Camp Cotton, Texas 8/7/1916

Dear Em,

 

Forgive me for not writing yesterday, and the day before, I guess, for I am acting Mess Sergeant now and being a new man at this kind of business, it takes about all my time to catch on. You see the First Sergeant was reduced to the rank of duty sergeant, and our Mess sergeant was put in his place, and I was told by the Captain to act as Mess Sergeant until further notice. I hope he appointes some one else for I want to drill and keep up in the military end of it as long as I am in the game. The Mess serg. stays in the kitchen all the time and sees that the men get enough to eat and what they get is good.

 

Sam

 

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

Published in: on July 19, 2008 at 8:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Camp Cotton, Texas 8/5/1916

Dear Em,

 

This is inpection day. Every single thing we own is spread out and it has to be just so. You speak of receiving a souviner. Now I sent two, that is, two pins. I wish you would let me know what you mean by say only one souviner for I hope that both of the pins that I sent was received by you. I am feeling the same as usual, and hope all you dear folks at home are well and standing up under the Terrific weather. I see that the Red Sox are in first place. I am going to be there for the Big Series.

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Lena

 

To continue the postal that I sent Em, I wish to inform you that as far as I can make out we are to stay here for one week more and then hit for Galveston after that? This outpost work is getting to be very important, for we have to be on the alert at all times. We can never tell when the Spicks will pick one of us off, or rush one of our out gaurds, and as we non comps are in charge of these men and posts, it makes our work more important than you can imagine. (Adious)

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Pa,

 

You will see this (the three postals) is nothing but a letter addressed to the family. I suppose you got enough traveling in your vacation, and I bet you can imagine the monoteny we went through in getting away down here. Of coarse it will not be so bad going back. We were talking to an old fellow yesterday who is 101 years old. He said he came from N.E. 80 years ago and adds that this is the best country God ever made and that he wouldn’t go back to N.E. for a million. He was never sick in his life and works his ranch every day. He is going to live 50 years longer.

 

Sam

 

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

Published in: on July 19, 2008 at 8:39 am  Comments (1)  
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From Em, Charlestown Mass. 8/3/1916

Dear Sam.

 

Received your postcard. All you seem to be doing lately is washing. When you come home you’ll put the wet wash out of bussiness. Lena and Bert went to Nantasket Beach today and Pa and I just got through supper. I am saving all the mail I get from you and if you save all you get and send it home there’ll be some fun reading it over when you get back. When ever that is.

 

Molly likes her new tenement first rate. Mary came up yesterday to ask Brother Bert, as she calls him, down to her house for dinner. She is the limit. Molly is going to give Lena her gas stove because there was one in her tenement. Some class. Madge is about the same. Mary told me today that John and Anna got a card from you. I am going down there this evening to see how Madge is. The Hollands got your letter yesterday. I showed your souvernier in the shop today and all the girls liked it. It seems funny to them that I should hear from you most every day and all they get is about 1 letter a week. I guess they are all jealous. The password now is, “Did you get a letter last night?” My answer is always yes, and they say, “Gee I didn’t.” I beat them all, thanks to you.

 

Pa is feeling fine and is looking good too. We still play the machine but the same old records. We haven’t bought one since you’ve been gone. Henry’s favorite is that Hawaiian Hotel. When he comes over he plays it over and over. I played my harmonic for him last Sun. and he was surprised to hear me play so good. He said Lena had the piano and I played the harmonic and you had the graphonola and then he asked pa what he did and pa told him he was the Major.

 

Well I wrote more than I thought I was going to. I must close as I want to see Madge. I hope this letter finds you well and cheerful. We are all fine and send our love. Amen.

 

With Love from all

The Kid.

 

P.S. Don’t forget to wash your neck as well as your clothes.

 

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

 

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/4/1916

Dear Em,

 

Just received your letter of the 30th and am glad to hear that Nora is getting chummy. I can see where Henry made the mistake of not addressing it properly for if you saw some of the mail that comes to us, which should be sent to the Michigan or New York Troops you would think that some people didn’t know who or where they are sending their mail. I was glad to hear that Pa had such a good time but I am sorry that his vacation is over. I got a letter from Norman Renney, and I thank you for making this possible.

