Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Salisbury, Spencer, 1887-1967; Klemm, Karl D., b. 1880; Gates, Marvin H., 1876-1972; Elliot, Arthur J., born 1882

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, June 14, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Angers, France June 14, 1918

Dear Bess:

I am back with the regiment and a sure enough captain. Have been, it seems, some six weeks. I'll have about a bushel and a half of francs back pay coming next payday. I reckon I can go out and have a real time with it. I just barely slipped through the artillery school, as did some of the others. One or two made names for themselves and were promoted out of the regiment as instructors, which means that they'll be second lieutenants until the end of the war, and that they'll not get to the front. I am very glad that I didn't make any such record. I am the adjutant of the Second Battalion, 129th F.A. A right hefty job and one that gives me precedence over all the Battery captains, even if they do outrank me. I've got to organize a regimental school and teach the balance of the officers what I learned (which won't be a whole lot) .

I had another grand trip across France coming back to the regiment. It is certainly a beautiful country. They wouldn't let us go to Paris but I saw Orleans and the famous statue of Joan and a beautiful Cathedral that has been standing about a thousand years.

The railroad runs right down the valley of the Loire the famous dividing line between the ancient factions in French politics. You know all south of that river were for Henry of Navare and all north of it were Catholic. This town is the capital of ancient Anjou of which one of the brothers of the King of France was always Duke .

There is a castle here that Mary de Medici was imprisoned in and from which she made a very dramatic escape only to be caught again right outside of it. There are also many beautiful chateau around here. Salisbury as was to be expected is quartered at one. I am going into town today and see what it's like.

We are billeted around at little villages with French people and I hope to learn some French. Major Gates and I have two grand rooms at a little wayside inn. The beds have canopies over them and a step ladder is needed to get into them. The floors are of tile and not very pleasant to stand on without any shoes. The regiment is scattered all over five square miles. I nearly walked my legs off paying visits to various places where the batteries are quartered. Col Klemm, Col Elliott and everyone is here except Captain Olney. We need some sort of transportation but I reckon we'll walk for a while yet.

I have been working my head off the last two days trying to get things organized in the Bty office and I guess it will be two days more before I get it done.

I am writing this letter before breakfast. Major Gates is in the next room and keeps talking to me so I can hardly write. He doesn't know I'm writing. I got two letters from you when I got to the regiment and you may be sure I want that kid glove shirt. I am enclosing the request and shall expect to get it about August first if the ship doesn't go down. Please keep on writing as some of your letters are bound to arrive.

I will write a longer letter tomorrow. I think of you always. Counted the leaves on a locust limb the other day and they said "this year," which I am hoping is right.

Yours always, Harry

Harry S. Truman Capt Bty D, 129 F.A. American E.F.