U.S. Army of Occupation WWI Letter Feb. 8, 1919

 This letter was written by a Captain, who was part of the Army of Occupation, during WWI. The letter is written on American Expeditionary Forces, Young Men’s Christian Association , Army of Occupation letterhead, February 8, 1919. In the letter, he gives a very detailed account of a trip to Paris, and some French soldiers that were killed on his train. From the letter…….

Dear Honey:
   Well sweetie I want to beg your pardon for not writing before but I have had some things to9 do since last writing you, and you can see why the delay in writing.
   On the 31 of January I received word from Headquarters that I could have a leave to Paris and to let them know within ½ hour. At first I said to myself “guess I’ll stick by the ship” then I remembered your letter where you said “go to Paris if you can” so I said well sure I will, so I accepted the leave.
   I had a leave which gave me three days in Paris exclusive of ?, so it wasn’t half bad. I left the 1st of February Saturday and got back here the next Thrusday at midnight.
   I will now tell you about the trip, well Lt.s Chapman, Herrick, Burgess, Given, and myself made up the party and we all started from the station here on the 10:30 train Saturday, and the trains sure were crowded but managed to get a seat most of the way to Paris. We went on the same train down or rather up the Moselle River to Treves or Trier from there to Metz., which was a beautiful ride. When we arrived at Metz we found a train waiting there was suppose to have gone three or four hours before to Paris so we rushed on that and when we got there we found we had lost Lt. Burgess in the rush, so we let it go at that and decided to stick as we had seats and let him come the best he could. By that time it was getting dark, so we lit the light and had some of my grub Mrs. Mishelbaum? put up for me, consisting of a piece of Roast beef, bread, butter and a bottle of light wine and it was lucky I brought it as we would have starved on the way.
   Well the trip sure was hard on us as there were no sleepers (don’t know what they are here I guess) and we slept sitting up which you know is not very restful, well in our compartment were seven of us, which ought to seat six, there were four of us on a three seat place and a French Lt. Col and a French 2nd Lt. with his wife. And the 2nd Lt. and his wife were not very conducive to my good feelings so they were loving all the way to Paris and there I sat green with envy at any man so lucky as to be with his wife. Well, we slept an hour or two all night and arrived in Paris at 5 A.M. Sunday then we registered into the city, got our passes then went to the Bellevue Hotel on Rue de ‘L’ Opera and got rooms. Lt. Chapman and myself and Lt.s Given and Herrick bunking together. We had breakfast at a funny little French café’ where some American officers who are on duty in Paris have a Mess, and there we sure had some breakfast consisting of  a real cup of chocolate, 2 fried eggs, (just think real eggs and fresh) and some French bread in sticks as it were.
   After breakfast we started out sightseeing and as it was Sunday we had to look at places open so we saw the Triumphant Arch and all the cannon captured from the Bosh, and saw the Louvre on the outside, then we took a street car and saw the Madiline ?? Which was very beautiful and another place where the Swiss Soldiers who took part in the French Revolution were buried. Then we had dinner at the Hotel where we stopped. (this in the A.M.)
   IN the P.M. we went around and saw a painting of the War , the Pantheon, then went and saw the Eiffel Tower, and the big Ferris wheel all the houses around the Tower were vacant on account of the danger of bombs being aimed at the tower, then up by the big music hall on the name, I have forgotten but have it on a postal card. We had supper in the Café’ de Paris which was some place with a waiter at each elbow looking for a tip every time he coughed etc. and the place was filled up with many beautiful women all dressed in the latest fashions and usually without much on. Well we enjoyed it very much, here was only Chappie and myself as the other two were out looking for girls after the supper which was some supper as you can imagine and which cost a good bit also. We went to the Follies which was some show, more of an American show than anything else. The songs were sung in English mostly and the talking was a mixture of French and English, the show was good as a whole, but the wild Paris women were the biggest part of the show as they were ragged out in great style with paint, low pumps silk stockings. You may think it strange that I talk this way but you must realize how a fellow gets after months and months of this German stuff.
