Letters from Oregon Boys in France
Compiled by Mrs. Frank Wilmot 1918
In our last letter we told you how nicely we were getting the new camp arranged. Well, we got everything in excellent shape and had a real model and comfortable camp all finished when we suddenly got orders to move. We packed up in a hurry and took everything along that we could, but unfortunately the artesian well, the "big chateau", the large vineyard and the shady trees proved to be too bulky a package to take with us. Also, our fine shower bath had to stay with the rest.
After a tiresome trip of two days over a railroad which made up in bumps and jolts what it lacked in speed and comfort, we landed "somewhere in France" a place totally different from the original "somewhere" we knew first. There it was calm and businesslike, here it is hurry, speed and strictly military. There we built great permanent projects which will remain a monument to American engineering ability. Here we build vast temporary plants and structures, each a component part in our great military machine, which soon, we hope, will have completed its usefulness. There our work will remain as its own testimony of our ability, while here our work is not lasting, yet its result will endure in history.
While we have the honor of being the first company of our regiment to attain our desire of advance work, and while that in itself means little, yet it is much satisfaction to us. Partly because we appreciate being first and partly because we are removed from a part of the country that we knew too long and were beginning to dislike.
To our surprise we found another engineer construction company, who had landed just a month ahead of us in France. Each of us knew of the other's work during the past year; so we had some great times comparing experiences. They left for other duties, and also left a shower bath behind, which we immediately appropriated and started to use. It is the finest bath we ever saw - when it works right; but as the addition of one too many sticks of wood makes it too hot and the lack of one makes it too cold, there is often some argument between the engineer in charge and the patrons. However, we are doing fine, have comfortable quarters, kitchen and mess hall, all of which are build of iron.