Archive Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 1996.51.136EJ
Object Name Letter
Accession number 1996.51
Description Full transcription of text follows:

jhenschel_0110_0001

Lt. J.E. Henschel, Motor Section, Advance PC, GHQ, A.P.O. 930, A.E.F. Trier, March 13th, 1919. Dearest of Mothers: A new early morning pastime has the members of the motor transport office in its clutches. Someone made the interesting discovery that there were horses of a sort available for all who chose to risk them. Nice tame beasts, that have never killed anyone - yet. AND the captain assured us that nothing was quite as fine an appetizer as a ride before breakfast. Therefore each of us was to be found the next, and all succeeding mornings, climbing on top of a horse animal. Also praying desperately that he might stay put, and that the horse would decide to come home some time before breakfast. You see, we're right there when it comes to handling a steering wheel and rolling along on rubber, but horses seem to be differently constructed. My first morning out was highly instructive. First of all, I find that when a stable seargent assures one that a horse is nice and tame, and that he hardly needs guiding at all, but knows pretty well which way to go, one should believe him. The last part of his statement, anyway. Someway or other I managed to get aboard, and was listening thoughtfully to the last words of the seargent (sergeant) when without much notice the horse animal decided we had talked long enough. I guess he knew, all right, for up he went on his two rear wheels, tangoed twice around, and headed through a narrow arch. From then on, Neddy was kept pretty busy. I wish that some one would tell me how to be comfortable when a horse decides to trot. Get off the horse I guess is the surest way. McIver says so. We went along together for quite some way, and except for the fact that only the horse had any idea where we were headed. Also I made the most interesting discovery that one talks to a horse with his feet knees and nay other part of him that touches. Every time that I would shift position, the horse would try a new stunt. I figured some how that to slow the animal down, one pulled down, up he went again on two rear feet - and then I was too busy to care much whether he stopped or not. We were trotting along merrily, and I figured that it would be lots more fun to gallop, so let the lines hang loose, and the critter stopped with a jerk, turned his head and winked! Fact. We had gone about two miles out of town, and I had begun to hope hat maybe we would get back in time for the noon meal, perhaps, when the horse wheeled again with so much as a whisper, came home a lost faster than any of our motors could have done, reached the stables in record time, stopped with a jerk, lost me suddenly, and called it a day. Then he actually had the impertinence to come up and rub his nose on my shoulder, as much as to say, "You don't seem to know much about it, but we got here all right!" And as usual, he was right.

jhenschel_0110_0002

Went to [Coblenz] the other day to get some parts that were badly needed, and hoped to see "H" Clay while there, as I had heard that he was stationed there. It was rather a sad trip, for I found that he had died two days after being assigned to duty at [Coblenz]. Grippe and pneumonia. I was pretty well broken up, for Clay was one of the best friends that I had. It certainly seems as though grippe sakes the finest and best of them. Here was "H", clean lived, an athlete, in perfect physical shape, and died two days after being taken ill. Think I shall place a footstone on his grave, for I am the only friend that he had any where within miles of here. There have been four hundred Americans who have gone west from grippe at [Coblenz]. Otherwise the trip was very enjoyable. The scenery is more than beautiful, at times the road following the Moselle river, and at other times passing through the mountains. The vineyards are astonishing. The land is all very stony, and most of the way, the Moselle winds along in a deep cut between high hills on either side. Although so steep as to present quite considerable difficulty to anyone attempting to climb them, the sides of the hills are entirely covered with veinyards. I can not understand how the plants can find a foot hold on that kind of land. It certainly illustrates admirable the European way or utilising every foot and, whether ordinarily available or not. All along one sees ruined castles high up on he very topmost peaks of the mountains. It's a very wonderful bit of country, to see, but I don't think that I should enjoy living there, or trying to make a living there. This afternoon [General] Pershing reviews all of the troops in this Trier area. We get in on it of course, so this morning Prov. Co. "U" is going to try to learn how to drill. It will be awful, for they have never done any close order drilling since landing in France. I don't know how they truck company is fixed that way, but rather imagine that they are no better than we are. We are fortunate, however, in that the greater part of our men will be busy driving staff cars for all of the officers around; today there will be a lot of them, too. You should see the large - (no that's not big enough; enormous) - tractors that I have had fixed up and am now using to tow in war stuff. They certainly are monsters. One of the things will drag along a fifty ton gun and never even grunt. Four wheel drive Mercedes-Daimler buggies, for which we are infinitely obliged to the German war machine for leaving behind at our disposal. Likewise, I am going to have to look for another park for my little pets, the Deutsche trucks. I am acquiring altogether too many of them for the size of the Kaserne where they are now standing. There are still a great many more, which of course does not simplify matters any at all. My own private little Opel car was running fine, but along came a Colonel who simply had to have a German salvaged car

jhenschel_0110_0003

at once, or else the army of occupation simply could not carry on any longer. There was no other car avilable at the moment, so in order to save the motor transport office from immediate destruction I sent mine over - for a few days. He still has the thing, and I rather expect that he will continue to have it indefinitely, but that makes no differance; c'est la guerre, or the armistice, or something of that sort. Hence, I found myself another, and am having it reupholstered, repainted, and overhauled. It will be two weeks before I have it agian, but in the meantime I am perfectly at liberty to use an ordinary Dodge or Cadillac. Therefore it makes no difference. Have to get to work. There is a lot to do. Seems always to be a lot to do these days, for which I am truly very grateful. My love to all of the family. Ned

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 13, 1919
Year Range from 1919
Year Range to 1919
People Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
Subjects World War I
Letters (Home)
Riding
Horse
Death
Illness
Tractors
Trucks