June 25, 1917

Dear Ma:-

Not being busy this evening, as I thought I would be, I am going to write a line. For the last four days I have been at a hospital which is one of the first line. That is, it is where the wounded are brought direct from the posts de secours where the other cars are stationed. We have three of these hospitals in this sector and, as the men are brought in and really fixed up with good bandages and splints instead of mere first aid dressings, they have to be evacuated back to the hospitals further south. That is what I have been doing mostly. Since I last wrote you I have been doing this kind of work and going back about 25 kilometers with the men. Until yesterday, there have been two cars here, so we each made about a trip a day. Yesterday they withdrew the other car, so that I have been doing all the work for the last two days

Yesterday, almost as soon as the other car had gone, a call came (about 3 P. M.). I made that trip and came back, only to find another call had come while I had been gone. I took about 15 minutes to get a bite of supper and 3 cups of good strong coffee. While I was eating, another order came in saying that I was to go to a new posts de secours which was not on our map, and on the big divisional it was just a point in the woods with no road or path leading to it. Well, I made my first trip and then set out to find this other place. I was to get there by ten o'clock and of course could not use lights. Well, we found the road eventually and the only way I can describe it is this: if you took the road that runs from Normandy Heights across through the woods to the school and piled cracked stone on one side and had a narrow gauge railroad on the other and then tried to go over it in the early spring when the frost was just getting out of that clay and making nice deep mud holes every ten or twenty feet, with just room between the railway and the cracked stone for a car, and ran over three miles of that, you might have a small idea of the road that leads to this poste. And that road is called a good road by comparison with others of the neighborhood.

Today I spent the morning tightening bolts and generally fixing up Henry, for he needed it. I have wondered why they boost the Ford so for this service, but after the way this car of mine behaved last night, I can understand.

I only have had one trip to make today, and tomorrow I will be relieved and have a day off and then go out to another poste.

The mail from [blank - security?] came in today and two bundles of newspapers and the package with the toilet paper (of which I have a great plenty now), the handkerchiefs (which are great), the peppermints and wedding cake were in it. The two latter were very welcome, and tasted extra good because we have so few sweets of any kind. The tooth paste also arrived just in time as my last tube is very low.

Yesterday I found out why woolen underwear, warm clothes, etc., are advocated so. I was driving continuously from 3 till nearly twelve that night with only 15 minutes for supper, and when the days are very hot the nights are cold and damp so that it seems to get right into one's bones. And besides, that coffee (which is mostly chicory) was all that I had hot and I had to heat that on a stove in the hospital. So, with only cold things inside, for a good 60% of our food when on post is cold, and a cold night to drive through, one needs warm things.

The day before yesterday, I had a chance to get to Verdun and naturally I went. I walked quite a lot about the town, and in places it is all shot to ruins and in others only a roof here and there is knocked in. I met a sergeant (French) who spoke some English. He took it upon himself to show us the town and while we were in one of the empty houses rummaging around, I found a Bosche incendiary bomb that had not gone off and which I have now. There is not a soul in the town except poilus who are back out of the trenches for one, two or three days.

It has just began to rain quite hard and, as I am writing in my car since there was not light enough indoors, I must stop.

Thank Betty for sending me the papers, and also remember me to any who are asking for me. I hope you tell Aunt Nina when you hear from me, as I haven't written to her because I thought she most likely saw all my letters to you. Now I must stop before this note gets drenched.

Harvey.

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