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

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Letter written June 14, 1918

Dear Mother-:

I started a letter yesterday but something or other interfered and when today I came to go on with it, it was such a stupid thing that I decided to begin another all over again. Really to know what to write is quite a problem. You have quite enough at home of the blood and thunder, far more indeed it seems than we who are in it, and to always write about one’s self never leads anywhere. But now first a bit of the other side. Last evening or rather yesterday afternoon, for it doesn’t get dark until about 10, I went up to one of the batteries of the regiment and managed to arrive just about as they were finishing dinner. The position was in a woods, not an American woods but a real French one with no bushes or low undergrowth and tall trees with no low branches – Howitzers have the advantage of being able to fire from such a place. The table was laid under what the French call a “tonelle” – (spelling questionable) about a hundred yards back of the guns near the officers’ dugout and there, as it was under the branches it was such as we would be proud to have at home. A wonderful old oak table with fine white and gold porcelain and cut glass looted from a nearby smashed chateau, I am sorry to say. The meal was in proportion. Four courses, two sorts of wine and port after. During the whole time I was there the guns were going, one shot a minute only, simply interdiction fire on a point where all it is necessary to do is to load and pull the string. Here, tho, nobody was in a hurry, nobody overworked and as you can imagine the life there was comfortable since the battery has been there three weeks and firing about 600 rounds a day and no shell has ever come anywhere near it. And with it all this is a sector that has the reputation of being one of the liveliest on the entire front. You see, even this war isn’t without its pleasant moments and pleasant work, for certainly to fire a battery all day is pleasant when you are not fired back at by Heinie from over the hill.

As for myself I am becoming more and more nocturnal in my habits. A day or so ago it occurred that I did not have to go out at night and had aspirations towards a real, normal night’s rest. I went to bed about ten but it was like going to bed in the middle of the morning and I stood about as much chance of sleeping. Strange how easily you become absolutely turned around. This about all now, Mother, so good bye. With love, Paul

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