A RARE lot of 50 letters home from a World War I US Soldier which I found in this old tin box. This is a RARE slice of American history. The gentleman who wrote the letters was 18 when he started them and then went to World War I and came back. Such a rare glimpse into a young man's heart, fears, desires, and thoughts during the war. There is a newspaper clipping from when the California Guard headed to France. There are 2 letters from 1914, 13 from 1917, approx. 24 from 1918, and 11 from 1919. The soldier was part of the RAINBOW DIVISION, which was formed in New York in August of 1917 as a way to get 27,000 troops to France quickly for World War I. It was called the RAINBOW DIVISION because MacArthur said it would stretch across the US like a rainbow. He was in the 117th Regiment, Company F Engineers.
The young soldier was part of the American Expeditionary Forces. He started working in the Mill Creek Plant in Redlands as a young man. He was a blacksmith and would later do horseshoeing in the war. He traveled to Camp Mills in New York where he wrote "there are 35,000 men here now which completes the Rainbow Division". He also writes about how it was cold there in the mornings and they wouldn't let them wear their coats so they would get used to the cold weather that would be ahead. There were 250 men in his regiment. In September of 2017 he wrote that he was leaving for France any day. He states "I am now a soldier for Uncle Sam". As a sergeant in the army he would make $40 a month and they were allowed .43 cents a day for meals.
Once he arrives in France his letters are addressed from "somewhere in France" and they are censored. There are many different stationary and envelopes in this lot from the YMCA and the Expeditionary Forces, and Liberty Loan Bonds, Knights of Columbus, Camp Mills, etc. He writes "The people in the US can't imagine what we boys have to put up with. I have had my taste of war and I am ready for peace". He is making his mom a vase from a French shell. It came from the most famous gun in the war. The bullet that came out of this shell may have killed a few Germans for all I know for it was shot that way". He writes "I hiked all night the night of July 4th and it will be a fright that I will never forget".
His travels take him through Navagues, Osprey, Chalendrey, L:angres, Neufmaison, badonviller, Champagne, Chalons, Chateau-Thierry, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Sauer River, etc. He writes "If the Huns are not willing to come to President Wilson's terms then we will run them off the face of the earth". He also writes "You must remember that we were in action most of the time since last February. We were on the front all the time. We have been on more fronts than any other American division. Had most of the hard fighting so we deserve all the credit we can get".
Such a RARE lot of treasured letters giving a small glimpse into the mind of a young man, a US Soldier, a hero. Available in my ebay listings. Click here to view.