Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/29/1916

Dear Lena,

I had this check all enclosed sealed addressed and the stamp on it, but I though as long as I have to stay on an other hour that I would write a letter. (Be a sport you know. I am sergeant of the gaurd for twenty four hours. This is not outpost, but interior gaurd. We have ninteen prisoners, two of which are bad ones. It is a shame the way some of these fellows carry on. For instance one fellow was brought in a few minutes ago with his left hand in a sling. He has been missing for three days, the Lord only knows where he has been. Another fellow was brought in at nine oclock with the jimmies and we had an awful time to get him quited down. I know I should not mention these instances, but they give you an idea what the Gaurd has to put up with, and also a chance to write some kind of a letter.

I guess you have received those post cards, (that speaks of the drill we were to be checked up on this morning,) by this time and I want to say that as far as I can make out, (I dont thing I was looking crooked either) we got a very good mark. It is half past one A.M. now, and I turn in for a nap at two thirty, so you see I am both writing a letter and keeping awake in doing so. (You know that saying Hay while the moon is bright) I hope it is as cool there tonight as it is here, but I hope you can use it for more sleep than I am to get. Cheer up, we are off tomorrow afternoon and night. May be.

I wish you, Pa, and Em could see me writing this letter. Here I am sitting on a roughly constructed chair, and a very roughly constructed d-e-s-k. I thought Id spell it out so that you would know I wasn’t kidding. Well on this desk sits a lantern, that throws a very good light. Up in front of me lays my gaurd roster, special orders, sick report book, and a watch (oh no not mine). Out side of my two elbows, the for finger of my left hand, the tip end of this pencil, and my beautiful blue eyes, there is nothing else ornamenting it. Laying at my right is the officer of the gaurd (my right hand man you see. I have him pretty handy. If he saw this I would probably be put in the prissy tent where these poor fellows are waiting trial. It would put you in mind of Cival War days, I think if you were here now. Out side on both sides of the tents walk two sentinels. Every two hours the gaurd is changed. OH it’s a gay life, as Harry Lauder would say in the wee small hours of the morning.

There is a faint dreary call of the sentinal on post #6, for the corporal of the gaurd, and as I write it, it is being repeated back through the chain of sentinals until now it has reached the man on #1 post and the corporal has started out to see what the matter is. Another prisoner for us to take care of, (this makes twenty. Trying to get into camp with out pass. We have to do it. Well this little event has past, my time to turn in is here and I will simply put this in an envelope and mail it in the morning, (that is when I wake up, for it is half past two now.

I am sending 25 days pay home, for I know if I keep it (well I won’t that’s all. Indorse it on the back just as it is made out, as Helena Avery.

Sam

Dear Em.

You may talk about it being hot, but beleive me it is some hot here today. After the last two days of pretty cool weather we feel this hot spell. The sun just beats down and seems to burn up every thing. I guess the rainy season is over, and a few drops of rain wouldnt hurt anything right now. Remember, Im not wishing for it to rain, for it can’t do any thing down here unless it is over done.

Did Lena get my letter? I cant figure out now how I did it.

Sam

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

Postcards from Somewhere on the Border, Texas 8/28/1916

Dear Lena,

It is 8 AM and here we are out here on the so called battle field. We are about to attack an enemy a 800 yards. It strikes me funny that the signal men are out about 50 yards being examined now. It is a nice cool day and I guess the boys will go through it all right. I am fine

Sam

Dear Em,

It is Sunday morning and everything is fine with me. I just put away a slice of balogna, slice of bread, ½ of a cantelope, and a cup of coffee for breakfast. Will write soon.

Sam

Dear Lena, 

Please take note of the shadow that is cast by the men. It is pretty chilly here this morning. It is Sun. and I am going to use the most of it in washing. There is that washing again. Gag.

Sam

Dear Mary

Well how is my little sugar plum. I am looking and longing

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

Camp Cotton, Texas 8/26/1916

Dear Lena,

I guess we are getting the best of the bargain, as far as temperature is conserned at that. It has been nice and cool here all day today. But say Lena, the sun sure does bake every thing it hits. As long as you can get in the shade here life is sweet, but out drilling in the sun it is awful. Right now as I write this letter, I am sitting in my tent and there is a steady breeze blowing across my cot. But if I should just step out side, Id swear there wasnt a breath of air at all. As I said in my post card it was cool this morning, and I bet we will need our blankets tonight alright.

