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This handwritten letter was written by a 2nd lieutenant attached to the 42nd Rainbow Division during the Battle of the Argonne Forest, the final battle of World War I
Autograph letter signed "H H Hundley/2nd Lt. U.S.A." in pencil. Eight pages (two sheets folded, front and verso), 10x6 ¾ unfolded. Oct. 27, 1918. Addressed to "Margarette". In full: "Dear Margarette; For the past two months I have gotten so behind in my corres-pondence, that I just can't catch up. There have been and are so many things to be done and so little convenience for writing letters. Yesterday was the first time I had written a line for over three weeks. Yesterday's mail favored me with 7 such nice letters from the States that I just had to answer some of them, now this is my third one today. Two weeks ago, another Lt. and I with 50 of our men were sent to the front line to send back prisoners as our infantry men capture them. Our Battery had not put in our mortars on the first of this drive is how we got the chance to chase prisoners. It was great fun, the men enjoyed it im-mensely. We were right up at the front and it was exciting enough both night and day. I was in hopes of getting some nice sown mitts from the prisoners although we had strict orders not to take or buy anything from them, but the orders were almost useless, as the infantrymen clean them of every-thing before they turn them over to me. Our battery rec'd orders a few days ago to put in our mortars, so we were call in, and I am resting up at our bivouac about 15 kil. behind the lines while two other officers are putting in the guns. Up to a few nights ago, I had not had my clothes off for nearly three weeks. I certainly am enjoying back here sleeping in a little hut built by the Ger. and occupied by them since 1914. Plank floor and german stove, in which I have a roaring fire. The past two night we were bombed and rec'd a few big shells close by. So you are at last in the Service! How do you like it? I wish you all good luck I rec'd the roll of Home Journal and enjoyed the stories and pictures. A 1st Lt. in the Medical Corps and I are together. He is a fine fellow from N.C. There has been lots of peace talk over here, but it doesn't look like around here just now. We have met with the most stubborn fighting we have had right here. We hope to break through in a day or two with a big clean up. The big guns are just roaring right now. You don't know where I am, but I slept one week in the ol' Argonne Forest of which you have read and heard so much. It is sweet of you to send me the sweets etc. Many thanks. With Love and best wishes for your success, I am as ever,". This fascinating letter was written during the Battle of Meuse-Argonne, or the Battle of the Argonne Forest, the final battle of World War I, and describes part of the life of a field artillerist during that time. The Germans would surrender less than two weeks after this letter was written. Hundley, who died in 1934 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, was a member of the 117th Trench Mortar Battery of America's 42nd Infantry Division during World War I. Hundley's battery fired trench mortars, first developed by the German army during the war. These were the equivalent of modern grenade mortars; they were light and could be fired from the (relative) safety of the trenches in order to (hopefully) lob bombs right into enemy trenches. The 42nd was named the Rainbow Division because then-Chief of Staff Major Douglas MacArthur said that the division "would stretch over the whole country like a rainbow." The Rainbow Division had four infantry regiments from four states and field artillery, machine gun, hospital and other units coming from other states. It was formed in 1917 and fought its first battles alongside the French in February 1918, fighting at the battles of St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne, the final battle of the war, and had a significant role at the Battle of Champagne. The division suffered a total of 14,683 casualties with 2,058 killed in action. Lightly toned, stained, spotted and soiled. Pages have been folded in quarters, arrive folded in halves. Pages have small pinholes and small tears along folds. Otherwise in fine condition.

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