325th Infanry Lt. WWI Letter France Combat details

This letter was written by a 1st Lieutenant, who was in the 325th Infantry, in Percy-le-Grand, France at the time he wrote the letter. In the letter he mentions in detail some of the action he saw. From the letter…..

My Dear Little Girl:

   Your letters of November 17th and 22nd, received and was more than glad to hear from you. They cheer me up wonderfully.
    Though have had more time to write than heretofore for some reason have been unable to get down to writing. Have started letter after letter only to finally burn it up, but intend to mail this one and if it is disconnected, blurred, etc. humbly ask you to overlook the same. In the first place this old machine that has been hauled all over France, bumped about has long ago qualified for the Junk shop.
   You were more than fortunate in having as room mates old friends. There are no friends like old friends. Your work at school certainly sounds interesting, and you must be having a great time studying and working along the lines mentioned.
   Am very glad indeed that our symptoms of the Flue proved not to be the forerunner of that dreaded disease, and that you have recovered.
   As you mentioned opportunities for travel, observation etc. are great now, and it looks like will see duty in Germany. But though am having the easiest time since entering the service as now am mounted, don’t have to hike, don’t have to go on the drill grounds except at Parades, Reviews, Ceremonies, most of my work being office work, have much more time to myself. This added to the opportunities does not change my mind - I wish to get back to the USA at once.
    Hope my Division is ordered home in the near future, and if it is not hope that I can get to come back soon anyway. This week in answering questions put to the Officers stated I did not want a Commission in the Regular Army or in the Reserves but wished immediate separation from the Service. Really would like to stay in the Reserve, but fear they will call them out for a period of training each year when it would be least convenient for me to go.
   Wish very much for an early return to the States, once more to be a private citizen, or rather a private under your command. Are you going to put me on Kitchen Police often? If so ask extreme leniency as haven’t done any cooking lately. In the last scrap we ere fortunate to get anything to eat and cold Bully Beef tasted just fine, as hungry, we, cold man can eat this and hard tack like it was chicken. Everything is running smooth now and so don’t have to improvise hot meals.
   Do you think you want to practice law or far? Now wouldn’t farming jar you? Quiet farm life certainly appeals to one after having rambled, fought, campaigned so far from the home base.
   Have mentioned something of my fighting. My Division was in the St. Mihil drive but as it was the Right Pivot of the advance did not see the hardest fighting in this drive, though we had heavy Artillery and Gas attacks, but there was nothing in the St. Mihil drive to compare with the Muse-Argonne fight. Here we had no trouble to keep contact with the enemy. He was on every hill and amply supplied with Machine Guns and ammunition, and his Artillery was never more active.
   Will try to give a description of one of our trips over the top and of the jumping off place. On October 11th, our Bn. Was for a short while in Brigade Reserve. The Major received orders to send two companies to the Commanding Officer of our Reg. Companies B and C were ordered up; We advanced along a road, the only route, that was under heavy Artillery bombardment, passing as we advanced dead men and horses, suffering some casualties en route. Upon reporting were ordered to take up a position in a gulley on the left flank of the Regiment to protect the Regiments left flank as the unit on our left had not come up, but were we were destined to be here for only a short time. The Third Bn. Had taken the hill to the immediate right of St. Juvan for three times only to be driven off each time, and word was passed down to us the Germans were coming, the Third Bn. Was seen in retreat. We were ordered to take up a position along the Somme France-St. Juvan road. We ran up this road, took up a position in the gulley , and for what I though at defensive position. The enemy Artillery was in a very short time put down on this road, it was being covered all too well with Machine Gun fire, and about this time we received orders to take the hill the Third Bn. Had been fighting for, we went over in the face of a most awful Machine Gun fires an d fierce Artillery barrage, and though suffered heavy losses gained and held the hill. In the mean time our Major had received orders to report the other two companies A and D to the Commanding Officer of the Reg. on our right, and while en route to him met him and was informed the Reg. on our right was retiring and that the two companies were to be reported back to our Col. Whi9ch the Jaj. Did and they took up position immediately to our rear supporting us. The left flank was already exposed, now our right flank was exposed. We were receiving fire from the front, left and right. The Commanding Officer of the unit on our right was immediately relieved d of hi command and is now back in the states. We later used this hill as a jumping off place for another attack. Was with my Reg. during every advance it made in this fight, save the last one, which was for a short distance only. But before was evacuated participated in some hared fighting at the last jumping off place of our Reg. in the was, here I was in two attempts to take the objective that was later taken and in two counter attacks which were repulsed. Either of the tow attempts would have been successful had the units on our flanks been up with u. Though we were in advance of our flanks order came down for us to advance, and advance we did.

I wish for you a Merry, Merry Christmas and a happy prosperous, pleasant New Year. With Love,

No comments: