Fort Riley Kans
Dear Dad & Everybody
Well at last I am at Fort Riley. I think I will like it a lot better than Fort Slocum. About the first thing an officer told us to do was to take our coats off and leave them off. Some [Relief] beleive me.
There was just 500 Cavalry men in our bunch and we are all housed in the riding school. It is some building, when you can set 500 cots on the floor and leave an isle between each row. The floor is covered with sawdust 4 or 5 inches thick so we do not get dirty at all.
The buildings here are all of stone and are large and pretty. Maybe we will not get a chance to ride but they sure have got a lot of horses here.
We all got pretty tired riding for we only got off from the train once, and that was at [Ottauma], Iowa. It was a little town and the darn officers would not let us get out of line to buy a thing. They took us for a 15 minute hike.
We made very slow time most of the way, stopping for water so often, and then we had to go slow through the cities.
The hospital corp left us at Marion Ohio for Oglethorpe Geo.
We have to stay by ourselves out here for 2 weeks, to see if any diseases develop. It is called Quarrintine. Of course we will drill but by ourselves.
When I woke up Teusday morning we were just a little ways from Jamestown. We did not make any time at all Teusday and it was 3 Oclock Teusday night before we arrived in Chicago, so we did not see anything there. Wednesday morning the Sargent on the train told us we would be in Fort Riley by 8 Oclock Wed. night, but he was was off. Did not arrive in Kansas City until 8 O clock. Fort Riley is 135 miles from Kansas City so we went to bed and got up at 6 Oclock this morning “Thurs” and found we were in a switch at Fort Riley. Did not get breakfast until 8 O clock at the Fort. We had 2 slices of Bread cup coffee and some Corned Beef. Not
very much for a start, but it was way past mess time, so I suppose that was the reason.
The feed coming up on the train was pretty good, and Hecker, Smith & myself had some eats out of the suitcase. Last night 5 other fellows and myself made some drink out of the lemons and grape-juice that Roy & Mildred gave me. Tell Mildred that the cake they brought up was some cake. Gee it was good.
Say I sure saw some country coming out. I am going to get a timetable Dad and mark out the route that we took and send it to you. We went through New York State, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas. Every place we went through a lot of people were out cheering us.
We have not got our cots in the riding hall yet. Just our places to put them. The fellows are all doing stunts and making a lot of noise, but the officers told us we could do any thing except play ball inside. The officers all ride horses and seem to be better than those at Fort Slocum. Hecker and another fellow from Elmira are right near me so I am fixed fine.
It seemed so funny, coming thru Ohio & Illinois not to see any hills, nothing but flat country all the while. Indiana has a few hills and it seemed good to see them. Well as it looks as though we were getting ready to do something I will have to
Your loving son
We just went out and got our cots. We put them up ourselves and they are brand new ones. When we went out a small troop of cavalry went past us. They all wear their strings that hold their hats on down under their chin like a Cossack. All of them had spurs on and their horses were sweaty. Probably been drilling. They sure looked great, all tanned up & hard. Each one of us has a lot more room for our cots than we did in those old tents at Slocum. Let all the folks read this letter as this one will have to do for all all of you this time. It seems more homelike here for some reason. Remember me to all my friends and write Clark
Sunday June 24-17
Fort Riley Kan.
Thought I would get a letter yesterday but have not seen anything yet. I guess it takes 3 days for mail to get here.
Yesterday we had 2 drills in the morning and in the afternoon we all went out in the woods and laid around. Pretty soft so far. Our captain gave us a dandy talk yesterday. He said that they were going to weed out the dumb men and keep them by themselves and drill the good ones separate. I guess we are going to get horses all right if we get the foot drill down good. We are drilling cavalry drill on foot now.
Yesterday before dinner we had to take all of our stuff
out of the drill hall and put them in a big stable that had all been cleaned out. In the afternoon, all the best riders here gave an exhibition in our drill hall for the benefit of the Red Cross. We could not see it but I guess they done some great riding like jumping hurdles and other stunts. A lot of people came and paid .50 to see them. About 4 Oclock we brought our cots and things back again. All we have to sleep on is our cots and one blanket and one blanket over us. Got up this morning at 5:30 and washed and then went to chow. They call meals chow her instead of mess.
To wash our clothes, we have about 12 water pails for 500 men, and it is some job to get a pail, I went out last night
late and found a pail and brought it in and put it under my bunk so I would be sure and have it this morning. After breakfast this morning I done my washing. I washed 2 towels, my union suit, 6 Handkerchiefs, 3 pair socks and 2 rags that I wipe my dishes with. It is so hot that we just lay our clothes on the grass and they dry in no time.
Today all we have to do is hang around in our drill hall and go and eat.
The officers here are so much different than they were at Slocum that we don’t know how to act. We can go up and talk to them the same as we would anyone, and they hardly ever call any one down. It seems almost like home now, but I think tommorrow we
will get down to business and do our regular number of drills. I will be glad, because the sooner we get the drills on foot the quicker we get our horses. Gee I am anxious to get one and learn to ride.
This is the hottest place in the world I think. And dusty. Good night, our shoes and leggins are almost white. Everybody is sweating all the while, but I guess it wont hurt us any.
When we passed Lima Ohio, we got central time, so had to set watches back one hour. It is 11.30 here now and 12.30 at Waverly.
There are no lights in our hall so we have to go to bed before dark about 9 O’clock. As we are in quarrantine we can’t go to the canteen and
buy anything, but the officers are very good, and they go over and buy stuff for us. Friday night one of the Sargents got some Ice Cream and brought it over here and sold it. I got .10 worth in my cup and it sure tasted good.
My hair is coming in, but I don’t Know as I will be able to part it or not. I have been pushing it straight back.
The nights here are a little chilly.
All of our officers are typical westerners and they are sure a great bunch.
The stuff on the floor here is tan bark instead of sawdust. I suppose they get it from tanneries after it has been used, because it is real fine. Some one just said it was 87 degrees in the
hall here. Some heat.
There is a corporal here that has been in the army about 9 years and he comes from Sayre Pa. What do you Know about that. His name is Eddie McHugh. I should think he was about 30. He is a dandy fellow.
The feed here is good but we dont get enough of it. This morning I had 2 boild eggs, 1 slice bread and some corn meal with Karo syrup on it. That is more than I would eat at home, but it don’t seem enough here. At night for drink we have iced tea with lemons in it and it is sure
Here is a list of things I wish you would get for me, and I will send you some money when I get paid. Am going to send money home every month.
I want a small cheap wrist watch and if you can get one that you can tell the time in the dark with. They have them but I don’t know what they are called. Send some soap, 1 pair insoles, 1 small cheap looking glass, some thread and one of those fountain Pens from the house. Some home made cookies and candy would taste great too.
Well, as I want to write to Susie and send some cards I will close, for this time.
Love to all
P.S. Don’t forget to write and also send stuff to eat. I write so fast that you will find a lot of mistakes but it is a letter.
Well I just had dinner and it was good. 1 slice Bread 1 cup coffee mashed Potatoes & gravy, 2 pieces of beef and a pickle. Tasted god too. We have 2 Kitchens for our bunch.
The Kitchens are about 15 feet wide and 40 feet long. It is built of 2 by 4 lumber and the top, ends and 1 side are covered with canvas. The open side is where they hand us our eats. The stoves are built of sheet metal flat on the ground like a camping stove and they burn wood. For a penalty they make fellows cut wood. It comes in chunk 6 or 8 feet long with the bark and all on just as the trees are cut. It is the regular army way. Gee I am sweating something fierce. Quite a few flies here too.
You will find the number of the sheets up at the top of the page.
Fort Riley Kansas
Dear Ones at Home,
I can’t understand why I haven’t heard from anybody since I have been here. Gee Whiz no one has got any mail to speak of. I think they are mixed up or something for I think you would have written before this. The mail calls here are darn irregular. We are going to have one tonight though and if I dont get any mail this time, I am going to stay away from mail calls.
We just had supper and had 1 slice Brd, 1 cup of Leomonade
1 good tablespoonful of fair hash, and a spoon of Jelly. Not so bad but I could have eaten another slice of Bread and some Jelly. I dont beleive I would know butter if I should see it. Have not had any out here.
They are going to have mail call now so I will go up and see if I get anything. There was no mail for me and I don’t Know what to think, whether you have forgotten me or haven’t written. I will finish this letter but will not write again until I hear from you, because I like to hear from as well or more than you do from me.
I sure had some hard luck this afternoon when we got through. I washed out 2 towels and 3 handkerchiefs and left them out to dry, and a wind storm came up and I lost my 3 Handkerchiefs, and my towels are down in the dirt all black. Now I will have to wash them again.
We get up at 5 O clock, get breakfast at 6 O clock and then come back and start for the drill ground at 7 O clock. Get back from drill at 11.15. After dinner we start at 1 O clock and listen to our instructor read to us about First Aid to the Injured, the War Regulations and stuff like that. We are also learning to signal with
2 flags. You hold them a different way for each letter. I dont think it is very hard. We also have learned our guard rules. There are 12 of these and they are a cinch.
The men in the riding hall are divided in 10 sections with a sargent or corporal in charge of each section 50 men. A sargent has us and he is too easy. Of course we are learning the drills but not as fast as some sections. He does the best he can but, I guess he is rusty on them or something for he dont seem to Know them very well. I wouldnt be surprised if we got a new drillmaster
Every time we go out
of the darn building we have to wash, it is so hot and dusty.
Pretty near every one goes to bed here at 9.30. That is the time we have to quit our noise.
Some of the non commisoned officers bring a couple of tubs of ice cream in every day and sell it to us. Everybody buys some and they sock us good and proper for it, but it is so darn hot we eat it to cool us off. We get it in our cups and eat it.
It looks as if it would rain tonight, I wish it would rain enough to settle the dust anyway.
I keep most of my stuff
in Susies suit case, and it sure is just the thing. I put my dirty clothes in my blue bag. Have not washed my flannel shirt since I got. Have only just the one that I am wearing. We have all put in for more clothes but dont when we will get them.
This life wont be so bad when we get out of quarantine because then we can go up to Junction City on the st. car for .10 and they have 4 or 5 Picture shows there.
I have felt good ever since I have been here, but we are all a little stiff & lame from drilling. Of course we have rests between each drill so it is not so bad.
I will like it all right if I only hear from you once in a while and get some eats or something from home. Some of the fellows here are sorry they did not wait for the draft but I am not sorry for anything.
Every night some of the fellows get to singing and it sounds good.
You had ought to see the recruits drilling on horseback. They have to go up and down a hill steeper than Spanish hill. Of course there are no trees there but it is some stunt. They also have to jump hurdles, and go around in a circle with their hands swinging
up in the air loose. I will sure be glad when I get on a horse.
Well as it is getting a little dark I will have to close. It thunders a little now.
Your loving son
P.S. Now if you dont want me to get homesick for Lord’s sake write once a week anyway. Address it the same as I started this letter until I tell you different.
Remember me to all my friends
I address these letters all to you Dad for I think you would get them quicker but they are meant for all the folks.
Thursday 9 P.M.
July 5 - 1917
Fort Riley Kan.
Just received the Sun and magazine that you sent me, tonight. What do you think of that. Also rec’d a letter from Susie and Tom Austin that are addressed on the 25th of June. This is the service we have been getting here. It is awful. Got your letter with the thread in last night mother.
Yesterday [more] we all watched some of the races and the horse races were great but the other stuff did not amount to much. After dinner my 5 pals from Elmira and myself, went to Manhattan City and ate all the Ice Cream svd as we could hold. Also got a good supper and at night we took in 2 picture shows. They were both good too. We left
there for home at 11.30 and it was about 1 O clock when we arrived. The cars run awfully slow. Manhattan City is Kind of a pretty little place but it is sure dead. No factories or anything. I don’t see how people live there.
When we got up this morning we had to clean up around the Barracks after Breakfast. Then all of us had to go up on the hills, or Knolls as I would call them, behind the camp and pick up stones. They are building walks between each new Barracks. Gee some of the stones would weigh 300# or 400 #. Then we would get 2 pieces of wood and 5 or 6 men get a hold and carry it down. All of us took our own sweet time and rested a lot beleive me. We all looked for small stones to carry. After dinner they sent us back again and we
sure laid down on the job. After we got on the hill the Sargent in charge would pick out 4 fellows and let one of them have charge. The young fellow that had us was all right and we carried just one stone down this afternoon, but it was a whopper. Had to get boards and put under it to carry it. After we finally got this boulder down to the barracks my gang & I decided we did not join the army to carry rocks so we struck. After fooling around the Barracks, until we are afraid an officer would come in bent it up in a little ravine with trees in and laid down and rested until nearly 5 O clock. When we got back to the Barracks and asked the fellows how many rocks they carried, most of them said they had beat it and hid somewhere
I can’t see where this is an army if we don’t drill and get our guns and horses, and all of us are getting out of all of the darn work we can. Tonight my gang and I went down to the Post Office but none of us got any mail. I got the papers here at mail call, or rather another fellow got them for me for I was not here. Gee everybody Knows me, and if I have any mail and am not there to get it, some one always gets it for me and then about 40 others will ask me if I got it.
Well mother, my gang and I cleaned up all of the eats you sent me, for supper tonight. Had some jelly that I bought at the canteen, some Bread and cake. Gee it was great, but you had better not send any more
until I get in a troop, because I might never get it.
All but 2 or 3 of the bunch have signed the pay-roll and we expect to get paid tomorrow. I will send some money Home to you send for my insurance.
After our bunch in the Barracks tonight we went down to Fort Riley to the Post Exchange, and I got a hair cut and shave. First time I have been in a barber shop in a long time, and it seemed good too. I just had my hair trimmed on the back & sides, and I am going to try and get a part in it again if I can. It is coming in pretty good, but is darn stubborn.
None of us have done any drilling since last Friday
We wont Know anything in a little while, if we Keep on like this.
Well as it is getting nearly time for the lights to go out I will close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. Tell Susie I did not get her letter until July 4, and I sure was glad to here from her. I hope Harold that you and mother will have a good time up on the farm. Wish I was there to go up with you or else stay home and help you Keep house Grandma.
Give best regards to everybody and write often.
Send all mail General Delivery from now on and I think I will get it sooner.
Fort Riley Kan.
July 1st – 17
Will write just a little line to let you Know I got all my back letters last night. We had a big mail call of all left over mail. Some fellows got letters mailed June 6th. Yesterday and today the bunch I go around with did not work carrying rocks. We beat it to the woods and took it easy. We are down in the wood now Keeping out of sight of officers.
Before I joined the army I didn’t think I was lazey but I believe now that I am. I don’t mind drilling but I wont carry rocks unless I really have too. Yesterday they moved us again. We are now in Tents The 4 of us that hung together had to split up, but we managed
for 2 of us to get in the same tent so it is not as bad. Have not got our pay yet.
Hecker, one of the fellows from Elmira came down in the woods with us this morning but he got afraid and went back. He hasn’t got any backbone at all. Gee Whiz all of the fellows are getting out of work. Here every one is for himself and believe me I am beginning to learn some things. The more you do the more they want you to do. Some of the fellows here have not even drilled yet, let alone work. Well we are going to play a game of [Euchre] so will close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. Will write more next time. Write often.
Harold write & tell all about what you done the 4th Dad those stamps will sure come in darn handy.
Fort Riley Kan
9th Recruit Co.
July 3 – 17
Sent you a card this noon and will follow it with this letter. I’ll say I am some writer. Just got through writing to Mrs. Deyo, Roy & Mildred and Mrs. Kate Ellis. I write with pen to them and only on one side of a sheet, but I Know that you folks won’t care if I write you in pencil.
Three fellows from Elmira that I am sticking with, went down to the Express office with me last night and got my box. We only went a little way before I had to stop and open it. We ate some of the cookies and cake and smoked a cigar. Gee the stuff was all great. Everything came fine except the
looking glass and that was broke, but half of it was whole and Kept it and it will be alright.
Yesterday we moved about 1 mile from the riding hall into the Barracks. Some of us are in tents, but my gang and myself are in a Barrack. I don’t Know whether we will have to go in tents or not. Gee I hope we stay in the Barracks for it is all new and clean. Of course it is only a rough wooden building but it has electric lights in and is great. Each barrack has a mess hall back of it and also a toilet. Each Barrack will hold 100 men and the mess hall has 10 tables that will each seat 10 men, so you see when we get stationed in a barrack it will be great. We get all we can eat up here too, and that is a good thing. The toilet has 6
good shower baths in and 8 new toilets the same as we have at home. A man told me today that they expected to put up 3,000 such building here, enough for 70,000 men.
This morning I got up at 5.15 and got chow and then we all had to work for 2 or 3 hours picking up the wood and shavings that the carpenters had left around the buildings. After dinner we did not have any thing to do, so the 4 of us went down to the Postoffice and Post Exchange. Had an ice cream cone and a bottle of pop.
When we got back it was pretty near time for chow, but I did not feel very hungry so did not go down. Staid here and ate a slice of real bread and some cookies & cake. It almost seemed as if I was home mother
eating those cookies. It is now 7.10 O clock, and I guess I will go to bed early tonight for my 3 new friends and myself are going to Manhattan City tommorrow and do the town. Gee it will seem good to be able to mix with people after being shut up in the darn old Riding hall. We got out of quarantine yesterday.
We have not been mustered in yet so guess we wont get any pay until next month. We had a picture taken of 2 sections of men and I got one and will send it tonight. My picture is not very good so I put a mark on it so you will Know me. I will mark our 1st Leuitenant with a figure 1 and the Sargent that drilled us while we were in the
Riding Hall I will mark with 2. You can erase the marks but I wanted you to Know them. The 1st Leuitenant is a prince. He is still with us but Sargent Gleason went to the 21st Cavalry. We all hated to have him go.
Say the wrist watch is a peach. Just the right size and everything. Whoever picked it out couldn’t have done better.
We expect to be assigned to a troop Friday or before so maybe you had better not send any food until I tell you.
I think I am doing better in the writing line than you are at home, by the number of letters I get.
I feel dandy. Weigh the same as I did when I left home, and that is pretty good, when you take in drilling, heat and change in food. Bet I will commence to pick up now. My vaccination is not going to work this time either. Hecker has got a good start on his though.
Well as I want to take a little smoke I will close and write again about our trip to Manhattan.
Your loving son
P.S. If you cannot read my writing let me Know and I will take more pains in the future. The picture I am sending also shows up some of the stone Barracks. Gee they are real building.
Fort Riley Kan.
July 9 – 1917
I guess that I have rec’d all of your letters now. Got two this noon that were mailed June 23. What do you think of that.
Today is the big day here. It is Pay Day. Of course the men in the troops get their money first but we will get ours afterward. Everybody is planning to go to town tonight and get some good feed. Gee “M” Troop is the poorest feeding troop here and we had to eat their for 2 Days. It was fierce. Now we are eating different places about every meal and are getting all we want.
This morning the squad that I am in lined up for drill and had just started exercising, when an order came for us to do fatigue work, and beleive me it was very fatiguing. We had to dig holes to set big posts in. They only had to be 6 feet deep. I have 3 blisters on my hands now. The sargent said they put us at work because we had had enough of the 1st Drills. Good night all this bunch has been doing lately is fatigue work and we are all getting sick of it. Some of the bunch from Slocum has been assigned to troops but none of my pals have. Hecker is still with us.
Two of the fellows in my tent are from California, and they are good scouts. One of the fellows from our tent just came in and said most of the men in the troops had been paid so I suppose we will get it in about an hour.
Talk about crap games, the fellows that have just got paid are playing for any amount of money from $1 to $30. Some of them will never Know they have been paid in about an hour. Beleive me I will not shoot a cent that way, but I do like Ice Cream and Pop. Think I will go to town tonight myself.
Some of the fellows say that they heard all unasigned men were going to be sent away from here, but you can’t beleive a word you hear.
They are bringing a lot of Militia men and Artillery men here, for some reason or other.
It is as hot as ever here today and it has not rained yet.
Tommorrow is a big day for me. July 10th and I will be 23 Years old. If I don’t go to town tonight I will sure go down tommorrow night and blow myself.
Some of the recruits have got their guns and some a horse but I guess our squad is unlucky or something.
I think when the war is over there will be the biggest bunch of Bums that ever was. Gee we are all getting so lazey we hate to go to chow. Every chance one gets he lays down or sets down. I am just as bad as the rest. This afternoon we are all in the tents laying down and some of them are sleeping.
Met a fellow that works in the Canteen and he used to work in Elmira. Had quite a visit with a fellow that used to work on the old Wild-Wood Farm down there near Milltown.
Say if they gave every-one a chance to get out of this. Pay Call for our squad was just called so I will stop for now.
We just had some bum trick played on us. They got all of us unassigned men lined up in columns of fours and according to our last name. We then marched up near the place where they pay us and stood around for 20 minutes. Finally an officer came down and said we would not get paid until tommorrow morning. If you could hear the men talk it would sure shock a minister. It was an awful disappointed. There is no system here at all. Just like a big mob. Nobody Knows what he will do next. We are all getting sick of it. I would like to be moved somewhere else where they have some system. Well we will have to make the best of it, and hope for better times after awhile.
It is a mammoth job they have here of sewage for the toilets. They use a ditch digging machine and it digs some fast. It digs more than a foot a minute and about 5 feet deep. It throws the dirt to one side in a nice pile. I wish you folks could be here and see Fort Riley. I can’t describe the Biggness of it, but there certainly is a lot of work going on all the while.
One of your letters that I got today Dad said something about a letter to the Sun. I would be afraid to write them at present for I am afraid I
would sure Knock the army life as it is now. When we commence to get better treatment I will try and write them. Well now we are going to show so I will stop again, and write what we have for supper. We have a big mail call tonight too.
Just got my dishes washed from chow. We had mashed sweet Potatoes, Macaroni & cheese 2 Slices of Bread & Iced tea. Lots of everything too. Gee I am full. We ate with K Troop tonight and K is sure good feeders. The men that got paid are running around with $5 and $10 Bills galore.
Will close now and write later how I spend my first Birthday in the army.
Your loving son
Remember me to everybody. Everybody write
Fort Riley Kansas
Well yesterday was a big day for Clark. First pay I ever got in the army and my 23rd Birthday. I had $22 coming but $3 was taken out for Canteen checks that I got at Fort Slocum and I had to pay for that picture. I am going to send Dad $10 tommorrow if I can get down to the Post office.
Today sure has been a wonderful day too. This morning had my first drill with a rifle. We have not received a rifle of our own yet, so they took rifles from the assigned men and let us use them. We learned how to “Present Arms” “Post Arms” “Right Shoulder Arms” “Left shoulder Arms” “Salute with a rifle” and about a hundred other things. The best part
of our drill this morning was that they borrowed horses for us from B troop. I am drilling with B. troop now. Say talk about riding a horse. It sure was funny. I had a dandy trained horse but all it had on was a halter and piece of rope for reins. No saddle or blanket. I staid in the saddle for 1 hour without getting off. I said saddle there but that was a mistake. You had ought to have seen me ride. Of course the horses didn’t hardly get off from a walk, or I would sure have been on the ground. Lots of fellows fell off as it was. Gosh we had to ride without any hands and do a lot of stunts, but it was all fun for about half an hour. Then I commenced to get sore, you know where, but I stuck the hour out. Good-Night I was sore as the deuce for a while but now I feel better. Some of the poor fellows have got Blisters and skin rubbed off and one poor fellow bled right thru his pants. Of course it is nothing serious but it sure does hurt. Probably I will be writing that I have to stand up to eat in a few days, but I should worry. If there is any possible way to learn to ride I am the boy to do it.
Received your Box last night and my 3 Pals from Elmira and myself have made quite a hole in it already. It seemed good to get it on my birthday too.
Since I have been here have seen several Hupmobiles and one just like ours. Gee it made me homesick to look at it. I sure hope you folks are enjoying the car. If you
[Side note: I was fooling with one of my Buddies the other day and broke my Fountain Pen clean in two.]
were only here you could drive all around the fort with it. Good roads and I Know you would enjoy looking at everything. They are certainly doing things on a mammoth scale here.
It is just 8 O clock now by my watch by Central time or 9 O clock at homes. Seems funny don’t it to have different times.
Well as I want to send some cards to some of the fellows I will close until next time.
Your ever loving Son
P.S. Wish you would thank Fanny for the stuff she sent me and also Aunt Guss. It has been some hot here today. Don’t be surprised if you here that I have been sent to another Fort, as that is the talk here now.
Fort Riley Kansas
Sunday 9.30 A.M.
July 15 – 1917
I think I done fine writing you such a long letter and this is all I am going to write today. Am going to take a nap this P.M.
As you have noticed I have not written so much as usual, but I have been so busy and tired when night came that I have not felt like it. Next week I will try and do better. Have not heard from you since Wednesday for I have not been down to the Postoffice. Some days we don’t get thru drilling until 4.30 O Clock and chow is 5.30 so I don’t have time to get down there and back. The Post Office closes at 6 O clock. This morning Hecker and another fellow went down and I look for some mail.
Have been drilling on horses for the last 4 days and it is fun. We are only on them for 2 or 3 hours in the morning, but that is enough to make us pretty sore. You had ought to see the fellows use powder and cold cream at night. It sure is funny for
they dont put it where the women do. Gee some of the fellows are so sore that they can hardly sit down. The skin is all rubbed off. I am pretty sore myself and it hurts me to sit down but I make it all right. Three days I had dandy horses but Thursday I had one with a backbone about 3 feet high and I sure felt it all the time. When a fellow sits on a horse without a saddle for 1 hour he sure is ready to get off. Some of the horses dont even have bridles on just a halter and rope. I have not had a bridle or saddle yet. All you have to do to turn the horse is to press the rope against his neck and he will turn.
I bought a comb & brush and my hair is commencing to part now.
Have seen a lot of rabbits since I have been here and they are quite tame. If I had old Dan I sure would like to hunt here this winter.
I have quit eating so much Ice Cream because a lot of fellows have got sick from eating it when they were too warm.
The cookies certainly have been great to piece on, and I have given the fellows in the tent some. They are all good fellows. Two are from California, two of us from Elmira one from Philadelpia one from Canada and an other from New York. The fellow from Philly is a typical Irishman and it is fun to hear him talk. Of course like all Paddys he exaggerates everything and he talks with a
It is still hot here days and cold nights. Two nights I slept with my shirt and pants on and was none too warm then. Gee I am tanned up something fierce and look like a
They have got a bunch of new horses here now, and after they are broke in, we will all get our own horse. We all have to wear chin straps under our chins and we are a funny looking bunch, but that is the only way we can Keep our hats on.
Say Dad I have seen a number of high Officers with Masons pins on so I guess they are all right. There are quite a few fellows here who are Odd Fellows too.
We have all just orders some more clothes, but don’t Know when we will get them. I ordered 2 pairs Khaki pants but we could not order a Khaki coat. I ordered 2 more O.D. shirts and 3 pair of Drawers so if I get them I will be all right.
Yesterday the squad I am in had to go get the horses and each ride one up the hill carrying a rifle. It was kind of hard but I made out
all right. We had just started drilling when it commenced to rain. It remained raining for about 10 minutes and we got quite wet but everything drys quick here so we did not mind it. We got through early yesterday because it was inspection of quarters. We came off the hill at 10.30 and did not have anything to do the rest of the day. My Buddy and I got the 6 O clock car for Manhattan City and we had some ride. The car was packed full and 20 or 30 of us climbed up on top. It sure was a great ride, nice breeze and some interesting country to look at. When we climbed down at Manhattan I walked by the conductor but did not have to pay him. Some luck I guess. For supper I had a cup of coffee, a cantalope with Ice Cream in, a ham sandwich and piece of pie. It tasted good too. Everything here is cooked with onions in and
I eat it of course, but darn it onions don’t like me. After supper we went to the picture show and it was good. When we got out we walked around until 11 O clock and was going to take the car home but it was so full we decided to wait for the last one. That one didn’t leave until 1.30 and then I had to stand all the way home. I didn’t mind it so much for there were 4 fellows on the car who were playing dandy music all the way down. One had a violin, another a guitar and 2 other instruments like a guitar but I don’t Know what they were. They sure could play too. I got to bed at 2.45 but being Sunday we did not have to get up until 6.30. Other morning we are routed out at 5.15 and have to wash and get our breakfast, straighten up our tent and be ready for exercizes at 6.30. It makes a fellow hustle a little beleive me. We do the exercizes down here by the barracks and start on the hill at 7.30. After we get on the hill we can’t smoke and don’t have a drink until we get down at 11 O clock or after. Some of the fellows have small canteens to carry water in but we unassigned fellows don’t get anything.
This morning I done my weekly wash after breakfast. Gosh, I hate to wash clothes but it has to be done. My pal bought a pail and brush and I used them. I washed my O.D. shirt 1 pair socks, 1 big towel, & handkerchief a wash rag and one undershirt. It sure was some job. Took me over an hour and I used pretty near a whole cake of soap, but I got everything quite clean. I am going over
and take a bath after a while and then I will be all to the good. Hecker just came back with mail and I have two letters from you so I will read them now. One is post marked the 10th of July and the other the 11th.
Just read your letters Dad and was sure glad to hear from you. I received the receipts and pin both. Do not think I will send any money home this month as I did not get much and there was a few things I had to buy. Gee stuff is awful high in town. Last night I paid 25¢ for a regular 10¢ can of shoe paste. They rob the soldiers something fierce here. You say to obey the officers Dad. Well we have been drilling with horses and rifles all this week and I have been very good. Done everything they said and am trying to learn the drills
as fast as I can, for the sooner we get the drills, the easier it will be for us and we won’t have to drill so much.
Well Dad I want to take a bath so guess I will close for this time. I will have to wait until after dinner now as it is nearly chow time.
I rec’d Mr. Lockwoods letter and you tell him I was very glad to hear from. Tell everybody that I can’t answer so prompt as I did, because I am a whole lot busier.
Your loving son
P.S. Remember to Susie and Uncle Sam and all the folks. Am glad Mother went up on the hill for it will do her a lot of good.
Fort Riley Kansas
July 17 – 1918
I feel great only get pretty tired drilling but I like it though. As I am busy now I cant write to everybody as often as I did
Just back from the Post Office and had my supper so thought I would write you a letter. I got Harold’s letter from Lockwood dated July 13th Roy’s dated July 11th and Dads dated July 13th.
Roy had his addressed 9th Recruit Co. and so that is what made his so late but the others came pretty good. I think General Delivery is the best way I can have mail sent for the present.
I sent a letter to you Sunday Dad and you sure should get it tommorrow.
Yesterday I had a full day of drill, both with rifle and horse. I am still pretty sore but can ride a lot better than I could.
This morning was the first time I have ridden a horse with a saddle
and bridle, and it seemed like a rocking chair after riding a week bareback. This morning we sure done some foot drill. My Gosh I was tired when we came off the hill at 11.30. From 7.30 until 11.30 is quite a while beleive me when you only have 2 or 3 little short rests and no water to drink. This afternoon we had it easy though. At 1.30 we all went in the barracks and sat on cots while they showed us how to bandage wounds and broken limbs. At two O clock we went out in a field and listened to a talk on Hygiene by the doctor for an hour. After this we had some practice pointing and aiming the rifle. This lasted until 4.30 and then we were through until 5.45 when we had to stand retreat and then get supper. At first I thought we loafed too much but now we are some busy from 5 O clock in the morning until 6 O clock at night but I guess it wont hurt any of us at that. Every day after dinner we all lay down on our bunks until we have to start drilling.
The feed here is alright now and we get all we want. Of course we don’t get any butter but am getting used to dry Bread now.
The Y.M.C.A. is only about 150 yards from my tent and I was up last night and saw a pretty fair boxing match, between 2 soldiers. If we stay here I will join for they furnish paper and envelopes for you.
The high Officers like the Captains, Major and colonels and lieutenants are all fine fellows but the non-commisoned officers like corporals and sargents are a bunch of rummies. They have been in the army several years but have just lately been made officers and they think they Know everything. I honestly beleive they
make more mistakes giving commands than we do executing them. Most of them are ignorant as far as education goes, and they use no common sense whatever.
Well as I am going to take another bath tonight, I will close and write again Thursday night so you will get letter Sunday.
Your loving son
P.S. Dear Harold,
You will sure have the time of your life in N.Y. and you want to Keep your eyes open all the while. You want to write to me often Harold. Am glad you had a good time the 4th of July. If Tom goes with you, you can use my 22 any time. Well mother you want to eat more and get fat, before I come home. Hope Grandma that you and Dad are both well.
Fort Riley Kansas
July 22 – 1917
Dear Mother & Folks,
Just back from dinner and am smoking my old pipe.
Gee but it is hot today. I walked down to the Post Office this morning and got your letter. I nearly melted going down, and I had to wait in line over half an hour before I got to the window. The general delivery window is open from 10 to 12 on Sundays so I just got back in time for chow. Had boiled cabbage, Potatoes, Bread, Iced tea and tapioca Pudding with starch in. No one could eat the pudding for it was full of starch. The eats are pretty good as a rule.
Friday we drilled the same as usual but they did not push us as hard as they have been. I had a horse with only a halter on and the son of a gun run out of the ring a Kiting with me. He galloped and it is easy
to ride when they gallop. I stopped him before he went far and beleive me I made him step back in that ring. Friday night went up to the Y.M.C.A and saw the pictures.
Yesterday was Inspection and we only had Physical Exercizes from 6.30 to 7.00. Then at 8 O clock we had Inspection of clothes and quarters. I guess everything was alright in our tent for they have not said anything. After inspection we all have to pull the old lumber out from under the buildings and carry it down to the stables. We done this until dinner, but none of us worked very hard. After dinner we thought we could go where we pleased, but the sargent told us to stay in our tents until they called us, for they were going to issue our clothes to us. They called B troop at 4.30 and gave us our clothes. I wrote and told you what I put in for. Well I got 3 pairs of underdrawers and 1 pair of leather laced leggings. What do you think of that. Some fellows did not get anything, while others got shoes, Khaki pants and an O.D. shirt. Talk about clothing the men in the army, I think it is a shame. They say we don’t have any clothing allowance any more, so we don’t get money if we save our clothes. Last night after retreat I went up to Manhattan City and had some Ham & Eggs, Potatoes, a muskmellon some sliced peaches and a good cup of coffee. Gee it tasted good and I sure enjoyed it. I tried to buy a pair of Khaki
pants but could not find any. These O.D. pants are so hot that I have got to get something cooler if I can. I cant wash them because I have no others to put on while they are drying. I also took in a picture show and got home at 1 O clock. It rained at about 1.30 and our old tent leaked, giving us all more or less of a wetting. It is no wonder that they have to draft men into the army, they way they treat us after we get in.
They don’t think we drill enough yet so commencing this week we have to drill every Friday night from 7.30 till 9.00 on marching and Patrol Work. For the hours we put in and work we do they had ought to pay us $5 a day instead of $1.
Yesterday I saw a gopher. They look like a chipmunk but are a little larger. A Kid said it was a gopher but I don’t Know whether it was or not.
We are going to have a ball game here this afternoon and it ought to be good. Guess I will go and see it. I have also got to do a washing this afternoon if I get to it.
I got Ralph Jones address and I will write him. Would like to go down and see him but it costs $6.58 round trip and that is too much when a fellow has to buy his own clothes.
I took 3 baths last week and am dirty now, so will take another tonight. As soon as I get my pay this month I will send $20 home.
As usual mother, you were right in sending my union suit for I am wearing it now and it is cool.
Well as I want to take a little nap and read awhile I will close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. I am feeling fine and hope all you folks are the same. Be sure and write often. I am going to take this letter down to the station tonight so you will get it sooner.
Just got 2 of your letters tonight mother. One was dated July 5th Now I guess I have them all. Am going to shave now. Tell Tom Austin I have never received his letter. Tell everyone General Delivery
Lots of Love
Remember me to everybody.
Fort Riley Kansas
July 24 – 1917
You can tell by this paper that I am writing up in the Y.M.C.A.
I was excused from Retreat tonight by the Top Sargent so that I could go down to the Post Office and get mail. Rec’d two letters from Dad, one from mother, and Mildred & Roy’s letter. Gee it was some hot walking but I would walk twice as far to get just one letter from home. It is a funny thing but most of the fellows here would rather go without their mail than to go down to the Post Office after it. I am glad I am not that way.
You will notice that I am writing
better in this letter, but this is the first time I have written at a table.
There is a bunch of fellows in the Y.M.C.A. tonight. Some are writing, some reading and others playing checkers. They are also playing a phonograph and a fellow is playing the piano. Some place.
Well yesterday was the same drills but they did not push us so hard. Last night two other fellows from my tent and myself came up here to the moving pictures. They were not very good but they are going to have better ones later. Yesterday was the hottest day I ever felt I think. After we got thru drilling in the morning I was wet with sweat. Oh it was awful.
Today has been cooler, and for a wonder they had water on the hill for us. About 10 O clock we all had a cup of water and say we drilled twice
as good. It was warm but it sure tasted great.
Quite a few fellows fall off of the horses but no one has been seriously hurt. I am getting along good I think. Today I rode without a saddle as usual and we done quite a lot of running. I thought several times I would fall off but I stuck to it all right. After drill this afternoon I was in the bunch that went down and watered the horses. They are getting in a lot of new horses every day so I think before long, we will all have our own horse.
One of the corporals in my Troop struck a Russian Pollock over the
head with the butt of his gun yesterday because he would not do as he told him down at the stables. Beleive me it Knocked the darn Pollock stiff for a while but he is around today with a bandage over the cut. The corporal broke his gun when he hit him. What do you think of that Kind of an officer. I don’t blame Corporal Hardy for the Pollock would never do any work, but I don’t think an officer should be allowed to hit a man with his gun. They tried Hardy at Summary Court last night but I heard they didn’t do anything to him.
Mother, I don’t think you or anyone else had better send any clothes until I Know where we are going to winter. You see we have to carry our stuff to the station when we move and I have got about all I can lug now.
Dad I have only rec’d the Sun a couple of times since I have been
here, but am getting all of your letters in good season.
Am glad Grandma has gone up to Uncle Toms for I Know it will do her a lot of good.
Today while B. Troop was in line our 2nd Lieutenant came along and asked me how many pairs of drawers I had. I told him 3 pairs and he said, Well I have 3 pairs left in the orderly room and you had better go in and get them. Beleive me I did. He said they won’t cost you anything, so that shows we dont get any clothing allowance. I guess we get just what they can give
us and if we do not use as many as the next one, we dont get any money instead of clothes.
Say mother I wish you would send me some of my good socks, my leather ½ pint Flask and you can send some more jam. Gee jam goes good when you dont have butter.
Well as it is nearly 9 O clock by our time here, I will close for this time.
Your loving son,
P.S. Remember me to every-one. It certainly was quite a shock to me to hear of Mrs. Austins’ death. I bet Tom and the rest of them feel pretty bad because they were such a happy family. It seems as though a lot of things have happened since I have been away.
Say my watch is great. If I wake up any time in the night I can tell the time.
Fort Riley Kan.
July 24 – 1917
Dear Brother & Sister,
Went down to the Post Office tonight after drill and rec’d your letter. Was sure glad to get it. I didn’t get down to the Office until nearly 6 O clock and so I had supper at the restaurant in the canteen. Ate 2 Ham sandwiches, piece of pineapple pie, piece of cake and a good cup of coffee with real sugar in it. Beleive me folks when I say it tasted different from the army chow.
It’s a funny thing but all the letters I have been writing lately have been to my own dear folks. There
is something about this life that makes you forget your old friends or something. Some of the fellows would not go down to the Post Office to get a letter from home. I have gone down alone several times after trying to get some one to go with me. I may forget the rest but I will never forget my own Kin and blood.
Dad sent a clipping out of a Manhattan city paper saying that we were getting 6 months drill in 6 week and it is the truth, for I Know.
Gee Roy it seems as though the fellows are having more good times this summer, than they ever did before, and here I am a million miles from home and no old friends with me. It is a little hard but you Know me, and that I will stand it without a whimper.
Say Buddie Dad says that you and I were both drafted. I fooled
them I’ll say, but they caught you. How old boy the drafted men are all going to be put in the Infantry, so for God’s sake get out of it. Take a tip from your little brother who Knows. If you could enlist in something you liked it would be different but you can’t so get out of it, or I will punch your face when I see you again, and I can do it to. You have got too much to stay at home for to even think of going away. It didn’t make no difference about me, so I will do the fighting and you stay home and look after the Brusters and
I sure would have liked to have been home and gone to Corning with you. Too bad Pud has left and I’ll bet you fellows miss him in the Drug Store.
I am in the Y.M.C.A. writing this letter, as you can see by the paper. Pretty handy I guess yes.
I can ride a horse pretty fair now and today our bunch had quite a lot of trotting and as luck would have it I did not fall off. One fellow took a header but it did not hurt him much. If they would let us gallop I could ride as fast as the horse would go, but running is a lot harder.
Well as it is after 9 O clock “Central time” I will close for this time and hit my cot.
Your loving Brother
Remember me to Mrs Deyos and all the rest. Also to the old Bunch.
Fort Riley Kan
July 26 – 1917
Well you see I am up to the Y.M.C.A. again. I tried to join the other night, but there is no membership. It is just a temporary place and everything is free. It is pretty fine for us all too.
Talk about hot. Say for the last two days it has been so hot that I dont see how any of us stand it. I took a good bath last night and it made me feel great, but am dirty again tonight. Will take another bath tommorrow night.
Teusday I rode a horse that was stiff in every joint. When he trotted
you wouldn’t think he had any Knee joints at all, for the old fool would come down stiff legged. Yesterday I was sore again but rode and drilled just the same. At night I had one of the fellows look at me, and he said I had a nice saddle Boil. Gee today it has hurt like the deuce. I didn’t lay off today but tommorrow I am going to get off, for it is some torture to ride a horse with a boil. It hurts me some to walk too. These boils don’t amount to much and nearly all the fellow have them, but they sure are some painful. It made me mad to get a sore seat now after getting over the first soreness so soon.
Well folks I guess we will be going out of here next week for sure. They have us going to the Border, to Panama, to Illinois
and also to New York. You cant beleive anything you hear, but my own opinion is that we will go to the border. Gee I wish we would come East. It would be great. Most of the cavalry is going to be made into artillery and some Infantry, but I hope I stay in the cavalry as long as I have started.
I rec’d your letter this afternoon Dad. One of the fellows in our tent went to the office and brought it back with him. I feel Kind of sorry of Percy [Canoll] but at that I think he is in the
safest branch of service.
Some of the troops are turning in their old Barrack bags tonight and getting new ones, so it looks like our move. As long as I am so far from home I don’t care where I go now.
Patrick Carmody sent his address up to me last night and wants me to come down tommorrow night but I guess we have to drill.
The phonograph is going and a fellow is playing the piano and other the violin. It sounds great. They have all Kinds of magazines here for us to read.
Last night the fellows in our tent had a little ball game all by ourselves. Had a regular bat but played with a soft ball about twice as big as a baseball. The fellow at bat staid there until some one caught
a fly on him or he missed one ball. We had a lot of fun. Got the ball and bat here at the Y.M.C.A.
I am wringing wet with sweat sitting here writing this letter. What do you know about that. I will be glad when we get out of here, for it can’t be any hotter anywhere than it is here.
You will have to let this bum writing go this time as I am writing too fast.
Havent written any one but you and Roy this week. It dont seem as if I can get started at it. I guess I am falling into the army
rut of just thinking about the army and nothing else.
It is now 8.10 O clock by your time and 7.10 here.
Well as I have told you everything I can think of, I will close for this time.
Your loving son,
P.S. Did Harold get the book I sent him.
Remember me to all the folks and tell them I think of them all every day and would like to be home for a while.
Guess I will read awhile before I go back to the tent. Gee it is hotter in the tent during the day than it is outside I think.
Too bad Roy was drafted but he can sure get out if he tries and if he dont try you Kick him for me, for one out of a family is enough.
Fort Riley Kansas
July 29 – 1917
If I am moved will let you know it at once. They dont give much notice here. For instance Friday they were notified at 4 O clock and left between 7 and 8.
This is 8 P.M. Sunday night and the end of another hot day. The wind has been blowing and the dust is awful. Gee a fellow could take 3 baths a day and then couldn’t Keep clean. I am going to take a shower tonight.
Friday I went out to drill with the rest but did not ride, for my boil wouldn’t let me. Friday afternoon there was no drill, but 117 men were called out and shipped to Texas and Arizona. Harry Smith was one of those to go. Most of those that went though we wops and
fellows who could not learn the drills. Friday night I took a bath so as to be clean for inspection Sat. morning but I got fooled on inspection.
Saturday morning after breakfast all of the 20th Cavalry marched up behind the barracks and the Major gave us a nice little talk, and ended by saying he was going to take us for a 4 mile hike. Well we all started, 1500 of us, and we went up hill and down, across creeks and ditches, thru brush, weeds and everying that grows out here. Talk about tired, we were all near dead when we got back to camp. Of course we had no water to drink and I thought I would choke. On the way back we marched part of the way in the road and honest the dust was 8 or 10 inches deep, so that you couldnt see the men in front of you. The dust got in
Have only rec’d 2 Suns since I have been her. Arthur Hill sent me one last week and I got it all right. I dont Know where yours can be.
our throat and nose and made matters that much worse. Every one said the hike was 6 miles instead of 4 and I beleive it. Of course we had no inspection, for some of the fellows fell in the mud and water nearly ruining their clothes. When we got back we found that all but one of the small tents that I had been in were all down. While we were gone they had moved us in the big tents 40 men in one tent. Gee it was fierce, and dust. It laid on our cots ¼ of an inch deep. Couldnt Keep anything clean. As luck would have it
they put all the fellows that were in my tent, close together so that helped some. Last night 3 other fellows and myself went to Manhattan and had supper. Got a good meal for .25. We took in a movie and started back about 11 O clock arriving back at 1 O clock. They are tearing up the tracks between Riley and Manhattan so we had to walk across the fields for about ½ mile to make connections. Some traction line this is. I don’t think anything in this whole darn state is right. Nothing that I have seen anyway.
Well this morning after breakfast they brought our small tents back again and we had the job of putting them up and moving back into them. What do you Know about that for head-work. Move out one day and back the
next. Our bunch is still together and we were some tickled to get back in a little tent again.
Middaugh and I went down to the Post Office this morning and I rec’d the cookies and Myrties’ Kit. Gee it was a peach. I have eaten about a dozen cookies already. They sure taste great. I also got Dad’s letter and mothers. Also a card from Pete Lovell and a letter from Pud. He is working in Elmira.
We had a swell dinner today. Mashed Potatoes, good meat, canned corn, gravy, dressing, coffee and some Jello. Some feed I’ll say. This
afternoon I took a nap and then washed a lot of clothes. They are all dry now.
Say I put the Khaki pants on the first thing after dinne, and you don’t Know how funny it feels not to have those tight leggins around my legs. This is the first time I have worn civilian pants since I joined and it seems great. Of course mother these are not the regulation Kind of pants for the others lace up the leg, but I can wear these when I get thru drilling in the afternoon. They are 3 times as cool as my darn old O.D.
My seat is pretty sore yet with that boil. Yesterday I went up to the dispensary after our hike and found that the old thing had broke. The fellow there said he squeezed the core out, but it is just as sore today so I think I will go up tommorrow and have
him look at it. Gee a fellow cant enjoy life at all with one where mine is. It has discharged quite a lot today.
Say Dad, I think Rogers & Weed are lying to you about the car as I never had the least bit of an accident with it. You Know I never drove it only a few times. By Gee I wouldnt take it there any more for I don’t think they Know, when a car is right.
We signed up for pay today, so it looks as though something was in the air, for they very seldom sign on Sundays.
I guess I wrote and told you that the 20th Cavalry had been changed to the 20th Artillery. I think they are planning on shipping the 20th to another fort this week. I guess it will be in Oklohoma from the talk. I wish it would be east. If they Keep on pushing us west we will get to France without ever getting nearer home than we are now. Some of the fellows are afraid they will put us in the infantry finally. If they change us into infantry beleive me I will buck. I’ll take my arch supports out and try and make my ankles swell up. It looks as though they were making fools out of us.
Well as I want to write Pud & Myrtie I will close for this time.
Your loving Son
P.S. Would sure like to see Harold in N.Y. He is certainly seeing everything and I am glad of it. I had a letter from him.
Fort Riley Kan.
Tell Roy & Mildred I want a little nephew, so I can make a hunter out of him. Gee I bet all you folks are buying a lot of stuff for it. Wish I was there, but don’t worry I’ll send something when it arrives
Well Dad I got your letter this morning, also one from Aunt Guss & George and one from Susie. One of the fellows from the tent went to the Post-Office this morning and he brought my letters back with him. Pretty good of him I think. I will go down to the express office tommorrow night and see if my pkg. is there.
Have not been to Junction in several weeks so have not looked up Carmody, but when I go down this week for my weekly meal I will be sure and look him up.
Yesterday we started our new drills. It is just about the same as infantry drill. We don’t tote any guns so that is some relief. I did not ride yesterday nor today as my boil is sore yet. It is getting better, but they are darn stubborn and mine is in a bad place to doctor. The son of a gun is discharging yet and I wish it would quit as it gets my drawers nasty.
Last night I was up here to the pictures and they were very good. Also listened to a talk by a famous doctor from the Illinois University who was called to the colors. His subject was Exercize & Training. It was very good and I learned a lot.
The wind still blows and it is dusty as ever. Have to wash 5 & 6 times a day and I have taken a bath every day for the last several days.
Susie told me all abut her trip and it must have been great. Am
glad she could go, for a person don’t often get a chance like that. I hope Frank shows Harold everything on the Island. I think it would be better for Frank if he was transferred somewhere else.
It just started to rain and is coming down quite hard. Hope it rains tommorrow as we cant drill.
The meals are running pretty good now although generally one each day is punk. This morning we had hot cakes, bacon, Potatoes, Karo syrup and coffee. I went back the second time after cakes so had 6 in all. Tasted good you can bet. Of course mother
they were nothing like yours but a fellow has to eat what they give him in the army. I pass by some of the stuff if it don’t look good.
If they send me any farther west I guess I’ll never get home for it will cost nearly 2 months pay for me to get home and back from here.
You would think a lot of fellows would get hurt here by the number of falls they have but no one hardly ever gets hurt bad. I saw a fellow get thrown this morning and I thought he was Killed. He didn’t move for about 5 minutes, but about all it done was Knock his wind out.
Well as I can’t think of anything more now I will close and write again Thursday night if I am still here.
Your loving son,
P.S. I don’t Know as you can read this or not as it has been a long time since I have written with a pen.
Junction City, Kansas, August 2 1917
Well you see I am down to the big city again This building is quite a place. It is only built out of rough lumber, but it has 6 or 8 writing tables in it and a lot of easy chairs. Middaugh came down with me and we are going to see a vaudeville show tonight. I think this ink is mostly water by the color of it.
Say that jam was the best I ever tasted, and I put some in my mess Kit every meal and put it on my bread. It sure makes a difference.
The other day I saw a negro on horseback out in the fields with a pack of 16 dogs. Part of them were greyhounds and the rest looked like foxhounds. I guess they chase jackrabbits with them. I have only seen 1 jack but there are a lot of cottontails here and this morning I saw about a dozen squirrels. They had red tails but there body was grey like our grey squirrels and as large. I don’t Know what they were.
Had a post-card from Doc. Dow today and he says all my old customers ask about me. It makes me feel good to think they haven’t forgotten me.
Dad I rec’d your letter today, Aug 2. It was dated July 30. Teusday I asked in the Postoffice for papers and they gave me 6 packages so I guess I have
them all now. It seems they Keep the papers in a different place from the letters, and they dont look for them unless you ask them too Some system.
I’ll bet you had a good old visit win Corning and am sure glad you could go. I wish you would take a trip every week. It would do you all lots of good.
Grandma, I rec’d your letter today and was awful glad to hear from you, and I Know that you think of me a lot. Don’t you worry for I am alright and will be home again sometime or other.
Say folks this artillery drill is a regular joke. The officers don’t Know any more than we do, and we use wagons instead of canons to drill with. It sure is funny.
That rain Teusday done a lot of good. It laid the dust and cooled the air off some. Gee it is 115 or 130 degrees here all the time. Some heat.
Well as I want to write Doc. a letter and go to the show, I’ll close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. It don’t seem as though I can think of as much to write as I could at first, but Sunday I’ll send a good long letter. The lady that looks after this place just brought me a new pen so I will see how it writes. This is a good pen and she is a good lady.
Don’t send anymore pkgs. until I send for them because they say Sat. is Pay day and we expect to go out right after, and I might not get what you send. Write letters for I will have them forwarded to me from the Post-Office if we go.
Augsut 5 – 1917
Fort Riley Kansas.
One of the fellows from the tent went to the Post-Office this morning and he was good enough to get my mail. Rec’d 2 letters from you and this weeks papers. Your letters were dated Aug 2 & 3 so I got them in good time.
Friday had drill as usual but the officers dont understand artillery drilling so we are not getting along very fast. I have not tried a horse in a week but tommorrow I am going to start on one again.
Yesterday we only had to drill a while in the morning. In the afternoon the attached men had to go up and pull weeds around an officers house, that they are building back of the Y.M.C.A. It seems that we attached fellows have to do all the dirty work and I dont think it is right. I wish I could get somewheres and be assigned to something. At the present we dont Know what we are going to do next. They
say we are going out after we get paid but I dont Know.
Last night 2 other fellows in the tent and myself played casino until it got dark and we had a lot of fun. I took a bath last night and changed my underclothes.
Sunday certainly is a long day in camp. All there is to do is set around or sleep.
Last night about 9 O clock it commenced to thunder and lightning and we had quite a rain. It lasted nearly all night and is quite a lot cooler today. Seems good too.
There are several baseball games going on around here but as it rains every few minutes I guess I will stay in the tent.
I done a washing yesterday and intended to do some today but now I will have to wait until tommorrow.
Did not go to town last night as usual on account of rain, but guess I will go down about Teusday and get supper. We have a new mess sargent now and I like the stuff a lot better.
My boil is about well now. It has stopped discharging and I can just feel it a little bit. Beleive me it was some sore for a week though. I couldn’t hardly set down.
I am glad Roy is not in the first draft, because I Know he wouldn’t like army life at all.
I saw in the paper that Earl Jolls was married. I am not surprised but think he is crazy to do it. Wonder if he thinks that will Keep him out of going to war. Where is he living now.
I suppose Harold will be coming home pretty soon. I sure would like to be there and hear him tell about his trip.
The attached bunch that are here now are nearly all American. Most of them are good fellows too, and I hope we are Kept together. I think the attached fellows are a more intelligent lot than those that are assigned. I don’t see how some of the fellows ever got in troops for they sure is a dumb bunch in B Troop.
Well as I want to write a letter to Tom Austin, I will close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. Remember me to all the folks and write all the news. I am sure waiting to here about the little Bruster that you are all expecting gee I would like to be there and see it when it is little.
Fort Riley Kansas
August 7 1917
I also rec’d the magazines you sent Dad.
Was down to the Postoffice this afternoon and rec’d mothers’ letter from West Danby and several Elmira papers. I’ll bet you all had a good time out in the country.
Yesterday I rode a horse for the first time in a week and beleive me it went Kind of hard, but in the afternoon I was all right again. In the morning we have from 2 to 3 hours horse drill and the rest is foot drill. Afternoons we lug one of the heavy dump-wagons up to the foot of the hill, and make believe it is a canon. Gee it seems
like Kids work, but I suppose the drill will help us when we do gets cannons.
Today I rode again and fell off twice. What do you Know about that. The first time I slid off myself, but the second time the darn horse threw me off, but didn’t hurt me. I got right up and rode until we came down to the stables at noon. This horse was a remount, that is one that has only been here a little while and has not been broke in. If they would give us saddles I wouldn’t be afraid of any of them but bareback is different.
Have not been paid yet but expect it before Friday at the latest.
I see by the paper that George Ellis is dead. That certainly is too darn bad,
because he was one good boy. Did you see Joe Hanna & his wife when they were down.
How did Percy Bostwick make out with his abandonment case. I was some surprised to read that, but I guess him and his wife were both to blame.
Last night we had another storm. It rained real hard around 10 O clock. Our tent tent leak but the water ran under the bottom and we had to move some of our stuff around. I was up to the Y.M.C.A. last night until 9 O clock, listening to a fellow play the piano. He plays by ear and
Knows all the popular pieces. He could rattle them off too. They have pictures up there tonight and I guess I’ll go up.
I washed a few clothes last night but could not hang them out until this noon. I didn’t take a bath last night so will have to take one tonight.
It has been cooler here for the last 2 or 3 days and we are all thankful for it too.
They are talking now of sending us to El Paso, Texas. Of course that is farther away from home, but fellows who have been in El Paso say it is better than Fort Riley. I wish they would send me to Syracuse but I guess there will be no such good luck.
One good thing now we don’t
have to drill with guns anymore. I think after Pay Day I will have to go to town and have my shoes tapped at the Quick Repair, for I only have one pair yet.
At supper time, for the last 3 or 4 nights I have taken 2 slices of bread and put one in my shirt and take it to the tent. Then about 8 or 8.30 O clock I put some jam on it and eat it. Gee it tastes good too, for I get Kind of hungry before going to bed. It sure seems funny to go to bed at 8.30 or 9 O clock but we do it 5 nights out of the week.
Well I guess I have written you all the news so will close until next time.
Your loving son
P.S. Remember me to Roy and his Folks, and Aunt Guss and George, also to Fanny.
Write often and I will do the same.
Fort Riley Kansas
August 9 – 1917
Do you ever hear how Doc. Snook is making out.
We attached men have this afternoon off, because they are having inspection of all personal effects in my troop. I am glad too because we drilled pretty hard this morning.
Teusday night we had another hard shower, so it is a little muddy here in some places.
Yesterday it was not so hot and it wasn’t half bad drilling. They also started another system of drilling yesterday. Instead of having physical exercizes in the morning we all have to take a bath between 5.15 and 6 O clock. Then we have breakfast and
be ready for drill at 7 O’clock. In the afternoon from 4.15 to 5 O clock we have the physical exercises. Then after the physical exercises we have to take another bath, so you see we can’t help but Keep clean now.
We have also got a new drill ground. It is down past the Fort Riley railroad station, and about a mile from camp. This morning I walked down & back. Didn’t get a chance to ride either, but that didn’t make me mad, because I’m not stuck on this bareback riding.
Well tommorrow is the big day in camp. We all get paid. I don’t Know whether to go to town tommorrow night or Sat. night. Im going one of them though and get a good feed and see if I can get some Khaki pants like I want.
Fort Riley Kansas
August 9 – 1917
Say Dad you and Roy might better have got a muffler made and put it on like I did. Too bad you blew it off. How did you do it.
Last night and the night before it sure was some cold. This morning was a regular fall morning but about 8 O clock it commenced to warm up and it is just nice out now.
I walked down to the Post-office last night and got mothers’ letter. The general Delivery window is open until 8 O’clock so I can get my mail every day.
My big boil is all healed up now and beleive me I am glad of it, for it sure did give me some trouble.
I wouldn’t be surprised if some of us are shipped out of here right after Pay-Day. I think some of us will
be assigned here. If we go farther away I want to be assigned here but if they ship east I won’t get assigned.
They have moving pictures here at the Y.M.C.A. tonight and I guess I will take them in, as there is nothing else to do.
Tommorrow night we also have a boxing match down in the new riding hall. Two fellows from Kansas City box 15 rounds and there is several shorter bouts between fellows in the troops. Tickets are $1.00 and $1.50, so I guess I wont take it in. I would rather spend that money for something to eat.
Well I guess I’ll have to close for this time as I can’t think of any more to write.
Your loving son
Remember me to all the folks.
Fort Riley Kansas
August 10 – 1917
It sure makes me feel good to Know that the people home there have not forgotten me, and I want to be remembered to them all.
I rec’d your letter tonight that was dated Aug. 7. Probably it was at the Post-Office yesterday but I didn’t go down.
Today was Pay Day and it sure is some day in camp. There is no one here in camp tonight at all. Tonight over at our Battery for Retreat there was 126 men absent out of about 200. The Lieutenant said he was going to fine them each $5. A soldier don’t mind being put on Fatigue for any length of time, but when they take money out of his pay, it hits him hard
I am enclosing an Express Order for $15. You can use this to help Keep up my insurance and Loan. I will send money home every month and it wont take only about 3 or 4 months to pay these up, and then you can put what I send in the bank for me.
Gee Dad, it certainly is a shame to watch the dice games going on. Some pots over $100. There sure will be a bunch of fellows that are broke tommorrow. I like to watch them play, but you needn’t ever worry about me getting in any of them.
This morning after breakfast we all had to police up around our tents and barracks. It only took us about 2 hours and then we were thru for the morning.
We have lots of music here at the Y.M.C.A. A fellow is playing the piano now. They all play by ear but the play dandy.
After dinner we did nothing until 3 O clock, and then we went down and got our pay. I drew $30, but as I want to get a pair of pants and my shoes tapped I can only send $15 home this month, but next month if I don’t have to buy any clothes I Know I can send $20. My pants will cost $3.50 at least and it costs $1.14 to get shoes half-soled. Some price I’ll say.
Tommorrow we will have inspection and maybe a couple hours of drill but we won’t do much. I am going to town tommorrow night and get a good feed, and yet our grub
has been pretty good here for the last couple of days.
You needent be surprised if you get a wire from me, that we are moving any day now, for it seems to be in the air.
Holy Smokes we all slept with our clothes on last night. It was colder than the deuce and we darn near froze as it was.
This Y.M.C.A. is certainly a great thing. I got this express order at the desk. It saved me a trip to the Post-Office and I think it is fine.
I bought enough tobacco tonight to last me 2 or 3 week so I wont have to worry about running short. I bought “Harmony.” It costs 15¢ a can but I have got tired of P.A.
I am going to take a bath tonight
and get a good sleep.
Say mother I washed my union suit tonight, and the cold water just tears them all to pieces. After it ripped once I didn’t rub so hard and so didn’t get it as clean as I wanted too. Beleive me after this, I am going to send all my light clothes to the Laundry.
It is just 8.30 Central time, or 9.30 home. I suppose you are in bed by this time.
Well Grandma how are you feeling these days. I hope you are well and able to get out the nice days. I hear you were over to
Roy’s for dinner the other day. I sure would have liked to have been there and gone over with you for I Know you had a great dinner.
I can hardly wait to hear whether we have a boy or girl in the family. Take it from me, which ever it is, nothing will ever be too good for it. Just as soon as it arrives and I Know it I am going to send it something. I don’t Know what it will be but it will be something any way.
Well I guess I have jabbered enough for this time so will close, and write again Sun.
Your ever loving son
P.S. If I ever get in a bed again I don’t beleive I will ever wake up. We are all getting tired of sleeping on these darn little cots.
August 12 – 1917
It is just 9.45 O clock and I am waiting for a fellow to go down to the Post Office with
Last night I went to Manhattan with Middaugh and 2 fellows from Philadelphia. The street cars were so crowded that we hired a fellow with a Maxwell car to take us up. We got 2 more fellows to go with us and we all paid $1 apiece. Not so bad at that for 18 miles over poor dirt roads. The bum state don’t have any macadam roads.
It sure was a dandy ride and I
saw more of the country than I ever have before. The driver told us that back in the hills were the big cattle ranches. He also said there was lots of Jack-rabbits and coyotes around here. They hunt with greyhound here and let them catch the game.
We also passed close to the barracks they are building for the drafted men. The buildings are 2 stories high and are winter quarters. Between each building they have built wooden fences about 8 feet high, with 3 or 4 strands of heavy barbed wire on top. This is to Keep the drafted men in and they say that each one will have to have a pass to leave their quarters. If they do all this, these men will sure have it hard.
Yesterday we didn’t have anything to do so I went up to a ball game at the 21st in the afternoon. It was a punk game but there are some good players on the teams.
I have got to do a little washing again today. Gee I hate to wash, but it is a nice day to dry clothes.
The talk here now is that the attached men are going to the Philipines next week. I don’t beleive it, but if we go there I don’t beleive we will get to France for probably we will relieve the older men so they can go.
I rec’d a letter from Ed. Swartwood yesterday and it seemed good to hear from him. Am going to write him this afternoon.
Has Frank left Slocum yet. If he has what is his address. Some fellow from Elmira wrote home that Riley is in the center of Kansas, but he is buggy. The center of the United States is here, but it is no where near the center of Kansas.
Last week they started to innoculate and vaccinate the men again I have not got it yet though.
I have put newspapers on the bottom of my cot, under the blanket and it sleeps a lot warmer.
Gee we had a rotten Breakfast this morning. They said the cook
didn’t get up in time, so all we had was a few fried potatoes 2 or 3 pieces of poor bacon, a little Corn Flakes, a piece of dry Bread and a poor cup of coffee. It was all punk and how the fellows did Kick. I sure hope we have a good dinner for I feel as if I could eat.
If we are moved I will send the Post-Office my address so they can forward my mail to me.
Well as we are ready to go to the Post Office I will close for the time and mail this
at the Post-Office so you will get it quicker.
Your loving son
P.S. Remember me to all the Folks and don’t worry as I am all right and well.
Just rec’d your letter here at the office Dad. I’ll bet you had a good time up at the Devils Elbow, and I sure would have liked to been there. Your letter was dated the 9th so you see it made pretty good time. You ought to get this letter Teusday
Fort Riley Kansas
August 14 – 1917
Was down to the Post-Office this afternoon and rec’d letters from Jackson and two from home. Also got the papers Dad. I sure do enjoy the papers no matter how old they are.
It makes me laugh to think that Bill Devore would try and get away from the Draft. I think he is a big baby and I suppose Ed. Rhoades has told him to put in an exemption.
One of my pals by the name of Burton from Philadelphia, and Tom Middaugh from Elmira and
I was in Junction City last night. We had supper in a restaurant and I ordered some Green Corn, thinking it would be a big treat, but I got awfully fooled. I got 2 measly little ears that were cold. One of the ears I didn’t touch as there wasn’t any corn on it. I sure love corn but guess I won’t try any more out here at 10¢ for 2 bum ears. We went to the opera house at night and saw a two reel picture and 4 acts of vaudeville and they were very good. We started for home about 10 O clock so you see we got in early.
I don’t beleive that we will go to the Phillappines after all. Now they say we go to California so you see we don’t Know where or when we are going. I won’t write
and tell you all the rumors any more, but will wait until we start and will then send a telegram.
Frank has gone to Texas has he. Well he is some distance from home too. What is he in now.
It started to rain this morning about 3 O clock and rained until about 8 O clock. No one in our tent woke up until after 6 O clock so we couldn’t get any Breakfast. As soon as the canteen opened I bought 2 oranges and some cookies and ate them so I did not get hungry. We didnt have to
drill today and we were all glad, but I have got a head ache from laying around. It seems funny, but we like to have a vacation and I feel worse laying around than I do drilling.
Gee I am sorry to hear that Floyd Post is sick. What is the matter with him. I’ll bet that Mrs. French feels bad about Mr. French and I certainly feel sorry for her. Hope Mr. French pulls thru all right.
I suppose you can hardly wait until Harold gets home. Gee I would like to see him too.
Say mother I have eaten more potatoes since I have been in the army than I ever did before. Potatoes are our main food and I eat them any way now.
I have written this letter awfully fast and I dont Know whether you can read it or not, but they have pictures here tonight and I am afraid they will turn the light off.
Gee Mother I wish you could send me some of your good jam, but I think it best that you wait until I get located. I bought a 10¢ glass of jelly up at the canteen tonight and I brought a slice of Bread from supper with me so I will have a lunch after awhile. I am going to stay and see the pictures if they are good.
Our troop dont get anything but canned stuff mother, but some of the troops have had green corn and watermelon.
I’ll bet Aunt Guss has a
dandy garden and I suppose they are pretty proud of it. Every time I go to town I get some fresh sliced tomatoes and they sure taste good.
I can just imagine all of you making things for the little one you are expecting.
Well the lights just went out and the pictures started so will close for this time
Your loving son
Fort Riley Kansas
Aug 16 – 1917
Just got thru for the day and thought I would write you and take this letter to the Post so you will sure get it Sunday. It is nearly 5 O clock and we have put in a good days drill. I feel better than the days we didn’t drill too.
We went up on the hill this morning at 7 O clock and I done foot drill until 9 O clock and then got a horse. I don’t Know whether I had a good horse or what it was, but anyway I rode like an old-timer. I didnt hardly move up off the horse. I think the reason was
that I didn’t think about falling off and I didn’t pay any attention to the horse, just looked around and talked to the fellow next to me. I think I will make a rider yet if I do like I did today. We done artillery drill on horse for the first time. We made beleive that we were drawing the piece and caisson. There are 6 horses to the piece and 6 to the caisson I was one of the 6 that was supposed to be drawing the piece. The commands were all artillery commands and say we sure done some trotting. We were running most of time from 9 O clock until 11. Gee I liked it today. They call the gun the piece and the caisson is the cart that carries the amunition. Sometimes the Lieutenant would order the caisson
in front of the piece, and then the fellows with the caisson would have to beat it past us and get ahead. Then he would order the piece ahead of caisson and we would run like the deuce to get ahead of the caisson. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it all. I only hope I can do as well tommorrow. I guess the whole thing in riding is to Keep your mind off from your horse and make beleive you are in a rocking chair.
Last night I went down to the Post-Office after supper and rec’d both mothers’ and Dads’ letters.
I then went to the canteen restaurant and was going to get a piece of piece and a cup of good coffee but the darn restaurant was closed. Most of the troops have pie every day but ours have had it just twice and I get hungry for some once in a while. I think I will try to get down tonight and get a piece
This afternoon we had semaphore signaling and then made beleive a wagon was a gun and we drilled around that for a while, learning the different positions when in action. I beleive the artillery will be real interesting when we get at it once.
Yesterday they took a fellow out of our tent and put him in the barracks, putting a darn Pollock in our tent. Beleive me we are sore for now we have 1 Wop,
1 Pollock, 1 German, 1 Swede, 1 Catholic and only 2 Protestants in the tent. The little wop and German are all right and I dont like the looks of the Pollock.
Last night I was talking German with the German lad and we had a great time. Then I commenced trying to talk Latin to the Wop but we didn’t make out so well. The Latin words that I Know are not the same as his dago language. We had a lot of fun though. I tried to get him to say the little ryhme about “Peter Piper picked a peck of prickly peppers etc.” Say you should
have heard him. It was as good as a show. Finally he wouldn’t try to say it anymore and quit.
It was warmer here today than it has been and I sweat some, so I will have to take a bath and change underclothes tonight.
They sent another bunch of hospital men out yesterday.
Well as it is getting nearly time for Retreat and I have got to wash up yet, will close for this time.
Your loving son
Just rec’d your papers and a letter from Doc Dow. Have not opened them yet.
Fort Riley Kansas
August 19 – 1917
Am here at the Post Office and just got mothers letter and one from Myrtie Gullan, also the candy from Myrtie.
It is Sunday morning and a bright sunny one at that. Just finished a letter to Roy and Mildred and had an Ice Cream cone.
After y good riding Thursday I have not drilled since. I was on darn K. P. Friday all day. K. P. means Kitchen Police and I sure put in a good day. There was only 2 of us besides the cook to prepare the stuff and dish it out to 130 men. That is a lot in a small Kitchen too. We peeled over a bushel of potatoes, washed
a pile of pots & pans, put a bunch of meat & potatoes thru a meat grinder for hash. We also had to Keep the fires going and in the morning we cleaned the stove out and it was some dirty. I was thru at 730 at night. It was not hard work, but such darn long hours. The change in routine seemed good though.
Yesterday we loafed around the tent and Y.M.C.A. all the morning. In the afternoon I done my washing and I was sure glad when it was done.
Last night one of the fellows in my tent and I came up to the Y.M. and played checkers and another game something like it. It was a change and we both enjoyed it. I dont Know when
I have played checkers before.
Say I think I made a good bargain yesterday. I bought a dandy pair of Khaki pants from a fellow for 6 bits .75. They are not like the issue pants, but are more like officers pants. Of course they have been worn some, but they are now nearly as good as new. Wherever they rub the rub it is double strength, like the seat and down the inside of the legs. I am going to send them to the Laundry this week and get them washed good. They fit me good too.
Nothing to do today but sleep, and yet they will probably be around calling us out for something. I will take this letter to the Post Office so you should get it by Teusday. I would like to hear Harold tell about his trip and I’ll bet he remembers everything he saw too.
Well I suppose you are all excited over the arrival of a little one in the family. I expect a Telegram any minute now. I’ll bet Roy is worrying for fear everything won’t be alright.
We have got to straighten our tent up this morning, as the old thing is all lop-sided.
Yesterday a doctor came
around and made us all, move our cots and everything out, while it got a good airing. It was a good thing too.
This morning our Bugler must have forgotten himself for he tried to blow us out at 5 O clock. Sunday mornings we can sleep until 6, so when I saw what time it was I laid right still, and I was over to breakfast in plenty of time.
Last night my Battery did not stand retreat. I don’t Know what was the matter, but they are pretty
slack over there anyway.
Beleive me folks I am going to apply for a furlough about the middle of November, and maybe I can be home for Xmas. Gee it will seem funny if I am away for that day.
I don’t beleive we can stay here more than a month longer for it will be too cold. Maybe I will move nearer home, you can’t tell.
Well as I want to get to the Office before 10 O clock I will have to close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. Hope you are all well & happy. I feel good and am getting more contented with this life. Remember me to everybody
Fort Riley Kansas
August 21 – 1917
Just had supper and have listened to 2 pieces by the band. They are giving a concert out in front of the Y.M.C.A. It has 35 men in, and is very good.
This week sure has been easy so far. Monday morning we went down to the gun sheds and has artillery drill with real guns. Only used 4 guns so while one bunch was drilling the rest set around and took it easy. In the afternoon part of our battery went down to the
hospital to have their heart & lungs examined. I was not among the bunch so I had the afternoon off. I spent most of the afternoon up in the Y.M.C.A. reading and playing the victrola. Last night I took a good cold bath and changed underclothes. Beleive me the water is some cold, but it sure makes a fellow sleep afterward. One of the fellows from the tent and myself also came up to the Y.M. and played “checkers” and “Three Guardsman” until 9.30 last night. I trimmed him good & proper, but one of the men that has charge of the Y.M. came over and he beat me a game. It seemed good to do something different, and it made the evening go faster.
Fort Riley Kansas
August 21 – 1917
This morning the fellows in our battery, that did not go to the hospital yesterday had to go and be examined. We left the barracks at 7.30 and didn’t get back until 11 so we had it easy all that time. I passed the test all O.K., and beleive me they gave us a good stiff exam too. Some of the bunch that were not right have to go again. Well when we got back to the barracks we thought we were done, but no. We had to do down and help groom the darn old horses.
I groomed 2 and helped on 2 more. Gee we didn’t get thru until 12 O clock and I was tired, dirty and hungry but after a good wash with my shirt off, I felt better. This afternoon we were all on fatigue, and it was at our old job. Four fellows and myself rode a wagon up the hill back of camp, and loaded rocks in it. We then rode back down and unloaded at the stables. We only made 2 trips and took our time so I didn’t mind it at all. Four mules pulled the wagon, and they sure had to pull to get us all up the hill.
One of the fellows from our tent, who went to Chicago a week ago Friday, just came back
tonight. Say you should have seen him. He rode a freight from Chicago here and his clothes were a mess. The Top Sargent put him under arrest in quarters. That means he has got to stay in the tent only when on Fatigue or drilling. He probably will be charged with desertion, for after a man has been absent 10 days without leave he is a deserter. Holy Smokes there is a lot of fellows under arrest here, and quite a few are not back yet.
You had ought to hear the
the old soldiers here Kick about the way we are doing. Gee they are a sore bunch, for they are used to Cavalry and they don’t want Artillery.
We have pictures here tonight and I guess I will watch them. Tommorrow I suppose I will get some mounted drill. The fellows that went out this morning all had blankets on their horses so that will be better.
Say where the deuce is my Baby. I expected a telegram Sunday, and when it didn’t come I says, well I’ll get it tommorrow sure. Now it is Teusday night and I haven’t heard yet. I can’t imagine what is the matter. Beleive me if Roy sent me a
message, and they didn’t deliver it to me, I will go down to the telegraph office and chew someones head off.
The band is still playing and as I can’t think of any more to write, I will listen to them for a while.
Your loving son
P.S. Be sure and write me all about the little Boy, as I am crazy to Know which it is.
It has been quite warm today but not like it was.
Mother I am patiently waiting for some of that jam, but I daresn’t let you send it, for I am afraid of being moved every day.
The band is playing popular songs now, so I have just got to go & listen to it.
Regards to all the Folks.
August 23 – 17
Fort Riley Kan.
It is about an hour before Retreat, so will spend the time writing you.
Yesterday drilled on the hill with horses. Did not have the guns but we drilled the same as if we did. Holy Smokes we were on the trot all the morning. I didn’t have a very good horse, but I rode him just the same. I lost a little hide but last night I took a good bath, and used the talc powder, so today I am alright again.
This morning our Battery drilled with guns. It is easier with guns than without, for you don’t have to go so darn fast. Gee the artillery horses here are regular old plow horses.
Yesterday afternoon I gave a fellow in our tent a piano lesson. His name is McStein and he is from Shomokin, Pa. Good fellow too. He liked to play and today the crazy nut wanted me to give him another lesson. I told him he would have to practice a few days first, so today he went up and practiced the scale. He picks the notes up quick and it is fun to learn him. He Knows all the different notes now and can pick them out on
a piece of music.
Say mother I didn’t get your box yet, but maybe you didn’t send it. Gee if I had Known we were going to stay here this long, I could have had a couple boxes sent.
The day we were drawing stone we saw a great big gopher. One of the fellows tried to catch it but it went in a hole darn quick. We also Killed some Kind of a toad that day too. It’s body looked like a toad but it’s head was more like a turtle
and it had a tail about 6 inches long. It sure was a funny thing and no one Knew what it was.
The morning I also saw a big snake. It was dead, and I was glad of it for it was nearly 6 feet long and nearly as big as my wrist. I don’t Know what Kind it was.
You asked about Heckers Dad. Well he sleeps in a tent just below me, and is attached to another battery. I see him every day. He was turned down yesterday when the doctors examined him. He has a weak heart, so I don’t Know what they will do with him. He has to go back for another exam and maybe they will pass him. This Middaugh that I write of
is from Elmira and he used to work over to the La France. He sleeps right next to me in the tent and is a dandy good fellow. He is just about my age too.
Say Dad Pat Carmody was up yesterday morning and looked all over for me. When I got to my tent after drill in the morning He was there. He sure is a good man and I am going down and see him Saturday night. I like him already and Know that I will have a good time down there.
Have not heard about my baby yet. Every messenger Kid I see up around the barrack I ask them if they have a telegram for me, but nothing doing so far.
It has not been so hot today and it seems good, too.
You ask me Dad about the Officers training camps. Well by the paper talk, they will be sent to France before long, while we unassigned men have a good chance of going back in the cavalry. If we are put in the cavalry it is a cinch that we won’t see France, so I guess I am alright where I am.
I will have to close now as it is getting time for Retreat
Your loving son
August 26 – 17
Fort Riley Kansas
If I only had my box I would have a feast tonight, but I’ll tell that agent a thing or two tommorrow night.
I was not down to the Postoffice since last Wed., but a fellow was down yesterday and got my mail for me. I guess I got all of your mail alright. I also rec’d a card saying a box was at the express office for me. I went down today and the express agent was there but he would give it to me on account of its being Sunday. I tried to persuade him to give it to me, but nothing doing. Now I will have to wait until tommorrow night. Beleive me
after I get the box, I am going to tell him a thing or two. Gee I could have Killed him today for not letting me have it.
Dad I dont think I get all of the papers, so you needn’t send any more. If you think anything in them would interest me, cut out the article and send it in a letter.
It is a wonder the young Lang wasn’t Killed. Maybe now he will be more careful. I think he had this smashup coming for some time.
The 13th Regiment leaves Teusday for Rockford Illinois. From there it will be split up, and sent to different cantonment camp, to do guard duty for the drafted men. I sure
The old N.P.L. building sure looked like home
would like to be going, but the darned old 20th is dead. They tell us that the unassigned men are going to be assigned tommorrow but I don’t Know. If I am assigned to A troop I am going to apply for a transfer to the Quartermasters Corps. I think I would like it, and it is right in my line. They also say that the 20th is going back to cavalry but it is only a rumor.
Say Dad I went down town last night and went around with Pat Carmody. I was
up in his room and then we had a dish of ice cream and went to the picture show. Had a dandy time and met several men there. I intended to go down again this afternoon but we had supper at 5 O clock and Retreat at 5.45, so I couldn’t go down. Will go down again next week.
Yesterday we all done Fatigue and I was in the Kitchen in the morning. I might learn to be a cook, if I don’t get settled pretty soon. It is a pretty good job at that. A fellow gets more money and has more time to himself. You are on 24 hours and off 24 and you don’t have to drill.
You can bet your life I
Fort Riley Kansas
August 26 - 1917
will put in for a furlough, and try and get home for Xmas, but no telling where I will be then.
Last night I went to town on the train and it seemed as if I was bound for home. If I could come home I would ride all the way in a day coach if necessary.
Yesterday I done a washing in the afternoon and I still have to go without a top shirt until my one is dry. If I am assigned to a troop I will get some more clothes so
I’ll bet you had a good time at your outing Dad.
that will be one good thing.
Last night it rained real hard but our tent held pretty good for a wonder. We had watermelon in B troop for dinner and it was quite a treat, but even at that we were stung for all the other troops had chicken and some of them Ice cream.
Well it is nearly time for church, so I will have to go down to the tent, for I have got to write to Roy & Mildred.
Your loving son
P.S. I got Aunt Guss’s letter and was sorry she isn’t feeling good. Will write her & George next week.
Fort Riley Kan.
August 28 – 1917
I rec’d Dad’s letter and Colliers magazine with the Advertizers in. Probably I would have got them yesterday but it rained so I couldn’t go to the Post –Office.
Yesterday we all went up on the hill mounted but we had just started to drill when it commenced to rain. We came off the hill at 9 O clock and groomed our horses. It rained more or less all the rest of the day so we didn’t drill any more. I intended
to go to the Post office last night but couldn’t on account of the rain.
Today I was on Fatigue again for some darn reason or other. The morning 2 other fellows and myself had to clean mule stables. We were thru at 9 O clock so it wasn’t so bad at that. This afternoon we took down the tents that the attached fellows have been sleeping in. We loading them in a wagon and took them around to the troops they were attached too. It was some job for 3 of us too. We took down 18 tents and rolled them up. Tonight we are all sleeping under the
Barracks, but tommorrow we will again put our tents up next to our mess house. Quite a few fellows in the troops sleep under the Barracks all the time, and if it is not too cold I think I will try it.
Say last night was some cold. We nearly froze to death in the tents. I put both blankets over me and then was cold. We all slept with our coats on.
Last night Middaugh and I went down to the 13th to
say Good-bye to a friend of ours who intended to go to Illinois today. They were all packed up and were a happy bunch. About 5 minutes ago this same fellow came under the barracks where I am writing. Gee I was surprised. At the last minute they got orders that no chair cars could be secured, so now they will have to stay a while. They are a pretty sore crowd tonight.
The Y.M.C.A. closed yesterday for 2 days so they could give it a good scrubbing out. Beleive me we all miss it too.
I intended to go down
to the express office tonight but our moving Knocked it all in the head. I am some sore too. I’ll bet I go down tommorrow if I have to skip drill.
The bunch that was in my tent are all in different troops, and it makes it a little bad, in being separated just as we get acquainted.
Twelve fellows left our regiment to join the Minnesota Artillery. They leave for New York
tommorrow. Beleive me I won’t join them, for I guess they are going to France pretty soon.
Well as I want to go and look up Middaugh I will close for this time.
Your loving son
This letter wont go out until tommorrow for I am mailing it here at the barracks.
Fort Riley Kan.
August 29 – 1917
If you could see where I am writing this letter you would laugh. We fellows moved out of the tents slept under the barracks last night and are there again tonight. It was pretty chilly there last night and it is the same tonight so I decided I would move tonight. I am now sitting in an old barber chair in the bath house. We have a big boiler here and a stove to heat water. When I came in here tonight the fire was nearly out, so I poked it a little and put on coal and beleive me I am warm now. I have my chair right up close to
the side of the stove. It is about 9.30 and I guess I will stay here awhile anyway.
Say folks I got a letter today and you couldnt guess in a thousand years who it was from. It was from Kansas City and from Uncle Henry. Gee I was surprised. He said Mrs. Morgan wrote him I was here and so he wrote me and wants me to come down and see him. I would like to see him and I might go down if I can get a pass next Pay-Day. He is working for some man in the suburbs of Kansas City, but I don’t Know what he is doing.
