Davis E. Castle journals  1864-1865
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection (155 items) contains correspondence related to Brewster E. Littlefield's service with the United States Army's 101st Engineers during World War I. Littlefield wrote around 110 letters to his family in Braintree, Massachusetts, about his experiences in France, which included service in the front lines. The collection also contains letters about Littlefield's death, poetry about the war, and photographs.

The Correspondence series (135 items), which comprises the bulk of the collection, contains letters that Brewster E. Littlefield wrote to his parents from September 25, 1917-October 31, 1918. Early letters pertain to his journey to France via Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Southampton, England. After arriving in France in October 1917, Littlefield wrote about his daily experiences with the 101st Engineer Regiment. He discussed his living quarters, his religious life, and his work as a gas mask specialist, which involved frequent travel by motorcycle and on horseback. Littlefield also commented on his training exercises, which included a simulated gas attack, and mentioned his pride in the American "doughboys." He spent time in the trenches and near the front lines, traveled around France, and attended training in Paris; his letters include descriptions of artillery attacks, aerial warfare, and gas attacks. He reflected on the impact that the war had on him, such as his gradual adjustment to shelling. On several occasions, including in his final letter, he remarked on close encounters with German bombs. Littlefield also wrote about his relationship and correspondence with a girl named Almira, an encounter with German prisoners of war, and the impact of the influenza epidemic.

Additional correspondence items largely postdate Littlefield's death. In November 1918, the Littlefield family received a telegram and official letter notifying them of Brewster E. Littlefield's death, and they later received 2 letters from his army acquaintances about the precise circumstances of the incident. Later correspondence relates to Littlefield's personal effects and final paycheck. Two sets of military orders concern other American soldiers.

The Poems, Photographs, and Currency series (20 items) contains additional materials related to Brewster E. Littlefield and the First World War. Two typed poems concern soldiers' experiences during the war. Seventeen snapshots and card photographs (one of which is dated December 1, 1941) show families, a dog in the snow, and World War I-era United States soldiers in uniform, including Brewster E. Littlefield. The final item is a one-franc note.

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