June 20, 1917

Dear Ma:-

At present I am sitting at the desk of the Lieutenant in charge of the posts de secours where we have been for two days now. I am relieved tomorrow and Adams - the other boy here comes off on the 23rd. However, I might begin about last Sunday.

On that day, we got orders to move from Souhesme. About 10 cars started and we went to our new headquarters and officially took over our sector. It is rather short in length of front, but nevertheless very good, - up on the mountains just East of Verdun. We have a number of stations for cars - 6 cars with two men each being out at the main postes de evacuation for from 3 to 6 days. Last Sunday, the first men went on post. On Monday, I made another trip from Souhesme with baggage and went on here Monday noon. Everything is rather quiet on the way of work. Monday, six malades had to be moved and Tuesday a sick man and one who had been kicked by a horse. Each of the main posts has a number of little ones that are served from the big one. For instance, we have 4 poste de socours very near the lines. We cannot go up there by day, but if necessary, we can at night, or, if there are only one or two men, they may brought back on wheeled stretchers to the posts here. At this poste, we are only 3 kilometers from the front lines.

Monday evening the first excitement came. The Bosche started to shell the road that goes up past here to the front. We are right beside the road in what might be a small quarry in peace times. On the other side is a field that runs all along the road about 200 yards wide, and then woods. Well, the Bosche put about 10 shells in that field, but did not hit anything. We were standing around the corner of one of the buildings, and after a little extra loud explosion, a poilu came around with a piece of eclat - any part of the exploded shell - which was still hot. He had picked it up about five yards from the ambulance where he saw it fall. Yesterday, the Bosche put some more shells in intermittently, but just plowed the field a bit more. In the evening, I walked across the road to where they had been exploding and found in a new shell hole half of the nose of a 137 split in 3 pieces that fitted together. Yesterday also, a Bosche plane came over and almost got hit. It seemed as though the shrapnel was bursting right on him, but he got away. Monday, they did got one.

Today - Wednesday - is still too young for much to have happened. I was awakened this morning by some French naval guns shooting in the woods back of us. They are back and on one side, and on the other side and a short ways back are 3 batteries of 75's, so with the Bosche shells and shrapnel and the aeroplanes, we have quite a chorus.

I am here holding down the posts while "Bridge" Adams, Brancardier and the sergeant of the poste are walking to one of the poste de secours right behind the lines. They will bring back piles of reddish and white strawberries that we will have for lunch. They look like our cultivated berries in the States, but they aren't real red and yet they are soft and juicy. Every lunch we have those for dessert, and at supper, little crimson wild ones that are wonderfully sweet. In fact, the food here is ever so much better than any we get at headquarters, but maybe the reason is that we eat with the lieutenant and sergeant of the poste. Besides, the cook here is a peach and I won't say what I think of ours. I haven't had a thing from home since a week ago last Monday. Have my letters been coming regularly? I have been writing at least once a week and you should get one letter, and usually two, by each boat. I hope word will come from all of you soon.


P.S. A shell just landed while I was addressing the envelope.