Feb. 7, 1917
Your last letter received o.k. last week. Mail was slack for quite a while and then I had about half a dozen the same day. I've been using my spare time to answer them all. I don't know if the censor will allow this heading to pass but will chance it,
Well, things have been moving pretty lively with us since I wrote you. We are getting lots of work and are being outfitted for "active" service. I have a dandy little rifle now, with which I expect to pop of lots of huns. I have also been given a steel helmet to protect my little head from shrapnel and other nasty things. Also you should see the boots I'm wearing now. They are the English pattern and weigh about seventeeen hundred. But they are a fine boot just the same. Among the boys they are known as Kitcheners slippers.
I have received several copies of the N. Y. Times from you. Thanks. The pictures, especially those from the front are very interesting. My chances of seeing for myself what the front looks like are very good, as we expect to leave soon. Of course it will be some time before we get into a scarp.
You asked about trench feet. As I understand it, it is caused by standing in mud and water for long periods and not changing socks whenever possible. A man may be standing in water perhaps all night. He is relieved in the morning, and dog-tired he turns in all standing. Then perhaps he goes out again without changing his socks. Pretty soon his feet get sore and the skin, or even the flesh comes off. If you have ever had on wet boots for an hour or two you will know how white and dried up looking your feet are when you take off the boots. Puttees never hurt the feet or legs if not rolled too tight.
Howard Graham came across when we did and is in this camp. I see him sometimes. He has a good job as company quartermaster sergeant. It is a long time since I have heard from Harold Strople but I think he is still in hospital over here.
There seems to be some prospect of the U.S. taking a hand in the game. The papers over here don't use such big headlines to announce anything as the ones of U.S. or Canada do but occasionally I see something about the States. They are reported now as having broken with Germany. What do you think about it.
Take it from me there is going to be something doing this spring. Great Britain will have more troops at the front than ever and has plenty munitions to pass out to them. Of course the war isnt won yet but it seems impossible that it should go on another year. I suppose if the U.S. declares war Canada will have a large force along the border to prevent any American-Germans from doing any mischief.
We had a snowfall of about two inches a few nights ago. It has melted very little since and is pretty well packed down. The roads are very slippy now and bad for marching. We had a hard march yesterday morning and another this afternoon and tonight I feel a little stiff. I carried in my pack all that I am taking to France with me, including a spare suit of underwear and top shirt, about nine or ten pairs of socks, Towels, cleaning and shaving gear, and a lot of things I can't think of, with a great coat on top. My mess tin and steel helmet and rubber ground sheet strapped on the outside. When we leave here I'll have two army blankets to carry in addition to what I have told you.
Thanks for the snap. I'll tell you who the girl is the first time I see you.
It is closing time at this joint so I must halt. Remember me to anyone I know in Hartford when you see them and write again.