Thursday ~ January 16, 1919
Brest, France - Dec. 17, 1918
Hello Sis: Your letter came yesterday and it sure was welcome, it is the first one that I've had from home for a month and a half. You asked if I ever received those that "Mom" wrote, I've received one letter from her since being on leave. I suppose that they are still traveling trying to catch up with us.
We came to Brest about two weeks ago. It is a large place, with a population of about 90,000 or 100,000, and the new part of town is almost up to date. It is the best place that we have hit so far in our rambles around over the country. There are many interesting places and buildings in this burg, some of the buildings are very old. About three or four blocks from here are the barracks that Napoleon built; they are being used today by the U. S. as barracks for our troops. Then there is an old castle, or Chateau, that was begun in 59 B. C., with a little being built to it with each ruler that came along. It was used for a prison and the old cells and other things are still in it. I was all through the place.
Besides being an old town, the U. S. Army is using the place for one of its principle ports and lots of troops landed her during the war. We didn't land in this place though, when we crossed. We landing in Glasgow, Scotland, going to England by train, stopping in Winchester, then west to Southhampton and crossed the English channel, landing at La Havre. Since then we have been traveling to and fro, with no place in particular in sight, where we could call home.
We never got to the front, and from what I've seen and heard since being here, I ain't one bit sorry. We were billed for the front, and I think that we were about due, when the armistice was signed, part of our division went to the front and got into the scrap.
I never told you that I met one of my cousins at Sherman did I? Well, I did, he is in headquarters Co., 334th Infantry. I only saw him once, but he is over here and if I ever run across that outfit again I'll look him up.
We are working here on several different jobs. I am working on a large building just at the edge of old Brest, that is going to be used as an assembling plant for trucks and other motor cars.
I suppose that you wonder how the weather is. It isn't cold, but it rains all the time. I think that the sun has shone twice in the last month, but it didn't stay out long enough either time for a fellow to get a picture of it.
I think that I've done fine in writing this letter, so before I spoil it, I'll close.
With love, "Vic"
Rolland V. Phend - C Co., 309th Engineers
A. P. O. 716 - Amer. Exp. Forces. France.