Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/24/1916

Dear Em,

Well the days are rolling by kid, and we kiss them all good by. We are out here on out post. I am in charge of Cossack Post #3, from picket #2, from Support #1. This post is the nearest one there is to camp though. When ever I mention that we are on out post, you can feel pretty sure than it is raining. It started at about two oclock this morning, but it has let up a little now.

I took a walk down to the Fifth Monday night to look up Jim Coyne, and found that he was transfered to the Supply Co. of that Reg. He wasn’t there, and, after waiting around awhile I desided that I would look him up again.

I have found out that the raining season lasts about a month, but it is early this year. One good thing about the rain, it lays the dust and sand, making the noted sand storms impossible.
I am feeling fine.

Sam

Dear Lena.

I sent Em’s post card in, and we are waiting now to be releived. I know that the both postals will reach there the same day, but Ive got a pencil that is pretty long, and I want to use some of the lead so that I can make it shorter to fit in my pocket. We had both our breakfast and dinner brought out to us and here is what we had. This morning, coffee, bread, cheese, oat meal. Dinner, corn chowder, bread pudding, bread, lemonade. So you see we ate pretty good to-day. It has cleared off warm, and I suppose that means more rain to-night. Well we will be back at camp, under the big tents so we are not worrying.

Just now, one of my sentinals caught a spick trying to cross our line. Nothing doing. The idea is, Washington has found out that there is a lot of stuff such as amunition, and supplies being smuggled into Mexico, and our officers are very careful that it does not get through us.

Yes my washing is all done thank you. Gee I will have to get out of my clean habits when I get home, if not there will be some wash every week, and Im afraid the water bill will come pretty heavy on Mr. Holland. A bath every day and a change of every thing I wear would hardly make anything else possible. What do you say. One thing is sertain though, Ive learned to bath quicker and change quicker, for you know in this life, it is preparedness and speed that gets one by. I am the only one in my tent that strips down nights. The others are either too lazy or too slow to dress. First call in the morning is 5.20 and assembly at 5.30 so you see I have to use speed. All of our property is to be inspected by the Regular Army soon. Wish K Co. luck. I cant think of any thing to say.

Sam

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/23/1916

Dear Em,

I just got your letter and card and I am glad to know that every thing is O.K. Say I would liked to have had a plateful of them beans you spoke of watering, and about a half dozen home made anything in the bread line. We just came in from drill and mess call is blowing for dinner. I will go up now and eat, and tell you just what we had, and how I enjoy it. I am very hungry so whatever they have I’ll eat it don’t worry.

Well I just got through eating and here is what I had. Two sausages, one potatoe, two slices of bread, a leaf of lettuce, and a cup of lime water. Some feed. I think I ate too much. Now I have to take a bath, attend non-comp school, wash out two sets of under wear and get ready for 24 hours of out post work tonight.

It is pretty cool here today, and it wasn’t so hard hiking and drilling this morning. It didn’t rain last night so the roads were nice and dry. You see we have to walk about four miles to our drill grounds, and after drilling for about two hours we hike back again. You say you can make out what is written on these postals, and I am glad of it for they are easier and quicker to write than a letter.

I have got quite a lot of mail from you Lena, and different other prople that were so thoughtful, and wrote to me. I get mail every day, and it is pleasing to find it waiting for me when we get in from drill. I am glad you are giving me incouragement as to my army life and I promise to do all I can to make good. Of coarse I like the business any way, but there are times when I get pretty sore and disgusted, and that is the time when I have to keep my mouth shut.

Sam.

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/22/1916

Dear Em.

Well just in from another hike and after drinking about a gallon of ice water I now proceed to write you a few words. It rained again last night and we had to plow through quite a lot of mud, which makes it harder work and it also makes the air very hot and damp. I am getting so I sweat very much latly, and we are all a mess of sweet from head to foot. Gee but it is hot. I am writing this postal now for I don’t know what will come up this after noon.

