Dalton Hayes, Paris, 1918

165th Regiment Rainbow Division

Dalton Hayes was born June 22, 1898 at Spiegel Grove, Fremont, Ohio. He was the son of Harry Eaton Smith and Fanny Hayes. He was the grandson of President Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes. In 1924, Dalton began using Hayes as his surname.

Dalton was a freshman at Princeton University when the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917. He joined the Princeton Battalion headed by Captain Stuart Heintzelman, U.S. Army. Later, he trained with the Princeton Officer Training Corps. On September 10, 1917, he enlisted at Camp Mills, Long Island in the 69th New York Regiment. He later served in D Company, 165th Infantry Regiment of the famous 42nd Infantry Division, "Rainbow." He served in the A.E.F. in all engagements participated in by his company, until he was seriously wounded on October 14, 1918. Following World War I, he resumed his studies and graduated from Princeton. In 1921, he was employed by the Atlantic Refining Company. He later became associated with the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey in its foreign branch and spent considerable time in Australia, South Africa, Cuba, and Bermuda.

On April 17, 1926 he married Corinne Monsarrat in Columbus, Ohio. They had two daughters, Chloe and Jean. On the outbreak of World War II, Dalton returned to military duty as captain, later major, and served in intelligence. He was active in Portuguese East Africa. He was instrumental in locating a radio station from which German agents directed the destruction of allied ships by German subs. After service in Portuguese East Africa, he was Assistant Military Attache at Pretoria, South Africa, and then Melbourne, Australia.


April 4, 1918

Dearest Mother,

You will probably understand my long silence if you received my last letter.I believe it is now permitted to tell you that the 165th with the rest of the 42nd Division has been in the trenches.

I had the honor of being in the first platoon, of the first company of the first battalion of the first regiment of the 42nd Division to go in!!!Thank the Lord that meant we were the first out!!

We have about twelve Croix de Guerre in the company now so you can see we weren’t exactly idle – I hope the censor hasn’t the gout when he reads this letter or he’ll slash it unmercifully.[no, he will not censor]

I received a package yesterday, which must have been mailed sometime in January for the book of war poems, which are excellent by the way, had “from F.H.S. Jan. 1918” on the frontis piece.

I had a letter from the Col. the other day, saying that Aunt Mary was now a Y.M.C.A. hostess in the great rest camp for Americans on “permission”.So I’m sure to see her when (if ever) I receive a furlough.

Only a month now till we receive our “foreign service stripes”; it doesn’t seem nearly six months since we left America, and at the same time it seems more than six years.

Well I’ve written absolutely all the news so I’ll stop although it’s a pretty short letter.Send some more powder in the next package.

Lots of love to you & Dad.

Your loving son,


April 13, 1918

Dearest Mother,

A few days ago a most welcome package of cigarettes & soap arrived.“Private Peat” was not so well informed as you might think, as one can buy soap in a town of any size at all – but not Ivory I must admit.

We’re in a fairly large town at present not so very far from the “ligne de feri”; in fact one section of it is absolutely demolished by shell fire.At almost every corner there are “abris” or shell proof caves into which the population can swoop in case Fritzie sends over a few again.We’re actually in barracks instead of the ever present billet, but that state of affairs is too good to last, we’ll surely move in a day or so!

A Boche aeroplane came over today.I verily believe he was only a few hundred feet in the air.Of course the anti-aircrafts and machine guns fired lots of ammunition with the usual result – he escaped unhurt.

One has to hand it to the Boche aviators for nerve, that’s the third or fourth time I’ve seen them so low that it seemed as if you could poke them down with a long stick.

We’ve had one or two cases of “trench fever”.They say it is caused by “cooties” which originally came off a rat.I guess none of my army corps came off rats.If it were caused by the ordinary “cooty” I’d have been in the grave long since!!Some tincture of larkspur would be a good thing to send in the next package.

I had a letter from Bill the other day; he is in the “rear section” of the “advanced section of the danger zone” wherever on earth that may be.He doesn’t seem to entertain any hopes of getting in it immediately.Well goodbye.

Lots of love from

Your devoted son,


May 12, 1918

Dearest Mother,

I’ve given up writing in ink although one can get it here.I’d gotten so out of the habit of writing with a pen that it took me hours to write the last letter.

The eighth wonder of the world is here.Some D company men are to receive furloughs after all.I’d begun to give up all hope as we’re more than two months overdue now.Perhaps in the dim, distant future even Pvt. Smith may receive one.

At present we have the life of Reilly.We’re in a deserted French town and nine of us captured practically a whole house with nine cots in it.The kitchen is next door so in the morning one man gets all the breakfasts.

Imagine breakfast in bed in the Army!I’m afraid it’s too good to last much longer though.Then in the afternoon if we manage to dodge working parties we lie under the apple trees covered with blossoms & decide the fates of nations.So you see life over here isn’t as bad as they make out.

