December 8, 1918. “There is continual excitement here these days—week before last it was King George, last week King Albert, next week Wilson, then the King of Italy and afterwards the Peace Conference.”

Sunday, December 8, 1918 to Mother.

Monty excuses his lapse in correspondence with this: “have been busy all day every day and out every evening this week. Now, since the armistice, there is something of a social nature every night; all of which is very pleasant but a little hard on a working man.”

“…Monroe Layton dropped in…. He was awfully glad to see somebody from home—said he was quite ready to go back any time and was hoping his regiment would be one of the early ones.

“Had a letter from Kate this week of Nov. 12th, my first home letter written since the armistice, and Kate seemed to believe it was a fake. Suppose she has changed her mind by now.

“There is continual excitement here these days—week before last it was King George[1], last week King Albert[2], next week Wilson, then the King of Italy and afterwards the Peace Conference. Our Headquarters has been charged with all of the army part of the preparation for the peace crowd and we’ve had of late a feverish not to say hectic time as a result. I’ve been as busy as a cat on a marble floor trying to find sufficient place for all the new people we have to look out for and, with all the other Allied Governments doing the same thing and the city crowded anyhow, it has been some job.

“Played bridge at the Embassy one night this week and had a chance to talk to Mr. Sharpe[3] for some little time. He remembered Mr. Ellerbe very well and also Mrs. Ellerbe and Edna. Had been there on thanksgiving afternoon at a reception for American Officers which was finished by an hour of very pleasant dancing. I’ve found the whole family there very pleasant but one is still a bit awed going in by the grandeur of the footmen, etc. This coming week I’ve already been asked to three dances which think will be quite enough for one week when one is busy during the day. However, one good thing about them is that they start and quit at a decent hour instead of trying to dance all night as we used to have the habit at home. Sorry John couldn’t have been here for some of this for know he would have enjoyed it thoroughly.

“Guess this letter will reach you just about Xmas in which case best wishes and lots of love to everybody,

 

[1] George V, King of England (reign, 1910-1936)

[2] Albert I, King of Belgium (reign, 1908-1934)

[3] William G. Sharp, Ambassador to France, 1914-1919.

 

Transcribed letter:

Hq; District of Paris

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

Dec. 8th, 1918

Dear Mother:-

Am ashamed to say I didn’t get off any letter to you last Sunday buy have been busy all day every day and out every evening this week. Now, since the armistice, there is something of a social nature every night; all of which is very pleasant but a little hard on a working man.

Was pleasantly surprised on Thursday Afternoon of this week when Horton Blew into my office on his way to Nice on leave. He stayed over until last night and we had quite a visit over what had happened since we last saw each other. Then also one day this week Monroe Layton dropped in to see me. It seems that he has been in Paris since July but didn’t know I was here until his mother wrote him where I was. He was awfully glad to see somebody from home—said he was quite ready to go back any time and was hoping his regiment would be one of the early ones.

Had a letter from Kate this week of Nov; 12th, my first home letter written since the armistice, and Kate seemed to believe it was a fake. Suppose she has changed her mind by now.

There is continual excitement here these days—week before last it was King George , last week King Albert , next week Wilson, then the King of Italy and afterwards the Peace Conference. Our Headquarters has been charged with all the Army part of the preparation for the peace crowd and we’ve had of late a feverish not to say hectic time as a result. I’ve been as busy as a cat on a marble floor trying to find sufficient place for all the new people we have to look out for and, with all the other Allied Governments doing the same thing and the city crowded anyhow, it has been some job.

Played bridge at the Embassy one night this week and had a chance to talk to Mr. Sharpe for some little time. He remembered Mr. Ellerbe very well and also Mrs. Ellerbe and Edna. Had been there on thanksgiving afternoon at a reception for American Officers which was finished by an hour of very pleasant dancing. I’ve found the whole family there very pleasant but one is still a bit awed going in by the grandeur of the footmen, etc. This coming week I’ve already been asked to three dances which think will be quite enough for one week when one is busy during the day. However, one good thing about them is that they start and quit at a decent hour instead of trying to dance all night as we used to have the habit at home. Sorry John couldn’t have been here for some of this for know he would have enjoyed it thoroughly.

