Camp Dodge, Iowa Sept. 2 3, 1917
Dear Sister, Got here last night about 8 o'clock. Well I saw some country before I got here. We went to St. Paul and only stopped there about two hours, from 6 to 8 and then rode all day until last night. I was pretty tired when I got here. I haven't any news but here is my address. Tell everybody hello. I write them before I couldn't get any couldn't because stamps. Jack
Co. K. 352 Inf. N.A. Camp Dodge :Des Moines, Iowa
Camp Dodge, Iowa Sept. 2 7, 1917
Dear Sister and all, Well here I am writing again . I just got off from guard. I was guarding a straw pile so nobody would take any or nobody would smoke around it. I was on from 5 to 7 o'clock tonight. It's just half past 7 now so it's pretty soon bed time I guess. I was up until 2 o'clock last night. Went to Des Moines. We get Wed. afternoons off and are off Sat. afternoon and Sundays until Monday morning 5 o'clock. That is, we are free then and have the time to ourselves so that is pretty good . Another thing I'm going to say is that Sam Haaland is about as good a fellow as I have seen yet. And I am telling you I believe I am pretty good too (not to brag about myself) but I didn't play any poker yet and I didn't swear one word. How is Ma and everybody? I don't believe I talked to Jerome before I left but he is not the only one. Gee I was rattled to see so many people at the station. Tell them to excuse me. I didn't hear from anyone back there yet. What is the matter ? I thought I wouldn't write until I heard from someone but I don't care, I will write guess didn't right. anyway so there. Oh I you wrote all right, but it get here yet so that is all Well this is enough for this time. How are all my girls? I hope they are all well. Gee I got so many of them too. That is the worst of it. some pretty good all right. That's I know so don't He's all right. There are fellows here the only ones worry about Jack. Jack
Camp Dodge , Iowa Sept. 30, 1917
Dear Sister, Received your letter yesterday and the postcard today. You didn't write much, but I know you are busy so will excuse you for this time. We went for a walk today and took a couple of pictures. One of Sam and Henry and one of myself and Henry so they sure will be good. Just look who 1-re are . John YMCA. W. and I went over to the They had church over there and it was so crowded that it was packed like sardines so we didn't stay long. We heard some singing but that is about all. You asked if I had an examination. I was all right but it was the same kind as in Ada or pretty near like it. It didn't even take as long here so you can think how fast that was, can't you? I don't think I told you I saw Anna H. in Fergus Falls at the depot when we came through. Whenever the train stopped, there were people wherever we looked . The girls would shake our hands as if they knew us. Sam is here yet but I guess they will send him home pretty soon. I wish it was me but no chance. Sometimes Halking say if guess it I think I can see myself into Borup. What would you it should happen? But I won't. Henry and I were sleeping in a bunk that is each of us had one and now we moved the two together. Sam is just a couple of bunks away and J. Wells is in the next building. I don't know where the rest of the bunch are . The letter I got from Elza made me feel about 50% better. Gee, I was glad to hear from him. I am glad to hear from anyone. Write all the news you can and tell everybody hello. How is Ma? From Bro. Jack
Camp Dodge, Iowa Oct. 8, 1917
Received your letter today and the pictures too but you certainly spoiled it. If you hadn't been in the pictures they would have been good. Ha,Ha. I showed them to a fellow and he thought I was a pretty good looking fellow before I came here so I must have changed. He said he believed he would come up there and marry you. I got your letter but I did not ge t the candy that you said you were sending. Maybe tomorrow. I got a boil on my neck and I can hardly move my head. I can't look around unless I turn my shoulders the same time. I got some salve to put on it. It is a big fellow too . It is bed time pretty soon and another night to freeze again. I suppose that soon I will be able to sleep without any covering. Oh this is great. What do you know about it? Just heard we are going to get another blanket and a good one too. I was just downstairs to get mine but there were so .many ahead of me I guess I will have to wait about 20 minutes before there is room for me. Did Paul go to Montana yet or did he change his mind? I suppose Herb will run the Buick then. He will have to get you from Borup.. What would you do if you couldn't get out horne? Stay there I suppose just like I am doing here. Hey this would be fine but I am tied up too much. I am used to being loose but sure am not here . I'm getting used to it now. It isn't so bad. One fellow said he hoped they would keep him until they make a man out of him. Another fellow said he would have to stay here all the time then. I thought that was pretty good. Well, I have to quit for this time. They are going to start some music so I better quit before they get started. Jack
Dear Sister, Camp Dodge, Iowa Oct. 9, 1917
Wed. today and have nothing to do this afternoon so I am going to write letters. Henry went to Des Moines today and I was going with him but he could not wait. I did not care very much about going anyway. Sam left yesterday so he will be home when you get this letter or before. What do you know about it? He gave me his razor and it cost $4.00. I think that was pretty good. I got a letter from Elza today and he said everybody was leaving around there. I guess he is coming out this way this fall. I h6pe he stops here and then I wish I could go along with him but this is pretty good now. It isn't so bad after all, only I would sooner be where I could be my own boss. You know I am used to that and it is pretty hard when a fellow is used to being his own boss. The rest of the fellows are out playing ball and are having a good time. Last night they were singing and playing a violin and drum. It sure was a noise. Well I don't know but the way I feel now I don't believe I would pass the examination if I had one. You know if we want to we · can go t6 the hospital and then if there is anything wrong with us they would discharge us. I have to feel worse than this before I am going up there. Not that I want to be sick but I like it pretty good now. I mean it too. Only the drilling is a little hard. It gets the best of me but sure is good for a fellow. I don't believe I would feel right if they would send me home now but just the same I don't think I would cry about it. Henry just carne back. He didn't go to town after all. He was working carrying uniforms over here so I guess we are going to get them this afternoon. I think it is about time too. My suit is about all in. It looks pretty tough I tell you but I guess it can be cleaned up again. I hope so anyway. It is just beautiful out today. It is just like summer and I wish I had a car or a motorcycle here. I got the candy and it was sure good. Thank you. Jack
