August 14, 1917

Dear Ma:-

Aren't ten packages in a day enough without three the next day and one the day after that? I would think so, but I am by no means objecting to the other four, especially as one had the stove, one solid alcohol and one tongues, etc. But I'll bet you don't know who sent me the other. Miss Katherine Chambers and there was also a note in it from Miss Armstrong of M. S. You never saw such an assortment and I never did think that people could think of such useful and at the same time delicious things. Miss Chambers' box had educators, 5 o'clock tea biscuit, a handkerchief, raisins and sugar.

As to the stove, it is great. Last night we went to one of the biggest forts [posts?] in this vicinity and one of the men took us all through the tunnels and casemates and abris. He was awfully nice and we asked him to come here for tea this afternoon. We made cocoa that was awfully good on the stove and had crackers and jam. Quite homelike. He saw the bacon and oatmeal that had on one of the shelves, and couldn't understand the reason we ate such big breakfasts.

Today I have been working pretty hard as this is a two car post, but the other car was on the blink. I covered about 60 kilometers this morning and carried about 10 to 15 men. Among them were some who had been gassed. One of them just kept his eyes in a towel and couldn't look at the light. The others were better, but their eyes were bloodshot and they breathed in pants. Wounded men usually have lots of spirit. Of course, I can't say just where that point is, but as you can imagine, it is queer at night to see star shells which mark the line of trenches on nearly all sides of us. We thought coming back that we were running into a storm because every once in a while, the road would be lighted up in a flash like lightning, but we found out that it was just big guns. The French lieut. says we have made a very good name for ourselves here and has sent in a request that we be put where there will be some attack work as it has been so easy and unexciting here.

A couple of days ago two more boys in S. S. U. 29 were hit. One was Jack Newland, a Phila. boy that most of us knew. The other was Julian Allen, the chef of the section. Newland was killed and Julian Allen wounded. They are operating only about 15 miles from us.

Now I must go get lunch or the poilus will have it all gone. Many thanks for my birthday celebration - just a month late, but none the worse.

Harvey.

 

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but these were just broken.

The roads up here aren't made for pleasure autos either and the big 2 - 8 ton camions loaded with shells soon put holes in them that are more than noticeable in our petits voiturettes. This morning I went over one road that was covered with soup about two to three inches deep and that's not exaggerating. It has rained a lot lately and all the clay dust has turned to a mass with about the consistency of molasses. That's what I have been running through all day. I went also to a poste de secours this morning over a road just about wide enough for one vehicle and consequently with two lovely deep ruts that were absolutely full of slime, so you can imagine what the car looks like. Every time I hit a hole the spray would come up over the dark. It was like motor boating in a choppy sea. The underwear have been fine lately and I like the shirts without sleeves and the drawers are just right.

There is a bombardment going on near one of our posts about eight kilometers away. There is just one roll punctuated by the extra big guns once in a while and then the whole place shakes. Things look more lively now than they have been for some time so maybe we will get some real work. I hope so. Please thank Betty for her notes. I would love to see "The Kid" swimming with her and Hanny, too. I have to grant Bet something on that U. S. flag note paper. Rather swell.

The Bosche are shelling a town back of us and the huge shells are going over us. They must be 380's at least and have the weirdest whistle. However, we are quite used to that.

Harvey.

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