Guess this letter will reach you just about Xmas in which case best wishes and lots of love to everybody,

Carl

Thomas C Montgomery [signed] Capt, A.S.C.

November 11, 1918. Described to Mabel. “…saw flags being stuck out of every window….”

Sunday, November 17, 1918 to Mabel.

The Armistice went into effect on Monday, November 11 at 11 A.M. in Paris. It’s a surprise to Monty as he begins his routine. “On Monday morning the first definite news I had of the signing of the armistice was when I went down to see a French Colonel at the Ministere de l’Armament and as I drove up saw flags being stuck out of every window and people rushing out of the building.”

Needless to say, I didn’t find the Colonel nor anybody else to do business with and that condition continued until and really through Wednesday. Monday night I went down on the boulevards with some of the other fellows from our mess and you never saw such a crowd or such rejoicing. The way these people celebrate is a bit different from ours. Among other things along this line was the number of impromptu parades, there were a thousand and one of ‘em containing possibly a drum and bugle at the head followed by soldiers of all the Allies and any number of civilians and they would dissolve as suddenly as they would gather. Then again you would often come on a group doing a “ring around he rosy” effect with no apparent rhyme or reason and what the French poilus,[1] not to speak of our own and other soldiers, were doing in the way of kissing any pretty little midinette they saw was unlimited. The cafes were open until the “wee sma hours” for the first time in four years and everybody was in wonderful humor. Of course we are all mighty glad to see it finished but for these people who have had four years of it their joy is undescribable and they can hardly realize it.

Victory fever is breaking out all over:

Was at Madame Borel’s for dinner on Friday night and her daughter speaking of several dances which are now brewing, said she knew she was going to feel absolutely out of place in evening dress again. Madame Borel was my hostess on leave about which I wrote you. Incidentally met there the other night a most interesting Frenchman who is an intimate personal friend of the King of Spain and has had the job for the last two years of trying to counteract the Bosche propaganda in Spain.

The Armistice is impacting his work. He expects the load to increase and the available staff to decrease. “We shall now have to begin to handle claims which have heretofore simply been accumulating for the most part while we were occupied with the more pressing problem of getting various and sundry buildings and grounds for the many needs of the army.” On the other hand, because of the “releasing of personnel by the armistice, I got this week as assistants just four lieutenants, which makes a Captain and six lieutenants working under me.” He’s not content because he will be breaking in the new ones and “my work requires considerable experience before an officer is of much use to me.”

“Enjoyed your copy of John’s letter. Glad to hear he is prospering but now suppose he won’t get over this side and is consequently peeved. Your news of what Meta Nichols and Alma Foxworth are doing was also highly amusing.”

At Mabel’s prompting, he describes the sugar supply. Maybe she’s comparing it to what she is experiencing at home. “As to sugar, it’s very short here to[o]? except to those of us in the army through the commissary where we are supposed to be able to get, that is officers, two pounds a week. I know the shortage must be bothering Frank and Horace with their sweet teeth—it bothered me too when I first came over but have long ago got used to it. In the cafes here no sugar is served and the desserts are mostly fruit.”

“Shall be glad to look up Miss Christensen if she lets me know when she is in Paris. Sorry not to have seen Mr. Coker when here.

“With regard to Eugene Monroe have written direct to his commanding officer as thought that the shortest way to find out what had really happened to him. If he was officially reported dead the Central Records Office would have no other dope about him. Will cable only if I find he is still alive. Awfully sorry to hear of the deaths of the two Monroe boys and have heard of others of my friends who have gone. The flu[2] has been serious here but is now on the wane. Hope it is also better with you by now.

But it’s lunch time now so “Au ‘voir”,

[1] A poilu is the approximate French equivalent of doughboy though it is more closely connected to the unkempt appearance and agrarian background of the original soldiers in Napoleon’s armies while the etymology of doughboy remains speculative.

[2] See JKM on this.

 

Transcribed Letter.

