Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, Martha Ellen, 1852-1947; Truman, Mary Jane, 1889-1978; Morgan, David H.; Elliot, Arthur J., born 1882; Bostian, William, 1887-1985; Arrowsmith, George M., 1886-1969; Allen, Harry B.

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, June 8, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

France, June 8, 1918

Dear Bess:

This is sure a banner day. I finished school today and got a letter from you, the first I've had in several weeks. It sure makes life worth while again to hear from you.

We leave tomorrow for the regiment. It will be the next thing to going home to see the bunch. I didn't get any special mention at the school. Some were mentioned as future instructors and some were marked as having done excellent work. There were some who were marked as failures. I got neither so I guess I got by. There's a rumor current that I'm to be promoted soon but I don't know for what or why.

I think I will be able to tell you where I am the next time I write because we are allowed to mention some towns and I think the one where we are going is one of them.

I got three letters from Mary, one from mamma, one from Morgan and one from you. Evidently there are a lot more of yours somewhere. This one was dated May 3. The cake hasn't arrived yet and I suspicion some cursed mail clerk of having eaten it up. It sure makes me feel good to know that you've heard from me and know that I'm safe and sound.

That cake would sure taste good any time whether I am hungry or not. We do not get cake or pie but we get plenty of roast beef or horse I don't know which and beans and soup – potage du pain the French call it – dish water and bread I think it is but it tastes well. You know the French can flavor anything so it is good to eat. That is excepting Limburger cheese. I am hoping against hope that the cake arrives and so are the rest of the bunch.

No I didn't even know Col Elliott was divorced from his first wife let alone married again. I don't know whether he is with the regiment. In fact I am as ignorant of everything concerning the outside world as if I were in Arkansas. It looks like Arkansas too except for the grand buildings scattered over the country.

Your rumor by way of Morgan from Pete Allen makes me believe that the one that has been current here may be true. I hope so anyway. That is concerning my promotion.

No your letters are not censored at least not so far but you never can tell when they are going to be. You know they work the censor business on the probability plan as figured in differential calculus or somewhere up in that neighborhood. They simply grab a certain number of the officers letters from a pile and judge the pile by the way that number turns out. All enlisted men's mail is read. I read some of it myself.

Bill Bostian just missed seeing me by a nose the other day. He was in a big town over near here just a few hours before I was. I saw in the New York Herald (Paris edition) where he was also in Paris the other day too. I expect he will probably come down to our new camping place and then I'll get to see him.

I hope you read those Hatchets every carefully because they contained some information I was unable to write. Mary said she saw after a time what it contained. Yes that Lodge of Instruction sounded very familiar.

George Arrowsmith got three letters from Independence today and I had to almost whip him to hold him on the ground.

He's also looking forward to the receipt of my cake.

Be sure and keep on writing because letters from you sure help make the hard work bearable and we've got to work like the dickens to whip Heiny and that's what we're here for to out guess out run and out shoot him. So keep writing.

Yours always,


Harry S. Truman 1st Lt 129 FA American EF.