Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Faces of Robert Richardson of Topsham, Vermont

My sister and I looked at a photo portrait buried in a store room at my parent's home and said, "Who is that and where did it come from?" We didn't remember seeing it before, although we could have seen it years before and not remembered since it was no one we had known. This time, if it wasn't the first time I had seen it, the person looked familiar. On the back of the picture was scribbled "D. E. Stephens, Elgin, Minn." My immediate thougth was that this must be David Stevens, our great-great grandfather. And then my following pressing thougth was, "If this is David, there should be another matching one of Rosina Jane" because Jane had died two years after David and it was unlikely that only one person of the couple would have had their photo taken and printed. We dug around and discovered no matching treasure. That evening, as I thougth more about it, I mused, "Hmm. Maybe this is Robert Richardson." That would make sense, because I knew a photo had been taken of him when he was 80 years old in 1885 and as I recalled, it looked something like this. His wife, Rosina M. Healy Richardson, had passed away in 1872, thirteen years before. Later that week I drove the three hours home and few days later, looked at the few old photos that I had acquired. Another two weeks later I was talking to some acquaintances about having discovered this old family photo, and they told me to be careful, because they had discovered, almost too late, that a couple of old family "photos" were actually charcoal drawings. A family member had fortunately started "dusting" only an upper corner and the surface had rubbed away. On my next trip I looked again at the picture and sure enough, it WAS a charcoal. His face, fortunately, was protected by glass, but it took quite a bit of windex to remove the dust of years which obscured the lines of the charcoal. Still not sure of which old relative it was (so many old male relatives had gray hair, long salt and pepper beards and wrinkled faces), I brought it home to compare to a group of old photos. Sure enough, the face in the portrait is Robert A. Richardson, born in Bath, New Hampshire in 1805. The top photo here shows the newly discovered portrait. Also shown is the original photo that was taken in 1885 and a closeup of the
How fun to find and be able to identify this portrait that was completed so long ago. So the mystery of the D.E. Stephens is solved. I had wondered about that because the last name was Stevens, not Stephens. But it makes sense if it is the artist or the owner writing the place that the portrait is to be shipped. And the fact that Grandma Rosina had been gone so many years is why there would only be one portrait and not two. I'm so glad we could identify this. I plan to put identification an dates on the back so that future generations (should they care) will know who man is. It is always painful to look at photos of interesting people from generations past and to not know who they might have been. Looking at both the photo and the portrait, it is easy to see the strong similarities, but also the differences that made recognition by memory alone more difficult. And I'm sure Grandpa Richardson would have appreciated the loss of age lines and spots that could not be disguised by the photograph. Rosina Jane who had lost her dear mother so long ago, must have taken some comfort in the face of her loved father on her wall in her home so far away in Elgin, Minnesota.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Wishes to Sister Susan

In 1919 George Sherwood wrote to his sister Susan Sherwood Weber who was back on the old Wisconsin farm in Kendall. Her birthday was a week away and a week later she would be 25 years old. She would now be 115 years of age were she still alive, but it was just 90 years ago this year that this missive came to her from "Over There" perhaps around this time. The photo I had thought was Grandma Susan around her high school graduation turned out to be Aunt Dora. Hopefully this one is her - as my parents believe :-). I guess I'll find out.

Dearest of Sisters,
I didn’t intend to write you alone, or to exclude the rest of the family when I came over here, but the spirit moves me to rave a little, and the only excuse I can think of is to call it a birthday letter, tho it is now only a week until your birthday. Anyway, you can read the folks as much of this as you want to. Even now I don’t know just what I am going to write, but I know I want to talk to “My dear little Sister” even as we loved to do in bygone days.

And first of all, I have just rediscovered one of the oldest of truths. The World is full of and lives on Love. Not the sudden flare of passion that surges over all red blooded men and women at times and threatens – yes often does sweep them off their feet for a time; but the kind of love that burns on year after year, flaming at times, again smoldering beneath the ashes of burned out passions, hopes and desires, but still glows on deep down in the human heart, warming the soul and keeping alive the conscience of the individual and society. And so smoldering it only awaits the slightest stirring of these ashes to break forth again into purifying flame, lighting the plainest countenance with the most beautiful of glows, reflections from the flames of love. And how did I stumble onto the old, old story. By the simplest of means – observation. Yet I had seen the same picture many times before and it meant little to me.

