Letter, October 17, 1917
Camp Logan, Houston, Texas, % 5th Ill. Inf. H.Q.
Oct. 17 - 1917 -
My dear mother & father
Well I guess father you are home by this time. And have an idea you have had a very nice visit and only wish I had opertunity to do same. To make the visit you have just made would be a wonderful thing for me.
Well mother I rec your letter (dated Oct 8) today. was sure glad to hear from you - was wondering what was the matter. Well I feel no older or more independent now than I have been the last couple of three years for you know I have been 21 quite a few times and even older than that, so it doesn't seem at all strange to be really that old and fact of the matter is I don't feel old as I did last year I worked at Proutys.
Well mother I did not send you a birthday present but you are sure not forgotten only two presents at once is a little hard on the pocketbook of a Soldier and as I felt I ought to send Maude something but could not decide on what to send until I saw those things in Galeveston and made up my mind all at once as five or six of us all bought them at same time and they wanted me to do same. so I thot it would make pretty birthday present so just bought and sent it from there. I rec. Maudes box few days ago. everything was in fine shape that she sent. Was glad to hear that she came to see you that is if you enjoy having her to come. She comes nearest being a genuine lady of any girl I ever went with. I have more faith in her than the ordinary run of girls now days.
Well that picture looks a great deal like me for I am more or less tanned and look some what of a Mexican. altho I have seen a few real ones down here and they would of course look the worse by comparison. And the moustache I believe is doing some what better than it did the other time I tried it. I keep it trimmed closer. It does not cover so much of my upper lip.
Well I hope you have rec. my check and have been wondering if you have had any trouble getting it cashed. If so pleas let me know as soon as possible.
You were speaking of map drawing. well I don't know about spies - but mounted scouts and signal men have to know the location of the country so they will know at all times just where they are. And if sent out with an important message if there is a map they can figure where the enemy is and figure the best route to take in delivering the message safely. Also the movement of troops are done by figuring location of country on the map before any real manuver is made. A military map is of the greatest importance in real war. Location of enemy can be put in and your own location, giving you a very good idea how and where advances on enemy would be most effective. That is why the colonel said a man with the ability to draw a map as acurately as I did was of value in the service. It is really one of the most important things a signal man or scout should know how to do. And it takes practice to get it and get it right.
About the fellow buying clothes, I don't know hardly what to say about it. Some of the companies are having a hard time getting clothing that will fit - for their men - and some of the fellows won't take anything unless it just fits them fine. as for myself I have spent some money on clothing - but mostly to have it made to fit. we are issued everything we could possibly need and have had no trouble getting it. I don't know what it will be like in the Reg. we are going into. And as some companies have had hard time getting clothes and especially the drafted army I hardly know just what to say on the subject.
Will just now mention about clippings of letters from soldiers. While they may be of great interest to you, they are of every day occurance around camp here and I see nothing but Army life - and have so much of it myself I don't care to read any more about it. Thanks for your kind consideration just the same - but I think you will understand they are not a novelty to me like they would be to you up there where all you know of Army life is just what you hear.
Well I guess you are having some cold weather up there from what I have been hearing. She sure was a hot one here today. It has been sultry a few days, but wind is blowing again so this evening is real comfortable. nights are always cool and fine to sleep out in our tents. I feel like it is doing me good - as I feel stronger and know I am from actual tests and am gaining in weight - weigh more than I ever did.
Well I sent a card about meeting Audie. He came in here and asked for me and shook hands and said "well I guess I have you guessing" and I told him that he did - so he said "We got your letter" and that is all the farther he got with it for I knew then, so I said lets shake hands again on that, was so surprised to think he would come away out here and look me up. But after I got acquainted with him I did not wonder for he is a genuine fellow all the way thru. and I have had so much experience with men lately I feel I have the ability to come pretty near sizing a man up in a very short time. and was more than pleased with Audie and he really seemed to think quite a bit of me. Awfully sociable fellow and right out what he is - don't try to spread it on any - and make appearances.
I only hope he thinks as much of me as I do of him. Ethel did not think of me being within a thousand miles of here until she got letter and they were wondering why I did not write before.
Am hoping to go and see them Sunday - round trip only 95 (cents), and train has good hours, can spend pretty near all the day with them. If our Reg. is not all moved out by then I am going - but we are getting all ready to move and I am afraid it will cut me out of going just then. Will probly have to wait until we get located again.
