Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Housholder, Vic H., 1892-1971; Wallace, Madge Gates, 1862-1952; Arrowsmith, George M., 1886-1969; Wooden, McKinley, 1895-1998; Jordan, Gordon B., 1892-1986; Zemer, Leslie M.; Eagleton, William Lemuel, 1894-1982

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, September 15, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Somewhere in France September 15, 1918

Dear Bess:

I am well, happy, and somewhat rested up and very, very lazy this morning. It has been raining almost continually for a week and today is sunshine. Day before yesterday was a grand surprise for me. I got a letter from you. I don't know how it ever caught up with me because I have been moving around some. It is the great adventure and I am in it. We haven't done anything but be in reserve but I am hoping for a shot most every day. My Battery was examined by the chief ordnance officer the other day and he said it was in the best condition of any in France, and he has seen them all. That referred to the guns. I was somewhat swelled up but the chief mechanic deserves the credit. His name is McKinley Wooden and he is the straightest, stiffest soldier I have. It almost hurts me when he stands at attention to talk to me. I am plumb crazy about my Battery. They sure step when I ask them to. We had to get ready for a night march a day or two ago and my bunch beat the regiment by nearly a half hour. At Coetquidan we always won every competition there was to win and then the colonel gives me h (excuse me) every chance he gets. He says that is what he is for and I guess it is. There is no other need of him that I can see. He likes me pretty well though and I get along fine with him.

I am having some very interesting experiences, some of which will do to tell of at a later date. They gave me a new lieutenant yesterday, a second, from the school at Saumur. He's been in France a year, has two gold stripes, is a fine looker, and seems to have horse sense (a hard thing to get in lieutenants). I now have four, two first and two seconds. They are all efficient and that is the reason I have such good luck. Lieutenant Householder is from Kansas and is also a training-camp man. Lieutenant Jordon is from the plains of Texas, has a Southern drawl, is tall and has brown eyes. He can ride anything that has a back to sit on and is my horse lieutenant. He moves the Battery with skins and cripples when it has to be done that way. My other second lieutenant is named Eagleton. He's from Oklahoma and has not as much training as the rest but he's a good man and runs my kitchen and supplies. My Saumur graduate is from Chicago and is named Zemer. I sit back and inform them (the lieutenants) and my sergeants what I want done, and it is. My noncoms, now, are whizzes. I sorted 'em over, busted a lot and made a lot. They've gotten so they don't know whether to trust my smile or not, because I smile when I bust 'em and the same when I make 'em.

Arrowsmith is still along but I hardly ever see him. He is regimental telephone officer and is a very busy man these days. I am also rater chasing around and he don't often see me. I am surely glad. I'm here and I wouldn't be anywhere else for all there is except one of course and you know where that is. We are doing our best to finish the job and get home but we can't leave until it's done. In face we don't want to leave until it's done. It is the most fascinating game in the world if you don't weaken. I am hoping to hand on to the finish. Remember me to everyone especially your mother and keep on writing.

Yours always, Harry

Harry S Truman Capt Bty D 129 FA American EF

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