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.

Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/17/1916

Dear Lena

 

Just a line or two and that is all. We had another practice hike this morning but we didn’t have to carry our haversacks or extra bandaleers of amunition. We hiked about five miles, drilled, in extended order, exercise with and without rifles, and then hiked the five miles back again. It was soft work although some of the boys felt it, for we had to walk through a good deal of sand, mud, and railroad beds.

 

We are feeding from a field kitchen on which four companies are feeding now and we stood in line almost an hour befor we got a whack at the eats, which was corn chowder, corn starch pudding and rotten coffee. We had to attend school this afternoon, get our whole equipment changed for now, (and by the way, they are going to issue overcoats, for winter I suppose). I’m thinking of some thing, guess what it can be? I hope they think it is going to be cold in Boston very soon for I dont think we will use these coats down here until Nov. any way, and I hope we are not going to use them here.

 

We go on out post again tonight so dont expect a letter for two days, although I have done more writing while on out post than any where else. I will try to write and let you know how things are going. It looks like more rain tonight and if it does it is going to be tough. It is a sector we never covered before so we don’t know what we are going to run into. But rain, shine, strange land, or any thing else, we are there so why worry.

 

I got a card today, stating that you received that paper. What do you think of it? I think it looks like one of Mr. Hearst’s. Gee we hate to leave our camp, (which we will in about an hour) and hike away out there on that dreary border. All along the border, the two countries are separated by barb wire fences. About every hundred yards there is a monument, which we call posts. Well I have to close now, hoping that this finds you as Ive always hoped my others would. I am taking good care of my self, not altogether because I want to but because I have to, in order to be able to return in as good health as I left.

 

I guess I am loosing the art of writing again, for I havent answered half the letters I have received. Better days coming (Id like to know when.

 

Sam

 

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

From Em, Charlestown Mass. 8/16/1916

Dear Sam.

 

Received your letter and I glad to know you’re feeling good. I just sent a card ahead of this letter. The United Drug Co. (Liggetts) is having a big time up to Braves field next Wednesday night for the Mass. Volunteer Aid Association. There will be a band concert, fireworks and an aeroplane flight. The 1st Corps Cadets are going to have a night battle and drill. The employees are going to get free tickets so of cause I’ll have to be there. By the way the papers speak about it I guess it will be worth taking in. They are having their convention (that is the stockholders from all over the U.S. are coming to Boston) so they ought to make good. I guess Lena and Bert are going too.

 

Lill Studley is up in Maine on her vacation and I got a postcard from her today. The picture on the card is of the 5 & 10 cent store in Augusta. I’ve been in that store and I guess you have too. Isn’t funny that she should send me a card of a place Ive been. She is stopping at Winsorville (where ever that is).

 

There was a big fire down on the corner of Park and Henley Sts last night in a barn. 15 horses were burned to death and four were brought out but were so badly burned that they had to be shot. I guess the owner lost all his horses.

 

I was up to the band concert last night. They had another ice cream sale up there. There was an awful crowd up there. I am staying in tonight and Lena has gone out. Pa gets home at 9 o’clock so I’m staying in to get his supper. It is almost time for him now.

 

Well I guess I will have to close as this is all I can think of. There is class to your letter paper alright. Hoping this letter finds you well and just waking up from a nice long sleep I will close.

 

With Love from all

Em.

 

P.S. I just gave Pa his supper so my work for the day is done. Em.

 

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/16/1916

Dear Em,

 

Received your card and I am finding time right now to answer it. Gee we are hitting it pretty tough here now, for the rainy season has struck us. It is raining again now but not as hard as it did yesterday and Saturday night. Say when it does any thing weatherish down here it sertainly goes the limit. The storm Saturday leveled all of our tents and soaked everything we owned. Last nights storm flouded us out again but we managed to keep our cloths dry. We dug trenches around our tents so that the rain would collect in these instead of the tents. Some how the head of my cot got down in to this trench (which is about a foot deep and I felt pretty sore when I awoke in the morning. I have felt the effects of this all day, but I will get over that alright.

