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1st Lt. Byrne V. Baucom

“LETTER FROM A SOLDIER BOY” News-Herald, Milford, Texas


Somewhere in France

September 7, 1918


Mrs. E. E. Baucom

Milford, Texas

My dear Mother, 

I got a copy of the News-Herald today for July 26, and saw your ad in it that you had some chicken feed for sale—some wheat and stuff that you had picked up around the thrasher. You said it was rich feed, so I guess it was. And you shouldn’t have any trouble selling it as it has been advertised as far off as Fair France. But it made me think of home to see the little local ad and a copy of the home paper. 

I have been intending to write for several days, but as the official communiqués would say, “there is nothing to report.” 

The other day I was going down the country aways when I saw some Marines moving in the area of our field. Of course (I thought of Wirt), and lacked to have strained my eyes out looking for Wirt. But I was in a hurry, and on business, so I couldn’t stop. But I knew they would have to camp somewhere near our field, and that Wirt would surely make inquiry about me, as he knew my address. Well the next day I was restless as a cat. I knew approximately where they were camped, but I knew, too, how difficult it would be to find a person among troops on the move. So I figured it would be easier for Wirt to find me than me to find him. I stuck around close to my squadron all day, but was so restless that I was absolutely miserable. I couldn’t sit still a minute, and I didn’t want to take a walk off anywhere; I couldn’t collect my thoughts enough to write letters; and in fact, I couldn’t do anything to kill time. I simply had a hunch that I would see Wirt before night. I knew he was close to me, within a few kilometers of me; and though I was hoping against Fate, yet I couldn’t keep from feeling that Fate was going to be good to us. I just almost knew he was coming. 

That evening I had just finished my supper and started to get up from the table when one of the other lieutenants came to the door and said that someone outside wanted to see me. 

I had a peculiar suspicion. 

I went to the door, and there stood a great big, broad-shouldered, full-faced, stout-looking Marine under a “tin Stetson” hat, with a mustache about four inches long, a gas mask on his shoulder; and a physique that looked strong enough to beat down a whole division of Prussian Guards with a club. In fact, that rough, sturdy-looking, tanned, weather-beaten face looked as though it had accomplished that very feat. In its very expression was a living picture of Chateau-Thierry, Soissons, Belleau Wood, and other places where the Marines have put the fear of God in the (German) hearts. It was easy to see that its possessor had peddled ammunition along the firing line while the (German) “minnewhiffers” and big bertha sought for him. Withal he was a picture of sturdy manhood in the prime of life. I was proud that he was my brother. That heavy mustache fooled me for a second. But that voice and those blue eyes were the same as when I saw them almost two years ago. 

There was no mistake, it was Wirt. You never saw two happier brothers than we were. Brother Frank was up in the front trenches at that time, and not more than 25 kilometers away. If he could have been present, it would have been the “end of a perfect day.” 

Wirt and I went to my room and visited until about ten o’clock that night, and then I walked up with him to where he was camped (only about 3 kilometer) and there we sat down on a sack of oats and talked until three o’clock in the morning. 

He got … day and came down and spent the day with me. We certainly have enjoyed being together. 

I haven’t seen Grady James. He has been made a sergeant and sent to a rifle-grenade school. But he should be back most any time now. He has also been a lucky boy. He has gone over the top every time the Marines have gone into action, but as yet he is unblemished. I think I will get to see him and Clyde Higgins both pretty soon. 

With love to all, 


Lt. B. V. Baucom, S. C., U.S.A.

1st Aero Squadron, A.P.O. 759


Biography of Byrne Virchow Baucom

The picture and letter are courtesy of Mrs. Jenny Kellum, Red Oak, Texas. 

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