Camp Bartlett, Westfield Mass. 9/6/1917

Hdq. Co. 103rd U.S. Inf.


Dear Pa.


Im feeling as good if not better that at any time in my life. It is getting pretty cool out this way, and it was realy cold last night. There was frost outside the tent. The sun sure does feel great today. I was out to drill for the first time since hitting this camp, and it was good, honestly. I havent heard from either of the sisters yet but I suppose they dont know my address yet. Id like to know how every thing is as soon as they get home.


It is a grand sight to see 250 men in one long line marching at evening parade. Its pretty. I hope this finds you well, also tell the Holland’s I was asking for them. It looks as though we stay here for some time yet. Ill try to get home after pay day. I suppose you will be making the fire very soon.




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

Scofield Farm, Dracut Mass. 9/3/1917

Dear Em,


I suppose you’ll wonder at my writing from hear but when (all told) it is a short story. I got a forty eight hour leave of absence got home at 11 PM Sat. night and went to bed. Pa called me at five oclock to have some breakfast. He said he had a great feed for me. I went down and there was some beans, bread and coffee. I guess I made him late for work for he kept talking (you know him). Lil is spending two weeks vacation up hear, and I thought Id run up and see her. She saw that I was put up last night and we’ve just eaten breakfast. Ive got to catch the five oclock train tonight for Springfield so Im going to make to best of the day. I feel very sorry that I will not see you on this trip, but as I expect we’ll stay in Westfield for some time yet, I hope to see you later.


I got your address off a letter. I hope it right for I thought I get home before I wrote and therefore make sure. Are you folks enjoying yourself? If not why not. Pa seems to be having the time of his life, all alone. By the way, Mr. Holland gave me a great dinner Sunday. She kept pairing potatoes as Id eat them.


Well I know I should write more but I haven’t got much time now. Ill write when I get back to camp. Ill expect a letter from you when I get back.




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

Camp Bartlett, Westfield Mass. 8/25/1917

Dear Em.


They are busting us right and left. There are only twenty men left. The captain, 1st and 2nd Lieuts are gone and the Lord only knows what is to become of the rest of us. Im writing this to stop you from sending any mail until I find out just where Im going. I might go to Maine, N.H., Conn., R.I. or any place they happen to send me. The 8th Regiment is no more. Ill write soon and tell you more.




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

Camp Bartlett, Westfield Mass. 8/23/1917

Dear Em.


Well here we are out here in Westfield and the Lord only knows what is to become of us. Everything is very uncurtain. They are crouding about every soldier in N.E. in here. The Maine troops are a wonderful body of men. There will soon be 250 men to each company. Some company. I told Lil to call and tell you that we would leave Lynnfield, the reason being that I was afraid Id never get you on the phone. Something will be doing very soon I think. Im feeling fine and hope this will find you the same.

Address 8th Inf M.N.G. Westfield.




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

Camp Houston, Lynnfield Mass. 8/1917

First Sergeant Sam Avery and the rest of K Co., 8th Mass Infantry left Somerville on 7/27/1917 and moved to Camp Houston at Lynnfield, Mass. where they remained for nearly a month until 8/21/1917. During this time Sam did not write any letters home because he was local enough to still enjoy direct visits from the family. He also knew that his ultimate destination would be Camp Bartlett in Westfield, Mass. where many New England National Guard troops were being assembled for reorganization.

While supervising his men in Lynnfield, Sam handled the usual disciplinary matters which primarily involved being A.W.O.L. (Absent Without Official Leave). These offenses were handled first by court martial to determine guilt based on the facts, then followed by punishments including confinement, extra duty and labor. Following are some notes from Sam’s pocket diary regarding events and activities during this period of time.

· Emerson A.W.O.L. Aug. 4/17 summary court. and convicted for 3 days in confinement.
· Priv Miller A.W.O.L. Aug. 5 Company Punishment.
· Henry E Babineau, in that he did fail to report for profalactic treatment after sectual intercourse 10 days labor.
· Left Camp 12.30 Aug 5/17 to take part in Belgian Parade. Arrived back in camp 7 pm.
· Gaurd Aug. 6/17
· Summery court. Aug. 11 Privs. Gilpatrick, McIntosh, Alsen A.W.O.L. from 9 am Aug 10 to 6.50 pm Aug. 13.
· Priv. Hanson, Leroux A.W.O.L. from 1st class 14th. Company punishment or in quarters for 14 days. E.D. Aug. 14/17 to 28th.
· Left Camp Houston 9.30 am Aug 21, Arrived at Westfield at 2 pm Aug 22/17.
· 8 oclock Monday night all non comps march to Y.M.C.A.

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

With the Militia on the Rio Grande, 1916

Just a passing remark from the border. It sounds pretty good to me. How about it? Im fine.


We joined the militia in the old home town
For the fun to be had each year at the camping ground;
Little thinking as we took the oath in the armory hall,
That quite so soon would we hear the call
To pitch our tents and take our stand
Way down in Texas on the Rio Grande,
There to guard the line with a watchful eye
To see that no Villa bandits pass us by.

And so Texas we’re here we’ll say
To do our duty and draw our pay
We’re here from almost every state—
From Maine to where the sun sets at the Golden Gate,
From up in Washington on the sound,
Down to where the Florida alligators abound.

Some of us came willingly, others not,
But each and all must accept our lot
And do the drilling and standing guard
Although some times we find it hard
To be content with the army chow
Of bacon and beans and some canned cow.

But there are times when it’s not so bad
For there are days when there is fun to be had
And then some evenings down town we stray
And have a good feed at some café,
While some who enjoy their cigars and wine
Find other ways to spend their time
Then back to camp we go feeling fine
Not so sorry to be guarding the line.

Now cheer up boys there’ll come a day
When these Mexican troubles will have cleared away
Then back to our homes and loved ones dear
We’ll march with good will and many a cheer
And in after years as time goes by
We’ll often laugh and wonder why
We didn’t take things more as a joke
Instead of cursing when we were broke
We would of had more fun along with the rest
When the militia encamped in the great Southwest.

—A.R.H., El Paso, Texas
(Copyright Applied For)


(Editor’s Note: See Postal from Camp Cotton, Texas 9/18/1916)