Camp Cotton, Texas 7/22/1916

Dear Em,

 

I have just got the box of candy that Lena was so kind to send, and it is hitting the right spot. It is just the kind that a fellow can enjoy. I have showted it out to some of the boys and they are of the same mind as myself. Oh, here comes a sand storm, but I am going to continue this letter regardless, and take a chance on the condition of it when it is over. It seems every time I start a letter, up comes one of these blooming showers of sand. I could almost write on this paper just now with out a pencil it is so covered with dirt and dust.

 

It was Saturday morning inspection, so we got off pretty easy so far. We are to go on out post tonight for twenty four hours, so I will not be able to write again until Monday any way. I got a letter from Little Mary, and say she is some trump. I sent her one, to South Boston, but I guess she will get it some way, in Charlestown. I see you are having a lot of trouble with sharks up that way. I think if this bunch down here could see some swimming water now they would go in, sharks or no sharks. I so hope it will soon get cooler up there before long for I know how hard it is to find a cool spot when it is hot especially in Boston. Down here, if you can get out of the sun, it is really cool, but the idea is to get out of the sun. It is as hot in the tents when the sun is shining as it is in the sun, for the sun beats right down on the canvas and you would think that you were in an oven. Well I should worry, as I’ve always said, if the other fellow can stand it, I can. I hope Pa is enjoying himself in the very short time he is given to do so. (one week vacation)

 

There is one thing that I forgot to look out for, that I hope you will, and that is my clothes. Please put some moth balls in the pockets of my new suit anyway and the other stuff that is there, for I have really forgotten just what I have got. I guess I have more clothes here than I ever had at home for we change socks and underclothes every day, after a shower bath that we are supposed to take. Can you imagine the washing that we have to do. I have sent last week’s wash to the laundry, but it costs so much that, that will never do. There will be a whole line of clothes strung from tent to tent, when a sand storm, of which we are bound to get today, will come up and make the clothes worse than ever. Gee it’s a lot of fun. I suppose you can imagine my face and mood when this happens to me. Where is that letter from Henry? Tell him he had better write now, for I will keep after him until he does. Give me his address so I can make good this threat.

 

There is nothing more to say outside of my feeling fine, beginning to eat all I can get ahold of, and working hard to hold down this job. I am getting mail every day now, and I wish I could return all I get in answers, but between, drilling for four hours, washing which takes about an hour, non comps school in the after noon two hours, and drilling recruits, and resting a little, I have nothing to do but write letters.

 

With love to all

Sam.

 

Dear Lena,

 

I suppose it surprises you to find me shooting so many letters, but who could help it when he has such people as you at home that are constantly keeping him in touch with, that home as you folks are. And the greatest thing that pleases me in all your letters, (for it is mentioned in all your letters) is Pa’s health and gamness. You can talk about all your soldiers and there battles. But men don’t always remain soldiers nor are they always fighting battles. But Pa, has always remained a soldier, and he is as game as any man that ever faced an enemy. In other words (He’s there).

 

I sertainly hated to say good by to him that day he put him self out so much to go to Framingham to see me off. I guess he felt no better, (that is,) the way I judged it. But we all know now that there is going to be no fighting, and that they just roped us into the army. Well the country was for (Preparedness) and we are practically paying for it by serving our young lives down here. But say it is going to make a grand lot of men out of us, and some of us will be glad it happened, (when it is all over) yes when it is over. It must be pleasant to have Our Little Mary around all the time, and tell her I want her to be there when I come home. I have not been sending any mail to anyone outside of you folks and (one) other for the last few days, so I will have to get busy soon and remember some of my other friends. But they are not going to interfere with home anyway.

 

You see there is so much guard, patrol, and out post work, and when we are not on this duty we are, what they call alarm company. I guess they figure, when we are working we have no time to get sore or discontented, and say I agree with them. Its about time I told you just what we do when we are not doing any thing.

