In France and Germany
On the night of October 17-18, the troops were loaded on the
transports and stole quietly away, leaving their tents still set
up so as to not be obvious that they had left. Co. D was loaded
on the "Henry S. Mallory" which was built for the
fruit trade with South America. The company landed on November 1
at St. Nazaire, France. After six days in the rain at Nazaire,
they were loaded on railroad box cars which would be their home
for the next three cold, damp nights and two days.
At a French Port
We have just got here all O.K. Had a pretty quiet trip. Don't dare to say too much. I was pretty sick one day and night but have felt fine since. I don't know where we are going, couldn't tell you if I did. When did you get my last letter from Camp Mills? I thought maybe they would hold it up for awhile. Well I will try to write more next time. Be sure of that address right yours in haste (sic) A.D. Boyd
Somewhere in France
I will try to write a short letter. This is the (censored) day we have been off the boat and it is dark and foggy. The sun don't ever shine here very much. I guess it hasn't yet anyway. I am writing this on my mess pan and its not a very good table. here is not much to write about. They won't let you tell anything that would give any information if a German should happen to get hold of it. We don't have to put any stamps on our letters now and it is a good thing for us too. We get this paper and envelopes free from the Y.M.C.A. I don't think we will be here very long but don't know. The climate seems to be about like ours. There are some of the hardest looking citezens here I ever saw. I am allright. There don't seem to be any sickness among the troops at all. Well I guess this about all I can write now. Address your letters like this
Pri. A.D. Boyd
Co. D. 166 Inf
Via New York A.E.F.
P.S. write some news if there is any. Your son A.D.B.
They arrived on November 10 in Menaucourt and Marched to Oey
where they were quartered in barns, chicken coops, and the like.
From November 10 until December 12, the order was drill, bayonet
practice, and target practice from morning until dark. A rough
life of much work, wet weather, no stoves and sleeping in hay
In France, Nov 11, '17
I suppose you think I had forgotten you but we have been awful busy since I wrote last. This country is about 100 yrs behind the times in the U.S. The people have their houses and barns all in one building and the whole village is in just a few buildings; 6 or 8 families in one. The weather is about like our April. They hardly know what stoves is. Use (sic) fireplaces and they burn everything, no waste at all. They have wash houses here just a kind of shed over a concrete pool and everybody does their washing there in cold water and it sure is a sight. Nearly everybody wears wooden shoes here and they leave them sit outside the door when they go in the house. They sound like a team of horses coming down the street. I am feeling fine and wouldn't have missed this trip for a good deal believe me. I think I've seen about every kind of soldier in the world. The English uniforms is a good deal like ours but the French wear gray and all caps. We will get caps too when it gets cold. Their horses are pretty good. They drive them one in front of the other. They send their sheep all out to pasture with one old man and a couple of dogs. The dogs know how to drive sheep too. The French people seem to have plenty of everything and are happy as can be. Well I guess this is about all for this time.
Co. D. 166 inf.
via N.Y. A.E.F.
P.S. When did you hear from the rest of the kids? I ought to write more but I haven't hardly had time. Give them this new address and tell them to write anyway. Yours,
In France Nov. 18, 1917
This is Sunday morning and it is nice and bright for once. I just got through doing my washing and it was some job too. We don't have to go to church today. The officers went hog hunting and I just heard them shooting so I suppose they saw some any how. We are away up in the mountains some where about 40 miles from no place. The only thing you can buy that is any good is bread and butter. The bread is made from the whole wheat and it is good. They use horse power threshing machines mostly but they have some modern machinery. The fences are about all stone or hedge. Hardly any wire and not many of any kind. Each company is to get mule teams, 4 in a team and I may get to drive one of them but I'm not stuck on the job although it would pay more money. We haven't got paid yet for this month and have only got mail once since we left the U.S. We got a box of tobacco from the boys at the Huber the other day and it came mighty handy. You can't buy any tobacco here that is fit to use. It is strong enough to kill a mule. We were over to a larger town yesterday and you surely see some peculiar sights. The steets are about as wide as our alleys and I don`t think there is a mile of straight road in France, if there is, I haven't seen it yet. I can't tell you so very much now but I can spin some yarns when I get home. I haven't wrote to anybody but you since I have been here and I don't know whether you have got any of them or not. If they give me a team, I will get to see lots more country than I do now. You can hear a whole lot about the good looking women over here but I have failed to see any of them yet. The U.S. brand is good enough for me. Well I guess this is about all for this time. Tell the rest of them to write so I can find out how things are at home anyway. I don't know when I will get to write to them. They say they are going to get a Y.M.C.A. here and if we do, it will be a whole lot better for us fellows. We can get paper and envelopes then. Well good bye.
