Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Pershing, John J. (John Joseph), 1860-1948; Truman, Martha Ellen, 1852-1947; Gates, Marvin H., 1876-1972; Bostian, William, 1887-1985; Slagle, Walter G., 1881-
Soldiers; World War, 1914-1918

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, May 12, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

France, May 12, 1918

Dear Bess:

I am hoping for another letter today. Got one last Sunday and it put some much pep into me that I passed this week's exams with flying colors. Even worked out my probabilities right and that's some job. I'm getting a college education in Geometry Trig and Astronomy. I can be County Surveyor when I get back.

Everyone in the room is writing either to his girl or his mother. I am going to write mamma too because Gen Pershing has ordered everyone to although I don't need any order. There is absolutely nothing to tell you. I am in the same fix that Jack Hatfield's nigger was I told you about on the boat. If you didn't get that letter may be I'd better tell you again. This coon told Jack he wanted to write to Liza. Jack told him all right and started the letter for him as Dear Liza. The coon then said, "I loves you." All right Jack told him he had that, "I loves you." Jack put that down for him. The coon scratched his head a while and then said, "Your lovin' man, Henry."

I've told you about the Chateau its part its moat its marble stairs & carved wood work, its ice cold baths and its little picture book village. I could tell you lots and lots of events but the devilish censor would only tear it up and you wouldn't get any letter.

I don't know if I told you about the O'Grady exercises they give us every day but they are interesting – to look at and read about. They make us run and walk and play leap frog and carry men on our backs and run relay races while we carry them. Then they line us up and give us exercises by separate command in which "O'Grady says" has to precede each command. If a man moves at a command that isn't preceded by "O'Grady says" he had to run a hundred yards and back. Then they make a big ring and make everyone face in and one man runs around and hands out a couple of shelalas and the man on the right of the one who gets the whip has to run around the ring. If the one with the whip can catch him he whales the mischief out of him. Its sure funny to see a little short man like Major Gates or Slagle try to get away from some long legged guy. The little one usually gets followed all the way around much to the delight of the rest. I ran so fast the other day that I got a Charlie horse and was not able to run for two days. I guess it's good to take out the cobwebs that the studies put into our brains. I am dizzy most of the time but I hope to come out on top and then real business will begin. I heard that Bill Bostain was not far from here at an infantry school but that he had gone up to General Hdquts so he may be on the front now for experience. They say it's great experience and that you learn more in a week than you knew all your life before. I expect it's so. Hope to find out some day but I'm far from it now. Be sure and keep writing because it's sure lonesome over here when there's an hour to spare from work. I'll write as often as they'll let me even if I can only say I love you. I love you.

Yours always


Harry S. Truman 1st Lt. 129 FA American E. F. France

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