Postcards from Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/28/1916

Dear Lena, 

 

It is 8 AM and here we are out here on the so called battle field. We are about to attack an enemy a 800 yards. It strikes me funny that the signal men are out about 50 yards being examined now. It is a nice cool day and I guess the boys will go through it all right. I am fine

Sam

 

 

Dear Em,

 

It is Sunday morning and everything is fine with me. I just put away a slice of balogna, slice of bread, ½ of a cantelope, and a cup of coffee for breakfast. Will write soon.

Sam

 

 

 

 

Dear Lena, 

 

Please take note of the shadow that is cast by the men. It is pretty chilly here this morning. It is Sun. and I am going to use the most of it in washing. There is that washing again. Gag.

Sam

 

Dear Mary

 

Well how is my little sugar plum. I am looking and longing

 

 

 

 

© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/26/1916

Dear Lena,

 

I guess we are getting the best of the bargain, as far as temperature is conserned at that. It has been nice and cool here all day today. But say Lena, the sun sure does bake every thing it hits. As long as you can get in the shade here life is sweet, but out drilling in the sun it is awful. Right now as I write this letter, I am sitting in my tent and there is a steady breeze blowing across my cot. But if I should just step out side, Id swear there wasnt a breath of air at all. As I said in my post card it was cool this morning, and I bet we will need our blankets tonight alright.

 

I hope you enjoyed the exhibition at the big park. I am sorry that your plans for going to N.Y. has been upset on account of Preparedness, but winter isnt a bad time to visit a big city. Of coarse I hope I will not be here as long as that but you never can tell. I don’t know what difference it makes what regiment a fellow belongs to, but I will say right here that the 8th is the best. I can bet you stopped them all right when you got started. More speed to you. One Regiment is doing as much as the other and if they wasn’t you would hear from it I tell you.

 

I am glad to hear that Henry pays you a visit once in a while. Tell him he is lucky that he can. I wish I could. We are to be inspected for our field or battle work tomorrow, and our equipment Wednisday. Before this reaches you you will have read what the 5-8-9th are rated as.

 

It hasn’t rained now for two days and we are doing fine. I hope that it will get cooler soon, and do take it easy, and dont get any of those head aches that you are so subject to. You bet Mary and I will be good pals and tell her I am just waiting for the time that I can get her in my arms and pay pack some of those XXXXX she sent me and all the soldiers down here. She may think that I am a coon when she sees me, but I will find a way to over come this I guess.

 

It is said that we are to go on a seven day hike very soon after this inspection and that will test the regiments better than any thing else unless it is the real stuff. And no danger of any thing like that. Well I am going to answer Ems letter and then I am going to take in my wash.

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Em

 

Im afraid Im not going to have much time to write to you so excuse me if I make use of this excuse to fill up this paper as soon as I can. I am very sorry that you don’t get any releif from the heat. I hope you all enjoyed the show. I suppose Pa gets all the bacon an eggs in the morning that he wants.

 

Talking of chicken soup that is what we had this noon. It is just what you say in regards to my return. You never can tell what tomorrow brings until it is yesterday. All the boys are shooting crap in this tent and talk about the Sunday mornings when we lived on High St. nothing to it. I will have to cut this letter until after Retreat, for it is almost 5 now and I got quite a wash out between the tents. If I don’t get them in pretty soon they wont be there thats all.

 

Well the clothes are in, Ive stood Retreat and here I am at it again. The next call will be mess. I fell pretty hungry so I hope they have some thing good. Please excuse this writing but I am in a hurry and Id like to get this letter off before grabbing my eats. Gee but its nice and cool here today. I can hardly realize that I am away down here on the Rio Grande. Probably it is because I am feeling so good.

 

We are in for a hard days work tomorrow and I am going to get a good nights sleep tonight. That is one good thing down here. There hasn’t been one night that it wasn’t comfortable to sleep, not one. Tonight it is going to be cold I think.

 

Good luck
Sam

 

 © Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/24/1916

Dear Em,

 

Well the days are rolling by kid, and we kiss them all good by. We are out here on out post. I am in charge of Cossack Post #3, from picket #2, from Support #1. This post is the nearest one there is to camp though. When ever I mention that we are on out post, you can feel pretty sure than it is raining. It started at about two oclock this morning, but it has let up a little now.

