At last we got in the ruins of a town, it was completely destroyed. Hardly a wall standing. It was still full of snipers. I began collecting the wounded boys in, and got a big crowd. We spent the night there under heavy fire, but were well protected by an embankment. Had lots of trouble getting patients out, many died from exposure, and because they could not get to a hospital. Douglas was working back all the time doing the work the ambulance company ought to have done, so I left him up in the woods, and Dick and Augustine in the town, and with McClure and Michel started on after the troops. Up to that time I had not seen Major Jackson, but saw him about noon on active supervision -- complimented me very much.
From then on, dear, till the night before last, the worst part came. We advanced through a big valley full of artillery and machine guns up into a big woods, and on across another valley, never stopping. The enemy used his 1-3-6-9-inch guns with terrible effect on our boys, but you never saw such spirit in your life. They advance straight on, leaving the field after field covered with dead and wounded. I was so tired, -- oh, my soul, how tired, but no rest in sight. I made a trip back about six miles, found the sanitary train, and the train got ambulance men with litters to come and help us evacuate. Had them establish three collecting stations, helped carry the men back when I ran out of dressings till Mae could go back for more.
The high explosive shells are the most terrible weapon of them all. They come suddenly with a loud whisking noise and break into thousands of pieces with a terrible report. You are never safe, no use running or hiding. So I just kept on, was hit more than once by pieces, knocked down by the explosion, covered with dirt, but dear, by your prayers, I am safe. But, oh! dear! I am so tired. We started out night before last and marched nearly all day yesterday, and are out in the woods, still no cover but the stars, no food for five days, no sleep for seven days, dirty, blood-stained, unshaven, foot-sore, aching all over -- my! how I long for rest.
Expect to move further back tomorrow -- may go way back to have the division rebuilt. Guess I have seen about the worst battle of the war, and the Lord knows I never want to see another. He must have use for me, or I would never have lived through rain of steel!
Have no more paper. Send this to mother. Will write more as I remember it. All my love to my wife and baby.
Your loving husband,