Hq. District of Paris,

APO 702, A.E.F

Nov. 17th, 1918 [Sunday]

Dear Mabel:-

This has been quite a week. On Monday morning the first definite news I had of the signing of the armistice was when I went down to see a French Colonel at the Ministere de l’Armament and as I drove up saw flags being stuck out of every window and people rushing out of the building. Needless to say, I didn’t find the Colonel nor anybody else to do business with and that condition continued until and really through Wednesday. Monday night I went down on the boulevards with some of the other fellows from our mess and you never saw such a crowd or such rejoicing. The way these people celebrate is a bit different from ours. Among other things along this line was the number of impromptu parades, there were a thousand and one of ‘em containing possibly a drum and bugle at the head followed by soldiers of all the Allies and any number of civilians and they would dissolve as suddenly as they would gather. Then again you would often come on a group doing a “ring around he rosy” effect with no apparent rhyme or reason and what the French poilus, not to speak of our own and other soldiers, were doing in the way of kissing any pretty little midinette they saw was unlimited. The cafes were open until the “wee sma hours” for the first time in four years and everybody was in wonderful humor. Of course we are all mighty glad to see it finished but for these people who have had four years of it their joy is undescribeable and they can hardly realize it. Was at Madame Borel’s for dinner on Friday night and her daughter, speaking of several dances which are now brewing, said she knew she was going to feel absolutely out of place in evening dress again. Madame Borel was my hostess on leave about which I wrote you. Incidentally met there the other night a most interesting Frenchman who is an intimate personal friend of the King of Spain and has had the job for the last two years of trying to counteract the Bosche propaganda in Spain.

Received your letter of Oct. 23rd this past week and enjoyed it thoroughly. Was amused at Edna’s remark about the Sharpes. I don’t know any of the rest of the family but this girl, the oldest daughter who was at St. Marguerite at the same time, and absolutely unassuming and just a nice sort of real American girl.

Following my many cries for assistance and the releasing of personnel by the armistice I got this week as assistants just four lieutenants, which makes a Captain and six lieutenants working under me. Haven’t yet had time to teach these new ones much my work requires considerable experience before an officer is of much use but hope to get them broken in soon and then perhaps be able to take it a little easier myself. However, the armistice means no letting down for our Service as we shall now have to begin to handle claims which have heretofore simply been accumulating for the most part while we were occupied with the more pressing problem of getting various and sundry buildings and grounds for the many needs of the army.

Enjoyed your copy of John’s letter. Glad to hear he is prospering but now suppose he won’t get over this side and is consequently peeved. Your news of what Meta Nichols and Alma Foxworth are doing was also highly amusing.

As to sugar, it’s very short here to[o] except to those of us in the army through the commissary where we are supposed to be able to get, that is officers, two pounds a week. I know the shortage must be bothering Frank and Horace with their sweet teeth—it bothered me too when I first came over but have long ago got used to it. In the cafes here no sugar is served and the desserts are mostly fruit.

Shall be glad to look up Miss Christensen if she lets me know when she is in Paris. Sorry not to have seen Mr. Coker when here.

With regard to Eugene Monroe have written direct to his commanding officer as thought that the shortest way to find out what had really happened to him. If he was officially reported dead the Central Records Office would have no other dope about him. Will cable only if I find he is still alive. Awfully sorry to hear of the deaths of the two Monroe boys and have heard of others of my friends who have gone. The flu has been serious here but is now on the wane. Hope it is also better with you by now.

But it’s lunch time now so “Au ‘voir”,

Love to all,

Carl

Thomas C. Montgomery [signed]

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

November 3, 1918. “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.”

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?

 

October 30, 1918. “I am now a 1st Lieutenant, Army Service Corp, continuing the same duties with the Renting, Requisitions and Claims Service.”

October 30, 1918 to Mother.

“…am snatching a few minutes now at one of the typewriters having come back to the office immediately after lunch.”

His big news is “that I am now a 1st Lieutenant.” He’s less than enthusiastic because “I was recommended for a Captaincy but lost out on it owing to the rule now existing that no one will be skipped a grade in making promotions. …so, I’m for the present wearing one silver bar instead of two as I’d been promised and expected.”

