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Catalog Number 1996.51.136CJ
Object Name Letter
Accession number 1996.51
Description Full transcription of text follows:


April 18/1918- Dear Mother and Dad- Letters dated March 15th and 21st arrived today - therefore I am calling halt until I write an overdue one home. things and other things have kept me entirely too well employed to do anything personal at all. Our men and supply sergeant was suddenly laid out by temporary blindness - and I am taking his place. The past ten days have taken all of waking and a part of my sleeping hours reorganizing - or better organizing and straightening out, and installing a system of accounting. In addition to all this - which should have been mere routine - there has been the kitchen to watch, menus to be prepared, the doctors' eye for sanitation to be satisfied - and four cooks. If one cook is a problem - four is a dilemma, and it certainly requires a diplomat to handle the situation and keep everything well oiled and running smoothly. It's real work, and believe me, when I hit the old bunk, I certainly do enjoy the time spent there - even if only for a few hours. But honestly (this is hard to believe - don't laugh) I really am enjoying it immensely. Can you imagine it. I - with my pronounced tendency toward "A little folding of the hands - etc" labouring strenuously all


day and most of the night - and getting great pleasure from doing so? I fear that my little sojourn in France has wrecked absolutely my brilliant prospects as a first-class bum - (Sad music). The old mess and supply sergeant could be blamed altogether for things being messed up (wish he could, sometimes). His trouble is a recurrence of an old nervous complaint - and might have [ ms illegible: 1 wd] in his becoming permanently blind - and he knew it all the time. Still for about two weeks he carried on as well as he could and told none of us that anything was wrong, until he broke down completely. I had to sort out the company paper from his personal effects with him and really it was pitiful. Scattered all through the things were nervous starts at letters, that started "Dearest Gladys" and "Mother dear" and trailed off after a sentence of two to a few meaningless scratches. About twenty of those - all indicative of the breakdown that was coming. There were other things - little, but powerfully suggestive that have made me wonder where our eyes could have been. At any rate - he is rapidly becoming must better and I am mighty glad of it. While speaking of near-tragidie - my poor abused feet. Their chief complaint is that they are not more, so that they


could wear all of the beautifully knit socks sent me, at once. There is nothing the matter with them - absolutely. Fully recovered, and on very active service again, thank you. It will take more than a camion to trouble them long. The only reason that I mentioned being hurt at all was for fear that someone else might - and so cause you folks to think I was "holding out". No danger. I like sympathy immensely. Besides - in an case worthy of mention - Uncle Sam would use the cable. All the gruesome details - Diagram. [diagram of accident] Exhibit "A" Camion wheels feet Camion backs up unexpectedly. Feet, in righteous indignation - refuse to move. Camion quite haughty (being loaded) ignores feet completely - and continues on its way to the rear. Feet receive an extremely pleasant ride in a Ford back to camp and take a short "repos". Business of undeserved sympathy arriving from L'Amerique and chocolate and cakes from Mrs. Andrews. Some time ago one of our boys received a Croix de Guerre and Fritz came as near to finding me as he could - I hope. Wrecked my nerves for a week, which was hard on the conducteur under me. A high explosive arrived in a tree fifteen years behind us. My pro-German tendencies saved me, but the other boy - who has Irish


a name as Spechmann was of course not so fortunate. Hence - the Croix de Guerre. Hope I never get one. This country is beautiful. Spring has set in (although the thermometer tonight would ot prove it) and the long winding roads are simply wonderful. Up hills - through wonderful forests [ms illegible: 1 wd] broad well cultivated valleys - the picturesque villages and farms, with their curious old buildings - all give a picture superb. Most of all I think I love the forest - magnificent old trees - all scrupulously cared for. It would be pretty hard for the French to forgive the Boche for murdering them needlessly. Even the fall - when the forests are all sunset-tinted - does not appeal to me quite as strongly as now - the spring does. I begin to understand why one says La belle France and loves it; in fact, I do myself - in spite of the beastly erratic climate. I'm becoming flighty - which is a warning post to stop. My love to all of you as ever. Ned. (No. we can not use the "Smileage" books. Only some Gillettte blades and toothpaste. They give quite enough entertainment, anyhow)

From the service of James E. (Ned) Henschel, Co. B Reserve Mallet--French Army, American Field Service, Quartermaster Corps, General Hdgts., and Motor Transport Co. 831.
Date April 18,1918
Year Range from 1918
Year Range to 1918
People Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
Subjects World War I
Letters (Home)
Military life
Clothing & dress