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

jhenschel_0017_0001

July 22/1917- Dearest Mother- I am writing this on the road waiting for my camion to be excepted - so you must pardon any dirt on the paper, any more than usual chirography or that sort of thing. This morning's trip was the least exciting of my thus far - and most of our work certainly lacks excitement. We were ordered to the nearest loading park (a horrible mixture of the French "parc" and our "park" - the blackest of black negros filled the camions with rock to repair roads, and now we are leaving the load quite near our camp. This is the first time that we have arrived anything not either munitions or trench materials. I have been a little sick the last few days - cold and a little fever - but am all well and on my feet again. There has been remarkably little sickness among the fellows in our section; our chief trouble is with cub fingers and accidents with the camions. Every once in a while some one considers it his duty to act as buffer between a couple of

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camions - and by doing gains a few days of "repos". Also, some one always insists on trying to carve off a finger or so with his pocketknife which - needless to say - is all a mistake. Did I tell you of the accident in which Corburn Herndon figured as chief attraction? I will now of the risk of repeating. His brother - Seth - was backing their camion up to a freight car loaded with "seventy-fives" and had stopped about a foot away, when he - Coburn - stepped between the car and the camion to ask if everything was all right - which was quite customary - Some Frenchman took it upon himself to signal Seth to back up farther, with the result that Coburn was mashed up a bit between the two. he went to the hospital and - fortune was with him was out again after a few days. That same night Seth received a letter telling him of his father's serious illness; I don't imagine that he spent a very pleasant night. However, as we have learned to say to everything now - "c'est l'guerre" - it is the war - and if we meet with nothing worse - we shall be fortunate. I mentioned the negroes. There are thousands of them - all imported from Africa - used in forming "convoys" (I have not the

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least idea as to the spelling of that word) that is - the loading crews kept at the parcs. They array themselves in all the finery they can find - a covver bracelet or so, rings galore, and an improvised swagger-stick - and they feel themselves kings of the earth. We saw one this morning, with his face all covered with decorative scars - never acquired in battle. Seth won his heart by displaying a gold tooth. They are useful for other purposes than being members of "convoys" they are used in trench work, and not a few have gained "croix de guerre". Other convoys are composed of Frenchman above fighting age and of Chinese coolies. They - all of them - or - [ms illegible: 1 wd] take their time about moveing. The only time that I have ever seen a loading crew really made speed was one night when the Germans started shelling the place - and I must confess that they broke all records on that occasion. They accomplished in a very few minutes as much as it usually takes them hours to do - and then dropped back. One of the things that

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has surprised me more than anything else is the amount of time wasted in accomplishing anything. There seems to be no systems at all. There have been more rumors as to the United States taking over this service - and this time I am tempted to believe it. There are so many rumors one does not know what to believe. I am enclosing a map of this sector on which I have located our position exactly - the line is slightly north of us - as you can see. If tis is of military importance - the censor will remove it - so I am not doing any thing forbidden. Must close - will rite later. My love to all of you folks at home. Ned. To- Mrs. L.H. Henschel 3226 Euclid Avenue- Kansas City- Missouri- U.S.A. From- J.E. Henschel- TMU 133 Convois Automobiles Par B.C.M. Paris-

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 July 22, 1917
Year Range from 1917
Year Range to 1917
People Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
Subjects World War I
Letters (Home)
Illness
Roads
Accidents
Blacks
Censorship