Letter from the Firing Line
The following extracts from letters from Capt. R.S. Robinson, who is now in France, have been kindly handed us by Mrs. Robinson at our request.
Extract from letter dated March 17th
I would write you oftener but have so little time, and I am interrupted so often. You have little idea of how much correspondence is necessary when 200 men are in active service so far from their homes and under my supervision. The system and routine of accounting for each officer, non-commissioned officer and men, the rationing and keeping them equipped added to my other duties of command, leave me no space of time entirely my own. I have 60 men at one place, 40 at another, and 100 at another. Communication and orders are kept up, and we often move out suddenly, a few miles, and then return, if no advance is ordered in the meantime.
All the troops are billeted in villages and on farms, the men sleeping in barns, the officers finding rooms in some house. One day we are in a splendidly furnished room, and another in a peasant's cottage. About one half of a regiment occupies a trench at once, the other half remaining in their billets awaiting their term of three days. Thus they relieve each other.
The billeting areas are within range of the enemy's guns and there is just enough shelling to make things interesting, the German batteries searching out our batteries and bivouac.
The casualties from shell fire are so slight compared to members engaged as to cause no worry here. Just now the cavalry is not actively engaged, but I have three platoons under close artillery fire, but I relieve them alternately. One platoon was shelled out of their barn, another section had a shell explode in the adjoining room in their billet, while another shell came through the kitchen roof but no one was seriously hurt. So far we have met with nothing to be compared with the hardships and hard fighting I experienced in the South African War.