Dec. 31, 1944
To the one I love. My darling wife.
Hello dearest, here is your husband again. Before I tell you anything new honey, I want to tell you just how much I love you. You mean the world and all to me darling. I fell in love with you from the start dearest, & as each day passes my love for you grows & grows. Oh honey, I love you so very much. You’re just the sweetest wife a guy could ever have. Honey, you’re Tops? And you are all mine too.
Yesterday dear, I got 5 letters from you. They were all written when Thelma was there. So I guess you & her had a pretty good time. Think good honey, you enjoy yourself. So you are going to see her in January?
Honey, 4 years ago tonite we went to the Sherman, & you wore your ring so it would look like a marriage ring. We really scared them dear. And last year we hung on that big one at Goldmann’s house. Oh gee honey, but we have been so happy together. I’ll be asleep I hope when the new rolls in, but dear I’ll be dreaming of you. You know dear I’m so used to sleeping outside in a hole, that when I get home we’ll dig in in the back yard & live. My Sgt & I have got a pretty good hole here. And with 10 blankets we are pretty warm at night. But when we get up in the morning it is really cold.
Mama, I hope that by next new year we’ll be together & have our basket-ball team started. But honey don’t you think that 5 is quite a lot. I thought we decided on 2, But whatever you say honey. Mama we’ll be so very happy then. And with all our money, we’ll have our house started on. And then we’ll need a dining room set. Gee honey we’ll be the happiest family in the world. Oh gee mama, but I love you so & miss you terribly.
Honey, I wrote Pop a V-mail today, so he won’t think I’m slighting him. I’m sending you Pattons Xmas prayer for his army. Honey I’m still O.K. and feeling fine. I’ll take good care of myself for you honey, I’ll be home as quick as I can.
Well sweetheart, I must close for now. So dearest darling of mine bye, and dear remember that I love you with all my heart. Take good care of yourself & Mitzi honey. I love you darling.
Lots & lots of kisses honey. Your loving husband forever
That’s the letter that Lieutenant Orvin E. Nelson of M co., 10th Regiment, 5th Infantry Division wrote to his wife on New Year’s Eve. From the previous letters we got a glimpse of the love he has for his wife and how much he loves her. In this post I wanted to show you another aspect of the Battle of the Bulge and how real it was back then. These letters come closer to the feelings and thoughts of a soldier in the Ardennes. No historian can come as close as these letters. That’s why I feel the importance to publish this one.
We all know that Battle of the Bulge was the coldest battle that the American troops ever fought during World War 2. We heard stories about soldiers suffering from frostbite. Temperatures so low that your feet are frozen. Yet, this letter gives us another aspect, another way to measure how cold it was. The fact that this soldier had to use ten blankets to get pretty warm at night is crazy. It’s facts like these that give us a sense of how it must’ve been back then.
Also, the way he jokes about sitting and sleeping in a foxhole. The fact that under such circumstances, one would get used to sleeping outside is such a bizarre thing to realize. Still the letter raises some questions. I’m wondering if he really got ‘used to sleeping outside’ or if he really got ‘pretty warm’, or that he’s just trying to comfort his wife so she doesn’t have worry about him.
Nevertheless, we need to do our best to preserve sources like this. In a couple of years, most veterans won’t be alive anymore. The only sources that will take us back right to the exact moments during the war, are letters or diaries. Therefore, I will do my best to publish letters of the month of January 1945 and follow Lieutenant Orvin E. Nelson in his footsteps through the Battle of the Bulge.