Co. D 166 Inf
Via N.Y. A.E.F.
They did get a YMCA as you can see from the letter below.
In Ohio In The Rainbow, its recounted how the divisio got
Christmans packages from the YMCA and when HQ opened somed of them
they discovered they were just children's toys. It was decided that
handing them out might cause a riot so they were not distributed.
In France, Nov. 25, 1917
I got the letter Friday that you wrote the 18th of October and was glad to hear from you. It is raining outside today and is pretty nasty but we have a nice dry quarters. We have been building a rifle range last week so I guess we will get some target practice pretty soon. I want to see what I can do with a Springfield. We don't hear as much about the war here as we did in the States. I wouldn't take a good deal for my experience on this trip and what I've saw I sure can tell some stories when I get home next summer. You want to take care of yourselves and them heavy clothes I left there. I will get some more. I think I will sign $15.00 a month over to you and the government is supposed to put $15.00 more to it for you if you need it. How is Mollie and the rest of them? I don't get much chance to write and the mails are so slow over here anyway. I have wrote to you every Sunday since we have been here but I don't know whether you have got any of them yet or not. There is hardly any sickness among our boys here. I never felt any better myself. I just got through doing my washing again this morning but I used hot water this time instead of cold like last Sunday. I just got the Regimental Newspaper a minute ago and will put it in this letter. What was the matter with Charles Rathel? Well I guess this is about all for this time.
Pvt. A.D. Boyd
Co. D 166 Inf.
P.S. That stuff about us needing clothes and blankets is B.S. We all got new hobnail shoes just the other day and they keep your feet dry alright. The Y.M.C.A. sells tobacco that is sent over to the soldiers. The French charges about 18 prices for everything. It is a whole lot worse than it is at home. A private gets about the same per month as a French Captain and they live high, set around, and drink wine. A frenchman can buy more for a nickle than a U.S. soldier can for a dollar because they know we get so much more than they do. Your son,
On December 12, the men were moved to LaFauche. This took
three days of hiking. 15 miles the first day, 12 the next, and 5
the last. On December 26, they were back on the march. Twelve miles
the first day to Andelot through snow and ice. The next day, 12
miles and zero weather to Ageville. Eight miles to
Vitrey-le-Nogont, and on the fourth day, 20 miles to Noidant. This
was all done in very cold and wet weather, using hay mows for beds.
In France, Jan. 1, 1918
I haven't heard from you but 2 since we came across the pond & I don't know whether any of my letters got to you or not. There is 5 or 6 inches of snow on the ground here; has been on for a couple of weeks. The weather is not nearly as variable here as it is there so it is lots more healthy. I never felt better in my life. We have been very busy for the last month so I don't get much chance to write but I think we will have it easier now. This would be a mighty pretty country in the summer time when everything is green. I hope we stay over here till the whole show is over. I've got this far I want to see it all while I'm here. I can't tell you where we're at or what we are doing. The censorship is too strict. I haven't got that box yet but we will get some more mail pretty soon I think. I guess some of them get lost like the letters. How are the rest of them there and how are you and mother? I made an allotment of $15 a month to you so you will get the check direct from Washington. I'm going to file a dependents claim too and if it goes through you will get $10 a month more. I guess French Crow (sic) does the investigating there. I'm not sure so you know what to do. Well I guess this is about all for this time. Your son,
P.S. Don't be afraid to spend money for money is no good unless you spend it. A.D. Boyd
Trench warfare training commenced at this new location and
continued until February 16. Additional equipment was supplied
including "tin has," gas masks both French and American,
and automatic rifle and machine guns. Dusty was a recipient of one
of the new automatic rifles, most likely a French Chauchat.
