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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Letter 117 ~ December 20, 1918

I let my mother know we arrived safely in Nitro, West Virginia, and are settled into our barracks which compared favorably to those at Camp Funston. I withhold my judgment, however, as to whether I'm going to like the country or the weather.

Addressed to Mrs. Hattie P. Griffing, Manhattan, Kansas

Nitro, West Virginia
Friday night, December 20, 1918

Dear Folks,

Well, we arrived here a little before noon today and are fairly settled here in our barracks.

I haven’t decided yet how I am going to like the country but our barracks are quite a bit nicer than those at [Camp] Funston. They are larger and we have two whole barracks to each company while in Funston we had only 1 ½ barracks to a company. There is a recreation room downstairs in this barracks where we can write, read & play games. We have nice mattresses instead of straw ticks and also feather pillows. They say tomorrow we will get sheets and pillow cases. All these things make it much more agreeable and homelike.

The chief reason that the country looks so dubious is because it is muddy and the natives say that it is dry compared to what it usually is. It rains a whole lot here and the soil is red clay that certainly is sticky. I always did hate rainy weather. They are blowing lights out. I was going to write a long letter but I will have to put it off till tomorrow. Please send me my suit. Just address it to—

Pvt. Ward C. Griffing
E Company, 20th Infantry
Nitro, W. Va.

  • For story on Nitro, click here.
  • According to a 16 year-old farm boy who came from Iowa in 1918 to work at the munitions plant in Nitro, "There were some Army barracks across the street from the Depot. Troops of the 20th Infantry, Companies E and F were here, for guard duty, and behind the barracks was a large corral where nearly a hundred horses were quartered. The stables were next to the barracks and below them, about a block or so, was the hospital. All of this was across from the tracks." To read more of his recollections of Nitro, click here.

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