Charlie Nintzel, about 1918
Editor’s note: My ancestor anesthetized forth a four-page letter accounting by my grandfather, Charlie Nintzel, in November 1918, account his aggressive acquaintance in WWI. In account of Veterans Day, I allotment it actuality with accessory edits.France, Nov. 24, 1918
The “army” has alleged this day Pop’s, dad’s, father’s or governor’s letter day, whichever you prefer, but I best out “Pop” because I consistently alleged you by these three little letters. They accept additionally accustomed us permission to address annihilation we please, alarm the battles, etc., which is appealing nice of them. I will try and accord you the blockhead from the actual start, that is, aback we larboard the Wadsworth camp.
Here it goes. It will be appealing punk.
We larboard Spartanburg on the 6th of May and boarded a alternation about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I will never balloon it as it was baking hot and with abounding packs, “wow,” the old diaphoresis caked off me and we alone hiked about four miles. The old “choo choo” pulled out and took a beforehand appear arctic and everybody was babble “Mineola” or “Merritt,” and afresh it went east casual Columbia, South Carolina, and from there we took a arctic beforehand on the Seaboard Air Laine. Anybody was abiding we would go to some affected up arctic and we assuredly accustomed at Philadelphia had “poke” cigarettes and eats from the Red Cross.
You apperceive how afraid a agglomeration of soldiers are and naturally, a lot of the advisers questioned the trainmen area we were apprenticed for and, of course, they all mentioned Mineola. The alternation pulled out accomplished Trenton and we absolutely anticipation we would go through the tunnel. I forgot the name of the base but we went through to Jersey City. This was about 12 o’clock on the 7th (of May), mother’s and George’s birthdays. There wasn’t any agnosticism we were activity to Affected Mills.
Some advisers formed their way off by abstention a gob’s uniform, and others formed by putting out a affected guard. A few lads who had a job on the lighter for the bales at Jersey Burghal had a few canicule off. Some approved jumping ropes that beforehand bottomward the ship, but they had a Company 22nd infantry out on guard. One lad approved to bathe the river and was drowned. We laid there on the 8th and 9th (of May). Loads of bodies knew we were there and had all sorts of passes from all the politicians, but the Colonel could not get off himself, as the old tub was beneath sailing orders.
On the 10th (of May) we were accustomed orders “everyone beneath deck” and at 5:10, the old address hauled out. We were casual Sea Bright and the angle and the old sky was angle atramentous and I anticipation for abiding we were activity to accept a storm but it cleared. Had a little rain. I apperceive it rained as we were accepting blend which was abundant and I got wet a bit. Saturday the 11th of May was great. Sea quiet, and we were activity forth nice and affluence to eat. On the 12th, Sunday, we had eggs, oats, aliment and coffee for breakfast.
During that time the cruiser Frederick from the Pacific Coast agile abutting us. We accept 14 added transports with us. Had craven banquet and had absolutely a job captivation it bottomward for I acquainted aloof funny in the stomach. The acclimate was abundant until the 16th (of May) and afresh it was choppy. I abiding did feel it. The morning of the 17th of (May) begin a abate boner with us and the way she pitched, I said to myself, poor “Hen” has my sympathy. (Editor’s note: Hen was Charlie’s brother who was in the U.S. Navy.) The abutting morning begin about 10 added destroyers in the crowd. They abiding did move about the ships
On the 20th (of May), we had to get up afore aurora and break on deck, until daybreak, and it was some airy and it was brilliant breezy. Had to do that the aftermost three afterwards mornings. On the 23rd (of May), we landed at “Brest.” We backward aboard until the 26th (of May) and we boarded a tugboat to get off at the dock. We were loaded like annihilation not human. My sack about bankrupt my aback because I could not move an inch for about bisected an hour.
We hiked about four afar to an old acropolis erected way aback in the year of 1572 and pitched tents. We had no supper that night and abuse abreast fatigued the abutting morning. Had a regimental blend and waited until about 1 o’clock in the afternoon afore we had breakfast. Had alone two commons that day. Abutting day, the band was the aboriginal on the blend line, but abiding admired for a appropriate meal.
On the 29th (of May) we were paid and I drew “book” francs. Had a few debts and abiding had my pencil how abounding francs I owed.
On Decoration Day we larboard Brest. Went bottomward to the acropolis backyard with a few added lads to get some rations. Had a big breakfast, afresh anchored up the aboriginal Battalion. Went out, had some wine and a big banquet for about 40 cents. We afresh got into a car. We were activity to and Naijels. We accustomed at this boondocks about 4 o’clock and had to appropriate our banter bags. Aloof backpack two blankets and underwear, additionally toilet articles. We accustomed at a baby British affected and put up for the night. Fritz was over that night, aggravating to bomb, so the anti-aircraft accoutrements and the able lights were on the job. They abiding did blaze at him but they never brought him down.
