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

Monday, June 9, 2008

Letter dated November 5, 1917

Dear Mother: I understand the mail facilities of the U.S. Army are not all that they might be so I am sending you this letter by the regular French postal service just to let you know I am still alive and enjoying life immensely. Since I wrote you the first letter after I joined my regiment, which by the way is the 5th Field Artillery in case you never the get the other letter, we have moved over quite a lot of France and are now sojourning in a nasty little town waiting for further instructions. I am horribly sorry we have moved since the last place was much more comfortable, and also in the shuffle I have missed Stanley and others who followed me out completely. They have probably been attached now to other units and we are separated for the rest of the war. The closer Thanksgiving, Xmas and all the festal days get the more I wish I were home but I try to look at it from the philosophic standpoint that a good education should have given me. However that doesn’t seem to work at all the way it should and when I think of myself muddling around this blessed country for heaven only knows exactly how many more years I get decidedly down. I have, since I have changed my nationality, discovered a few radical differences in the American and French armies. In the American, one has better quarters but worse food than in the French. The French seem to accomplish exactly as much but they do it in a different style, easier, exactly how I can’t explain but that is how it works out. We haven’t been in the war yet long enough to lay emphasis on the little comforts which with them have become a science. With us it is a continuous performance, always talking shop, which they never do. When the day’s work is finished, it is over, that is all and they turn to more pleasant things.

Tomorrow if I can get off I am going over to the nearby large town to buy some Xmas presents to send home to you. They will have to be small and compact and just how they will ever arrive heaven only knows but it will be worth while trying. It seems queer to be buying them now when all the leaves are still on the trees, all of a queer yellow pink color about like the 1st of October at home.

Today I have been officer of the day, sort of a general boss of the camp who walks around and sticks his nose into every conceivable cranny to see that everything is going well. One rather funny thing happened: we post a guard in the top of a church steeple here to look for avions. Today the sexton came along, locked up the tower with the two men in it by mistake and went off to get his coffee. It was my job to get the men down and then after that since their breakfast was long past to see that they got fed.

Another thing I had to do was to get the exact location of every one of the 675 horses that the battalion has billeted all over town. When I got thru I considered myself lucky that I had only 84 missing.

I think when I have done it a few more times I would be a good administrator for an orphan asylum. I think I had better call a halt.

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