|Letter from Lieutenant Charles E. Hurlbutt, Company K, 23rd United States Infantry, 2nd Division, to his mother.
June 11, 1918
It is now nearing supper time but as time is very valuable at present, I take this opportunity to start a letter home to you.
You undoubtedly are reading of the work of the Americans on checking the advance of the Boche between Rheims and Soissone and their work north of Chateau Thierry. After joining the Company on return from school I arrived just in time to take part in an attack. We run in a mess of Machine Guns and lost but few in Dead but a number of wounded. You perhaps would like to know how I came out. So I shall say that it is only in answer to your many prayers that enables me to write at this time as the Canteen I carry was hit by one of the bullets. Many of the men around me received wounds with but few killed. I cannot write all but save this letter and ask me about the battle of June 6th & 7th. when I return to you. I feel sure that I will because if ever I was exposed to great danger it was then. At the present time I am further in the rear but still among the roar of the heavy guns.
The men in the Division to which I belong are doing a wonder-work today as the German prisoners have been going by all day long in groups of from 30 to 125 men. It is now 5:15. In all I should say that about 6 or 7 hundred have been taken by here to day and it is reported that more are coming.
We live in the open, sleep on the ground under "Dog tents", eat on the ground. Etc.
While speaking of the German prisoners going by I neglected to state that they all seemed to be glad that they were captured as they smiled and appeared as happy as could be. A few of them carried a loaf of bread under their arm and they were as tickled as could be. Our bread is piled about in the woods and along the roadside like cord wood and a few of them managed to get a hold of some of the bread.
There were old and young alike. More young than old. All of which were poorly dressed and very tired looking.
Things over here look as though the war will come to a close during the Fall months probably the month of November.
While on my return trip to the Company I had to go through Paris. It sure is a wonderful city in fact it is as one big park system. Saw where the big guns did some of their work
Received a letter from Mr. Parker and Ethel and wished that you would thank them for me as I won't have time to write them today. If we don't move tonight I will answer their letter tomorrow. Also Phone Cora and write Sue for me or forward this letter to her. I believe it best if you wrote Sue instead of sending this.
I have some money in a Paris Bank and will send some to Father when I am in a position to receive my mail and know just how much I can spare. I have my loan about 2/3 paid and after that I shall make Father an allotment of $15.00 per month which shall arrive monthly this will start with October pay as I shall be square with the bank in September.
Mother keep courage and have faith for I am sure that I shall return to you after being through the experience of a few days ago.
Returned from supper and have time to write a few more lines.
Being that I have mentioned our living in the open I will say that the weather is settled now with warm days and cool nights with but very little rain. The grain fields are coming nicely and the "Daisy" fields are doing equally well. There are acres of Daisies and Red Poppies which I noticed all along the road.
The saddest sight I see since I have been in this war was that of the refugees on their way to the cities. It was not at all uncommon to see a young boy of 8 or 9 years of age leading a horse while his mother sat on the wagon nursing a babe. The household goods just thrown on the wagon in a hurry to get away.
When writing of the Daisies the Company clerk handed me a letter from Father dated April 28th. It sure does me a lot of good to hear from home and I shall do all I can to let you hear from me. I don't want you to worry about me for these are times that make it impossible to write and no news is good news when these times present themselves as you will be notified through Washington in case of serious trouble or accident.
Was glad to hear that Father received the money order for $80.00 as I was becoming rather worried about it. I sent that just as we were ordered to move in the trenches and I give it to a Y.M.C.A. Woman to buy the money order for me.
Give Aunt Lizzie and uncle Jim my best regards and all other inquiring friends. Chas.
-WORLD WAR I
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009