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Letter from Carl Hurtig, Buffalo Lake News, 12-20-1918

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Carl Hurtig
December 29, 1895 – January 17,

The News received the following letter last week from Carl Hurtig who has been in active service in France for several months.
November 4th, 1918
Dear Mr. Foster:
You will probably be surprised to hear from me as it is such a long time since I wrote you a letter, In fact I have not written to you since I came over, although I have often intended to do so.
I have now been in France for several months, almost long enough to get my first chevron, which I will be entitled to in a few days. I rather enjoyed my trip across the pond, which did not take very long. It sure was a swell trip as we had fine weather all the way I can tell you that the soldiers who came across on the transport I came over on, were certainly fed good. We only got two meals a day but we sure got a lot to eat and as good as there was to get. I wasn’t seasick at all and enjoyed the trip but as long as I live I shall not forget the last few hours of the voyage.
After landing in France we were sent to the forests of southern France and have been there ever since. I have not been with my company all the time, as I have been away on detached service. I have been down to the Spanish border, and have seen the Pyrenees Mountains of which I have heard so much. Then I have been in the low lands of France where the land in only five feet above sea level, and then I have gone up in the mountains where the air is rare and cold. At present I am in these mountains in central France. We are in the highest point of the Arevergere Mountains and have been here for several months. I rather enjoyed being here at first as it was then a period of nice weather, but for a month or so it has been bad weather. It has rained a lot and has been pretty cold. But this is all in the game of the American Forester in France. It is quite an experience to work among the low hanging clouds in the drizzling rain, although I have been fortunate as my work keeps me dry under roof.
For about six weeks I have been working nights. I quite like to work at night as we have two whole nights and days off each week.
I am a tall sawyer in the mill that this company is operating. It is about the only job in the army that I have liked. There is not any hard work connected with it, but one has to be keenly alert at all times. Our mill is a ten thousand capacity mill and we are setting a pace for the rest that is hard to follow. We have cut thirty-two thousand feet in ten hours, which is going some for a mill of this size. I think we ranked first or second for last month among the mills of our class. This is going some as we did not come over here for this kind of work. In fact, we have one of the best forestry companies in the S. O. S.
I like it pretty well over here, but I sure will be glad when I set foot on good U.S. soil again. The French have many strange customs which seemed funny to us when we first came over but we are used to them now. I can speak French fairly well now, although I have not made a study of it. We have some fine officers in our company and they do all they can for us. Through their efforts we have always had plenty of good food. Since coming over here I have been promoted to First Class Private. Well I will close for this time, and hope this letter reaches you O.K.
Sincerely, Carl G. Hurtig, 49th Co. 2oth Engineers