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World War One, Letter from Albert Smith



France
Oct. 15, 1918.
Mr. Mcgregor Smith
Cookeville, Tenn.

Dear "Greg":

I received a letter from you a few weeks ago but have not had time to answer for we have been exceedingly busy. We are speedy[?] clearing France of the Huns and making Europe safe for you Kids to come over next spring. This wil be the most peaceable country in the world in about sixty days. You just think that you want to come over here we wont need you. I wanted to come over pretty badly and was happy as a lark the day we left New York but that will be nothing to the state of my feeling when I start back to the states. If the Statue of liberty ever sees me again it will have to about face and come down south to find me after she sees me pass going into the harbor at New York on my way home. This is the wettest muddiest country I ever saw, it has been raining steadily for seven weeks. I stepped in a mud hole the other night and went up to my waist in mud and didnt get to change clothes and in fact I haven't changed yet. I haven't changed for over two month and havent even had my clothes off for that length of time. I have not had a bath for six weeks and none in sight for I haven't the slightest idea of using what little drinking water I get in my canteen for batheing purposes. I shave as often as possible for the beard on my face keeps my Gas mask from being effective and the germans use quite a bit of gas. Gas and machine gun is their only effective weapons. I have been on every front in France. You cant imagine how torn up this country really is. Every where there are wire entanglements and trenches and dug outs. Even out of the war zone there are entanglements and dugouts to protect the civilians from air raids. I have been from border to border of France and I mean I made the trip on foot throughout the country like a Gypsy horse trader we would hike a while and then stop and fight a while. It was a great hike but a hard one as it was raining every day and night. The hardest fight we were in was in the Argenne Forest Our batterries were the one that destroyed the machine gun nest at Montfaucon. I was at the Forward observation post the night the barrage was laid during the big drive of the last few weeks. The barrage that night was the heaviest one ever laid in France. I saw ever bit of it and saw the infantry go over the top. That certainly was a night that I will always remember. Our doughboy are the greatest men in the world, they certainly have "Fritz" bluffed: During Aug. When we were in a drive against mount Sac the strongest fortified hill in France we supported a regement of Negro infantry and when they went over the top and up the hill they were sayingÉto them germans "take yo hats off white folks no Kazerade [?] to late now." They sure did slaughter the Huns. The southern boys are certainly hard fighters. The third Tenn. Infantry is the hardest fighting regement over here. I understand that they have been cited by the British for bravery. At Cambrai they were the americans that advanced thru the heart of the city and cleared the place of machine guns.

Don't worry about coming over here stay in school that is your service to your country. I am in good health and ready to come home after the war but not before, I will do my bit here. I was appointed for the officers, training camp this month for the third time but refused it, I will go later on in the year I want to stay on the front as long as the war lasts. Be good and study HARD have a good time and write often.

Love to all,
Albert.
Corp. Albert P. Smith
Hq. Co. 115 F.A. American Expdt. France.
 


 

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