 

Just ended a very busy 24 hours and I am all tierd out. I will send Mary some mail soon. Glad to hear from Lillian through you. Am in good health.

 

Sam

 

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

Published in: on July 18, 2008 at 6:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Camp Cotton, Texas 8/3/1916

Dear Em

 

Im not going to write very much this time, only to say that I got the post card of the West Pointers and I sent six very poor pictures of myself home this morning. I didn’t send them home for any feature effect for I never knew what it was to take one. But it shows that I am not getting any slimmer and surly I am not getting weaker. So much for the pictures. I want you to distribute the pictures aroung as you see fit, that is if they are good enough to be acceptable, and to tell the truth I don’t think so, but as I said before I am only sending them to show you the wonderful condition I am in. I feel good all the time, take a shower bath and change my under cloth every day, and change and wash the uniform every other day. I, (well as far as that goes we all do) wash every thing myself. I know you will say, gee there he goes again telling about the clothes I wash, but you can see by this that there is absolutly nothing interesting to write about, and I want to write a letter, fill it with something and send it on its long journey.

 

I am on interior gaurd today being both commander and sargeant of same. The lieutenant, who should be on the job as officer of such has been detailed to some other part of the camp and that leaves me to hold down both his and my own job. This gaurd is to protect the camp and prevent inlisted men from leaving or entering with out a pass. It is the softest job I’ve struck yet, for we eat in camp instead of grab and take, like what is done on outpost. But I will be back at Number 1 out gaurd tomorrow, and then I’ll appreciate the twenty four hour job I am on now even more.

 

Now I hope I have not disappointed you in not sending you a longer letter, and for not saying something in the short one I have written. Well never mind it wont be long before I will be telling you all about it. Ill be better able to sling the bull when I get home than I am now.

 

Samuel

 

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

Published in: on July 18, 2008 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Camp Cotton & El Paso, Texas 8/2/1916

Dear Em.

 

I have been out here on this new post, from which I wrote and sent Lena’s letter, since yesterday, and therefore I have not received any mail since sending it. But I expect to find some waiting for me when we go back this noon. You see we leave camp at eleven thirty one day and get back at about twelve the next. That gives us twenty four hours in camp and twenty four on out post. I have just discovered some important information on this post that I hope will be to my credit.

 

Right near this post is a hut painted green, in which Madero, made his headquarters. Now just beyond this hut, there is a white hut which was visited this morning by a Mexican officer and his orderly, (By the way these two huts are in Mexico and are not more than tree hundred yards from my out post.) I also discovered that this house was guarded by four Mexicans between one oclock and up until the time of the Officer’s visit. Now this green hut that I mentioned is where Madero started the revolution against Diaz, and I think there is a plot being hatched now to form another faction. The hut is on a trail leading to Jauarez. It may not amount to any thing but I have to report it any way, and it will show the commanding officer that I am on the job in gaining this information.

 

Probably the next time I get a chance to write will be when I am out again at the tunnel, cross roads or the trestle bridge. I havent had five minutes liberty since reaching this camp, but I am going to make one grand stab at getting to town this after noon. Of coarse this will only put me back a half a day, for I’ll have a uniform, a set of under wear, socks and other things to clean. But we are never caught up in this game so I should worry. This isn’t saying I am going to get off, for four more recruits have just arrived and that will mean more work for (yours truly) but there is nothing like trying. The best of this life is, “Take what comes to you and say nothing.” You all know how hard it is for me to do this. Some times it seems as though I am the only guy in the whole camp, but the Good Book says “Every thing comes to him who waits.” Gee, but it seems that the end of the mouth never comes.

 

Please make it plain to all the Cousins and Aunts that have been so good as to write to me, that all the time I have latly isnt even mine, and that all I do steal, I cannot sacrifice for my letters home to You, Lena, & Pa. Give my regards to every one and tell them that Sam is the same and is going to remain so.

 

Yours Samuel.

