Eastman - Fenwick Family Papers, 1860-1980

Edward G. Fenwick Letter, 25 September 1917


September 25, 1917
Dearest momsie. This is the second real letter I have been able to write you since I sailed. The first one was sent home by a sailor on the San Jacinto our transport. Just to review a few things in case you did not receive my first one.
About 20 minutes after we had sighted land we walked into 13 subs and got 3 of them. Had quite a battle. We landed at St. Nazaire and disembarked the following morning. We stayed in camp there until a week ago yesterday when we started at 6 o’clock in the morning for Paris in our ambulances [Fords?]. We made the trip of about 340 miles in 3 days. It certainly was beautiful driving thru the
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country in the fall of the year. We passed gunners all along the road which made me kind of homesick.
While at St. Nazaire I made a trip to Nauuts [Nantes] and saw the beautiful cathedral as well as the wonderful old chateau there. Am beginning to pick up a little French now as we have two lessons a day and have two French maids in our chateau.
By the way we are quartered in a beautiful old chateau in a suberb of Paris which now belongs to a very prominent American dentist. It has been for the last 3 years the headquarters of the Amer. Field service of which you all have heard so much. We have
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the two maids here to look after 44of us and have real beds to sleep on. We slept on the ground of St. Nazaire for over a month and were just as hard as bricks when we fell into this soft job. A good many of us were disappointed because we were not taken right up to the front but we will make the best of it as we have had to do so often since I have been in this service
We have wonderful meals cooked by the finest French chefs and pretty little French girls to wait on us. They are served at the Amer. Hospital which is only about 5 blocks
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from here.
Our Fords by some mistake of the French Commission are too short for the French stretchers. So we have been put on the big Garford Ambulances the other boys used. They expect however to fix the Fords so they will be alright.
We were addressed by the head of French Ambulances Sat. who said that we were going to the Front very near the Front. If it doesn’t turn out that way and we are cooped up in Paris the way we are now are bunch of us are going to try for Aviation. This war is certainlly terrable. An old French lady
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stopped me yesterday and said that her son had been brought back suffering from shock. She said, They tell me that contracts are being made for another three years. Oh! How long will it last? How long? That seems to be the silent prayer of the French. There is pleanty of food but the men [indecipherable]. We passed 18 year old boys on the road to Paris. Their class had been called out quite a time now and they are almost ready for the trenches. I have seen German prisoners no more than 15 years old.
The one big question in the mind of all the Allies today
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is not can U. Sam deliver but when.
France’s most noted aviator G---- was killed about a week ago. He had brought down 54 planes officially and 80 some all told. To be official they have to fall in the French trenches. Expect to go out and see where the battles of the [Marne?] took place some time this week.
Don’t forget about my winter stuff and I find that it is very necessary to have a short lamb wool [trimmed?] coat with fur collar for my winter work. You ought to be able to get one for about 12 or 15 dollars.
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I am sending this letter by a nurse who comes from Georgia and who expects to sail from Liverpool on the 8. She is leaving in a few days. She had been over here from the first of the war.
Tell Charlie I have got enough stories of the war to last a month and incindently might have a few which came under my personal observation.
I am starting again Oct 13 8. I am in the American Hospital at Neuilly, Paris. Have had one of my bad throat attacks but am all well now. They are going to take the
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offending stumps out in a few days now. I was sick for eight days. By the way this letter missed the first nurse so I am sending it by a Miss Forest from New York. She is one of my nurses. I had two.
I am meeting quite a number of English people who seem quite surprised at my name. For the love of Pete in your next letter send me a little dope on the family as some of them seem to know very much more than I do.
Wish you would have the signet ring I got 2 christmases ago fixed up with the
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coat of arms on it.

Tell dad I never received the money he spoke of sending or was it that he was going to send some. It would be very convenient. I don’t want any of yours and if you send any back it goes.
We have been given[ Pannards?] to drive and they are beauties. They are fast as a streak and very large.
We have unloaded quite a number of cars carrying from 120 to 140 [blesses]
Well momsie dearest
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guess I had better call it quits for now. Outside of asking you to send me some wintering pads and chewing gum Give my best to everyone and tell all my friends that I will write them as soon as I can. Love to you momsie dearest from your own.
PS Tell Beans Joe Warren and all the rest to write real often
Fenwick, Edward G. Correspondence World War, 1914-1918 [info:lc/authorities/subjects/sh85148236];Correspondence [info:lc/authorities/subjects/sh99001943] This image is subject to copyright. Unauthorized use of the images in the Local History Photograph Collections of the Arlington Community Archives is prohibited. RG 60, Eastman-Fenwick Family Papers: 60-5-1-7A Paris, France 1917 Texts