulysses Ben Woods (1892 Ė 1970), youngest son of William R. Woods, Margaret Jane Buchmanís older brother.

[9] An apparent reference to the sinking of the Tuscania, the first ship carrying American Troops to Europe to be sunk by a German submarine. February 5th 1918.Torpedoed off the coast of Ireland, the sinking resulted in the first mass American casualties since the Civil War.

[10] The photograph and a brief article were published in The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel, (page 2) on February 21st 1918.

[11] Influenza, commonly known as the flu.

[12]Launched May 1900. From 1917 till 1919 operated under the Liner Requisition Scheme. In October 1924 the Canopic was sold and scrapped at Briton Ferry, South Wales.

[13] John Henry was the legendary Black railroad builder whose job was threatened by a steam engine.He held a contest and beat the machine at driving railroad spikes over a long course.

[14] Aldon Campbell (1869 Ė 1945), Margaret Jane Woods Campbell Buchmanís younger half brother.

[15] Boche was French slang for ďrascalĒ or ďcabbage headĒ and was applied by French and Allied soldiers to Germans during World War I.

[16] June (1914 Ė 1971) and William Sherrick (1915 Ė 1984) (ages 5 and 2 at the time).Children of Rossí older sister, Lillian Buchman Sherrick (1889 Ė 1957).

[17] The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel, August 3rd, 1918, page 1.ďLOCAL BOY KILLED IN FRANCE.. . . 2450 Gay street . . . Sergeant Louis George Lauer . . . killed in the cave-in of a gravel pit while serving with his company at the battlefront.Ē

[18] Likely a spittoon, for chewing tobacco.

[19] Richard Gotleib Foss (1845 Ė 1945).Margaret Jane Woods Campbell Buchmanís motherís younger brother.

[20] Rossí 26th birthday.

[21] Ross and Marcelle Valletís photographs were reproduced on page 2 of the November 16th 1918 edition of The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel, above the headline: ďLOCAL SERGEANT AND HIS FRENCH GIRLFRIEND.Ē  

[22] A caffeine-free, powdered coffee substitute invented by the Kraft Foods in 1895.Ingredients include wheat bran, molasses and corn dextrin.

[23] Prohibition was accomplished by means of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which was ratified on January 29, 1919.

[24] Meerschaum is a soft white mineral.Its chief use is for smoking pipes and cigar holders.

[25] The pfennig is an old German coin, similar to the English penny, which existed from the 9th century until the introduction of the Euro in 2002.

[26] Aix-les-Bains is a spa town with hot sulfur springs in eastern France about nine km north of Chambery.