The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects

Letter, 11 November 1918


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Letter addressed to Corporal Louis J. Discher, Co. F, 120 Infantry, 30 Division, American Expeditionary Forces. Letter was redirected to several other army units before being stamped “Return to Writer.”

At Home
Nov. 11/18

My dear, dear Louis,

We received your cable & two letters from Bath. Oh! who can describe the sorrow at receiving the cable and the joy when the letters came and ended that heavy suspense. Of course you know Aunt Maggie, always imagining the worst. I am going to write for now a long letter, so get yourself in a comfortable position. I have not written for quite awhile. In the first place I have been sick in bed. Ottillia [sic] was with me for two weeks. Dr Koehler said I was next door to having the Flu - nothing like being in style, although the girls say I am old fashion. It left me in a very weak condition nevertheless.

The first evening I was sitting up about 8:30 o'clock 23 October, the telephone rang. Ottillia answered, and it was the great western telegraph telephoning your cable, that you were wounded - it was all off for me, sleeping & waking I imagined the worst that had befallen you. Every devout little old lady I came across I asked them for a little prayer for you.

Of course even if you would have been at home you may have been stricken with the Flu. Out at your old s[t]amping ground about nine thousand have died with it. At one time old Louisville was a sad & desolate place, showing us plainly that the hand of an angry & just God had stricken us. Churches, schools, picture shows - every thing closed by order of the government. Over one hundred school sisters went out to the camp to help wait on the sick soldiers. All of the barr[a]cks were turned into hospitals[.] [T]he well boys were put in tents. I saw the camp the other Sunday. Tents on both sides of Preston Street as far as you can see.

The ban was lifted on Sunday the 10 of Nov. - we could go to church again after 4 Sundays being closed. You cannot describe the funny feeling of not having to go to church - just stay at home. The funny thing was, the people that were not in the habit of going, they fussed & fumed about depriving them of church.

We are having the most beautiful fall weather imaginable. It has not been very cold as yet.

Oh another thing on account of the flu we had no service at the cemetery on All Souls day.

Oh Louis when your letters came telling us about how & where you was wounded. How thankful we were to our dear Lord and His blessed mother for preserving you from a death on the battle field. Now you in return my dear boy, the very first orportunity [sic] you have, try & hear mass, & offer it as a thanksgiving. Also try & go to confession & communion and offer your holy communion as a thanksgiving for your protection in that battle; even [if] it is a little troublesome for you to go, show your gratitude by going both to mass & communion.

If such a thing were possible for you perhaps for a furlough, I want you to make a trip to Lourdes to thank our good mother for protecting you. [B]e sure if you go to send a case of Lourdes water to me.

It does not cost much there. It is the freight Express home that cost, and that of course is paid here. I will pay your expense there & what you pay out for the water[.] I think I paid 2.50 or 3/00 for a dozen bottles. I gave my last one to your Rev Padre[?] he asked for it last week. I thought your being over there it would be a good chance to get some. I remember passing through Amiens on our way there also Bordeaux the last place was Pau. Then go to Paris & London if you can. [A]t Paris go to the church of Mont Matre [sic] it is way up on a hill. [W]hen in the beautiful church burn 2 of the largest candles you can get in honor of [the] sacred heart - one for your family & one for uncle Frank & myself. You have a splendid view of the city. do not go up the steps take the incline.

I suppose you are thinking has my auntie lost her mind. No my boy if you were [here] last Thursday & would have seen the spontaneous demonstration at a false report of peace[.] You know peace the long looked for is at hand. This morning [M]onday the 11 at three o'clock in the morning the whistles & extra out at that hour stating that the armistice was signed. Business is practically suspended; even your uncle Frank has closed the store. The tumult, noise, uproar is awful, the streets are jammed, white & Black, little & big every thing on the go. Showing that the peoples heart was not in this war, and that they want peace.

Last Thursday when the first rumors came the bells began to ring at one [o']clock whistles blowing, I knelt down to thank our Lord for his benign mercy towards us. Say a little prayer also thanking Him for his mercy.

Now comes a little news[.] [W]hile reading the paper the other evening, looking over the list of promotions I came across Captain Victor Robert Geher. You can imagine how stunned I was. Mary Frances got busy & begged uncle Frank to write which he did. Well he came to the store[.] Clara met him, and then arranged to have him & his wife out to the house for supper. I had them the following Sunday for dinner. He is an Austrian and is only nine years in this country, speaks with a brogue. They live in San Francisco Cal. She is a very nice stylish looking lady. He is captain in the Artillery, trains the horses & men how to ride and I do not know what all. So we have advanced in line up to captain - how about it.

Louis we have never been notified by the government, nor have I seen your name in the cassualties [sic] lists. I did see two of our cousins names missing in action. [Name indecipherable] of Evansville Ind. Jame C Edwards Dallas Texas.

I did see a Mr Middle???? name he lives on the Bardstown road & Dou?? Point, so I said you will be along soon.