Audie told me where Hoyt is at and will write him some time soon. He is in Machine Gun Battilion. That is where I am wanted in this camp by one of the captains.
The break up is putting me away from buglers and hardly know where I will be put now.
The H.Q. Co here will be moved to 3rd Reg and added to H.Q. co over there. They are reserving a place at Field Signal Battalion for me as I have in a request for transfer over there. Capt. Alexander doesn't want me to go now for he would rather I go with his company to the 3rd Reg and and take up signal work with 3rd Reg - H.Q. co - under him as he will be captain of the company over there. And a few of the companies of the fifth Reg are made into Mach. Gun Battilion and Capt Wingerter of one of the companies wants me in his H.Q. staff of 8 men who do signaling - by telephone - telegraph & wireless and will give me charge of the bunch or let me work for sergeancy in range finding if I want to. He was looking at my map and said he knew I had been working even while in Quincy and if I would come he would give me all the push he possibly could. I would have to teach non comissioned officers in the company quite a bit of signaling. It looks good to me but my captain wont let me go for he says he can do better by me himself, (which I am doubtful of) but as he told me this noon, he said - "I know you have had a rotten deal in the break up here, and I want to do by you what I think will be the best possible." You see if the Reg had not broken up I would have been given sergeant Bugler, noncommissioned office paying $51 per month and ranking next to top sergeant of company. Same pay as top sergeant. So you can see what I have been working for and why it is a rotten deal for me by the break up.
But I don't think my captain is as good as his word or in other words I haven't much faith in him. He hasn't got the push to him Capt Wingerter has, won't even compare to him. While Capt Wingerter is a driver yet he is heavy for the man that is willing to work and can deliver the goods, and I think by his talk he knows I can do it. He is not partial either. It is the man with him. He works hard for his men and wants them to do as much for him.
Well it is pretty late this evening will have to get to bed. Must write Maude soon as I just got a letter from her yesterday. It sure keeps me busy writing. So if I go on a strike some time and don't write - you will know what is the matter. But I am so interested in what is going on at home that I would much rather write than go without hearing from you. I am going to send my cornet home and watch too.
The watch I wear Serg. Kimmel - got a new one and said one day in Quincy - who wants to buy a watch. I looked at it and asked what he wanted for it - he says it is worth a dollar - I said it was to me so I got it. You see a watch and strap like this costs about $4.50 new and this one is not but about 6 months in service. And I have had it over a month of that time and it is a pretty good watch too.
Instead of asking for money to buy clothes I am going to send home some shirts with my cornet case. I would like to get it done and off my hands. for it will make just that much less for me to care for. -
Oct. 18 - 1917
I am going over to see the Engeneer Corpse - (108) Division. They sent a man over here after me this morning. Corporals pay and will be mounted and will find out particulars this afternoon if I can. Captain cannot stop me here for The Engineers can take me over the captains head. I sure want to get out of here and over there - they have no dust - board floors and everything very nice to live. Company is one of our old 5th Reg. companies transfered over there.
I am now drawing a map of Camp Logan - I done some this morning. I will send a real one home first chance I get - so you can see just how we are located here.
I will send my cornet home by express maybe tomorrow or very soon and in it or the case rather I am sending a couple of shirts and my discharge paper from National Guard and am sending one of my old maps of north Quincy. It is not true to 3 inches to the mile and is therefore no good. yet it will give you an idea of some of the ground I have been over and is quite a bit like my good map only it does not cover quite as much territory.
It is raining once in a while this evening. not every much but a little.
I guess I will not get to go to Ethels Sat or Sun. for we will be moving about that time. I am so sorry for I was expecting so much to spend the day with them.
The wind is blowing awfully hard now. Dust is sure something terrible. I hope it does rain enough to settle some of this dust.
Well I will try and get this letter off tomorrow.
It is now Saturday and we have moved to third Regiment. My address is same only H.Q. Co 3rd Reg.
I will probly get to go to Ethels today as the captain said a few minutes ago that I may. we have wood floor over here and a nicer location by far.
Will close with lots of love for father and mother. I am your ser
Will try to get cornet sent today. by express prepaid look for it.
I am now on my way to Ethels. I got my pass all O.K.