MILTON DOWNHAM - WWI Letter Home
COMPANY OF 250 CUT DOWN TO 29
In One Hour and 45 Minutes, at Soissons
Henry Downham, 250 West Wood street, has received a letter from his son, Milton M. Downham, who is now with a division following up the Germans. He was at Keisford, Luxemburg, at the time he wrote the letter. In one battle that his company was in, out of 250 men in his company there were only twenty-nine at the end of one hour and forty-five minutes. He writes as follows:"Dear Father: Just a few lines to let you know that I am still alive and happy and will tell you a few things about France. I landed at St. Nazaire. From there I rode two days in a box car, 16 by 20, with thrity-six men in it, to Robe Court, and on the fifteenth of March we went to the trenches at Verdun where we stayed for three months, then to a place near Barleduc for two weeks rest, and on the fist of June we were put into the lines at Chateau-Thierry, where we stayed forty-five days. From there we went to Soissons on July 19. That is where my company of 250 men was cut down to about twenty-nine in one hour and forty-five minutes, and, believe me, that is quick work, from Soissons we went to Billets for a week or two, then to Pont A. Mouson in the Muertheet Moselle region for a couple of seeks, and back in again at St. Mihiel. From there the French asked for us in reserve and they shot us in against Cha(m)pagne, from there back to a town near Shalon, and from there back into Champagne, just twelve kilos from the lines, and we were relieved and started a hike back, sixty-five kilos. Got back and they put un in auto trucks and sent us to the Argonne sector and then "Finis La Guerre." The armistice was signed just two hours after our last battle and it was an awful battle, too, believe me." "I have never been wounded, but I have been pretty badly scard. My division is following up the Huns and we are only two kilometers from the old Luxemburg German border line now, but I have a long way to go yet before i get to the Rhine. I was in the City of EttelBruck two days ago, and they have quite a few people there that are American citizens that came over here before the war and live in neutral Luxemburg. It is a very fine city." "Well, father, reveille is at 5 a.m. tomorrow, and I am very sleepy so will close, with love, Your son, "Milton."
This letter appeared in The Decatur Review, 29 Dec 1918
DECATUR SOLDIERS RETURN HOME
Milton Downham arrived from overseas last Sunday, according to word received by his mother, Mrs. H. Downham, 250 West Wood street. He is now in a hospital in New York, but he expects to be home on a furlough before long. He is a trumeter with the 79th company, Sixth Regiment of Marines.
Unknown Newspaper, 4 May 1919
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