Work is complicated by the departure of one of his assistants whose replacement is expected any day. He says there’s “double work to do and not much ‘rest for the weary.’”

Even so, took all of last Sunday off and went hunting with my friend M. Veber, the architect of whom I’ve written you. Don’t be too horrified at my hunting on Sunday for it’s a regular custom over here—also of late I’ve been in most of my Sundays here in the office, Sunday office work being pretty necessary these days. Enjoyed the day very much and thought of Frank and how he would have liked it. Went down with M. Veber in his car to a club about forty miles south of Paris where they have a game preserve or “chasse” as it is called over here. There we had an excellent lunch and then started out with beaters, working through each piece of woods in turn. We had dogs along too but they are not allowed to range as when we hunt quail but are kept close in. There were a dozen of us at intervals of about 15 to 20 yards from each other and there wasn’t much chance for the pheasants or small deer when they got up. However, there weren’t so awfully many of them—I had only two shots all day both of which I missed. Some of the rest of the bunch had good shooting and we got enough game for each of us to bring home a little. It happened to be a beautiful October day and a whole day of that kind out of the office went awfully well.

“The war continues to look as if it could be finished very soon although the Bosche are not readily convinced. With the latest developments in Austria it looks, however, as if the whole thing is bound to go by the boards within a few weeks which we all hope.”

 

Transcribed letter:

AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES [letterhead]

Headquarters, District of Paris

Oct. 30th,1918-A.P.O. 702

Dear Mother:-

Have received during the past week your letter of Oct. 5th and one from Kate of Oct. 9th but haven’t found time to answer either so am snatching a few minutes now at one of the typewriters having come back to the office immediately after lunch.

The main news with me since I last wrote you is that I am now a 1st Lieutenant, Army Service Corp, continuing the same duties with the Renting, Requisitions and Claims Service. Am not feeling as happy over the promotion as I would some time ago as I was recommended for a Captaincy but lost out on it owing to the rule now existing that no one will be skipped a grade in making promotions. Consequently have to be recommended again for the captaincy and it will probably take several months more to come through. Saw my Colonel yesterday and he told me would make recommendation again at once but, even so, I’m for the present wearing one silver bar instead of two as I’d been promised and expected.

Have continued to be horribly busy of late owing to the fact that I lost one of my assistants and his successor hasn’t yet arrived though he is due any day. As a consequence have had double work to do and not much “rest for the weary”. Even so, took all of last Sunday off and went hunting with my friend M. Veber, the architect of whom I’ve written you. Don’t be too horrified at my hunting on Sunday for it’s a regular custom over here—also of late I’ve been in most of my Sundays here in the office, Sunday office work being pretty necessary these days. Enjoyed the day very much and thought of Frank and how he would have liked it. Went down with M. Veber in his car to a club about forty miles south of Paris where they have a game preserve or “chasse” as it is called over here. There we had an excellent lunch and then started out with beaters, working through each piece of woods in turn. We had dogs along too but they are not allowed to range as when we hunt quail but are kept close in. There were a dozen of us at intervals of about 15 to 20 yards from each other and there wasn’t much chance for the pheasants or small deer when they got up. However, there weren’t so awfully many of them—I had only two shots all day both of which I missed. Some of the rest of the bunch had good shooting and we got enough game for each of us to bring home a little. It happened to be a beautiful October day and a whole day of that kind out of the office went awfully well.

The war continues to look as if it could be finished very soon although the Bosche are not readily convinced. With the latest developments in Austria it looks, however, as if the whole thing is bound to go by the boards within a few weeks which we all hope.

Enjoyed Kate’s letter and will drop her a line when I get time.

Love to all,

Carl

Thomas C Montgomery [signed]

1st Lt. A.S.C.

 

October 20, 1918. “Today the Place de la Concorde is ‘en fete’ and there are big doings in celebration of the liberation of Lille and other French territory which has been freed lately….”

October 20, 1918 to Mother. [purplish italic type]

He gets a “birthday check for which many thanks” and promises to “try to find time to have some photos taken to send to you showing there has been no change in your red headed son in the year he has been away.”

