November 3, 1918 to Mother.

“everybody here is discussing the latest rumors…particularly the rumor…that the Kaiser has abdicated and that Germany is ready to sign the armistice. It surely looks now as if we’ll have the armistice in the next week or two. If so there will certainly be a great rejoicing in this town. It will seem funny to see Paris again “The City of Light” for it has certainly been a dark burg since I’ve known it.”

Sunday A.M., Nov. 10th—was interrupted with the above last Sunday by Charlie Wofford…passing thorough on his way to Nice on leave. Saw a good deal of him…and enjoyed very much ‘swapping lies’ with him.”

“This morning I am feeling good over two things, the fact that I got my Captaincy yesterday and the good news as to the Kaiser’s abdication.” He confesses to being “a bit surprised” about the promotion, though “very happy over it.” “Was a 1st Lieut. just eleven days.”

The previous night he was in “one of the big theaters here” when the Kaiser’s abdication “was announced from the stage and there was certainly some rejoicing. There were soldiers of the Allied Armies there and they were dancing with each other, cheering and ‘raising sand’ generally. Sitting in the adjoining café during the entr’acte I happened to be at the same table with a man and his wife who had just come in from Lille and they were particularly happy after four years of German domination. The story of their experiences there was most interesting and from what they said all that has been written about the wrongs to the civilian population in the invaded country was very true.

“Awfully sorry to hear of Eugene and Theo Monroe both having died.[1] Neither did I know of the death of Tom Lake.[2]

[A letter from John Kenly Montgomery, Monty’s younger brother, dated September 28, 1918 to Mother from Columbia said simply “Surely was sorry to hear of Eugene’s death. He was the first close friend to go since Frank Montgomery[3] and can’t seem to realize it somehow.]

“P.S. Forgot to say that was at a very interesting dinner one night this week given by one of my French officer friends to our General for the Paris region at which were present also the French General in command of Paris and several of the staff for each one. Was sitting just the second to the left of the French General and got to talk to him quite a bit. He was quite interested in our handling of the negro problem and we had considerable discussion on it—all in French.

….

“During this week had to go down one day on a proposition about forty miles out of Paris. It was rather important and met a Colonel at the place. The proprietor of the factory we were interested in has his chateau close to it so, when we made this appointment with him, he kept the chateau open a couple of days additional after he had intended to close it and entertained us there. It was a beautiful place and we had a lunch that was really a big dinner. This man was moving his family back to Paris just after we were there and I told him I’d like to have [him] come for a meal in our apartment some time. He said he’d be very glad to come and also would like to entertain all ten of us at dinner in his Paris house sometime soon. Told him that was rather a large order and he said ‘not at all,’ and that he was always happy to entertain any number of American officers. That is a sample of the hospitality we find over here on every hand.

“Glad to hear John is likely to be promoted. Don’t suppose he’ll be sent over here as I’d been expecting, in view of the armistice.

“Beginning with January expect to allot a part of my pay to Frank to take care of my notes. Have been wanting to do it before but it has simply taken all of a 2nd Lieutenant’s pay to live even very quietly in Paris. However now shall be getting enough to allot $50 a month or more.

[1] The WWI Memorial in Marion, SC, an obelisk that still dominates other war memorials at one end of Main Street, bears forty-one engraved names. Cousins David E[ugene] Monroe and John T[heodore] Monroe are among them. Marion was not an average town; the number of war dead carried a premium of fifty percent above the average in the US.

[2] More?

[3] Frank Montgomery, no relation, was John’s classmate at Wofford College. On June 1, 1919 the college honored seventeen of its war dead. Lieutenant James C. Dozier, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and former student, presided. Lieutenant Thomas D. Lake was among the seventeen Wofford dead.

 

Transcribed Letter:

Hq. U.S.Troops, A.P.O.702, A.E.F.

Nov 3rd, 1918

Dear Mother:-

Don’t know a thing of interest since my letter to you of a few days ago but, having a little spare time at my office this Sunday morning, thought I’d drop you a line.

Everybody here is discussing the latest rumors—as we’ve been doing for these past several weeks—particularly the rumor in the New York Herald of this morning that the Kaiser has abdicated and that Germany is ready to sign the armistice. It surely looks now as if we’ll have the armistice in the next week or two. If so there will certainly be a great rejoicing in this town. It will seem funny to see Paris again “The City of Light” for it has certainly been a dark burg since I’ve known it.

Sunday A.M., Nov. 10th—was interrupted with the above last Sunday by Charlie Wofford coming in and never did finish it. Charlie was passing thorough on his way to Nice on leave and was here a couple of days. Saw a good deal of him during the time he was in town and enjoyed very much “swapping lies” with him.

This morning I am feeling good over two things, the fact that I got my Captaincy yesterday and the good news as to the Kaiser’s abdication. Was a bit surprised to get the Captaincy so soon though I had been recommended for it originally and am naturally feeling very happy over it. The commission is in the same branch my 1st Lieut. was, that is the Army Service Corps, of which the Renting, Requisition and Claims Service is a large part. Was a 1st Lieut. just eleven days.”

As to the Kaiser’s abdication, of which you will also be reading the news this morning, it certainly has made all the French very happy. I was in one of the big theaters here when it was announced from the stage and there was certainly some rejoicing. There were soldiers of the Allied Armies there and they were dancing with each other, cheering and “raising sand” generally. Sitting in the adjoining café during the entr’acte I happened to be at the same table with a man and his wife who had just come in from Lille and they were particularly happy after four years of German domination. The story of their experiences there was most interesting and from what they said all that has been written about the wrongs to the civilian population in the invaded country was very true.

Received your letter of Oct. 13th on Friday of this week and was much interested in all the news. Awfully sorry to hear of Eugene and Theo Monroe both having died. Neither did I know of the death of Tom Lake until your letter as the casualty lists which we see in the Paris edition of the New York Herald are not complete.

P.S. Forgot to say that was at a very interesting dinner one night this week given by one of my French officer friends to our General for the Paris region at which were present also the French General in command of Paris and several of the staff for each one. Was sitting just the second to the left of the French General and got to talk to him quite a bit. He was quite interested in our handling of the negro problem and we had considerable discussion on it—all in French.

Who did you say Minnie Hewitt married? I can’t seem to spot him mentally.

During this week had to go down one day on a proposition about forty miles out of Paris. It was rather important and met a Colonel at the place. The proprietor of the factory we were interested in has his chateau close to it so, when we made this appointment with him, he kept the chateau open a couple of days additional after he had intended to close it and entertained us there. It was a beautiful place and we had a lunch that was really a big dinner. This man was moving his family back to Paris just after we were there and I told him I’d like to have [him] come for a meal in our apartment some time. He said he’d be very glad to come and also would like to entertain all ten of us at dinner in his Paris house sometime soon. Told him that was rather a large order and he said ‘not at all,’ and that he was always happy to entertain any number of American officers. That is a sample of the hospitality we find over here on every hand.

Glad to hear John is likely to be promoted. Don’t suppose he’ll be sent over here as I’d been expecting, in view of the armistice.

Beginning with January expect to allot a part of my pay to Frank to take care of my notes. Have been wanting to do it before but it has simply taken all of a 2nd Lieutenant’s pay to live even very quietly in Paris. However now shall be getting enough to allot $50 a month or more.

Love to all,

Carl

 

Thomas C. Montgomery [signed]

Capt.. A.S.C., U.S.A?

 

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