 

I took a walk down to the Fifth Monday night to look up Jim Coyne, and found that he was transfered to the Supply Co. of that Reg. He wasn’t there, and, after waiting around awhile I desided that I would look him up again.

 

I have found out that the raining season lasts about a month, but it is early this year. One good thing about the rain, it lays the dust and sand, making the noted sand storms impossible.
I am feeling fine.

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Lena.

 

I sent Em’s post card in, and we are waiting now to be releived. I know that the both postals will reach there the same day, but Ive got a pencil that is pretty long, and I want to use some of the lead so that I can make it shorter to fit in my pocket. We had both our breakfast and dinner brought out to us and here is what we had. This morning, coffee, bread, cheese, oat meal. Dinner, corn chowder, bread pudding, bread, lemonade. So you see we ate pretty good to-day. It has cleared off warm, and I suppose that means more rain to-night. Well we will be back at camp, under the big tents so we are not worrying.

 

Just now, one of my sentinals caught a spick trying to cross our line. Nothing doing. The idea is, Washington has found out that there is a lot of stuff such as amunition, and supplies being smuggled into Mexico, and our officers are very careful that it does not get through us.

 

Yes my washing is all done thank you. Gee I will have to get out of my clean habits when I get home, if not there will be some wash every week, and Im afraid the water bill will come pretty heavy on Mr. Holland. A bath every day and a change of every thing I wear would hardly make anything else possible. What do you say. One thing is sertain though, Ive learned to bath quicker and change quicker, for you know in this life, it is preparedness and speed that gets one by. I am the only one in my tent that strips down nights. The others are either too lazy or too slow to dress. First call in the morning is 5.20 and assembly at 5.30 so you see I have to use speed. All of our property is to be inspected by the Regular Army soon. Wish K Co. luck. I cant think of any thing to say.

 

Sam

 

 © Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/23/1916

Dear Em,

 

I just got your letter and card and I am glad to know that every thing is O.K. Say I would liked to have had a plateful of them beans you spoke of watering, and about a half dozen home made anything in the bread line. We just came in from drill and mess call is blowing for dinner. I will go up now and eat, and tell you just what we had, and how I enjoy it. I am very hungry so whatever they have I’ll eat it don’t worry.

 

Well I just got through eating and here is what I had. Two sausages, one potatoe, two slices of bread, a leaf of lettuce, and a cup of lime water. Some feed. I think I ate too much. Now I have to take a bath, attend non-comp school, wash out two sets of under wear and get ready for 24 hours of out post work tonight.

 

It is pretty cool here today, and it wasn’t so hard hiking and drilling this morning. It didn’t rain last night so the roads were nice and dry. You see we have to walk about four miles to our drill grounds, and after drilling for about two hours we hike back again. You say you can make out what is written on these postals, and I am glad of it for they are easier and quicker to write than a letter.

 

I have got quite a lot of mail from you Lena, and different other prople that were so thoughtful, and wrote to me. I get mail every day, and it is pleasing to find it waiting for me when we get in from drill. I am glad you are giving me incouragement as to my army life and I promise to do all I can to make good. Of coarse I like the business any way, but there are times when I get pretty sore and disgusted, and that is the time when I have to keep my mouth shut.

 

Sam.

 

© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

From Em, Charlestown Mass. 8/22/1916

Dear Sam.

 

I got your letter and am glad to know your feeling good. It has been awful hot here this last 2 days. Last night neither Lena or pa slept any but I slept all night. It is not quite so bad tonight. Pa went to work tonight at 8 o’clock and gets home about 7 tomorrow. He was down the beach today and had a (Jewbily) jubily.

 

I succeeded in getting tickets for Lena and Bert for Braves field tomorrow night. They cost 50¢ but we get them free and I got 2 from some girls who couldn’t go. $1.50 saved. I will write and tell you all about it.

 

There is a hen and roaster over in Napolean’s yard. When the roaster crows it sounds as if some one was closing a sqweaking gate. Oh what a voice. I am glad you are getting enough to eat. Talk about chicken soup say if Napolean don’t put some lard on his roaster’s throat some of the neighbors will be having some chicken soup. By the looks of things it dosent seem as if you would be home for the 12th of Oct. but of course nobody knows. They might send you home as quick as they sent you down there, almost without any warning.

 

I didnt go up to the Band Consert tonight because I was kind of tired when I got home. I was hot and Lena and I sat on the steps with little Mary and watched Bert go by. We took her home about half past seven and we came home at 8. Lena has gone to bed but I will drop this in the box before I fall in.