In France, Jan. 6, 1918
I will try to write you a few lines. I don't know whether you got any of my letters but will keep on writing. We don't get much mail here yet I suppose we will get it all at once. It is nice out doors today. The sun is shining bright. We are living in a house 34 of us here and the rest in other houses in the village. we have a fire place and will have plenty of wood in a day or so. There is a report out that we are going to a city for military police duty. I hope we do so we will be where we can keep buy what we want. You ought to get that allotment about the first week in Feb. They hold the first month back in case of a fine or something. How is Mollie and the rest of them? I haven't wrote to any body but you since we have been here; have been too busy. The people here think we are all right I guess. they seem to anyhow. We drank a lot of buttermilk at one house and they thought it was awful. You can get a good meal for 2 Franc about 40 cents of our money but most everything is pretty high but it is that way over there too I guess. How is the fuel supply there? Can you get plenty of coal? Everything's wood here; no coal mines that I hae seen yet. They burn every little twig, don't waste anything. The government owns all the forests and we have to have permission to cart any wood. Do you hear from Cary very often? Did he send you anything for Xmas? I know the girls did. I must try to write to them pretty soon. Maybe today. Well I guess this will be about all for this time. Take good care of yourselves and don't worry, I am all right and enjoying myself fairly well.
P.S. I haven't got that box yet but look for it any time. It is hard to get mail through to us where we are now. A.D.B.
In France, Jan. 20, 1918
Will try to write you a few lines. Today it is bright and sun shiny out doors. I got those papers this week and a letter from Mollie too but the box hasn't got here yet. We have been awful busy and we don't get any time to ourselves only on Sunday and somtimes not then. The snow left this week and it has been regular spring weather. We are getting our new equipment slowly now. The boys are about all well and in good spirits. You can't keep them quiet at all. They are always doing something. We don't hear near as much about the war here as we did in the states. The French people say that these houses we are living in are haunted but I haven't seen any spooks yet. Some of the boys played a joke on another one the other night. He slept right at the foot of the a stairs and they tied a string on some tin cans and and set them up on top of the stairs and then tied strings to his blankets so they could pull them off of him but it didn't scare him much but he put the bayonet on his gun and went up to investigate. It sounded like the house was falling down. We are about one hundred miles from where we were stationed first and we hiked it across country. You get to see it all that way. Our company only had one man to fall out. I guess that was the best record of any so far. The national guard beats the regular army every time. That's the reason they don't like us but they never start anything with us. You can buy anything you want if you've got enough money. Things are as high as hell is low here. We haven't got paid yet this month yet but its liable to come anytime now. I won't draw much this time on account of that allotment. Let me know when you get it. It ought to come to you the first of every month commencing with Feb. for six months if we are here longer than that I will have to make out another one. They are only good for six months at a time. Well take good care of yourselves till I get home. I will have to stop and go to work on my new automatic rifle. We have to learn all the parts and how to take it apart and put it together again. there are sixteen of them in the company. I want to write Mollie today too. When we get mail here we get it all at once but it is coming more regularly now. Well I will close for now. You don't need to put all that stuff on the letters you write. Address it like this:
Pvt. A.D. Boyd
Co. D. 166th Inf.
Via N.Y. A.E.F.
In France, Jan. 27, 1918
Received your letter fo Dec 12 yesterday and the box got here all O.K. the 23rd. Everything was allright in it and was just what I wanted. You might send me a couple of median weight cotton union suits. I can't wear this wool that they issue to us. There is not much to write about here. We are busy every day from morning till night. These people here all have stock about the same as ours only they live in one or two rooms and the pigs, horses, cows and chickens occupy the rest, all under the same roof. They raise wheat and hay and vegetables about like us only not nearly so much of it. I haven't saw any corn. The weather has been nice this week just like spring. I guess winter is over here I hope so anyway. I wrote to Mollie last Sun. so tell her that I got that box all right. Well I guess this is about all for this time. Your son,
P.S. You better start them under clothes right away and don't forget to tell me about that allotment when you get it. A.D.B.
