Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/12/1916

Dear Em.

 

Well what do you think of this for class. It is some paper that that girl friend of mine sent down, although Ive lectured to her about sending stuff away down here as much as I have to you. We are just about all played out. I sent a postal saying how much hiking, under the conditions, but that didnt end it. No sooner had I mail three postals than all us non comps were taken about three miles from camp, and hiked over the ground we are now gaurding and patrolling. We started back to camp at five oclock, ate some grub and rolled up our roll and hit for this out gaurd. I was with the captain all night patrolling around, and I didn’t get a chance to sit down once until 2 oclock this morning, and the first thing I knew we were both asleep. One of the sentrys woke us up, and off we were again. He said “Come on Sam lets get walking so we wont fall asleep. We’ll walk around just once more and see that everything is all right before we turn in.” Well I hit the ground at about four oclock and was up again a five, so you can see the loss of sleep that we have gone through in the last 24 hours. I can just write this letter and I hope I finish it before I fall asleep, for if I don’t write and get this off to you today, the Lord only knows what time you will get it.

 

I didn’t know just where I was laying down this morning if I had noticed this, I wouldn’t have woke up this morning (an hour after I layd down) feeling as though some one was sticking a bayonet into my back and every bone in my body acking. I was laying right on a rock with out noticing it. Im feeling fine now, but gee wouldn’t I like to have a 36 hour sleep. (Part of the game.)

 

There wasn’t a shot fired from our men last night which speaks very good for us. Company K is covering a distance of about 1 ½ miles which makes it very hard for the men to get any sleep. This would be all right if it only lasted for about three or four days, but where we have been doing this duty for the last month it gets pretty tiersome. Of coarse I didnt expect a picnic down here any way so what is the use of my telling all this. Ive got to dig up some thing to fill this letter up now that Ive started it.

 

There is one good thing about writing this letter and that is, perfect quite. Every one that is not on now are fast asleep and if I don’t make the rounds again pretty soon, I guess they will be asleep on gaurd. This is a good job when you get used to it, but we will never get used to it. The flies are after me again and it is all a man can do to keep one hand writing and brush flies off and the other to hold this paper on my knee. I hope this finds you all well for it sertainly is leaving me that way. When I get a good bath and sleep I will feel like running over into Mexico and licking the whole Mexican Army.

 

Tell the rest of the folks that Ill write when I get a chance, and no one wants that chance any more than I do. I guess I’ll wake up the corporal now and pound my ear for a couple of hours if the flies will let me. But I am so near asleep now that I guess Ill beat them to it.

 

With love,
Sam

 

 

Dear Lena,

 

I have had a little nap and some eats and I feel a little better. We have just had a very hard rain, which lasted about ten minute. It sure did come down for a while and now it is hotter than ever. It is funny what a little sleep and feed will do for a fellow. I received both yours and Em’s post card, and I hope that the range will lessen your work considerable. I don’t doubt but what 17 people have caved in and it is too bad. Em writes that every thing is O.K. which sounds good to me. We have about five fellows at the hospital now, and two more to go very soon I think. Em asks how the washing is. Well I dont blame her for I guess that is about all some of my letters consist of. I fell asleep three time writing the letter you have just about received and I hope you can make out what it says. The card you sent was very fitting and proper, the one about the blue bird. Tell me in your next if you can read these postals. If not I will write larger.

 

Sam

 

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

Published in: on July 20, 2008 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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From Em, Charlestown Mass. 8/11/1916

Dear Sam.

 

Your three cards were recieved today. I didn’t send any mail yesterday but it was the first day I missed. Henry was here fixing the pipe. He can only work by daylight and thats why its taking him so long. I guess he finish his job tonight. He was here this morning at a quarter of six and had breakfast with Lena and I.

 

These last couple of days its been real cool. Mary was up to supper last night and pa was trying to kid her. She said something about Leonard and he said, “Is he as big as I be,” and she said “I don’t know I never saw I be.” You can’t fool her. Napolean is getting his house painted. Here is no news as everything is the same.

