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.

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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.