Trail End

Letters Home - Carl W. Adams

 State Historic Site

(From In the World War)

BORN SOMEWHERE IN northeast Wyoming in 1898 (his father was a miner, so he may have been born at or near the Cambria mines in Weston County), Carl W. Adams moved to Sheridan as a young boy. He attended Sheridan High School before joining the Wyoming National Guard in 1916. 

After the war, Adams moved back home, lived with his mother and went to work for the railroad. He married in 1924, but was divorced by 1940, at which time he was managing a cafe in Murray, Utah, and living again with his mother. He died in Seattle, Washington, in 1958. 

Some people make it through stressful situations by exhibiting a quiet stoicism. Others with blustering bravado. Carl W. Adams made it through war with his humor. One letter home to his mother, dated August 16, 1918 and printed in The Sheridan Daily Enterprise nearly two months later, was full of the kind of light-hearted nonsense calculated to make a mother feel less worried about her boy stationed on the front "Somewhere in France." 

Dear Mama - You speak about having lots of rain. Well, let me tell you that you do not know what a shower is, even. The trouble is you have never been introduced to any rain. We have rain, real rain, over here, and every time it rains, I take a shower bath, and when it quits, I shake myself like a dog and turn my sox inside out and go out and tell the boys I had a bath and a change of clothes. ... Our rain over here looks the same as there when it comes down, but as soon as it lands, it looks like coffee.

I had an umbrella for a couple of days, but the sergeant told me to get rid of it, as it looked like a signal to Boche [German] planes, and that they might drop a bomb, and then I would have to find a blacksmith shop to get my hat remodeled and reblocked.

I am issued one gas mask, which makes me look like a dog with goggles on eating a rubber hose, and my tin hat looks like a non-spillable wash basin with a strap to hang it by. Hat sure is handy to cook spuds in and also to bathe in, if you don't put your feet on the side, as it has a tendency to slip up and crack you on the shins when you are not expecting it to. ...

I think I will visit up around Berlin this fall and winter if Fritz does not get scared and quit before we get started good. I am so doggone busy that I do not get a chance to get homesick, except whenever I get asleep, as my head is always figuring out some way of ending this war this winter, as I have a date in Sheridan the Fourth of July 1919, to take a girl out to a picnic and then to a dance. ...

We have had several battles. One lasted about twelve hours. I will tell you a little about it. One night about midnight, when two-thirds of Battery E were resting from the day's labor, a noise came out of the night. It sounded like this: "Sssssssss-boom-blowy." And a little six or nine-inch high-explosive shell hit the earth about 100 yards from my tent, and believe me, it sure took a mouth-full. It made a hole about six or seven feet deep and about fifteen feet across.

Well, the Fritzie boys keep sending their cards over about every minute and a half for about twelve hours. Sometimes he would make a mistake and slip us a little gas, which did no damage except send a few to the hospital to rest up, and they were not hurt at all, except the gas makes your stomach stand on its head.

Next forenoon we found where Fritz had his implements of warfare stored, and we took a couple of shots at him, and another [German] implement outfit went bankrupt. And then we popped away at a couple more big outfits, and about 3 p.m. we went to bed and slept till morning; then we got up, ate breakfast, and went back to bed till dinner time. ...

I am as happy and well as ever, only too fat by about thirty or forty pounds. I walked about ten miles for this paper and got eight sheets, so I will have to quit writing so much nonsense. Whenever I get some more paper, I will tell you about the other battle we had, and we always came out victorious. Our planes drop messages over the Germans and tell them that E. Battery, 148th F. A. is on that front. Then the Germans start double-time toward Berlin.