11. Crossing the Rhine, December 14, 1918

My dear Mother,

It seems peculiar to address a letter to you from this side of the Rhine. Look at a map and between Coblenz and Bonn on the Rhine you will find a fairly large town called Andernach. Well that is where I crossed the Rhine the night before last with the first American patrol to go over. I was lucky enough to be chosen by my Colonel to represent my regiment on this reconnaissance of the territory across the river before our troops crossed over. I consider it quite an honour. We were the first across and landed on this bank about 930 P.M. It was raining miserably and we had to hike all night waking up the Burgomasters of the different towns we were occupying and preparing for the establishment of military law the next morning. We had to have all the firearms taken up and a score of other measures carried out. I have been doing that kind of work ever since we started this long, long hard march from Sedan to the Rhine. I have been going ahead walking with my billeting party as fast as good marines can hike. I get to the town where we are to stay and lay down the law to the civilians, get wood and straw, and billets for the men and officers.

Then when the troops march in I have to billet them and then spend the rest of the evening writing up a billeting list and making out receipts for supplies we have gotten from the civilians. Eat a light supper when the wagons come in and then go to bed and sleep the sleep of the weary. Next morning up at 430 and off again on the same routine. It certainly has been tiresome. March, march, march till you're eyes almost drop out of your head. If you ever want to go sightseeing afoot, don't ask me to go along. I've worn through a pair of shoes and halfway through another. I was once a great upholder of outdoor life but somehow I feel now that a big fire and a pair of slippers spell the summit of human ambition. But I think we are going to settle down pretty shortly and sit around for the most part of the day. Life has a sort of dull restless pulse for most of us. It is hard to realize it's all over. But even now once in awhile I twitch nervously when I hear an auto crank up or a train whistle. But that will wear off. . .


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