Where is that letter from Henry. Gee I would like to have a loaf of bread for a feed. When I first hit here I couldnt eat the bread they handed out. I have got my bread appetite back again so look out and have plenty of it when I return. Gee they get me sore when they hand me a little stinking slice of bread. I could eat a loaf of bread and some coffee or tea every meal and be satisfied. But it seems as though bread is the dearest thing they have in the army.

Today (for I have eaten my dinner since I started this postal) we had a little peice of meat, some greasy gravy, beats, potatoes, pudding, cold water, and one slice of bread. Now if they had given me a loaf of bread and a cup of coffee, they could have given the rest of the stuff to some one else, for all I cared. The pudding was supposed to be tapioca, but (oh my) I am as hungry as a dog all the time but that is a good syne in this climate anyway.

Hope you are all well.
Sam.

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/19/1916

Dear Em,

Just a few words to let you know that I am in a better mood than when I wrote that letter to Lena. Everything is all dryed out again and I have got a board floor in my tent. Tomorrow is Sunday, and that means a very easy day. The mosquitoes are getting very thick here now on account of so much wet weather. How are they up there? I got your card today, in fact I am getting a card or two every day and it pleases me very much.

Gee but it is a swell night here to night. I am writing this in the Y.M.C.A. which accounts for the ink and pen. The nights are getting pretty cool now. I think I will go to church tomorrow. How is the talk machine. There is a fellow at the piano now playing all the raggy tunes, and say I couldnt try to say how it makes me feel. You can guess it better than I can explain it.

Tell Lena to sit right down at that piano now and play a rag and then a melody for me will you. I can hear it away down here on the Rio Grande “The Dauter of Mother Marchree”. He is playing this now and (I mean it when I say I am home sick again. Lena and I are going to be old pals when I get back, for I have found out that she is never out of my thoughts when I have the blues. I am always glad to hear from her. Have Pa write a line on a letter or post card that you send will you.

What is the latest song any way? Do you, or would you like to hear me sing it. Just as soon as I seem to get used to this life, some one sings a song plays a tune, and then it is all off. I am back home in the front room near the graphophone or piano. Well I can’t think of any more.

Sam

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

Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/18/1916

Well Lena

I guess this will develope into quite a letter at that. This sheet here is being written 18 hours later than the other one. Now my intentions of sending the other one as a letter was good but surcumstances that are bound to come up popped up and there you are. On the other page (which realy should be well on the way now) I spoke of a rain storm. Well my guess was right, only it wasnt timid. It broke just as I finish (this noted page) and then there was trouble. Regardless of the rain (that was coming down about as hard as was possible) we had to get our stuff together and beat it out here (which by the way is the furthest out post that is establish from this camp.) Say kid it was raining, and then it rained some more, and then some. Some stuff, what? Out side of this rain nothing happened. This sheet of paper was about the only thing that was dry, for I had it in my note book which is all that saved it. I dont know how my stuff is back at camp but I suppose it is in the same old condition again.

We were driven here in motor trucks which got hung up in the mud about ten times and we would all have to get off and push. When we got here we just stood where we were stationed and (Let er rain.) It cleared off fine towards morning and every thing we own is dry now. It is eleven oclock here now; in Boston it is nine.

We got our mess this morning at ten and it consisted of Rotten tea, Rotten oat meal and Rotten eggs. It was a fine feed to throw at a guy after such a night. You see they had to carry it by mule team (they dared not take a chance with the truck) to us, and that helped to make every thing Rotten. I wasn’t hungry anyway, but I would liked to have had a hot cup of coffee after such a night.

I spoke of the rain storms not being chilly down here. Well I am going to take it all back after last night. The change is very noticeable. I have a Cossack post (four men and myself) to cover a sector between boundary post #10 to 11. Water mellons and cantilopes all around us. Now as soon as I get an envelope I will mail this so don’t get nervous. I must not forget to tell you that I am feeling fine.

Sam

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

Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/17/1916

Dear Lena

Just a line or two and that is all. We had another practice hike this morning but we didn’t have to carry our haversacks or extra bandaleers of amunition. We hiked about five miles, drilled, in extended order, exercise with and without rifles, and then hiked the five miles back again. It was soft work although some of the boys felt it, for we had to walk through a good deal of sand, mud, and railroad beds.

