Friday, April 21, 2006

A Letter from my Uncle to my Father - 1918

I never met my Uncle Jim as he died in 1925. He had served in the Army in World War I in Europe and, according to my father, he was gassed while serving there. As a result he died when he was only 38 years old.
When my father died in 1968 my mother gave me his watch and some papers. Among these was a letter from Uncle Jim to my father in 1918. This is the letter:

ON ACTIVE SERVICE
WITH THE
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES

Sept. 2, 1918

Dear Austin,

I received your letter and was very surprised and also very very glad to hear from
you. I was thinking you had forgotten me. I am very glad to hear you are getting along so well and take my advise kid and forget the army. The war will be over before you are old enough to be drafted and don't hope for it to last for it's lasted long enough now, and any way if you go then Mother will be alone and that wouldn't do, bud, so forget it.

You want souveniers, maybe I'll get some, but if I do I recon I'll either have to steal some or someone will have to give them to me for the only Germans I have seen have been prisoners marching past our camp and the only shooting I have done was at fish in the river and I never even got one of them either. The outfit, bud, it's a supply train and I am a cook way back from the lines but I can sure hear the fighting and see some of the results of it. Once in a while we have to dig for cover when the airplanes are around and the schrapnell starts whistling but the drivers have it harder for the Boche [unintelligible] this and they have to do most of their running at night without lights but so far we have had no caaualities in our Company. Bill is in the outfit that will get it. He is in a depot brigade. They use the men from the depot brigade to fill the places of men who are knocked out. So you can take off your hat to Bill if he gets back. I wrote to him but have never received an answer. It takes a long time for mail to come and go here but I expect to here from him soon. So if Mame told you I was a fighter she must have meant a booze fighter.

You want to take good care of the Bum and if you know of anyone that has a good bull bitch and would like to mate with him you aught to get a pretty goof pup out of it. I saw some of his pups in Sheridan and they were all of them pretty good looking pups. There [unintelligible] and all good dogs. I don't know how old he is about 7 or 8 months old when I got him. That was July 14, 1917 so he isn't very old.

Well, Bud, there isn't much to tell you. The weather is getting chilly and it won't be long till winter is here. They tell me it only gets down to 30 below here, but we have plenty of good warm clothes. An advantage over Fritz, but I don't think it will be enough

[ two lines unintelligible]

they are sure giving the Germans hell and that's the truth. I think Fritz is on his last legs now.

[ several lines unintelligible]

Will close for this time and hope you will write again. I will write to you again sometime and let you know how I'm getting along. Give mother my love.

From Your Brother,
Jim

Cook Jas. W. Eagan
Co. E. 112 Supply Train
A.P.O. 763 American E. F.

Thursday, April 20, 2006