Feb. 3, 1918
Received your letter of Dec. 24 this week and that box came the week before. The mail seems to be catching up now. We got our Xmas presents from the Red Cross this week too. They were only a month late. There was a little of everything in them. I got a tablet and box of candy, a pair of Michigan socks, chewing gum, handkerchief and some other stuff. Yesterday was Ground hog day and he would have seen his shadow if he had been here. We have a Y.M.C.A. here now but I haven't been down to it yet. It just opened the other day. There ain't much to write about here. We are busy every day through the week and today they want us to go to Church but I got some washing to do so I'm not going if I can help it. I'm sitting by a big fire place and there is a crap game on one side of me and a barber cutting hair on the other and another one monkeying around with a broom. There is certainly some pretty scenery around here when you get up on top of some of these hills you can see for miles. You can see a lot of little towns scattered around in the valleys. The first thing you see is the church steeples. One thing this country is blessed with is churches and water. There are 5 or 6 fountains in every town I've seen yet. Somebody is getting papers from home about everyday now and there are lots of letters from the boys here published in them. They sound good but you know. You had ought to have that check by this time. They say we are going to get English uniforms here but I don't know, you can hear anything in the Army. Well I guess this is about all for this time. Your son,
P.S. We got 2 more boxes of tobacco from the Huber shop this week and there is more on the road. It certainly comes handy you bet. Tobacco is hard to get here. Your son, A.D.B.
On Sunday, the 16th, the men boarded the "side door
pulmans". This trip took them through Chamont, Neufchateau,
Toul, Nancy, and Luneville, and on to St. Clement. This was just
behind the front and the war was evident. On February 22, Co. D was
a part of the group who took over the lines.
They were relieved on the night of March 1-2 and this was when Pvt.
Dyer Bird, the first man from Co. D. Was killed. You can see in
Dusty's letter below that he was part of the burial detail for Pvt.
Bird. The photo is of the funeral. Dusty is most likely in the
On the 9th, Lt. Lear of Co. D. led a "go and come"
raiding party of 45 men from all the companies on the German
Somewhere in France, March 10, 1918
I suppose you think that something happened to me but I have been too busy to write and was where you couldn't mail any letters anyway but I am allright and feeling fine. We have had one short trip to the front and you are in as much danger as you are walking across a street in a city. I hear that we are going back now for more training. I was one of the squad detailed to help bury the first man of the 166th to be killed in action and that was an accident more than anything else. I suppose you have heard about it before this. I took out $10,000 insurance about a month ago in your name. I haven't got any mail for a month now and don't know whether you have got any of that allotment money yet or not but you should have two months by now. Well there is not much you can write about here so I guess I will close.
|Military burial of Pvt. Dyer J. Bird,
Co. D, 166th Infantry, Domjevin, St. Clement Sector, France,
March 3, 1918, from Ohio in the Rainbow, p.116-117. - Dusty is likely in this picture as he was part of the burial detail of Pvt. Bird.
P.S. If you haven't sent those clothes start them right away because you can't get them here and I can't wear this wool they issue to us.
|Pvt. Bird burial photo from Newark,
Ohio newspaper, 1939 Rainbow division specail edition. Grandpa
aparently attended the reunion and kept the newspaper section
with this photo. I assume he's one of the six men wearing
In France Mar 15 -1918
Got your letter of Feb 19 yesterday and was glad to hear that you are well I suppose you have that money by this time.. I got a letter from Mollie too I wrote to here about a month ago but she hadn't got it yet when she wrote. It is still pretty cold at nights here but it warms up pretty well during the day. The people are commencing their spring plowing I just saw a couple of milk cows go out hitched to a plow and a team of horses hitched in front of them. There is another old fellow here works a cow and an old mule together. There is not mutch doing here only a little artillery fire once in a while but this country is certainly full of soldiers of all descriptions. When they want to fix up a road they haul the big stone out and then break it up by hand just where they want it. Don't foget about them clothes when you get that money because these will be wore out by the time they get here that home made candy tastes mighty good too. Well I guess this is abou t all for this time.
Your son A.D. Boyd
Co D 166th Inf.
P.S. That insurance I took out would pay you $57 a month if anything should happen to me or if I were totally disabled I would draw it myself A.D.B.
1sr H Inftry
On March 21, the Regiment moved back to Hallainville to
await orders and rested until the 27th when they returned to the
Baccarat Sector. The 1st Battalion, of which company D was a part,
was the first to occupy the trenches after a hike of more than 24
miles in 24 hours. They captured Ancerviller on Easter Sunday,
March 31 and then were relieved to Haxo barracks in Baccarat.
