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WWI letter to Emily Gladys Bartlett
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Edward Wirt wrote this letter from a camp near Bordeaux, which is in southern France and near the Atlantic ocean. When he wrote this letter he was in awaiting assignment to a new unit. The one he had arrived in France with, the 76th Infantry Division ("National Army"), was considered too poorly trained to be used intact. It was broken up, its components distributed among other divisions. American troops had been in France since the summer of 1917, but the U.S. Army was considered so poorly trained that the French and British refused to send them into battle. Finally they were forced to use them in June, 1918 despite their reservations because successful German offensives had depleted all their reserves. American troops then successfully counterattacked in July in the Second Battle of the Marne. Once U.S. troops had proved themselves the Allied command began using them extensively. They were rarely allowed offensives of their own; instead, they took over sectors of the French and British line, allowing them to redeploy those troops. In a series of highly effective campaigns, the Allied forces pushed the Germans back.
<BR>There are ninety letters from Mr. Wirt to Miss Bartlett in the PVMA collection; twelve of them are reproduced here.
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