April 7, 1918. He opens with “nothing much to add” since he’s under the censor’s blade not to discuss anything of “real interest, such as the present offensive.” [note]

He spends a paragraph on spring, noting that one of the boulevards he frequents has a swath of elms followed by a similar row of sycamores: “it looks like spring where the elms are and still winter where are the sycamores.”

The Bosche let us have two long distance shells yesterday, his first in several days, but with no damage. Saturday and Sunday seem to be favorite days for dropping them in; haven’t heard any yet this morning but shouldn’t wonder he’ll favor us before the day is over.

He recounts feeling “pretty envious” over the departure of a friend who is “sailing for home tomorrow.” We haven’t heard much from Monty that suggests homesickness or feelings about his situation. Though he misses being in South Carolina during spring, he gives us a bit of insight into his own ambivalence as well as engagement with the excitement of the war. “As much as I’d like to get home for a while and see you all, guess I wouldn’t like to go if I couldn’t come back here again before the show is over.”

To the end of staying for the rest of the show perhaps, he asks his mother to send “the extra khaki uniform I sent back from New York and one extra pair of khaki trousers.”

 

Transcribed Letter:

A.P.O. 702 A.E.F.,

April 7, 1918

Dear Mother: –

Don’t believe I have anything much to add to my letters of a day or two ago as one doesn’t discuss matters of real interest, such as the present offensive[1], in letters owing to certain rules and regulations promulgated by the Censor.

We’ve had a truly April week so far as weather is concerned, alternatively showers and sunshine. The trees are getting out their leaves in good shape, that is all except the sycamores of which there are a great many in Paris and which seem to be very late. One Boulevard I travel every day has sycamores about halfway in elms the rest; consequently it looks like spring where the elms are and still winter where are the sycamores. Was out through the Bois de Bologne a couple of Sundays ago and it looked really springlike there. Want to get out that way again this afternoon for it should be more beautiful every week now

The Bosche let us have two long distance shells yesterday, his first in several days, but with no damage. Saturday and Sunday seem to be favored days for dropping them in; haven’t heard any yet this morning but shouldn’t wonder if he’ll favor us before the day is over.

Saw a colonel I know yesterday who was sailing for home tomorrow which made me feel pretty envious. However, as much as I’d like to get home for a while and see you all, guess I wouldn’t like to go if I couldn’t come back here again before the show is over.

No more mail from home yet but was talking to a Post Office man yesterday who told me they were handling a big bunch now and guess something ought to show up soon.

Love to all,

Carl.

 

O.K.

Thomas C. Montgomery

2nd Lt. Inf. U.S.R.

 

P.S. Wish you could send me the khaki uniform I sent back from New York and one extra pair of khaki trousers which think I left in my big trunk along with another blouse and pair of trousers. The uniform I wore to New York is my best khaki and there shouldn’t be any difficulty in distinguishing it from the others which I bought from the Q.M. . Guess they’ll reach me by June and think I may have some need for them this summer.

[1] Quartermaster General Erich Ludendorff’s Spring Offensive (March 21, 1919, code named Michael) was an attempt to move victoriously before American troops were well integrated into the old battle lines. It was the first significant movement on the Western Front since 1914, a move emboldened by additional troops from the Eastern Front and the advent of the “Paris Gun” which began its “bombardment” on March 21, 1918. Frighteningly successful at the time—and Paris was an objective—the German “Spring Offensive” exhausted itself at great expense to both sides by the end of April, never reaching Paris.

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