October 15, 1916.
Dear Uncle George:
I enjoyed your long letter, which I received a few days ago, written when you were taking you holiday. I have written to Bayne at the address you gave me, but haven’t had any reply form him yet. The war will not improve his qualities as a corespondent, if he is at all like me, although I spend endless days of comparative idleness in dug-outs like this, or in a shack somewhere, I hardly write any letters. Some men seem to write up boxes of paper during these nameless days, but the Bayne family is not affected that way; I guess I’ve exchanged about four notes with Uncle Hugh during the past year, – and haven’t written to you as often as I wanted to.
W week or so ago, General Gorgas paid me a visit. He came a long way out a muddy ravine when were were in the line and must have taken a lot of trouble to find me. I was happy to see him, but was distressed at his appearance. He looks older and rather badly – and was limping- I don’t know why? The work of the huge medical department that we now have mush have been a big task for him during last winter.
Shortly before that, Major Sawger of the Signal Corpse was out at our P.C. and told me that he had know Bayne at the Camp in Louisiana. He said that Bayne was one of the best officer he had ever seen and was really an expert in signal work. It was fine to hear this – and very good to know what excellent work Bayne can do in a difficult subject when his interest is aroused. – I haven’t much hope of seeing Bayne, unless we can arrange to meet here. I have heard that his Division will remain at the Base as a “replacement division” – for the training of new men and sending men forward to reinforce or replace casualties or any losses in other units. But you can never tell in this war where you’ll be to-morrow – so I still have hopes.
I have returned to Brown Shipley & Co. my last letter of credit which expired on Sept. 30. with an exhausted credit of L50.
During the trench life I am able to save my pay, so will have enough money to get along on all right.
Unlike the weather, my pen as gone dry. Fog, rain and mud are all we know these days. I don’t expect to see and dry sunny day in France again “until next June.
We are now in a sector of extraordinary historical interest. This is the oldest battlefield where the French showed thier supreme courage and power of resistance.
The ground is all torn up by shells, and old bones, skeletons, Bosh boots with feet and leg bones sticking out of them, old casques, cartridges, belts, rifle barrels, tin cans and trench refuse show how they lived and died in those battles. No one can describe these sights to you except your own eyes – and e live in the same holes as if there were nothing unusual around us.
Lately, there has been lots of talk about peace and an armistice. I think this is bad for the troops as it may make them relax their efforts. We mush whip the Bosch – and then our diplomats may talk. The best peace principle I know of is – “leave it to Foch.”
I enclose a label for a Christmas package which you and Tante E may send me, if you will be so kind. This is the label issued us, and will five you instructions about the size of the package, etc. I suppose, if peace were declared, soon, we would still be in France at Christmas. The luck of getting home early is too good to think about.
I hope that Alma and the baby are doing splendidly. These victories over here should allow Bayne to go back to them sooner than expected.
How are your new offices? I hope that they are comfortable – and have some sort of a den into which you can retire as you used to in your library in the Denegre Building.
Best wishes and love to you all,
October 15, 1916.