One hundred years ago today, October 29, 1918, Jay received Rinda’s most recent letter and wrote back to her right away. In it he tells a little about what’s been going on in his life and comments on some things she had written about. Sure wish I had the letters she wrote to him.
Without going into detail, he alludes to the quarters he and Company A have been occupying. This is the abandoned German camp they moved into in the Bois de Panne (see October 17 post).
He needs to be careful about what he writes but he is sending a little bit of information to Rinda. At the end of this letter he asks if she read about “the large American advance on Sept 12.” That was the start of the St. Mihiel offensive, the day he arrived at the front. Sneaky devil. It did get past the sensors though. I wonder if she caught on and realized he had been there.
October 29, 1918
Dear Rinda –
Twenty days ago you wrote me on my birthday and today the letter reached me. Very good I think considering we are perhaps four thousand miles apart. Beautiful day to day and in fact it reminded me very much of the autumn days in North West.
We are going to move again very soon but not far from here. We are billeted in an old German camp and believe me they had real homes. Especially the officers. Three Sergts including myself are in one room of the billet and balance of rooms are filled with kitchen help. I have 15 men with me, six cooks & balance are helpers or kitchen police as they are termed in army. I have a spring bed to sleep upon and a good stove in our room so we are very comfortable. Received an issue of heavy underwear the other day so that will help some. Guess we will spend winter in France all right. Rumor is afloat that German wants peace but think it is another of her many bluffs.
We see air activities nearly every American anti air craft guns shooting at German air planes high up in the sky. Have my usual cold and a hacking cough at night and morning. We have been very lucky about rain as it hasn’t rained very much of late.
Sure cost money now to live in U.S. Steve wrote me they were paying 68 cents per pound for butter. We are many miles back of the front line but see a great deal of the war game back here. Our food isn’t bad fresh bread during the day. Last few days we haven’t had any potatoes.
But one must remember we are many miles from home and all food must come across Atlantic.
Note what you say about R. you must be careful. Wish I could write you more about the country and camp but it is not permitted so will have to explain it to you when I return. Did you read of the large American advance on Sept 12? Better look it up in paper.
Time for evening mess must close.
As ever J.
Sergt Jay E. Shetler
Co “A” 301st Engineers
(Ok note by censor)