Salisbury, Spencer, 1887-1967; Truman, Mary Jane, 1889-1978; Wallace, Madge Gates, 1862-1952; Gates, Elizabeth Emery, 1841-1924; Bostian, William, 1887-1985; Bostian, Kenneth V., 1893-1980; Allen, Harry B.
Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, August 13, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.
August 13, 1918
I am still at the camp a long way from the front but if you'll look in the Saturday Evening Post of May 18, 1918 you'll see the picture of a park on which I was inspected the other day and I hope really and truly to be able to tell you what the war's like sometime very soon. Don't you be at all uneasy because the place we are going to is very dead. They say that the bunch whom we relieve haven't fired a shot in a long time.
They are going to let me take my battery up. If I can only do it successfully I shall be the person with the overgrown head sure enough.
Your letters numbered 1 to 4 came yesterday and today and I of course had a fit of gladness. Irving Sands letter came and I had the clerk to give it to him. He is now in the Headquarters Co of this regiment. I transferred him from my battery the other day I am sorry to say it but he hasn't made as successful a soldier as he should have although there is yet time for him to come out all right. He is not a private because he failed at the Artillery School on the other side of France we went to. He may be a hero when you next hear of him because you never can tell what a man is made of until he really tries and is tried in the right spot.
We went out on a picnic hike today and had dinner in the field. You should see me ride at the head of my black horse battery with two buglers behind me and the rest of the battery coming behind just wanting to do as I say. It's enough to make one feel real good especially when the Major tells me that he's pleased with my selection of positions and invites Pete and Salisbury over to see how it should be done. For goodness sake don't tell anyone I said that because they'll think I'm getting the swell head sure enough and if I should get kicked out of my organization they would really have something to say.
You've no idea what an immense responsibility it is to take 194 men to the front. They are absolutely dependent on my small ability to think and act right at the right time for their lives. If I should go up there and get 'em all killed and didn't get shot myself, I'd certainly never be able to look anyone in the face again. I am trying to learn all I can I then trust in the Lord and hope that I'm lucky. If I am I'll bring them all back with honor and if I'm not – "it is the war" as the French say.
I wish I could have been at your Rock Creek picnic. It makes my mouth water to think of the eats you must have had.
Had a letter from Mary today telling of your visit and saying that things were all topsy turvy because of the threshers as usual. Mary was worried because she didn't have things as spic & span as she thought they should be. If Mary could only not worry she'd be the happiest girl in the world because she has untiring energy and never quits when she starts anything. She's sure making some farmer.
I hope your grandmother is feeling better and that she can make her California trip. I also hope your Mother is well and enjoying the summer.
I was in Rennes Sunday and saw Bill Bostian again. He sure looks fine. He is an instructor in machine guns. Kenneth has been up for promotion to Captain and I expect he'll be left here for instructor. Ten officers were sent home from the regiment as instructors to new divisions in the States. I guess they'll eventually get me for that but I hope not until I've seen the front.
Be sure and keep writing. I'll number this one No. 1. My pictures were a failure. I'm enclosing some [illegible].
Harry S. Truman Capt. 129 FA American E.F.
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