In France, April 12, 1918
Will try to write you a few lines to let you know that I am all right. I got the box last Sunday and everything was all right in it. That candy was certainly good too and tell Mrs. Bolinger thanks for me. We just got back from our second trip to the front but there was nothing doing where we were and you can't send any mail out either, so we don't get to write very often but the mail seems to go through lots faster than it did. We will get about 20 days rest now I guess if they don't change the order again. We don't think that the war will last much longer here. They say the (sic) we will parade in Washington the 4th of July but I don't know. The sun is shining out bright and warm today and the fellows are either washing or laying around under the trees taking it easy. We had a good hot bath this morning and I put on one of those union suits and it certainly feels good too. Well, I guess this is about all for this time.
From April 23 until May 13 all was quiet in the Vosges
Mountains, and then back into the trenches for another hitch.
Somewhere in France
April 28, 1918
Will try to write a few lines today. We are away back of the trenches now and are having it fairly easy. I haven't heard from you for quite a while. I think some of the letters get lost. I got the underwear allright and am glad to hear that you got that allotment money allright. We have fine quarters here and the grub is mutch (sic) better than it was nearer the front. I am on a detail now and all I do is work prisoners and believe me that's enough because they are not very work brittle. I don't think that this war will last mutch (sic) longer anyway. Well I guess this is about all for this time.
In France May 5, 1918
Will try to write you a few lines. Today it is raining outside a kind of a drizzle. I haven't heard from you once we left the trenches. We are having it pretty easy here but we don't know how long it will last. There is not much to write about here. I saw some German prisoners here today that were captured recently and they were a tough looking lot mostly kids about 15 to 17 years old. I don't see how this can last very mutch (sic) longer anyway. There is something going to come off here before long but I don't know what. Everybody says we are going back to the States but I think that is B.S. I'm sending you a couple of Reveilles there is more new in them than I can write. You never said whether you got the other ones or not. Well I guess this is about all for this time.
In France May 12, 1918
I will try to write you a few lines this morning. Received a letter from both Girls yesterday so will have to write to them too. It is raining a little out side today but we have been having good weather. This is a pretty good sized town here but I think we are going to move pretty soon. We all got new clothes this week and I'm going to get some pictures took as soon as I get a chance. I saw a French wedding party yesterday and it sure looked queer to me. There are lots of good looking girls here but they don't come up to the U.S. brand. There is an old fort here that looks like it had been built about 1000 years. I don't know of mutch (sic) to write that would interest you there is hardly any sickness among the boys. Only some cases of mumps and they don't hurt them any. I haven't been sick a day since we left Marion. We got a lot of drafted men in this company now. They are pretty good fellows but they don't know anything about drilling. I'd sure hate to be in their boots. We were through a gas chamber the other day to test our masks. It was the second one for me. We went in with our English mask on and changed to the French in the chamber. Some of the boys got their eyes full and it smarts like the devil for a while. There are American YMCA women here a Red Cross nurses too. The first American women we have seen for 6 months. We are all wearing service stripes that means 6 months of service in the war zone. We haven't seen mutch actual service yet. This has been mostly for training purposes. I think you had ought to get $45 more pretty soon. I guess they are going to cancel all the allotments they got them all mixed up with that insurance and allotment both. I only draw 85 Franc a month or about $16 a month. Well I guess this is about all for this time. Write when you can. Your sonny
May 30, 1918
Will try to write you a few lines today. I suppose they are having a big celebration back there today. Everything is quiet as a mouse here. I saw a Boche airplane brought down the other day by a French aviator. His machine caught fire and came down in a big blaze. All the boys ran over to where it was to see it and get a souvenir. I got a piece of it. Well there is nothing to write about here. The weather has been fine not so very hot either. Don't believe anything you read in the news papers because they are not giving anything of the real dope that happens over here. They have reported about half of this company dead but we only lost one man. Capt. Giran was made a Major and transferred to the second battalion so we lost a mighty good officer. Good bye for this time.
On the night of June 5-6, Co. D held a position that was
heavily shelled and they received many casualties. This was when
Private Freshour of Marion earned the Distinguished Service Cross.
