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 November 23, 1917

Dear Mother-:
I have rather a long story to tell this time and it is only a question as to whether I can get it all in, in the time I have which just at present isn’t particularly long and when such things are put off you know the answer: they never are told. The censorship regulations have been lifted a bit, I am happy to say and we can tell a little of what we have done.

Not quite a week after I became junior officer of the 5th F.A. (field artillery- Ed.) we were ordered into active service which news I am frank to admit disconcerted me not a little being so frightfully new at the game. We moved into the Lorraine sector and there proceeded to strafe the Bosch a little. I being the junior was left behind at the little town I wrote you from to care for the extra horses and material. Later I did get to the actual front and it certainly was a change from the fronts I had been on before; comparatively it was like a church, hardly anything doing and safer than living at home. It was a relief tho to feel that at length I had taken some really active part in putting the blink on the Bosch. After two weeks on the front the regiment moved down again and now we are in winter quarters where I imagine we will stay until spring, absorbing knowledge and trying to keep alive. A number of officers have already been sent to America to instruct by which sign I am kept alive in hopes that some time in the dim and dusky future my turn will come too.

Our work here is now and will be for some time principally organization, that is preparing for the winter. It is as I told you a perfectly miserable town and the task consists in making barracks for the men and horses so that they won’t die before spring and trying to arrange a program of learning for the officers so that they won’t all become raving maniacs before spring from ennui. It sounds simple enough but somehow it isn’t, considering the fact that we work in a sea of mud and only have about 7 1/2 hours of daylight.

Two of the packages arrived today from Ethel Beardsley at Cannes and to say the least they were most welcome. I can’t thank you enough for the hoods, wristlets and cards tho I am frank to admit that nine packs of the latter will certainly take me some time to use up. I am thinking of starting a regimental gambling den.

Today too is Thanksgiving day and therefore for the men a red letter day. There is very little work to do, only horse exercise in the morning and feeding and watering the rest of the time while the men in the meanwhile feed themselves to the fullest possible extent.They had a huge dinner this noon and at two thirty were still going strong. We officers had a quiet dinner in the house which serves for our mess and I could not help thinking of you all going this evening to Nannoo’s. Lord how I would like to be there. This and the time I went duck shooting on Long Island are the only times since I left St. Paul’s that I have been away, and now if you could see me sitting writing by candle light at 4:30 in the afternoon with the old witch sitting by the fire swearing at her cat Cocotte you certainly would say I was away.

I have got to stop now, with love, Paul

And many thanks again for the helmet, wristlets and cards. Had a good letter two days ago from Carroll (Paul’s brother –Ed.)

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