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.

From the Shop, Boston Mass. 9/6/1916

Dear Sam,

 

On my return this morning from a little over two weeks vacation up in New Hampshire I found your postal which is dated in El Paso on Aug. 21st, hence you will see why the answer is delayed so long.

 

I was very glad to get your card but have heard about you right along so knew you were getting along first rate. Also, let me congratulate you on your promotion. As I understand it you are in reality a fourth sergeant as the first duty sergeant is the second sergeant of the company. I may be wrong about this but what difference does that make as long as you are coming along all right.

 

Everything is about the same around the store except that at times we are not very busy. I don’t know of any new faces and the only one who has left since you went away is Benson. He left the latter part of July to work up in Manchester, N.H. About a week after he left we got a notice that he was married. They’re all hitching up except you and I and I guess we are doomed to be old maids.

 

I see Jimmy Mellor once in a while and he seems to be getting along. Our bath room sink stopped up while I was away and Jim came to fix it. After he got through he told my mother that it would not stop up again if Walter and I would stop washing our feet in the bowl.

 

While up in the country I put on a little weight and now when I get on the scales they say 139. That is not very heavy for a fellow of my height but you will appreciate that it is pretty good for me.

 

I understand by the papers that you ought to be home sometime after the first of October and I shall be very glad to see you. That will make four months in the open and I suppose you have gotten fat and browned up so we will find it hard work to know you. Living in the open must be doing you good and I am glad to learn that you are feeling so fine.

 

I was mighty glad to get your card and would like to hear from you again. I remain,

 

Sincerely your friend,

 

Fred.

 

P.S. How many greasers have you put away and how many rattle snakes have you killed for the skins. I see by the papers that some of the boys are making a few extra dollars selling the skins for belts etc. When you get back you won’t know how to appreciate a little hot weather. It will probably be so cool here.

 

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 9/4/1916

Envelope Art

Dear Em.

 

Well here it is Labor Day and although the day is given over to sports, and it has all the appearences of a holiday it is dead. There is no one entered from our company in any of the events for half the company is on gaurd, and most of what is left is working on the mess hall cinder pile or some of the other details. I happen to be a man of leisure today and I am dressed up to kill, you know, just as Id look if it was Saturday Night and I had some jingle in my kick. Talk about a long rest.

 

Saturday was and all ways is inpection day. We have to get up the same time (5.20) Saturday mornings as we do every other only all we have to do is fall in for reveille at (5.30) eat at six, fall in for full field equipment inpection which includes, the shoes we have on, the uniform we have on, personal cleanliness, rifle, bayonet, and the checking up of our ammunition which is in our field belt all the time (100 rounds). When this is all inpected by the inpecting officer and he is very sharp in noting any one that is dirty, we are inspected in quarters. (By the way our company was restricted from pass for 24 hour last Saturday because a few of the men had dirty underwear on.)

 

I suppose you have read that we have been issued identification tags. Well these are tied to a piece of white tape and hung around the neck. It is the hardest job to keep these clean. I wash mine every day (Keep your neck clean).

These tags look like this. The tags are just as big as this for I made this by drawing it around the one I carry about my neck all the time. My number, which is #7 is on the back. I am getting away from our Saturday work. After the inpection of our rifles, necks bayonets etc. We are then sent to our tents to arrange our field pack in which we carry and which is layed on our cots so that the inpecting officer can see every thing at a glance, 1 shelter half, 1 ponchow, 1 poll, five pins, 1 blanket, 1 mess out fit, 1 suit of under wear, two pairs of socks, 1 comb 1 tooth brush, 1 towel, a condiment can and nothing else. These articles are done up in this new packs, (the rolls are done away with) and strapped to our backs. It is a great deal more comfortable than those old things we used to go to camp with. Well when this pack is inspected our surplus kit bundle is examined. This is a bundle that is all ways done up for emergency to throw right on the team. It includes a pair of shoes an o.d. shirt, pair of pants, two pairs of socks, a suit of under wear and a pair of shoe strings, and our names where it can be plainly seen. Inspection of feet and quarters comes next and by that time it is time to eat. The rest of the day we have to ourselves.