 

First call in the morning 5.20. Gee this is tough, (get up.) Revielle Roll call, when we all fall in and answer to our names as the First Sergeant calls it. 5.30. Between 5.45 and 7.20 wash up, eat, clean up the tents, furl tents, so that the sun (you know we don’t get much of this stuff) can get at all the clothing and ground under the tent. Fatigue, which is to form the company and have them cover about one quarter of a mile of each company limit and pick up every thing except sand. By that time it is about time to fall in for drill.

 

At 7.30 the company is march out on more sand and given what we call setting up exercises. And say if every young man in this great country was given this physical instruction (Theres a shot out on the border but it is getting common now so ish ka bibble, there is another.) we would have the grandest set of men in the world. It is a set of execises that developes the shoulders, arms, fingers, legs, chest, and reduces the stomack. I don’t think Ill have to work hard at the latter exercise. I washed out a set of underclothes, pair of socks, face towel, and hankerchief to day, and as usual, just as I got them hung up a sand storm came along, and the only consolation I have is that they saw water. Well Im getting away from the subject now.

 

After the setting up drill, we are given bayonet drill, which lasts for about one half hour. Then the real work begins. The companies are gathered together into its respective battalions and are drilled in close and extended order until half past eleven. And say kid its hot out in the sun. About ten oclock the boys begin to drop, and are taken to the field hospital for treatment. I guess these are the fellows that don’t know enough to take care of them selves. At half past eleven we come in all played out and we just sit down and rest until twelve when mess blows. Well I tell you its no scramble for eats, especially at noon, but we eat just by habit, for they generally have some thing cold to drink. Then we unfurl tents and get ready for feet inspection, and inspection of quarters. After inspection we hit for the shower baths, and this is the best part of the day. Washing out the clothes that we have changed is next, and by that time school is in progress, until four. 5.30 we all fall in for (Retreat.) or the lowering of the colors. Then comes mess. Nine oclock Tatoo, which means you can go to bed if you want to. Ten minutes of ten call to quarters, and ten, Taps, all lights out and go to sleep. Now this is a days work down here. Of coarse I can find time if I want to but it doesn’t pay to kill it to much. You know how much I stay out of work, well Im the same here. Well don’t get lost in a snow storm.

 

With love

Sam.

 

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

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 10:24 pm  Comments (2)  
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From Em, Charlestown Mass. 7/21/1916

Dear Sam.

 

Recieved your nice long letter and had Bert sharpen my pencil to ans. it with. I have sent you a few papers but now I’ll only send you the Malitia news. I was up to the pictures last night as I stated in my letter and the picture was good. It showed Gen. Cole telephonning and stated that the fellows were all in their armories in 48 hours. It showed the malitia marching through Haymarket Square. It showed the fellow in Co. C. getting married in the rain. It then showed them taking down the tents and marching away. There was the rookies marching and doing exercises and they looked funny.

 

Little Mary got home and came up with me and when they were showing the review parade Mary kept saying “Is Sam gone by yet?” I was explaining to her about it and I told her I was down there. Meaning Framingham. And then she wanted me to take her to see you next Sun. But of course I told her I couldn’t. When it showed the fellows marching over the field to the train I told her they were going to Mexico. And she hollered out, “And did they have to march all the way?” Then it showed them loading the trains and she said, “If they walked they’d be tired wouldn’t they?” You can imagine the fun I had.

 

Yes I understand your letter all right and when you tell about your drills and guard duty ets it makes the letter very interesting. Tell Corp. Marks I was asking for him and glad he is feeling well. Also give Walter Kingsman my best regards. I hope you enjoyed your trip to M. and also glad you took no time in tripping back again. Your some busy guy alright but still its better to be over some one than to have them all over you.

 

I hope you get your picture all right and be sure and send it home because you know it will be saved here. I’ll send Henry’s picture as soon as I get it and also one of Mary’s. When you go to El Paso sent home some sort of a souvernier if you can. Anything at all will be excepted. I glad you had a chance to dress up and Im also glad your wise enough to can all unnecessary work such as base-ball.