Monty makes the usual claims about being “horribly busy” especially since his leave. “…saw my Colonel with regard to more help. There was a particular Lieut. I wanted but he was sick at the time so he sent up a Major to help me out temporarily.”

Everybody here, and I suppose also at home, is tickled to death over the way the war is going and I really believe we are likely to see the end before Xmas. Was at lunch as usual yesterday with my old friend M. Pellerin and we had quite a discussion of the whole thing at the table. One of the guests was an old French Colonel who is aide to President Poincaré and he was the most pessimistic of the lot as to the duration, giving it as his opinion that it would go on to the early spring. Today the Place de la Concorde is “en fete” and there are big doings in celebration of the liberation of Lille and other French territory which has been freed lately…. Passed through the Place de la Concorde yesterday afternoon and it was full with German cannon, planes and other captured material.

Since the cessation of the Gotha raids and Big Bertha and with the end of summer everybody has flocked back to Paris and it is more crowded now than at any time since last winter. As a part of this the French people are beginning again to receive American officers and they are even talking about commencing to dance again. Friday night I was at a private musicale after which we danced a while and the hostess was the first one to start dancing, explaining that now one could think of dancing again. You know it has been strictly “defendu” among the French since the beginning of the war.

Apartment life is smooth except for turnover in personnel. There is now “only one other officer and myself left out of the original ten…. Our good cook is still with us and whenever we have a vacancy there is no trouble at all filling it at once. One major who left us last month to take station in a small town down in the middle of France wrote back that he thought of us fervently at dinner time each night for he wasn’t eating near so well there and the aforesaid Major was very fond of his food.”

“Received card notifying me of your having subscribed to the [Saturday Evening] Post for me…. Have you been getting the Stars & Stripes regularly?”

 

Transcribed letter:

Hq. District of Paris,

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

Oct. 20, 1918.

Dear Mother:-

Received your two letters of Sept. 13 and 26 yesterday together with birthday check for which many thanks. Think with it shall try to find time to have some photos taken to send to you showing there has been no change in your redheaded son in the year he has been away.

Have been horribly busy this week as usual since my return from leave. Am just beginning to get caught up again with my work after that eight days absence but don’t regret taking the leave at all. Went down to Hq. S.O.S. Last week and saw my Colonel with regard to more help. There was a particular Lieut. I wanted but he was sick at the time so he sent up a major to help me out temporarily.

Everybody here, and I suppose also at home, is tickled to death over the way the war is going and I really believe we are likely to see the end before Xmas. Was at lunch as usual yesterday with my old friend M. Pellerin and we had quite a discussion of the whole thing at the table. One of the guests was an old French Colonel who is aide to President Poincaré and he was the most pessimistic of the lot as to the duration, giving it as his opinion that it would go on to the early spring. Today the Place de la Concorde is “en fete” and there are big doings in celebration of the liberation of Lille and other French territory which has been freed lately but it’s a horrible day with a steady misting rain which is putting more or less of a realistic damper on the proceedings. Passed through the Place de la Concorde yesterday afternoon and it was full with German cannon, planes and other captured material.

Since the cessation of the Gotha raids and Big Bertha and with the end of summer everybody has flocked back to Paris and it is more crowded now than at any time since last winter. As a part of this the French people are beginning again to receive American officers and they are even talking about commencing to dance again. Friday night I was at a private musicale after which we danced a while and the hostess was the first one to start dancing, explaining that now one could think of dancing again. You know it has been strictly “defendu” among the French since the beginning of the war.

Our apartment life continues to run along pretty well though we have had quite a few changes in the bunch sine we went into it last May, there being now only one other officer and myself left out of the original ten, all the others having left for one pace or another. Our good cook is still with us and whenever we have a vacancy there is no trouble at all filling it at once. One major who left us last month to take station in a small town down in the middle of France wrote back that he thought of us fervently at dinner time each night for he wasn’t eating near so well there and the aforesaid Major was very fond of his food.

Was quite interested to hear of Herbert’s marriage. Guess this was the girl whom he introduced to me to once in Greenville last year just before I went to camp. Glad to hear Lil enjoyed her trip.

