Will drop you a few lines tonight as I have a little time. We have been putting a floor in the mess hall this week. Looks like we were going to stay here sometime yet, but I guess not. Anyway we never did build up a place but what we got shipped as soon as we got it done. They ship in a new bunch of men every once in a while, and a bunch stops and eats with us every week or two. There was a detachment of Infantry eat here a few days ago and they all think they are going to go home soon. There has been three or four bunches of sick and cripples left their division in the last month and a half. They are sorting them out and sending all the sick, lame and lazy guys back. They had them all classified in 5 or 6 classes. The A,B,C,D classes are here. My bunkie was in D class and they sent him to the hospital, then sent B & C class home, and A class goes tomorrow I don't know where. They got me! I guess I must be in 00 or the dizzy gang, ha! Ha! I'll be home as soon as they get a padded cell made.
I'm in the mess hall now waiting for the Band Concert to start. We have band concerts and movies tonight. They are showing us to a good time lately, a sure sign of a change.
The cooks are getting things ready for dinner tomorrow noon. It is 8 PM now. They have a cow or two cut up and are running it through sausage mills grinding hamburger for dinner. I wish you could just see our kitchen. It's about 25 feet wide and 250 or 300 feet long and, boy, they sure do hand out a lot of grub in the run of a month. Grub is everything from sorghum cake to jackass. Say, there is sure something coming off or else the world has just found out where the 35th Engineers live. The Knights of Columbus are passing the cigarettes and chewing gum to the whole Regiment. We have read all summer about the boys over here getting a half pound of candy issued every so often and getting free cigarettes, etc. We've been wondering what boys got it, but tonight we got cigarettes and chewing gum, and about a couple weeks ago we got candy issued us.
(Later) We, the concert and movies was pretty fair last PM. I got a letter from Frank dated Nov 27. He is some man, now "gotta boy" eh? Good gosh and I haven't got anything to sleep with but a Winchester.
Well, it is still warm and raining everyday. Don't look much like Christmas to me. If I come home next Feb or March sometime and it's sixteen below, why get the incubator heated up. Well, the Lt. Col. concluded he would fool the weather a little so he got out a full force of pick and shovel gang and put them to scraping up the mud in front of the mess hall and hauling it away in wheel barrows. He sure made it nice for awhile till he had a lot of motor trucks to haul in a lot of cinders. When we got them mixed up right good, the Lt. Col. had to have some plank laid before he could get out of his office. I don't know what they will do next unless they pump the place full of water and get a boat.
Nov. 22. Well, will try and finish your letter today. This is Sunday and it has rained all day, as usual. I have been down town lounging around. This is the first day we've been off for some time. This is our Christmas day. Some Christmas - with little barefooted kids running around. They come slopping into the big YMCA building, dozen at a time. The Y is outside the guard line so they have a peck of fun in there. The sentry won't let them in camp, only a few news kids get in here. They don't like to be made stay out, either. Us fellows go out and in but they have to stop at the guard line.
Well, here is a little piece about the 35th Engineers.
When the 35th left the U.S.A
And sailed for sunny France
We braved the German submarines
And took an awful chance
A streak of fate and to relate
Brought us to LaRochelle
Where they quickly work the heads off us
And, Brother, let me tell!
If ever we get back; if ever we go back
We'll be broken, crippled and gray
We'll be penniless and homeless
Our friends will disown us
When we get back to the USA
When the 35th was organized
They called us Engineers
But now the way they shook us up
Would make a mule shed tears
Instead of being Engineers
They call us R.T.C.
But if you ask us what that means
We'll tell you "par compre"
This 35th is composed of men
Whose daring deeds will thrill
When people hear what we have done
At the battle of Cognac Hill
We'd rather be up on the front
The Germans to disperse
But, alas, we're in the 35th
For better or for worse.
We've taken a shot at building cars
And we surely have done well
But you can bet your "boocoo francs"
We're sick of LaRochelle
Just take a look at some of us
And you will plainly see
We're not a single man of us
The man we used to be
Well, the 35th is right up to date
Conveniences are fine
You can get up early or get up late
But you'll always be in line
And if the grub gets running low
And they have no more on hand
Then all they ever have to do
Is go and get the band
You may talk about efficiency
But you don't know what it means
Unless you're in the 35th
And fed on slum and beans
The menu always reads the same
And so a month ahead
You can write back home and tell them
What you're going to be fed
But now the war is over
And they say the war is won
Won't some kind saint please tell us
When our labors will be done
How many cars will we have to build
How many a weary day, sir
We'll be confined to LaRochelle
On a dollar and a dime per
I don't know who got this up, but it suits the situation exactly. The letters R.T.C. (Regiment Transportation Corps) are the same thing to the eyes of an engineer that a red rag is to a bull's eyes. We all hate them but have to use them just the same. As ever,
Pvt. L. McCoy
99th Co. 21st Grand Division
American Expeditionary Force