They had moving pictures over at the 13th tonight and I was over to see them. The screen is outdoors, at the foot of a hill and makes a dandy place.
Well at last I am assigned. Direct my mail, A troop 20th Cavalry. I guess we are sure cavalry now and if we are it don’t look as though we would leave this country. A troop is Kind of a bum troop but gosh I am glad I am assigned, because now it seems as if I am in the army at last. The Top Sargent was just in here and he told me that the Colonel told him we wouldn’t be here much longer. He said we would be shipped to some other post. I wouldn’t be surprised if we would do guard duty around some of the cantoment camps for the drafted men. Gee that would be soft.
A fellow that sleeps under the barracks next to me loaned me his pillow tonight. He is on stable guard so can’t use it. It will seem funny to sleep on a pillow, the first time since I have been here.
When I get located mother, I will have you send me a pillow. Some of the troops have put in for winter clothing and I guess we will tommorrow. Now that I am in a troop I will get all the clothes I need so everything is alright.
Middaugh and my two friends from Philadelphia went down and got my box this morning. Beleive me we ate all the candy and made quite a hole in the cookies.
Everything came all right and gee the stuff tasted good. That soap comes right in handy too mother for I am nearly out. I don’t see how the deuce you Know what I want every time.
I saw General Wood today. He is not a very big man but I’ll bet he will make things hum at Funston.
I rec’d your letter today Dad It is dated the 27th so it made good time. Letters that I write at night and mail here at the barracks don’t get down to the post office until the next morning so that is why you don’t get them sooner.
I also got a letter from Fannie today and was awful glad to hear from her.
Well I suppose Harold starts school Sept 1. I’ll bet I wont hardly Know him when I see him again. Suppose he is a regular man now.
It begins to look as if I wasn’t going to be Uncle. I haven’t heard from Roy yet and I think you are all fooling me, but I am waiting for that telegram just the same.
I am getting sleeping so guess I will close and go out under the barracks. All I will take off is my leggins & shoes.
Your loving son
P. S. We must for pay Friday and probably will get paid next week some time.
I am feeling good and hope you folks are all well.
If any of you should get seriously sick, just telegraph me and I could get a pass and come home. Serious sickness in the family is the only thing they give passes on to the new men.
Fort Riley Kan.
Sept 2 – 1917
Say Dad you might send me some more stamps if you want too.
It is now 8.30 Sunday morning, and it looks gloomy around here. There is quite a fog and the air is damp.
We all signed the Pay-Roll Friday afternoon, but can’t tell when we will get paid. Friday night I went over to the 13th and saw some more movies. After the pictures several of us fellows went up on the hill back of the screen, and the camp certainly was a dandy sight from there. All of the barracks and bath-house were
lighted up, and it looked like a city.
Yesterday morning we went up on the hill and drilled all the morning. I had a nice fat horse and a blanket, but no bridle. If the horse took a notion to go, I couldn’t hold him, so I had several little gallops all by myself. When we came back, it started to sprinkle a little just as we got to the bottom of the hill. Some one in front started on a trot, and say that got all the horses going and it was sure one wild ride from there to the stables. Some of the galloped and some trotted but they were all moving, beleive me. When we started I was near the end, but
P.S. I was going to the Post-Office this morning but now it is all off. I am going to try and get some one else to ask for me.
when we stopped I was way up front. My darn horse galloped and I let him go, for it is a cinch to ride when your horse gallops. Yesterday afternoon we didn’t do anything so I had a nap until 4 O clock, when we had to water horses. Last night I intended to see the movies and take a bath, but I got fooled. After supper I went and looked at the bulletin board and I was on stable guard. I was a little mad, but that didn’t help any. There was six
of us, so each one was on guard only one hour and 50 minutes. All we had to do was tie up loose horses in A & B corrals, watch for fire and if a horse got fast to try and get him loose. I had the best shift of the bunch for I went on at 7.15 and was off at 9.05. That was all I had to do all night. We took our blankets with us and slept in an empty stall. I put a lot of hay down and put 2 horse blankets over the hay, and slept under my 2 bed blankets. It made a good bed at that. We came up for breakfast at 6.15 and now we have got to stand guard in the bath house today. We also had to clean up the bath
house after breakfast. I go on at 9.30 and am through for the day at 1.30. All we have to do is see that the fellows don’t make any unnecessary dirt in there. I am going to wash my clothes while I am on, but I don’t Know whether they will dry or not.
You won’t beleive it, but we had raisen pie yesterday for dinner and it was good.
Tommorrow is Labor day and we have all day off. Of course we will groom and water the horses but that is all.
I moved in a tent yesterday with 4 other fellows and we have lots of room. I think maybe I will move in the Barracks next week.
Tommorrow our troop has chicken, for the first time since I have been here. Probably we won’t get enough for a taste.
The Y.M.C.A. opened last night and it seems good to have a place to write again.
Well Dad I suppose you are anxious about the N.P.L. convention, but I Know everything will be alright and maybe you will get a raise. Gee I wish you would.
It is getting nearly time for me to go on guard so will close for this time.
Fort Riley Kansas
Sept 3 – 1917
Will write again Thursday so look for a letter Sunday. The mail service here is rotten. After you mail a letter you never Know when it will go out.
Just had supper and am waiting for retreat, so thought I would drop you a short letter.
Yesterday was another easy day and I done nothing all day except stay in the bath house from 9.30 A.M. until 1.30 P.M. I was on guard but there nothing to do. Did not wash my clothes until this morning.
Today was also a holiday in camp but we took a little ride over the hills for 2 hours
to exercize the horses. I had a saddle this morning so had to lead another horse. When a fellow has a saddle he has to lead another horse. My darn lead horse was a stubborn old plow horse and I had a deuce of a time making him Keep up, but the horse I was riding was a dandy. We went up and down thru ravines and all over. It was a lot of fun.
I started this letter for the purpose of telling you about our wonderful dinner today. We had lemonade, chicken, gravy, canned corn, fresh cucumbers, a big piece of 3 layer cake, and mince pie,
and lemon pie & Bread. We had 2 stalks of celery apiece too. Holy smokes it seemed too good to be true, but we all went to it, and I was some full when I got through. All the stuff was cooked great, but it did not taste like home.
Tonight for supper we had boiled Ham, potatoes fried in the gravy, bread fresh tomatoes 2 pieces of cake and a big piece of watermelon. Just had Retreat. Beleive me I am some full.
I don’t beleive lots of the bums here ever had such a meal.
This afternoon Middaugh and I took my blankets and went up in a ravine back of the Y.M.C.A. for a nap, but the cussed flies bothered us so that we did not get much sleep. Had supper early tonight 5 O clock. They have movis tonight at the 13th and a young ladies give a concert in the Y.M.C.A. Guess I will try and take them both in for the pictures start at 7.45.
I have not been down to the post office since Friday so I suppose I have some mail
there. I will go down tommorrow night and see anyway.
Well as I am looking for some of the fellows to come and go to the pictures with me, I will close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. I am feeling good and hope you are all well.
You folks certainly have been good to write me so often, all of you.
Have not rec’d that telegram from Roy yet, and I am getting anxious again.
Remember me to the rest of the folks and don’t worry about me.
It has been warmer for the last few day. Last night I took a good cold bath and tonight I will take another.
Say Dad that Ed Kromer lad from Elmira that you wrote me about went to Texas several weeks ago. I Knew him.
Fort Riley Kan
Sept 6 – 1917
Tell Roy & Mildred that I am not going to write to them until I hear the big news
I went down to the Post-Office Teusday night and got your letters, and one from Roy & Mildred.
This week we started having 20 minutes physical exercize right after Reville in the morning. Then we have breakfast. We also started riding in the Bull Ring again, but now we have saddles when we ride the old ring. Each man has a turn grazing horses, riding the Bull Ring and doing the Artillery drills. Say the
riding we do now in the ring is some different than we used to do. Now it is trot or gallop all the time, and this morning we took a gallop across several big fields. We just let the horses have their head and beleive me it was some ride. I Know that I never rode so fast before, but at a gallop it’s fun. The darn trot is what gets all of us, for it is no cinch to set in your saddle and not bounce some, but I guess I can get it after awhile. In the ring we also have to trot with our feet out of the stirrups and our hands folded across our chests. I think I have learned more about riding this
We expect Pay-Day most any time now
week than I have all the time before.
Monday night my friend from the 13th and I came up to the Y.M.C.A. and saw the pictures and heard six girls play and sing. They all played violins and beleive me they could play. I certainly enjoyed all of it.
Last night I went down to the 13th and saw more pictures. Also heard 6 Hawains play, and they were good too. They all played string instruments of some Kind. They are having
Chautauqua week in Junction City and these entertainments are from there. It is pretty good of them to come up here. Tommorrow night we have a lady reader here at the Y.M.
This afternoon we all got another innoculation, so did not have to drill. I washed my one lovely shirt, 2 pairs of leggins and my Khaki pants. They pants were not dry for Retreat, so I had to wear my old O.D.s. It made me mad, and I went to the Top Sargent, and asked him why I couldn’t have some clothes. He promised to ask the Troop Commander tommorrow. Beleive me I will Keep after
him until I get something.
They started guard mount here last night, but it is a farce, beside what they had at Slocum. The band is good but we only have about 20 men in the guard.
Well they are just starting the movies here so will have to close until next time.
Your loving son
P.S. I will mail this letter here at the Y.M. and it will get to the office in the morning so you should have it by Sunday
P.S. Dad a troop in Cavalry is the same as a company in Infantry. Now we are Provisional Artillery and two troops are together and they call it a Battery. If we stay artillery no one but officers will have a horse assigned to him.
I got Roys’ telegram this morning before breakfast. I suppose you think you are big now to be Grand Dad. Well I feel pretty proud too, to think I am Uncle.
Now Dad if you don’t want me to worry about you, you will have to go to a Doctor and see what is the matter with your side. Roy wrote that it was still bothering you. If you would have a thorough examination, it would make us all feel better. I expect
you won’t go to a Doctor, but until you do I am going to, ask you about how you are in every letter. How is mother and Grandma. I’ll bet Harold thinks he is big to be in the High School. Beleive me a fellow don’t Know what home is, until he gets away and can’t get back, when he wants too. I am afraid that I can’t get a pass, because you see we might be moved any time; but I am going to try and get home Xmas anyway.
Last night at the movies they threw a slide on that read, “Write a letter to Mother,” and it made me feel good to think that I had just written home. Some fellow back of me said
P.S. Rec’d your last letter this noon Dad. It came to the troop and I got it at mail call. It sure makes me feel good to hear from you folks, whether there is any news or not.
that he wrote his girl every day, but didn’t write home only when he felt like it. Gee such fellows ought to be shot.
Dad I’ve had my name changed. They have been spelling it Brewster here and I had to sign the Pay-Roll that way. I told them it should be Bruster, but they don’t seem to change it. I don’t care anyway only so I get my money.
If you don’t get a letter Sunday let me Know and I
will write Wednesday, so you can read some of my bum letters Sunday when you are all home.
The fellows took a wop from our troop this noon, and gave him a hard scrubing with a brush, out in the bath-house. When anyone don’t take a bath real often that is the way they fix them.
Tommorrow is Pay-Day I guess from the talk, and if it is I am going to take myself to town tommorrow night and eat some cantaloupe. Gee I can taste it now.
Tonight I am going over to the 13th and hear the reader.
Guess I have written all the news this time so will close and write again Sunday.
Your loving son
Fort Riley Kan.
Sept 9 – 1917
I rec’d your letter this noon mother, and was sure glad to hear from you. Also got the Thursday papers.
It is 3 O clock and I have just had a little nap. We had ice cream & cake for dinner and it was good, but they only gave us a couple spoonfuls of cream. It was real warm yesterday and today is the same. I washed a towel and one suit of underclothes this morning. There was warm water in the Bath house this morning so I
took a bath and washed my head. At 7.30 I went down and helped groom horses.
Yesterday afternoon Middaugh and Burton and I walked up to Camp Funston. It sure is some place. The Barracks are 2 story buildings and are put up a lot better than ours. All the drafted men have been given shoes, hats and overalls. The expect to get the rest of their equipment next week, but I’ll bet they get fooled. Camp Funston will take care of the drafted men from Kansas, South Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, so you can see it must be quite a place. They have started drilling already. While
we were there quite a bunch of fellows came in and it reminded me of the day I landed in Slocum. The western fellows are a better looking bunch, than those at Slocum, for there isn’t near as many foreigners in the west. Last night I saw the movies here at the Y.M.C.A. and they were good too.
We didn’t get paid yesterday, and now they say Teusday is the Big Day, but you can’t tell anything about it.
Well mother I suppose you
spend most of your spare time over to Roy’s now. I suppose you think it is the only baby in the town, and I think the same. Is it a good Kid or does it cry a lot. I would like to see Roy & Mildred taking care of it.
I haven’t got my clothes yet, but I am going to speak to the Sargent again tomorrow. I am still in a tent. There are only 4 of us in this tent so it is better than the Barracks, only it is chilly nights.
I intended to write several letters this afternoon, but some way I don’t feel in a writing mood.
I suppose you had a dandy time up to the cottage Dad.
I am awfully glad that you could do it, for such outings does a person good. How is your side getting along.
I suppose Grandma that you think Roy’s baby is the whole cheese too. I don’t blame any of you, but don’t spoil it what ever you do.
We have quite a few of the student officers up here now, and you should see them ride. Good night every time their horse gets off from a walk, they nearly fall off. It certainly is fun to watch them.
They ought to put them in the Bull Ring and learn them to ride, the same as they do us.
I hope you are all well and that Aunt Guss is better. I feel good, only this laying around Sat. & Sunday makes me lazy.
Well as it is getting time for water call I will have to close for this time.
Your loving son,
P.S. All of you give Jean a hug & Kiss for me.
Fort Riley Kan.
Sept 11 – 1917
Rec’d your letter tonight, and was glad to hear that cousin [Lydia] & Julia had been over to see you. I’ll bet you all enjoyed every minute of the visit.
I can hardly wait for that picture of Jean. I hope it is good.
Today was Pay-Day and I am here at the camp tonight. What do you think of that. Most of the fellows have gone to town but I didn’t care anything about going. Our
troop was paid just before dinner, and we didn’t drill this afternoon. From now on we can get a 24 hour pass once a month. I am not going to get one, so that when I want to come home maybe I can get a good furlough. The trouble is if I wait too long we might be so far away from home, that I couldn’t get back, but I’ll chance it anyway.
Yesterday was another day of drill and we are learning to jump hurdles. I haven’t had a chance at them yet but tommorrow it is my turn. It can’t be very hard for no one gets thrown.
I started this letter at 7 O clock
but I have just seen a movie and will finish now.
Last night a man and his wife were here at the Y.M. and gave a little recital. It was pretty good.
The nights have been cold lately, and it sure reminds one of fall. Gee I would like to be home and go hunting next month. I’ll miss hunting about the worst of anything.
Had a dandy letter from Tom Austin today, and Harold and him must be pretty good pals now.
We all sleep with our clothes on so it isn’t so bad. Tonight is going to be another chilly one.
Nothing much has happened here this week so there isn’t anything to write about.
Well as I am getting a little sleeping I will close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. I hope you are all well for I am feeling fine. I weighed 173# today, the most I ever weighed.
Fort Riley Kan.
Sept 16 – 17
Just had supper, so thought I would come up to the Y & write.
I rec’d your letter this noon mother, and was glad that you could go up to the cottage for a few days. I should think you would all go over to our cottage for a while.
Today sure has been a lazy day, and I took a nap this afternoon. This morning all we done was groom 2 horses apiece and were through for the day. I washed 2 pairs of socks, my shirt and a suit of underclothes this afternoon.
Friday morning we drilled on horseback as usual and I had a good horse, but I had
to lead one all the morning, so it wasn’t so nice. In the afternoon we did not drill but instead we cleaned up the Barracks and tents for Inspection Sat. A.M. Friday night I was on Stable Guard again, and this time I had a belt and a 44 automatic to tote around. Beleive me the guns are quite heavy too. I had first guard so I had a good sleep after I got through.
Sat morning I was in the Bath House from 7.30 until 12.30, Keeping the place clean. I done a washing while I was there so I didn’t mind it. Washed my pants and some underclothes.
Last night I was up here to the movies.
I got a box of candy from
Susie this week, and today I rec’d a box of cookies from Ed. Rhoades. Gee such things sure taste good and I enjoy them. Also had a nice letter from Aunt Hattie today.
Last night I wrote a letter to Susie and one to Myrtie Gillan thanking them for the candy.
I certainly like to hear from everybody, but when it comes to answering I fall down on the job. I have written so much since I have been here that a pen makes me sick.
It has been darn warm here for the last few days, but the nights are chilly.
Friday I put in for winter clothes and beleive me I put in for enough. If I get
half of what I put in for I will have plenty, and if I get it all I’ll have to buy a trunk. Never again will I get fooled on clothes.
I have not heard from Roy this week, but I suppose he is so busy with Jean that he don’t have time for anything.
We had a good meat, mashed potatoes, canned corn and sliced cucumbers for dinner today. Had 2 pieces of watermelon for dessert too.
Had warm water in the Bath-House today so when I got through washing I took a nice bath and washed my head all good. Changed my underclothes and socks and I feel fine.
Mother I wish we could do something to make Dad see
a doctor about his side. I worry about him, and I Know that the rest of you do. When he comes back from the convention you all ought to get after him and make him find out what is the matter with him.
Well mother I suppose you Keep up as usual, but do you feel good. I wish you could have gone with Dad, for the rest would do you good.
Now Grandma how are you feeling these days. I’ll bet you dread the coming winter, but maybe there won’t be much snow, so you can get out. I suppose you would just like to take care of that baby all the time. It’s a comfort to all of you I Know.
Say Harold I thought you
were going to write me about your trip to N.Y. I Know you are busy now that school is open but some night you write me a nice long letter.
I don’t beleive that I want to transfer now, for this is the only real way to see army life as it is. It sure is a great experience. You can read about life in the army but a person has to go through it himself to really get it. I am getting more used to it now, and it isn’t so bad at that.
Well as I want to write a couple of more letters I will close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. Remember me to all the folks and write.
Fort Riley Kansas
Sept 17 – 1917
I rec’d two letters from you today and tonight I also got the “Sun” and Elmira papers. The papers have about the same news in that they used to have, but I don’t Know it seems as though I am nearer home when I am reading them.
I am glad you are feeling better Dad but I won’t be satisfied until you have had a good thorough examination. The longer it goes the worse it will get, so I should think you would see a doctor. I am feeling good and drilling as hard as ever.
Gee some mornings I hate to roll out at 5.15, but after a wash in cold water I feel like a new fellow. Instead of going
out on horseback at 7 Oclock like we used to, we are having foot drill from 7 until 8. It goes pretty good for a change too.
I haven’t written to Uncle Henry or Ralph Jones yet, but next Pay Day I guess I will go to K.C.
Dad I am darn near crazy trying to answer everybody. I don’t Know who to write to when I set down to write, for I owe so many letters.
All the wops and other foreigners who can’t read nor write English have to go to school 3 nights a week now. Good thing too, for some of the wops don’t Know there own name when its called.
I got the box from Ed. Rhoades yesterday, and it sure was very Kind of him to think of me. I will write him a letter this week.
Well Dad I finally wrote Myrtie a letter last Sat. also one to Susie. She sent me a nice box of candy last week.
Had a nice letter from Roy today and just answered it. He is sure some proud boy now. I would like to see him walking the floor some night trying to make it stop crying. I guess when I get married and have a baby Dad, I’ll let some one else do the walking. Maybe I will be an old bachelor so I should worry.
Now Dad I wouldn’t let them start any of their dirty work on me at the convention. I would get up and tell them I wanted a raise. If you shouldn’t happen to get back I guess that when I get out
we can make a living some way. How is the globe store making out and who is there now.
I saw the Lieutenant tonight about clothes and I think I will get some the last of the week. Beleive me I need them too.
We didn’t have any pictures here tonight and it seems lonesome without them, for I see most every one.
I am using a fountain pen tonight, that some strange fellow who is writing here let me take.
Well Dad I guess I have written all the news for this time so will close.
With lots of love
P.S. This afternoon was real warm here. The weather here is darn funny most of the time.
Fort Riley Kan.
Sept 18 – 1917
Dear Mother, Grandma & Harold,
They are having pictures here at the Y.M.C.A. tonight, and I watched one reel, but don’t seem to be interested in them tonight for some reason or other.
Mother I rec’d your letter tonight and also Harolds.
I was over to the canteen tonight and bought a few things that I needed, so I am fixed up for the present.
Harold old boy I guess my leggins would be too big for you, but if I can find a small pair, I will send them to you. Am glad that you and Chuck made some money.
It has not been so cold
lately, so I undress nights now.
This afternoon it rained from 1 O clock until 2 and then we went up on the hill and done foot drill until about 3.30. It commenced to rain again and we all beat it for camp as fast as we could. It looks black tonight and I guess it will rain some more.
