To the Vicomte du Peloux
Military Hospital 101,
May 18, 1915.
My dear Friend:
I hope you will pardon my not having written you sooner but I knew Paul was telling you I am doing well and I have been a little tired, so have just rested without doing any writing.
I will not write much of the battle as Paul told you what I knew about it and the papers told you more. However, I want to say that I was certainly proud of my regiment that day. When I was in the second regiment I had but little confidence in the men and never wanted to see them called upon to make an attack. When I went into the first regiment I immediately saw that it was composed of different kind of men. They were more serious about the war, and the volunteers were men who engaged out of love and admiration for France, and because they knew they were right. They were men who had the courage of their convictions and were willing to die, if necessary, to prove it. So the day we were called upon to attack, every man went into it willingly with the determination to do his best, and humming the Marseillaise. As to the officers—no officers ever led their men better than ours led us. Practically every one of them fell, but they fell at the head of their men, urging them onward.
I don’t want you to think that I am cold-blooded, without feeling, but the horror of it all is overshadowed by the feeling of, pride and admiration I have for them all. This life does not hold such great value in my eyes as it does in some people’s, and I feel that those men who died that day, died having made a success of their lives in their own little way, doing something for the world, for posterity, and that their characters are their souls which will forever live and be passed down from generation to generation. So, is not that success! And what more can a man ask for his life than success?
As for me—I only have a little old wound through the muscles of the thigh which will probably keep me out of the fight for a couple of months but not pain me much and will allow me to take life easy.
This is a very nice hospital and all are fine to me. There are several nurses who speak English, and they and the English speaking residents of the town come around every day to see me. I am in the office-room and in it also are a sous-lieutenant and a young artilleryman whose father is a colonel in the cavalry. Both speak English. And as I have said, they just all treat me fine. At times it really embarrasses me. Then Paul comes up from twelve until five. I have piles of magazines, books and newspapers to read and all kinds of good things to eat. So you see, I am in a regular paradise here and consider myself exceptionally lucky.
Paul has told me a lot about you and your wife and your kindness to him and seems to be greatly attached to you both. Again, I want to thank you for what you have done for us both. I sincerely hope I may soon have the pleasure of seeing you in Paris.
K. Y. Rockwell.