Foss Writes of Life in France to Thomas Grimes
Stenay, France, Nov. 17, 1918
Dear friend Tom,
It seems a long time now since I last saw you but, Tom, take it for granted it won’t be long now before we can be together again. Have been intending to write you for a long time. In fact, I did start to write you a letter but I did not have time to finish it at the time. When I came back to finish it a few days later I thought the letter was not worth sending so I simply tore it up and I thought I would write you when I was in better humor. Now that time has come as we all feel happy now being that war is over and Peace has taken its place. Now we can look forward to good times. I sure will be a happy boy forever hereafter as this war has given me much experience. Have gone through a lot of hardships but I have forgotten all about that now and it seems to be ancient history to me. I pulled through this war just as healthy as when I entered the arm. In our company we have had several killed and wounded. Our company has been right at the “Front” all the time with the division and we have some of the best officers that any ambulance company could have. Germany did not have any explosives that could scare them. That of course put a lot of pep in us. Our captain was continually at the Front but I don’t believe he ever slept in a dug out. We also have a jolly set of boys and not a yellow streak in any of them. Am proud of being with such a company.
Have seen much of France and its pretty sceneries. But after all they cannot surpass those we have in the states. Have seen parts of England also. These countries over here, as it appears to me, still live in the stone age as we read about in history and you can judge from what this country looks like. The soil that I have examined from time to time in the different parts we have gone through in much inferior to any I have seen in the states that I know anything about and that probably is the reason why they do not advance as we do in our country.
You can’t make a progressive agricultural country or anything else from hills, rocks gumbo and “yellow clay”. Have yet to see a field with black loam with clay subsoil. Now, you know I was brought up on the farm so I ought to know something about soil. Here in this country you won’t find any farm houses or homes. They all live in villages and work their farms by driving out to their land in the morning. Then they would try and work a few hours with farm tools and machinery so out of date that we in the states would be ashamed to sell to a black whiskered Jew. When the hour for dinner came they would drive back to the village. I also noticed that these foreign people sure take their time about everything and haven’t the push and speed that the American farmer has. I could write you about many things but my letter is getting rather long so I will stop here for this time and will write in the near future if time permits. Have tried to give you an idea of the people I have seen but whether this applies to all of France I could not say. When I get home again I will have a talk with you and I can give you more of an idea of what this country is. etc. etc. Am sending (you) greetings to you all.
Yours respectfully, Pvt. Edward S. Foss.
315 Sanitary Trains, 357 Ambulance Co., A.E.F., A. P. O. 770
Editor’s Note: We do not have a photograph of Edward S. Foss.