Say this morning I had the most fun on horseback that I have had since I have been here. I drilled artillery drill until 9.30 and then changed into a saddle. We trotted around the Bull ring for about half an hour and then jumped hurdles for a while. Beleive me jumping hurdles is some sport. We all took our feet out of the stirrups and put the reins over the
pommel of the saddle. The hurdles were 2 feet high and there was 3 of them about 5 yards apart. We would start the horses and then put our hands up in the air and let them go. Gee I had a dandy horse and he went over the hurdles great. After jumping we would let the horses go as fast as they could and come back to the starting point again. Beleive me my horse could gallop like the deuce, and when we made a turn he would pretty near lay down we went so fast. I would like to do drills like that all the morning, if I could get the same horse.
I got so I could trot this morning too. Several times when we went over the hurdles we put our hat over our eyes, and it gave me a funny feeling when I jumped and didn’t Know it.
Our breakfast this morning was rotten but we had a good dinner. Had beans and raisen pie. Tonight we had good short steak, fried potatoes, coffee and prunes so I am full now.
Next pay day I think maybe I will go to K.C. and look up Ralph Jones & Uncle Henry if we are still here. Some troops of the 13th are leaving for different places now.
I will get my picture taken the next time I go to town. I sure am anxious
to get a picture of Jean.
Say Harold I wish you would ask Fred Brown if he has any of the pictures that Doc Bird took down in the woods. If he has get them and send to me. You pay for them and I will pay you. Now don’t forget and write me what he says.
Well it is getting late so I will close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. I am feeling fine and eating a lot of everything. Hope you are all well
Fort Riley Kan.
Sept 20 – 1917
Just had supper and came right up here to write and get a good seat for the movies. We had meat & gravy for supper and the meat wasn’t very good but I ate 3 slices of bread in the gravy so I had enough.
Gee it was cold here last night and this morning we all looked froze when we lined up for Reville. It warmed up toward noon and was just right.
This morning we drilled on the guns instead of going out with the horses. The Lieutenant gave each of us little books this morning
telling the duties that each man has to perform on the piece. I think it will be real interesting if we ever get started. This afternoon our Battery took a little hike over the hills for about 2 hours. It seems funny to walk, and we were all tired when we got back. After watering the horses we were through until retreat, so you see it hasn’t been a very hard day.
Yesterday morning they branded our horses with an A. on their left hip. The A. stands for artillery. Beleive me some of the horses done some jumping too. When the iron is put on them the burning [han] smokes like the deuce but it don’t hurt them any. After they
were all branded we groomed them, and we done for the morning. In the afternoon went up on the hill and done semaphore signaling. I can do it pretty good now.
Last night I went down to the post-office and rec’d a card from Pete Lovell. He was in Oswego when he sent it. I told the man at the window to send all my mail to the troop so now I won’t have to go down any more.
Tommorrow I am on Post Fatigue. Have to be ready to leave the orderly room at 6.30 A.M. Pretty early to start isn’t it. We eat dinner in the guard house down
at the Post. The fellows say they have good grub there so maybe I’ll get a good dinner anyway. Will write next time what I have to do.
The Y.M. is full of fellows already. It is the only place we have to go nights and the fellows flock here right after supper.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we would leave here any-time now, for it is getting too cold to stay here and be comfortable. I am afraid they will send us to California, but there is some talk of Florida. Of course no one Knows and we may go where we least expect.
I rec’d a letter from Roy today and he sure is proud of that little girl.
I am going to write him and Ed. Rhoades tonight after the pictures.
Well I guess they are getting ready for the pictures so I will have to close.
Your loving son
P.S. Remember me to Aunt Guss & George, also Fannie and the rest of the folks. I am feeling good and hope you are all well. I suppose Dad will be elected again. Gee my hair is longer than it has ever been before, but I just have Kept putting off having it cut. When I go down to the Post tomorrow I’ll get it cut. Believe me.
Fort Riley Kan.
Sept 20 – 1917
Rec’d your letter this noon, and was some glad to hear that Mildred and Jean are alright. I hope that Mildred will soon be able to get up, for it must be pretty hard on her to be in bed all the while. Does Jean grow any yet.
It is 8.50 by our time, and I have just seen a dandy 5 reel picture here at the Y.M. I wrote to mother before the show started and now I will try and bother you with a letter.
It would have been great if you could have had your vacation in the summer, and then you and Mildred could
have enjoyed it together. Say if you don’t get your vacation until after Oct. 1, why don’t you get a hunting license and go hunting. You Know that I have all the necessary tools home, and you could take them and have a lot of fun. Look it, tell Tom to get the ferret if that Kid has still got it. Find out something about it anyway and let me Know.
Beleive me it was cold here last night, and it is pretty chilly again tonight. I took my clothes off last night, but tonight I am only going to take off my shoes & leggins.
Tommorrow I am on Post Fatigue, and have to be ready to leave here at 6.30. We eat in the guard house down at the post, so I will have a chance to see what
P.S. Now Mildred don’t you try and overdo before you get strong, for if you do, I will have to take you in hand when I get home.
a guard house if like.
I wrote Dad about seeing a doctor and he said that he felt better. Now, old boy, I want you to Keep me posted on just how every one is.
I guess we are provisional Artillery for sure now, for yesterday morning all the horses in our battery were branded with an A for artillery.
I am darn glad that I took care of my teeth while I was home, for they examined our teeth the other day, and a lot of the fellows have had a lot of teeth pulled. The dentists aren’t very particular either they say.
A fellow is playing the
piano here and 5 or 6 fellows are singing. It don’t sound bad at that. The popular songs sure get murdered here. I wish you could be here when we have pictures, and hear the remarks the fellows make. Some of them are funny, but the most of them are darn poor.
Have had it easy for the last 2 days. Didn’t take the horses out since Teusday, but Teusday I sure enjoyed riding. I jumped hurdles for the first time and done some fast riding take it from me. You wouldn’t think I could take hurdles with my feet out of the stirrups and swinging my arms over my head, would you. Well I can and gee it is fun and I would like to do it every day.
Well guess I will close for I want to write to Ed. Rhoades.
Your old Buddie
Fort Riley Kan.
Sept 22 – 1917
Another week gone and we are still at the same old place. We had supper at 5 O clock tonight and now it is only a little after six.
Just rec’d a letter from Dad and was glad to hear that no one is against him. By the picture on the envelope, the hotel Du Pont must be quite a place. I also rec’d your letter mother, and will go down Monday and get my box if it is there.
Well I am in the Barracks at last, but I was about the last to leave the tents. I liked the tent for there
was only 4 of us in it and we had lots of room. I moved into A barracks this morning. Am in a dandy place right under a window. They gave me a mattress cover that belonged to a fellow who deserted a month ago. I washed it this afternoon but it isn’t quite dry yet so I can’t fill it with hay until tommorrow. The fellows Keep the Victrola going most of the time and we have a dandy bunch of records too. I sleep next to a fellow from S. Dakota by the name of Cole. The bunks are arranged by twos, that is there are 2 cots tight together and then a space of about 2 feet on either side so we have plenty of room at that. Cole and I are
P.S. Say Dad send me some of Nicks Cresco Cigars. We can’t get any cigars that I like out here at the canteen.
together and we are going to spread our blankets out and sleep together just as if we were in on bed. We can sleep a lot warmer this way for one blanket will be under us and 3 on top. It was chilly again last night. Today we had inspection at 8 O clock and about 9.30 we went to the stables and groomed horses. All we done this afternoon was water at 4 O clock so you see it has been a good day. I washed some clothes this morning and the first think I Knew my towel was gone. After a thing is gone here you might
as well so good-bye to it, for nothing is ever found. I have been lucky at that for that is the first thing I have lost, while some of the fellows have lost a bunch of stuff.
Yesterday I was on Post Fatigue with 9 other fellows from the 20th. We left here for the Post about 7 Oclock and when we got there 6 of us were given pitch-Fork and 4 rakes. We went around the Post putting the grass in piles, that had been cut along the streets and fields by another gang of Fatigue men. It wasn’t hard at all and we done a lot of resting the same as all soldiers do when on Fatigue. The sargent that had charge of us was a good scout, but we had
I feel good. I am going to send $25 or $30 home this pay so you can take out for the cigars.
a little old man with us that wanted to work all the while. He is a civilian and works for the goverment down there. Had dinner & supper at the guard-house and of course I struck it when they had 2 punk meals.
Say Folks that is a regular prison with steel bars and guards all over. Now they search the prisoners whenever they enter or leave their cells. We ate in the same dining room with them and most of them were a good looking bunch at that. I guess most of them are in for taking French leave and staying away too long. They have one
Swede there, out of the 20th and they say he is a spy. He was caught just as he was crossing into Mexico. It will go hard with him I’ll bet. It certainly was interesting to me and I took everything in. Last night we had a party hear at the Y. Twelve fellows were in a pie eating contest. Their hands we tied behind their back, and the pies we placed upside down on a bench so they had to get on their Knees to eat. It certainly was funny and I sure had a good laugh. They also had several other funny contests and it was a great night.
Am awfully glad that you are all well and that Mildred & the baby are well.
Guess I have written all the news so will close.
I want to tell you about our dinner so will have to use another sheet.
I have been assigned to A troop but have always ate in B, for I Knew more fellows there. Well today of course I had to start in eating at A mess hall, and I am glad of it. We had pumpkin pie for dinner, what do you think of that. Also had baked beans. In B troop they never bake the beans, but just boil them and try to fool the fellows, but in A they have real baked beans. Gee I sure ate all I could of them. Had cold beans tonight and I waded into another bunch
Well the pictures are nearly ready to start so will close and write tommorrow.
Your loving son
P.S. It will surprise you to learn that we have 12 Y.M.C.A. on the reservation here. Have the big one at the post, one at the medical camp, one at cavalry camp and 9 at Funston for the drafted men. You can just imagine how big Funston is when it takes 9 Y.M. to accomadate the men.
Fort Riley Kan
Sept 23 – 1917
This noon at mail call I rec’d Dads letter from Wil. and one from Mildred, also got the papers. Say Dad that $400 raise is certainly great and I’ll bet you were surprised. Maybe the Old N.P.L. is all right at that.
Today has been a long day but we played the new records on the Victrola all day so it hasn’t been so bad at that. We didn’t have to groom horses today for some reason or other. All we have done today was stand Reville this morning, water at 9.30 A.M. and 4 P.M. I take a bath this afternoon and changed underclothes. The water was
cold and beleive me after a bath and a good rub down I felt great. I got a book here at the Y.M. last night and read some in that today. I also filled my mattress cover with hay, and Ill bet I wont Know how to sleep on it, for its been a long time since I slept on any-thing soft.
They are going to have some Yodlers here tonight and I am going to stay and hear them.
Last night I got fooled going to bed. I stayed up here to the Y.M. until 9.30 and when I got back to the Barracks all lights were out, but as luck would have it I found my cot alright.
There was 2 good ball games down at Junction City this afternoon but I couldn’t go
for we have water call at 4 Oclock. A crack team from K.C. played a picked team from the 21st and one with a team out of the 13th. I could have gone, but would had to miss water call, and I am not missing a call, for when I put in for a furlough, they can’t tell me I have been missing calls.
The band gave a little concert this afternoon and it was pretty good.
Well, the Yodelers are here and about ready to start so will stop until they get thru. The show has not started yet so will write a little more. Just read a letter that a fellow in the navy wrote
his friend here. He says they get dandy grub, but otherwise it is nearly as bad as the army.
We had dandy meat, mashed potatoes, canned corn, Bread and tapioca pudding for dinner. I ate a lot too for it all tasted good.
It is rumored that we will be out of here the 15th of next month. They say it is either Cuba or California, but I won’t beleive it till I am on my way. If they send me farther west, I don’t care where I go, for I don’t beleive I could get a pass to come home in a long time.
I am going to get a foot locker this pay-day for when I get my winter clothes I will need one. I can also lock it and Keep some of my stuff maybe.
Well tommorrow I start
One of the men is talking now and he says they are Swiss so I will have to take his word for it. I guess this is all this time. Your loving son
riding again. Have not been out in several days, so don’t Know how it will go. C. Battery has got their saddles and harnesses for artillery. They took 24 horses out of our stables and brought a bunch of theirs over to us. I don’t Know when we get our artillery equipment.
The show is going and I don’t think much of it. There 3 men and 2 girls. They have several instruments, and they try to sing. I don’t Know what they are singing about for it is a foreign language of some Kind. Maybe they will get better as they go along. I hope so anyway. One of the girls is trying to yodel now, but I don’t Know what you would call it. [turn to the top]
Send me Ralph Jones address again so if I should go to K.C. I can look him up.
Well the show is over and it did get better at the last. They done a Swiss dance and it was pretty good
Fort Riley Kan.
Sept 25 – 1917
Just rec’d your letter and will answer it right away. Have been listening to the Victrola for a while and am now waiting for the movies to start.
We had a little hike today and I sure enjoyed it. We walked and carried a pack. Each one carried half of a shelter tent, mess Kit, towel soap, 1 tent pole, “5 pins tent” and some of us took our darn old heavy slickers “rain coat.” It wasn’t heavy for we made it in a roll and slung it over our left shoulder. The rain coat was the heaviest. It looked a little like rain when we started, so I took my
slicker but it was a nice day after all. Most of us had never put up a shelter tent before so we had to learn how. Two fellows camp together and each one carries half of the tent. We pitched our tents once about 10 O clock and then took them down and went on. At 11 O clock we put them up again and started dinner. After breakfast this morning the cook gave every-one 2 raw potatoes, a piece of raw ham and 2 slices of Bread, so each tent had to build a fire and cook their own dinner. My Buddie and I sliced our potatoes and fried them in what little ham grease we had. Say it was lots of fun and beleive me the dinner tasted some good. Of course we all could have eaten more, but we
have got to get used to it. We we out from 8 O clock until 3. We didn’t go more than 5 or 6 miles but gee there is a bunch of hills to go up and down, so it tired a person. Our first Lieutenants and 4 second Lieutenants went with us.
Yesterday we drilled on horses but I didn’t get a chance at a saddle. Drilled all morning with a blanket and had to lead another horse.
Well the pictures are ready to go so will finish when they are over. Just saw a good 5 reel vitagraph with Maurice Costello in the lead.
So Floyd Post thinks he
is the whole thing does he. Well out here the hospital corp don’t amount to much, for fellows can get in that when they can’t get in anything else.
It is going to cold tonight for you can feel it now. Say mother you can send that sweater if you want too. Send it right away and by Parcel Post, for then if I am not here it will be forwarded to me.
The Y.M. was packed with fellows tonight.
When we got back from our hike this afternoon a bunch of us beat it for the canteen to get something to eat. While we were there they had stable call and we missed it. I suppose tommorrow afternoon I will be on Fatigue from 9 until 4. I don’t like that
for we don’t start to drill until 2.30 and I would rather drill from 2.30 to 4 than Fatigue from 1 to 4.
Well as it is getting toward bed-time I will quit and hit the hay.
Your loving son
P.S. I went down to the Express office last night and the box had come yet, mother. Will go down again tomorrow night
Fort Riley Kan
Sept 28 – 1917
Well I just got back from the express office with my box. Didn’t eat any supper, but made a meal out of the cookies and biscuits with jam on. Gee all of it certainly tasted better then ever, because I have been looking for it so long I guess. Mother the towel & socks sure will come in great. I also rec’d the cigars this noon Dad, and it makes me feel home again when I smoke one. They sure are good smokes.
Last night I put my slicker over me and I had one good sleep. I was pretty tired and didn’t wake up once.
This morning we took a little hike over the hills until 10 O clock. I had a pretty good horse and was lucky enough to get a blanket & bit too. We all had lead horses, so it made it harder to enjoy it.
This afternoon we moved everything out of the barracks and washed it out with brooms. After that we didn’t do anything until 4 O clock when we went down and watered.
I am enclosing a clipping from a Kansas City paper showing you how the drafted men are taken care of at Funston. We are in nearly as bad a boat as they are, for there is hardly ever a fire in the Bath-House. The draft men sure suffer here, but the public
is doing a lot more for them than it is for us regulars and I can’t see where they deserve it as much as we enlisted men do. This article will show you what Kind of weather I done guard in Wed. night & Thursday.
I am on K.P. “Kitchen Police” tommorrow so I won’t have to stand inspection anyway.
They have movies down at the 13th tonight, but I guess I will stay here at the Y.M. and read.
It isn’t very cold tonight and beleive me I hope we don’t have any more cold weather until we get our winter clothes. Will get
The clipping is out of a Kansas City paper
our overcoats tommorrow I think.
Say if any of the draft fellows from home Kick about the treatment they get at camp, tell them how they would have it at Funston, and I’ll bet they will Keep quiet.
Done a washing after we scrubbed the barracks this P.M. and took a nice cold bath. The water was like ice, but it done hurt a fellow at that.
Will have to close now for I can’t think of any more to write.
Your loving son,
P.S. Don’t forget to Kiss Jean for me and remember me to all the rest. I hope Aunt Guss is better by now.
NO HEAT AT FUNSTON
Systems to Supply Warmth May Not Be Installed Before Christmas.
TROOPS ARE SUFFERING
With Little Clothing Are Compelled to Wrap Themselves in Blankets to Keep Warm.
Only Officers Have Enough Clothes to Withstand Chill Weather of Past Two Days.
BLAME THE MANUFACTURERS
Officers Declare Shipments Have Been Held Up—Tracers Have Been Sent Out.
CAMP FUNSTON, KAS., Sept. 26.— There won't be any heat in the barracks occupied by the men of the Eighty-ninth Division of the national army until the latter part of October, and maybe not until Christmas. This is the statement of men and officers who are familiar with every phase of the present plans of the War Department for heating Camp Funston. If everything needed was on the ground now, the work might be finished in three weeks.
WRAP THEMSELVES IN BLANKETS.
The weather last night, today and tonight has been cold and miserable. It rained from midnight Tuesday until almost noon today, a cold and driving rain, that chilled to the bone. There isn't a barracks in camp that is heated. There isn't a man in camp, except the officers, who have a plentiful supply of warm clothing. The men today sat around in their barracks for the most part wrapped in blankets and shivering.
It was so cold and wet and muddy today that every man who had an overcoat, a raincoat or a pair of boots wore them, and those who didn't have them and had the money went to town and bought a supply. In many places in camp the water was more than knee deep and almost every place the mud was ankle deep to be conservative.
BLAME THE MANUFACTURERS.
The chief reason for the many delays installing the heating system has been the fault of the manufacturers. Day after day has been lost because some manufacturer forgot to ship the necessary fittings for pipes and boilers, or because they didn't feel the need of filling the orders at once, or because they had to wait for one thing or another.
The entire number of boilers necessary has not arrived. There are still sixteen boilers short. There isn't a foot of 6-inch pipe in camp, and this is the pipe suspended overhead to carry the steam from the boilers to the barracks, and 13,500 feet was ordered more than six weeks ago. There isn't a foot of 8-inch pipe, the pipe that is necessary to carry the steam from the boilers to the mains, on the grounds. Some of this pipe left Youngstown, O., September 14; some on the 19th and some on the 22d, but none of it has arrived here. In the meantime work on the heating system is practically at a standstill and the men are shivering from the cold.
SOMETHING ALWAYS FORGOTTEN.
For instance, when the boilers were shipped from Kewanee, Ill., someone forgot to put in the anchor bolts. As a result only a few of the boilers are completely installed and the rest are awaiting the arrival of the bolts. Then the stacks arrived, but no guy wires came with them—another, delay. There is a complete system of radiators installed in 193 barracks, with the exception of one of two 5-section radiators in each one.
The War Department specified 5-section radiators should be placed in certain specific spots, and consequently the work cannot be finished until they arrive from Chicago. The entire heating system is one continuous radiation of steam and no shutoff valves were allowed by the War Department. This means the heat cannot be cut off at any one place, and the steam cannot be turned into the radiators until the entire system is completed. These were ordered six weeks ago.
Fittings were ordered six weeks ago from Chicago, including "Ls" and "Ts” and crosses for the pipes, but nothing has been heard of them.
TO HURRY UP SHIPMENTS.
Capt. Fred J. Herman, constructing quartermaster, realized some time ago what was going to happen, so he sent men to different places to hurry the shipments along and to ride right to Camp Funston with the cars to see they were not lost or delayed. One man arrived today with eleven cars of fittings in tow, and another is on the way here.
Capt. J. S. Smith will leave tomorrow for Kansas City, Chicago and other Eastern points to either hustle up the shipments or buy from other firms in the open market. All the main buildings were to have been heated by steam and the isolated small buildings by stoves. Captain Herman ordered 279 stoves, but the government thought 423 could be used. There are on the ground 375, but they are small and one of them wouldn't even take the chill off one of the big barracks built for two hundred men. The stoves were being set up in offices today, and tonight Captain Herman appointed an officer whose entire duty will be to direct gangs of workmen to put up what stoves are on hand where they will do the most good.
[End of clipping]
Fort Riley Kan.
Sept. 30 – 1917
Just got thru playing the victrola and will now try and tell you the news.
Yesterday I was on K.P., but it wasn’t bad at that. The only thing I don’t like is peeling the darn Potatoes. Jack the cook may cake for supper so I had lots of that to eat, but it didn’t taste half as good as my cookies. You can imagine how much cake it takes to feed a troop, when it takes 10 big tablespoon full of Baking Powder, and nearly a cup of vanilla. It was just a plain cake and didn’t have much taste to it.
Yesterday afternoon we signed the Pay-Roll so I guess we won’t leave until after we are paid. Last night I could have been out of the Kitchen at 6 O clock but after we got the work done I visited with the cook until 7.30. He was telling me about the times they had in Mexico and it sure was interesting.
