TO HIS GRANDMOTHER, MRS. CAROLINE BEARDSLEY WOODRUFF:
Dear Nannoo: Well here I am theoretically an officer and I hope a gentleman in the U.S. Army. Officially now I am 2nd Lieut. P.W. Hills, 5th Reg. Battery F. Field Artillery. Can you beat it. It makes me laugh even to see it written down.
It was perfectly great of you to cable me and I received at about the same time two letters from you, one telling about the new letter of credit that had chased me to the section, back again to Paris and in fact had quite a journey. The letter of credit notification too came at the same time and the best part of it is that I myself did not need it. There was just enough of the old one left to buy my officer’s outfit and set me up in business, and now I am being handsomely remunerated to the tune of six dollars a day. The first real money I have ever earned.
I did tho lend quite a bit of it to Stanley who was absolutely broke and had to buy his outfit at the same time. He himself hasn’t come out yet but I hope to see him soon. Getting an outfit isn’t quite all that it might be especially considering that boots are a necessity and come at 300 francs a pair.
Everything however worked out wonderfully for me. I arrived in Paris from the section which was relieved at that time, the twenty-second of October just at the end of a wonderful action on the Chemin des Dames again and left the twenty-ninth for here. It gave me just enough time to get everything and enjoy a bit of a vacation in Paris. I was tho particularly sorry not to be able to go to Cannes but that, God willing, will come later when I get my first permission (leave-Ed.) from the American army and it looks as tho now the war were going to last long enough to let me enjoy several of those periods. I am tho sorrier that I can ever say not to get a chance just yet to come home.
My new duties aren’t particularly onerous. I get up rather early but on the other hand sleep all of every night. We ride, have target practice etc. with the guns in the morning, have lectures and so forth for the rest of the afternoon for a little while and that is all. We have good food and there are a wonderfully good crowd of officers, a great many of whom have done just what I have. I am at present leader of a platoon of about 40 men to whom as far as I can gather I am combination king, nurse, policeman and papa. It certainly is a strange sensation ordering, instructing and taking care of men old enough to be my father and who know more of the army than I will ever know.
I am very glad I am in the artillery since first to me it is without doubt the most interesting end of the game besides being one of the most comfortable and safest. There is too a wonderful chance for promotion since the service is being increased every day. It has however its disadvantages. I have to do a tremendous amount of mathematics and as you can probably remember that never was my forte. You should see me puzzling for hours over a range finder and then discovering finally that I only missed by some two hundred meters at the first try. Luckily tho there are observers and it is possible to correct after the first try. I will write you again very soon. Thanking you again for the letter of credit. With love, Paul