Pvt. Fred L.
Letters Home - WWI
France, July, 1918
Well how are you all? I am feeling pretty good. The
boil is all well now. This is sure some country over
here the roads are made out of crushed rocks and when
we go out to drill we get the guns in awful shape on
account of the dust.
The buildings here are all made of stone. I guess
they were put up before Christ. The people live in
one corner of a building and keep their stock and hay
in the other part.
This is sure some life. We get madder every day so
the Huns want to watch out when we catch them. I
think we could lick about six to one the way we feel.
Part of the way over we had to sleep wherever we
could, part of the time standing up, part of the time
under some body and part of the time on top of some
body. Just wait, were going to make the Huns
pay for it later on.
The people are as homely as a hedge fence over here.
I havent seen a pretty person since I came. I
wish I had learned French while I was at home. These
people cant talk English at all where we are
now. Everyone keeps wine over here. The captain told
us we could drink it. Six or seven of the boys got
smart and got drunk. You ought to have seen how they
punished them. I drink a little every night that I
can get it; but I know enough not to get drunk after
seeing what the other fellows got.
I was to church last Sunday and the next day our
platoon went all through it. They have the Catholic
religion. The priest is sure an ugly looking devil.
Have any of the rest of the boys been called yet? Who
is working for Stewart now? Tell Jay I have wished I
was back on the ranch more than once during the last
We sure were crowed coming over here. It was a fine
trip only there wasnt quite enough excitement.
I havent seen any of the boys over here yet;
but maybe will run across them some day. Lorren
Foster came over on the same boat with us. Lorren Uhl
came on the next boat but I have not seen him yet.
Say they have got some great trains over here. They
dont have air brakes on them, they are just
hand brakes. Instead of taking an engine to switch
the freight cars around a couple of fellows push them
around. Tell Ernies folks that this life so far
has been just about like that story in the Railroad
mans magazine, Leaving Out the Girls.
Tell them all to write and hello for me. Dont
worry because we are going to come home safe and
sound just as soon as we can whip old Bill.
I got a card from Bertha and a letter from Berrys
yesterday. They are the first I have heard from since
I left Camp Travis.
Your loving son,
Dear Folks at home:
Well I am well and feeling pretty good and I suppose
you are the same. We are having fairly good weather
here. Yesterday is about the first it has rained
since we came over.
I have been out on a wood chopping detail to-day. I
have also mowed hay with a scythe since we have been
in this burg. We are getting some new drills too. I
suppose after while when they get started we will
drill a half hour without the officers giving us a
Well I suppose everybody is starting harvesting by
this time back there. How are all the crops now? They
say we are not allowed to write only once a week so
the rest of the folks will have to read your letters.
We filled our bed sacks full of hay the other day.
Before that we were sleeping on the ground. If you
wasnt lying on a rock you were lying on some
ridge or a little hollow. I sleep like a log now, dont
like to roll out in the morning at all. After we get
out we take exercise; so it dont take long to
We are getting good grub again now and plenty of it.
While we were coming over and before we got settled
the grub wasnt very good. If we dont get
enough to eat the first time we go back and get some
more. The country here is hilly and rocky. When we
are marching we just go up one hill and down the
other. One afternoon we took a short hike thru a
piece of timber. We all felt like going to roost
early that night.
Dont any of you folks ever write? I havent
received only those two letters since I have been
You dont want to believe all the things you
hear about how we are used, because they arent
so. It might be different at the front, but here it
is nearly the same as being in the U.S.A. A person
can hardly realize they are so far from home.
I chum with a fellow from Hawkeye now. His name is
Benjamen Rogers. He says he is acquainted with the
Luthers. He is in the same squad I am.
I wish they would move us over where there was a
little excitement. If they dont hurry up and
take us to the front the war will be over before we
get there. I would like to be in one little battle
anyhow before it ends.
Has Snick been call yet? They say that
they want us to sign up for fifteen months after the
war is over. If they keep us in a place like this all
the time I wont sign up for a day.
Well when any of you folks cant think of
anything to do you might sit down and write to me. I
will have to learn to play cards all over again when
I get back home. The boys dont play anything
except poker and pitch here.
I have written all I know so will close for this
Note: Snick referred to in the
2nd letter was Fred Dunsmoors Cousin Elwin Sargent. Who
had enlisted on June 25th, 1918 and was still going through
basic training at Camp Dodge, IA when Dunsmoor wrote the
~The letters from Fred Dunsmoor were printed in the Strawberry
Point Press on Thursday, Aug 8, 1918 [Vol. No. 44 No.
~Contributed by Terry Sargent
to Clayton co. Military index