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

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Letter dated February 22, 1918

Dear Mother-:

The last letter I write you was I am frank to admit rather vague for the reason that I hadn’t the slightest idea what I could say and as a result sort of talked around without saying anything. Now, however, I find I can tell you a few things.
We are again at the front and as I told you, having acquitted myself at school not perhaps excellently, but at least satisfactorily I have a new job. I came directly here from school and started work immediately finding everyone tremendously busy. You can see by the papers about where our sector is and at present I am somewhere on that line. Well, to tell you what I am doing: My present work is observation. I spend twelve of every twenty-four hours sitting up in a little observatory, that looks from the outside exactly like what it isn’t, and surrounded with every variety of telescope and with a telephone control that would be the credit of a small town. I plot the destruction of the Bosche. For helpers I have an observer or two,and a couple of telephone operators. There is another lieutenant who does the same thing and has the same staff for the other twelve hours. As a matter of fact we alternate every eight hours so that no one will have either continuous day or night work. However, as we had sort of a Cox and Box existence, each only seeing the other at the end or beginning of our work, you couldn’t say we were exactly clubby. I eat and sleep in a remarkable series of quite palatial dugouts underneath and am as a whole quite enjoying myself. There is certainly a real satisfaction in finding Fritz up to something, finding out just what and where it is and then giving the instructions necessary for blowing him up. That is on lively days, tho. On quiet ones I haven’t a great deal to do but just keep looking and keep other people looking as I am now while I am writing this which I am managing to do on the telephone bench with a charcoal brazier underneath my chair to keep away the chills of a dank Washington’s birthday morning. Writing on fete days seems just now to be my forte for the last letter I turned out if I remember correctly was produced at about the same hour on Valentine day morning.Pretty soon now I will eat my breakfast cold and consisting of almost anything I can find and go to bed. I usually when I am on duty at this hour manage to get up for dejeuner which is quite the event and what is more the big meal of the day. By the way it seems to be true in the American as well as the French army that the nearer the front, the better the food for we are really living quite well and know not the hardships of meatless and wheatless days, moreover since every day is a bathless one we don’t have the hardship of those.

By the way, when you were at Wells did you ever happen to have known a woman by the name of Morgan who married a Mr. Stanton. At (artillery) school I met a boy of that name who on learning my habitat said his mother was from Aurora and went to Wells. By the bye their present home is in Cleveland.

All sorts of interesting people are turning up. Tell Papa that I have meant to tell him for a long time that there is in the regiment an Edward E. Hills from San Francisco who is a descendant of the Joseph Hills side.
Must stop now. With love, Paul

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