 

Sunday we have mess at half pass seven and if you dont want to get up to get it you can sleep, but go with out. If I was home Id go with out I guess. Sundays are mostly devoted to washing clothes. This morning being a holiday for all those not on guard, we didn’t get up until 7.15. Soft, soft, yes too soft, for tomorrow we will be at it again. I can hear them over on the parade ground (which there was a lot of hard work done to make it so.) I can hear them cheering for whoever is in the lead. It is just such a day that you Lena and Bert experienced the day you visited me at Lynnfield. They have carried two fellows in on a stretcher already who couldn’t stand the strain of trying to run down here like they can up there, in an altogether different climate. It dosent seem very hot today either, but oh the flies. I bet there are a hundred flies on me now. If ever I go insane, you can lay it to the flies in Texas. I never was a saint on swering but I bet these flies have given me a fixed habit. We washed out the floor of our tent this morning and every thing is as bright as a nice new ten dollar gold peice, but the flies spoil it all. I will be very pleased with Mary’s picture. The doily she sent is pinned right over my head right now as I write this letter.

 

I am very glad to hear that Madge is feeling so good. I can imagine Pa kidding Mary and also Pa laughing. As for Harper he was to come with us. Give all the people my best regards. You hear we are having dancing down here do you. Well dont for a minute think that we inlisted men have any thing to do with this. These dances are for the officers if you please, and they take place when we are supposed to be in bed. (After taps)

 

The other night the 8th ran a show the name of which was, The Time, The Place, and The Girl. Although I wasnt there, for I was acting 1st Sergeant they say it was very good. Well Ive got to get up and shake my self and see if I can get rid of some of these flies. For a military camp, it is unbeleivable to any one that doesn’t see the billions and billions of these pests. There is a regimental order for every man to make a swatter and swat the fly. I bet I killed 10,000 last night, probably less you know but that is a good guess. Well it wont always last so cheer up and we will all be happy.

 

Yours
Sam

 

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 9/3/1916

Dear Em

 

Well it looks now as though we will leave here for some where in the U.S. Every thing is being fixed up good here and I suppose next week when it is all fixed up in tip top shape we will be kicked out, do you get it (kick out).

 

Id just as leave be the first one in line and get the hardest kick when they start. I will say that I like it a great deal more now than ever before, but, well (nuf sed).

 

I am acting First Serg. of the company tomorrow. Things are sliding very smooth now, and I am fine

 

Sam

 

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 9/1/1916

Dear Lena.

 

Was down town last night and had something to eat. Great. I bought a few (30) of these cards, for I find they are handy. A few words often, is appreciated more than a book very seldom. How do you like it? Say but it was cold when I woke up this morning. An overcoat would have come in handy. It is pretty cool yet 10.30. If rumor was money we would all return with a fortune, for there is a new one every minute. They say now that we will be on the move by the 15th in complience with the Old Dix law. I may not be any stouter when I get home, but say kid Im going to be there.

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Pa.

 

I geuss it is about time for me to write you a line. Hows a kid? So am I. The 9th is back at Camp Cotton again and I guess the Mich. Bunch is to do some of this work now. Its about time. How is Bills son making out. It would be like hunting for a needle in hay now, (OH for two weeks on the old farm) to find him but Id like to know just where he is and, I probably look him up. The girls tell me things are running pretty smooth back there, and I can assure you Pa that every think is just the same with me here. Some (well yes I will say) quit a few of the boys are in duch most of the time but you can realize that thats only natural.

 

Sam.

 

 

Dear Em

 

Just think, here it is Sept. How the time is flying latly. Well Em here we are on this morning out working out a problem in attack. Two privates, a corp. and my self are out about 1800 yard from the rest of the Battalion, and we are representing a front of three com. of an enemy. The point has just reached us and the advance party is advancing now. You know I like to write while on the field. Please forgive me for not writing yesterday for it was a very busy day, and beleive me I am glad the field inspection is over. I am fine. Gee Ill have to get back to the nack of writing again. Have you received my picture and that envelope yet? If not let me know. it is about time you did.

