A letter from World War I

Grandpa Edward Gould was an artillery captain in WW I.  He was around 20 yrs old at the time.  My brother Jim recently emailed this transcription of the 1st letter he wrote after the Armistice :

Envelope: (this was probably not original envelope – has a 5 cent Lincoln head stamp that is part of the envelope)

Writing on outside of envelope:

“Letter –

Edward S. Gould


His Dad Nov. 24th 1918”


“Nov. 24, 1918, Ville France –

Dear Pa: -

This is Fathers Xmas letter with a few events and dates to show how fast we went in this last drive.

After the Battle of Argonne we were sent back to Brocourt for a little rest and to get enough horses to haul our carriages.

We left there Oct. 26 and marched 30 kilometers thru the blackest nights without even a star out. On Oct. 27 we came to our first position for the drive. Romagne. This was a veritable hellhole – The German planes had us spotted and for three days we we[re] subjected to enfilading fire – The last day when the order for the advance came I had just completed a rolling barrage and the horses caissons and limbers having just pulled in to the side waiting for the fire to cease so they could limber up and make a quick getaway -  Four German 150mm high explosive bursts right square amongst them. Two of my caissons were blown so far in shell holes we just left them. But it would have done your heart good to see how those drivers of mine cut loose those horses hit and down and there was about 15 horses killed and many of the others had slugs in them and it wasn’t long before we were on the road. I had my hand roll in an ammunition shed and that was blown up and my hand roll looks like the pup played with it but luckily nothing inside was damaged. During all this heavy shelling though when we were getting direct hits on the battery position those gun crews did not miss a shot in the barrage.

We pulled out and up the road. This was Nov 1 and went in a position south of Remonville. This was a regular mudhole and the next day Nov. 2 we pulled up again – Our horses had been in the harness 60 hours without a rest and the mud was so heavy it took 5 pair to pull a gun carriage out to the road.

We advanced to a position in an aviation field near Barricourt. All along the road effect of American artillery on German retreat could be seen. German dead horses were everywhere along the road side.

Nov. 3 we advanced again. You can see by our advances how they were being pushed back, but they put up a heavy resistance all thru the drive. This time our position was just north of Beauclair. My reconnaissance officer was up selecting a position before the first wave had gone over and when we went into position we were only a kilometer behind the advancing infantry. On the night of Nov. 5 we were advancing again and going into position in woods thru a mudhole road when orders are changed and we are given orders to follow close on the infantry and protect the crossing of the Meuse. We came up on a dark night thru Laneuville and about 4 kilometers up the road toward Beaumont. It was lucky for us that it was misty and dark for the road was in direct view of the German hills for quite a distance and subject to constant shelling.

We came up between the 89th and 90thdivision [s]. We could see the first wave and the reserves back of us in the woods. Machine gunners on our right flank burning flares to protect bridges. I never will forget that march. Suppose you have read in the Newspapers of the crossing. I went over to the other side the next day to look around and a long hedge ran on the other side of the river. Behind this hedge machine gun pits were placed one right next to another.

We are back now at Ville France 7 kilometer from DunSu [not sure spelling] Meuse.

Hoping everyone will have a merry Xmas and a Happy New Year –

Yours Very Truly


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