Langres, France November 26, 1918 to Monroe, Lousiana
William Abram O’Kelly Jr. to his sister Mary Catherine O’Kelly
Your letter dated the 28th of Oct. was received this am and I was glad to get it as it was the first news I have had from you all since leaving Camp Jesup, so I was getting kind of anxious to hear from you and Papa had made out with your flu. Was glad to hear that you both had completely recovered.
I had some trip on the boat we only had two meals a day and were allowed no lights after 5 o’clock. It took us 13 days to make the trip and I sure was glad when we cited land. We were on the water until late afternoon when they landed us in Brest and marched us about 5 miles to Pontanezen Barracks. These barracks were started up by Napoleon. Our portion consisted of pup tents in a field for the first night then we were transferred to tents where we fared a little better. After staying at the Barracks for 4 days we were put 40 in a French box car and sent here it took us 4 days to make the trip. The trip was not so bad except the sleeping was rather difficult.
(the ink ran out here and I had to borrow my buddies pen. Therefore, the diff in the ink) The first night here we slept in a big warehouse. The next day we were moved over to big tents with cots and beds in them. There is 50 to a tent so we are getting along fine and I hope we can stay here as the food is very good and plentiful and I am beginning to get fat again.
When I first got here it it froze up every night but for the last two days it has been raining and is a good deal warmer. And Mud. You have never seen the like. The water does not sink into the ground just stays on top and forms mud.
I have been to town once it is quite a nice little place. With a big stone wall around it and a lot of big stone buildings. The streets are mostly narrow but paved. The occupation of the people seems to be like in the other towns I have seen and that is over charging the American soldier. Everything goes up when the soldier comes around. The only thing we get cheep is cigarettes which cost only 8c per pack.
It is reported that we will make a fag day this first and I hope it is so as I have not made one in two months and the herbs are getting kind of low.
I sure would like to have some of those pecans you wrote about or even some of those small ones as they would come in mighty handy.
This country is beautiful and I hope to see a good deal more of it before I go home. I have not been near the front yet, could have gone this am with a bunch to drive Ford cars but I am afraid of Ford’s so I did not go. All kind of reports are out as to when we will go back home but most of them are pure fiction and I have no idea when I will be back in the states but hope to be back in about 4 months or maybe less.
Well dear I have used up all the ink in this pen so will close for this time with lots of love and kisses to all.
Your Affectionate Brother,