 

Bert is fine and working every day and so is Pa. There was no ice cream sale up the band concert last Tues. night. The week before they made 16 Dollars so the papers said. Henry has just finish his job. Now we have our gas stove. Lena is cooking Henry’s supper on it now. This letter is all Henry this and Henry that. Well he’s a good old scout.

 

We have the gas stove over where the little table was and we’re giving the table to Molly. I hope you’ll be able to read this, I’m using a bum pencil. You say you have no time to write and I have lots of time to write but nothing to write about. Of course you know Charlestown is a dead place anyway.

 

I’m sorry I cant write any more but will as soon as I can find some news. Madge is feeling pretty good. Hoping this letter finds you well I will close

 

With Love from all.

Em.

 

P.S. Henry sends his regards.

 

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/11/1916

Dear Em,

 

I received your letter and was very glad to hear that you got the medals and pictures. We have just come in from an awful grind, hiking 10 miles. We had 210 rounds of ammunition, round abouts, rifles, haversacks, with mess kit and every thing that belong with it, and a canteen full of water. We past a battalion of Mich troops, and all they had on was round abouts, with 100 rounds of amunition and canteen, rifles. It was the hardest hike I have ever experienced in all my time in the Militia, and I don’t think it will be the last nor any easier than we will get from now on. I told you that we dont sweat down here. Well you would think that we had all been swimming with all our cloths on. We went through sand, and it was so thick that I couldnt see one quarter of the company. You can imagine how we look, sweating so and all this dust settling on your face and hands. (All in the game) We all just flopped on reaching our tents. The day I was in town, I found that I had gained 10 pounds, but I bet I lost all that and then some this morning. Give my regards to Henry, Mary and all the rest. No I never have my washing done although I am at it all the time. I wish I could fill this postal up but I can’t think of anything.

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Lena,

 

You all say its hot up there, well beleive me, this has been the worse day for heat that I have ever seen. I suppose it is the result of what they put us throug this morning. We all were beginning to think that we were getting along fine as far as the heat and drilling was conserned, but (oh my,) you would think to see us all now that we had just got here. Now you folks may be trying to dope out why I am sending so many postals. You see I bought 25 of them the last time I was in El Paso, and all I have to do is pull one out of my pocket and jolt down a few words, address it and that is all there is to it. I should be writing a letter now but I dont like to leave the tent, and these are all I have for writing material. There is all the paper and envelopes we want at the Y.M.C.A. but I am too hot and lazy to move from where I now am. I just got a postal from Mary Higgins and she wants to know why I dont answer her letter, so you see Im not writing all I should, although it seems as though every time I get a chance I am scribbling a letter or a card to some one. I am all tanned up (so they say) and I’m in the best of health. Im following out that saying that Pa have you send me on that post card. Cut me up a couple of slices of bread.

 

Sam

 

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

Published in: on July 20, 2008 at 12:02 pm  Comments (1)  
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Camp Cotton, Texas 8/10/1916

Dear Em

 

Well you see, you never can tell any thing about what you are going to do next in the army. We were told last night while on outpost, that we were to leave in the morning. So here we are at Camp Cotton and this after noon we had one of those famous sand storms. Im hungry all the time now and we dont get enough to eat, for we are eating from what they call the field kitchen. It is a kitchen on wheels, and every thing we eat is cooked on it. There is a battalion (4 companys) to feed on this, and Im beginning to wish I was a Mess Sargeant. Outside of this, I am in the best of spirits, and am pleased to hear you are all well. I got Mary’s letter and was much pleased with it. I am glad that pa has some one to get his tonic. I wish it would rain just a little. Im going to take a bath. Wash your neck now.

 

Sam

 

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

Published in: on July 20, 2008 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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From Em, Charlestown Mass. 8/9/1916

Dear Sam.

