WWI Letter From France, American Captain, 1918


Written by a Captain during WW1, in France, on July 2nd, 1918. 

Dear Mother,

   Today is a nice, warm day in sunny France, and very near to the Fourth, too . Does not seem like it, way over here where every day is a real celebration with plenty of fireworks.
   A few days ago I moved my company to another town, and am now resting, having been relieved from active duty by a company that had been in rear for several weeks. Since moving to this locality about fifty days , my company has been on active duty for thirty three days, so now it is our turn to have a long rest.
   This is a nice little quiet village where we are now. My personal billet is a very nice house with a splendid room near my company. The people who own the place have spent many years in New York City and can speak English quite fluently, in fact, they seem like Americans and are planning on returning to America after the war. They have a little girl about 10 years of age and three sons, all in the French Army. The oldest son is 27 years of age, the youngest son, 23 years of age, is a prisoner in Germany. This is the most homelike of all the places I have been in since I came to France. It is because the people seem like Americans and can talk English. Of course, I am learning a little French and can manage to ask for what I want or where I want to go. I do not have the time to study the language like I would like to, tho I expect to learn considerable more during the next six months. I expect we will be here that long, anyway. 
   You speak about the war ending. Well, in my opinion, if I read the signs right, the year 1918 will see the end of the fighting and peace will come in 1919, or the completion of a five year war. There are many reasons why I figure as I do, tho the principal one is the ever increasing military power of the U.S.A.. Then, too, the morale and discipline of the Kaisers hordes is surely being broken by a postponed victory and a general war weariness. Germany’s ally, Austria is also growing weaker, and should Austria be compelled or decide to quit, Germany would be left alone, defeated beyond a doubt, even as she is now, tho will not admit it.
   In my opinion, there will be very little fighting next year, tho I may be all wrong and our army may have to arrive in a large force before we are finally victorious, as we are sure to be.
   It will soon be a year since I went into army service, and I surely have had many and varied experiences besides seeing much during that time. The time, also has passed very rapidly, and it will soon bye six months since we left the U.S.A. On July 24th I am entitled to my first gold service bar. Hope I do not have to stay over here until I get five or six.
   I have been waiting very patiently to hear what Art has done regarding military service. Just so I know where he is or what branch of the service he has joined. Also note you say he has written to me. I am surprised at that and have not as yet received his letter.
   Heard from Margaret and she says that she and the kiddies are well. I am glad to hear that, and suppose that when I get home I will find not babies any more, but little girls. They will just about grow up ;while I am away. 
   Last Sunday I stood in a beautiful French cemetery about ten miles from here and put flowers on the greave of one of my men, the third one to give up his life. His name is Cpl. Leo M. Miller and his home is in Hortonville, Wisconsin, about 17 miles from Appleton. He was taken sick and died in about a week. Pneumonia got him. I have another one sick with the same disease, but expect he will get better as I saw him today and he does not appear to be any worse. I now have one man buried in Scotland, one in France and one never found, presumably at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, but then, there are quite a number of good American boys who have already been buried here, and many more ill be, even if the war lasts only a year longer every day sees it’s list of dead and wounded.
   On July 4, all over France, there is to be a big celebration in honor of the Americans the day has been set aside, by proper decree, as a big festival day for the French people, who have caught the proper spirit and who are heart and soul in the movement. They tell us that July 4th will hereafter always be a feast day in France. The French Independence Day comes on July 14th. By this you can get some idea how the French people feel toward us. They try to use us as well as they know how and nothing can ever shake the friendship of France and the U.S.A.
   Well, Mother, I am going to stop writing and go to work. Usually there isn’t much to write about and I do not know how I manages to write such a ling letter. Speech making again. Give my love to all, and don’t worry. Your son,  

Writing on back of photo says: Wilbor on right

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