Received card notifying me of your having subscribed to the [Saturday Evening] Post for me so guess I will begin to get them pretty soon. Have you been getting the Stars & Stripes regularly? I subscribed for it to be sent direct to you about two months ago and hope it’s been reaching you all right.

Love to all,

Carl

Thomas C. Montgomery [signed]

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

 

October 13, 1918. “…everybody here seems to think this definitely means the end.”

October 13, 1918 to Mother.

“Suppose tonight you are all talking of the great news of today as we have been here and figuring on when we’ll get home for everybody here seems to think this definitely means the end. If it is, it will be almost too good to be true though suppose it will be some time yet before any of us start back home. The service to which I belong will probably be in France longer than any other inasmuch as we will be the ones to settle up claims and there surely will be some claims to settle. However, if I have to stay over here another year or more suppose I’ll get leave back in the States some time early after the declaration of peace. That’s all guesswork, however.

He’s busy, apparently catching up with work, and tired. He is also “mess officer this month” at the apartment “and have had to put in several evenings straightening out these affairs.” He mentions the office move again, this time explaining that it was “a move from one office building to another.”

Had lunch a few days ago with a French officer I know well and his wife, both of whom are quite interesting. The wife was badly broken up in the St. Gervais church affair[1] on Good Friday when one of “Big Bertha’s” shells dropped in there and is now getting around again. She is an American by the way and said the hard part of it was that she had been a nurse on the front ever since the beginning of the war, had been under heavy shelling and never hurt, then came back to Paris for a few days and was badly hurt.

“The weather here is getting to be quite cool now and the clocks were also turned back a week ago so with the short afternoons and cool weather it really begins to seem like winter again. We have a cosy fire in our sitting room in the evenings and none of us stir from it very much. I don’t care much about going out any distance at night anyhow with the dark streets and difficulties in transportation but think I’ll go to the French theaters more this winter as I understand French well enough to appreciate them now and it’s one of the best ways to improve your French.”

He reports no home mail “in two weeks” and a sighting of “Rabbit” Mullins[2] who “was wounded and in hospital here and was then on his way back to troops.” He saw Monty pass through the hall and found him in his office. “It seemed quite funny to have him saluting me and tacking a ‘Sir’ on to everything he said.”

[1]Friday, March 29, 1918. This was the most damaging strike on Paris during WWI. The shell collapsed the roof of the St-Gervais-et-St-Protais church and killed 88 of the congregation while wounding another 68. The church was full for Good Friday services. The attack on the 4th century church located along the ancient Right Bank within a block of the Paris City Hall gave this attack much of the shock the German’s intended.

[2] Any info?

October 8, 1918. “Everybody here is discussing the German peace offer….”

Transcribed letter in full

[AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES Letterhead]

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

OCT. 8th, 1918.

 

Dear Mother: —

Am snatching a moment after lunch before starting to work again to drop you a line. Haven’t had time for several days to do any writing of letters except for business ones.

Had another letter from you last week but forgot the number. Should be due some more any day now as am a little behind with home mail.

Was busy Sunday moving my offices up to a new location[1] which is more desirable all round. Look right out my office window at the Arc de Triomphe, and it’s only a five minute walk from our apartment so it’s both beautiful and convenient.

Everybody here is discussing the German peace offer and the idea here is, as it seems to be in the States that we should give them no terms but unconditional surrender. We can force them to this anyhow in a very few months and it’s much better to go on that much longer than to accept any halfway proposition now.

But have got to get to work again so will try to write you a decent letter in a day or two.

Love to all,

Carl

Thomas C. Montgomery

2nd Lt. Inf. U.S.A.

[1] Probably 7, Rue de Tilsitt—a block from the Arc de Triomphe—an address he uses later in writing letters from his office.

September 28, 1918. “Everyone here is much excited over Bulgaria’s demand for peace and think that Turkey and also Austria may be detached from Germany”

September 28, 1918 to Mother.

