McKinley (Mac) Austin’s brother was serving in the Panama Canal Zone.
Raymond Austin, Balboa, Canal Zone, to Mort Austin, Eldred
September 27, 1918
So you will be glad when the last battle is fought. I think we all will be. I don’t like to discourage you, but I feel we will see quite a while of it yet. Our loss to date has been about 25,000 men, so you see we haven’t fought a single big battle yet and I feel sure there are some big fights in store for us yet. We’ll win though, cost what
Tell Bill not to enlist until he is at least 17 years old, unless we should get hard up for men, and I don’t believe we will. There are enough between 18 and 40 to do up this job good and proper.
There is nothing much worth writing that would pass the censor. I am glad you are sending the papers every week. I sure do enjoy reading them. By the way, if you can get any books on military drill, tactics, etc., send them to me.
Hoping you and the rest are all well and happy as I am. If you have any to spare, please send more pictures. With love to all, Raymond
Meuse-Argonne, France, September 28, 1918
A runner was sent back with a message: “For God’s sake send us litters, blankets and food.” The word came back that nothing could be done on account of lack of transportation.
At this time there were 800 men at the dressing station. German airplanes were dropping bombs on the station. It was raining all the time. The men had summer underwear and no overcoats and many of them laid for hours on the ground without litters.—Hoffman, Cap. Harry H., Scrap Book No. VI, p. 1, Feb. 17, 1919.
McKinley Austin, 11th U.S. Inf.
to Lena Hill, Town of Highland
September 28, 1918
Did you get the other letter I wrote? I got a letter from you
that you wrote just after I left
the states. I got your picture from my aunt. It was good, but you are much better looking than the picture.
Well, how is everything in Eldred now? I hope to be back there by this time next year or sooner.
It is now about 14 months since I enlisted in the army and I will be glad when the war is over. We are doing our best to get it over soon, too. The Allies are winning everywhere now, and America is doing her share.
I heard from my brother Raymond. He is in Panama now. He seems to like the army pretty well…Hoping you are well. I am your friend, McKinley
Dieulourd and Trondes, France, September 29, 1918
On September 29, while stationed at Dieulourd, 3 enemy shells caused a great number of casualties in 1st Battalion. On October 1, Battalion Regiment Headquarters established at Trondes [102 kilometers (63 miles) to Montfaucon].
—Sgt. John J. Popp.
The first phase of the great American offensive had spent itself without reaching its first objective and with the enemy’s strongest defensive positions still unconquered.—Gansser, p. 170.