I did not know what I would write about when I came to the casino, but that same little spark in my own heart bade me write you, so I came in and stood in line with some impatience to get my allowance of paper & envelopes. After receiving a double share from the sweet-faced old lady behind the desk, I began circulating around the room looking for a place to write. And as I went I became still more impatient, for every place seemed full. You see as yet the beauty and significance of the scene had not impressed me. But as I passed on, I began to scrutinize each man more closely, in hope of finding one nearly finished and as I passed man after man, here one writing, there one laboriously doing up or addressing a package, my chaos of thots began to take shape, my impatience left me, and suddenly the beauty of it surged over me as a young fellow at the desk near which I stood, oblivious to his surroundings lovingly, almost reverently folded the little souvenir handkerchief he had been holding, and carefully placed it in the envelope he had just addressed. Then he once more carefully withdrew it and looked at it as tho picturing the joy it would bring those who received it. And with a last caress he returned it again to the envelope gave it a final pat and turned again to his writing, his face illuminated by the fires of love burning in his breast. And as I look about me I see that same reminiscent, loving look in nearly every face, softening and relieving the stern harsh lines the last few months have brought. Those souvenirs are all bought at the sacrifice of some trip or anticipated pleasure of their leave period. And as those letters are written concerts, trips, cafes, etc, are all calling one to forget and enjoy life, as of old, after months of isolation, suffering & death in the lines. Yet all the places are filled, and men who hate writing in the ordinary sense wait patiently for their turn at the desks. Why? Because the fire of love (for sister, brother, mother, father or friend or sweetheart) makes them wish to share the thots, the scenes, the pleasures they are enjoying. And so I have come to feel more strongly than perhaps ever before that love is the strongest, purest truest phase of life or perhaps life and love are inseparable phases of our being. And so perhaps you can get a little of my meaning from the little lace collar I mailed you for your birthday the other night in case my letter isn’t quite clear, for I yet remember the loving little pats I gave it as I addressed it and sent it on its way to the Dearest little Sister a Soldier Boy could Have. Oh, how I hope you get it, for it bears my love direct to you. Write and tell me all about your birthday.

Yesterday we went to the to the top of Mt. Revard on the cogwheel railway, hoping to see Mt. Blanc with the glasses but when we got there we were right on a cloud tho it was clear when we started up. But the scenery was beautiful and the trip of an hour and a half up on the cogwheel well worth while.
Then we borrowed some skis up there (free for soldiers by Y.M.C.A.) and had some fine rides – and tumbles. Got back just in time for dinner, 6:30 P.M. The day before that we took a trip on the boat across and up the lake to the old Abby. It was founded back in the early days of Christianity by St. Bernard, was used as a burial place for the kings and prices of France and Italy for many years, but was nearly destroyed by the French Revolution. Was reclaimed & rebuilt by King Felix of Italy in 1824 and changed hands from Italy and France and back several times until finally it was deeded forever to the King of Italy by France in 1860 because it had been reclaimed by Felix who was buried there with his wife and contained the restored graves of so many of the other Italian Kings and Princes. 15 monks have charge of the Abbey, one of them having been there for 30 years now. The paintings and carvings are mostly modern but they are truly wonderful.

On the same trip we saw the pass thru which Hannibal led his army across this mountain range in his march against the Romans. And after a years army experience one realizes more than ever the magnitude of his task and wonder of its success when they consider that he went thru an even more rugged part of the Alps Mts. than we have here before he was finally able to strike at Rome from the North.

Now I’ve got to close.

Love once more to you all and may many more happy birthdays come to my dear little sister Susan – Her Brother
Corp. Geo. Sherwood, Hdqts Co
108th U. S. Engineers, Amer. Exp. Forces

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Prairie Division in WWI

On March 14th, William Lewis Judy, on officer in WWI, wrote a short piece on the contributions of the Prairie Division (the 33rd Division) of the American Expeditionary Force. On March 16th, Great Uncle George Sherwood wrote home and included a copy of the mimeographed hand-out that he had received. I have looked around the internet and have not found a copy of it thus far. Apparently William Judy wrote a book called A Soldier's Diary which gave a day by day account of his experiences in WWI, but it seems to be out of print. But his immediate impressions are recorded here, as usual saved by Susan Sherwood Weber our loveable if slightly eccentric pack-rat. It was obvious that in the year that George was "over there" he received at least 150 letters, none of which seem to have survived the trip home and which is explained in his letter.
Echternach, Luxembourg
March 16, 1919

