The following is a letter from Sergt. Ernest Graf, Co E. 126th. Regiment somewhere in France, to his brother Herman Graf, 1223 Wright Street Ann Arbor. The article is from the Daily Times News, Ann Arbor. Michigan September 11, 1918, The below was writen on August 12, 1918.
"Dear Brother - Just wanted to drop you a line and tell you that I am in very good health. We have been in a hot fight, and feel ourselves a little closer to the end of the war. We drove the Boche back avout 12 miles. We had a lot of rain and hiking. Every dead German that we saw, the fellows would say, "Well, we are closer to the States." The Germans never expected to give up this ground, for you just should have seen the guns and other 'junk' they left. There were rufles, bayonets, gas masks, and most of all their equipment could be found lying around, in the woods. They also left a lot of machine-gun ammunition belts. The belts contain 250 rounds, and you can see them everywhere.
The villages we took were all shot to pieces, and what they didn't shoot up, they tried to burn. When they retreated, they blew up their amminuition dumps. We could see one after another go up. First you would see a big cloud of smoke, then, the awful noise if it was dark, the fire-works. Maully (Chas. Seiberts) was shell-shocked, and Scully (Pommerenning) got his little finger shot off. Ernest Kranich was also wounded, but I don'tr know how bad. They are all in the hospital. There was one Ann Arbor fellow killed - a big Greek. Do you remember the fellow withy the big black mustache? Well, he was the one. John Katapodes was his name.
"At present we are back of the lines, resting in a woods. Will try to explain the bunk that I sleep in. We have a hollow in the gound, lined with fine brush, to sleep on. I found a Boche blanket, that is what I lie on. The roof of our home is a wing from an old German airplane, all camoflaged with brush. We crawl in, take off our shoes and leggins, cover up with our rain-coats, and sleep. I haven't had my clothes off for a month, but we are getting new ones, so I guess I will have to change, before I get "cooties." I've been lucky so far, haven't had any yet, but a lot of the boys have.
"I was sent on a patrol a while ago, and had a nice chance to shoot a Boche, but we were not sent to fight but simply for information, so we let him go. I have a German belt buckle in my pocket and on it is the inscription, 'Gott mitt uns.' (God with us). They seems to think God is with them to murder and destroy all they can.
"One of the boys picked up a letter from some German soldier's mother to her son, and in it she said that they don't get enought to eat, and what they do get, wasn't fit to eat. We saw some bread that the Boche let lay, and it is black as tar, and looks as if it were made of sawdust. They eat all canned meat, and heat it with canned heat. I don't think that they have kitchens at all, or at least not that many.
"One German prisoner was asked if they had a lont of men, and he said 'Not many men, but lots of women and ammunition.'
"Well, don't think I can write much more, as I am tired. Let me tell you if you ever go into the army, don't go into the infantry, get into a supply truck train, or the quartermasters division, then you won't have to duck high explosives and machine-gun bullets.
"Give D. Grayer and Chatsey my best, also the rest od the old bunch, or what is left. Let them read this if they want to. I can't write to them all. Give Mr. and Mrs. Minks my best, also George Gross and Mrs. Gross.