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


Private J.E. Henschel. American Mission. Prov. Co. "A". MTD. A.E.F., Convois Autos. Par B.C.M., France- April 8/1918- Dear Mother and Dad- A great deal has happened since my note to Dad - most of which (per usual) I can not tell you. Important to us - our camp has changed from barracks to billets. For sometime after leaving our happy home, we lived in our camions by the road-side - a gypsy-like existence. Our new home is both more satisfactory and yet more disagreeable. The road does not leak so that we awake in a pond (as was somewhat the case with the camions) - but our barn is fully equipped with its quota of rats. Some of the boys have been objecting strenuously to me on the grounds that rats and humans are not companionable - most unreasonable -


I am more fortunate - living in state in a remorque - or trailer - with two cooks. If you could see the orderly confusion in that remorque! All the necessaries of the life - from socks to chewing tobacco - scattered over the place. However - this is a fifty-fifty proposition - the socks and our somewhat uncertain plan of existence. We are now at a farm or out-skirts - estate near a delightful little village. Yesterday eggs sold for the unheard of price of three francs - about sixty cents a dozen. I would like to prophecy a jump in price of two francs or more in another day or so. Be that as it may - the place is delightful all the same, and I know that I shall enjoy our stay here greatly. Our last wayside home was just as nill - but I failed to discover this until the night before we picked our beds and walked. About ten minutes' walk from the place where my remorque was parked as a very quaint, old, town, with picturesque winding streets and queer buildings. A


truly beautiful little place - the sort of which one reads. There was a very old church and narrow little paths that wound up-hill and down and led nowhere in particular. Everything there was very old; the atmosphere of the place was romantic in the extreme. "Babe" Williamson and I walked up after supper, bought a few supplied at a "Cooperative," and sat down on a law wall near the church to wait for it's bell to call "Vespers" - (Or sound it or ring it - or whatever is done to Vespers). We fell quite madly in love with the little village. It is just such towns that Fritz takes keen joy in erasing. The next morning at 4:00. I was awakened to take a convoy - and may never get back again. Will you thank Iola for me for the knitted things and Emmet for his letters? There is no restriction on the number of letters I am allowed to write, save the time. I simply have not the time, for the present at least, to send any let-


ters save to you at home. Since taking up my new job, I can honestly say that I have worked hard practically all my hours awake - and they account to by for the greater part of the twenty-four. We have had and will continue to have the most severe convoy work that as yet we have been up against, under the most unfavorable conditions, and in our company, with new and less experienced driver. This of course means that there is more work for everyone - and less time for play. Perhaps some time I can tell you just the proposition. Hence - few letters and for between, but lots of dear thoughts and gratitude. Whereupon, I must say a word about the men. They have certainly turned to and produced the goods. Everyone - even the three black sheep - are working splendidly and I have nothing but praise for them. They kick and they growl - but they are now turning


out the work. We have not yet had an avoidable accident and have not had a car return on the end of a rope. When the order comes to clean cars (as it does whenever we are not on the road) our cars are the cleanest. The boys make life miserable pleading for little repairs, ranging from a lost belt to a complete overhauling. So long as they turn out the work they have been doing - they can have my last socks and undershirt. I don't know whether it is because they like to work or because they know that Coburn and I mean business. A bit of both - perhaps. You mentioned sending me some more things. Save perhaps a two-monthly package, holding this - Tube of Pebeco tooth paste - (the French product is fearful) tube of Mentholatum, half-dozen Gillette blades - tooth-brush - washrag - (to be used for cleaning rifles, polishing shoes, and a dish-cloth - Really - I don't wash any more, except to celebrate) - why - please don't. The gloves are splendid, I


can't get them here - but almost all the other things are purchasable. We ought not to have too much sent; it takes too much ship space. This isn't heroics at all - just common sense. There being too many packages and news papers - other more important mail such as letters are delayed. For example - when my "Stars" arrive - there are all the way from five to thirty of them - occupying the greater part of a mail sack. Much as I enjoy the papers - I really think you had better not renew the present subscription. Just send me the clippings instead. Quite a few of your letters have been delivered the past month - among them one with Kodak pictures, and another with clippings. Also a package come with a pair of socks and a pocket knife marked "Merry Xmas" from Aunt Kate. The package was rather "badly stayed with" - but the socks and knife are fine. The knife is very useful and mighty convenient to -


carry. Thank Aunt Kate for me. My foot has been well for so long that I have most forgotten about it. It was really nothing at all and I should never have mentioned the slight accident to you, save to explain why do frequent letters that week. I'm sleepy and tired. This letter is rapidly degenerating into drivel. Good Night. Ned. P.S. My love to all at home. P.P.S. In that package - 2 monthly - include a few heavy stub pen point - please.

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 8, 1918
Year Range from 1918
Year Range to 1918
People Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
Subjects World War I
Letters (Home)
Military life
Automobile driving
Automobile equipment & supplies