 

I took your post cards in the shop to show the girls and they thought it was good of you to send them home. Mary is very anxious for me to stop writing so she can write, too, but I going to fill up this paper anyway. Pa recieved a postcard from Bill’s son who is in Fort Bliss. It was good of him wasn’t it? Pa is feeling good and when he got through reading your letter he said it was a fine composition. Of course we read your letters before we sit down to supper and then talk it over.

 

You are certainly doing fine in writing and when I don’t have to wait for and ans. from my last and you don’t either it keeps us close together and I don’t relize even yet that you’re so far away. As long as we have something to say every day to each other we will be all right.

 

Will have to close now wishing you the best of health. I am going to help Mary with her letter now but will only spell the big words for her.

 

With Love from all

Em.

 

 

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 7/21/1916

Dear Em

 

Have just come in from a hard four hour drill, and take it from me your letter came in just right. I am glad you gave me a little scoulding for writing the way I have been writing, for it seems right after I sent that letter, I have been getting mail from some one of you every day. I got a letter from Mary Higgins, and I intend to answer it. I wrote a letter to Little Mary last week so I guess she has got it by this time. I have not yet received the candy or the letter from Henry, and I will be expecting them anytime now. As for the girl nuf ced. She is a good kid, and dancer and you know that is just my style. She writes very cheering letters and she writes them often too! If you are thinking of me, and you sertainly show it in your letters, what must I be doing away down here of you.

 

You said it, when you spoke of my taking care of my self. I did think I was going to be sick at first but I took things easy and now, if it was not for the heat of the day, I wouldn’t mind it at all. It is just as you say about answering to quickly, but I have to keep cool with the recruits for it has been my job ever since we struck here to handle these fellows. And say it is some job. Some of them try to get in right with me, (and they are good fellows too) but I have to hold them off, and to do this I howl at them more than the others. This is a fine job isn’t it? Well the sooner I make soldiers of them the sooner I’m done with it so I am working like the devil to accomplish this. I’ve got to go out tonight again to teach them how to shoot. OH what a job, but it is part of the game, so what is the use of thinking of it.

 

Tell the Studdley girls that I am feeling fine and return my regards them. I sent Mrs. Holland, (and the family) a letter and I hope they have received it by this time.

 

Tell pa to enjoy himself this week and I am going to try from now on to make this work down here, just play a far a fatigue is conserned.

 

Well I’ll close in the best of health and spirits. Tell Henry to be sure and write.

 

With love

Sam.

 

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

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From Em, Charlestown Mass. 7/20/1916

Dear Samakel

 

Recieved your letter and send a card saying a letter would follow and here it is. Gee, you’re a funny guy. Why don’t you get in the first row when you see them taking your picture? The picture of the “City of Tents” looks fine through the glass we have. I showed Henry your mail, he was over last night. We asked him if he was coming over Sun and he said “Sure, and don’t forget to have some biscuits.” There is no bread eating here now except 1 slice by me in the morning. I guess Lena will have to stop buying bread & butter altogether.

 

I was over to Molly’s with Henry last Sun and Henry was talking about cooking. He must be some cook himself. We stayed to supper and Molly said she was sorry she didn’t have something nice for him. He said, “If you want to have something for me next time make me some of your potato cakes and plenty of it.” You would think some one gave her $100. to see how pleased she was. I was glad he sprung it. Oh Henry is some boy now but don’t worry I won’t let him cut you out.

 

Nora and the kids are well. Madge feels alright sometimes and then again she don’t. If you write her a nice long letter she will feel pleased I know, because she loves to have me bring down all the letters and read them to her. I’m saving them all and intend to keep them for you to read.

 

Bert, Lena, and little Mary have gone down to Nantasket Beach today and I got the supper. I’m going up to Peason’s tonight because they had it advertised that there would be moving pictures of the boys at Framingham. I going up to see if I can see you and will tell you all about it in my next letter.

 

I have to close because I have to wash the dishes & meet Sadie Mack at 7.30. By the way she told me to tell you she was asking for you and to tell you to try and not get sun burnt. Hoping this finds you well and happy I will close.

