Private Fred Cavin provided a first-hand account of some of the bloodiest fighting during World War I with his description of the Argonne Woods. Written to his sister almost a month after the end of the fighting, he looked forward to coming home and mentioned how sick he had been with the Spanish Influenza, which killed millions worldwide.
Dec. 15, 1918
I just received your letter of Nov. 27, and as I have time I will anser immeidatly. I have been on the front twice and as Joe Nugent wrote home and told his people I suppose I may as well tell you. He is in the 314 Inf. which is in the same Div. that I am in the 79th. We have a fighting Div. and we made a good name for ourselves and we get lots of write ups in the papers. My first time in the trenches was a week in Sept. on the 26th of Sept the morning the big Allie drive started my outfit went over the top on the Verdon Sector. We captured Mont Faucon the first day after some hard fighting. We captured and killed lots of Germans and I with another fellow captured four Germans and a machine gun. We then pushed on until we ran into the Arigoone Woods where we fought for two days. We were then releived by the third division I was certainly glad we did get releived when we did for the Arigoone Woods was a regular slaughter house. We were on that drive for five days and nights All of us were cold hungary wet and could just about stand on our feet. Two days after we were releived I had to be hauled to the hospital. I was in the hospital for three weeks with the Spanish Flu and beleive me I was sick. I was discharged from the hospital the later part of Oct. and sent back to my outfit. When I met my company they were just starting on another drive and we also had a hot reception on it. I will tell you about it some other time for you know I am not much of a hand at writing long letters, After all that I have gone through I think I am one of the luckest fellows in the world. I am surely glad this thing is over it gave us a chance to get washed up and rid of the cooties. I suppose you think it is strange to hear me talking about having cooties but I was alive with them twice. They were a very common thing for the dough boys who were on the front. I will try and bring a souviner for you when I come back to the states and I hope it will be soon I will close now I am well and hope all of you are the same.
Pvt. Fred W. Cavin
Co. M 315 Inf.
Censored by Lt. GN
Tell tell Nell that I received the money orders O.K.