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Friday, February 27, 2009

Letter 94 ~ November 13, 1918

Infantry at Mess on the Rifle Range at Camp Funston

I write Minnie about training again on the rifle range. I still hold out hope of going overseas and don't anticipate being discharged until next spring despite "Kaiser Bill's" defeat. This letter to Minnie is a near duplicate to one I wrote my mother on the same day from the Camp Republican "Y." I have only included here, in parenthesis, the one sentence that was different.

Letterhead, “Army and Navy Young Men’s Christian Association
‘With the Colors’”
Addressed to Miss Minnie G. Frey, Stockdale, Kansas

Range Camp
November 13, 1918

Dear Kid,

I expect you must think by now that I must have left Funston. I might as well have so far as writing accommodations go.

As soon as I had breakfast Monday morning, I had to make up my pack and start to march out to the rifle range. [It is a long ways out there, especially when you are taking nearly everything you own. But I rode on a truck part of the way and a taxi part of the way.] Some of the other men of my company went out Sunday night but as I happened to be somewhere else, I didn’t go.

I didn’t take any writing material but if I had, tonight is the first time I could have written because we have sure been working. We have been shooting at night as well as all day as long as we could see the target. Last night we had to shoot with our gas masks fixed. I used to think it was lots of fun to shoot that rifle but I have shot so much now that it is an old story.

We don’t get any too much to eat while we are out here. For dinner yesterday we had 1 cup of coffee & one bologna sandwich. Today we had 1 slice of bread, a few beans, coffee & hardtack. Bread and beans for dinner and beans and bread for supper. Monday night I nearly froze. We got in so late we didn’t have time to fill our ticks with straw & with only 3 blankets; I tell you it was somewhat cool.

I haven’t had a bit of mail since last week Tuesday & I probably won’t get any until I get back to Funston. I don’t know when that will be but I think we ought to be able to finish the course by Thursday night & get to Funston Friday. We are on the 500 & 600 yard range now.

Well how do you feel about the way Kaiser Bill is cutting up now? He is a little slow about running but he finally did it. I think he was afraid of the 20th [Infantry] after I was transferred into it & thot he ought to get out before we came over.

No one is allowed to go across unless their range record is complete so it was necessary for me to get right out on the range. Our Lieutenant said that the war looked a [hell] of a lot from being over & that we also looked a whole lot more from being out of the army. It is mighty hard to tell what they will do with us fellows but I was hoping to be let out sometime next spring. I don’t know whether we will stay at [Camp] Funston this winter or not. I sure hope I hear from you soon.

Are you going to make up your school work? We have been fortunate in having good weather for target practice because some of the regiments had to shoot during that rainy weather & it made no difference whether it was raining or not, the men had to shoot. They are playing a Hawaiian piece on the Victrola here in the “Y” and it makes me almost homesick for a big armchair in front of a fine big fireplace not many miles from here.

Well goodnight, my Little Girl, -- Ward

1 comment:

  1. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated his throne on November 9, 1918. Actually the German Chancellow announced the abdication as Wilhelm considered his options in the face of widespread mutiny in the armed forces and riots at home. Wilhelm took a train to neutral Netherlands the next day.

    I would be curious to know the nutritional value of Army chow in the field. I would think it would take 3000 calories to sustain an active soldier in cold weather. None of the men in the photo looks at all overweight.