 

With Love from all & everybody

Emily Jane.

 

P.S. Pa is fine and he starts on his vacation next Tues. Lena wasn’t here to address the envelope and I did it myself. How does it look?

 

 

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

 

From Em, Charlestown Mass. 7/18/1916

Dear Sam.

 

I have just got your letter and I’m glad mine cheered you up. When I first read your other letter I thought something was the matter with the mail but when I looked it up on the calender I knew it would be all right. Little Mary had just written to you and put it in the box when she got yours. I just wish you could see how glad she was. She is staying over with us now. Lena plays the graphanola while she dances. Isadore Duncan has nothing on her.

 

Well to tell the truth Sam I couldn’t blame you for getting nervous in not receiving mail and I hope now it never stops coming. Seeing that you are writing so much, Lena thought you ought to have more stamps. I saw in the paper this morning about your out post duty. It told about some of the boys seeing the horsemen shot down and I’m just sending that much.

 

Mrs Holland received your letter today and Catherine showed it to me. She said it was real nice of you. Henry told Molly that if she moved to Charlestown he would, too. And if he did it would be to stay. He was telling us that last Sat. night Nora asked him what to get for Sun. dinner and he told he didn’t care what she got for herself because he was coming of here for dinner.

 

The Hollands are putting in a bathroom down stairs and ours is beginning to get lonesome now for you. Hurry up home and you can have it all afternoon without them chasing you out. Napolean is the same old scout and Maggie is doing fine. I told her about you writing home but I was afraid if I told her you was asking for her she would tell me to buy some butts to send down to you.

 

The little birds are still there across the way. Your thoughts are certainly around here alright when you thought of them. Pa is feeling fine and working every day. I haven’t got Henry’s picture yet but when there developed I’ll send it.

 

They have Mary playing statue and I can almost write. Well I guess I better close now as my paper is all used up. Hoping this letter finds you in the best of health I will close.

 

With Love from all

Em.

 

 

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 7/18/1916

Dear Em,

 

Here is one right back at you, and if it has the punch that I feel like giving, I think we will come out even. We have just come in from out post, a job we have been on for the last twenty four hours. I suppose this telling you of our out post duty is getting to be old stuff with you. Well if it is, old stuff to you, believe me it is sertainly getting to be very, very stail stuff for us. It is the third time we have furnished out post, besides, twice interior guard, and twice acting as reserve. Of coarse this will be all Dutch to you unless I discribe it to you.

 

We are using two companies for out post every night. This is a position taken up as near the boundary as is possible, but at the same time to allow safe cover and observation. I don’t want you to think I am fore flushing when I say that last night, the corporal of sentry squad no. one, and I, jumped through the barb wire fence into Mexico, but we jumped right back again.

 

My duty was to take charge of two sentry squads. Now a sentry squad is one squad (eight men). Two men from each of these are sent out; the rest are held back to rest, and to releave those already out at sertain intervales. I have to post these men to the best advantage and see that they under stand their special orders, which were last night to arrest any and all persons found crossing our chain of sentinels, to search them for arms and amunition, and to look out for the smuggling of Chinamen into this country. This is all out post work.

 

The reserve means nothing more than the word itself. It consists of two or more companies held about one hundred yards in rear, ready to go up into action should the out post be attacked. Interior gaurd is tacken care of by one other company. Their duty is to keep order in camp such as, see that all lights are out at taps, arrest any one that is found outside of camp with out a pass, and to take care of prisoners. All this is just a brief outline of the different classes of guard duty but I guess even this much is plenty enough, for you to say, (Well Now I Don’t Know).

 

This morning two privates from one of the Michigan regiments wanted to take pictures of one of the boundary monuments. Seargeant Smith and I had the sentry hold them until we had time, and then we marched them down and made them take our pictures. We took a chance in doing this but we got away with it and if we get the result of the experience, (the picture) why it will be well worth the chance. Of coarse home it goes if I am lucky enough to get it. I thank Lena for the writing paper, and I am going to see how quick I can use it up, by writing to you. The stamps were just the thing I neaded for I haven’t been to El Paso for over a week, on account of the recruits and all the gaurd we had to stand. I expect to get a pass tomorrow, for I nead a hair cut, and a little change of scenery. If you could see me writing this letter you would wonder how I do it, but I guess I will be better off pretty soon, for the tent squad is talking of making a table to overcome this difficulty.

