(Camp Abbot, Oregon)
Hiya Mudder & Dad,
Tomorrow we go on our all night bivouac. That’s a phrase that strikes terror into the heart of the poor unfortunate rookie. Woe is me and all stuff like that there. Personally I’m looking forward to the damn thing with great enthusiasm. I’ll probably be cured of that quick enough, however. I believe that we march some 23 miles all together. I won’t like that but I’m afraid my likes and dislikes won’t amount to an awful lot as far as the big shots are concerned. In the afternoon we have to charge up a lousy hill with bayonets and gas masks on. I won’t like that either. Come to think of it, there’s very little about this man’s army I do like. Oh well ya can’t have everything. The only trouble with that is that we don’t get anything.
Today we had a nice little problem in combat principles. One thing—that is, problem—required us to take a hill on which an enemy platoon was stationed. They were armed with firecrackers which they were supposed to shoot off when they spot us. We had to crawl 300 yds. through the snow to take the position—I was soaked from head to foot.
I received your swell letter, Mudder, the one you wrote Christmas Day. I guess your Christmas must have been as corny as mine. Well, we did get to talk to one another anyway. That was sumpin’. I plan on calling every so often from now on since they’ve built a telephone building on the post. All one has to do is make out a slip and let them put through the call. It’s really okay.
I finished up the fruit cake today and finagled me another one from some guy who got too many Christmas presents. It’s not as good as yours, but who am I to get snooty about it.
Now I’m stuck—I can’t think of anything to write but I’m too Scotch to waste this entire sheet of paper. Now let’s see—hummmmm.
I’ll talk about the news. I had the misfortune of hearing Roosy’s speech the other night.¹ One thing I noticed, however, was the attitude of the men in the barracks toward the old bag. “That great man” is a thing of the past which has been replaced by “That son of a bitch”. It does my heart good. I see where Eisenhower says the war in Europe will be over by the end of this coming year and the experts give Germany only a 50—50 chance of going through the winter. Here’s hoping.
This is the 2nd day of the 51st. 3 week bivouac. I wonder how they’re doing. They should be okay since the weather here is pretty good right now.
Good night & Best Love,
1. The speech to which Bill refers is probably Roosevelt’s Fireside Chat of December 24, 1943 in which he reports on his recently concluded conferences in Cairo and Teheran with Churchill, Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek. In this broadcast Roosevelt hints at the coming invasion of Europe and announces Dwight D. Eisenhower as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.