Soldier’s Mail for August, 1916-1918

August, 1916: South on the Border

In August, 1916 Sgt. Sam Avery and the rest of the Massachusetts Brigade continued to secure the Border from their base at Camp Cotton (the “City of Tents”) outside of El Paso, Texas. The troops received word they would not be needed  to invade Mexico after all, which resulted in a loss of morale made worse by a lack of promised financial aid from the State for troops with hardships.

Read the page South on the Border to learn more about the events of the Mexican Revolution that made American military action necessary. Read the page August, 1916 to learn more about the living conditions of the Massachusetts troops at Camp Cotton during the Texas rainy season. Read Sam’s correspondence with Em for August as he relates his experiences of camp life and the dangers of patrolling along the border.

August, 1917: Watchful Waiting

Following the formal entry of the United States into the Great War, in August 1917 1st Sgt. Sam Avery and the rest of the 8th Mass. Infantry were mobilized for federal service. The encampments used by the men of the 8th Infantry for training and reorganization were at Lynnfield and Westfield. Read Sam’s diary notes and letters about life in the encampments and being reorganized into the 103rd U.S. Infantry.

August, 1918: Recovery in the Hospitals

In August, 1918 following the Aisne-Marne Offensive, Sam Avery was hospitalized due to the effects of severe gas poisoning. Read about recovery in the AEF base hospital system here. Also, read the August correspondence of Sam and his sister Em which reveals a rare and fascinating dialogue across the miles in wartime. Em’s letters were “Returned to Sender” as Sam moved through a series of hospitals over two months,  and thus are preserved for us to better understand life on the Home Front during the Great War.

The Soldier’s Mail correspondence is published here according to the sequence in which it was written. Therefore, letters are organized in “reverse order” with the most recent at the top. To read them chronologically, readers should start at the bottom and work upwards.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Rich…I have spent the last couple days reading Soldier’s Mail and then rereading the letters of Sam Avery..along with my Grandfather Hans Melbye’s letter to Sam. How wonderful this collection is! It must have taken many long hours of dedication to put this site together. Thank you. It struck me that my Grandfather had no idea that one day …94 years later his Grandaughter would read his letter to Sam on the Internet! What an amazing time we live in! I will continue to visit this site as there is so much more I want to read. Thank you again for your help. Sincerely, Susan Melbye Vidito

  2. This is a great blog, I simply adore personal history experiences such as your blog. Some of my favourite letters from the First World War are those between Vera Brittain, Roland Leighton and other friends. Of course, this group was perhaps too literary and academic to be typical. That said, the light they shed on WWI is fascinating.
    Brilliant to meet another fellow historian/blogger on WordPress!

    Best wishes,

    highheeledhistorian

    http://highheeledhistorian.com/


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