We are feeding from a field kitchen on which four companies are feeding now and we stood in line almost an hour befor we got a whack at the eats, which was corn chowder, corn starch pudding and rotten coffee. We had to attend school this afternoon, get our whole equipment changed for now, (and by the way, they are going to issue overcoats, for winter I suppose). I’m thinking of some thing, guess what it can be? I hope they think it is going to be cold in Boston very soon for I dont think we will use these coats down here until Nov. any way, and I hope we are not going to use them here.

We go on out post again tonight so dont expect a letter for two days, although I have done more writing while on out post than any where else. I will try to write and let you know how things are going. It looks like more rain tonight and if it does it is going to be tough. It is a sector we never covered before so we don’t know what we are going to run into. But rain, shine, strange land, or any thing else, we are there so why worry.

I got a card today, stating that you received that paper. What do you think of it? I think it looks like one of Mr. Hearst’s. Gee we hate to leave our camp, (which we will in about an hour) and hike away out there on that dreary border. All along the border, the two countries are separated by barb wire fences. About every hundred yards there is a monument, which we call posts. Well I have to close now, hoping that this finds you as Ive always hoped my others would. I am taking good care of my self, not altogether because I want to but because I have to, in order to be able to return in as good health as I left.

I guess I am loosing the art of writing again, for I havent answered half the letters I have received. Better days coming (Id like to know when.

Sam

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/16/1916

Dear Em,

Received your card and I am finding time right now to answer it. Gee we are hitting it pretty tough here now, for the rainy season has struck us. It is raining again now but not as hard as it did yesterday and Saturday night. Say when it does any thing weatherish down here it sertainly goes the limit. The storm Saturday leveled all of our tents and soaked everything we owned. Last nights storm flouded us out again but we managed to keep our cloths dry. We dug trenches around our tents so that the rain would collect in these instead of the tents. Some how the head of my cot got down in to this trench (which is about a foot deep and I felt pretty sore when I awoke in the morning. I have felt the effects of this all day, but I will get over that alright.

Some lumber came today for floors and some of the tents have them already laid. I havent. One thing about the rain here. It dosent have that dreary, cold, shivery effect that it has in N.E. I suppose it isnt the time of year for it to be so. You only have to walk about tent feet when you have got about twenty five pounds of this dope mud on your shoes. Talk about snow shoeing. We had electric lights installed today, and it makes it pretty comfortable. OH but the boys are getting sick of this hanging around just drilling, getting wet, drying out, getting sick, getting well, hearing that we are going home soon, and then hearing different. Yes this is a fine life almost. Now don’t think I am crying baby (for I picked my bed and I am going to lay in it.) I just want to tell you the true attitude of most of the boys. Today for instance after such a night, we drilled four hours in the morning. In the after noon, non comps school at one oclock, inspection of rifles (after the rain you know) at three, another non comps school, at Regimental Headq. at four, and Retreat at five. You know how mad I can get without saying anything. Well you can imagine my mood all day today. (Part of the game though) Do it and say nothing.

I am wondering right now Em if I have changed any. I hope so. We are feeding fine latly such as. Peas, frankforts, pigs feet, cabbage, roast beef, mashed potatoes, iced cocoa, (tapioca pudding) (yes but its awful to eat this and think of the kind Lena makes.) Sunday we had chicken soop, how does that sound? It sounds all right but oh get your glasses to find the rubber stuff they call chicken. But it did taste good beleive me and don’t think it didn’t. I wish I had a dish of Lena’s chicken soop now. Well what is the use of talking about eats. What we get taste very good to us and we are getting enough just now. We know we will break camp at this place soon for (someplace on the border) do you get the heading on this sheet. Some bull what?

Do you know Em there are some good things that we experience in the army, and it looks good (I know) to see them walking on parade, but they are well ofset by the hours that are spent, working, drilling, patience, attention and yes hardships that they go through. The papers may say how comfortable we are, but even for peace time, I know that war must be hell. The worste is yet to come for some of these poor fellows that are not quite as healthy as I am, but we will all give a good account of our selve and be a credit to the old Bay State and to Uncle Sam. And I can say right here, that where we are carrying 210 rounds of amunition the Michigan troops are carrying only five and they are doing no out post work at all. The Second Mass. Brigade is doing it all at Camp Cotton at least.