[looks like he didn’t have much time to write from the coast]

He has two letters from his mother—“nos. 49 & 50 and also one from Miss Mary Gentry telling me all about Mr. Bomar’s race for Congress (hope he was elected). Was very glad to get the news that Eugene Monroe was alive—wish I knew where he was as he may quite possibly be within visiting distance of me and would like to see him. …while on my leave I ran over one afternoon to a neighboring town…and who should I run into on the street but the little fellow who used to room across the hall from me in the Y.M.C.A. building in Spartanburg. He had been turned down for the Army for physical reasons and had come over in Y.M.C.A. work, leaving Spartanburg as late as June 1st this year so we had quite a talk over what has been happening there since I left.”

Surely enjoyed every minute of my stay with my friends at the beach. It was particularly nice to sleep as late as I wanted in the morning and then to get up and have breakfast with two attractive girls and afterwards play golf or swim or walk or loaf absolutely with no thought of leases and claims. …. My new assistant whom I’d left on the job almost kissed me when I walked into the office yesterday morning he’d had so many troubles and yet what he’d gone through had been only typical of what comes through my office every week.”

“John’s picture is good but he has the solemn expression which he seems to always put on in photographs. When is he coming over this side? I’ve rather supposed he might get over next month or the month after and he’ll probably get a chance to come to Paris sooner or later so I hope to see him.”

“….fall is distinctly coming on here.” So, he finds it “a bit strange” to get news of hot weather in Marion.

“Suppose you are all just as pleased at home as we are here over the way our offensives are succeeding on all fronts.Everyone here is much excited over Bulgaria’s demand for peace and think that Turkey and also Austria may be detached from Germany which would certainly mean the end of the war.”

 

Transcribed letter:

Hq. U.S. Troops,

A.P.O. 702, AEF

Sept. 28th          

Dear Mother —

I returned from my seven days at the beach Thursday night to find your two letters nos. 49 & 50 and also one from Miss Mary Gentry telling me all about Mr. Bomar’s race for Congress (hope he was elected). Was very glad to get the news that Eugene Monroe was alive—wish I knew where he was as he may quite possibly be within visiting distance of me and would like to see him. You never can tell when you’re likely to run into somebody you know over here and I may see him at that. An instance is that while on my leave I ran over one afternoon to a neighboring town where we have some troops and who should I run into on the street but the little fellow who used to room across the hall from me in the Y.M.C.A. building in Spartanburg. He had been turned down for the Army for physical reasons and had come over in Y.M.C.A. work, leaving Spartanburg as late as June 1st of this year so we had quite a talk over what has been happening there since I left.

Surely enjoyed every minute of my stay with my friends at the beach. It was particularly nice to sleep as late as I wanted in the morning and then to get up and have breakfast with two attractive girls and afterwards play golf or swim or walk or loaf absolutely with no thought of leases and claims. I like my work and find it most interesting but after ten months with only half or all of Sunday off, a change and rest was wonderfully good. My new assistant whom I’d left on the job almost kissed me when I walked into the office yesterday morning he had been having so many troubles and yet what he’d gone through had been only typical of what comes through my office every week.”

John’s picture is good but he has the solemn expression which he seems to always put on in photographs. When is he coming over this side? I’ve rather supposed he might get over next month or the month after and he’ll probably get a chance to come to Paris sooner or later so I hope to see him.”

It seemed a bit strange to receive your letters speaking of hot weather at a time when fall is distinctly coming on here. Tonight it is raining a steady fall rain and I regret to see the good weather of a summer pass into winter weather for which I care not at all.

Suppose you are all just as pleased at home as we are here over the way our offensives are succeeding on all fronts. Everyone here is much excited over Bulgaria’s demand for peace and think that Turkey and also Austria may be detached from Germany which would certainly mean the end of the war. But by the time you receive this letter much more may have been decided.

Love to all,

Carl

Thomas C. Montgomery

2nd Lt. Inf. U.S.A.

 

 

September 15, 1918. “Had a wonderfully interesting automobile trip this past week up to Chateau Thierry and then along the Marne for some distance and through the Champagne country.”

Entire Letter

September 15, 1918 to Mother.

It is a fine September morning when I’d like to be outside but am too busy these days to take all of Sunday off. However, hope to get out of doors all afternoon and, meanwhile, waiting for some people who are coming in to seem me, will try to get off a few lines.

