Letters Home: Leland Linville

A letter home from Leland Linville, as published in the October 3, 1918 Skidmore News, page 4:

In Drive On Marne

Somewhere in France, Aug. 24.
Dear Mother, how are you all getting along by this time? I am well and alright, but I haven’t received any mail for a long time, the last letter I got from you was written July 14.

Well I have moved since I wrote you the last letter; took another train ride. We are in a little town close to a canal, this is our rest camp, but we are drilling pretty hard just the same; we are not getting much rest, but we can buy cheese and jelly and jam and such stuff here which makes it a lot better than where we were, and we can go swimming in the canal. They pull the boats up and down the canal with horses.

It is getting pretty warm here now of a day but gets cooler of a night. It has been pretty cool here all the time until the last few weeks. It rained last night and it is raining again today. You wanted to know what they raise here. I haven’t seen very much but small grain. There is a little fruit here, and they raise quite a few grapes and pears. The potato crop seems to be pretty good this year, the small grain is good and they are threshing just across the street from me with a tread power. They put one big horse in the shoot and he keeps walking on a platform which keeps rolling and that is what furnishes the power to run the thresher. I have seen several outfits, some use a gasoline engine and I saw one that used coal. It had a business on it that would bind the straw as it was threshed, the others all bind the straw up in bundles by hand; they make the bands out of straw.

They can thresh as much back in the States in one hour as they will here in a week.

I suppose Orval Lowrance knows something about army life by this time, but if the war goes through the winter he will know a lot more by spring, or I will miss my guess.

I got to visit with Harvey and Reuben quite a bit the other day.

Well you sure must be having some hot weather if it has been 106. It doesn’t get very warm here. I sleep under blanket every night and don’t sweat at all. I’ll bet that it gets cold enough over here to freeze the horns off a brass monkey. I hate to see winter coming on. Anyway, I wish that they would get this war over before it gets cold weather, but I don’t see any chance of that, myself, even if they are chasing them back right along.

Well mother I was in that drive that was made the last 10 or 12 days of July, from the Marne river. I don’t know just how far we drove them, but it must have been ten or twelve miles before we were relieved. My company lost the smallest amount of men of any company in the division, and the platoon that I am in had the smallest loss of any in our company. I don’t see how we got out of it so luckily. I thought that my time had come more than once, but I didn’t get a scratch, most of the men were crippled or gassed; there were not many killed and there will be lots of them come back to their company again. We crossed the river near Chau Thierry.

Well I wish I could get a furlough like Jim Parrish, but I guess that I will have to wait awhile.

If Lee Strickler got the job that you say he did he sure is lucky and he won’t have to go up where there is any danger. I would like to have a job like that myself.

From what you say about Francis Smith he is doing mounted police duty they are called M. Ps.

Well if Earl Lowrance can have a good time he had better have it for it won’t be so nice when he gets over here. You can tell the boys that if they don’t want to lose anything that they have, they had better send it home before they come across, for we all lost our stuff, up at the front last month, but we have got new equipment now.

Well mother, eggs cost us about three times as much as you say they are worth there and you can hardly get them.

Well, I am sending you a souvenir and if I can find some more that suit me I will send them to you. Well I guess I will quit for this time and I hope that this will find you all well and in good shape. It sure is raining hard here now and it is pretty dark to write.

From your son,
Leland Linville.

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