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Catalog Number 1986.213.36
Object Name Letter
Accession number 1986.213
Description Full transcription of text follows:


Somewhere in France, Oct. 2nd., 1918. My Dear Aunt Jessie:- I received your two “newsy” letters, and they were just the thing I wanted. I still have them both and read them over every now and then. That poem about the "Carefullest Man in the world" is a dandy. I am sorry that I could not write very often these last few weeks, but I think you will agree that I was doing more important business, if you have read the papers. I have been through it all and am glad to say came out without a scratch. I got mud over me from head to foot. It rained hard the night before the advance. I was going up to the lines that night in a motorcycle side car, but had to abandon it. The roads were jammed with guns, ammunition, and troops all “moving up”, and the rain was pouring. There was a trench running along the side of the road half filled with mud and water which I fell into head first a couple of times. The night was pitch black. I finally reached the dugout, and there remained until the guns opened up and we went "over the top". It was a beautiful sight. The flashes from the big guns lit up the sky like lightning. We could hardly hold the men back, to keep them from running into their own barrage. In six hours we had reached the objective assigned for the second day. These were the boys from Missouri and Kansas. Kenneth Russell’s division was on our left. After we had stopped I went over to see him, but found that he was in a candidate school in one of the big cities here. He may have a commission by now. Nevertheless, he missed a wonderful time. It was a shame about Major Bland being killed. It was thought that your friend, Mr. Clancy, might lose a leg, but I just heard that he will not, although he was badly hurt. Lieutenant McGrath is still fine and dandy. As I was going through on the town Xammes, France which the Germans had hurriedly left, I wandered into a deep cellar, or dugout, where they kept some stores. It was filled with many little trinkets, but mostly wine and beer. No, I don’t drink Aunt Jessie, but I was very tired and shaky then, and to add to discomfort, big Austrian kowitzers were droppings shells all around. I’ll admit, however, that when I left that cellar I felt like going over and knocking out the whole Austrian artillery. Yes, indeed, I looked around a little, and picked up a couple of German pipes, which I will send home, or take back myself. One for Father and one for Uncle Frank. They look like very good ones. My orderly just brought me Jessie’s letter. You can’t imagine how I enjoyed reading it over several times. I haven’t been to Paree yet. Thank her ever so much for knitting those socks. They will come in handy all right. Love to all, especially you and Mother, Aunt Jessie. Lots to tell when I get back. Burnham.

From the service of James Kellogg Burnham Hockaday, First Lieutenant, 354th Infantry, 89th Division.

Date October 2, 1918
Year Range from 1918
Year Range to 1918
People Hockaday, James Kellogg Burnham
Subjects World War I
Letters (Home)
Trench warfare