LIEUT. PAUL FUNKHOUSER WRITES FROM FRANCE
JUST BEFORE NEW OFFENSIVE OF GERMANS BEGINS
Evansville Journal-News, August 11, 1918
Hunts Up Evansville Friend on Eve of Battle,
But Lad Has Gone Into Action Before Local Boys Meet
Predicts Victory in Offensive "Before Letters Arrive"
From battle-scarred Chateau Thierry, where the American troops launched their first big success against the hosts of the kaiser, come two other letters during the past week. Lieut. Paul Funkhouser, whose letter last Sunday proved of such interest to his friends in Evansville, has again written to his parents in an intimate way what the boys are doing in France.
June 28, 1918
Suppose you think I am a pretty poor kind of a son for not writing more. We have been busy for so long and have so much work that I hardly have any time to write; and, am generally too tired. Will try to make this letter interesting enough to make up for lost time. Today is the first day we have received any mail in about two weeks, and I did well enough to draw twenty-one letters and most of them were from home. I can't just explain how good it makes you feel to hear from home, but, believe me, I am one happy boy today. Sometime soon we will have a grand house warming and all these dirty Dutch will be a thing of the past. Am now a few miles from the front line, activities here are comparatively quiet; we hear an occasional big gun and had a little shelling here last night; we are back in readiness and just far enough back to be very nearly out of danger. Suppose this will be a rather poorly written letter, as we are in barns and tents, pup-tents, and my knee is serving as a table. Capt. J. R. Mendenhall is still my company commander. His picture has been in several New York papers and I have been with him in all maneuvers. Can tell some very interesting happenings and am darned glad to say that we were among the first to enter that sector. Have turned into an old soldier in the last month; at least, I feel like one. We have had three very interesting combats and all of them have been successful. Our battalion is a motorized outfit and can move here and there in a hurry where troops are needed. We consequently see some pretty active service as well as a good deal of France. American troops are being sent into the line in large numbers and the only possible outcome of the war can be success for the Allies. Suppose the news as to what the Allies are doing to the Austrians has reached you by now. Will no doubt eat Christmas dinner somewhere near Berlin.
There isn't any body of men in this war that can feel as the Americans do. We all know that our parents and the whole country is behind us, and that is what will win the war. Of course we take a few chances but the big thing is to know that the people in the United States are taking care of us and will not fall down on support, and that is what counts.
During the times I have been in action, have been in the front line trenches and have seen the Boche killed and taken prisoner. I believe they are about ready to quit, and as for their ability as an individual soldier they are far from the man that heresay makes them. They are pretty good soldiers, but are not superior to any of the Allied troops; at least, that is my opinion.
Am more than glad that A. C. (his brother Albert) has been home and had a chance to be with you all, and, as I said before, would have given most anything to have been with you all. Certainly am glad he has been commissioned, as I gather from his various changes he is now in Company H, 144th Infantry, of the 36th Division. If they have sailed for France and get anywhere near our sector, you may take it from me we will get in the same outfit, if possible. Will make every effort to get him in our battalion. Please let me know just what he belongs to, particularly his division; so, if I get an opportunity, can look him up.
The newspaper clippings are a very wonderful treat and you may take it from me I enjoyed them.
We are now cooking our meals on field ranges and living about as close to Nature as it is possible. I am in fine health and gaining in weight. Our outfit is in good spirits and we think we have the best little battalion in the land. We have had some rather unpleasant experiences and hardships that every one expected, and every one laughs at them now.
Of course, it can do no other than make me feel good to know that I have such a proud family at home. But there isn't any particular reason why you should be proud. I am doing my best to serve the United States and that is no more than millions of other men are doing, or no more than is expected of all of us who are of the right age. I know that if dad were younger he would be here, but is doing more good at home now than I can do here. I appreciate all that both of you are doing at home to round up traitors and raise money to carry on the war; you doubtless know, without my writing it, that that is the only way we can clean the Boche. I am mighty proud of my dad and mother, and I want you to know it. Think I had better close for this time. Hope you are able to wade through this mess of scribbling. Haven't any trace of the number of letters I have sent but have written as often as I have found time. Have received letter No. 36 from you. Love for all.
(Self-censored, P. T. Funkhouser, 2nd Lt. 7th M.G.Bn. A.E.F., France.)
I haven't written you for several days, but will try to make up for lost time this morning. From the newspapers you have sent I suppose that you know pretty well where I am. I am glad of that, for, of course, I wouldn't be allowed to tell you. All sectors are more or less active right now, and personally am back a few miles from the first line, but it will be a very short time until we are in action. The Boches have made several would-be attacks, but so far they have turned out to be more of an Allied attack than a Boche. There isn't any reason to believe that they, "the Boche," will ever gain ground that they can hold for any length of time again. In fact, the day of the "Hun" success is over. It is my opinion that it is only a question of time until they are forced to give up and submit to what ever terms of peace the Allied forces care to offer. The United States is now, of course, the big feature in the war; whatever she does will decide the length of time the Boche can hold out. There are more American troops here than I imagined the United States could send over in this length of time, and, believe me, it looks good to see them and makes you feel proud to know that you are one of them. They have been successful in all their maneuvers and have won a good name for them selves among the Allied forces.
Carl Rohsenberger is in this division. Day before yesterday I passed some of his regiment going into action. I inquired from some of the officers about him and discovered that he was some place along the road within a few miles from me. I finally found a corporal who was marking the road for his advance with his battery but didn't get to see Carl. We will both be in the same fight, which will take place shortly. You might let his folk know about where he is, from the information you already have as to my whereabouts. He is in the artillery which will, of course, be some distance behind us, but I may get to see him as we are in the same sector. We expect the Huns to make their final drive here shortly, and we will let them have enough to make it a final drive. Hope to run into Carl before long.
Can't tell how long it will be before I see you again, but I will sooner or later, as I believe that I will come out of this O.K. By the time you get this the newspapers will have published an other victory for the Allies. If you are still in the notion of sending me the home papers would appreciate it. Of course, the clippings are better, but I imagine that they are quite a bit of trouble. Your letters are certainly appreciated and I hope that you continue to write as frequently as you have been. I don't get mail but about once every ten days, but I usually get a good bunch at a time; and, I have gotten into the habit of waiting for mail day. Don't suppose that it is necessary for me to write that I get homesick, for, of course, I do; but the longer I stay away the more I will appreciate home when I get back. This will let you know that I am O.K. and thinking of you all, whether it is interesting or not. Will write again when I have a chance. Will tell the best mother and dad in the world good-night, and grab a few hours sleep.
Your loving son,
(Censored by P. T. Funkhouser 2nd Lt., 7th M. G. Bn.)