To All the Dear Ones at Home:
Sometimes I wonder if you don’t get rather tired of these letters sent to you all collectively, but there isn’t news or time to write each one separately, and after all I presume it is as much joy or sorrow to read my poor attempt at correspondence all together as it would to write short missives to each.
This is Sunday and as I’m sitting on the bed in my room with a book as a writing pad, instead of being in the office. Just went thru a bunch of the old letters for home, dating back as far as Nov and reluctantly consigned all but two to the flames as it is impossible to keep much of that sort of thing around when it comes to a move. While no moves seem to be contemplated for awhile, I would much rather go thru them (the letters) at leisure and treasure up their messages in my heart and pick out a few to keep a little longer, than to have to throw them to the fire in an impersonal bundle when orders do come. I hope they come soon as I think I need a change of scene. I feel like a bird in a cage.
The ankle is getting along as well as can be expected under the circumstances. Now use only our cane and while it is very sore and pains while walking or using it, it seems to be slowly improving.
There is a little rumor now that we may go home via Germany & Holland. Wouldn’t that be a proper and fitting sequence of events and windup for the career of the Fighting Yellow Cross Div in Europe. Am sending a little write up one of the divisions men got up.
We have had some wonderful weather the past week but today is cloudy and cool and not so pleasant. Expect to go to the cinema this evening as there is a continuance of the show we saw there last week which is pretty good. Don’t you want to go along?
Worked over at the office all of the morning and ought to be there this P.M. but don’t propose to do it as my system is crying for relaxation. Someway, they can’t seem to be able to let us office force get away from it holidays or Sundays any more than they did in campaign times. I wonder what they think mere men are made of. It isn’t making me any thinner but never had my nerves as raw or felt so keyed up as I have the last two months. But the old German saying applies very well. “So geht es im krieg.” Will I know how to act on a Sunday back in civilian times I wonder?
By now I hear you all worrying and saying “poor overworked boy.” So I’ll hasten to add that there is probably no need for worry, and I guess what ails me most is “I want to go home.” Now we are stared in the face with the proposition that our files do not meet the Gov’t requirements, so the general upheaval for the next month won’t probably leave me much time for lengthy or interesting letters. Expect Johnnie and Willets back from leave this week which will make us less short handed, tho.
The enclosed service stripe is my very first one, and was worn on my overcoat till we got some new ones at Aix-les-Baines. The ticket took me to the top of Mt. Revard and back while we were at Aix on the cogwheel railroad. The yellow slip is a check from a ticket to the local cinema. May have sent one of those before. Now I’ve got to ring off and shave.
Love again and again to all.
George Sherwood
108th Engineers, Amer. E. F.
Censored: P.S. Thompson
Captain U.S.A.

By William Lewis Judy.

All right reserved except where credit is given.* of course this was 1919

The Thirty-third Division has a nick-name, a distinguishing insignia, and a rattling reputation.

In the States they called us the “Prairie Division”. Over here we are the “Yellow Cross Division.” When we shall shake hands again with the Goddess of Liberty and smell again that familiar smell of the Chicago Stock Yards, we shall once more be the “Prairie Division”.

Now, who are we, anyhow? Well, we fought with the bloomin’ British on the plains of Picardy in Northern France in July and August, 1918, and when the decorations were handed out on that bright summer’s day on the green behind the old chateau at Molliens-au-Bois, King George himself was there to pin the medals on the breasts of the Illinois boys.

We fought side by side with the Tommies, -- good pals they were, -- and with the Americans of the British Empire – those fighters after our own hearts – the Aussies – I mean the Australians, the daredevils of a rough and ready Empire. They it was who paid us the biggest compliment ever given a Yank crowd over here. The whole world now knows the famous phrase and I’ll tell you how it came about. The Aussies celebrated the Fourth of July with us at Hamel when we went over the top together up near Albert, and after it was all over, they took us by the hand and said: “You’ll do us, digger, but you fellows are damned rough”. Here, too, took place an event that shall be forever glorious in the annals of England and America, here for the first time in history the soldiers of the two mighty nations fought side by side in a common cause, and this event shall grow more glorious and more sacred in years to come when these two mighty nations look back to it as the first symbol of the new and greater union between them.

