(Addressed to Mr. James McCoy, Trevlac, Ind., U.S.A., Brown Co.; return address Pvt. L. McCoy, Co H 35th Engrs, APO 735, AEF France)
(Censored by Lt. H. Gaither)

LaRochelle, France

Sept 16, 1918

Hello Dad:

Received your letter. You wrote about the lime deal. I've got a picture of you giving it to J.G. Would like to be around to hear it. Say, that's the kind of letter I've been looking for all summer. You told me about things at home. Of course, the letter is over a month old but I've been so far ahead of times for awhile I'm glad to go back and take a review of things.

That tickles me clear down to hear about your good crops. Of course, I may not be back to partake of any of this year's goods, but soon, very soon I think, the stuff will be off with Kaiser Bill. You can't tell how soon I will be sticking my feet under the table at home again. A good crop back home is what we want and what we got to have to put the old Dutchman on the bum, and a fellow who raises a good crop and feeds a few people is as good a soldier as anyone here.

No, they don't plant much of anything in the line of field crops in Maryland. Most of the ground is pretty poor and worn out.

Well, I just put out my washing. I've done a devil of a job at it in the water I had, but as John was by the sheep, "it's the best a fellow can do around here." And, of course, it's raining now, ha! Oh, it's great to be a soldier in France. I'll bet the boys are dreading the trip home now. Some of them swore they could lean over the top rail and drink water out of the ocean, and one fellow looked up at the mast and says "If they cut that pole off of here it will turn the boat over!" She was pretty rough about that time of day. We had one fellow along who lost his nerve and came pretty near going off at times till we all got to kidding him and pumping him full of dope. Every time the ship would make a plunge and roll up on one side, then just hang and keep turning till it seemed like she was going to change sides and swim the other way, the boys would all yell, "There she goes, Hill" This guy's name was Hill and I heard them yell at him all times of night and day. Yet today when anything looks kind of leery or anything happens in a hurry, someone yells "There she goes, Hill." Oh, we have a devil of a time here. It's not all fun but when we do get a chance to have some, we certainly let 'er ride.

Sept 17

Well, I didn't get to finish my letter last PM. Circumstances wouldn't permit. You know a fellow never can tell what to look for next. The news is that the U.S. had a good turnout at wheat threshing this year. I wonder what kind of a turnout he will have when he gets through threshing the Kaiser. I expect the Kaiser's measure will be pretty full. He will be like the dutchman who played dead and an American came along and thought he looked pretty pert for a dead man. So he tickled his breast bone a little with his bayonet. Fritz came alive and says "Don't do that, das ticklish" The American says, "No, not ticklish - finish!"

Once there was a French soldier on guard and he saw someone coming in the dark and says, "Halt! Who's there?" "Russian soldier" came the answer. He said, "Pass on, Russian soldier." Then he heard someone else and says "Halt! Who's there?" "Who in h___ wants to know?" came the answer. The guards says "Pass on, American soldier."

Well, the U.S. certainly has made a record in military affairs. She's done or going to do more in 5 years from April, 1917, than Germany has done since 1871. I never realized before what an honor it is to be an American. Of course, everybody likes his own country and thinks it an honor to be a subject of his particular country, but say, the old U.S.A. has got them all beat in a million ways. The U.S. Army can go right out in the wilderness and cut the brush away and set up a real live camp with electric lights and shower baths in a week's time, and lots of times in 3 days.

I haven't seen an electric light in any of the French towns and they've been here for several centuries. Of course, I'd be a bad judge for France. I expect I'd be almost too close a critic, for I don't understand why she is so many hundred years behind. It's too deep for my shallow head, I guess. And one thing else, when you start down a sidewalk in a French town, you're not going to pass anyone on it. Why? Because there is not room enough. It's just like a hog path. I don't see how some of the Frenchies make their wooden shoes track. It's just like walking a pole, ha! I can't walk them at all after I down the 3rd glass. I get out in the cobblestone street, ha! And there's not very much room out there. And it's so blamed rough I have to hold my hat with both hands. I spent about an hour in a town out here and I slid around over the streets till I had hot boxings in my ankles. The streets are so narrow if a fellow tried to drive a Texas steer through them, he would knock all the window lights out on both sides with his horns.

Well, I must close. I've wrote all in a joking way and exaggerated quite a little, but if you want to make a real mental picture of it, why, don't subtract too much from this. In a great many instances I've made a joke of facts, especially about the rough streets. I walked the bogs of Minnesota and the frozen ground in old clayey Brown Co. and the round stones in the bottom of Bear Creek, but if a fellow could strike a streak of either one coming off a cobblestone street, he'd think it as smooth as glass. I'd just like to tie the Kaiser in a sitting position with his heels to the rear axle of a big Army truck and I'll bet he'd yell Komrad, bloody murder, and peace before I got over more than 4 blocks of street like that. Talk about a flax break. Say, that would be putting it mild. It would be more like a trip hammer than anything else.

Well, write me all the news. I got a letter from Harley and Frank and Ida and you, yesterday but they were all dated back about the time I left Washington DC. Well I must close. As ever your son,

Kid McCoy