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 March 29, 1918

Dear Papa-:

I was tremendously sorry to hear that you had been sick and hope by the time that you get this you will be well enough to feel as tho you had never had anything the matter with you.

As for me I am doing exactly the same thing now as I started in on about the first of February. As you can well imagine I am just about fed up with observation and looking forward to nothing as much as a change. No matter what variety. My work I suppose is as interesting as any other and I hope is doing as much for the country. However eight hours of work and then eight hours of rest day after day for two months with most days pretty much alike is bound to get a bit tiresome. What some writer said about modern war was the truest and about the most correct definition I have ever heard. He said that modern war was damn dirty, damn dull and damn dangerous. There are changes, however, and it is those that keep things from getting overpowering. This afternoon for example at the beginning it was clear. We saw a crowd of Bosche come out of the woods about nine kilometers off with a wagon and start to unload a lot of material. We located them, reported them in and a battery started in on them. The first shots weren’t very close and gave them time to get away. You should have seen those Dutchmen scatter. I don’t believe we hit any but at least we discouraged their architectural efforts for the day. That is just one of the things we do, although our main task is spotting and helping put our guns on German batteries that are shooting at us. There is really a great deal of satisfaction in catching a battery in action, directing the old heavies until they land right on it and then see it suddenly cease firing. You really feel as tho you had done something. It is a great deal as tho the guns were at Garnston (the Hills summer cottage on the west shore of Owasco Lake near Auburn –Ed.) behind the hill and I was on top of the hill with a telephone to you, telling you how your shots were landing on Scipio Center or Woods Pond (small communities several miles distant –Ed.) Quite a bit cold blooded and distant but when things get all tuned up and working perfectly and you can move your shots around just as tho you were there yourself it doesn’t seem that way at all. Then there are other times too when Fritzy gets angry at something and heaves over something like a garbage can full of Melinite. It comes at you like a train of cars, blows up like a thunderstorm and completely changes the topography of about a half acre of ground. You sit still and hope and wonder where the next one is going to land. Those times aren’t nearly as nice or interesting but it’s all in the day’s work.

It is great of you to keep sending me the newspaper clippings and they really make me feel as tho I was not quite as far away as I really am. This is all now, good bye, hoping you are better. With love, Paul

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