Gee it was cold again last night. I slept quite warm but beleive me it was hard to get up and dress this morning. Everyone was so darn cold that we thought the water was warm when we washed, but it was some cold. We had muster this morning. Muster is only a general Roll Call of every one in the army.
At 10 O clock this morning
a Society woman from K.C. and a French Lieutenant gave short talks here at the Y.M. The Frenchman was good but I didn’t care much for the Society woman.
Tonight a Lawyer 1st Lieutenant gives a talk here and I guess I will stay and hear him.
Most of the troops have their overcoats, but as usual we haven’t rec’d ours yet. Yesterday they marked them and we thought we would get them then, but instead they packed them up in big boxes. I don’t Know when we will get them now.
Rec’d a letter from Roy and he told me about the
accident. It certainly is too darn bad, and I don’t beleive he was to blame for he is a pretty careful Driver. He thinks Jean is the whole cheese by the way he writes, and I don’t blame him.
Some one built a fire in the Bath-House so I am going to take a bath tonight.
I read some in Colliers this afternoon and then took a nap. Had to get up at 4 O clock and water horses.
Well I guess I have written all the news so will quit and write Roy.
Your loving son
P.S. Say Dad you can send me some more stamps if you will. How is everybody at home. I am fine.
Fort Riley Kan.
Oct. 1st – 1917
I have just written your letter and my arm is so tired I can’t hardly write. I got the paper and Colliers last night.
This morning we had to go down & groom horses at 9 O clock, and when we got thru, I done quite a washing. We had chicken and dressing for dinner and it sure tasted good, but I miss the biscuits. This afternoon I tried to sleep but some flies Kept after me so I had to get up. Gee it was a long afternoon.
We are using our dishes now, so all we take in
the mess hall is a Knife fork & spoon. It is a lot better this way and seems more like home.
I’ll bet you all had a great visit with Aunt Kat, and I would have liked to been there
Last night I saw two fellows and they had an opposum and a big Bull snake. They were both alive and made some pair. Bullsnakes are not poisonous but they squeeze there victims when they get mad. The little posum was dandy and I would like to catch one.
Yesterday morning we went for horse exercize from 7 till 9, and after grooming we had inspection. I haven’t got my shoes or clothes yet, but
passed alright. In the afternoon we didn’t do anything but water at 4 O clock.
I had a great ride Friday afternoon. Four mules and a horse got away from our regiment, and a rancher about 8 miles from here caught them. They took a man from each battery and a sargent, and I was the one from our battery to go after them. I went down to saddle up at 1 O clock and took a big bay horse. He sure had lots of life and I had a hard time getting him saddled. We left camp at 1.30, and beleive me we rode. We were either
on a hard trot or gallop all the way out, and say after 4 or 5 miles my horse forgot all about having so much life. Well we got the mules and I led one of the brutes back. I have seen stubborn horses, but I had to half drag my mule all the way. Gee I felt like Killing it. Got back at 5 O clock, and I was tired. This is the longest & hardest ride I have taken but I enjoyed it at that.
Say mother you can send me some more cookies, and some fudge if you want too. We will be here for a while longer anyway. You can send my helmet & wrislets too for I can wear my helmet to
I haven’t been to town yet but will have to go & get my shoes tapped tommorrow night.
Well I will have to close for it is nearly time for lights to go out and my bed isn’t made yet.
Your loving son
P.S. Hope you can read this but it is pretty poor. Remember me to all.
Fort Riley Kan.
Oct. 2 – 1917
Rec’d both the letters from home and also one from Aunt Guss. Got the papers too. I was sure glad to get the pictures, and I will get some taken as soon as I go to town, but I haven’t been away from the fort in a long while.
Yesterday we drilled as usual, only I had a saddle for about ¾ of an hour. The Lieutenant took us for some gallop too and he sure is a hard rider.
Today we took another hike, but we went farther this time. Had to cook
our own chow again, but they brought coffee to us this time. We had flapjacks & butter for breakfast, and I saved my butter and took it on the hike. I fried my potatoes in it, and they were great.
This morning before we started the whole regiment lined up back of the barracks and listened to a talk by that French Captain. He told us about conditions in France and how the artillery fights. One good think about artillery and that is that we don’t have to get in the trenches.
Yesterday we had our overcoats issued us, and beleive me they are some warm.
They are still making
packing boxes for us, so I think we will be out of here in a short time.
It wasn’t very cold last night, and today it was hot marching.
Say I am sure glad that I am not in the infantry, for it is no fun to carry a light pack, let alone a heavy one and a rifle.
I suppose you had a great time in Bingo Dad. I wonder if you met Frank Sherman, my old boss.
It certainly surprised me to hear of Lulu Crans death. It seems an awful thing for a young woman to go so quick.
They sure gave the draft boys a big send-off didn’t they. Well I am glad that some one gets it nice. Most of the fellows that went were Irish too.
That sweater is great mother and is just right. Several of the fellows have them, but I like mine the best.
In your letter mother you said Harold had his feet in the oven, and Dad was waiting for the fire to come up while you are writing me. Gee I can see all of you just as plain as if I was there.
The pictures are going but I have seen them, so guess I will take a bath and crawl in.
Your loving son
P.S. I am fine and hope you are all well.
Fort Riley Kan.
Oct. 4 – 1917
Rec’d the paper marked “B” tonight. Haven’t had time to look at them yet.
I was on Dump Fatigue today and when I got thru at 4 O clock I took a bath. Had supper and just got thru washing clothes. I washed 2 suits underclothes 2 towels & 3 pair socks. Now I won’t have much to wash tomorrow and will be all clean for Sunday. All we had to do today was to Keep the manure burning in piles and light new fires. The only thing was the smoke and my head aches a little tonight.
Yesterday morning we drilled on the guns until about 9.30, and then took a hike on horseback until 11. We rode along the top of the hill until we could see Funston, and I sure enjoyed it.
Last night I came up to the Y.M. but it was so crowded, that I couldn’t get a seat. Went back to the Barracks and took a bath and hit the hay.
Have just been out and seen 2 reels of movies, but I didn’t like them so came in. It is warm tonight so the pictures are outside.
The weather here seems to be getting warmer instead of colder. It was real hot around the fires today.
Al McCoy the big fighter
fights down at the Fort tommorrow night Dad but I don’t beleive I’ll go down.
I haven’t heard much about going away for the last couple days, so don’t Know when we will go.
We got our collar buttons the other day. One has U.S. on and the other A-20 with the cross sabres for Cavalry.
I think Sunday that I will go up to Funston and see how the Draft men look. Another big train-load of them came in this afternoon. I could see them from the dump.
I am glad that Aunt Guss is better and hope that she is alright by this time.
How is Harlod getting along in school. Is Grandma feeling good. Suppose Mother & Dad are the same as usual. Roy must be getting thin from staying up so much nights.
This letter will leave here tommorrow morning and it seems as though you ought t have it Sunday. I guess I get your mail sooner than you do mine.
Well guess I will read a while here, and then go down to the barracks and read your papers.
Your loving son
P.S. Remember me to everyone one.
Fort Riley Kan.
Oct. 5 – 1917
Dear Aunt Guss,
I rec’d your letter quite a while ago, but lately I haven’t been able to get the writing fever for some reason or other.
That picture sure is great, and I wouldn’t part with it for anything. When I look at it, I can see you all just as if I was there.
How are you feeling now Aunt Guss. Hope you are better and able to do things like you used too.
Has George been hunting yet, or is he still busy working. Tell him if I was there I would take him out and show him how
to get game.
We have had some darn cold nights here, and we all put our overcoats and everything else we can get over us. They put a stove in the mess hall, but none in the Barracks yet, and it sure is cold getting up in the morning.
I’ll bet you all had a great old visit with Aunt Kate, and I am sorry that I wasn’t there to see here.
I don’t go out and drill with the troop any more, for I am in the Battery Commanders detail. It is a lot easier & better than riding old horses bareback. We have to learn how to operate a buzzer or telegraph, and Know the semaphore and wigwag signals. We also make sketches of the
country around here. I think it will be great when I get started.
We had a chicken dinner today but no biscuit. Gee when we have chicken I sure miss the biscuits that you & mother make.
All we have to take in the mess hall with us now is our Knife fork and spoon. All the dishes are on the table, and it is a lot better than using our mess Kits.
Mother wrote that George was thinking of going to Newport to work. I Know you would be lonesome, but if he can make good money, it
would be different.
I hope Rob will come home for Xmas. Say it would be great if Rob and I could both be home then. Some blow-out I’ll bet.
Last night one of the fellows brought in an opposum that he caught in a tree, and it made me want to hunt when I saw it. Another fellow brought in a big live Bull snake. These snakes are not poisonous but when hurt they wind themselves around you and squeeze. No snakes for mine.
Well as it is nearly 9 O clock I will quit for this time.
Your loving nephew
P.S. Best regard to George & tell him to write me.
Fort Riley Kan
Oct. 7 – 1917
It is now 6.30 P.M. Sunday night, and it is a disagreeable night too. It started to drizzle a little this afternoon, and now it don’t Know whether to rain or not. It is quite cold, so my sweater comes in mighty handy. We are not allowed to wear anything over our shirts to drill in but I put my sweater under, and it feels good these chilly mornings.
Friday we drilled in the morning and scrubbed the Barracks in the afternoon. After helping clean the Barracks, I washed my shirt & leggins.
Yesterday morning we took a little hike on horses until 9 O clock. Groomed horses when we got back, and had to be ready for inspection at 10.15. I got another hair-cut Friday night, because the captain is darn strict about long hair. Mine wasn’t long but I had it cut so as to be on the safe side. Yesterday afternoon I loafed around the Barrack, and last night was on Stable Guard. I was on from 8.50 till 10.40, so I got a pretty good sleep. This morning I had a good nap and after dinner had to look after the bath house from 1 till 3.
We had a good dinner today, beleive me. Chicken and green corn. I had a [XXXX] piece of chicken & 2
P.S. I hope it rains tomorrow so we can have a vacation. Remember me to the other folks and tell them all I think about them if I don’t write.
good ears of corn. Our grub is put on the tables in dishes now and I like it a lot better. When a dish gets empty the man that empties it holds it up and one of the waiters takes it to the Kitchen and fills it. Whenever you want anything you have to say please, so you see we are getting civilized.
Say Dad, they got the scores of both baseball games here at the Y.M. by innings. It looks as though Chicago would win, and I hope they do. Another thing Dad, about the next officers training school. They say that now
commissioned officers are the only ones who can get in. When the time comes I am going to try and make it anyway.
I am going to get in the Battery Commanders’ detail if I can. They do about the same work as a signal corp. You have to do a lot of figuring in it and I sure can show some of them when it comes to mathamatics.
We get the artillery horses and harnesses this week so we will do our drilling with the guns. I am anxious to try it, but some of the darn horses sure do dance when they are hitched up. They say we are going on a 48 hour hike with the guns but I don’t Know. If you don’t get my letter
that I usually write on Teusday night, you will Know we are on the hike.
The report is now that we are going to stay here this winter. They are issuing passes now, but I am going to wait until the first of December before I put in for one.
We get paid this week and I will send home some money.
Our football team played C. Battery this afternoon and lost 6 to 0. Our fellows done fine for C. Battery thinks they are the best in the Regiment.
Say, I sure missed a great treat this afternoon.
Madame Schuman-Heink, and a noted baritone sang down at the Post Gymnasium. Gee I would have liked to heard her but I had to stay in the bath house. It didn’t cost anything either.
I built a fire in the Bath House this afternoon and took a good warm bath & changed clothes. I haven’t got any more clothes yet, and my shoes are about all gone. If it wasn’t for my insoles I would be on my bare feet.
If I was you Dad I wouldn’t pay a red cent for that fellows automobile. I would make him fight Beleive me.
Well guess I will hunt up todays paper and read about the baseball game.
Your loving son
Fort Riley Kansas
Oct 9 – 1917
Rec’d a letter from Dad & Mother tonight, and glad to Know you are all well. Say those pictures are great, and it makes me feel nearer home to look at them.
It was not so cold this morning, and I was darn glad too, for yesterday it was fierce.
Today we had gun drill but not with the horses. They have changed the schedule again, so I don’t Know when we do get the artillery horses.
A young Kid who sleeps across from me got his discharge today for being only 16 years old. He gets a Fraudulent Enlistment
discharge. There are several more in A. troop who don’t look to be over 16 or 17, and I don’t Know why they enlisted. Probably they thought it was fun but now they Know more. Most of these young Kids might better be discharged, for they are no good.
Yesterday had drill the same as usual, but everything was done on the trot and a fellow has to watch himself.
Got a letter from Roy yesterday and he say that sleep is scarce for him. He also wrote that the fellow he ran into was going to sue if you didn’t settle. If I were you Dad I would make him fight for it. I don’t beleieve he can amount to much, or he
wouldn’t do anything about it.
I still wear my sweater under my shirt, and when it is too warm, I unbutton my shirt all the way.
I guess some of the Waverly boys are afraid to fight, by the bunch that is going in the Quarter-master corp.
We have pictures here tonight, so I guess I will stay and see them.
I guess we get paid Thursday or Friday but am not sure.
I Know several Elmira fellows here but none of the officers. I’ll tell you a fellow don’t have much
time to look any one up. We are busy from 5.15 till noon and then we have until 2.15 for dinner and a rest. Then we get thru at 4.30 but Retreat is at 5 O clock now so we have just time to get ready for that. Supper is at 5.30 and after supper we are done until the next morning so you see we are on the go most of the time.
Well Dad I haven’t heard yet how todays base-ball game came out, but I guess the Grants are out of it. Did you go up to Elmira to see either game on the Electric board.
Gee this place is crowded every night now for it is warmer here than in the Barrack.
I rec’d the papers marked D. & E. last night Dad. It don’t seem as though the Germans could last much longer, but they sure hang on. If the 20th goes I think it will be in the end of the war.
If it is not too late when the pictures are over I am going to take a bath.
Got a letter from Earl Kelsey yesterday. Was surprised and glad to hear from him.
It is certainly too bad that Charlie Meyers is down again, and I sure hope he will soon be around. I will drop him a card when I go to town
When we get located for the winter I sure will have you send me some apples. I buy quite a few at the canteen but have to pay a nickel for 2.
Well I will close until after the movies and maybe I will think of something else to write.
Your loving son
P.S. It is now 8.45 our time and the pictures were good. I am sleepy so guess I will go and crawl in. Remember me to everybody. I am feeling fine. How is your side Dad.
You certainly can take good pictures Harold and you want to send me some more that you take.
Fort Riley Kansas
Oct. 10 – 1917
Just rec’d your ever welcome letter and paper marked E. It is now 6.30 by our time and have had supper & shaved.
I just noticed on the board here that N. Y. won todays game 2 to 0, so maybe they have a chance yet.
Well tommorrow is Pay-Day and I will send some money home. Say Dad when does my Mutual Insurance come due again. I want to Know so I can plan on it, for I want to try and Keep that & my building & loan paid up.
I saw the troop commander today about clothes and shoes and I expect to get them
I went out with the B.C. detail this morning. Part of the detail who have been in a while, went up on the hill for sketching & signalling but 5 of us new fellows had school. A 2nd Lieutenant has charge of us and he took us up to headquarters, and with a blackboard he showed us about getting range, and angles of diflection and a lot more stuff. We got thru after the other fellows came in from drill, but we only have to groom one horse and can go. We will be given horses of our own if we stick to it. I like it, and beleive me it is a darn sight easier than riding the old plugs bareback. This afternoon we took an instrument called a buzzer out. It works
the same as a telegraph but buzzes instead clicking. I have got to learn the International code, but I got half of that this afternoon, so guess I will have it all by tommorrow for am going to study tonight.
It is some different than drilling, for we talk & smoke any time we feel like it.
Hasn’t been so cold today and I don’t think it will be bad tonight. I don’t Know when A. Battery will get the guns and horses. Should have had them yesterday but something stopped us.
Gee an awful gang of fellows have put in for passes for tommorrow.
They can’t get more than a 2 day leave, so I didn’t put in. It begins to look now as if we would winter here. I was talking to the 1st sargent tonight and he said he thought we would stay here. Well if we do I think I can get a 10 day pass after a while, and then I can come home.
Was so sleepy last night that I didn’t take a bath, so tonight I will have to take one.
Well guess I will read the papers a while and then study some, and take a good bath.
Your loving son,
P.S. Remember me to all the folks.
Fort Riley Kansas
Oct 11 – 1917
I am enclosing an express order for $25, and you can pay up Julius Sayles. If there is any left it will help on my Building & Loan and my Insurance. I wish you would let me Know exactly how much you have paid out for me on these things, for I want to pay them all myself. Am also sending a troop roster and picture. They sure rob us for everything here, for I paid $1.50 for these 2 pictures. I thought maybe you folks at home would like to see my name in the troop, so that is why I bought them.
The Lieutenant, who has
charge of the B.C. detail was “Officer of the Day,” today, so I had to go out and drill this morning. I had a lead horse again but the one I rode was alright so I didn’t mind it. Say the wind blew something fierce up on the hill this morning. It was a darn cold wind too, and is blowing yet tonight. The dust is awful and everyones’ face is dirty.
We got paid this afternoon about 2 O clock, and was off until 4, when we watered.
Fourteen fellows out of A Battery got 10 day passes today. Gee it made the rest of us sick to see them starting off tonight. I could get home and back in 5 days I think, so a 10 day pass would suite me great. I don’t Know whether I am
right in waiting until Xmas for my pass or not. Probably by Xmas we will be so far from Waverly that it will take 10 days to go one way, but I will chance it anyway.
There is the same number of crap games as usual on pay-day and I have seen several fellows who are broke already.
Last night I took a bath and I thought the water would be warm, but it was only luke warm. I studied the International code after my bath and now I have got it fairly good.
I rec’d the Gazette this noon, saw the picture in
it of a fellow from Elmira who is in the 20th. I Know him and he is a poor specimen of a soldier.
One of the fellows who went on a pass loaned me one of his blankets, so I will sleep fine for 10 days anyway.
It don’t look as if we would leave here for a while or they wouldn’t have issued 10 day passes.
Well Dad I see the world series are even now, 2 & 2. N. Y. has woke up I guess.
I wear my sweater under my shirt all the time now and at night I wear it to bed. I also wear the heavy woolen socks to bed that Susie sent me.
We had cantaloupe for breakfast this morning. What do you Know about that. I had a whole one and it
sure tasted great.
I guess that I will have to go to town and get my shoes tapped tommorrow night. I will get a feed too. Will try and get some pictures taken too.
Well as I want to drop a little line to Roy, I will close until next time.
With lots of love
Fort Riley Kan
Oct 16 – 1917
Just rec’d your letter and will try and answer out here in the bathhouse. Was up to the Y.M. to the pictures and they didn’t finish until 9.15, so I beat it back to the Barracks and made my bed up. The lights go out at 9.45 so I came out here to write. Say those pictures sure remind me of the good times I used to have, and I would give anything to see old Don again. He was the best hound ever in Waverly. Harold develops fine.
When I started to have my mail sent to my troop, I told the postmaster to send all my mail here. The bull-head must be a bright one, for I got
several letters yesterday that were mailed in Sept.
The B.C. detail went out with the troop yesterday morning and we went up to Funston. I can’t tell you much about it, but it sure is some place. Some of the men have uniforms but the most of them wear overalls & dickies. They are still building and I don’t Know as they will every quit. Their new laundry is nearly done and it certainly is a mammoth building.
Yesterday afternoon we done nothing but wait around for clothes to be issued. I got a new shirt, belt, hat cord, bed blanket, pair of leggins and a new pair of shoes. The darn shoes are too small and I am going to see if I can exchange them down to the Quartermasters Dept.
If I can’t do that I will send them home and you can get me a pair in exchange for them. I wanted pants and a new hat the worst, but maybe I will get them, for they issue clothes the last of the week again.
You can tell Myrtie Gillan that I just rec’d her letter last night, and will answer it soon.
Last night I went up town and got my shoes tapped, so now I am fixed up O.K. I bought a pair of cotton gloves, and a soda and came home at 9 O clock. I would just as soon stay in the Barracks and play the Victrola, as I
would go to town.
The troop went out with the guns and horses hitched up this morning. The B.C. detail done sketching. Another new man in the detail and myself were in the Barracks practicing on the buzzer until about 9.30. The sargent in this detail is from Cortland N. Y. What do you think of that for luck. We also went up on the hill and made a sketch. This afternoon we practiced more on the buzzer and made another sketch. The Lieutenant said my sketch was very good so I felt pretty good. I can also work the buzzer as well as some of the men who have been on the detail 2 months. I don’t believe it will be long before we new men are up with the old ones.
I am going to put in for a pass next pay-day, for the 15th or 20th of December. By that time we may be nearer home and it won’t cost so much to come. If I am farther away by that time, we’ll all have to make the best of it.
Am sorry that Harold had the toothache, but tell him to be a man, and stand it.
Our troop barber is shaving a fellow here, and 3 other fellows are shooting crap so you see I have company.
Say mother those bed socks will be great.
I will sure look for a picture of Jean, and I will
try and get mine taken.
We will get our horses assigned to us soon now, for the Lieutenant was talking about it today.
Well guess I will quit for this time and go to bed.