 

I got Berts postal from Providence and I thank him for the same. By the way John Marks sends his regards; he is doing fine. As for pulling down my pants, we have got our new uniforms now, and maybe I’m not sorry class. And the ball games. I put the fellows that play this game down in a climate like this, in the same class as those that run in the Marathon every year, nuts. Some of the boys just got a water mellon somewhere and gee what a mess we have made. There is some of it on this sheet of paper, but you should worry. I hope Henry is well and do show him these letters. Also send the picture you promised in your last. I hope Molly finds a good place in the old town if she moves. I hope I hear from Renney, he’s a good kid.

 

There is no need of sending news papers unless there is something very interesting in them for the boys here have papers come to them. You said in this letter you haven’t much news. Well let me tell you, even an envelope from you is news. I am very glad to hear that pa is feeling all right. It is half the letter. That was a good one you pulled at the band concert, and I guess you hit the nail on the head too as far as the other fellows are concerned anyway. I sure do wish I was walking Bunker Hill St. instead of this desert.

 

As for being good, well you can’t last long down here unless you do, so don’t worry on that score. I haven’t heard from the shop as yet, but I have sent the boss a letter and I hope to hear from him any day now. I am glad to say we get enough to eat, but sorry to say that I can’t eat much at any time, Ill make up for it when I get home.

 

Well I guess Ill close now and go to sleep after twenty four hours of continual patroling and instructing. Me for El Paso tomorrow, and I think the change will do me good. I will close now by saying Good Night.

 

Your loving brother
Sam.

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

Published in: on June 8, 2008 at 8:15 am  Comments (1)  
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Postcard from El Paso, 7/17/1916

ToltecClubElPaso

Only 112 here today in shade. Sand storms all afternoon. Expect to leave here soon for border duty. Camped just outside Fort Bliss. Nothing but sand and sage brush. Stray shots along border every little while. Feeding fine and all are well.

 

 

 

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

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Camp Cotton & El Paso, Texas 7/15/1916

Notice the ground, and mud hut. This is a good sample of the country down this way. At noon the sun is right over our heads.

Sam

Dear Em,

 

Although there is no news, for I guess this is the land of nothing, I have to use what time I have in writing. I just received your post cards, and tell Bert I will have to wait until I get home before I buy that gulp, for this is no place to take a chance. Not for me anyway. Its here, but I want to be able to say, “Here I come” instead of “I can’t come back.” And say that card of the park does look good. I am glad you are going to send me, mail of some sort every day anyway.

 

The recriut think it is hot here. Well tomorrow when they get out in the field drilling, they wont think so. They will know it. They all got vaccinated for small pox and tyfoid fever on the train and, some of them have some pretty sore looking arms. We have got shower bathes up now, and believe me they will not be idle one second.

 

Our new clothing has arrived. It consists of 3 pair of cotton pants, 2 o.d. shirts, besides the one we have, 2 pair of shoes 6 sets of under wear, 12 pair of woolen socks a new hat, 2 pair of leggings, and the other stuff that a soldier should have. I don’t know how we are going to take care of it, but that’s one of the problems a soldier has to dope out.

 

I am sending a few pictures, and I hope they will please you. We have got to fall in for “Retreat” so I must close.

 

With love
Sam.

 

P.S. They have found that the flies are spreading a lot of disease down here. OH please swat every one of these devils you can see.

 

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 7/14/1916

Dear Em, Lena, Pa, Bert, Henry and the rest of you.

I have just got Em’s letter and Lena’s card, and believe me they look good. The best thing that pleased me was, hearing that some one is taking my place, (part of the time at least). And who could fill it any more than my brother Henry. I am sorry that I couldn’t see him before I left, but you know there are a lot of people that I should have seen. But why all this, I will soon be back and we will hardly know that I was ever so far from home.