 

P.S. I forgot to thank Lena for the stamp she sent, and they did come in handy for it took all I had left to send that small package. It seems too bad to waste this sheet of paper but the releif is expected any time now, when we go back for some eats. Let me say right now that as far as I am concerned, there is no kick from my side of the bed as far as the eats are concerned. But cut all jokes and bull out of it, I sure would like to sit down there with you now and eat a good square meal, which only Lena can put out, (to my liking) and listen (Say Em get me another glass of water will you, and let the water run awhile.

 

I thought I was going to cut this letter short, but here I am going a mile a minute. But who can help it. I think if I was much of a hand at writing you would get news in book form with plenty of illustrations. Well I’ll have to cut it right now and get ready to march back home. Tell me how Pa enjoyed himself, and a few words from that little trump Mary will be gladly accepted. I close now with all my thoughts centered at 297 B.H. St. Id like to send you a picture but it seems to be a forgotten art in this part of this U.S.

 

Sam

 

 

Dear Em.

 

Well here I am in the big town, and say what do you think of the ink. I guess the old pencil is the best after all what? I just got a hair cut and shave and also my picture taken. I might just as well add that I got ahold of a bum pen too. I am writing this in the Post Office, where I bought 24 one cent stamps, and 25 of these post cards. I just sent you a letter this morning, but I thought I would send this to let you know of my good luck in getting a pass and that I am not feeling any worse for it. I will send pictures soon. I am getting to think this is the life.

 

Sam

 

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

Published in: on July 18, 2008 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Camp Cotton, Texas 8/1/1916

Dear Lena,

 

It is just as you said in your last letter, no news, that is from this end. But even an envelope from that end is news indeed. Right here I want to say that there is one habit I havent got over and I guess I never will. That is trying to write with a lot of talking going on. Do you know that I am driven almost crazy, when I am trying to collect a bunch of words into a letter. Right now I could hit about five of these guys, and would I guess if it were not for the fact that if they knew I had this weakness, they would never let me write one word. So I sit here and scribble away, and it’s a wonder that there are not some words in them that I don’t intend to go in, as it is I use the rubber not a little.

 

This is some writing paper that one of the boy’s mother sent him and I think it is pretty classy for the life we are living. Yes Em told me that Pa was going to N.Y. but it seems only yesterday that he left. You said it when you mentioned the candy being stuck on itself, but it didn’t take long for us to get stuck on the candy. You speak of the weather being tough up there, and I am sorry that it is so much harder to get used to it in Boston than it is down here for I really mean it when I say, that although it is warmer here, it is so dry that you dont mind it unless you are working or hiking. Then again I will say that it is hard to breath easy if we hike any distance especially up and down the hills. This is the next thing we have got to get used to, and, by the way I am getting aclimated, it wont be long before Ill really like this climate, (but never the country).

 

You say that you havent seen but very little sun for at least two weeks, and I am going to shoot right back, that we havent seen but two showers since we struck here, and then only about one half hour duration. And you spoke about boiling water. Well Im going to say that as soon as we get through eating, the food that is left on our mess pans is dried on to the extent that you would accually think that the pans, knives, forks and spoons were stuck in an oven and baked. Any thing made of metal, that is left in the sun even three or four minutes can hardly be handled, it would be so hot. Where we are now there are a few (very few, but they are like a diamond in a coal bin) trees. And say Lena you couldnt find a more pleasanter place in the world for (comfort.) But if you should get just out in the sun, you wouldnt feel, or think there was ever such a thing as a breeze.

 

I am glad that your hunt in search of a house for Mollie has ended. It is like this post I have charge of today. Here we are out here for twenty four hours and there isn’t a match in the bunch. We will have to wait for the visiting patrol before we can have a smoke, unless some one of us gets a little Indian stuff and makes fire with out one.

 

Now I got Em wrong when she said that she went over to Henry’s and he didnt come out. But by your letter I find that she went over to get the picture and the pictures didnt come out. (Excuse me Em. Yes and Henry too) But I am still waiting for that letter and that picture.

