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L Co. 302 Infantry
Camp Devens

Sat. Night
May 25 '18

G. Dearest:-

Well I am sure enough
in the Infantry, and in fact
every man of the 4000 who
came up Apr. 29th has been
transferred to the Infantry re-
gardless except perhap the
most hopeless of cripples. They
are going to fill this 76th
Division and get them to
France in short order. I
am of the opinion it will
be soon in fact well in-
side of 2 months. I hate
to say it so plainly but old
Ross will be in France be
fore Sept. Do not hold out
any hope on the fret pro-

To the Writer: Save by Writing on Both Sides of this Paper.
To the Folks at Home: Save Food, Buy Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Edward Wirt's ankle healed fast and he was out of the hospital at Camp Devens in Ayers, Massachusetts, when he wrote this letter. His unit, the 76th Infantry Division, was seriously under-manned. But by late May of 1918 it was finally approaching combat strength due to the steady influx of recent New England draftees, as Wirt notes. He knows that this means that it will soon be shipped overseas, to the war, and although he is a little apprehensive, like most soldiers he was also a little excited at the prospect. And they have at long last been issued perhaps their most important piece of equipment: their helmets (referred to here as "tin derbies"). Camp Devens was close to many of the soldiers, and as a result they were able to have visitors. His unit's training was rudimentary. The U.S. Army was considered second-rate by the other nations fighting in France (Great Britain, France, and Belgium), so much so that initially they insisted U.S. units be broken up and distributed among French units. Gen. John Pershing, the U.S. commander, refused, but U.S. units were given months more training once they arrived overseas.

There are ninety letters from Mr. Wirt to Miss Bartlett in the PVMA collection; twelve of them are reproduced here.


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WWI letter to Emily Gladys Bartlett

author   Edward Roswell Wirt (1891-1942)
date   May 25, 1918
location   Camp Devens, Ayer, Massachusetts
width   6.0"
height   9.0"
process/materials   manuscript, paper, ink
item type   Personal Documents/Letter
accession #   #L01.012

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See Also...

WWI letter to Emily Gladys Bartlett

WWI Helmet of Lt. Henry N. Flynt

World War I Encampment

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