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 14, 1917

Dear Mother -:

I got two letters from you the other day, one saying that you had had no letters from me and the other that you had just had two.The mail service is at its best short and extremely uncertain, and I rather imagine that you have gotten very few of my letters. I have written on an average of at least twice a week. However, perhaps you will get them all after the war when the powers that be see fit to let my indiscretions pass on. It was great of you to send me the cigarettes and I only hope they arrive by and by for I am spoiling for a real American smoke. Tell Day that I enjoyed her letter tremendously and will write her again.

I am writing this letter on a notebook across the wheel of my car as usual outside the old Cheval Blanc waiting for my turn. Yesterday was in many ways a banner day as far as excitement and interest went. In the first place the Germans took a very violent dislike to our town.

As usual I was cut off in the midst of writing that last to go out and since then two or three days have passed with just about the same variety of goings on. This morning we were decorated again for bravery and there was quite a celebration. Likewise some individual Croix de Guerres were given out to two of the old men and to the two boys who were gassed. It is a nice thing to have but I would rather have my lungs in good shape and theirs will not be so for time to come. That (gas) is without doubt the most devilish invention in the world. You can’t see it and it smells nicely. The first thing you know you begin to cough and choke. I got a good whiff the other day and couldn’t smoke for half a day and felt quite rotten.

Our work here in the sector is almost over, tho, and I can’t say that I am sorry. We will be having some time around the 20th for a “repos” and after that a new place. A little danger and excitement are fine but every day for nearly a month is rather a strain. Hardly a day passes without some hairbreadth escape or what seems to be the direct intervention of Providence, and always there is the continuous round of tragedies among the soldiers or brancardiers that you know and have spent time with. I wish to heaven the war was over.

I am sending you under a separate cover a copy of the little newspaper the Division prints and I hope you get it as it is quite interesting and although a little broad in places will show you something of the spirit of the men and the sort of French they speak.

In an attack the other day the division caught a number of Bosche. I carried four of them who were wounded, the oldest were only twenty, the other two were 19 and 18. Not any of them had the slightest idea that America had entered the war and when they found it out seemed quite discouraged. They were all thinner than rails and said they had not so much as seen a potato for eight weeks.

There isn’t a great deal more to tell you just now. As soon as we get in repos again, I will write you a regular book.

With love,


I think it would be a good idea if I numbered my letters to you and Papa and then we can get an idea as to how many get by. We will call this one number 1.

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