Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, Mary Jane, 1889-1978; Housholder, Vic H., 1892-1971; Jordan, Gordon B., 1892-1986

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, September 1, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Somewhere in Parle-Vous September 1, 1918

Dear Bess:

I am the most pleased person in the world this morning. I got two letters from you and have accomplished my greatest wish. Have fired five hundred rounds at the Germans at my command, been shelled, didn't run away thank the Lord, and never lost a man. Probably shouldn't have told you but you'll not worry any more if you know I'm in it than if you think I am. Have had the most strenuous week of my life, am very tired but otherwise absolutely in good condition physically, mentally, and morally.

It has been about two weeks since I've written you because I haven't had the chance. They shipped me from school to the front in charge of Battery D and the Irish seem to be pleased over it. We went into position right away and fired five hundred rounds at them in thirty-six minutes. Two of my guns got stuck in the mud, it was dark and raining, and before I could get away bing came the reply. I sent two of the pieces to safety, the horses on the other two broke away and ran every which direction but my Irishmen stayed with me, except a few drivers who were badly scared and my first sergeant. We covered up the two guns I had stuck with branches and things, and one of my lieutenants—Housholder is his name—and myself then collected up all the horses we could and got the men together, caught up with the other two pieces and went to safety. I slept for twenty-four hours afterwards and am now back of the lines awaiting another chance. I went back the next night and got my guns. Every man wanted to go along but I took only the two sections who belonged to the guns.

My greatest satisfaction is that my legs didn't succeed in carrying me away, although they were very anxious to do it. Both of my lieutenants are all wool and a yard wide. One of them, Jordon by name, came back with the horses off the other two pieces to pull me out, and I had to order him off the hill. Four horses were killed, two of them outright and two had to be shot afterwards.

I am in a most beautiful country and it seems like a shame that we must spread shells over it, but as the French say Boches are hogs and should be killed. Please don't worry about me because no German shell is made that can hit me. One exploded in fifteen feet of me and I didn't get a scratch, so you can see I have them beaten there. I would give most anything to see you this Sunday morning. The piece you sent me about Mary is very fine. She is a very able sister and I hope sometime to send her to Europe or anywhere else she wants to go in return for running things as she has.

I am so sleepy I can't hardly hold my eyes open but will write again as soon as I can.

Keep writing. They are like stars seen in the blue waves that roll nightly on deep Galilee (your letters)—as my pet poet says of the Assyrians (not a very appropriate application, but you know the meaning anyway).

Yours always Harry