On the night of June 18-19 the 42nd was relieved and soon marched
to Domptail and then to Morivilles. On June 23, the regiment again
boarded the trains and moved to Champagne, and were involved in
"intense activity" from July 7 to the night of July 18-19
when they were relieved. Mostly the 1st Battalion was in reserve
(not in the trenches) during this time.
July 7 1918
Somewhere in France
I received your letter of May 29th yesterday and was glad to hear from you. I suppose you thought something had happened to me but it has been allmost (sic) impossible to write lately. I got the letter from L.E. Myers too and the money you have been getting is an allotment that I made out in Dec. and I signed the dependents papers in January. The money should have got to you before this but they are awful slow in Washington. You should get $10.00 a month from the Gov besides the $15.00 a month allotment that I made. The $15.00 comes out of my pay also $6.90 per month for insurance so you see I don't draw very mutch. I got a letter from Cary the other day and I owe both the girls letters too but I don't know when I will get time to write to then. We have had some interesting times in the last six weeks but we came through pretty good at that. We have certainly seen lots of France in the last eight months. It is certainly a beautiful country in summer and the people are fine too especially the soldiers. They can raise more on one acre than we would on ten. We were in one place where you could buy nice young onions for about 5 cents a dozen and maybe you think the boys didn't go for them. We had salad for dinner today and lettuce and onions for supper. Our mess sergeant is a French Canadian and can speak French as well as he can English so he can buy anything he wants from the french people. The French think the Americans are the only soldiers. They know now what kind of fighters the Americans are. I am getting so I can understand some French and speak a few words. If I were away from the Americans for a while I would learn it in no time. Well I guess this is about all for this time. Be sure you address your letters right. Write out the American Expeditionary forces in full and Co. D 166th Inf. with my name is all you need to do. Well Goodbye for this time it is getting too late to write any more.
Your sonny boy,
Somewhere in France
July 13, 1918
Will write a few lines this morning. It has been raining some every day since we have been here but not very hard. We have been having it pretty easy here but I don't suppose it will last long. I reckon the papers have had us all killed or wounded by this time but don't believe them. There has only been as many killed out of this company as you have children living. I guess that will get by the censor alright. I wrote to all the rest of them this week but Cary is the only one I've heard from for a long time. I suppose the girls are busy. They say here that they are going to stop all allotments but those who have dependents. I think you will get that money alright in time. Several of the married men's families are getting money right along so I don't see why you shouldn't. I told Mollie when I wrote to have you write to Washington and get that insurance policy but I will tend to it here so you needn't bother. If you don't get it in a month or six weeks then write to them. Well take good care of your selves and don't work too hard. Your son,
On the 22 of July, again transprtation by train to Chateau
Thierry. This started a period that had the French and Americans
alternating stints in the trenches until the river Ourq was
reached. On the 28th, the first Battalion took over in a furious
battle. Two platoons of Co. D proceeded across the river as far as
LaFontiane-sous-Pierre where they were stopped by machine gun and
artillery fire. They retired to a position held by Co. C. The next
day, the 2nd Battalion came to the assistance of the first. In the
next few days, the First Battalion "took a terrible
beating" and was relieved and placed in reserve on the 31st at
The 11th of August had the division back on the march and after 3
days, they reached Charley-sur-Marne which was well protected from
artillery fire. They stayed there until August 17.
Aug. 14, 1918
Somewhere in France
This is the first time I've had a chance to write since July 13, so I will try to write you a few lines. I got a couple of letters from Mollie lately and one from you write July 3. We have been in quite a scrap since I wrote to you. We chased the Germans about 15 kilometers while we were up but we only caught up with them a couple of times. The Americans have certainly put the fear of God in the Boche. They don't stop for anything. The boys certainly got lots of German souviniers. This paper I'm writing on was taken from a dead German Aviator. I ordered that policy sent to you a month ago. The Allotment and insurance are both running you should get your money regular. Some of your letters aren't addressed right. You want to write the American in full. We won't go to the front for a long time again now. I hope not anyway. There were lots of the boys wounded but very few killed. About all of them will get allright again in a little while. We haven't been paid since the middle of June but are looking for it today and all new clothes too. According to the reports I guess the French think the Americans are fighters all right as you will see in the Reveille enclosed. The weather has been fine lately, but pretty hot now. We are camped out in a feild where there isn't any shade and you don't need to move around any to get up a sweat. It tells about a Red Cross bureau in the Reveille. Maybe you could find out about that insurance and so on from them but things go mighty slow in the army, too much red tape. Well take good care of yourselves and don't get sick.
|Photos of German post cards
that Grandpa sent home from the war. A couple of these had some
German hand writing on the back.
