Camp Merritt, New Jersey 5/8/1918

May 8, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

I was rather surprised to receive three letters from Mother this morning. One of them was due here a couple of days ago. It probably was delayed somewhere. Aunt Louise also favored me with a letter. I am sorry that I will be unable to see her at all. I will not even get a chance to telephone her now.

We expect to leave here tonight. Our bags are packed and have gone ahead. We will leave about two or three in the morning and will board the boat at ten tomorrow morning. The boat is liable to leave any time in the next two or three days. We found from some sailors we met in New York that the Vaterland is in port and is due to sail about Friday. We may be fortunate enough to get her. She is the largest boat in the transport service. There are a lot of soldiers going from here so I imagine we will need a good sized boat.

Some of the boys seem to be a bit blue about going. When it comes right down to it, it is not very easy, I will admit, but I know that it is harder for those at home than it is for us. I don’t think any of the men are afraid for anything that might happen to them, it is just the thoughts of leaving everybody and causing them the worry and pain that we know it does. Some men have nobody that they are leaving and some have drifted away from their home folks, so for them it is a comparatively easy matter.

If the weather stays like this for a couple of weeks we will have a fine voyage. We don’t know where or how we are going. We are taking enough rations for five weeks but that is just a precaution. When we get on the boat we will address postal cards and they will be forwarded to you as soon as the gov’t gets word by cable that our boat has arrived.

As I told you before, don’t worry about me. As long as you don’t hear from me you will know that I am all right. When any accident happens the gov’t gets word to the relatives immediately. Travel by sea is perfectly safe now. Possibly more so than in peace time.

Received the magazine today and am glad to have that to read on the trip. We can carry nothing of that kind with us. All we have with us is what we can carry in our little ration bags, our big barrack bags go in the hold and we don’t get those until we are located on the other side.

I will send my extra stuff home tonight. When I packed today I cleaned house and found a few things I will not need for a little while. I am still not sure about my violin. I will find out at the embarkation headquarters.

Well, I haven’t very much to say. I hope that it will not be so very long before we can be together again. I hope that when I come back I will find you both well and I hope that all goes well with you while I am away. I have no fears for myself at all and want you to feel the same way about it.

I must close now, sending lots of love to both of you.

Your son,

Joe

© Copyright 2014 by Alice Kitchin Enichen, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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