Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Salisbury, Spencer, 1887-1967; Klemm, Karl D., b. 1880; Arrowsmith, George M., 1886-1969; Bundschu, Charles C., 1890-1973; Bostian, Kenneth V., 1893-1980

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, October 8, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Somewhere in France October 8, 1918

Dear Bess:

I wrote you yesterday (or the day before) kind of a dizzy letter and I am going to do the same thing today--trying, you see, to make up for lost time. There were some three or four weeks from September 10 to October 6 that I did nothing but march at night and shoot or sleep in daylight. I thought of you every day and had I been able to write or mail letters even after they were written, I would certainly have written.

I came through absolutely unscathed—didn't even lose a man in the Battery, although every other Battery had from one to a half-dozen fatalities. A couple of my men who were on special duty with the ammunition train were slightly wounded and that's all. The whole thing was a terrific experience and I'm glad I had it, but I'm also that it's over with. We are now resting up and I guess we'll go in again when our turn comes. It isn't as bad as I thought it would be but it's bad enough. The heroes are all in the infantry. When a man goes up with them he really does something. We are only their supporters and don't get much real action. The easiest and safest place for a man to get is in the air service. They fly around a couple of hours a day, sleep in a featherbed every night, eat hotcakes and maple syrup for breakfast, pie and roast beef for supper every day, spend their vacations in Paris or whoever else it suits their fancy, and draw 20 percent extra pay for doing it. Their death rate is about like the quartermaster and ordnance departments and on top of it all they are dubbed the heroes of the war. Don't believe it, the infantry—our infantry—are the heroes of the war. There's nothing—machine guns, artillery, rifles, bayonets, mines, or anything else—that can stop them when they start. If we could keep up with them, they'd go to the Rhine in one swoop. The Prussian Guards simply can't make their legs stand when the word comes to them that the Yanks are coming. They move on, what's left of 'em.

I saw some clippings where "Maj. Carr and "Capt" Rainey had been taking the town at home. Neither of them ever got any further than a school camp about like Camp Doniphan over here. If Carr ever saw a Belgian refugee it was in a moving picture. I am glad they got to go home and I don't blame them for making the most of it but I'd like to see them stick to what they've seen and not what they've heard. Neither of them got closer than 100 miles of the front.

Arrowsmith is still with us and making good. Bostian is a Captain and is going to be an instructor so I understand. He was in command of E but Salisbury is now back and doing business at the old stand. Bundschu is in Headquarters Company and seems to be in bad with K.D.K. but that is nothing to worry about for we are all in that fix. He has been acting like Hindenburg here of late and is not as popular a hero as we'd like to have in his job. The men do not love him as they should for reasons which I will explain some day for which I can't very well blame the men. Perhaps you'd better not know too much along that line it might get me in very badly but I had to tell you. Please keep on writing because it helps put the pep into me. I love you more and more and shall continue to pile it up at compound interest for future payment.

Yours always, Harry.

Capt Harry S Truman Bt D 129 F.A.


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