Full transcription of text follows:
Sunday, May 11, 1919 My Dear Mother: - This is Mother’s day and it is certainly a beautiful one too. I am going to put on my summer clothes very soon. Last Sunday was my birthday. I had almost forgotten about it. I spent the day in Coblenz and thought how far away it was from the place I spent my last birthday. I hope you are not dis-
appointed because I stayed over. It is beautiful weather here now and I didn’t think I would get another chance to see any more of this country. There is a possibility of my getting to Italy and southern France sometime in July. I am not sure we are going to remain over here that long from the way things look now. It is now stated from good authority that the entire American Army of Occupation will be out of here by July.
It was a little hard to say “good-bye” to the boys in my company. I went out, however, and they all lined up and I shook the hand of every man in the company. I told them all that, although I wasn’t going back with them, I would never forget them and I wanted them all to come and see me in Kansas City. If I didn’t happen to be there I told them to “go around and give the ‘old man’ the ‘glad hand’ anyway.” They are all mighty fine fellows, the majority of them are the big husky and
faithful farmer type. Tell Dad to give them a cordial smile and a hearty shake when they come around; of course I know he will. One of the men killed in my platoon was a little fellow named “Bennie” Gohl of Kansas City. I thought you could call on his family. I am sending you a company history and in it are the names and addressses of the men. Bennie was not a strong fellow but game to the last; several times on a long march in a hot sun with a heavy pack
he refused to leave ranks until I ordered him to do so, seeing it was almost murder to make him keep up. It was while we were fighting for the Heights of Barricourt, the hardest fighting we had during the whole war, that he was killed by a direct hit with a German shell. I was not in command of the platoon at the time, but was around in that vicinity sending information to head quarters. I am working hard now getting out a regimental history.
Another officer compiled it, but he left with the regiment and I am attending to the printing of it. I hope to get to Cologne this coming week. I understand it is a very good city. Coblenz did not impress me so much. I was unable to take the Rhine trip, but the next time I intend to do so, possibly this week. I haven’t heard from I.O. or Father for a long, long time. I wonder if Father got those pipes I mailed him. I also sent home a money order for a little over 300 dollars while we
were in Neurburg. I sent it thru the Y.M.C.A. If he failed to receive it,I have a receipt here for it someplace. Give my love to all three at home especially Father. This is a beautiful Mother’s Day and I am thinking of you constantly. Ever so much love, Burnie My address now - A.P.O. 930 American Army of Occupation: Trier, Germany.
From the service of James Kellogg Burnham Hockaday, First Lieutenant, 354th Infantry, 89th Division.
|Date||May 11, 1919|
|Year Range from||1919|
|Year Range to||1919|
Hockaday, James Kellogg Burnham
World War I