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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Letter 30 ~ October 1, 1918

I write Minnie about my failed attempt to get a weekend pass. Since some of this is the same material I wrote to my mother a couple of days earlier, I'll not repeat it here.

Addressed to Miss Minnie G. Frey, Stockdale, Kansas
Camp Republican
October 1, 1918

Dear Kid:

I am afraid you will think that I have forgotten you if you don’t receive a letter from me very soon. I got two letters from you today & you said that you hadn’t received a letter from me. I think you should have because I wrote one about the middle of the week. I am sorry if you didn’t get it & I am more sorry that I haven’t written more often but it seemed as tho I just couldn’t. As you see by the heading, I am still at the Detention Camp and I may be for some time. The last of last week we saw that we would probably be here at the end of the week so I began to plan great things about [getting] a [weekend] pass. Well Saturday there came an order that due to the prevalence of influenza, no weekend passes would be issued. You can imagine how I felt. Well Saturday evening we learned that that order had been revoked from headquarters but no notice was posted to that effect because all applications for passes must be in before 8 o’clock A. M. or else they didn’t want to be bothered. [Long story short, we didn't get the passes and I missed the opportunity to come home for a brief visit.]

You can never imagine how I wanted to come home & how I felt after all those disappointments. If I hadn’t been a soldier, maybe I would have bawled. I know I felt like it. As it turned out, I guess it was a good thing I didn’t go even if I don’t get home until Christmas. For one reason, I would not have seen you & you were the one I wanted to see. We drilled pretty hard yesterday & with no sleep & the way I felt it would have been hard to top all that. Our company had to furnish the main guard for the camp for the 24 hours beginning 5 o’clock Monday P. M. Yesterday the company commander chose the guard by having all those who had learned their general orders to step forward. About 1/6 of the company had learned them & he said that they would be the only ones to receive weekend passes this week. Well I was sure glad I had learned them because I would walk guard all night in order to come home. Well we went on guard & believe me, it was mighty little sleep we got last night. It was cold & raw too down there by the [Republican] river where the post was. I wore my sweater, two shirts, my blouse & my raincoat & that was none too much.
If it hadn’t been for you sweetheart, that would have been a lonely old post but I just kept thinking about you and about the things we had done together & above all, the things that I hope we will do together in the future. After this old fuss is over & I get back, I hope that you & I, Minnie, will fall out at reveille and march shoulder to shoulder through to the end of the day until retreat sounds in the evening. We will then salute Old Glory together & thank God that we had known & loved each other forever & always.

While we were on guard last night, the order came out that the camp was under quarantine & to allow no one to leave or enter the camp without a special pass. Well that sure was the climax. After going on guard under the belief that we would be issued passes & then quarantine us! I don’t know how long the quarantine will last but I sure hope it is lifted by Saturday. Several men were taken out of our company to the base hospital because of the influenza but don’t you worry about my getting it. I don’t believe it is so very dangerous anyway. I got a sore throat on guard but I went over to the infirmary & got my throat sprayed & it feels a little better now. I hope I can get it sprayed everyday.

Well, I am sure tired tonight so I will prepare my downy couch for sweet repose etc. etc. I will try & write oftener. I believe one of my letters were lost. Good night dear girl. I hope to see you soon but I may not write often. I didn’t get a letter from you for two days & I sure missed it.
Good night & sweet dreams. As ever, -- Ward

1 comment:

  1. According to Wikipedia:

    Camp Funston is located on Fort Riley, and is located southwest of Manhattan, Kansas. The camp was named for Brigadier General Frederick Funston (1865–1917). Camp Funston was one of sixteen Divisional Cantonment Training Camps established at the outbreak of World War I. Construction began during the summer of 1917 and eventually encompassed approximately 1,400 buildings on 2,000 acres (8.1 km2).

    During World War I, nearly 50,000 recruits trained at the camp, commanded by Major General Leonard Wood. Notable units who received training at Camp Funston include the 89th Division, which was deployed to France in the spring of 1918, the 10th Division and black soldiers assigned to the 92nd Division.

    In March 1918, the first recorded cases of what came to be the world-wide influenza epidemic, also known as "Spanish Flu", were reported at Camp Funston.