Had a wonderfully interesting automobile trip this past week up to Chateau Thierry and then along the Marne for some distance and through the Champagne country.

(Sept. 18th) Was interrupted on this Sunday and haven’t had time to finish it yet. Am going down on the coast tonight for a seven days leave to visit these people I wrote you about and will have time to write you from there.

Love to all, Carl

September 10, 1918. “Just a year ago today since I sailed out of New York and a year full of many interesting things.”

September 10, 1918 to Mother.

In addition to his letter from home, he has received one from Miss Mary Getry, his ideal for a “steno.” That letter reports on Mr. Bomar’s[1] “race for Congress—am wondering how he came out in it…. Hope he put it over Sam Nicholls.”

He’s also been following the “new draft bill.[2] …have wondered how it will affect Frank and Horace[3]—suppose they won’t know for some time.”

Everyone here—and I suppose in the States too—continues to smile over the way Foch has been putting it over on the Bosche. Talking to a Frenchman in the Metro (as the subway is known here) the other night about the latest communiqué he remarked “Oh, Monsieur, the Communiqués are always pleasant reading now—what a difference from the spring.” And I think that difference will be permanent.

He has subscribed to the “Stars and Stripes” for his mother.

His work never ceases to be “interesting and busy” and now he has “a new Lieutenant as assistant” and thinks he will get another one though “the work has been gaining so rapidly with the increase of the A.E.F. that I fear it doesn’t mean much of a let up for me. However, with two assistants I ought to be able to get away for a 7 day leave….”

“Just a year ago today since I sailed out of New York and a year full of many interesting things. Hope things may so come out that I can be in talking distance of you instead of having to write a year from now.”

[1] Horace Bomar was partner in the Law Firm Monty had started with in 1914? Bomar lost the Congressional race to incumbent Sam Nicholls who represented South Carolina’s 4th District from 1915 to 1921.

[2] Need clarification on this.

[3] Monty’s brothers in law. Frank is married to Kate; Horace to Bell.

 

Transcribed Letter

September 10, 1918 to Mother.

Dear mother –

Your letter of Aug. 9th reached me last week just after I had written you. Also had one from Miss Marie Gentry telling me about Mr. Bomar’s[1] “race for Congress. Am wondering how he came out in it, election time being now over. Hope he put it over Sam Nicholl’s.

Guess you must have had some awfully hot weather during August from your letter and what some of the other fellows have heard from home. Here there wasn’t a day we’d call hot in South Carolina – in fact there were very few nights I didn’t have a blanket over me.

Notice from the papers that the new draft bill[2] has gone into effect and have wondered how it will affect Frank and Horace[3]—suppose they won’t know for some time.”

Everyone here—and I suppose in the States too—continues to smile over the way Foch has been putting it over on the Bosche. Talking to a Frenchman in the Metro (as the subway is known here) the other night about the latest communiqué he remarked “Oh, Monsieur, the Communiqués are always pleasant reading now—what a difference from the spring.” And I think that difference will be permanent.

Was up in the “Stars & Stripes office about a month ago and subscribed for it to be sent direct to you so you should have begun to receive it regularly by now. Thank you’ll find that much better as, although I buy it every week, I often forget to send it on to you. The captain in charge told me they were going to begin to publish an edition of it in the States being the same as this but two or three weeks later in date.

My work continues interesting and keeps me busy. Got a new lieutenant as assistant yesterday and expect another one soon but the work has been growing so rapidly with the increase at the A.E.F. that I fear it doesn’t mean much of a let up for me. However with two assistants I ought to be able to get away for a 7 day leave which I will surely come in nicely.

Just a year ago today since I sailed out of New York and a year full of many interesting things. Hope things may so come out that I can be in talking distance of you instead of having to write a year from now.

Love to all, Carl

[1] Horace Bomar was partner in the Law Firm Monty had started with in 1914? Bomar lost the Congressional race to incumbent Sam Nicholls who represented South Carolina’s 4th District from 1915 to 1921.

[2] Need clarification on this.

[3] Monty’s brothers in law. Frank is married to Kate; Horace to Bell.