On the evening of August 27th, with thier hopes of a 30
day rest shattered, they again were on the march - this time 17
kilometers - and the second evening they arrived in Dolaincourt.
There they remained until September 4.
Sept. 1, 1918
Will try to write you a few lines this afternoon. It is a beautiful day and ten months ago today we first saw France and we have certainly traveled over some of it since, but I am still on top and feeling fine. I haven't heard from you for a ling time or any of the rest of them. We have been pretty busy lately although we are back of the lines. The new men that comes in don't know anything and they drill them with us to learn them quicker. There isn't mutch (sic) to write about here. We are camped out in a field and can get passes to go over to a pretty good town at night. There are 87 men and one officer left with us that came from Marion. Some of them have been discjarged, some transferred to other outfits, and some are in the hospital. I've never even had to talke a pill yet. Have you got that insurance policy yet and your money? You should get that regular every month because it comes out of my pay here. I believe I would like to live in France in peace times. It is a beautiful country. A man with a small income could live here like a prince but everything is out of sight now. Tell Mollie that I've wrote her about a dozen letters since I've been over here but she says she only got one. I've wrote to Cary and Edna too since I've heard from them. I'm going to send you my first service stripe after while. We will soon be wearing two of them. I'll send you that insurance card in this letter also a Reveille. It tell some news. Well I guess this is all foe this time hoping this finds you all in good health. I remain,
After several night marches begining on the 4th of
September, and finally movements during the day, they arrived in
Bois-de-la-Reine, described as the wettest woods in France. This
placed them in position to assist in the St. Mihiel salient on the
morning of the 12th. The first battalion served in reserve during
the entire operation. On the 17th, the Regiment was bivouaced at
Bois-de-Nonsard until the 27th.
Appeantly while in reserve, A.D.
Boyd spent his time on some handicraft, making a belt buckle.
Sept. 19, 1918
Will try to write you a few lines today. We have had another little rumpus with the Dutch and chased them quite aways. We got a lot of their big guns and a little of everything else. This paper I got out of a railway station. They seemed to have left in a hurry. The cards in the letter are German too. I was glad to hear that you got that money. Take all you get and keep still they won't make any mistakes in your favor. You should have more than that anyway. I got letters from the rest of them since I heard from you last. This is a nice warm day but it has been pretty chilly. We are living in German barracks and they are fixed up nice you bet. Well this is all for this time I guess.
Sept. 23, 1918
Co. D. 166 Inf.
Will try to write you a few lines this morning. It is cloudy and has been trying to rain but we got a dandy little haouse with a stove in it so it is pretty comfortable here. We haven't been doing and thing for a week but eating and sleeping and cleaning up. I wouldn't care if they kept us here all winter. When you write, just the company and regiment on it. Don't put anything about the brigade or division like this, Co. D 166 Inf. American E. F. Be sure to write American in full because there is an Austrailian E.F. over here too I think. That is the reason I don't get lots of your letters. I get letters from the rest of them pretty regular now but we don't get to write for a month or six weeks sometimes when we are at the front. I guess that money will come out all right. Don't be afraid to spend it for yourselves. That is what money is for. Everybody seems to think that the war will end pretty soon. I hope so anyway. I'd like to have some fried chicken and mashed potatoes and cornbread. We gave the Germans quite a chase this last time, took a lot of prisoners too. I saw German prisoners go back to the prison camp without any guard and seemed tickled to death to go. We got lots of cannons too and alittle of everything else but they burnt up lots of stuff rather than let us get it. We freed some French civilians too that had been prisoners 4 years. Mostly women. They had little children by German fathers. I guess the Kaiser knows that Uncle Sam is in the war now allright. They haven't won anything from the Americans yet. Well I guess this is about all for this time.
P.S. You send this letter and the cards in it to Mollie because I won't get to write to her this time. The paper and envelopes are too scarce.
