Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Monday, July 4, 2016

Remembering a Doughboy on the Fourth of July

Lt. Robert Mitchell from Tennessee was an officer with the machine gun company of the 328th Infantry of the 82nd Division. He wrote the letter below on 6 October 1918, as his unit was preparing to help relieve the Lost Battalion in the Argonne Forest.

Nine days later he was killed in action. Lt Mitchell was buried in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery where he rests today.

To: Winfred 

Sitting on the head of a cot, map case on knee and head ducked beneath canvas leanto against side of company officer's wagon.  The war news continues to be the best ever. We're licking the tar out of the Germans and I'm a live part of it.  The spirit of the boys is great and they are brimming over with confidence. These are stirring times and regardless of my personal outcome I'm glad to be a part of it.


Source: War Letters, edited by Andrew Carroll


  1. What a sweet face! Was Winifred his sister? I assume that she was neither girlfriend or wife because there are no loving words of salutation or reassurance.

    1. That relationship was not made clear in the source, Margaret. Sorry.

  2. What a great example of that American optimism! In the midst of horror and death he saw the birth of a beautiful new world!

  3. Why is Robert known as doughboy?