Camp Cotton, Texas 9/8/1916

Dear Em.

 

I got your letter of the 1st but fail to hear whether or not you have received that check for 25 dollars I sent away back in Aug. I also got a post card from Bert and tell him I sure would like to be present at just such a party as it pictures. I didn’t get any mail from you this morning but trust Ill have better luck tonight.

 

All of the recruits caved at drill this morning and beleive me I pity them for the next week or so. We had a very easy drill this morning. The flies are not quite so dense now, and I think that we are getting the best of them. Jim Coyne drove by our company, and he hollered “Hello Sam” I forgot my self and yelled back “Hello Jim” I will probably go over and see him today or tomorrow.

 

Give my regards to every body and tell them Im still swimming, with my head above water. Cut me another slice of bread.

 

Sam

 

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

Somewhere on the Border, Texas 9/7/1916

Dear Em.

 

Here we are again, out on the drill hills, after a 24 hour tour of out post work. We got six more new recriuts from Framingham last night, but they are not drilling with us yet. I guess they don’t want to kill them so they are going to let them take it easy for a while. Im feeling fine. Some of the boys are sick, but they have to drill just the same. This is a place for well people only. All others are out of luck.

 

I got your letter yesterday stating that the band concerts are all over. Sounds like winter what? It is a nice cool morning and I hope it continues to be so all day. Tell Mary I send a big X.
I am still the same

 

Sam

 

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

Somewhere on the Border, Texas 9/6/1916

Dear Em,

 

Here we are again on out post. It is pretty cool today. The mornings here are fine. I am fine. We are eating pretty good now. Did you all get my card with the poem on it? Isnt this some card? I am glad Madge is better. But say Em did you receive that envelope with the check in it yet? It is about time it got there, for I sent it the first of last week. I am only sending this any way to let you know Im not sick.

 

Sam

 

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

The Day of the Soldier Boy, 1916

 

THE DAY OF THE SOLDIER BOY

 

WHEN it’s morning on the border, and the sun is breaking through,

And the sands begin to glisten like the good old home town dew,

I look across the river, and it makes me kind of blue,

When it’s morning on the border, Love, my thoughts go back to you.

 

WHEN the sun is in the heavens and the air is mighty hot,

And its hard to breathe and stifling, and my throat is dry as rot,

I’ve got to grin and bear it, I’ve got to see it through,

To make the burden lighter, Love, my thoughts go back to you.

 

WHEN the sun has passed the border, and the after-glow is red,

And the silver moon is shining on the silent desert bed,

I’m feeling kind of lonely like, I know you’re lonely too,

When the sun has passed the border, Love, my thoughts go back to you.

 

WHEN the greaser stops his sniping and skulking in the sand,

When the raider hies himself away beyond the Rio Grande,

And the “spick” doffs his sombrero to the old red, white and blue,

And its calm along the border, Love,  THEN I’LL COME BACK TO YOU.

 

 Segt. Wm. H. Barter, 5th Mass. Infy. El Paso – On the Border

 

(Editor’s Note: See Postal from Camp Cotton, Texas 9/5/1916)

 

Camp Cotton, Texas 9/5/1916

 

Dear Em,

 

It is Sunday and all is well along the Rio. Tomorrow is Labor Day and another day off.

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Mary,

 

I got your Mother Hubbard and the boys and I are much pleased with it. It is hanging in my (soldier house) all the time and I have all the boys kiss it every time they come in. Im not going to put any kisses on this card for it isnt big enough for the one Id give you.

 

Sam

 

Poem printed on the front of  both postcards:

THE DAY OF THE SOLDIER BOY

 

WHEN it’s morning on the border, and the sun is breaking through,

And the sands begin to glisten like the good old home town dew,

I look across the river, and it makes me kind of blue,

When it’s morning on the border, Love, my thoughts go back to you.

 

WHEN the sun is in the heavens and the air is mighty hot,

And its hard to breathe and stifling, and my throat is dry as rot,

I’ve got to grin and bear it, I’ve got to see it through,

To make the burden lighter, Love, my thoughts go back to you.

 

WHEN the sun has passed the border, and the after-glow is red,

And the silver moon is shining on the silent desert bed,

I’m feeling kind of lonely like, I know you’re lonely too,

When the sun has passed the border, Love, my thoughts go back to you.

 

WHEN the greaser stops his sniping and skulking in the sand,

When the raider hies himself away beyond the Rio Grande,

And the “spick” doffs his sombrero to the old red, white and blue,

And its calm along the border, Love,  THEN I’LL COME BACK TO YOU.

 

Segt. Wm. H. Barter, 5th Mass. Infy. El Paso – On the Border

(Copyright Applied For)

 

Dear Em,

 

On account of our camp being on gaurd yesterday and last night, we do not drill today but company M. & K. are elected to assemble the new arm wagons that have just arrived. We had a beautiful sun rise this morning, for we were up be for sun up. I think it is going to be pretty warm today. It is 6.45 now.

 

By what they say now, we are to start home some where around the 21st of Sept., stay at Framingham until the 12th of Oct. and parade in Boston on that date. All bull I suppose. Say did you get that letter yet? There is a little stumack trouble here in camp but that will soon pass. I am fine.

 

Sam

 

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

Watchful-Waiting, 1916

 

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

 

(Editor’s Note: See Postal from Camp Cotton, Texas 8/8/1916)

 

Hell In Texas, 1916

Here is a poem that just suited this place the first week I landed, but now I am beginning to change my mind in the opposite direction…

HELL IN TEXAS

The Devil in hell we’re told was chained,
And a thousand years he there remained.
He neither complained nor did he groan,
But determined to start a hell of his own.

Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being chained in a prison pen.
So he asked the Lord if he had on hand
Anything left when he made this land.

The Lord said, “Yes, I had plenty on hand,
But I left it down on the Rio Grande;
The fact is, “old boy,” the stuff is so poor,
I don’t think you can use it in hell any more.”

But the Devil went down to look at the truck,
And said if he took it as a gift he was stuck,
For after examining it carefully and well,
He concluded the place was too dry for a hell.

So in order to get it off His hand
The Lord promised the Devil to water the land,
For he had some water, or rather some dregs,
A regular cathartic and smelled like bad eggs.

Hence the trade was closed, the deed was given,
And the Lord went back to his home in Heaven;
The Devil said to himself, “I have all that is needed
To make a good hell,” and hence he succeeded.

He began by putting thorns all over the trees,
And mixed up the sand with millions of fleas;
He scattered tarantulas along the roads,
Put thorns on cactus, and horns on the toads.

He lengthened the horns of the Texas steers,
And put an addition to the rabbits’ ears;
He put a little devil in the broncho steed,
And poisoned the feet of the centipede.

The rattlesnake bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mosquito delights you with his buzzing wings;
The sand-burs prevail, and so do the ants,
And those who sit down need half-soles on their pants.

The Devil then said that throughout the land
He’d arrange to keep up the Devil’s own brand,
And all should be Mavericks unless they bore
Marks or scratches, of bites and thorns by the score.

The heat in the summer is one hundred and ten,
Too hot for the Devil and too hot for men;
The wild boar roams through the black chaparral;
‘Tis a hell of a place that he has for a hell.

By the Author of “Texas A Paradise”

 

(Editor’s Note: See Postal from Camp Cotton, Texas 8/1/1916)

 

I Wonder How The Table Looks At Home, 1916

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…

 

(Editor’s Note: See Postal while On Patrol, Texas 8/9/1916)

 

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

We’ll Hit The Trail For Villa, 1916

The regiment composed a song on the train which runs,

We’ll hit the trail for Villa

We’re Yankees through and through

We’ll show the sons of Mexico,

What the U.S.A. can do.

We come from Massachusetts,

Victory or die,

So give a grand old cheer boys

As the Eight goes marching by. Ra. Ra. Ra.

 

This is sung to the tune of “We’ll hit the line for Harvard.” Then the two Somerville companies follow it up with,

Soma, Soma, Somervilla

Panka, Panka, Panko Villa

Spanka, Spanka, Spanka Villa

We’ll beat him black and blue. Ra. Ra. Ra.

 

The whole battalion made a hit all the way down here with this song and I guess it is going to stick through out the regiment.

 

(Editor’s Note: See Letter from Camp Cotton, Texas 7/8/1916)

 

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

From Lena, Charlestown Mass. 9/11/1916

Dear Sam -

 

This is the end of another great day, nice and cool and the sun real warm. Mary and I went to the Thompson Squ. Theatre in the afternoon and after the show I could hardly drag Mary out. She is an awful movie fan. I suppose you are all waiting anxiously for the 21st to see what it will bring but perhaps as you say you better not raise your hopes too high.

 

Madge and John was up all day yesterday. Madge is getting along fine now. John had his violin with him and we had quite a concert. We are planning for another trip down to Nantasket although it is most too cold to go down. Madge thinks the trip will do her good because she has been feeling fine since our other trip.

 

Im glad you are feeling well but sorry to hear that some of the fellows have stomack trouble. Bert has it again but it must be tough in the Army where they cant get broths or any diet for it. We all received your cards with the poem on it Mary included. Every thing here is quiet, just as you say the same old thing every day nothing new.

 

I think after I get my wash in tomorrow Ill hang out your coat and suit. The air will do them good. Im starting some of my house cleaning but havent got very far yet for Im taking my time as I think it pays better in the end. I dont do much but after supper Im so tired I could fall right into bed. It’s the same way every night. Last night Madge and I went down to Mollies and at 8 o’clock I thought sure it must be 10 I was so tired and sleepy. I suppose you dont feel any too rested yourself at night time.

 

I dont know what you are going to do for a place at the table when you get home. Mary has had yours ever since she moved over here. You can imagine how much to home she is. Since the day before she moved over the only meal she has had in her own house is her breakfasts and she has been up here for that more than once. When she goes home in the evening I get lonesome for her but as I said before Im tired and go to bed. Mack was telling pa last Sat. that he dont see her for three days at a time. I dont know what we would do here for life without her.

 

Well how are the Mexicans behaving on the border. There isn’t much in the papers this week but I suppose you have enough to do just the same. I suppose just as you get ready to come home Villa will show up again. Of course you got my letter before now telling you I received the check and as I said in the letter I dont want you to be without money so when you are getting low in your funds let me know but you know it takes six days for your letters to come up now, it used to take three days and four at the most.

 

Now I know this is a dry letter but there is nothing new to tell about. There isn’t a sound on the street only the cars and it so quiet in the house you could hear a pin drop. Quite lively here, isn’t it? Now I guess Ill close and go to bed and I don’t think Ill lay long before I get to sleep its just 9 o’clock. Pa turned in long ago I bet he’s snoring now.

 

Dont work too hard and remember we are all waiting for the 21st as Mary says it (twenty oneth).

Love from all

Lena

 

 

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

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