Monday, January 7, 2008

Reports From Soldier Camps (1917)

Columbia City Post ~ Saturday, May 19, 1917

The following assurance was published in the last issue of the Indianapolis News: "Yes, mother, your son was up before 6 o'clock this morning. He ran a hundred yards or two, then went through some exercises and a bit of drill. After that he had a breakfast consisting of beef stew, potatoes, bread cut about an inch and a half thick, and a tin cupful of black coffee. At 7 he marched for an hour over the post roads of Ft. Benjamin Harrison. At 8 he was back on the post parade ground for drill. At 9 he heard a talk on the nomenclature of the rifle. At 10 he was drilling in squad formations and [at] 11 he took his first lesson in semaphore signaling. At 12 he went to his noonday mess - yes, quite eagerly, mother, and at 1 he attended a conference on the care of his military equipment. At 2 he took a course in drill regulations and at 3 he had a lesson in guard duty. After that he was free to study from text books what he will have to do tomorrow."

Phil McNagny, Tom Pontius and James Adams have sent their watches home and will buy "Waterbury" stem-winders. This will enable the boys to keep busy winding them when not otherwise employed. They probably feared they might "lose" their valuable timers when out on a hike or something. No insinuations intended.

The boys write that they are doing well on boiled beef and potatoes, colored bread and black coffee. So far they have not set foot outside the training camp and they rather think leave of absence will be a rare privilege. Not a whimper of complaint has been made by any of them so far.

D. B. Clugston, Jr., is in receipt of a letter from his son, Herbert, who is stationed at Ft. Benjamin Harrison. The writer evidently likes camp life, judging from the enthusiasm with which he writes. He speaks highly of the "feeds" they have and of other interesting things connected with life at the busy fort.

Russell Nowels, who is at the officers' training camp at Fort Sheridan, Ill. Writes his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Nowells, of this city, that the men there look upon the work cut out for them very seriously and they are not unmindful of the possibilities of the future. He says on the average the men are much older than he is, many of them being 40 years of age. He writes that they have an abundance of things for food and in quite a variety too. He is in a barracks with perhaps 150 men.

Mr. and Mrs. John Reider, of North street, are in receipt of a letter from their son, Homer, who recently enlisted in the regular army and is now at Ft. Thomas, Ky. The young man likes army life and is getting along in fine shape.

Donald Livengood, with the Columbia City Floral Company, who went to Fort Harrison along with other young men from this city, writes friends that he is enjoying army life. He states that they are busy from 5:15 o'clock in the morning until 9 o'clock at night. The letter was written Tuesday, and Mr. Livengood stated that his company was not drilling on that day as they had been vaccinated and given an injection of anti-toxine Tuesday morning. Most of the members of his company were sick as a result of the vaccination. He did not have much to say about the grub but did state that he liked the eats, but old Hotel De Clugston looked better to him.

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