Henry T. P. Cansler World War I Diary Vertical File Manuscript | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
One pocket diary, 3 inches by 5 inches, containing a 49 pp., semi-literate, postwar account by Sergeant Henry T. P. Cansler of his service in Company C, 114th Machine Gun Battalion, 59th Infantry Brigade, 30th Division (nicknamed the Old Hickory Division) in World War I. Covers the period from May 1, 1918, when he left training at Camp Sevier in South Carolina, to October 12, 1918, including the voyage to France, training in France, action near Ypres, and the Somme offensive, including the battle of Bellicourt. Features graphic descriptions of bodies dismembered by artillery fire and his encounters with wounded and dying comrades and German prisoners. Contains a list of the men in his unit.
Collection also includes a small account book, 3 by 5 inches, listing the names of men in his squad and their possessions; a brown cloth bag or wallet marked with the name of Arch M. Nelson, Sweetwater, Tennessee, a member of Cansler's unit; Nelson's metal Social Security card, in a leather holder; and a 1914 Webster pocket dictionary.