 

Henry came over to supper last night and he is putting in some gas pipe for our gas stove. Uncle Al was here so he couldn’t do much. It was awful hot here anyway. It is raining tonight and awful cold. Some change. I went to the band concert and left them here. When I cam home what do you suppose Lena told me? It seems that Henry was out in the kitchen and Lena gave him a B. of beer. Bert was here at the time as he bought the treat. Pa and Al was in the parlor. Pa said in fooling to Al “Im going out in the kitchen and have some beer with the boys why don’t you join us.” And Al said, “Guess I will I feel kind of dry.” And they open a bottle for him and he drank it all just like an old timer. Now what do you know about that? He said it was the first he had for 12 years. Lena said when he was going home he banged into the door. Just look at all the fun your missing.

 

Bert and Henry are great old friends that is you would think so if you heard them talking. Henry was to come over tonight but I guess he got stuck on an outside job. Remember how we use to sit in a corner and laugh at him and the faces I used to make at him when he wasn’t looking. Those was the happy day, ha Sam. I gave him one of your pictures, also Madge and Molly.

 

Madge is feeling pretty good and every one else is O.K. I am glad Norman wrote to you but I haven’t seen him since. The band was swell last night but it seems to be punk every other night. Well if your coming home for the World Series you can stand in line all night and be ready for the game. You seem to be broke in on that line, owing to your 24 hr. patrol.

 

Well this is all I can think of now. I just had to tell you how your Uncle is raising Cain. Hoping this letter finds you well and your washing all hung out, I will close.

 

With Love from all.

Em.

 

P.S. Mary sends her love and lots of kisses.

 

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

On Patrol Along the Rio Grande, 8/9/1916

Dear Em,

 

Well I got rid of the Mess Sergeant’s job, and Im out again on the brick yard. The boys are sure getting sick of this stuff and are all longing for the rattlers to start for home.

     I wonder how the table looks
          at home
     I wonder if they miss me while
          I roam
     I wonder how it feels, to sit
          down to three square meals
     While we are here just starving
          all along
     I can see the steaks and
          chickens coming in.
     I can see the fried potatoes
          thick and thin.
     I can hear my mother say
          Boys what will you have today
     I wonder how the table
          looks at home.

This is one of many that are sung every night before taps. These cards are all dirty but I can’t help it. We don’t know any more about when we will go home now, that we ever did.

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Lena,

 

Im out here in the brick yards, (as I told Em,) dirty and sweaty, but feeling fine other wise. I wish you would try and make it right with all the folks I should be writing to, and say that I am pretty busy latly. We were out this morning drilling in the hills, and beleive me I was all in once, after climbing a hill with 210 rounds of amunition, rifle, round about, boyonet, wire cutters and a canteen of water. When I first came down here I didnt know it would be possible to climbe some of the hills we are climbing with the stuff we have to wear. I was in town yesterday and I weighed 150 lbs. being a gain of 10 pounds. I bet I pulled 5 lbs. off this morning.

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Pa.

 

It is just night fall and I am going to use up what little light there is left to say. My men and I are out here just across the Rio Grande River, opposite a town called Smeltertown. It gets its name from the largest smeltering plant in the country. When they dump the hot refuse out over the bank, it lights up every thing for almost a mile around. It looks like a river of fire as this stuff is cast off of the trains that they have for this work. Then up the road (or river) aways there is a large cement plant running all the time. We go to sleep by the noise of these machines.

 

Sam

 

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

Published in: on July 20, 2008 at 9:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Postcard from El Paso, 8/8/1916

Dear Em,

 

I am in Town today and on seeing this card I thought I would get a few and send you one. I am fine. Getting a lot to eat, for you know I am mess sergeant now. I hope you will be satisfied with this instead of a letter.

 

Sam 

 

 

 

 

Poem printed on the front of postcard

WATCHFUL-WAITING

The Germans have their “Wacht am Rhein,” the English play “God Save the King,”
The Frenchmen sing their “Marseillaise,” while Russians chant their National Hymn.
Our Spirit shuns this war-like ring; peace breathes in what we proudly sing.

THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER

Oh! long may it wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

By these colors we stand ever true,

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue.

 

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

Published in: on July 20, 2008 at 8:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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