Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, March 4, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Lawton, Okla. Mar. 3, 1918

Dear Bess:

Your letter came today twice, making this some grand day even if I did nearly freeze this morning going out to watch the Battery fire. We get out and fire every other day now. I think I told you I fired Wednesday. I did not fire today but had to watch some captains and lieutenants from the 128th fire our Battery. They made quite a mess of it principly (I don't know how to spell any more, never did in fact) because they were scared green. It is some job to get up before some dozen of officers and perhaps a couple of generals and three artillery colonels who are experts at the game and tell a Battery just exactly what to do with itself. You know that every time you open your mouth the Battery is going to do something and that there are seven separate and distinct things you've got to do exactly right or the colonel who is conducting the problem will blow the whistle on you. If you get those seven things off without a bobble, the Battery shoots bing, bing, bing, bing, at two-second intervals and all four of the shots insist on staying in the air about an hour and when they do burst maybe they are crossed up like a cross-eyed pup and No. 1 is going where 4 should be. It takes exactly seven and one-half seconds for the shots to go three thousand yards, but it seems like hours. Well you look at the target and the devilish crossfire and lick your lips and look at the target again and cuss a little very quietly to yourself and bust out with some wild command and the colonel blows the whistle on you and then the general summons the whole world around to pick you to pieces and perhaps ask if you have any brains. He wasn't there when I fired so I got away better than some, but the foregoing is the usual procedure. It's really heartbreaking the way some awful smart men simply blow up when they fire the first time. After doing it once you don't care a hang what happens and it usually comes out as it should.

Say I sure feel all stuck up that you would miss a trip to Platte on the chance of seeing me. I'd give all I possess to see you once more before going across. I got a good and well founded rumor that we might leave before Monday. I have all my grips packed and ready. You may be sure that I will wire you post haste the moment we get started. Don't put any faith in the wild stories you hear floating around Independence because that C Battery bunch never seem to get anything straight and as far as I'm able to judge they write home all those rumors just for effect. You may rest assured that if I, who am on the special detail and know everything that goes and comes about it, don't know when we leave or where we are going it is a certainty that no enlisted man is going to know. I was informed today by the commander of the detachment that he had a wire from Sec Baker saying we would entrain as soon as the commander of the Port of Embarkation ordered us to, and for us to be ready any minute. I put that down to mean about ten days or so or it might on a long chance mean Monday. Don't you worry about me. I am going to come back and I hope knowing more and worth more to you and everyone else than when I went away. We won't be sunk or destroyed or anything else and I think I should maker a Battery hit a Hun right in the eye, at least I hope to.

I'm sure glad to get your letters and I hope I can go to Hoboken by way of K.C. and come back the same way.

Yours always, Harry


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