We fought with the French and now we are to get fifty Croix de Guerre[1]. The King of Belgium heard about us and is sending us eight of his medals. The Congress of the United States
gave us seven Medals of Honor. They have given forty-eight to the whole A.E.F. and the Prairie Division is wearing one-seventh of the total. Pretty good, eh? The big safe at Division Headquarters is now too small for it is crammed with D.S.C[2]’s., from our own G.H.Q. – one hundred and ten to date, to be exact – and more of them on their way.

We have a lot of doughboys like Corporal Paul Hobschied of the 131st Infantry. He’s wearing a D.S.C. because up at Chipilly Ridge he laughed at the Boche snipers, made a dash at them, on his way stopped at a German dug-out, rapped on the door with a few hand grenades, and single handed chased out thirty German’s yelling “Kamerad”, and brought them back as prisoners.

Then there is Corporal Jake Allen, another of Joe Senborn’s boys. Jake and his squad charged a machine gun nest and himself stuck the bayonet into five Germans. The fifth Boche was tough and the Corporal’s bayonet broke off inside of him. But Jake gave him the butt of the rifle, sent one more German to Kingdom Come, and captured the remainder of the crew. In the Prairie Division, we don’t look down on Corporals since these things happened.

We’ve a buck private in the 124th Machine gun Battalion, Clayton Slack – slack by name but not by nature. He’s going to get a Belgium Medal, a Croix de Guerre, a Medal of Honor, and maybe a lot of others, because all alone he rushed a machine gun nest, tagged ten German’s as prisoners, grabbed two loaded machine guns which were killing our men, turned ‘em around and gave the Germans Hail Columbia with a shower of their own bullets.

Now I come to the grand old man of ‘em all – Colonel Joe of the 131st, of the Dandy First of the Old Illinois National Guard. He’s sixty-three, but likes a fighting spree. Out in the front he went at Grossaire Wood, and led his men over the top, across No Man’s land, and on the run, took a hill that the Germans said they’d hold forever. They’re still there holding the hill, but hiding under the ground and some wooden crosses. Well, the Colonel had his steel hat knocked off by the burst of a shell, but say – have you seen him on dress parade? There’s a Distinguished Service Order which the King of England gave him and I think he’s the only American officer wearing one of ‘em. There’s our own D.S.C. – he’s got that, of course. And there’s a Belgium medal too that is his pride.

------Ask a Boche where he had the hottest time of his life and he’ll tell you at Consenvoye Bridge, when, Colonel Allen’s engineers n the lead, the Prairie Division chase him out of the Bois de Forges, held by the enemy for four years with the boast of the Boche that it could never be captured – especially by Americans. ------ [George added arrows & “Oh! You 108th!”]

We have fought everywhere in the A.E.F. We have been with the British, with the French, with the French Colonials, and with our own troops. There are three American Armies – First, Second and Third – and we’ve been in all of ‘em. There are nine American Corps and we’ve been in all of them except the First and Eighth. We’ve got the record in this regard.

Our troops have camped along the North Sea, on the Somme, on the Meuse, and on the Moselle. They have passed through Chateau Thierry; they have bivouacked in Germany; they have rested in the shadow of the Amiens Cathedral; they have marched through the shell-torn streets of Verdun; they have eaten bully-beef in Alsace-Lorraine; and now they are wintering in Diekirch that famous resort of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. From Texas to Deutschland we have traveled and now we know it’s true what they say – “Join the Army and see the world.”

What Division captured more prisoners and more guns, and advanced more kilometers than any other Division except three of [or?] four? The Prairie Division.
What Division captured 1436 prisoners in one day? The Prairie Division.
What Division had a general wearing a wound chevron? The Prairie Division.
What Division was one of the five American Divisions rated by the German High Command as first-class? The Prairie Division.
What Division Commander was praised by G.H.Q because the horses of his Division and the care of them “stood as a perfect model of the standards that ought to exist in these matters throughout the Army? The Prairie Division.

Our Divisional colors are yellow and black; fast colors, guaranteed not to run. The design is a yellow cross on a black circular background two inches in diameter. Yellow is an unusual color for a fighting crowd, but in far-away Texas, when we marked our equipment for over-seas, Colonel Gardenhire had only yellow paint, and that is why we have used yellow. It’s a good color. It is the distinguishing color of the Cavalry and, in the Philippines, the Yellow Cross on Government property terrified the superstitious natives and kept them from stealing it. Over here it had the same effect on the Boche.

