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 July 17, 1917

Dear Mother-:

We are on “repos” again for a few days so I have another chance to write you a good letter. The last action was wonderful and as I think I told you very interesting. It was not quite as hot as the last sector before that but we had all the work to do that was necessary to keep us quite busy.

I was afraid for a time that we would not have any fourth of July celebration and I would miss that more than any thing but I think for noise this last fourth outdid anything that I ever have or ever will go thru again. Our post was right in the midst of about six French batteries of 75’s in a valley in which there were over three hundred guns. That day and night were particularly active and they were all going most of the time. You couldn’t speak or rather if you did it wouldn’t do you any good for no one could hear you. At night the same thing went on but the air was full of lights of all kinds and colors, star shells, and signals not just in one place but for as far as you could see. Our post was in what was left of an old monastery the true beauties of which, however, I could not quite appreciate since walking around in that vicinity wasn’t all that it might be. The artillery men, however, were wonderful to us and I became quite friends with two of them, one of whom gave me some wonderful pictures he had taken.

As I told you I was on duty on the fourth but Mr. Harjes had sent us out a lot of things and they brought us up our share. You should have seen us down in a cave eating lobster salad and drinking Champagne with the guns up above going to beat the band and the shelling coming in nearly as fast.

On the fourth, too, we were cited by the general of the corps for some sort of conspicuous action which also helped make that a gala day. I am enclosing my copy, save it, as it is probably the best thing in the line of papers it will ever by my good fortune to acquire. Yesterday evening, however, we moved out and are now in a peach of a little town way back and as quiet as they make them. You wouldn’t believe it but last night I couldn’t sleep because of the lack of noise.

Tomorrow we have managed to be transferred from our old division to the 66th Chasseurs, which is the crack division of France. It will be good fun to be with them but leaving the old crowd was like leaving a lot of old friends. The brancardiers (stretcher bearers) and doctors were a fine lot and we knew them very well. However, from now on I sport a beret which is some consolation. This is about all that has happened lately so I will stop.

With love, Paul

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