 

Give my regards to Madge and the rest of that family, and I bet if Madge was in a climate like this she would be all better in no time. Tell John he couldnt have been any more pleased with my letter, than I was with his. As for Mary, I guess Ill have to write her a letter. Thank you for fixing my clothes. I can imagine how disagreeable it must be there in this hot weather with fresh paint in the house, and I know you cant stand it, so for Heavens sake get out of it. I hope you can dig something interesting out of this. I am fine.

 

Sam

 

P.S. I sent a small package with two souviners in it. Please state whether or not you have received it.

 

Dear Lena.

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. Gee but the nights are fine here and rain is a thing of the unknown.

Sam

 

 

 

 

Poem printed on the front of postcard

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”

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

Published in: on July 18, 2008 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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From the Boss, Boston Mass. 7/31/1916

Dear Sam:

 

Many thanks for your letter of the 13th. It has been my intention to answer a long while ago, but I have been very busy. I intend to go away for a few day’s vacation tomorrow night, and I want to clean up my personal correspondence before I go, which, while it does not seem very complimentary, I am afraid is the reason I am answering even as early as I am.

 

Am sorry you fellows are not seeing more action, that is, providing you want to see it. In a way, I think it is just as well perhaps that it is ending up the way it is. I am still not so sure that it is all ended, for I cannot imagine a country that has as little respect for its own Government as Mexico seems to have settling down peaceably of itself. In my opinion there are sure to be other outbreaks and there will be one outbreak serious enough to compel some action on the part of this country more drastic than any already taken.

 

There is a great deal in our newspapers on the doings of the Massachusetts Militia on the Border, and from all we can see, you fellows are pretty well taken care of, at least, as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

 

It occurred to me to tell you before you left that if there was anything you wanted me to send down to you, not to be backward in asking for it, as I shall be very pleased to send down some little necessities or luxuries that you might not be able to get hold of yourself. If so, do not be at all afraid to write me for anything that you may want.

 

I showed your letter to the boys throughout the store and without a doubt a number of them are writing you. I hope they will, as I can understand that letters would be nice to get, especially from your old friends, situated as you are.

 

I hope you will be good enough to drop me a line once in a while and I shall write you again as soon as I get back.

 

With kindest regards and best wishes,

Yours very sincerely,

H.T. Melbye

 

 

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

From Em, Charlestown Mass. 7/31/1916

Dear Sam.

 

Well I got 2 letters today and Pa got a post card. It is awful hot hear today. I never mind the heat till I get home because it is so cool in the shop. Every body is fine and Mary is over with us again. Molly is going to move tomorrow. I am glad you had a little change of senery. Seeing the country down there is something you will never forget.

 

I got your little souvernier and will always keep it. Madge is about the same. What she needs is a good long rest and I don’t think she will ever get well unless she gets one. She trys to do too much. I am sitting in the window while writing this watching the sights and believe me there is some sights going by.

 

There was a big forest fire in Canada and it made yesterday and today 2 yellow days. Everything you looked at was yellow. Napolean is just the same and still does the errands for his mother. Speaking of Maine I wish I was on my way down there now. Those were the happy days.

 

You are having your vacation now and are enjoying yourself play soldier. Well play the game good and come home soon. Pa just got home from a trip to Provincetown so I must get him something to eat. Wishing this finds you well I must close.

 

With Love from all

Em.

 

 

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

Rio Grande, El Paso & Southwestern R.R. Tunnel, 7/30/1916

Dear Em.

 

I have just received your letter and although I have just sent each of you a postal I am going to sneek a few minutes and answer a few question. You know this is the land of the (Manyanna) or tomorrow and if you let any thing go over for a minute, even, you are bound to keep putting it off. So you see I am going to keep up with you and go one better if possible. Now Em don’t go to work and send a lot of candy that will cost more for postage than twice what the candy is worth. Don’t get me wrong on this now, but you see it costs so much for the sending of it that it hardly pays. I am dissappointed myself to hear that our Henry went back on you like that, but never mind Em, you know I am very queer my self some times. Just tell him that I really want a picture of him, for he used to be good in taking me around with him to different places when I was a kid.