Today I know every man in D company is writing home & I guess it’s the same way all though the army.I don’t know how to express all I’d like to say but I know you’ll understand if I sum it all up in three words – I love you.


May 27, 1918

Dearest Mother,

I’m getting in quite a few letters this week, because according to Dame Rumour we won’t have any opportunity to write for some while in a few days.

Today I saw an aeroplane “killed” for the first time.Of course we’ve seen quite a few fights and any number of times we’ve seen the anti-craft guns working, but this was the first one I saw drop.A shell hit it squarely and it burst into flames & dropped like a plummet about 7,000 ft.I should say.

I don’t remember whether I told you that we are all proud possessors of our first service chevrons.They sure look fine and I think I’d rather have mine than almost anything I can think of.From the present looks of things, however, we’ll have ‘em all over us by the time we get back again!

I received a postal from the Red Cross asking me to tell them the name of the hospital I was in and the nature of my wounds!!!Uncle Webb hadn’t heard from me for sometime & thought I was in hospital.It’s an impossibility to keep him & Aunt Mary informed of my welfare all the time, but I write as many as I can.You know we can’t write as many letters as we want to every day.So don’t worry if you don’t hear from me for a couple of weeks at a time cause even if I were sick or wounded you’d be notified by the War Department inside of a week after it happened.

Lots of love to you & Dad


August 20, 1918

Dearest Mother,

I’m afraid it’s a terribly long time since I’ve written but it was not my fault.Since my last letter my division & regiment have helped considerably in stopping the big German drive and then pulled off the push you must have read about, in a different sector.We had over a month straight on the lines.When we were in trenches we all prayed for open fighting – but take me back to the trenches! The “doc” had beaucoup work under fire.

We [suffered] quite a little from [hunger] as we advanced so rapidly that the [kitchens] couldn’t catch us for four or five days!We ate our own iron rations & those of the dead Boches (of whom there were quite some) and so didn’t exactly starve.The poor German soldiers don’t get much to eat but the officers live on the fat of the land.

The German shreblichbiet hasn’t changed any since 1914.They bombed & shelled hospitals wore red crosses on their arms, used explosive machine gun bullets etc ad infinitum.One particular example – our platoon captured a m.g. implacement with twelve men: they all hopped out shrieking Kamarad with Red Cross bands on their arms and potato-mashers (hand grenades) in their pockets.They got Kamaraded all right!At that we took quite a few prisoners-the first two days.

All the prisoners predicted that the war would end this winter or this coming spring.Garn(an officer too) even went so far as to say he’d be willing to pay for every shell fired by the Boche after Oct 15!!I’m not so hopeful of it’s being over so soon however.

After we came out I was so very fortunate as to get a pass to Paris for two blissful days.I surely had a wonderful time but to my disappointment found that Uncle Webb was in Barcelona Spain .Had an air-raid while we were there, but I didn’t hear a sound of it.They said there was a little damage done in the Paris region I wrote a postcard to nearly everyone I know.

Lots of love from your loving son,

August 21, 1918

Dearest Aunt Mary,

Again it’s a long time since I’ve written but I have a real excuse this time as we’ve been in the lines for more than a month.We’re way back now having intensive training for our next trip up front.

We surely saw some real fighting too.After helping to stop a big German drive we were given a one day rest and then pulled off a drive of our own.We were very successful & my brigade gets credit for shoving Fritzie more than 15 kilos back towards Hunland.

When we came out of the lines I was one of the lucky ones who got a 48 hour pass to Paris .The first thing I did was to dash to the Equitable and found to my intense disappointment that Uncle Webb was not in Paris .I had a glorious time though & visited all the things one generally does visit there and enjoyed my first taste of ice-cream for over nine months.

The furloughs seem as far away as ever.I don’t understand why the Rainbow is getting stung so badly in that respect.I notice all the P.P. divisions (Pershing’s Pets) have gotten at least one furlough, more often two.

Well let’s be gay.Love to you and Uncle Webb from

Your devoted nephew,


P.S.I wonder if you could send some chocolate or any kind of candy from Aix-les-Bains) The box you sent before was wonderful.


September 18, 1918

Dearest Mother,

It seems months since I’ve had an opportunity of writing and I’m afraid it has been a long time.I wrote you two or three letters after we came out of the big drive and then we were suddenly moved up here & pulled off another drive.It was a complete success and a busy time was had by all (especially Fritzie!)The 1st battalion (us) was the attacking one during the whole drive.We advanced more than twenty kilos, about 12 or 13 miles, which is pretty fine work.The kitchens caught up on the fourth or fifth day but we didn’t care much whether we ever saw ‘em again.We had plenty of bread, canned beef, potatoes, cabbages, oatmeal, jam etc. etc. from the German stores we took.

