Saturday, February 25, 2017

World War I Letters of Russell County, June 21, 1918

The following letter appeared in the June 21, 1918 issue of the Lebanon News.

"Supply Co., 38 Infantry
A. E. F. France, May 25, 1918

Dear father and mother:

As I have been in England and France since April 2, and I haven't heard from you all yet, but you know as well as I do I am a long ways from home and it takes about 60 days for me to get a letter to you and a reply. After I start a letter it goes to the mail box and then taken to the orderly room and censored by the captain. It then leaves the company and goes to other officers to be censored and I do not know how many hands it goes thru before it leaves the foreign countries. I have written you all several letters, but I do not know whether you received them or not, but hope you have. This leaves me well and happy and liking army life over here in France just fine. I only wish I had joined the army sooner. Well I can say Uncle Sam is sure treating the boys as nice as can be over here. We sure do get plenty of good old U. S. grub to eat here. We get our chow three times per day regularly. We do not get the same thing every meal either. The American Y. M. C. A. keeps all kinds of candies and cakes. They keep the boys well supplied with writing paper, envelopes, pens, ink, chairs and tables to write on. Well mother, I want to say this much if it wasn't for the Y. M. C. A. here in France, I do not know what the boys would do. When I get out of the army I am going to contribute and boost the Y. M. C. A. I attend church here as often as I can. All the Sammy boys are welcome when they go. Most of the services are held in the Y. M. C. A. in the old stone buildings about a century and a half old, large rooms and high walls, the window panes stained and decorated with beautiful flowers and pictures. You ought to hear the French kids sing. They sing so well and look so cute with their rosy red cheeks and patched clothes and bare-footed. They call on the Sammy boys and ask of them, "cigarettes for pap, penny for mama, candy for me." And every chance we get we are teaching them American slang they sure do learn fast. I found everything quite different from what I expected to find it. This is a beautiful country and every thing looks so nice over here. The land is mostly smooth and everything is kept in the best of shape. They can do this as each man has such as small tract of land. The roads are good, nice stone walls for fence.

I haven't met many of my chums of the training camps as yet but hope to meet them later and talk with them.

Well I guess I had better close for this time as you know I am not allowed to write so much. I do not know how much of this will pass the censor. I hope this will find you all well and enjoying life to the fullest extent.

Don't worry about me for I am getting along fine and I hope to be back with you soon, as I think the war will soon be over for Uncle Sam has enough soldiers over here now to lick the Germans and most of us will get home soon. I will be pleased to have a letter from you all at once. Will write as often as I can.

Your son,
Private A. L. Smith"