   After the show Chappie and I turned in to bed. Woke up Monday A.M. about 9 then we started on our tour of Paris. We drifted around town saw Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Eustice and several interesting places which were so numerous I can’t remember them all without looking at my map. We also at the same time looked at several shops and in the P.M. I bought a little lace which I will bring home with me for fear they might get lost in the mail. We went out to a Cathedral which has the tombs of numerous kings of France back as far as 547 A.D. This was a very beautiful place and well worth the trip and the time. Monday P.M. we went to the Opera, which was a beautiful theatre and music with a very pretty play call Momon? Which was all in French, but was very fine even if we only knew one or two word they said, and it was very interesting to see the Paris audience and their customs at the theatre.
   Wednesday we went through the Louvre museum in the A.M. after breakfast and saw Venus de Milo and thousands of old pieces of sculpture, and it was very interesting only we could not take the time to stop and appreciate all the wonderful things we were seeing. After the Louvre we went and saw the Tomb of Napoleon and all the old paintings of his, also a fine collection of ancient armor used by Knights in the old days. IN the evening we went to the Edward VII Opera house and saw a typical French show, a French show based on love and most of the costumes were very scant which made it all in all very attractive show but hard on a poor old married man. Chappie and myself were the only Americans there that night so we saw something French which was fine.
   Well lets see as we arrived at 8A.M. and the only train for Goblenz left at 7:30 A.M. the morning, so we had 11 hours extra to kick around in, so in the A.M. of Thursday we ate breakfast then settled up with the Hotel keeper and packed our luggage and bought a lunch to eat on the train, in the P.M. we were going out to Versailles to see the palaces out there of the old French kings but we abandoned the trip, and it was a good thing because latter in the P.M. it started to rain and rained quite hard, so we went to a movie show.  Had an early supper and went to the train early so we could see if we could get a seat, we finally did get a place by getting into a place that was supposed to be reserved and pulling off the reserve sign that was there.
   We left Paris at 8:30 and everything went fine until we got to Chateau Thierry, and while going through a tunnel a car caught on fire and someone pulled the emergency cord and the train stopped right in the middle of the tunnel. The fire of course drove the people out on to the other track in the tunnel and just after we stopped another express came through in the opposite direction and killed about 7 or 8 French soldiers and injured about 20 or 30. It sure was exciting as this all happened two short cars above the one I was in. Well the Frenchmen in our compartment got worried as the tunnel was full of smoke and reported that the fire was coming our way so we all piled out and waked out of the tunnel. After a while we moved back to our place and after picking up the injured we started along going to the station at Chateau Thierry, and leaving them. The rest of the trip was uneventful. We got into Metz at 1:30 P.M had dinner then took a walk around the town.  The city was in very good condition and had not been destroyed as far as we could see, but we could not see the forts as the French are very suspicious of all persons there. I was surprised however at the amount of food and clothing there was in Metz.
   We left Metz at 7.P.M. for Goblenz and on this train had plenty of room and enjoyed the comfort of being able to have at least 3 or 4 inches of space between you and the next one. Probably you wonder about what I did for you dearie. Well possibly by the time you get this letter you will have received someitng from Paris. If not you should receive it about the last of February at least. I won’t tell you what it is. I wish dearie you could have seen your bashful husband shopping with Chappie and Lt. Herrick as body guards to see hat I got along alright. We wondered all over the store trying to find what I thought I was looking for, but someone spotted a little French girl who could talk English to keep us going straight. I hope dearie that you will like what I sent you and tha tit is something like what you want and that it will arrive all OK.
   Well sweetie it will take pages and pages to tell all about the things I saw in Paris so I will not write it all now.
   Well sweetie I will close this time and will write again tomorrow.

As ever your loving husband,

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