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Experiencing War: World War I Remembered: 100 Years Later (Stories from the Veterans History Project, Library of Congress)

Correspondence and Photos

In a letter to his mother composed five days after the Armistice was signed, Charles Stanley Lamb wrote, “Dear Mother: By firelight on the fought-over ground of this stricken country I pause to rush word to you of my safety + well being.” As Lamb’s letter indicates, keeping in touch with family members was of paramount importance to members of the American Expeditionary Forces stationed “somewhere in France.” While these letters were written to communicate with loved ones, for modern audiences, they provide vivid accounts of the war itself. Original photographs depict what might have been left out of personal correspondence—details of the experience considered too shocking or boring for those on the home front. These photographs offer a visual record of the war as it was experienced by American troops from a wide variety of vantage points: snapping away, they documented everything from captured German submarines to Italian ambulances to abandoned trenches.

Featured Story: Lucius Byron Nash
Lucius Byron Nash - link to story
“The laying of this barrage has been the biggest thing the Navy has done, and the only offensive operation.” (Letter to Parents, 11/19/1918)

A Lieutenant Junior Grade in the Navy, Lucius Byron Nash served aboard the USS Roanoke, a minelayer responsible for distributing mines across the North Sea to deter German U-boats from attacking the Atlantic shipping lanes. As he describes in his letters home, it was often a dirty, grueling job, demanding twelve-hour shifts spent on deck in the pouring rain. Luckily, he was able to break the monotony by taking shore leave in London and Scotland. His correspondence, along with the accompanying photographs of the Roanoke loaded with mines, offers a peek into the role of the Navy in World War I, an often-overlooked aspect of the war.

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Lucius Byron Nash's story
Experience more stories of Correspondence and Photographs more stories
 
“Your dear letter arrived yesterday, and it sure did bring a ray of sunshine.” William James Bean (Letter to mother, 1/20/1918)
 
William James Bean - link to story
“I will be glad when this big fuss is over, and we have ‘Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All.’”

William James Bean's story

Richard Thomas Crump - link to story

Richard Thomas Crump's story

Ralph Emerson Jones - link to story
“My own dear wife—gee, it thrills me to write that.”

Ralph Emerson Jones' story

Albert Lester Kleinecke - link to story
"War is mostly work, partly like a 4th of July celebration; partly like a circus..."

Albert Lester Kleinecke's story

Charles Stanley Lamb - link to story
"By firelight ... I pause to rush word to you of my safety and well-being."

Charles Stanley Lamb's story

Richard Bliss Leith - link to story
"I was more frightened than I was at the front."

Richard Bliss Leith's story

Otto Ferdinand Leven - link to story
“...I sure would like to have a great big talk with  you all for I’ve certainly got lots to tell.”

Otto Ferdinand Leven's story

John A. McGill - link to story
“Everything seems very peaceable where I am. I haven’t heard any guns yet.”

John A. McGill's story

Henry Trollinger McNutt - link to story
"I didn’t know how to appreciate the good old USA or know I loved her until I got away."

Henry Trollinger McNutt's story

Longshaw Kraus Porritt - link to story
“...this is the last war we want to fight for some years to come.”

Longshaw Kraus Porritt's story

Dennis J. Sullivan - link to story
"Under Four Flags is a picture that the Government intends every one in the United States shall see..."

Dennis J. Sullivan's story

LeRoy Feay Thompson - link to story
"..it will be impossible to vanquish these pesky cooties until everyone in the room has every single thing decootied."

LeRoy Feay Thompson's story

Nettie Eurith Trax - link to story
"...Always it goes back to, 'But you are women, it takes more heroism for you to do this.' It does not."

Nettie Eurith Trax's story

Charles Daniel Turner - link to story
"Sunday dinner: Pot Roast of Beef..."

Charles Daniel Turner's story

Robert L. Wiley - link to story

"If only I had the time to write of this hell, but I can't."

Robert L. Wiley's story

   
 
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  November 4, 2014
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