 

Love to all,

Sam

  

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/31/1916

Dear Em,

 

Through some misunderstanding I have only received four of these (pictures). They were taken for the War Dept. and if you look very close you will see my number which is #300. Sorry I can’t send more so that some of the rest can’t have any. The inspection was put off until tomorrow on account of this rain.

 

Best wishes for all
Sam.

 

P.S. Our time for going home looks very dark to date.

 

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/30/1916

Dear Lena

 

I said on a post card that I sent yesterday that I thought the rainy season was over but as usual Im wrong. It started raining last night, it has rained off and on all night, and it is still raining. The whole camp is a regular river of mud again. The mail service is sertainly on the bum latly. We are to be inspected again today. Some day for it. I am feeling fine and I hope you are all the same. Did you get that letter I sent.

 

Sam

 

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

Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/29/1916

Dear Lena,

 

I had this check all enclosed sealed addressed and the stamp on it, but I though as long as I have to stay on an other hour that I would write a letter. (Be a sport you know. I am sergeant of the gaurd for twenty four hours. This is not outpost, but interior gaurd. We have ninteen prisoners, two of which are bad ones. It is a shame the way some of these fellows carry on. For instance one fellow was brought in a few minutes ago with his left hand in a sling. He has been missing for three days, the Lord only knows where he has been. Another fellow was brought in at nine oclock with the jimmies and we had an awful time to get him quited down. I know I should not mention these instances, but they give you an idea what the Gaurd has to put up with, and also a chance to write some kind of a letter.

 

I guess you have received those post cards, (that speaks of the drill we were to be checked up on this morning,) by this time and I want to say that as far as I can make out, (I dont thing I was looking crooked either) we got a very good mark. It is half past one A.M. now, and I turn in for a nap at two thirty, so you see I am both writing a letter and keeping awake in doing so. (You know that saying Hay while the moon is bright) I hope it is as cool there tonight as it is here, but I hope you can use it for more sleep than I am to get. Cheer up, we are off tomorrow afternoon and night. May be.

 

I wish you, Pa, and Em could see me writing this letter. Here I am sitting on a roughly constructed chair, and a very roughly constructed d-e-s-k. I thought Id spell it out so that you would know I wasn’t kidding. Well on this desk sits a lantern, that throws a very good light. Up in front of me lays my gaurd roster, special orders, sick report book, and a watch (oh no not mine). Out side of my two elbows, the for finger of my left hand, the tip end of this pencil, and my beautiful blue eyes, there is nothing else ornamenting it. Laying at my right is the officer of the gaurd (my right hand man you see. I have him pretty handy. If he saw this I would probably be put in the prissy tent where these poor fellows are waiting trial. It would put you in mind of Cival War days, I think if you were here now. Out side on both sides of the tents walk two sentinels. Every two hours the gaurd is changed. OH it’s a gay life, as Harry Lauder would say in the wee small hours of the morning.

 

There is a faint dreary call of the sentinal on post #6, for the corporal of the gaurd, and as I write it, it is being repeated back through the chain of sentinals until now it has reached the man on #1 post and the corporal has started out to see what the matter is. Another prisoner for us to take care of, (this makes twenty. Trying to get into camp with out pass. We have to do it. Well this little event has past, my time to turn in is here and I will simply put this in an envelope and mail it in the morning, (that is when I wake up, for it is half past two now.

 

I am sending 25 days pay home, for I know if I keep it (well I won’t that’s all. Indorse it on the back just as it is made out, as Helena Avery.

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Em.

 

You may talk about it being hot, but beleive me it is some hot here today. After the last two days of pretty cool weather we feel this hot spell. The sun just beats down and seems to burn up every thing. I guess the rainy season is over, and a few drops of rain wouldnt hurt anything right now. Remember, Im not wishing for it to rain, for it can’t do any thing down here unless it is over done.

 

Did Lena get my letter? I cant figure out now how I did it.

 

Sam

 

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

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.

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