State Historic Site

Trail End

Dear Folks - Censorship has been lifted, so will drop you a few lines to let you know where I am and what I am doing. We have been located at the same place ever since we have been in France, Claye Souilly, which is a small town about 16 miles east and a little north of Paris. Have been into Paris twice. It is sure a gay burg; it is the only place I've struck in France that suits me. 

We have been in actual service since landing here, caring for and doctoring horses that came back from the front played out and shot to pieces. For the most part, I have been working in the office which makes a pretty good winter job and from the way things look to me, I am going to have a job with Uncle Sam for the remainder of the winter. We have got a big bunch of horses on hand now and are building sheds enough to shelter 2,000 head, so I think we have got a peach of a chance to stay here all winter.

I never told you anything about leaving the States. ... We left Newport News for France [on] July 26th and landed in Brest, France, [on] August 6th. I didn't get a bit sea sick and enjoyed every bit of the trip. After unloading at Brest, we marched about three miles to a rest camp where we stayed three days, then we were loaded in boxcars, 40 men to a car, and the cars are about half the size of a United States car. You can readily see how much room we had. We were on these boxcars three days and nights and then we were unloaded at Mitry Mori and marched three miles to the place where we are now.

Shortly after we landed here about 30 of us made a trip to the front at Chateau-Thierry with about 200 head of horses. We were on the cars about four days and saw lots of sunny France (as they call it). Seems to me "Rainy France" would hit the mark for it has rained most of the time for the last two months; mud is knee deep to a tall Indian now. 

After we unloaded our horses and turned them over to a remount squadron, we went swimming in the Marne River and then spent the rest of the evening walking over the battlefield and, take it from me, things are badly shot up in that neck of the woods. Small towns look like one big rock pile. 

Now comes the funny part (wasn't much fun at the time).

That night we bedded down alongside the railroad track and close to the depot - or what was left of the depot. At about 9:30 some officer showed up and told us we were sleeping in a rather dangerous place, for about every other night the Boche made a raid on the place and tried to blow up the track. You see, we hadn't had any experience with these air raids and didn't think much of it, so we stayed where we were, but he told us if one should come, to run for a dugout. Well, we didn't know where the dugouts were, and it was dark then, so we rolled over and went to sleep.

About 11 o'clock the anti-aircraft guns brought us to life and they were sure pumping lead into the air. I raised up in bed, wondering which way to run when all at once a shell or bomb bursted just across the track from us and two more bursted before I could get out of bed. You could see rock and fire flying for 200 feet in the air. Well, it didn't take me much longer to decide which way to run, and I sure did hit the high spots. There were a bunch of niggers stationed close to where we were and they were like us, green at the job, and about every two jumps I would make, there would be a nigger go by me like a shot out of a gun. After it was all over, one old nigger walked up to me still puffing like a steam engine, and said, "Dey works you all day, den runs you all night!" 

EVERETT DEYO HASBROUCK was a self-described "farmer" (read: rancher) in the tiny community of Ulm, Wyoming, when he registered for the draft in 1917. Born in Iowa, he had lived in Sheridan County since the age of five; first in Dayton and later in Sheridan. 

In 1918, he was assigned to the 2nd Veterinary Corps and served at a veterinary hospital in France, where he helped take care of the thousands of wounded horses returning from the front. After the end of the war, Hasbrouck stayed in France until June of 1919, after which he returned to Sheridan County and resumed his agricultural career.

NOTE: Like most men of his time, Hasbrouck was not concerned about using certain words - words that we would now consider to be racial epithets - in normal conversation. This letter, published in The Sheridan Daily Enterprise in January 1919, contains some of that language. It was not censored then and we are not censoring it now.  

Letters Home - Everett Deyo Hasbrouck

(From "In the World War")