 

You bet I am looking forward to the time when I will wear those clothes and I am glad you mentioned the fact that Lena has taken care of them. I’ll wear them out, looking at them I guess. We wear these clothes out washing them (All in the game you know.) I wish I could tell you how long it will be before we get home but I can tell you when it is said we will return. There is a lot of talk, that we will parade Oct. 12th in Boston. It may be sooner than that but, lets not kid ourselves will we Em. I bet you dread my pestering and teasing when I get home there. We’ll have a great boxing bout if you will promise before hand not to make me laugh too hard. As for washing clothes, that’s got to be part of the manual of arms now. They may have an event and give prizes, at the Armory, if so I’ll bet right now that I won’t be last, what do you say.

 

Say Pa is some sport what, and I sure do hope he has a pleasant and interesting trip. If he sees the West Pointers it will be as good as half the whole vacation for they are the finest type of physical development in the country. The papers sertainly told the truth when they spoke of our going on out post and patrol duty and I will say right here that paper notoriety is left intirly to the Ninth. We got some towels last week and I suppose it is the result of just such concert as you mentioned. I hope they get a lot of money, for you know we can always use that.

 

The woman who owns the house in which Mollie is to live, didn’t change her mind any for Mary is a doll, not a child. I sent her a postal the other day, in care of Lena for I didn’t know but what she had moved. I also sent one to the Higgin’s and I guess they have both been received by this time.

 

It is great fun roaming in among the hills here, doing patrol duty, and really I never knew that I was so sure, yet light on my feet. We were given a can of tobacco and a plug of chewing yesterday, the first hand out since leaving Kansas City. I guess you notice that these letters are simply filled with the same kind of stuff every day, but I know you realize that news is very scarce in this part of the country, and also that a soldiers life is one tiresome thing followed by the very same tiresome thing one day after the other day. But then if it was not, every body would be a soldier.

 

Just up the rail road there is a house where we get our water from which flies “Old Glory”, and as I looked up and saw it just now, it reminded me of the letter in which you said that Lena was going to keep our stars and stripes in the breezes until the boys come marching home.

 

Samuel.

 

 

Dear Em.

 

Although this is sunday, its the same old slogan “No rest for the weary.” Up this morning at five and out on the tunnel again at twelve. In the mean time, I washed all of my clothes that I used since yesterday, which was, a suit of underwear, two pair of socks pair of breaches, pair of leggings, dish (the same one I took from 297) and bathe towel my bed cot. No sooner had I completed this than we had to stand inspection of every thing in our possession. Then I was handed a slip of paper with a list of 14 privates 2 corporals, draw rations and beat it. We havent got time to get lazy or sick here . I am tip top.

 

Sam

 

P.S. –I havent the time or material with me to write a letter. We had a N.E. boiled dinner today. I wonder how the table looks at home. Give my regards to Emma, and the Studleys. Is the pan under the ice chest emptied. Hope Pa enjoys his trip to N.Y. Give Mary my love. How are you all. I am glad to hear from Henry ever time you write.

 

 

Dear Lena,

 

I just sent Em’s postal in but I am going to write this in hopes that the next visiting patrol that comes around will get this back in time to catch todays mail, so that the both of them will make a small letter. I am saving all the mail I am receiving and I hope to send it all home when we get back to Camp Cotton or what we call home. We just had a little target practice up in the hills and I hit a peice of grass, at about five hundred yards the first time I tried it and a telephone poll with pistol at about one thousand yards three times out of four. You see we can’t use all the amunition we want to, for we are only issued 210 rounds per man and at inspection, if we cannot account for any that is missing we have to pay 2 ½ cents apeice for them besides a dose of 11/55 Texas. (get it) Gee but it would be great to have a little brush with some Mexicans but no such luck. (Part of the game) You would think we were pack mules if you could see us loaded down with amunition climbing the mountains. I got Berts card. How is the gas stove. I bet I could lift and put that piano any where you want it. How many brooms have you worn out? Oh for a strawberry short cake and one of your puddings. I suppose you havent used one yeast up yet well when I get home buy a ton of it, Im getting to like bread again. I bet Ive used 20 cakes of soap. As this is all I can think of I guess Ill stop.

 

Sam

 

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

Published in: on June 30, 2008 at 10:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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