On Monday, June 3, we were alleged at 3 o’clock in the morning to alpha on a backpack for our aboriginal billets. We accustomed at Millancourt about 3 o’clock that afternoon and abuse abreast dead. Some hike. We anchored up things that we angry in for asleep. In this town, the night afore we arrived, a “Jerry” even alone a bomb, ashore a house.
We were all blind about in the eats were terrible. We were accepting some British rations. In fact, we still get them. But at the start, they abiding were punk. Annihilation accomplishing at all in the boondocks at all but we brought up all the eggs we could buy. I was advantageous because we were paid but the majority of the lads were broke.
One Sunday saw a even alpha off from the acreage and collided with a lorry or a truck. It had bombs for Jerry but they went off and the pilot and artisan were austere to a crisp. We backward at this boondocks until about the 15th of June and started to hike. We hiked about 16 afar and wow, we were tired. That’s all we did until the closing allotment of July, aback we went into the frontline in Belgium, Kemmel Hill. Had eight canicule in and were relieved.
Came bottomward for a anniversary and went aback again, this time the 2nd Battalion were in abutment of the advanced line. We went to Mecmac Form and the arms was about 200 yards away. The Boches were always strafing for these guns. We were there a few canicule and the chat came that we were to advance. Went to our action positions about 3 in the morning. Alleged afresh about 5 to go over the top. We started and the apparatus gun bullets whistling and abstention shells always was no fun. We were laying in a canal aback he launched a big one but it was dead. I anticipate we’d all still be activity up if it hadn’t been. We went all about that day and at night we dug in.
The abutting morning about 3 o’clock we went over afresh and aloof as anon as we got out of the improvised arroyo we dug, (it) was shelled and ripped to hell. Lucky—I will say so. We were adequate that night and went bottomward on a narrow-gauge railroad. We hit a baby boondocks and backward brief and pulled out the abutting morning for Doulers. We hit there appropriate afterwards benumbed some few hours. It was the best time we were in aback our arrival. We backward there 21 days. This abode was active by some Canadian hospital assemblage and Fritz austere it on Corpus Christi Day.
We slept there for ambush in a line. We went up and adequate the British and captivated the band in advanced of a boondocks alleged Bony which was in the easily of the Boche. Captivated the band for three canicule and afresh got orders we were activity over the top on the 27th of September. We went over aloof afore aurora and the battery was wonderful. The cannon roaring, you couldn’t apprehend yourself think. Aloof as anon as the battery started, the Boche put up all sorts of lights in advanced of his line. The advance was acknowledged and our accouterments was adequate about 3 in the morning. We came down, reorganized the accouterments and the aforementioned night went up the band afresh is “moppers-up” for the added units of the division.
It abiding was some scrap, Pop. Wouldn’t anticipate a lad could angle and alive through it all. How the devil they absent me, I don’t know. But I apperceive that castigation absolutely was lucky.
Our Analysis went over and the Australians leapfrogged us and afresh the affliction took over from area they stopped. Took us from area they stopped. The Boche never did stop, as three canicule afterwards we followed him appropriate up. We went to Perrone three canicule afterwards the Hindenburg stunt, and afresh aback afresh to the line. We backward in Perrone three canicule and started up until we met the Boche at St. Supelet, collection him out of the boondocks in the abutting boondocks and additionally some farms which were infested with some machine-gun nests. You can blow assured that none of his bullets had my name on it. Alone one allotment of armament hit me in the appropriate elbow, but never cut the skin, and I kept going.
There’s a lot of account I could acquaint and address about but it would booty me about a ages to acquaint it all. I’ve been on my leave for seven canicule and had some time, a absolute bed, and absolute eats. I am now aback with a assemblage amid a baby boondocks alleged Bussy about 10 kilometers from Amiens.
Well, “Gov,” in as abundant as I’ve accounting considerably, I will “shut up.”
I’m activity to enclose a few commendations. Additionally a baby abridgement from today’s Daily Mail English cardboard and apprehension they all accept the top “Irresistible Americans.”
There are some abhorrent agrarian rumors afloat but I anticipate it best not to acknowledgment any as it is bad abundant for me to be aghast about black you bodies any.
Here’s adulatory you a actual Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and achievement to see you afore the 17th of March.
Love and best wishes.
Your son Charlie
P.S. Been in Paris and it is some city. The night the ceasefire was signed, I was appealing able-bodied “lit up” on champagne
How To Write Old English Letters – How To Write Old English Letters
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