Your loving son
P.S. How is Grandma these days, and are the rest of you well. It has not been so cold here the last few days, but nights are chilly.
Fort Riley Kansas
Oct. 18 – 1917
The Y.M. is sure filled up tonight and I am sitting on the back of a bench, trying to write on a book.
Last night I rec’d papers marked G. Dad. I didn’t wait for mail call tonight, for I wanted to get up here for a seat, but I was too late at that. This noon I rec’d a letter and box of dandy cookies from Flora Milne, and beleive me the cookies were great. I was rear orderly this morning and the orderly from our troop office brought the box out to me. Well there was 5 or 6 fellows there and I had to open it and the box was soon empty.
I was on Stable-Guard last
night and had the 3rd relief. Gee that shift is a bum one, for I was on from 10.30 till 12.10 and you see I didn’t get much rest. We slept in the saddle room, and it was colder than the deuce.
Today the Battery took a hike, but I was lucky for I had to stay in the rear until 1 O clock. Had a good fire, and I washed a towel, and suit of underclothes. Say it has been cold enough today to freeze a dog. The wind blew, and beleive me I haven’t been out much. The barrack are cold and I am sure going to use covers tonight.
Yesterday morning I was out with the B.C. detail and we set up the buzzer and worked that until 10 O clock. Then we came down in the officers quarters and worked
problems. In the afternoon we all had to go out with the guns & horses. I rode the caisson, so didn’t have anything to do, but beleive me the seats are darn hard and the drivers don’t look for stones or bumps. While we were hitching up the wind was blowing hard and you couldn’t see a thing; the dust was so bad.
I rec’d your letter Dad with Julius Sayles receipt, and am glad to get that off my mind.
I think I can get a longer pass, if I wait until I have been in 6 months, but if I get my clothes I may put in next pay-day
Next Wednesday we have Kind of a field meet here, with prizes. I am on our gun squad team, but none of us are very good at the guns, so I am afraid we won’t come out very good. There is a llieutenant, sargent, corporal and 7 privates in the squad. The squad that get their sights, range and some other things correct in the shortest time wins.
I got a dandy letter from Susie yesterday and she enclosed Frank’s letter to her. It must be some place where he is, but I guess he is better off than we are here at that.
Dad I don’t owe anyone else in Waverly a cent and my insurance and building & loan is all I have now.
I hope it warms up tommorrow but it don’t act as though it would.
They have 2 stoves going here in the Y.M. now and it is the warmest place around here. If they have movies tonight, guess I will stay and watch them if they are good.
Mother, in Dad’s letter he says that you are doing your washing while Fanny is gone. Now the first thing I Know you will be sick and then I won’t Know what to do. Why don’t you get someone else to do the washing and quit that heavy work.
This afternoon I took a nap, but I had to cover up
for the barracks were cold.
I am sure glad I am in the B.C. detail these cold days for we can wear all the clothes we want too and the troop can’t wear anything over their shirts yet. It is a darn shame too.
Well I have run out of talk so will have to close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. I feel fine and hope you are all the same. Remember me to all the folks.
I got the stamps Dad and I was nearly out of them too. I sure get tired of writing so many letters but I Know that some of my friends back there like to hear from me, as well as I do from them
Fort Riley Kan.
Oct 21 – 1917
I was too tired to go up to the Y. and write so am in the cook shack. Just got thru Kicking the football.
Today I was on Stable Police and this morning we were busy all the while, but the afternoon all we done was feed at 4 O clock. It took us until 5 O clock and 3 of us worked at that, so you see feeding is no small job.
Friday afternoon we all got 3 suits of woolen underclothes, 3 pair light wool socks and 1 pair wool gloves. It hasn’t been so cold the last couple days
and I haven’t put my heavy clothes on yet.
Say we had some excitment here Friday night at about 9.45. I had just started to undress and had one leggin off, when a fellow came in and said to get out quick, as the horses were stampeding. Well I jerked my other leggin off and beat it for the corral. None of our horses had got out but they were tearing around that corral in great shape. Finally we got them quiet and started catching them and tying up. It sure was fun for me for I had never seen anything like it. L. troop horses broke through their corral and 53 got away. The horses in all the troops were excited but L troop lost the most. Yesterday and today a detail from each troop went out to hunt for them but none of them brought back very many. Tonight while we were feeding some mules ran down past our corrals and B. troop horses started again. Our horses in A were al tied so I beat it in B corral and helped quiet their horses down. We all got stones and when they would come up one side of the corral we would stone them back. Finally we got them going in a circle in one end and then
Yesterday I as on Fatigue up on the hill loading rocks in wagons. On account of being Sat. we only worked in the morning. It was a rainy, drisly morning so we built a fire and Kept quite comfortable. In the afternoon I watched our football team trim B. battery. It was a great game.
Last night I didn’t go out of the barracks, but played the Victrola and visited with the fellows.
Gee I am sure getting my share of Fatigue now for I am on Kitchen Police tommorrow. I used to jump the first Sargent when he
gave me so much Fatigue at once, but now don’t say a word, for maybe it is alright. The Sargent called me after supper tonight and said, “Well Kid I got you again tomorrow.” I said yes but I guess its my turn for K.P. anyway. He is a good fellow and I never call him Sargent, but just say Main, for that is his name.
If we don’t get clothes I am going to buy a pair of O.D. pants next Pay Day and a pair of leather leggins. Then I will put in for a pass and send home for money when I get it.
Tommorrow I am going to buy a Foot Locker, fer my suitcase is getting too small for
Say Dad I don’t Know if I can use a Sleeping Bag or not, so if you haven’t told Susie to send it, don’t tell her too.
Beleive me, I am going to take a good bath tonight and change clothes. Then I sure will sleep some.
I am getting to Know the fellows and non.coms better now and it isn’t half so bad now.
The 13th Cav. is moving in the Stone Barracks here, so it is a cinch that we won’t winter at Fort Riley.
I ought to write several letter tonight but am too darn tired. I am feeling fine and you needn’t worry a bit about me. Hope you are all well.
We had chicken for dinner, but they were cold storage and all they were was bones
A sargent, corporal and 2 fellows set here playing Pinocle. Makes me think of Aunt Guss, for she sure was some Pinocle player
Well guess I have written all the news so will quit for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. Remember me to the other people
Fort Riley Kansas
Oct 23 – 1917
Rec’d your letter yesterday and also the papers. Say I begin to feel at home here now, more than ever, for in the last couple days fellows have been talking about their home towns, and I was surprised to find that several fellows in A troop are from near Waverly. One is from Dushore, Pa., another from Canton Pa, one from Cortland and several from near Rochester. Beleive me I have had some visits with these men, and it seems funny that we haven’t got together before.
Yesterday I was on K.P. and was glad I was for it was a cold raw day. We had
mince pie for dinner and I sure ate my share, but it wasn’t like home-made pie by a long shot. The cook baked cake for supper and that was very good for army cake. I staid in the mess-hall until 9 O clock, for that was the only warm place to go. Then I went in the barracks and put on my wool underclothes. Gee I darn near froze doing it but they sure felt good after I got them on. It was a darn cold night and I sure hated to get up this morning.
Now Dad the B.C. Detail is only 10 men, and they don’t drill. We are the only ones who Know the Buzzer and do the sketching. The rest of the Battery have nothing to do with us at all. I am darn glad I am on this for
this morning we sat in the mess-hall by the stove until about 10 O clock. Each one of us had to make a rule with a scale on, and the number of steps each one takes to the mile. Pretty soft I’ll say, but as we get farther along it gets more complicated.
What do you think, I got another O.D. shirt today. It fixes me out pretty good, but I sure would like a suit of O.D. clothes. I bought a locker this noon, and now I won’t have to Keep my stuff in a mess, like I had to in the suit case.
I got up to the Y.M. a little after 6 O clock tonight, so I would be sure of a seat
We have movies here tonight, so I want to get done writing before they start.
Well tommorrow is Field Day here and we don’t have any drilling. Reville is at 6.30, Stables 7.30, and contests start at 9 O clock so you see it is a regular holiday. The gun squad that I am in practiced on the guns this afternoon and we done pretty good the Lieutenant said. I have post No. 1 and it is the hardest post in the squad, for I have to set the sight, range, level 2 bubbles, open the breech, close it and fire the gun. I never had this post only once before, but made out pretty fair this afternoon, and hope I do tommorrow.
Hecker just came in and set down here and we have
been talking about coming home. I am going to put in for a pass next Pay-Day and wait my turn for a pass, so might get home for Thanksgiving. I sure would like to get home then.
It is going to be cold again tonight, but we will have to take it as it comes.
I sure am sorry to hear about Charlie Meyers, and hope that he will get well.
I suppose Harold is pretty proud with his new badge for selling Liberty Bonds. The papers say that Waverly has been raising money for tobacco to give the drafted boys from there. I am glad they are doing this, but we
regulars never get anything given to us.
I intended to write several letters tonight but guess I will visit with Hecker for I haven’t seen him in quite a while.
The Express Office hasn’t notified me that my box is there, but I will go down tommorrow, and probably it will be there.
We had flapjacks for breakfast and baked beans for dinner. Beleive me I sure ate some today and am full yet tonight.
Well guess I have written all the news for this time so will close.
With love to all
P.S. Remember me to the other folks & friends
Fort Riley Kan.
Oct. 25 – 1917
I just bought a picture over at the canteen, and am sending it tonight. It is the best photograph I have seen of the camp and it shows the 13th, 20th and 21st Regiment Barrack. The 13th is in front of the movie screen, the 20th is to the right of the 13th and the 21st is next. You can see the Y.M.C.A. real plain too. I intended to mark the different buildings, but it was wrapped up good, so when I come home I can explain it to you.
I put in for a 10 day pass tonight but there are about 50 ahead of me, so I won’t get home until sometime in December.
I haven’t heard from the express
office yet, so I guess my box hasn’t arrived yet.
We took a 5 or 6 mile hike today, but just after dinner it began to rain so we marched back to camp. We went down to the stables and groomed horses at 3 O clock. It has been raining all the afternoon and we didn’t have to stand Retreat tonight. Beleive me we were all glad too. Had Hamburg for supper and it tasted pretty good.
Well yesterday was Field Day and A. Battery didn’t do much. Our 1st Sargent won the 100 yd. dash, and the gun squad was second, but these two events were the only things we showed up in. We might have done better in the gun exhibition, but some darn fool officers got in our way and slowed us up.
Last night I went in the mess hall by the stove and wrote some letters. There were several other fellows there but they went about 8.45, and “Bill the cook and I were the only ones there. About 9 O clock Bill says “ I feel hungry do you” Of course I said yes and he opened up a can of Bartlett pears. It didn’t take us long to clean up those pears for they were great.
I got a letter from Susie yesterday and she said that she had sent the sleeping Bag but I haven’t seen it yet. It sure is a shame the way they handle express out here.
We have pictures again tonight and I’ll stay if they
The darn weather still remains cold, and I wish we would leave here. We muster again in a week, so I guess we will be here for another pay any way.
I didn’t wait for mail call tonight, but when I go back I will look for a letter or paper from home. When ever I miss a mail call some-one always brings me my mail if I have any.
I am not going to wash my heavy underclothes but will send them to the Laundry, with my O.D. shirt.
Gee I am glad that I am not on guard tonight for it sure is a bad night out.
I have sure felt good all the time I have been here and hope you folks have all been well. Dad how are you feeling these days and is your side better. How
is mother and grandma. Gee I feel sorry for poor Harold with the toothache, but after it is filled maybe it will be alright.
They are sending a lot of men away from Funston to fill up National Guard Regiments in the different states out here.
It is only 7.15 but I guess I will go back to the mess hall and sit by the stove for a while and then roll in
With love to all
P.S. Remember me to the rest of the folks
Now this letter leaves here tommorrow (Fri) morning and it seems as though you should have it Sunday
Fort Riley Kans.
Oct 27 – 1917
Rec’d your letter & papers last night and was sure glad to hear from you for we are getting ready to move. I think we are going to Houston Texas but am not sure. The order came yesterday morning and believe me we are all some glad to leave this old hole. Just as soon as the order to move was rec’d, they commenced packing things. Say it sure is some job to move a regiment. Today everyone is on some detail to help get ready. My box arrived yesterday, but this afternoon is the first chance I have had to get away and
I am now on my way to the express office. I am writing in the Post Y.M.C.A. We don’t Know what minute we will leave here, but I don’t believe we will go before Monday.
I got the sleeping bag from Susy this morning but put it in my locker for I don’t want to carry it.
We have to carry our roll, with 2 blankets, mess Kit, toilet articles and shelter half, with us. The lockers and barrack bags will go in freight cars I suppose.
This morning we took the horses out for exercise, but didn’t have blankets or bridles, for they are packed already.
Now you folks don’t
want to worry about me for I’ll be alright where-ever we go. You better not write again until you hear from me, for probably your letters would be lost.
Yesterday morning the B.C. detail came nearly down to the Post, making a sketch of the road. All the road maps are made with a scale and each one had to pace off the distance. It is quite a job too.
Hecker is with me and he is writing too.
Well guess I better go on down to the express office, for I am getting hungry for some home-
Your loving son,
P.S. I am awful sorry to hear that Chas. Meyers has passed away and I suppose Mrs. Meyers is about crazy.
Maybe I will get my pass and come home yet. You can bet I’ll try and come anyway.
Remember me to the rest of the folks, and tell them I will write when we get settled again.
Fort Riley Kan.
Oct 27 – 1917
Thought I would drop you a line and let you Know that I got my box alright yesterday afternoon. Also rec’d mothers’ and reads letter last night & the paper. Say Hecker and I sure made an awful hole in that box. We opened the box down by the depot and the stuff sure tasted great. I am going to save the Bread & cheese for the trip and some of the cookies. While we were eating a corporal from my battery came along on horse back and I gave him some cookies. Then I told him he could carry the box back to camp
for me and he did. Pretty good of him wasn’t it.
Last night I was on Stable guard so I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep. I had to look after the bath-house from 1 till 5 O clock this afternoon, and I Kept a fire all the time. It was nice this morning but this afternoon it commenced to get cold and now at 6.50 it is colder than the deuce. I am writing in the mess hall and we have got a good fire here, but I hate to go in the barracks to go to bed.
I washed 2 pair of leggins and a towel this afternoon, so now I am all clean for the trip. Wednesday is muster and maybe we will stay here until then, but we can muster on the train too.
I don’t believe we will do any more drilling before we go away.
I weighed myself yesterday and made the scale go 177 lbs. What do you think of that for gaining weight.
We had sirloin steak for dinner today and it was good.
Well guess I have written all I Know now so will close until next time.
With lots of love
P.S. Will try & write Roy a letter before we leave.
Fort Riley Kan.
Oct 30 – 1917
Well I am still in old Fort Riley and no one is sure just when we will go but everything now points to Thursday as the day. We are already to go at any time, so I guess we won’t be here long. This afternoon 35 of us, took some horses up to Funston. We all rode with saddles and it was fun. Our Battery only takes 67 horses with us, and they are just the saddle horses, so I don’t Know where we will get artillery horses.
We signed the pay-roll last night and tommorrow morning we muster.
I am writing this letter in the mess hall by the stove.
When I came in the fire was out, but I chopped some wood and soon had a good fire.
I got the paper and magazine tonight, and will read the paper when I finish this letter.
This morning we went for horse exercise and went up to Funston on the road and came back over the hills. We went down some darn bad places and one hill most of us walked down. I don’t beleive we will do much more drilling here for we have only the 67 horses in the corral now.
I sure would have liked to come home before leaving here but we will all have to make the best of it now.
It will seem good to be able to go in a city after going to these towns here.
The canteen is closed, for they sold out this noon.
Those socks sure will come in handy mother, for you Know I am hard on them.
Gee it has been cold here the last couple nights and we all slept with our clothes on. It sure is hard to get up these cold morning. It is warmer tonight, so I guess I will undress because I sleep better.
The horses will go on a different train than we will so we won’t
have to bother with them.
My stuff is all packed so it won’t take me long to get ready when the order comes. This afternoon we got tags to put on our Barrack Bags.
Our going so close to Galveston makes some of the fellows think we will soon leave for France, but I don’t think so.
Well it is nearly time for lights so will have to close for this time, but will write again soon.
Your loving son
P.S. Don’t worry for I will Keep you posted on what we are doing and where we are
Fort Riley Kan.
Oct 30 – 1917
I intended to write you before but have not got around to it.
I guess you had better not sell my shoes to Chink, for I might need them some-time, and if I don’t you can have them when you get big.
Say Kid I saw a big coyote yesterday, and at first I thought it was a dog. It was gray and had quite a long bushy tail. I would like to hunt them out here for they are quite plentiful.
I am glad you like Latin and hope it is easy for you
because it is quite a hard subject.
Now you want to write your brother oftener, for I am going farther away from you than ever.
You want to be a good boy and help mother and Dad all you can because you are the only one home now.
Are you going to set any traps this winter?
Will close now and put your letter in with Dads.
Your loving brother
P.S. You want to write and tell me what you are doing for I like to Know.
Fort Riley Kansas
Nov. 1 – 1917
I am writing tonight up at the Y.M. and it is the first time I have been here in quite a while. I wouldn’t have come up tonight, but we took the stove down that was in the mess hall.
This morning part of the fellows took the horses for exercise and myself and the rest of the Battery had a lecture on Artillery by our Lieutenant. Then we drilled until 10.30 and were done. This afternoon all the Batteries began loading stuff in box cars. I worked on a wagon helping load & unload. All of the stable equipment is loaded, everything from the orderly room and most of the
dishes. There certainly was a bunch of wagons and men working and it reminded me of a circus loading up. The horse cars are down in a switch and I guess the horses will go tommorrow. We have to have our Foot Lockers ready to move at 7 O clock tommorrow morning, but we won’t go until about Sunday. Tonight the Lieutenant told us to put clothes enough to last a week in our barrack bags for they will go on the train with the men. You see it will take us 3 days to make the trip and we might not be able to get our Lockers for several days. I wish we would go tommorrow for this waiting gets on a fellows nerve.
Say Dad you better send me some more stamps when I get down there for we have to
put 3 cents on a letter now
I have some plain Post-Cards and I will send some to you on our way down.
They have pictures here tonight, but I don’t believe I will stay. The pictures are just over and I saw them for I couldn’t very well get out.
It is now 8.30 and as lights go out at 9.30, I better quit and go and pack my locker.
With love to all
P.S. I am well and hope you are all the same. Remember me to the folks, and maybe I can get home later.
Fort Riley Kan.
Nov. 3 – 1917
It is only 7.40 P.M. and so thought I would write a few lines. Just went out and took a bath and changed underclothes & socks.
Yesterday morning our lockers were loaded and our cots. Last night we all had to sleep on our mattresses on the floor. It wasn’t bad at that.
This morning we loaded the horses, and nothing is left now but the men. The horses were put in common cattle cars and they we not tied. 21 horses to a car. It sure was quite a sight to
see them loading nearly 1,000 horses.
We leave tomorrow “Sun.” morning at 11 O clock, so this is our last night in old Riley. We don’t Know yet what Kind of cars we will travel in, but I hope they are Pullmans for it is a 3 day trip. We are all anxious to leave here, but maybe it will be worse in Texas than it was here.
The weather has been dandy here for the last 2 or 3 days and we haven’t worn overcoats. We haven’t done any drilling either so it has been easy.
Last night I was up to the Y. M. and played checkers with one of our corporals.
Say mother I saved my jam & cheese for the trip, but ate all the other stuff and it sure went great. Maybe you can send some more when I get to Houston. Tell Aunt Guss that bread was some good and I ate it all.
This 3cent rate on letters is a great law, and some of the fellows here who forgot about it, have had their letters returned to them.
Tommorrow morning I suppose we will have to clean the Barracks out good and police up around here.
I feel fine and guess I will weigh 200# if I Keep on. Gee I eat anything now. Are you all well at home? How is Roys’ folks and the baby. I certainly would like to see Jean.
Well I have got quite a lot of things to do yet tonight so will close for this time.
Your loving son
P.S. Remember me to everyone and tell them I will write again when I get located. I will send you some cards on the way down.
Nov 4 – 17
Left Fort about noon and now at 6 O clock we are only near Kansas City. We are traveling in Pullmans and the grub is good so far. I read most of the afternoon. If we don’t travel faster than this I guess we won’t get to Texas in a week. Another fellow and myself have 2 seats to ourselves so we will each have a birth.
Love to all Clark.
[Post Card from Kansas City postmarked Nov 5, 1917 4 P.M.]
Mr. H. C. Bruster
[Photograph of soldiers marching]
[Post Card postmarked July 3, 1917]
Everything was all right
Teus, 5 A.M.
9th Recruit Co.
Just got up and took a wash. Had chow since I started to write this card. Four of us fellows went down to the station last night and got the Box. Holy smokes we opened it up down by the station on the grass and ate some cookies & candy. Gee it tasted good. The Bread sure looks like Home. We moved yesterday and are now out of quarantine. It seems great to be able to go around. Will send letter tonight.
Mr. H. C. Bruster
[Photograph of Cavalry [Contonement] Ft Riley Kans]
[Post Card postmarked Fort Riley Kansas, July 12, 1917]
Here is a picture of the new building. It is a very good one too. I marked the tent I am in with a 1. It is in about the middle of the picture. The tents & buildings in the foreground is the 21st Cavalry. In back you can see some of the fort.
Mr H. C. Bruster