We are proud of the Yellow Cross and proud of the fighter who has been our leader from the day the Division was organized – Major General Geo. Bell, Jr., known by all the rank and file of the Regulars as “Do it Now” Bell.

When the French officially took possession of the City of Metz, the capital of Lorraine, on the 6th of October, 1918, bringing to pass their dream of half a century, the troops selected from the entire A.E F. to represent the Untied States in the grand parade before the President of the
French Republic, before Premier Clemenceau, Marshal Foch, Marshall Petain, field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig and our own General Pershing, were none other than a bunch of Chicago Lads, the battle scarred doughboys of the 131st Infantry, who had carried the Yellow Cross to victory every time they “hopped the bags.” They led the procession at Metz and the Governor-General of Lorraine said that their appearance and conduct merited the highest praise.

The boast of the Thirty-Third is that it never lost a fight, that it never received an order in battle which it did not carry out, and that an objective was never given to it that it did not take from the enemy on scheduled time. It is more than a boast – it is cold truth recorded in the books of the German armies as well as in the records o four own G. H. Q.

We came to France with a great reputation to uphold and high standards to maintain, for we are the Prairie Division; we hail from the fields of Illinois, out where the prairies begin their stretch, out where the East joins the West, and the best of the two is kept. Behind us are the traditions and glories of a great State – a State in which that other great war – the greatest until its time – gave to the nation its great leader in the White House – Abraham Lincoln, and its great leader in the field of battle – Ulysses S. Grant.

We have fought as worthy sons of worthy sires. We shall return from our long journey strong men and noble, victors and proud, because in the hottest of the battle, in the front ranks of the bravest, we fought as only Americans can fight. We shall march down Michigan Boulevard, victors and glad, yet with a bit of shadow in our faces, for we are not forgetful of our brave comrades who went away with us and with us did not return, because on the sacred soil of France they fell fighting bravely for their flag and the honor of their Division, and forever more they rest on the fields where their fame was won – in the shades of the forest of the Argonne and by the banks of the Somme.

They did not die in vain, neither have we fought in vain who fought by their side as they fell. They who in later years shall wear the Yellow Cross in token that they fought with the Prairie Division, shall wear a badge of high honor, and a fitting distinction for the brave men and fearless fighters they showed themselves to be.

Written At Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Europe,
Fourteenth day of March, nineteen nineteen.

[1] The croix de guerre (English translation: War Cross) is a military decoration of both France and Belgium, where it is also known as the Oorlogskruis (Flemish). It was first created in 1915 in both countries and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

George Writes of Elsie Janis

Somewhere in France

Dear Brother and Sister Weber:
Having received No 43 from “you all” as they say in Houston, I have by intricate? Mathematical processes arrived at the ultimate conclusion that I owe you 28 letters to date, not counting the numerous ones I hope you have on the way to me by now. If you don’t believe it, compare the Data at the head of this letter with that at hand and see if I can not prove my proposition. G. E. D.
Next, before I forget it, let me call to your attention the fact that we had the rare and extreme pleasure of hearing Miss Elsie Janice[his spelling][1] (of Stage and Vaudeville fame) give us an entertainment a la American, the other evening. If you have ever been skeptical regarding the sincerity or bravery of some of the actors, etc. who come over to entertain the boys, forget it.
Miss Elsie at least had proved herself a little soldier, at least most of us feel that way. For it is certainly not money or notoriety she is seeking here under Jerry’s nose, within reach of his shells and bombs, for she had plenty of both the former back in the states and she is taking much the same chance with the latter that we are in her work over here. From the time she stepped on the crude stage provided, until she finished her stories, songs and dance, she typified for most of us a real American girl, and she started a train of reminiscences which will stay with us for days.
Also, give the Y.M.C.A. and Red Cross a boost when you can, for they are much in evidence over here and in my estimation are doing all they can for the boys of all the allied armies. Now I’ll bring this to a hasty close with love to all my home folks.
Your loving brother,
[1] Note that photo was stated to be copyright free.

