A young resident of Donaldsonville named Private Bennett J. Babin wrote the following letters while serving in the trenches in France in 1918. The first was written to G.D. Bentley, the editor of The Donaldsonville Chief, a weekly newspaper serving the area since 1871, and the second, to Private Babin's brother, Duke D. Babin. Both letters were printed in their entirety in The Donaldsonville Chief. Postmarked June 18, 1918 "Somewhere in the Trenches." Dear Mr. Bentley: Well, I am in the trenches at last. You would think at times there was no war, then all at once it sound like H... has broken loose. The cannons roar and you can hear the shells overhead whistling by, and would think that every one would fall and burst right next to you. It makes a fellow feel shaky at first, but you soon get accustomed to it and don't mind them. We have a nice dug-out in the trenches. You can imagine how they are. I wish I could tell you all about them, and also about No Man's Land, but the censor won't let me. We get our mail daily in the trenches and it surely makes a fellow feel good to get news from home. I am with Co. G, 125th Infantry—mostly boys from Michigan. Well, I have told you all the news I can write, so will come to a close. Yours truly, Bennett J. Babin "Somewhere in France, Aug. 11,
'18." Dear Duke I received your long and interesting letter a few days ago and would have answered it sooner but was very busy chasing the Germans. We ran them back about fourteen miles. Now, that's going some; we had them on the run and we threw away all of our packs so we could keep them going. All we kept was our ammunition, rifle and trench shovel which was our best friend, as we have to dig ourselves into the ground two or three times a day to keep the German artillery from hitting us. You may have read in the papers where the 32nd division made one of the best drives since the Americans entered the war. This is the division (Co. G.) of which l am a member. The general told us that the 2nd battalion was the best in the division and he was well pleased with the results we achieved. I am also in the 2nd battalion. We hope to have a chance to parade in Paris, as the New York Herald, a paper published in that city for the Americans over here, stated recently that their people wanted to see this famous division. We are now resting up and taking it easy. Don't know when we will go back to the firing line, but believe me, I am ready to go back again and do my part. I think I have passed through the worst battles I will be in; for a while I felt a little ... and would have sold myself for 15 cents. Wish I could send you a few souvenirs that I have, but you know I cannot do it.
I do not think the war can last much longer as you know the British and French are also driving the Boche, and they cannot last always. They never knew how well the Americans could fight until they got into battle with them. Sidney LeBlanc, son of Nick LeBlanc of Donaldsonville, is in Co. B, 127th infantry. I spoke to him today and he said he would come around after supper and talk things over. ———Your brother, Bennett