Also much fine wine & ale which was greatly appreciated.I had one sad experience.Found a big bag of flour & was preparing to make pancakes – mixed my batter & had ‘em on the fire.Well, they got hard but wouldn’t brown at all!I was puzzled ‘till I discovered I was using plaster of Paris instead of flour.I’ve been kidded about it unmercifully.We all had some narrow escapes but all’s well etc.

Lots of love from

Your devoted son,


P.S .I’ve been made a Corporal!  $40.20 per month – riches!!!

September 22, 1918

Dearest Mother,

There’s nothing much to write about – we’ve been in the woods since we came out of the drive, waiting for something.We’ll probably move back to a “rest” area pretty soon & train ‘till the next trip up.It gets pretty monotonous after a while but I suppose that’s one of the prices of victory.At any rate the Huns seem pretty well subdued and I think that another year at the most will see the end of it all.

A rather amusing document was captured recently.It gave an account of the number of American troops over here (German idea) and ended up by saying that there were only two divisions that could really be called combat troops namely the Rainbow & the 42nd!! I guess we’ve run up against them so often and so hard that they figure we’re two divisions.It’s quite a compliment at that isn’t it?

I certainly would have liked to have seen Webbie.He must have some corking experiences to tell.Tell him though that he’s not the only one!

If we’re moved to the rear I’ll try to write much more frequently than the last three months.Lordy! we sure had a strenuous summer and maybe it’s not over yet.There’s a faint rumour about another trip.

Lots and lots of love to you & Dad

Your loving son,


September 25, 1918

Dearest Mother,

Wall seems to be over here at last.I received a letter from him yesterday in which he said he was on this side and hoped to see action soon.Maybe he won’t feel so much that way when he does see it!!I remember that once in the dim and misty past when I was in a bloomin’ cit, I thought it would be fine to get into the trenches!

There are rumours about one more trip up for us ‘ere winter.I think, however, that it will be our last till spring as we are “shock” troops, used only for attacks and in winter there are no attacks – ergo!I hope so anyway.There’s also an absurd idea that the 42ndwill come home this fall to boost the 4th Liberty LoanI wouldn’t pay any attention to it, however.

We surely have had a busy summer! In the line in Lorraine, then in Champagne against the Crown Prince’s “drive” to Paris, next at the drive across the Oureq near Chateau Thierry and finally in the St. Mehiel salient drive.I don’t know whether these names will pass the censor but as they appear in all the papers and magazines, I don’t see why they shouldn’t.

There’s nothing going on here of any interest to anybody.We’re bivouaced in the bush in reserve in case Fritz starts anything.Eat, sleep, drill a little and an occasional guard – that’s the sch edu le and has been for a week now.I wish to Heaven they’d move us in or out – anything to break the monotony.Well let’s be gay!I’ll write as often as the occasion presents itself.

Lots of love to you and Dad

Your devoted son,


October 22, 1918

Dearest Mother,

I’m still comfortably ensconced in Base Hospital 61.I was surely lucky in my choice of a place to get hit!No bones broken and a nice, clean hole through my shoulder.I’m in no pain except when it’s dressed and I’m eating like a horse!Oatmeal & milk, bread & butter and coffee in the morning – all you want, too – what more could one desire?

I’ve written & telegraphed the Colonel and I have a sneaking suspicion that he might pop in to see me.I surely hope he will.

I wish I could give you an idea of the battle before I got it.We (the first platoon) were “moppers up”, and occupied a position immediately behind the first wave.Precisely at 8.30AM we started over the top (by the way this was my third time) and at 8.31 you would have said that HELL had come loose from its foundations.They threw everything but their mess kits at us!

Big G.I. cans, whizz bangs, trench mortars and beaucoup machine guns, to say nothing of rifle fire and grenades when we got close.How I remained unhurt for three hours I don’t know, but at about eleven o’clock we’d pushed ‘em over two kilometers when suddenly I saw a Jerry (that’s what we call ‘em now) about two hundred yards away aiming his rifle in my direction.The thought sprang to my head “Here’s where I make my score three instead of two”; and I jerked my rifle up.That’s the last I remember till I woke up flat on my back in a shell hole with my shoulder hurting like the dickens.You see Jerry got me not I him.

Well, I patched my shoulder up as best I could and started back I found that I could walk after a fashion and after several years finally reached the dressing station.Got an ambulance there and rode to a hospital where they operated that night and next morning.I was put in a Red Cross Train and came here.

That about finishes up this tale – except that I hope someone got the Boche sniper and the Lord deliver me from another ride in a Ford ambulance!!We went about seventy miles an hour and hit every bump in the road.

I guess it’ll be six weeks or maybe two months before I get back to D company and by that time I think the war will be on its last legs.
I’ve sure got something on the rest of the cousins now haven’t I?

Loads of love to you & Dad.

Your devoted son,