Monday, February 09, 2009

A Touch of Spring Splendor ~

Today I've struggled with feeling "blue." Not only did my husband get his hours cut, not only are we paying for tutoring, not only do we need to either fix the dryer or replace it, not only have I been hoping to replace five windows and the carpeting for years, but it looks like I can't avoid 2K of dental surgery bills for my daughter who apparently MUST have her wisdom teeth removed. Sigh. This economic down turn is the pits, not the least because we are constantly being told by the media that the sky is falling. Mostly the economy works because we believe in it. So we're not believing at moment. But enough of politics and money. On the OTHER hand, what a surprise when we got up this morning, opened the slider for the dog to go out and WHAT!!! SNOW!! Where did that come from???? OK, I know, I know, the sky. But still - I don't remember hearing anything about a forcast for snow. But maybe we didn't turn on the radio yesterday at all - perhaps that was the problem. But snow there was! The day has gone on, the money challenges have increased, but hope for spring's arrival came unexpectedly brought to attention by the snow. And the other good news of the day! My wisteria arbor is finally completed and the wisteria planted -- after only three years past the promised deadling :-). So I guess the good outweighs the bad. And besides, when it's all said and done, we can't take the money (or even the lack thereof!) to the grave.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Feeding the Birds vs. Feeding the Bird

One of the drawbacks to feeding birds is that ALL birds can want to participate. This puts our family in the unenviable position of having to discriminate about which birds we want to feed. All, the poor little Cooper's Hawk, who just wants to have breakfast or dinner just like all the other little songbirds, often comes by looking for a handout as well. His arrival requires I take a trip upstairs out on the deck and spend time jumping, clapping, shouting and sometimes even photograph taking to move him on to a more distant eatery.

Early last year I had once seen a small Pine Siskin crouched in the corner of the deck and I thought, "Oh, poor thing, he must have run into the glass." And perhaps he had (Siskins are quite stupid compared to most), but when I went out to rescue him from possibily being eaten by a cat, the fear of me drove him off the deck into quickly moving path of the hawk who had been waiting unbeknownst to me. Life is full of unintended consequences - alas. That round went to the hawk.

But today the victory was mine. This beautiful but unappreciated hunter finally flew off in pursuit of a Junco, but a little yelling on my part distracted him enough to let the small dodging bird escape and off the hawk went, looking for a better diner with more of a welcome.
I bear him no ill will, but better that he eat a bird I do not know!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

George Writes from Somewhere in France

Two days after arriving in France, George Sherwood writes home to the folks in Wisconsin. On the old family farm lived his parents Will and Ella Jane as well as his sister Susan and her husband Herman who shared the 14 room farmhouse that had been in the family since 1868. The newer third of the home had been renovated so David and Rosina Stevens (Ella Jane's parents) could live with them in their declining years. They had passed away in 1910 and 1912 respectively. The tradition of the families living together continued to the next generation as it had actually begun when Will and Ella Jane welcomed Richard and Grace Sherwood to stay with them after they were married and Will was renting the farm.
David and Rosina and Will and Ella Jane are all buried together under one large monument in the Kendall cemetery. Herman and Susan joined them only a few steps away decades later.
The love of family is so apparent in the history of this family. I love Uncle George's letters and am delighted that I remember him when I was a child. How fun it would have been to have been old enough to hear these stories from him directly, but I love that the words are recorded for all of us here. I appreciate all the history recorded on the envelope as well as the letterhead of the writing paper, both of which are included here.

My dear Home Folks:

Another warm, sunny day beams down on us over here “somewhere in France.” I should imagine it would be rather interesting to you over there to try to guess where I am when I write each time for tho I may be able to tell when we move some of the time, it will always have to be “Somewhere in Europe” etc. regarding where we are.

Haven’t been able to pick up any of the French language yet, but am getting used to their money and its values compared to ours a little. Candy, soap and shoe polish seem to be very high and hard to get, at least here. But some candy and tobacco can procured at the U.S. Commissary quite reasonably. I haven’t received any mail yet since we arrived here, but that is rather natural I expect. Do not expect letters from me more than on an average of one per week as there is little one can write about and so there is no use bothering the Co. Commander to censor a lot of foolish palaver, and add more to the already congested mail.

I think I forgot to number my last letter, so I’ll call this 9G and try once more to keep track as I go along.

This is a very pretty country around here, especially as it is just like spring here now. I am well except a slight cold. Wish I knew the same for all of you at home.

Will close with love and best wishes from – France –.

Your loving son and brother,

Greetings to everyone of my friends and get them to write.

J. C. Campbell
1st Lieu., 108th Engrs.