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Letter from Jay Leasman, Hector Mirror, 12-26-1918

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Nov. 20, 1918

Dear Mother:

This is my first chance to write for some time owing to scarcity of writing material, also that we have been moving considerably. We are quartered in an old German village which was very recently occupied by German troops. We are very comfortably located, but expect to move shortly further north. Our last move we made in trucks. We were called at 2 a.m. and started about 4 a.m. arrived here late in the afternoon. This is our second day here. We have done very little here except go sight seeing and rest up. This country is covered with trenches, shell holes, barb wire entanglements dug outs, etc. There are no civilians here, in fact we have seen none for about a month, as we have been where the fighting occurred the past few months. We were in a graveyard this a.m. Saw crosses dated on 11-11-18, date of Armistice.

These towns are not ruined nearly as bad as those further south.

Things have eased up considerable lately, in fact we are having a good time, better than you think and we surely are seeing some country. People from U.S.A. will be paying big money in the near future to come over and see less than we have seen.

Here is a sample of German propaganda picked up behind the American lines near Metz, Germany:


Are you a brave man or a coward!

It takes a brave man to stand up for his principles. Cowards stand behind leaders and die, imagining that by so doing they become heroes.

The motive of an act is its measure. If you think the war is hell and that you as a citizen of the United States of America have no business to be fighting in France for England you are a coward to stay with it. If you had the courage to face criticism you would get out and over the top in no time to a place where there is some likelihood that you may see home again.

What business is this war in Europe to you anyhow? You don’t want to annex anything do you? You don’t want to give up your life for the abstract thing “humanity.”

If you believe in humanity and that life is precious, save your own life and dedicate it to the service of your own country and the woman who deserves it of you.

Lots of you fellows are  …………….Your wills are  …………….judges of what is best for you to do. Do it and save your life! Germany never did any harm to you , all the newspaper tales of wrongs were printed to inflame you to the fighting pitch, they were lies, you know you can’t believe what you read in the papers.

If you stay with the outfit ten chances to one, all you will get out of it will be a tombstone in France.

I have been acting Sergeant since arriving over here and was raised to that rank Oct. 27th, received my warrant a few days ago.

Wish you all a merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.


Editor’s Note: We do not have a photograph of Jay Leasman.