September 23, 1918

33d letter

Dear Mother:-

When I went down to mail my last letter, I found three bundles of papers waiting a Tribune, some Sunday picture sections and a Saturday Evening Post. Today some more newspapers and a letter came. Thanks a lot for all of them - not only from me, but from a good many of the other fellows, too.

The day after I wrote I went up to another of the posts and the second day I was there, the Austrians gave us quite a bit of excitement. I suppose the official report gave it out as "unusual artillery action" and it was all of that. So far, we had seen nothing but shrapnel and in no great quantities, but this time they used high explosives and sprayed all the neighborhood with it from about 1:30 P. M. until 6.

I was working on the car when they decided to take a couple of shots at the post instead of the batteries in the fields. The first one hit nine or ten paces from where I was working and only a bamboo screen was between it and me. However, it went down pretty deep in the soft mud and only threw some dirt. They put in two others - one just.missed the other end of the house and one landed by the shack they use for a kitchen, but nobody was hurt, although it was quite a bit of excitement. We found one of the shells the next day in a field. It was 110 cen. or about 4 inches. That is plenty big enough to make quite a racket. Towards the end of the afternoon, I went up to one of the first line posts and found the road covered chunks of new earth for nearly half a mile. They put six or eight shells in the ditch and made two direct hits on the road. That was four days ago. Two days ago, they did the same thing only they used more shrapnel and reached still further back along the road.

Four or five of us have been developing some kind of an irritation or bites which appear around the knees where the pants fit tight and around your waist. One of the boys claims it is just a skin irritation which results from stomach trouble and that it comes and goes. That may be true, for this is the second time I have had it and the first time it did disappear just sort of naturally. But I still think that we have collected some genuine cooties from the men who ride in front with us, or possibly although I don't see how - from one of the posts.

Anyway, I stopped- off at an officers' bath today and got a hot shower in a regular private suite consisting of a bathroom and dressing room. Now I have nothing on which I started off with this morning, except a necktie.

I imagine that tomorrow there will be quite a bit of mail as it usually comes in bunches every week or ten days and quite a bit came today, although it was all for only some six or seven fellows.

We haven't a full section any more as five fellows who came over from section two got fired. A good riddance, too, I think. Anyway, we hate to stay eight days on post now for four in camp. It makes it busier, but I will try to write as often as I can.