Letters From France
Somewhere in France
November 3, 1918
Dear Mother and Father:
Will try to write you just a few lines to let you know that I am well and in good health.
Listen, Mamma, just think I haven’t heard a word from home since the 1st of August. I am so anxious to hear from you all. I have gotten one letter from a girl since I left the States. I have written home several times since I landed in France.
I don’t know any news, no more than I am on the front now and of course we are going to win this war, guess you have already learned that.
I am afraid you and papa are grieving about me. Now listen, it is no good of that, that will shorten our life. Don’t worry about me for you know Grandpa was in the war four years and he came home safe. Why can’t I do the same, only I will be home so much sooner it will surprise you. We are here to win the war and be done with it. Then I will come back to you and stay at home as I have done until I came into the army.
I would be glad to get just one line from home. Will close.
Private J.T. Finch
C. Battery, 21st F.A.
American Ex. Forces, via New York
October 25, 1918
My Dear Daddy
Well, Daddy, how are you all tonight? I am feeling very good tonight. I have been in the hospital. Now on my way back to my Co., and think I will go back tomorrow. Hope so; I want to get back and get my mail as I have not had any for almost 30 days. I am sure I will have a letter from home when I get back. I wrote you while at the hospital, have you gotten it? Well Daddy I have been in one of the largest fights in this war and I sure do feel lucky to be living. I sure do thank my God that he has rated(?) me this long, and I am still living in hope that some bright day I will come back to Home, Sweet Home again. I can see you all just as plain and I am always thinking of you all at home.
I have not seen Joe for 30 days, but the last I heard of him he was all right, and just as soon as I get back I will find out about him and let you know just how he is.
Daddy, what is Lee and Mary doing? I sure would be glad to see you all and here’s hoping it won’t be long before this war will close and we boys can come back to the good old U.S.A. We have lost lots of our boys and they were all good boys, and our Company will never seem like the same old Company. It seems so sad that so many of the boys killed and lots wounded so that they will not come back any more. We are getting lots of new men from the States now to fill up again and they have just been in the army about three months and we will have to train them some too, but we don’t mind this as we get to stay out of the lines to do so.
With all my love to all at home.
Your loving son,
Corp. Grady P. Bunn,
Co. B, 120th Inf. American E.F.
Via New York
October 26, 1918
Have been writing a few letters to some of the girls, and of course can never refuse to write a few lines to you all. So will begin by saying have just taken a hearty laugh at a fellow telling his experience as an orderly for one of our lieutenants. Also have just read the program of the Duke Memorial Day you sent. Tell papa to be sure and contribute some to this cause for me, did any of you go? Also read the other clippings, including the little funny jokes. They appeal to me so much as they make me think of the happy moments we spent together by our fireside reading them.
Well, I am glad to hear you are all still doing so fine. Am expecting to hear of you all purchasing an auto, things are selling so high.
You spoke of reading the work of the Americans. You bet your life, fighting has been a common thing with us lately. And wonderful experience no human being can explain. Have been right over after the Boche several times, and we showed him the meaning of our mission here. And Mother the Lord has so wonderfully cared for me.
It seems the American dough boys are quite a fright to the Boche as the Kaiser’s children are continually drifting toward home, and at home we hope he will soon be. And a glorious peace will be extended to all the world once more. Mamma I hope the Lord’s will is for me to return and oh, what a happy time it will be.
We regret the loss of our comrades, which has occurred. However, we realize we are in war.
Sherrod is doing fine too He and Johnnie Pearce were around to see me yesterday. Have seen Johnnie Bowden, Hubert Bergeron and a good many other friends lately, all were well and jolly. Haven’t seen any of the other boys around there who left this spring yet, but am going to try and write them.
Say, what is Johnnie having to say now? They say he is just a grand sport. Had a letter from L----, said he was sporting E----ha! Wonder if he is driving old Bude.
Well hope they will have a good school this time. As I am sure they have some good teachers. Guess bid Charlie D. is laughing some now. Have just been wondering which one, him or Roger, will get the most cotton picked by the girls.
Thinking the way the children started out picking was very good. Tell them to be smart. Maybe I can join them again some day.
