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Captain Joe Hession Letter




 and printed in the "Emmetsburg Democrat", Emmetsburg, Palo Alto Co., Iowa, Wednesday, 24 December 1918





Sends a Dad's Day Letter to His Father, Dr. Hession of Graettinger

   T. J. Hession, son of Dr. and Mrs. P. J. Hession of this place, has been promoted from Lieutenant to Captain. He received the honor October 23. He is, we believe, the first captain for Palo Alto county, outside of the medical corps. Joe attended the Officers' Training School at Fort Snelling a year ago last summer and was made lieutenant. He was subsequently assigned to duty at Camp Dodge. When the 88th went across he went over with them. The Times congratulates him on the honor accorded him. Graettinger boys are upholding the honor of the "old town" in the great world struggle. Below we publish an interesting letter from Captain Hession to his parents.

France, Nov. 19, 1918

Dear Father and Mother:

    Well, now that the war is practically over, I hope I will have more time to write than I did before. Peace doesn't make much difference to us as far as our work is concerned, only that our troops don't shift positions so often
and it is easier to keep them supplied. We have moved nearly one hundred miles since I last wrote you. In coming where we are now we passed along the place where Lufberry was killed. In coming here we passed through some pretty country and saw a few fair sized towns. One or two of them were of about 60 or 70 thousand population. I visited two of them since arriving here.

    Several days ago, in fact two days after the Germans quit, I went over into their lines. There wasn't much left only a lot of hand grenades and a lot of dirty clothing. The place I was was in was shot up by our divisions the week before and sure was a sorry sight. Practically every house was destroyed and the household goods of the civilians was entirely destroyed. I was unable to get you any souvenirs as our soldiers beat us there, so of course there was nothing left that was worth sending back. I am going to send you a German helmet as soon as I can get one.

    A German plane dropped a balloon with some newspapers tied on it a few weeks before the war ended. It fell about one hundred feet from Frazer and when we first saw it we were afraid it contained gas so I ordered all the men to have their masks ready. I also ordered them to let it alone but when it lit soldiers came out from every place and beat me to it by at least fifty feet. Frazer said the American soldiers are the most curious of all of them. They will grab anything they can place their hands on. The papers were printed in French and contained a lot of propaganda telling the French they were foolish to keep fighting the German people who were good and honest. They might as well save their paper as it does them no good, especially when it is picked up by Americans. There has also been a lot of them dropped that were printed in English. If I can get hold of one I will send it to you.

    The Germans have opened up their prisons and the prisoners are coming across in droves. They are mostly English but a few have been Americans. The men that were walking seem to be in pretty good condition but they all say that there are plenty left that are unable to get back. The English are fairly well dressed as their Red Cross sent them uniforms. They are made the same as the others only they are dyed black.

     I don't know when we are going back, but from all the rumors there are around here it looks as though we are billed for a stay over here. I don't think we will start back for at least six months, though.

    I was promoted to the rank of captain October 23. It came as a surprise to me as up till about that time promotions were pretty scarce around here. I now have charge of the distribution of all supplies to the division with exception of clothing.

    I must close now and go to bed. I am quartered in an old priest's home. I have a nice room with a large fire place an am as comfortable as one can be outside of Paris.

    The people of this town must be very rich as the streets are full of manure. They say here a man with lots of manure is rich. Some of these villages are sure a fright, there is so much dirt in them.

Must close now, so good-night. I am as ever.

Your son,
Capt. T.J. Hession
Q.M.C.A.P.O. 795.


~ contributed by Palo Alto County IAGenWeb Celtic Cousins http://www.celticcousins.net