US Army Doctor WWI Letter from Luxembourg 1919 and French Cootey

This envelope contained two letters, written by an Army Doctor. The first letter was the letter that was mailed in the envelope, it is dated February 28, 1919, Luxembourg. The second letter was from November 14, 1918, while this soldier was still in France. The interesting thing about the second letter, is that it has some “French Cooties”  encased in candle wax on the letter. If you hold the letter up to the light (like instructed in the letter) you can see the Cootey. Cootey was a nickname given to lice by soldiers. From the first letter (Luxembourg)…….

Dear Father and Mother,
   Well Dad guess they thought I either deserved promoting or felt sorry for me because I am now wearing a couple of boars. I need the money so am glad. I will have a chance to get a little out of it before I am mustered out and may be after all deserved it as much as some of the S.O.S.ers too. At any rate this generation at least won as much in this war for the family as in the Civil War days. I would have felt rather badly if I didn’t advance from what I did when I came in. Would have felt that my military career had not been much of a success, as it is I might tell you that I have had 8 recommendations that I know of one even before I left Logan and nothing came of them. Was either pigeonholed or something. I just said nothing about this as I was always a little reluctant to say these things when I was the one that the tooting was for. But thought you might feel better to know it was no sudden impulse on anybodies part to send it out now. There were some cased in which the officers wrote home that they had been promoted and letters came in with a raised rank much to their discomfort. Don’t say anything about this to anybody or send this letter around. I will tell the ones I want to if it ever comes to the point but don’t think I will say anything to anybody about it.
   Well I am feeling fine. Hope you are both the same and that I don’t get home later than May at the most. It is rumored that we may be sent ahead of that time. As it is we are third out of the 5 divisions to go. We may go into Germany in the place of some of those that are to go and then be in turn relieved and then go home by way of Rotterdam Holland. I would hate to think of going back by way of Brest again besides we could see so much more this way too. I guess I might take a leave now that I get a little more I can afford it better. But will see I may not since I got to go to ?,Toul, and Metz. The traveling conditions are such that one more than pays for the time in the discomforts going and coming. Must close hoping to see you soon.

Your son,

From the second letter dated November 14, 1918, France………

Dear Folks,
   Well I just rec. your first letter in many months Mother today and enjoyed it very much. None can write just like you, you know just I just censored a letter where a man sent a Cootey home in a letter so asked one of the men to find one to send you, not that I haven’t’ got them but they should be hard to find as I changed completely since coming here. Will only send 3. These are small ones sorry couldn’t send some with service stripes on. Well the most trying dangerous and greatest endurance tests a division battalion has gone thru and was the only medical officer in charge as am alone in the battalions since I came here one officer transferred and two in hospital but guess they can’t get rid of this Dr. who hasn’t had a day leave since he came into the army. Was off a few Sundays when Esther was in Houston by arranging with the other officers and I was only too glad.
   Didn’t get but about 6 hours sleep in 3 days. Well, I wrote Esther the details of the thing and this is all the paper I got so she sends them to you anyway. But will say that we had some show. Evacuated about as many cases as in any action of the battalions in the division I think in as short a time with two medical men and I believe as well cared for. Swamped the ambulance Co. who are supposed to take them from our station. But by using our cart took them 1 kilo to the rear. Had two other aid posts most of the time and I don’t think had a hitch anywhere. I have been told some nice things. Mother do you think I, your son,  would ask anybody for a raise if I can’t get it by earning it so they can’t well help give it to me, I will go without. Please don’t send this letter farther as I don’ wish to have them hear any of the affair which I hope I will never have to go thru again for the men’s sake. If I get anything I will let you know but not before. It is better to get official notice than what I might tell for at times I feel as though what I write is to much.
   Well the men did fine, did everything an officer could ask of them have no criticism anywhere for anyone of them at any time. A shell lit about 5 feet from one of them and took the end of his shoe off and cut the end of his big toe almost ?? Him. threw fragments and dirt over the other men but they never left their post. All the line men did and walked in with them. Another man one of the other post ran across an open space with machine guns after him to attend a Captain wounded. One thing when Jerry began closing in they might not by ??? When the order came to stand all got a rifle and took their places in the ???. I told John, well you may be a non combatant but you sure showed y9ou were not neutral. One thing I had always seemed to dread and that as not to have enough dressings to take care of a show? And always carried a box that I made up after my own ideas, not but what the government stuff was OK, but I wanted to be set for speed as well as efficiency and had everything go fine. We went thru a lot all right as civilian would think but if busy you don’t think……..*note: the letter stopped here, and is obviously missing at least one page*

No comments: