France, October 11–13, 1918

Town of Highland soldiers who fought in World War I. Photo courtesy of Chuck M.
Town of Highland soldiers who fought in WWI. Courtesy of Chuck M.

Cunel, France, October 11, 1918
On October 11 the attack was renewed early in the morning…Progress was bitterly contested by heavy machine-gun fire and by flanking artillery support, as on previous days.

During the night of October 11-12, the relief of the 80th Division and certain elements of the 4th Division, by the 5th Division, was successfully carried out. The corps front was now held by the 5th Division on the left and the 4th Division on the right.—Ireland, Maj. Gen. M.W. The Medical Department of the U.S. Army in the World War, 
Vol. 8, 1925, p. 692.

The French landscape was devastated. Villages were in ruins, forests were gone; roads were filled with craters and muddy. The American troops had to trudge through mud and face icy winds and rain. By October 11 the Argonne Forest had been cleared but a foothold had not been gained in the area to the east toward the Meuse River.

Jennie Austin, Eldred, 
to McKinley Austin, France
October 12, 1918
My dear Mac,
Just a few lines while I have time. I see in the papers in order to send a package to the soldiers that the soldier one sends the package to must first get a label and send it to the one he expects to receive a package from.

I hope you have sent yours before this as they claim no packages will be accepted without the labels in it. If you don’t get a Christmas package, it will be because we have received no label.

The Spanish Influenza is sweeping the country here, even our school is closed for awhile. No cases being nearer than Shohola, as we know of. We often wonder how you are and if you have escaped it. You must be careful and it is a worry to know at times.

You must be in places where you can not be careful. We have a joke on Dad coming home from Monticello. He met a soldier who had been wounded in France and for a month had been in the hospital of Otisville. He was on his way home and Dad fell in with him at Port Jervis and became so interested that he was carried on beyond Shohola. The conductor was kind enough to slow the train down and let him off at Lackawaxen.

I am afraid my pencil is so dim by the time this reaches you, you will not be able to read it. But Elizabeth is learning to write with pen and ink. It is impossible to find a decent pen in the house.

Willie is still working at Procters. Dad expects to work for John Love some as he gathers 
his garden.

Well I must close as Dad is going to the [post] office. It has been over a month since we heard from you, so we are looking for a letter every day.
Love from all, Mother [The letter was returned.]

Montfaucon, France, October 12 and 13, 1918
McKinley’s outfit arrived in the vicinity of Montfaucon on 
October 12.

They suffered casualties as a result of heavy shelling from enemy guns the next day. The 11th Infantry took up a position around Ferme de la Madeleine that evening, the night of October 13.

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