Well hoping this jumble of Bull finds you all well I remain
Sam

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

Published in: on August 16, 2016 at 12:12 am  Comments (1)  
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Camp Cotton, Texas 8/14/1916

Dear Em,

I have given up all hope of trying to dope out when we are to leave for home. Some say that we are going home for Oct 12, some say we wont go home until the end of that month. Then some say we are going to stay here for a few weeks, go to Deming N.M. for target practice, then maneuvers after which we go home. There is another rumor that we will leave the 28th of this month. Now if you were me, wouldn’t you give up worrying and plug along the same old guy. Im going to, any way. As usual, I never felt better in my life.

After this we are only going to have inspection for Sat. and nothing at all Sun., so you see that will give up two days a week to our selves. After the storm we had Friday night Ive been busy cleaning up my property for everything I own got wet and dirty. We are to be examined by the U.S. Army today, and some of the fellows hope they wont pass. Not me. (How is everybody. Hows Pa.) Keep cool.

Sam

Dear Em

Here is another one, and that is about all I have to say. We have had pretty near the whole day to ourselves today on account of the examination this morning. Washing. Yes I washed out three pair of underwear, three of socks, two bath towels one dish towel, one hankerchief, pair of leggings, one hat, two pairs of pants and my cot. Come to think of it this is Monday at that so its was a good day for this business. I sent a postal this morning but this won’t be mailed until tonight so this will be tomorrows news. News, get it, news. Say there isn’t enough news down here to keep the Enterprise going, one month.

It was pretty warm today, but we took it easy and didnt feel it very much. Ill have to get over to see Jimmie Coyne pretty soon, but Ive forgotten just what company it is. Ill find out though by looking back through my letters. I passed good in every thing in the examination except for a little lift in my left arch. I weighed 133 so you see Ive lost all that weight that I imagined I was gaining. But I am in the pink of condition so I should worry.

We are getting better eats and more sleep than we have been getting while away on that patrol duty. I suppose you have read of the storm we had and beleive me it was some storm. It wet every thing I owned and that is why I had such a big washing today. Say the Militia is sertainly going to surprise you people when they get home and you will never know it was the same crowd that tramped thorough Boston on that memorial day we left. Great was the send off, and I suppose greater will be the return. But it wont be the greeting from the mob, but the hand shakes of our own dear friends that will please us as we were never pleased before.

Sam

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

Published in: on August 14, 2016 at 12:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/12/1916

Dear Em.

Well what do you think of this for class. It is some paper that that girl friend of mine sent down, although Ive lectured to her about sending stuff away down here as much as I have to you. We are just about all played out. I sent a postal saying how much hiking, under the conditions, but that didnt end it. No sooner had I mail three postals than all us non comps were taken about three miles from camp, and hiked over the ground we are now gaurding and patrolling. We started back to camp at five oclock, ate some grub and rolled up our roll and hit for this out gaurd. I was with the captain all night patrolling around, and I didn’t get a chance to sit down once until 2 oclock this morning, and the first thing I knew we were both asleep. One of the sentrys woke us up, and off we were again. He said “Come on Sam lets get walking so we wont fall asleep. We’ll walk around just once more and see that everything is all right before we turn in.” Well I hit the ground at about four oclock and was up again a five, so you can see the loss of sleep that we have gone through in the last 24 hours. I can just write this letter and I hope I finish it before I fall asleep, for if I don’t write and get this off to you today, the Lord only knows what time you will get it.

I didn’t know just where I was laying down this morning if I had noticed this, I wouldn’t have woke up this morning (an hour after I layd down) feeling as though some one was sticking a bayonet into my back and every bone in my body acking. I was laying right on a rock with out noticing it. Im feeling fine now, but gee wouldn’t I like to have a 36 hour sleep. (Part of the game.)