Clara told Mr Heintzman was seriously wounded. [Sic.]

Say boy how about your order or tag for Christmas. I am sending you a money order in this letter for christmas gifts as that box we can send if we get an order for it is so small 9x4x3 - what can you put in that.

I have your helmet & two new pair of socks ready If you have to stay all winter, get an order & send for them as the winters are very cold over there.

Cousin Albert sends you about two magazines a week. Maybe you better write him a few lines of thanks, if you feel like it.

When our dear Louis comes home Oh what a homecoming we will have. First a high mass of thanksgiving at your parish church. I am going to give you a blow out [and] you can have it where ever you want it. Mrs Hull our neighbor said let me be door keeper, Mrs Harpring said she only hoped she would live to be invited. [W]hat do you think of the nerve. She told me some time ago that Helen & Laura were going to give a dance. I only hope & pray your leg will not be stiff, but still better that then none at all.

Now do not lose your heart to one of those red x cross nurses [-] come home heart whole & fancy free. You can be nice to them [-] show that you are a gentleman born & bred in Old Ky. Thank your nurse for me, for taking care of you & all I can do is to ask God to shower his choicest gifts on her.

If you are thrown with any German prisoners treat them nice and pity them for they have lost out[.] [R]emember all you get comes from a German grandmother & a very German auntie. It is now four o'clock and the children are on the streets with red lights - pretty early for illumi[na]tions

I will have to go to get the eats as you call it for my two widowers. I will tell you what I am going to have. [I]magine you are at your accustomed place and [word indecipherable] to eat. Ham cold boiled Fried Potatoes Coffee cake Bread & butter [word indecipherable] perserves [sic] your favorite & coffee.

Prices are soaring higher & higher[.] Eggs are 65 cts a dozen butter 65c. We can get sugar now 3 lbs a person per month [an] increase of 1 lbs.

Now Louis get well & try not to go out into the thick of it again. If you get a furlough see a little of Europe before coming home. I can hardly await the time[.] [O]f course I rekon you will have to stay about 6 months at least. Try to go to mass confession & communion & say your prayers. [I]t matters not how little if you say them regular & be thankful for your protection you had. Every night I prayed to your little angel sister Lulie to say you, and I believe our prayers have been heard.

I am finishing my letter tonight. Cousin Albert telephoned for Ottilia & Mary Frances to come in & he has just left to get them at the corner. He has his pockets full of confetti. [They] arrived with flags. [T]hey are going over to get uncle Frank & are going to get in the mob on fourth ave to celebrate. Saloons were ordered closed at 2 o'clock by the Provost Marshall at Camp Taylor. Just read in the evening paper Emperor Wilhelm has fled to Holland - the Empress dying Prince Eitel tried to kill himself. I think the end of the world near. W. W. will get his dose sooner or later as he is as much to blame at the Kaiser.

It seems to me Louis that this uproar you could hear over there. As the paper states it is as if the fury of hell has broken loose. I stayed in to finish your long delayed letter. I do not know if you are very much interested in Auntie's rambling. I will say my nightly rosary for you, that you will come back once more to us all.

Have you seen or heard anything of your friend Fontaine Kremer[?] If you do, tell him howdy for me. It is light less night to night so all the machines have big red lights & the boys are carrying torches. I do not know if we will get any sleep to night.

I will have to close now. God bless you. With much love & a kiss from your loving

Aunt Maggie & Uncle Frank

Tuesday Morning 12

Good Morning. As I did not close this last night I'll add a little more. What do you think of [name indecipherable] getting married again - married a man with the same name Jones. Did you get her letter? If you did & have not answered send her a few lines of congratulations. Just say May You be happy & I wish you much Joy or something.[.] [I]t would simply set her wild to get a letter from over there.

Louis your letter out home was a joke [-] every other line was cut out. [B]ut we read through & between lines very well & we watch the papers, what your field marshall Haig is doing & follow you right along.We think you were wounded between Solemnes[?] & Le Chalet are we right?

The last draft is called off. I am mighty glad of it, that Willie is spared. We are going to have another beautiful day after the racket of last night. [I]it is as quiet this morning. Thursday the mayor has ordered peace celebration when all the bells of the city will ring out the news.

Now I myself feel very sorry for the royal family & prayed last night to the sorrowful mother to comfort them a little in their hour of trial.

Now once more Louis you are near the goal of coming home. Say your prayers - try & hear mass go to confession & communion & get yourself a little bit civilized before you reach the shores of America[.] [Y]ou will feel like Columbus did when you see the statue of the goddess of Liberty & can say home again. [I]t fills my heart with joy to see my father sisters & uncle & aunts friendly once more. Keep in good spirits & we will hope it will not be long until we can embrace & welcome our boy home.

I will close now. Good bye.

Enclose find a 10- Post money order

With Love
Aunt Maggie


Discher family, “Letter, 11 November 1918,” The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects, accessed March 3, 2024,