ElPasoI sent a letter yesterday and I hope this one gets there in time to make it possible for you to forgive me for lecturing so sharply. Two post cards and a letter from home in this place is a God send, especially in one day. Well please keep it up and tell Henry to send a line also. John Higgins sent a card and the time he took in writing it was well spent, for I am going to send him a letter today if I have time.

When I got the mail, of coarse the first I looked at was the post cards and I was trying to dope out what Henry it was. And as I have said above I was very glad to hear it was our own Henry. And say tell him to eat will you. Athough they are feeding us good, I cant eat a thing. I guess it is just as well that I can’t for, (well I have told you often enough I think how hot it is)

I thank you very very much for sending the picture and if I don’t have it with me when I get home well don’t let me in. Tell Em not to feel so bad over the heat, for, as I have always played this game; I can stand it just as much as the other fellow, and then some. But say Em you struck it when you said, you wish we would get some rain. It would be welcomed here every day.

If the Holland’s are as interested in me as your letters state well Ive got to use more lead that’s all, so they are going to get a few lines any way from me. So is Madge and the rest, if I have time and some ambition. (There is very little of the latter down this way.) That little Mary is not going to be forgotten, for I know the 17th we were pretty good friends. I am glad Lena found out about my insurance, and I will see that it runs along alright.

Speaking of news from the 8th, you know a barking dog never bites and that is all I will say about this. They say that the recruits are on the way; well the sooner they get here the sooner they will get sick of it, I bet. I am glad to hear that you are sending some writing matter but, please don’t bother about news paper, unless you find some thing that will interest me. Tell Bert I will change places with him on the chore job if he says the word.

There are plenty of chances to keep a piano going but not for me on this trip. I didn’t feel very well yesterday but I am feeling fine today.

Well I have got to get after the other letters so I can get them in before the mail is collected so I must close with best wishes for all.

Sam

P.S. How is Maggie and Napolean, also the birds across the way. Keep “Old Glory” flying every day, and I will try to be an honor to it down here.

 

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

Published in: on June 4, 2008 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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From Em, Charlestown Mass. 7/13/1916

Dear Sam.

 

Received your letter today and must say that your doing fine. Thats a good picture but you should have been in Marks’s place. You want to pull your pants down, youre a big boy now. Madge and Molly were both very glad to get your cards and they said they would answer right away.

 

I see by the papers that you have ball games down there. Do you play or are you too busy to take interest in them. I save all your mail to show to Henry when he comes. When we get the pictures of him Ill send one down to you. Mack is going to be shifted over here to work and Molly is thinking of moving back to Charlestown. If she does Ill send her address.

 

I saw Norman Rinney up the band consert the other night and he was asking for you. He said he was up to the Armory to see you but you wasn’t there. I guess it was the night you came home to sleep. I gave him your address and he said if he remembered it he would write.

 

The reason we don’t send you more papers is because they don’t have hardly anything about the Eighth. But we will send them any way now. We are having pretty hot weather up here. Lena wrote a letter yesterday so I haven’t got much news. Pa is feeling pretty good for such hot weather. He is certainly sticking it out.

 

While up the band concert the other night there was a crowd of girls standing behind Sadie and I and one of them said to the others “They don’t seem to be any nice fellow down here tonight does there.” And I turned around and said, “No, all the nice fellow are down the border.” That made everybody smile and they all had something to say about “Those poor fellows.” I bet when your walking up and down along the border you wish it was Bunker Hill St. Well cheer up it could have been worse.

 

Now please don’t do anything you’ll be sorry for, and if you can’t be good be as good as you can. It was Bert who send you that paper and he also send you a card. Do you hear from your boss? I am sending you a paper so you can read about the “Rookies.”

 

I am glad you have enough to eat and hope you can eat all you get. Wish this finds you well I will close.

 

Love from all

Em.

 

 

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

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