About Me

Born August 4, 1894 in Auburn, New York to William and Alice Beardsley Woodruff Hills. Younger brother Carroll Beardsley Hills and younger sister Mary Day Hills. Educated at St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire and Princeton University, class of 1917

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Letter dated August 1, 1917

Dear Nannoo (Grandmother Woodruff) ,

Your letter of June 29 came quite a while ago and I am very ashamed not to have answered it before. You were quite wrong about your letters being of no interest to me – they are very much the opposite and in fact the one I have gotten had more condensed news on it than any I have yet gotten from anybody.

We are again on service and I am writing this during what I consider a well merited day of rest, for during the 60 hours preceding I had had just five hours sleep. There was an attack and a great number of wounded to be carried. It rained of course as it always does when the French go to do anything and the roads being a sea of mud and the nights blacker than the ace of spades made the work doubly hard. The way we managed the driving was that one of us- there are always two on a car- crawled as far forward on the front mud guard as he could and shouted back the things that were in the way and there always are a good many. Donkeys and mules loaded with hand grenades and driven like sheep, not led, are bad enough but great double caissons of ammunition going at a dead run and drawn by six horses are the worst. I have hated to think what would happen should I bump into one of those donkeys and he should blow up but one of those caissons would completely obliterate me, the car, the blesses (wounded) and all. Then as you get nearer the front the roads are shelled and there is always the expectation of waking up suddenly twanging a harp or lying in a rear hospital. You go along the road hoping that the flashes and noise all round you are your guns and not shells coming in. One of our posts is 600 meters from the German lines so you can imagine there is lots going on. The locality also is the “Chemin des Dames” which is just now the liveliest in France.

The attack was a success and the division took two lines of trenches and a lot of prisoners – the roads all day have been full of them. They seem quite happy to be taken and I don’t blame them. They, however, are thin, terribly thin and from what they say sick to death of the war.

I am still growing fat and prospering and am not yet at all sick of the work and wouldn’t miss the things I am doing and seeing for anything. I do miss the lake, tho, and the luxuries of home will be certainly welcome. Give my love to everybody.

With love,


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