I hope you enjoyed the exhibition at the big park. I am sorry that your plans for going to N.Y. has been upset on account of Preparedness, but winter isnt a bad time to visit a big city. Of coarse I hope I will not be here as long as that but you never can tell. I don’t know what difference it makes what regiment a fellow belongs to, but I will say right here that the 8th is the best. I can bet you stopped them all right when you got started. More speed to you. One Regiment is doing as much as the other and if they wasn’t you would hear from it I tell you.

I am glad to hear that Henry pays you a visit once in a while. Tell him he is lucky that he can. I wish I could. We are to be inspected for our field or battle work tomorrow, and our equipment Wednisday. Before this reaches you you will have read what the 5-8-9th are rated as.

It hasn’t rained now for two days and we are doing fine. I hope that it will get cooler soon, and do take it easy, and dont get any of those head aches that you are so subject to. You bet Mary and I will be good pals and tell her I am just waiting for the time that I can get her in my arms and pay pack some of those XXXXX she sent me and all the soldiers down here. She may think that I am a coon when she sees me, but I will find a way to over come this I guess.

It is said that we are to go on a seven day hike very soon after this inspection and that will test the regiments better than any thing else unless it is the real stuff. And no danger of any thing like that. Well I am going to answer Ems letter and then I am going to take in my wash.

Sam

Dear Em

Im afraid Im not going to have much time to write to you so excuse me if I make use of this excuse to fill up this paper as soon as I can. I am very sorry that you don’t get any releif from the heat. I hope you all enjoyed the show. I suppose Pa gets all the bacon an eggs in the morning that he wants.

Talking of chicken soup that is what we had this noon. It is just what you say in regards to my return. You never can tell what tomorrow brings until it is yesterday. All the boys are shooting crap in this tent and talk about the Sunday mornings when we lived on High St. nothing to it. I will have to cut this letter until after Retreat, for it is almost 5 now and I got quite a wash out between the tents. If I don’t get them in pretty soon they wont be there thats all.

Well the clothes are in, Ive stood Retreat and here I am at it again. The next call will be mess. I fell pretty hungry so I hope they have some thing good. Please excuse this writing but I am in a hurry and Id like to get this letter off before grabbing my eats. Gee but its nice and cool here today. I can hardly realize that I am away down here on the Rio Grande. Probably it is because I am feeling so good.

We are in for a hard days work tomorrow and I am going to get a good nights sleep tonight. That is one good thing down here. There hasn’t been one night that it wasn’t comfortable to sleep, not one. Tonight it is going to be cold I think.

Good luck
Sam

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

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 8/21/1916

Dear Lena.

I said in my postal to Em that this would be an easy day on account of it being Sunday. Well I was wrong. I had to get a detail of ten men an dig a sink and it was some job (for the men.) It started to rain about half past three and we had to run for our tents. I wish you could see and hear the thunder and lightning here. There is a steady shower of lightning towards the earth all the time. You would think there is a battle going on when it thunders. It looks as though we are in for a night of it. But we are not on out post or gaurd duty so I should worry.

The last time we went out on out post, (Thursday) it rained like every thing until 12 mid night. I pity the poor fellows that start out to night. They say there was a wash out up in Arizona somewhere and they fear it is going to hold up our mail. That is probably why I haven’t received any today. I have some times read and heard of the rainy season in the west and south west, and now I know that it was never exagerated. There is a steady roar of thunder now, and a streak of lightning can be seen for at least ten seconds before it dissapears.

I hope this postal gets to you in condition to read and if not let me know and I will not write any more like this. The fellows wonder how in the world I do it. I am feeling fine looking fine, and acting fine so what more could be expected of me. How is the gas stove.

A slice of bread.
Sam.

Dear Em.

Please excuse the pen and ink but I guess you will over look it. I sent Mary a letter today and by the way that was a good one she pulled in putting that one cent stamp on your last letter. As I told her, I never would have noticed it if she didn’t speak of it in her letter. I guess the Government is making all kinds of allowances for us in that line.

Any story about our going home is spread about the camp in very short time. Our Captain told us at Retreat tonight that we would be here until Oct. 1, anyway. We will start long hard marches soon, after which there will be a big war game. If they would only tell us when we are to move we could settle down and make the best of it but, Well – nuf ced.

I am feeling fine. That is about 90% of the battle A young fellow next to me last night had a very bad night with his stumack. Most of the fellows are troubled with this. LIFE IN THE ARMY, IS LIKE SUNDAY ON THE FARM. I Wonder How The Table Looks At Home. OH You Worlds Series, I WISH I could see it. Haircut.

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.