During World War I, Louis Bartels served as a private in Co. D, 308th Machine Gun Battalion, 78th Division. The 78th was composed largely of men from northern New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. Bartels went "over the top" twice during the Meuse-Argonne offensive (Sept. 26 - Nov. 11, 1918), and was once slightly wounded by shrapnel. He survived the war but died in 1920. Bartels' letter of Jan. 15, 1919, written to his sister, relates his battle experiences, describes the Marigny, France area where he billeted, and discusses the discharge of his brother-in-law, Albert Kaufman. The letter is valuable for its frank discussion of the horrors of trench warfare and its somber anti-war undertone.
Albert Kaufman of Champaign, Ill., donated this photocopy to the Survey in 1980.