There wasn’t a shot fired from our men last night which speaks very good for us. Company K is covering a distance of about 1 ½ miles which makes it very hard for the men to get any sleep. This would be all right if it only lasted for about three or four days, but where we have been doing this duty for the last month it gets pretty tiersome. Of coarse I didnt expect a picnic down here any way so what is the use of my telling all this. Ive got to dig up some thing to fill this letter up now that Ive started it.

There is one good thing about writing this letter and that is, perfect quite. Every one that is not on now are fast asleep and if I don’t make the rounds again pretty soon, I guess they will be asleep on gaurd. This is a good job when you get used to it, but we will never get used to it. The flies are after me again and it is all a man can do to keep one hand writing and brush flies off and the other to hold this paper on my knee. I hope this finds you all well for it sertainly is leaving me that way. When I get a good bath and sleep I will feel like running over into Mexico and licking the whole Mexican Army.

Tell the rest of the folks that Ill write when I get a chance, and no one wants that chance any more than I do. I guess I’ll wake up the corporal now and pound my ear for a couple of hours if the flies will let me. But I am so near asleep now that I guess Ill beat them to it.

With love,
Sam

Dear Lena,

I have had a little nap and some eats and I feel a little better. We have just had a very hard rain, which lasted about ten minute. It sure did come down for a while and now it is hotter than ever. It is funny what a little sleep and feed will do for a fellow. I received both yours and Em’s post card, and I hope that the range will lessen your work considerable. I don’t doubt but what 17 people have caved in and it is too bad. Em writes that every thing is O.K. which sounds good to me. We have about five fellows at the hospital now, and two more to go very soon I think. Em asks how the washing is. Well I dont blame her for I guess that is about all some of my letters consist of. I fell asleep three time writing the letter you have just about received and I hope you can make out what it says. The card you sent was very fitting and proper, the one about the blue bird. Tell me in your next if you can read these postals. If not I will write larger.

Sam

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

Published in: on August 12, 2016 at 12:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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Camp Cotton, Texas 8/11/1916

Dear Em,

I received your letter and was very glad to hear that you got the medals and pictures. We have just come in from an awful grind, hiking 10 miles. We had 210 rounds of ammunition, round abouts, rifles, haversacks, with mess kit and every thing that belong with it, and a canteen full of water. We past a battalion of Mich troops, and all they had on was round abouts, with 100 rounds of amunition and canteen, rifles. It was the hardest hike I have ever experienced in all my time in the Militia, and I don’t think it will be the last nor any easier than we will get from now on. I told you that we dont sweat down here. Well you would think that we had all been swimming with all our cloths on. We went through sand, and it was so thick that I couldnt see one quarter of the company. You can imagine how we look, sweating so and all this dust settling on your face and hands. (All in the game) We all just flopped on reaching our tents. The day I was in town, I found that I had gained 10 pounds, but I bet I lost all that and then some this morning. Give my regards to Henry, Mary and all the rest. No I never have my washing done although I am at it all the time. I wish I could fill this postal up but I can’t think of anything.

Sam

Dear Lena,

You all say its hot up there, well beleive me, this has been the worse day for heat that I have ever seen. I suppose it is the result of what they put us throug this morning. We all were beginning to think that we were getting along fine as far as the heat and drilling was conserned, but (oh my,) you would think to see us all now that we had just got here. Now you folks may be trying to dope out why I am sending so many postals. You see I bought 25 of them the last time I was in El Paso, and all I have to do is pull one out of my pocket and jolt down a few words, address it and that is all there is to it. I should be writing a letter now but I dont like to leave the tent, and these are all I have for writing material. There is all the paper and envelopes we want at the Y.M.C.A. but I am too hot and lazy to move from where I now am. I just got a postal from Mary Higgins and she wants to know why I dont answer her letter, so you see Im not writing all I should, although it seems as though every time I get a chance I am scribbling a letter or a card to some one. I am all tanned up (so they say) and I’m in the best of health. Im following out that saying that Pa have you send me on that post card. Cut me up a couple of slices of bread.

Sam

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

Published in: on August 11, 2016 at 12:30 am  Comments (1)  
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