Tell Pappa I would like for him to write me how he came out this year as prices I hear are real high. Hope you are in good condition now financially, also want to know if any allotments are coming in again.
Am glad Linda went down to Cousin Andrews. Mattie wrote me about it also.
Now I guess I better begin stopping for this time as I shall have to ….(line obscured) her yesterday.
Now I want you all to give my best love and good wishes to all relatives, neighbors and friends, and tell the families that have absent members I wish them the very best success possible, until our happy return. And hope it won’t be long before we can have another neighborhood reunion.
Tell cousin Henry I ate some rabbit today, (lines obscured). Good night
Your loving boy
Co. F. 119th Inf. A.E.F.
P.S. I forgot last night. You remember the picture you sent, where the soldier boys were watching the children play. Well that’s something to our experience. We are out now on I suppose a good long rest. And we boys are having a nice, joking and jolly time.
Mamma the sweetest experiences we have had yet were to see the old women and men shouting and rejoicing as the American dough boys passed by. And they realize the fact that they once more are living on the Allied side of the lines. Don’t you know it was beautiful?
Dear Home Folks:
Just wrote you all a long letter the other day, but have gotten two from you since then stating you haven’t been getting any from me. Well, mother, please don’t be troubled, as you will understand, when we are in the lines, it is very inconvenient to write, therefore I had to neglect writing in the past week or two. I guess is why the long slip came in. Hope they are coming in again now. So I beg, while I’m here, making the greatest of sacrifices, you all will share with me, and continue to write often. I shall be sure to write you often, at every chance possible.
Was very sorry to hear in your letter today the influenza was raging, and of the serious cases, but hope it is checked and you all will not get it. I’m afraid Lena was sick, as her writing was like Emma’s, it was not natural. Know you will be glad to hear I’m getting on fine and am almost as fleshy as I was when at home in February.
Had a letter from Tommie today also. He reports everything going on in the church, which sounds good to me. Am in better home now of returning back to the dear work than ever, as Turkey and Austria have fallen. And am in help by the time you get this, Germany will e the same thing.
(line obscured) rest as I stated before, and are located near each other, which enables us to see each other every day or two. We had a divisional field meeting the other day. Prizes were offered for winners in races, relay, horse and many things, boxing and a good many other things.
You can imagine the day was enjoyed by all seeing all this. To hear the bands play, followed by the good news that Turkey and Austria were out. New spirit seems to be greatly increased throughout all the units.
You know I can almost see the children playing that music. Gee, and hope I will be there before long to join the band.
Tell Linda, Lena, and Jack, too, that I would like to write them separate letters, but it would require more writing and don’t believe they will think hard of me for writing all together.
Their letters are dear to me and let them continue to write.
Well, I started the letter last night but didn’t finish. To tonight will begin again.
Say, I saw Sherrod again today, also Moses Inscoe and Elwood Sykes and Grady Bunn. Gee, we have some lovely chats when we meet you bet.
Tell Linda was glad to hear of the Red Cross organization at the Paths. Be sure to do a lot of it, also hope she gave Mary Etta my address. And to be sure to write Bertie a few words for me.
Now, as I wrote a great deal in the other letter, will make this one short. Am still feeling fine tonight. Now the conclusion of my letter is this:
A Prayer for Home
Dear Heavenly Father, listen to the pleadings of Thy child, give ear to my prayer. Lonely am I in a distant country, away from my beloved home, away from those whom I love and who are near and dear to me. Lonely, but, Heavenly Father, not forsaken. For Thou hast said: “Lo, I am with you always even until the end of the world.”
“If I ascend up into Heaven, Thou art there. If I take wings of the morning and dwell in the uppermost parts of the sea even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.” For this I thank and praise Thee, for if Thou art with me I shall not want. Therefore I commend my loved ones. Bless all I left at home send Thy Holy angels to guard and protect them, keep them, I pray Thee, in true faith. Give them power and strength to resist the temptations of the sinful world and to abide with Thee.
And Lord, if Thou will spare me and my loved ones, and grant me a happy return home, above all bring me together with them to the home which Thou hast gone to prepare for Thine own.
Lord, Heavenly Father, hear me, for Jesus’ sake.
I remember you all daily.
Your loving son and brother,
Corporal Leon S. Gay