State Historic Site

Letters Home - Seymour Sereno Sharp

(From "In the World War")

Trail End

SEYMOUR SERENO SHARP, born in Indiana, in 1893, was one smart cookie. He graduated "with honors" from Sheridan High School in 1910, graduated "with high honors" from the University of Wyoming in 1914, and was Sheridan's one and only Rhodes Scholar, heading off to Oxford University in 1915. 

When war broke out that year, however, Sharp saw that his duty lay in another direction. After training for a while with the British Army, he returned home to enlist in the Wyoming National Guard (148th Field Artillery), with whom he saw action at Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne. He was awarded the silver star and - according to his obituary - "won wide recognition on the battlefields of France for his lightning calculations in locating German big gun emplacements."

After the war, Sharp worked as a civil engineer for the State of Wyoming, and served thirteen years as the mayor of Saratoga. He drowned in the North Platte River in 1953. 

This letter was written from "Somewhere in France" in August 1918, and contains a few details normally removed by censors. 

Yes, I am at the front now, and have been for some time. I couldn't tell you though when we were coming but this is not the first letter I have written since I have been within sound of the guns. I can't tell you what sector we are in, but it is a busy one, and I have lots of work to do all the time. Two or three times lately I have gone for 48 hours without sleep, but I have sure made up for it since then. However, such a long stretch doesn't happen very often. 

We have sure been doing some good work in my battalion and have been highly complimented for it on a couple of occasions. I believe that in another month the American troops will have the Kaiser's goat - we are starting out to get it now, and he soon discovered that the road to Paris was not a paved street.

I have seen some very interesting sights lately and also some horrible sights I don't like to talk about. I have been in some of the territory that was occupied by the Germans a short time ago - in fact, right now I am writing this letter on a desk in a little cellar where some Germans had their headquarters. One of the German officers is buried just outside the house, or rather, what is left of the house. A little farther on down the road there are quite a number of wooden crosses marking German graves. By the way, the German officer was killed only about 24 hours before we arrived on the scene.

Yesterday morning I had to go up closer than usual to our lines, and I saw a number of Germans dead and a few American boys who had been killed on the battlefield, lying right where they fell until a squad come along to pick them up. I hate to see a dead American, but we are winning now, and we know it, and the Germans show that they know it too, from the way they scatter and leave piles of valuable equipment and munitions behind.

I have seen several little villages where not a house is left untouched by shell-fire from both sides on various dates, but the French farmers and people in general are brave and are ready to go back to their homes as soon as they are freed from German occupation. I have seen old French men and women working in the fields within three or four miles of the front lines, apparently with never a thought of the enemy.

I must stop talking about this stuff now before I say something I am not allowed to. I don't know whether I have gone over the limit or not already - I hope not.

Yes, I have a fairly important job - it is mostly surveying and map work, and men who can do that sort of work are pretty scarce around here. That's about all I can tell you about it.