 

I hope this letter finds you well and contented for a while longer anyway. I am almost asleep. Tomorrow night I will leave the house about 7 o’clock as the show starts at 8. Now I must close.

 

With Love from all

 Milly

 

© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/22/1916

Dear Em.

 

Well just in from another hike and after drinking about a gallon of ice water I now proceed to write you a few words. It rained again last night and we had to plow through quite a lot of mud, which makes it harder work and it also makes the air very hot and damp. I am getting so I sweat very much latly, and we are all a mess of sweet from head to foot. Gee but it is hot. I am writing this postal now for I don’t know what will come up this after noon.

 

Where is that letter from Henry. Gee I would like to have a loaf of bread for a feed. When I first hit here I couldnt eat the bread they handed out. I have got my bread appetite back again so look out and have plenty of it when I return. Gee they get me sore when they hand me a little stinking slice of bread. I could eat a loaf of bread and some coffee or tea every meal and be satisfied. But it seems as though bread is the dearest thing they have in the army.

 

Today (for I have eaten my dinner since I started this postal) we had a little peice of meat, some greasy gravy, beats, potatoes, pudding, cold water, and one slice of bread. Now if they had given me a loaf of bread and a cup of coffee, they could have given the rest of the stuff to some one else, for all I cared. The pudding was supposed to be tapioca, but (oh my) I am as hungry as a dog all the time but that is a good syne in this climate anyway.

 

Hope you are all well.
Sam.

 

© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/21/1916

Dear Lena.

 

I said in my postal to Em that this would be an easy day on account of it being Sunday. Well I was wrong. I had to get a detail of ten men an dig a sink and it was some job (for the men.) It started to rain about half past three and we had to run for our tents. I wish you could see and hear the thunder and lightning here. There is a steady shower of lightning towards the earth all the time. You would think there is a battle going on when it thunders. It looks as though we are in for a night of it. But we are not on out post or gaurd duty so I should worry.

 

The last time we went out on out post, (Thursday) it rained like every thing until 12 mid night. I pity the poor fellows that start out to night. They say there was a wash out up in Arizona somewhere and they fear it is going to hold up our mail. That is probably why I haven’t received any today. I have some times read and heard of the rainy season in the west and south west, and now I know that it was never exagerated. There is a steady roar of thunder now, and a streak of lightning can be seen for at least ten seconds before it dissapears.

 

I hope this postal gets to you in condition to read and if not let me know and I will not write any more like this. The fellows wonder how in the world I do it. I am feeling fine looking fine, and acting fine so what more could be expected of me. How is the gas stove.

 

A slice of bread.
Sam.

 

 

Dear Em.

 

Please excuse the pen and ink but I guess you will over look it. I sent Mary a letter today and by the way that was a good one she pulled in putting that one cent stamp on your last letter. As I told her, I never would have noticed it if she didn’t speak of it in her letter. I guess the Government is making all kinds of allowances for us in that line.

 

Any story about our going home is spread about the camp in very short time. Our Captain told us at Retreat tonight that we would be here until Oct. 1, anyway. We will start long hard marches soon, after which there will be a big war game. If they would only tell us when we are to move we could settle down and make the best of it but, Well – nuf ced.

 

I am feeling fine. That is about 90% of the battle A young fellow next to me last night had a very bad night with his stumack. Most of the fellows are troubled with this. LIFE IN THE ARMY, IS LIKE SUNDAY ON THE FARM. I Wonder How The Table Looks At Home. OH You Worlds Series, I WISH I could see it. Haircut.

 

Sam.

 

© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

From Em, Charlestown Mass. 8/19/1916

Dear Sam.

 

I just received your letter and am very glad to know you passed the examination. I hope your arch wont hold you back. As for your weight that is all right. Uncle Al only weighs 111 and I weigh 105. You have gone along fine so far in training and promotion so don’t quit. I addressed a card to you last night but Bert carried it in his pocket all night. After this I must tend to the mail myself.

 

When I wrote your last letter I send a card too because I had no stamps. When little Mary mailed it she only put a 1 cent stamp on. I went down to the post office to see about it and he said it must have gone. If you don’t get it from the top Sergent it might be at the post office down there. My name was on the back of it but it didn’t come back.

