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


Motor Section, Advance GHQ, APO 930, A E F. March 31st, 1919. Dearest Mother: Your letter came this morning - the one with your copy of Ramsey's citation. That certainly listened fine, and all day today the hard working motor section, GHQ, has been reading of the exploits of one R.C.H., representing the family Henschel. Ramsey certainly played in hard luck, didn't he - about the commission, I mean; there were a lot others in exactly the same boat, and most of them had a Sam Browne due. I certainly was tickled to get the letter, and felt all "stuck up", because those things come so seldom in our army that when they do come, one can be pretty sure they have been earned. And the son of a gun didn't tell me a thing about it, of course! Things are traveling right along at the old stand, quite as busily and as merrily and as happily as ever. I had the pleasure today to send a Heinie across the Rhine, hunting up spare automobile parts at some cousins of ours who run a plant formerly devoted to the product of railway locomotives. This branch of the Henschel family were quite some punkins, it seems, being a manner of German Bethlehem Steel Works. Before the war, railroad locomotives were their chief interest; since they have turned out several billion, more or less, of shells and explosives, and Now Herr Henschel who prays daily that he will not have to stay more than four years in the Rhine lands. It's a great life and all that, but I never figured that I would be putting the shops of some millionaire Dutchman with my own name to work making odds and ends of motor cars. I am gradually getting more or less cleaned up as regards the collection of automobiles. The job is coming to and end parsque c'est bein finis, or almost so. Now then, comes the mournful part of the story. Some weeks ago, I made a recommendation - quite bloodthirsty, etc., regarding the treatment of the problem of German motor cars - and here I find it on my desk on a dark and dismal morning, all nicely printed, a general order "By Command of [General] Pershing". Also with an unofficial endorsement to effect that ins o much as I happened to be the mother of the child (!) I was elected. A sort of "tag, you're it" proposition, or chickens always hunt the family hearth, or rolling stones gather too darned many feathers. At any rate, you're affect. son it now register extraordinary to all of the worthless, antiquated wrecks that are to be found in American GHQ area, under the heading of German Automobile Material.


Also, I am my own private detective force, and am supposed by some sort of second sight to be able to know off hand if a motor car ever carried a German soldier or officer. Also, if a German civilian should be permitted to own operate or other wise come in contact with an automobile that he happens to have lying around the place. Also, in case I think not, to be able to say just how many streets the bird has to polish or how many marks he should pay. Also to be able to tell aforesaid voitures. Also (this started this morning) to be able to deliver to various colonels, etc. who whould be in padded cells far away from potential victims, a "nice German car that looks like a German car, so that it can be used for secret service. It must not be suspected that Americans have anything to do with it; therfore if you can't give us a good German car, a Cadillac will do just as well, if it's a new one!" Mon dieu! How do they get that way. Any way, I am enclosing (if I can find a copy of the internal thing) said General Order. And wish to go on record, like all other misguided souls; NEVER AGAIN! That's the one and only thing signed [General] Pershing that shall emanate from our own fetid brain. By the way - what is a fetid brain? Gee, but there's a lot to do tomorrow. I am going to quit this, in the hopes that my next attempt my be more coherent. I am rapidly becoming a first rate maniac. GHQ is a sort of mad-house anyway.

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 March 31, 1919
Year Range from 1919
Year Range to 1919
People Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
Subjects World War I
Letters (Home)
Automobile driving
Automobile equipment & supplies