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WWI letter to Emily Gladys Bartlett
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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By January, 1919, when Edward Wirt wrote this letter the First World War was over. In the summer of 1918, Wirt had been reassigned to the 18th Machine Gun Battalion of the 6th Division. The 6th became known as the "Sight Seeing Sixth" because it spent most of the war marching from position to position. Fortunately, it saw little action, losing only 227 men out of the total 20,000. Successful offensives pushed Germany out of much of France from July to November, 1918. In early November, elements of the German military mutinied and the government was forced to ask for a cease-fire. On November, 8th, 1918, the warring parties signed an Armistice that ended shooting on November 11th (at 11am). On the 9th of November the German Kaiser (Emperor) abdicated (although it was not official until November 28) and a republic was proclaimed. In all the Allied countries exuberant celebrations ensued, including the "wild manifestations of joy" in the town Wirt's fiancée lived, Greenfield, Massachusetts (as noted in the local newspaper). Despite the end of hostilities much of the U.S. army remained in France awaiting a peace treaty.
<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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