Oregon Boys In The War

Letters from Oregon Boys in France
Compiled by Mrs. Frank Wilmot 1918

Lawrence B. Pagter

Lawrence B. Pagter, of the 20th Engineers. Mr. Pagter, who was formerly forest assistant in the Siuslaw National Forest, tells about his work over there in a letter to A.G. Jackson, of the District Forester's office.

I'm in a country remarkably like that part of the Siuslaw just north of Florence and along the Pacific, he writes, only here the brush can't compete with the dammable rank growth in my forest. This is an artificial forest; the species is the same as we tried in our experiments near Buck Lake [they were successful too]. These trees are rich in turpentine; so that our fatigue clothes are far from spotless.

I've been doing a little surveying lately; making a preliminary survey for logging railroad spurs, and also have made a survey of camp. One of my lieutenants started a topographic map of the square kilometers allotted to us, and I finished it; so we have a fairly good map of the country.

I'm far from the firing line at present, but who knows what the future may bring? I don't see much of the French people except when I go to town - about 11 kilometers [seven miles] - and that isn't very often, so that my French conversational education is suffering. There are, however, a few who work in the woods here, getting out trench poles. I did see one buxom French lass pick up a full-sized pole, put it on her shoulder, and dump it into her wagon. She's the envy of the boys. Some of them say that's the kind of girl to take back to the states; then future work for them could take care of itself, for she could support two easily.

I still maintain that after all the United States Forest Service is a wonderful organization; far better than we realize.