Saturday, September 29, 2018

World War I Letters of Russell County, January 24, 1919

The following letter appears in the December 20th issue of the Lebanon News:


Headquarters, Co. M, 317th Inf.
American Expeditionary Forces,
December 9th, 1918

Mrs. Sam Bartee,
St. Paul, Va.,

My Dear Madam,

I am in receipt of your letter stating that you have been officially notified of your son's death.

John Williams was one of the old men of my company, having been with it from its organization. From the first day he came to Camp Lee he was always willing and enthusiastic to do his full duty and was in every way a fine soldier. When my company went into the drive north of Verdun on Sept. 25th, he was a Platoon Runner, one of the most important positions in a platoon organization. A runner must be strong, reliable and willing to go any where at any time that duty calls him, thus your son was. From the 29th to October 1st when we came out for a short rest John Williams cheerfully did valuable work for his platoon.

While in reserve on the night of October 3rd, my company was under rather severe artillery fire. One shell struck near where he was sleeping, wounding him in the head and two of his comrades who were sleeping near by. I saw him shortly afterward and he seemed to be suffering no great pain. I remained with him while his wounds was dressed and saw him put in an ambulance about twenty minutes later. It was with the deepest regret that a few days later I learned that he had died Oct. 5th.

I can assure you that your son was liked and admired by all his officers and fellowmen, and that it was with the greatest sorrow that they heard of his death.

Your son was one of those noble American soldiers who gave his life for his country in the greatest of all wars.

I remain sincerely yours
Captain 317 Infantry."