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Letters Home From WWI

 

Frank W. Gibson

     Private Frank W. Gibson, Battery D. 20th Field Artillery, A.E.F., writes to his mother, Mrs. W.H. Gibson of Joseph, from somewhere in France:
     I thought that I would try and write you a few liens as it has been quite a while. Well, how is everything at home. I hope all are well and happy for I am well and as happy as ever.
     Has brother Harry been called to war yet or is he still at home. How is the weather over there. It has been raining for two or three weeks here but the sun is shining now.
     Have you got your crop up yet or are they still in the field. Is it hard to get help to get them in. I would sure like to be there to help you, but I am going to see Berlin before I get back.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, November 7, 1918

Harry L. Gilham

     Co. C, 1st Rep. Reg. Of Eng. Fort Foote, Washington, D.C., June 24; A. Fairchild, Enterprise: Your very welcome letter arrived quite a few days ago but having been on the sick list, and busy as a bee before, I have neglected my correspondence.
      I want to tell you how much good just the little training I received in Enterprise in the Home guards did me and how it helped smooth my path in the army. The non coms in these camps doing the drilling are practically all old army men and they take the rookie out and explain the movements once and then he is supposed to known them and the result is that by next drill period, Mr. Rookie has more than likely forgotten the whole lecture, the greater part at least, and it isn't long till he makes some mistake and them things hum, for Mr. Non Com, having the same thing to do day by day, thinks each movement is very simple and can't understand how some new men can be so dense as not to grasp things that are told them in plain English.
     He loses his temper and the poor rookie who has made the mistake receives a good bawling out before the whole platoon. That generally frightens him and makes him nervous and then he makes just one mistake after another. Each man of draft age in Enterprise should join the Home guards and the lieutenant in charge or whoever drills them should give them special drilling on No. 4 positions in the squad, and No. 1, the pivot. As there is a great scarcity of corporals and the one who knows will get his appointment almost at once, which is a step toward the top.
     We have pretty good food here, tho some of the men complain of it. Of course there never is any great variety but the food is fresh and it is well cooked and there is plenty of it. I don't think the boys are at all overworked here, for they only have eight hours work all told, with frequent rest periods.
     We have a fine place to camp in, right on the banks of the Potomas in the old historical spot of Fort Foote, one of the many forts which guarded Washington during the Civil war. There are still some of the old buildings standing and their entrenchments and gun emplacements are still plain to see. There are also two 15 inch mortars, both wrecked in the trenches and one of them shows plainly the marks of Confederate shooting.
     I have been going to the school of surveying for the last ten days and like it fine. This branch of the work is very interesting.
     Say hello to all the bunch for me and tell them I would be more than glad to receive a letter from any of them. Carry on your good work and the boys who are called will thank you the same as I do.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, July 4, 1918

Merril E. Groshong

     Merril E. Groshong writes form Camp Logan, Texas, Base Hosp. No. 86, as follows:
     Sunday, Camp Logan, Texas. - I was assigned to Base Hospital 86 last week and left Fort Riley last Wednesday noon, arriving here at 2 a.m. Friday. Our train consisted of thirteen Pullman coaches carrying about 300 soldiers to the different camps in the south. Kansas and part of Oklahoma sure have some fine wheat and alfalfa crops and on further south its all cotton and corn and oil fields. I saw several farmers cultivating their cotton with a yoke of oxen.
     One hundred of us in 86 came from Riley to join the rest of our company here. When fully recruited we will have 200 enlisted men and 35 officers, who are al M.D.'s, together with a corps of 75 trained nurses, and equipped for caring for 1,000 patients when we get across. I don't think we will be in training here longer than two or three months before we are ordered over seas. I hope not anyway.
     Our camp is located just four miles from Houston and only 40 miles from Galveston. I went into the city last night. It's a very pretty place; has a population of 150,000. We have so many more privileges here than at Ft. Riley; can go to town every night without a pass, providing we are back by eleven o'clock on week nights. 1 on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. The interurban leaves every hour for Galveston. I am going down next Sunday if I am not on duty.
     Ellington Field is 20 miles east of Logan and we can see machines flying over from there most any time. I don't think it is as hot here s it was at Riley, but a fellow perspires more, just seems to run off of me all the time; still the heat isn't oppressive. We get a good breeze from the Gulf every day and the nights are fine for sleeping if the "skeeters" didn't like us so well.
     We had watermelon for dinner today. Melons of all kinds are very plentiful and the best melons I ever ate.
     I was assigned to the dispensary yesterday and will report for duty at the hospital on Monday. Don't know if I will be in the dispensary permanently or not but think I shall as I am the only druggist in the company so far.
     Don't forget to send the papers. I missed last week's; they will likely be forwarded from Ft. Riley.
     I had a letter from Felt just before I left Kansas and he said the whole 91st division were leaving Camp Lewis the next day for France. I sure thot I'd beat him across, but I guess he has already started. He is getting along fine, was made a corporal in his company and made the best record at rifle range.
     I would rather have been in evacuation hospital than base, as it's nearer to where there is something doing. Our lieutenant said we might be sent to either Egypt, Italy, Ireland, England or France. Either place would suit me. We are also apt to be held for a year after peace is declared for enough men will have to be held in the base hospitals.
     We live in tents now, five of us to a tent, have floors and the sides boarded up about three feet. The camp is right in the pine timber.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, July 11, 1918

~~~~~~~~~~

Merril Groshong

     We had our first mail from the States today, some of which was forwarded from Logan. I had three. You can't imagine how good it makes the boys all feel when we get some mail. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the papers and answers to letters I have written since I came. It will likely be two weeks yet.
     We are located about a hundred miles from Paris. Everything you buy from the French people is high. Two francs (40c) for a melon which looks like a cantelope. 1 franc for a bunch of grapes, and everything else in proportion. Such things have not bothered me, however, for we haven't had a pay day since August 1st and I was broke when I left Logan, so you know the French people are not getting away with much of my money. Don't you think it is remarkable to travel all this distance without any dough? Well, we do a lot of things in the army which we thought impossible before.
     We are getting along fine, plenty of eats, heavy on the beans. I sure do miss some sweet stuff tho, something we can't buy over here.
     I wrote Felt when I first came but have had no answer yet. The division he is in is in this present drive I think.
     I saw McDonald and Kaler, the two Rexall salesmen who used to call on us: they are doing the same kind of work as I.
     We sleep in a room just off the dispensary so we are handy to answer any night calls.
     Three of the boys just came in from town and found a little store where they had some eats for sale. They had some prunes, figs and chocolate - some treat.
     News from the front sounds awfully good now and I think we will be home in the spring.
     We have 500 more patients coming tonight and I will likely be working all night, so will close.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, November 7, 1918

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