The following interesting letter from Ralph Mortiz, a member of the Field Artillery in France was received by his folks last week.
France, November 14, 1918
Here goes for a few lines again I don’t know why, I just hate to write tonight, I have my mind on so many things, mostly about when I am going home.
At last the war is finished, yes, it is true this time. No more shell noise now and it is all still at the front. In my last letter I wrote of the cannons shooting. The last few nights of the war it was surely fierce, could hardly sleep for so much noise. Although we did not actually get into the fight, we would have if the war had lasted 36 hours longer. We had our orders and were all ready and had our guns lined out on the road to move ahead 60 miles and be ready to fire on a certain city in 36 hears. Then we got orders that the Germans had quit, meaning the war was over, I tell you what, we were a mad looking instead of happy bunch. There we were all ready, only to go back to the barracks again. Here we were having trained for 14 months and right behind the front lines ready to do our part and then did not get a shot at those devils. Well after we had put our gun away and unrolled our pack and thought the thing over, we really thought ourselves lucky. For maybe if we had gone to the front some of us surely would have been killed, or had to go home blind or without an arm or leg. Well we are here in camp yet and I don’t know how much longer we shall have to stay, maybe all winter, nobody can tell. We will stay here at least until the Germans get back to their own country and get settled for sure. They are going to take us to see the front line trenches anyway. Every day I hike around this country and see a lot of eye opening sights.
Ammunition, I sure have seen a lot of that. We have plenty of powder and lead left to feed the Germans if they turn again to fight, but I guess it is all over, because I have seen a lot of our troops coming back by the thousands and lots of loaded trucks. Since we got to this place we quit drilling and were resting up, until some of our boys, the lazy fellows, got sick from laying around the cold barracks, while the rest of us hustled around and looked the country over were alright. But those fellows spoiled a good thing for us and now we have to work around the guns. We hate that now since the war is over, and I hope that we ride of our big guns soon. We didn’t mind that when it was for the good of our country and ourselves, but now that it is over, to have to clean those guns all the time makes us pretty mad.
One good thing, we get lots of good food, better even than we got at Camp Lewis. Uncle Sam trys hard to feed his men good, and still some kick. The bread is not quite as good as we had before but it is pretty good anyway and tasted better than the French bread. The weather is fair now that the shooting has quit, not so smoky. The nights are cold. I guess you folks know as much or more about the war than I do, we don’t get the papers here. Received two letters from home today and yesterday. I will try to send you some souvenir when I get near a post office.
We have a few fellows down with influenza now. I hope I don’t get it, as it is no fun to be sick over here, the hospitals are so filled.
The last of the fighting was the fiercest of all, on both sides. The last Saturday and Sunday nights I hardly slept at all, the artillery fire was so heavy. Well I will close for now, good night and love to all.
Your son and brother, Ralph C. Moritz, Battery F. 348 F.A. France