France, April 13, 1917

Dear Birdie;-

I have your two letters of Feb 25 and March 10 respectively. And the night before last just after we came out of the big battle you have read about your parcel arrived. It could not have come at a more opportune time. We were all tired and hungry. My orderlies had had nothing to eat since the night before and I was just trying to rustle them some rations when your box arrived. I hope you will approve of my procedure when I tell you that I took nearly all the delicious eats with which the box was stuffed and added them to rations that the transport brought up for my boys. The cheese I kept for to put in my haversack for our next fight, but the sardines, chocolate, wafers & chewing gum I took over to my orderlies who were in a dugout a couple of hundred yards away. It was snowing hard and the night was as black as a wolf’s mouth. It would have done you good to have heard the remarks the boys made and to have seen their faces when they saw the feed that was brought them. They had been working for 3 days and nights almost without any sleep and with wet feet all the time. I gave the socks to one of the orderlies whose own were soaking wet and who had his boots on his bare feet. You need have no fears that your parcel was not appreciated. The cigarettes I smoked myself and am busy on the box of tobacco. It came in very handy as I had lost my tobacco pouch and contents during the engagement. Thank you ever so much Birdie.

It was a wonderful battle, the best show I have been in. Our men trimmed the Boche in fine shape and our losses were not heavy. It was a wonderful sight when our artillery opened the show at 5:30 A.M. The guns all opened at the same moment with a roar like a terrible peal of thunder and for miles along the German trenches there was the most wonderful display of fireworks caused by our bursting shells and Fritz’s S.O.S. signals going up. Our troops advanced as cool and steady as when they had previously practised the attack on ground behind the lines a few weeks ago. For of course we have been preparing for this attack for some time. After we got past the old German front line we reached some high ground and had a wonderful view of the battle. For miles we could see the artillery barrage sweeping like a blizzard across the German position and the whole country behind seemingly covered with our advancing troops. The sight must have struck a chill into the German hearts for the sight gave one the impression of irresistible power.

Our weather is of the most atrocious kind. It snows nearly every day and freezes every night. The mud is as bad as anything I have seen.

Give my kind regards to Aunt Stacey.

Your cousin

Harold W McGill