Well, Congress meets on Monday. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind of the final decision. I only hope it won’t drag too long. I have taken my flags down just to have the pleasure of putting them up again.
I had this letter closed when I got my first direct news from the front since the advance.
Do you remember how amused I was when I saw the Aspirant equipped for his march in January? I was told afterward that my idea of a light equipment for the cavalry in battle was “theoretically beautiful,” but in such a war as this absolutely impracticable. Well I hear today that when the cavalry advanced it advanced in a “theoretically beautiful” manner. It seems that the order was unexpected. It caught the cavalry in the saddle during a manoeuvre, and, just as they were, they wheeled into line and flew off in pursuit of the Boches. They had nothing but what was on their backs—and ammunition, of course. The result was that they had forty-eight hours of real suffering. It was harder on the officers than on the men, and hardest of all on the horses. All the soldiers always have a bidon with something in it to drink, and almost invariably they have a bite or so in their sacks. No officer ever has anything on him, and none of them carries a bidon except on a march. For forty-eight hours in the chase they suffered from hunger, and, what was worse still, from thirst. As the weather was nasty and they were without shelters of any kind—not even tents—they tasted all the hardships of war. This must comfort the foot soldiers, who are eternally grumbling at the cavalry. However, the officer who brought back the news says the men bore it with philosophical gaiety, even those who on the last day had nothing as well as those who in forty-eight hours had a quarter of a biscuit. The horses were not so philosophical—some of them just lay down and died, poor beasts. I assure you I shall never laugh again at a cavalryman’s “battle array.”
April 8, 1917