16 January 1919
Whenever I jump from one organization to another, I have to go without mail for a month or so. As I expected, I have had no letters since I left the 26th Division. They will find me after awhile. Meantime, I am more than usually homesick, among mostly strangers in this Army. Living with the Bosche whom I like less the more I see of them – and with whom, besides I can’t “fraternize” because of the strict orders regulating behavior towards the inhabitants. I really wish I was back in the most miserable French village. The people there would be responsive and either friendly or unfriendly.
The Germans here are only commercially obliging. They show very little of any other sort of spirit. I mean that they are not dignified either by a high-spirited dislike for us, or by any signs of distress over their defeat. You see signs in shop windows: “Don’t forget to send home a souvenir from Germany.” The chief souvenirs for sale are war souvenirs. If I were in any country that had been beaten, I could not want to sell those things or urge the “invaders” to send home tokens of the defeat. But these people are well content. They are making more money even than when the tourists used to come here. By the way, remember the time when we passed here on the Rheindam[p]ferschiff from Mainz to Koln. That was in 1908 when we were young and vexed with being educated.
My job here as a sanitary inspector of the army is fairly interesting and entertaining. I have to get out over the whole army area, so I meet all sorts of people and am seeing the country too. I have a Dodge car and have had some beautiful rides up the valley of the Moselle, and down the Rhine, and across the hills between: wonderful scenery. Yesterday I was out all day and had to ride back here by moonlight. But what’s the use of such a moon over here? It made me think more of Biloxi, and aggravated my case of homesickness to a critical degree. – I wish I could get home.
One thing that makes me sore is to see this Rhine valley smoking with factories and covered with comfortable houses. It shows a wonderful industrial development – but I wish we had been able to bomb the hell out of it while the war was on.
I hope that you and the kids continue to keep well and as fine as ever.
My love to you all,
H.Q. 3rd Army
Office of Chief Surgeon