Lyman County, South Dakota  Genealogy

 Military Letters, WWI

As found in old newsletters.
Transcribed by barbara stallman-speck

            Updated    Friday, March 05, 2010   

       WWII letters

From Hobart Huntsman

Army and Navy YMCA
With the Colors
Mandres, France
Nov. 24, 1918

Dear Dad:

    This is Dadís Day and everyone can write him  a letter and tell him most anything they like, and here is one for you personally. Of course, there is not much to write about as there is nothing in France but oxen, wooden shoes and barb wired entanglements, and one can see these anywhere he goes, and believe me, I have seen plenty.

    The French houses are built of stone and look quite nice. They have stone hallways and stone stair and are quite large. There are no frame buildings over here, only the barracks. This may be the French system of living, but not mine; me for Godís country as soon as I can get there.

   We are now located in Mandres, a town that is tore up quite badly by big shells. Every time one of these big shells hit one of these stone buildings it tore the whole wall out, so you can imagine what they would do if one of us happened to get in the road.

    They say if you stop one of those you lose your job and I agree with them there. I was doing a little ducking while I was in the Alsace Lorraine trenches; had my hat knocked off with mud a couple of times and dirt thrown all over me. That was as close as they came, but that was plenty close enough for yours truly.

    But that place is nothing to speak of comparing the dusty front with it, and we were headed that way and were twelve miles from there when the war ended. Was to be there that evening, but the armistice was signed in the morning and we werenít a bit sorry.

    We were about two miles from Iretchprey where the Americans fought their seventy two hours battle and it sure is a wrecked place. They certainly sent that place to destruction. There are just parts of stone walls standing where whole buildings stood.

    I do not know when I will be home, but they say they will have the farmers home for spring work and that sounds as though we may be there soon.

    I have some shells that I am going to try to bring along with me if they do not get too heavy.

    I do not have anymore to write at present, so will have to close, hoping this letter finds you all well at home and expect me to be there in the near future. Give my love to Mother, sis and baby.

Your Son,
Pvt. Hobart Huntsman
Co. D. 350 Inf., A.E.F.

 From Hobart Huntsman

National War Work Council
YMCA of the United States
With The Colors
Somewhere in France
August 30, 1918

Friend George:
    I arrived safely across the pond, but it was some tiresome journey after not seeing anything but water for days. Occasionally, we would see quite a few sharks and fish and they would cause a little excitement for a few minutes. They seem to travel in schools, about 50 in a school.

    Some of the boys saw a whale but I did not happen to be on deck so I lost out.  They say it was about 50 feet long; sounds rather fishy, but it may be true.

    Anyone in civilian life that has never seen the ocean would not believe that there is that much water in the world; it seems strange, but itís true. It was quite a surprise for me. The first piece of land we sighted was quite welcome and more so when we set foot on land again.

    The country here is quite beautiful; everything is green and lots of beautiful flowers, but it rains here about every day so it canít help but be green.

   The Huns are getting an awful trimming these days. I saw where the French captured 70 towns in two days and a good many previous, but donít be surprised, George, when you see headlines printed clear across the paper of our division walking straight through to Berlin because that is just what we will do when we once get started.

    Well George, I will close as it is hard to write a letter when you canít find any news. You see, we canít write anything we want to. Correct all of the errors in this letter and give my regards to everybody.

Your Friend,
Hobart Huntsman,
Co. D, 350 Infantry
American Exp. Forces

 From Hobart Huntsman

Camp Upton, Long Island, NY
Aug. 8, 1918

Friend George,

   Just a few lines as I have nothing much to do today and as I am laying around the barracks, I will put in my time writing letters.

   We left Camp Dodge Sunday and arrived here Wednesday, but was somewhat disappointed when I found this camp not as good as Camp Dodge, but guess it will have to pass for a while. We passed over the  Appalatchian Mountains and you certainly could see some beautiful views of towns from up there. We also took a swim in Lake Erie, but as it was at night, did not do much swimming and had to climb up a bank about 15 feet and almost straight up so we were more dirty when we came out than when we went in.

   I saw Bill Haessler, Hugo Zastrow and Carl Potter when I got here, but they left the next morning, but for where I do not know, but wherever they go we follow.

    The aeroplanes are thicker than flies; you can see them in the air at any times. They remind me of the big old Canadian goose and that the hunting season will soon, but I guess we wonít have time for small game like that. We will be hunting for the bird they call the Kaiser, and believe me, George, we will get him too.

Well, as I canít think of anything more to write, will close, hoping this will find you well.

Your friend,

Hobart Huntsman
Co. D., 350th Inf. N. A.88th Division, A.E.F. Via N.Y.

From Hobart Huntsman

Army and Navy YMCA
With the Colors
Camp Dodge, Iowa
Aug. 1918

Friend George:

    Arrived at Camp Dodge some time ago but have been so busy since I got here that I have not had time to write.

    My mother was down to see me last Sunday and stayed a few days and it certainly was good to see her --- more like home. Bill Haesslerís mother was here to see him, also, but he was so busy he did not have much time off. Tough luck, eh?

    When they moved us to this camp they split us all up and we were hunting for each other for a week before we got each other located. Have not found some of them yet.

    I was down to see the boys that came from home in the last draft and I guess they were about as glad to see me as we were to see them.

    Well George, we are getting ready to move, but donít know where, so I will ring off. Will write you from the place we stop.

Your Friend,
Hobart Huntsman
Co. D.  350th Inf.
Camp Dodge, Iowa



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