Oregon Boys In The War

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

J.A. Lawson

The following letter was recently received by the parents and sister of J.A. Lawson, Company E, 1st U.S. Engineers, A.E.F., France.

Behind the Lines,
Sept. 18, '18.

Dear Sis, Mother and Dad:

Well, I told you so! And the first act is all over and everything went just lovely; and by the way the Dutchmen are talking peace, I think they know it's all off.

Well, folks, the engineers had the chance to go over the top with the doughboys on this drive and it was just fine. Everything worked out as it was planned; and everyone knew just what to do and where they were going. The night before it started, we all marched out to the trenches; and at one o'clock in the morning there must have been about 1500 guns opened up, guns of all sizes; the sky was just red until dawn [about 5 a.m.] and then the first wave of infantry started over the top, followed by the second and third waves, and we kept going till about 2 p.m. Then we rested for a couple of hours; and while we were resting the American cavalry went ahead to see what was doing; and they found out that the squareheads were running; so we started on again and went till the next afternoon, but couldn't catch up with them; so you see they were going at pretty good speed; and you should have seen how happy the old French people were, who have been held captive for four years. We are on ground now that the Boche has held since the beginning of the war, and still we are way behind the lines.

I received your letter, Agnes, of August 19th, and note all you say about my mother and what she is doing; and between you and me, I was surprised when I heard she climbed Mt. Hood, though I knew she could do it. I should like very much to have a picture of her in her uniform.

I am going to enclose a snapshot taken of our dugout when we were at Contigny; it was some dugout. For a roof we had tar paper to keep the shrapnel out, but none ever hit it, so it was all o.k. Note the nice clock we had and the nice big mirror. We were right out in the nicest woods, and it certainly was a fine camp. The lad in the center is back in the States now, and I told him to drop you a line or two.

With lots of love to you all.