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 25, 1917

Dear Papa –

It was great of you to send me the tobacco and tho it hasn’t come yet it will be doubly welcome when it does arrive. I smoked the last of the good cigars a few days ago which I had been treasuring up for weeks. Good tobacco is the hardest thing possible to get and I haven’t yet quite gotten the taste for the French variety which is like nothing else you ever smoked. We leave definitely tomorrow for one of the posts where we have been before. I wrote you all about it before. It is the same place for which we received the citation I wrote you about and sent Mother the copy. Tell me if you get it. The Bosches have been raising the devil in that particular locality and it is evidently the job of our division to chase them out. It will be a messy time to say the least for they have been sending all varieties of troops up there beside our division, troops especially for attacking. They are not the kind of crowd I would like to have after me and I fear Fritz is going to have rather a thin time for the next few days.

I haven’t yet told you of some of the funny things that happened to me during our last action. We are usually quartered in amongst the artillery and after we have arrived the men come and make very formal calls which we are expected to return. You remember I told you of some artillery men with whom I had become very friendly and who had given men some photos. Well, I went to return their call just about the time they started to shell the German supply center and was very interested in watching them work the guns, when Fritz decided that battery was doing too much harm and that it should be put out of working order. Shells began to drop all around, not way off but right on top of us – a man standing a few feet away from me was killed and needless to say we and the gunners who were not working ran like the deuce into the abri under the guns, about ten feet under ground. The noise was fearful, the guns making quite a bit of it and the big Dutch (German) shells doing the rest. Every time one of them landed it was as tho your head was going to cave in. Than, all of a sudden came the worst row you ever heard. The whole ground rocked and for a moment no one could even breathe. To make a long story short, the gun above us had been hit and blown up. Fortunately no one was working it at that particular moment and no one was hurt but you should have seen the wreckage – a big hole and at varying distances, wheels, pieces of barrels, sandbags and shells that belonged to the gun. Needless to say I got a pretty good scare out of that and will hereafter be more careful about my calling hours. It does, tho, speak rather well for the strength of a French abri (shelter), doesn‘t it, considering that the blowup was practically over our heads. This is just one incident that happened to come to me – almost everyone has these of the same variety and the addition of them all would certainly make a great book. There isn’t a great deal more to say now. Perhaps after a few days I will have some more tales to tell or some more of the ones already past to write down but just now I am suffering from writer’s cramp. Good bye

Love to everybody, Paul

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