From September 27th until the 30th, the first battalion
was in action near St. Benoit. The first Battalion occupied the
forward positions until the regiment was relieved by the 89th on
The regiment marched back to St. Mihiel and entrucked for the trip
to the Meuse-Argonne. On the sixth of October the unit was deep in
the woods of the Bois-de-Montfucon, ready to take over. From the
6th until the 10th, the company lay in the water soaked woods
awaiting the next move. On the night of 11-12, the Second relieved
the First which moved to the Bois Montrebeau where it had rained
for almost every day for two weeks. On the night of 14-15, the
First moved up to support position for the Third, which saw heavy
action until the First relieved them in the trenches on the 20th.
Oct. 19, 1918
Co. D 166 Inf, American E.F.
Am sending you today an official coupon for a Xmas box. In it I want a good pocket knife, pretty heavy one, and a radio, light wrist watch. You can get one at any jewelry store for $5.00 or $6.00. @ a pair of lined leather gloves, not those coarse ones without a cuff, but more like a driving glove and a couple pairs of heavy wool socks would be alright too. That will be about all you can get in the box because the size is limited. You can get a box from the Red Cross. They will show you all about it. I got a letter from Molly yesterday. Lots of my letters must get lost but we haven't had much chance to write lately. It is getting pretty chilly here now, genuine fall weather. We are at the front now and I think it is the last trip we will ever make because Fritz has got about enough of it. Hoping you are as well as I am. I remain your son,
A. D. Boyd
The men spent the time from the 20th until the 31st in the
trenches, and things were pretty uneventful. They were relieved on
the thirty first.
Oct. 26, 1918
Co. D. 166 U.S. Inf.
Will try to write you a few lines again this morning. It is a little cloudy today but pretty warm for this time of year. I suppose you have got the letter with the Xmas coupons in before this one. If you get this before you send the box, put a couple of lead pencils with rubbers on in it. I don't care about the socks because we got some yesterday and our new overcoats too and an extra blanket too. My union suits are good yet so I don't draw any of these heavy wool underclothes. They are good clothes but are full of cooties. How mutch(sic) money have you got all together. You should get $25.00 a month. We get our tobacco issued the same as grub now so don't try to send any. We get cigarettes too once in a while. If you have got plenty of money I'd get a pretty good watch and a good knife too. Get Mollie to help you. She would know what to buy. I'm writing this with a pencil I got from a dead German. I will send you a 5 mark piece too. You can see the bullet hole in it. I've got some pictures I will send home too soon as I can. I got a letter from Mollie the other day and she says she don't get any letters from me but I write everytime I can. It takes about three weeks for a letter to come over here but it must take a lot longer for one to go home. I don't know whether I will get to write to anyone else this time or not. Envelopes are pretty scarce around here. We are dug in on a hillside here and have a little stove in our house and plenty of wood to burn. The grub has been pretty good lately only we don't get mutch fresh stuff. Mostly canned goods. We got a good deal of sweet stuff, syrup and jam and such stuff as that. I boiled all my clothes and took a bath yesterday and you ought to see my mustache. It surely is a dandy. I'll get my picture taken and send it to you when I get back where I can. Take good care of yourselves and put that money in circulation that you get. That's what it's for. Well, I guess this is about all for this time.
Co. D. 166 Inf. American E.F.
P.S. Don't lose any of this stuff I send home because I want it for souvenirs when I get back. A.D.B.
The unit was hurriedly ordered back in the line on November third. The push to Sedan had begun. The Ohio boys kept after the Boche who was keeping the heat on even though he was in fast retreat. The artillery couldn't keep up with this quick infantry unit so they were on their own. They were relieved on the night of 8th in deference to the French who would take Sedan. But the French invited the Americans to join them so two platoons of Co. D entered with the French on the 8th.
On November 9th, the regiment moved back to Armoises and
the next day to Sommanthe, and then on to Verpel on the 11th. It
was here at 4:00 that the troops heard of the Armistice.
This started a long period of movement toward the Rhine with
conditions being much better as most lodging was in German
barracks. Finnaly on the 15th after 21 days of marching and
covering more than 240 miles, the Rhine was reached. Here the men
were quarted in hotels, private residences, and chateeaus. Beds
with sheets were the order of the day. The war was over.