 

I said in my other letter about the time Liggetts is having out to Braves field. There is a couple of girls who are not going and I’m going to get their tickets for Bert and Lena. I asked Pa if he could go but he said he would be working that night and couldn’t get off. He has his hours changed on account of the vacations. It will be just the kind of a show he would enjoy seeing. He may try to get off though.

 

You told me you were going to send home your mail that you were saving and I’ve been looking for the parcel. Did the storm hurt that? I’ve got quite a bunch of mail from you and I’ve saved it all.

 

Mary and Lena have gone out to do the shopping and I’m minding the beans. Mary and I are going to the movies tonight, up the Hurst’s and see Mutt & Jeff in movie cartoons. Lena paid your insurance yesterday. Jim Coyne is in Co. H. You asked on Lena’s postal if we could read them. Yes it don’t make any difference how small it is as long as the writing is plain. I have a good eyesight and have read every word on them so far. I must hurry up with this letter and set the table. It is Sat afternoon and beleive me its lonesome here, too. I had the bathroom all to myself and no one to hit my nose or bother me.

 

I hope the rumor that says you are coming home for the 12th of Oct is true. Did you kiss the other soldiers as Mary told you to and keep the big ones for yourself. Well I must close as the paper is full. Hoping this finds you well I remain.

 

With Love from all

Em.

 

© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/19/1916

Dear Em,

 

Just a few words to let you know that I am in a better mood than when I wrote that letter to Lena. Everything is all dryed out again and I have got a board floor in my tent. Tomorrow is Sunday, and that means a very easy day. The mosquitoes are getting very thick here now on account of so much wet weather. How are they up there? I got your card today, in fact I am getting a card or two every day and it pleases me very much.

 

Gee but it is a swell night here to night. I am writing this in the Y.M.C.A. which accounts for the ink and pen. The nights are getting pretty cool now. I think I will go to church tomorrow. How is the talk machine. There is a fellow at the piano now playing all the raggy tunes, and say I couldnt try to say how it makes me feel. You can guess it better than I can explain it.

 

Tell Lena to sit right down at that piano now and play a rag and then a melody for me will you. I can hear it away down here on the Rio Grande “The Dauter of Mother Marchree”. He is playing this now and (I mean it when I say I am home sick again. Lena and I are going to be old pals when I get back, for I have found out that she is never out of my thoughts when I have the blues. I am always glad to hear from her. Have Pa write a line on a letter or post card that you send will you.

 

What is the latest song any way? Do you, or would you like to hear me sing it. Just as soon as I seem to get used to this life, some one sings a song plays a tune, and then it is all off. I am back home in the front room near the graphophone or piano. Well I can’t think of any more.

 

Sam

 

 © Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/18/1916

Well Lena

 

I guess this will develope into quite a letter at that. This sheet here is being written 18 hours later than the other one. Now my intentions of sending the other one as a letter was good but surcumstances that are bound to come up popped up and there you are. On the other page (which realy should be well on the way now) I spoke of a rain storm. Well my guess was right, only it wasnt timid. It broke just as I finish (this noted page) and then there was trouble. Regardless of the rain (that was coming down about as hard as was possible) we had to get our stuff together and beat it out here (which by the way is the furthest out post that is establish from this camp.) Say kid it was raining, and then it rained some more, and then some. Some stuff, what? Out side of this rain nothing happened. This sheet of paper was about the only thing that was dry, for I had it in my note book which is all that saved it. I dont know how my stuff is back at camp but I suppose it is in the same old condition again.

 

We were driven here in motor trucks which got hung up in the mud about ten times and we would all have to get off and push. When we got here we just stood where we were stationed and (Let er rain.) It cleared off fine towards morning and every thing we own is dry now. It is eleven oclock here now; in Boston it is nine.

 

We got our mess this morning at ten and it consisted of Rotten tea, Rotten oat meal and Rotten eggs. It was a fine feed to throw at a guy after such a night. You see they had to carry it by mule team (they dared not take a chance with the truck) to us, and that helped to make every thing Rotten. I wasn’t hungry anyway, but I would liked to have had a hot cup of coffee after such a night.

 

I spoke of the rain storms not being chilly down here. Well I am going to take it all back after last night. The change is very noticeable. I have a Cossack post (four men and myself) to cover a sector between boundary post #10 to 11. Water mellons and cantilopes all around us. Now as soon as I get an envelope I will mail this so don’t get nervous. I must not forget to tell you that I am feeling fine.

 

Sam

 

 © Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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