1er Régiment Étrg.,
2ème Rég, de Marche,
Bon B. 2ème Cie., 4ème Son.,
Secteur Postal 109,
April 10, 1915.
I have been intending to write you a letter for a long while but haven’t felt like writing any at all lately. When I received notice of being transferred, I had just come in from work and it was about 4:30 o’clock. They told me I was changed to the 1er Étranger and was to leave at 6:30. It was a surprise to me and a rush order. I left some of my things there, washing, for instance. However, I had little regrets at leaving the outfit, although things were at the best stage for me that they had ever been in. Capdeville and I were practically running the 9th, and Morlae had suddenly become exceptionally friendly towards me, owing to my having “got his number” on a few things. Our Lieutenant, who had always been very friendly to me, had just been made captain of the company.
But I came here and found conditions very good: good officers and the men are good soldiers, an entirely different outfit from the 2ème. We went to the trenches the night I arrived here and stayed for twenty-two days in them, and then came here for a week’s rest two nights ago. Things were rather quiet in the trenches. The lines are very close together in a field that is level as a floor. The trenches are laid out so that it is almost like an underground city. The Regt. made them this winter. They are about eight feet deep and three feet wide and wind around in every direction so that you can walk for hours, all of them leading into the front combat trench, which is especially well made, having loopholes every two feet and a little place to stand in when shooting. I think that nearly the whole Division Marocain is in that field with us. The Zouaves were about one hundred meters from us. They have an exceptionally good reputation for fighting.
There are five Americans with me, not a bad lot; four of them, however, cannot speak French as well as I. The Sergeant is a very nice fellow but we lose him, as he has been named sous-lieut. The man who takes his place as sergeant is the former corporal of the 13th Squad. He is an old Legionnaire, but has been very attentive to the Americans. He squandered seventeen francs last night on a dinner for me and the one American who speaks French. But he is doing it with the idea that we will spend a lot of money on him. But I have worked awfully hard for over seven months and have gone through a good many hardships; I am tired out now and am bothered very much with rheumatism, so if I can make my life a little easier by bribing my sous-officers with food, etc., I will not hesitate to do so. So far, since being here, I have had it pretty easy. I am running out of clothes and would have written the Vicomte du Peloux for some, but hate to put him to so much trouble, so thought I would write you about it. I have forgotten what we left at the hotel, but if there are two or three two-piece suits of underwear there, send them to me. If there are not any there, buy me three suits of light weight, the size that you wear, also two pairs of heavy socks.
I am looking forward to receiving the box of “eats” announced. I have written to the other regiment for my mail, but all I have received is one card from you, one from mamma, and two that I enclose. Perhaps part of the mail was returned to the depot at Orleans; in that case I suppose it will be sent to you. The packages Mrs. Coumbe writes about will probably be lost or eaten by someone else.
I hope you are feeling well by now but not to see you back in the trenches.
The weather is cold to-day.