Letter home dated January 21, 1919; France; from James W. Dalby: “My Darling Mother – Just a few lines to let you know I am O. K. Today is Friday and a very nice day. Everything is going fine and we boys are waiting patiently to come home where we can do what we want to. I suppose the boys that have reached home are enjoying themselves. Well mother, they have nothing on us fellows. We are all bothered with cooties and sleeping in barns. It is an awful life but we are glad we are volunteers and have done our bit for the U. S.
Dear old Lewistown ought to be proud of Company M. the old Eighty Regiment, because the men who died died like heroes. Sherman was right when he said “War is Hell.” But you folks back home don’t know or never will know what us poor fellows have gone through. When we died we are all ought to go to heaven, because we have all done our duty in hell.
We are getting our wounded men back now. The men who were wounded and gassed at Château-Thierry, Val Flimes, Fisment, St. Michael and the worst battle of all, the Argonne Forest. That’s where four of Lewistown’s boys were killed and a bunch wounded. We lost three officers also, they were all good men everyone liked them in the company.
Well now the war is over and we are trying to forget those awful sights and hardships we went through. Now I will tell you what I can about the French people (we call them frogs). They are a funny set of people. They dress odd and wear wooded shoes. All they do is farm and tend to cattle, drink red wine. We get their goats when they talk to us as we can’t understand them. When they cook fish they don’t clean them or even take their heads off – everything goes. Gee, I am glad I am an American and live in God’s country. They sure know how to soak us for anything to eat. The French are misers, they get all they can. Now the girls are different. They are sociable and try hard to please us and are good girls. They are always busy knitting and cleaning their homes.
Mother, here is a little song of ours.. it is a true one, but we had to go back to finish the Germans.
I WANT TO GO HOME
I want to go home, I want to go home,
The machine guns they rattle,
The cannons they roar;
I don’t want to go to the trenches no more.
Take me over the seas
Where the Boche he can’t get at me,
Oh my, I don’t want to die,
I want to go home.
We have some more songs but will wait until I come home then I can sing them. Well, mother, I will close for this time, hoping this finds you all well as it leaves us here all well. Love to all, your loving son,
Corporal James W. Dalby
Co. M. 112th U. S. Infantry