I write Minnie about guard duty and other camp activities at Nitro, West Virginia. I do my best to make Minnie jealous.
Addressed to Miss Minnie G. Frey, Stockdale, Kansas
Nitro, West Virginia
Well, I am writing to you because it is time for a letter & not because I have any news to tell. It is the same old story. There are not nearly so many people here now owing to the fact they have closed the Y.M.C.A. We could occupy our time over there while it was open. Some of the pool tables were free to soldiers in the afternoon & also the bowling alley, but now we can’t. The movie theater opened to us soldiers last night so there will be one place to go. The Hercules Powder Company gave their farewell dance last Monday night & I don’t know whether there will be any more or not but I think there will.
Four of the boys out of this company have gotten their discharges but they have been a very long time getting them. [My brother] Willis sent me some papers & some affidavits from some of the men who knew me stating that I was needed at home but I don’t think they will do a bit of good. There has been no order to discharge 50% of the 10th [Division]. The men with allotments will be discharged shortly tho as they have already been filled into the orderly room & asked if they wanted an immediate separation from the service. Of course every one declined the chance. We have some new posts now so our turn to mount guard comes more often than formerly.
Yesterday & the day before we had to carry gravel & sand from a pile behind the barracks around in front & spread it out all over the area between the barracks & the walk. I got out of it both afternoons, however, because of practicing basketball.
One of our posts is guarding a safe in one of the office buildings. The room is full of girls & of all the kidding you ever heard in your life, that beats it. A fellow on guard is not supposed to talk except in the line of duty but there is one place where duty & desire conflict & duty is usually the loser. I was on guard at the door of the ordinance building last time with orders to allow no one to pass without a badge or a pass. Two girls who work in there came up & wanted by but swore by all that was holy that they didn’t have any passes. I knew they did so I stood with my rifle across the door & wouldn’t let them in. Well, they kept fooling around trying to slip by till I finally let one thru & then they showed their passes. They were the craziest girls I ever saw. Most of the girls here would rather go with the soldiers than the civilians.
It must be lonely up there where you are but if you get out in March you should consider yourself lucky. I don’t know when I will get out & you do.
I had to stop for dinner & couldn’t get at my letter until this morning. We had to fix walks in front yesterday P.M. I have to go on guard again this morning so goodbye for now. As ever, -- Ward