Date - today ---
I haven't got any promise from this ship on good behavior but trusting it won't turn any more somersaults or skin any more cats than it can possibly help, will try to write you a few lines. While Old Husky rides the briny, she doesn't dip on end very often but she certainly has the hen-wallow shuffle and a little speed. She throws a ridge about 12 feet high on each side as white as salt itself. We had some fine sailing the first three days but last night she blew up a rain and is some rough, but not bad by a long ways. You've always heard of fellows being seasick. I haven't been sick yet, only just for a minute once in awhile. The first two days, when the ship would take a long roll and when I was inside especially down in the dining room, it would seem like something was pulling up on the crown of my head and I'd get sick as could be. A long breath always drove it away. It doesn't bother me a bit anymore. I can hang over the rail and look right at the water and never get sick, but some of the boys have threw up every day since we left land.
We haven't seen a speck of land for 4 days now and it will probably be 2 or 3 days yet before we do. We saw one ship a day or so back. I don't know what country it belonged to. They showed no colors and our gunners kept them covered with cannons while we passed and until we got out of range. Of course, I can't tell much about this outfit but we don't sail without protection and we don't sail alone. In peace times this would be a peach of a trip. It's not so bad now, only for the submarines. Of course, we don't fear the subs so much but there's always the possibility of one getting too close for comfort.
I'd like to belong to a real battleship once. I'm sorry I didn't join the Navy last December when I was over at Pekin. I would have done it, too, if it hadn't been for the way things were at home. But I'm satisfied with the Engineers. It's all a rough life but I like it just the same.
Say, did you ever hear of a flying fish? Well, we got them out here in the Atlantic. They got wings like a bat and fly up in flocks like quails. They go like bullets and zip through the top of the waves every now and then to keep their wings wet, because they can't fly after their wings get dry. The fish are white and about 3 to 12 inches long and in shape of a sucker.
We are in the war zone now and they have issued our emergency rations which we carry with us at all times, also our life belts. We have had them ever since we left land but I don't think we will ever have to use them.
The blamedest mess I ever got into was at dinner. We were down in the kitchen, had my cup out for the K.P. to pour in the coffee, and all at once that old alarm let go. Everybody whirled and ran. Some of them with messkits full and stuff spilling every place. Some of them just dropped them and ran. There were tin plates, pans, cups, forks, knives, spoons, bread and gravy and eatables all over the floor. Some of the eats looked like they had been eaten once after the crowd got by, for there must have been a thousand down in there. I managed to hang on to my mess kit till I got to my bunk. That's one part of my equipment that I'm going to hang onto if I have to leave my shoes. Ha! Ha!
Well, I don't know much more to write. I don't see anything to write about, only big white topped waves about 10 feet high and still getting higher. The old ship wobbles worse all the time. The more she rolls the better I like it. I'm tired of this old straight ahead stuff like we've been having for that old propeller has never stopped day nor night since we started. It's just been the same old grind and I don't want it to stop till we get to _________. I don't like this place we have to sleep in. It's hot as blazes in here. My clothes haven't been dry since I got on this ship but it is getting cooler now. We are getting in a cooler place now.
I suppose you can tell by the writing I am doing that this ship is anything but quiet. I am clear up on the second highest deck and I can feel the water in my face every once in a while. We had to close the port holes to our bedroom long ago to keep the waves out, but we will get there. The Sailors aren't scared and if you get this letter, you will know we got through safe for I can't send it until this ship goes back.
You have heard of the sea being salty but you never had any idea how awful salty it is. It's just salty enough that it leaves salt on anything it dries on. I got into a crowd and couldn't get to my bunk to dry my mess kit the other day and it dried on it. It just looked like I'd had it wet and dipped it through powdered salt.
Well, I am going to close for once and see how it goes. So write soon. As ever your fighting man-eating son,
Well, we finally got through the night but it certainly was a rough one. This old ship has rocked the whole night and sometimes I think she got clear up on the upper left hand corner. There was a port hole in our room that leaked all night and there was about an inch of water on the floor. It had run from one side to the other so much it certainly had the floor clean. Once a big wave slapped the side of the ship like a thousand bricks and the boys started to get out of bed, but a Sailor came through to see about the leak and he didn't seem to be in the least uneasy so they all settled down again.
There's some more of the boys "feeding the fish" this A.M. (vomiting). It's a hard job to feed fish. I haven't tried it yet but those that have says it's hard work, ha! One of our boys asked a Sailor boy if he thought the storm was dangerous and the Sailor says "No, not yet. There's plenty of time to worry after the fish start to come down the smoke stack." Ha! The soldier says, "Oh, then I am going to get off and walk." Well, I must get this ready and give it to the Lieutenant. He will have to read it and mail it when we land so if you get this, why I'm safe in France. So don't look on the dark side of it all the time. I may never see any fighting (but I hope I do if it has to be done). There's just one way to look at it. I'm not out of the world yet and the Lord owns the whole thing and all of us, so if I sunk out here in 5 miles of water I'd see you all again. It's just up to you all to live the very best you know how. That's the way I've always tried to do and I'm not afraid. I never was more cheerful in my life than I am now, so let's trust the rest. Must close. Answer soon. As ever,