 

Some lumber came today for floors and some of the tents have them already laid. I havent. One thing about the rain here. It dosent have that dreary, cold, shivery effect that it has in N.E. I suppose it isnt the time of year for it to be so. You only have to walk about tent feet when you have got about twenty five pounds of this dope mud on your shoes. Talk about snow shoeing. We had electric lights installed today, and it makes it pretty comfortable. OH but the boys are getting sick of this hanging around just drilling, getting wet, drying out, getting sick, getting well, hearing that we are going home soon, and then hearing different. Yes this is a fine life almost. Now don’t think I am crying baby (for I picked my bed and I am going to lay in it.) I just want to tell you the true attitude of most of the boys. Today for instance after such a night, we drilled four hours in the morning. In the after noon, non comps school at one oclock, inspection of rifles (after the rain you know) at three, another non comps school, at Regimental Headq. at four, and Retreat at five. You know how mad I can get without saying anything. Well you can imagine my mood all day today. (Part of the game though) Do it and say nothing.

 

I am wondering right now Em if I have changed any. I hope so. We are feeding fine latly such as. Peas, frankforts, pigs feet, cabbage, roast beef, mashed potatoes, iced cocoa, (tapioca pudding) (yes but its awful to eat this and think of the kind Lena makes.) Sunday we had chicken soop, how does that sound? It sounds all right but oh get your glasses to find the rubber stuff they call chicken. But it did taste good beleive me and don’t think it didn’t. I wish I had a dish of Lena’s chicken soop now. Well what is the use of talking about eats. What we get taste very good to us and we are getting enough just now. We know we will break camp at this place soon for (someplace on the border) do you get the heading on this sheet. Some bull what?

 

Do you know Em there are some good things that we experience in the army, and it looks good (I know) to see them walking on parade, but they are well ofset by the hours that are spent, working, drilling, patience, attention and yes hardships that they go through. The papers may say how comfortable we are, but even for peace time, I know that war must be hell. The worste is yet to come for some of these poor fellows that are not quite as healthy as I am, but we will all give a good account of our selve and be a credit to the old Bay State and to Uncle Sam. And I can say right here, that where we are carrying 210 rounds of amunition the Michigan troops are carrying only five and they are doing no out post work at all. The Second Mass. Brigade is doing it all at Camp Cotton at least.

 

Well hoping this jumble of Bull finds you all well I remain
Sam

 

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

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From Em, Charlestown Mass. 8/14/1916

Dear Sam.

 

I just got your card and also Pa’s and Lena’s. That is some song and say don’t we wish you were here now. Lena likes to bake with her new gas stove and the oven is great but you know pa and I are poor eaters. You may not have to stay much longer and then we’ll see what Lena and her gas stove will do.

 

I see by the papers that you had a big storm down there. Did you have a wash hung out? If you did “Good Night Shirt.” Mary was here when I was reading your cards and she feels sorry for you cause you’re so busy. She sends her love and is waiting patiently for a letter. She can play Tipperary with one finger on the piano. She has your skin a mile. I took her over to the band concert in City Point yesterday. They have great music over there. They play all popular songs.

 

We had two showers yesterday and I got caught in one of them. We were on the front seat of a car and got soaked. Henry was over Sunday to dinner. He is feeling fine. Pa is feeling fine. He changes his watch tomorrow going to work at 10 and getting through at 8 at night. The kids are out here playing “hide & go seek” and making more noise than a whole army. Old George is out on the steps fighting with them. Its awful hard for me to write a letter because I never have anything to write about but I try and do the best I can.

 

We are all well and so is every one else I know. I am glad to know you are gaining, as it is better than getting any thinner. Well I have nothing else to write about now so I’ll have to say Amen. Hoping this letter finds you well I will close

 

With Love from all

Em.

 

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

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