This collection is primarily made up of 32 letters that Frederick McGill wrote to his sweetheart, Louise Rochat of Glen Cove, New York, while serving in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. McGill wrote about his training at Camp Mills, New York, and about his experiences in France, which included service on the front lines.
From August 1917-October 1917, McGill discussed life at Camp Mills, where he was a member of the 69th Infantry Regiment, Company M. He mentioned daily activities, such as drilling, and told stories about other soldiers, including one who committed suicide. In November 1917, he wrote a brief account of his voyage to Europe on the USS Agamemnon , and, from December 1917-October 1918, he shared news from France. McGill commented on the scenery and local customs, and occasionally referred to his participation in active combat. He described aspects of life in the trenches, such as soldiers' propensity for losing personal items, the difficulty of adapting to the noise of shellfire, the effects of a mustard gas attack on his regiment, and plane crashes. While traveling behind the front, McGill and other soldiers sometimes bathed in shell-holes. He composed his final from Camp Hill, Virginia, in March 1919. Undated items include a Christmas card, a coupon entitling McGill to a Christmas package, and two embroidered cloths. Enclosures include a snapshot of a soldier, newspaper clippings, and ephemera from McGill's time on the Agamemnon .