Dear Sister, Camp Dodge, Iowa Oct. ·14 , 1917
Received your letters yesterday and also the cookies. Got the cookies in the morning and the letters in the afternoon. I could not figure out what was in that box. I was just going to the store to get something as I was so hungry but when I got them I didn't have to go. It was about the best thing I got since I am here. Sure was a surprise. It is Sunday today so I am not working so I will write letters but will have to have another shot in the arm in about fifteen minutes so I suppose I will have a sore arm this afternoon. I was vaccinated again and twice before and did not work so I don't know what this one will do. I think we are going to Deming, N. Mexico. Am not sure yet, but if we go it will be tomorrow or sometime this week. I think I just as soon go as stay here this winter and freeze . It gets · pretty cold here. It has already so what will it be in the winter. If you are still looking for me you better change your mind because I don't think I will be back for some time. Maybe for Christmas but that will be only for a vacation. I would just as soon it be for good but then I should worry. It is pretty good now . You asked about sending my mackinaw but I couldn't wear it. They wouldn't let us wear our other coats. We had to go out in our shirt sleeves and freeze but now we got our uniforms and they are pretty warm. I guess we will get our overcoats pretty soon. We got all kinds of heavy underwear so I am fixed out pretty good now. I was up to Des Moines yesterday and was going to have my picture taken but it was too crowded so will have to wait for a while I guess. There is no hurry as long as we are in the u.s.A. I guess we will stay here for a while yet - as much as I know about it anyway. I don't think that was a boil on my neck. It sure hurt enough to be one and was as big as I ever saw. It is there yet but it doesn't hurt any more so I don't know what it is. I had to drill just the same. When I asked the sergeant if I had to drill and he asked why I told him. He s a id he couldn't help it so I didn't say anything and drilled just the same. I just had dinner and am so full I can hardly move. I believe I am getting fat. I weigh 170 lb. with my uniform. It is pretty heavy so I don't know how much I gained. We don't have to walk to Des Moines~ There is a street car that goes every hour and costs 10¢. They have as many as 10 coaches so it is more like a train than anything else. You also asked if I get broke buying stamps. No but broke buying other stuff. A fellow doesn't get everything. We get some things but the other things we have to buy - like toothbrush and all kinds of stuff that counts up like everything. By the time I got everything I needed, I had 75¢ left and pay day hasn't come yet. I guess I have enough until then. If not I'll go without. Jack
P.S. Don't look for me yet anyway. Don't know if we will get another examination. I suppose Sam is home by this time.
Dear Sister, Camp Dodge, Iowa Oct. 15, 1917
Received your letter today and also the one from Anton. Well we got our rifles yesterday so were out and drilled with them today. They are pretty heavy to carry around but will be used to them pretty soon. It must have been 100 in the shade today. It was as hot here today as it has been back there al l summer . I am pretty tired tonight too. Wells was over here just a while ago. We visit pretty often. Whenever we get together we always ask when we are going home. Tonight when he asked me I said tomorrow. But I guess it will be a couple of tomorrows before I get home. Not until I get back from you know where. So don't look for me until you see in the paper - peace. Is Elza coming this way pretty soon? Does he figure on stopping here? He says he is going to take me along with him. Oh no - this is a job I can't quit. I guess you did not get to see Sam for very long. He sure is a good fellow. I hated to see him go in a way but then I >vas g lad for him; I sure miss him. I saw in the paper today that 50 of the men from here were discharged. Not from this building but from this camp. 45 of them were from Iowa. Gee I wished I was one of the lucky ones but no chance I guess. I didn't go to get examined yet but I don't think it would do me any good. I don't care as long as I can stand it. It is pretty hard on me when it gets hot but I didn't lay down yet but was the next thing to it today. Well I got 50¢ left but it is pay day tomorrow. If I do want anything from home I will write for it or send a wireless like I did when I was at Rochester last fall. Sometimes it seems as though that is where I am now. I have not heard any more about N. Mex. so I don't know when we will go. Jack
Dear Sister, Camp Dodge, Iowa Oct. 19, 1917
Received your letter today and also that big dollar Bill
. I looked at it for a while and then realized what it was. I haven't seen any of them for a long time. I got my pay the other day. Got 10 dollars. It was only for September. We get paid every month and get a dollar a day so 30 days is $30. We get paid for Sunday too so that isn't so bad. Today I laughed for the first time since I carne here. Oh I laughed before too but today it seemed to come from way down in my big toes. I laughed until I pretty near busted. The best of it is we can't talk or do anything when we are marching. But I couldn't help it I had to laugh anyway but I watched out that no officer saw me. Here I am telling you how much I laughed but did not tell you what it was about. Well a fellow fell down right flat on his stomach and right in front of me. And I pretty nearly fell on top of him. It was funny - too good for anything. It was worth the dollar you sent me. When we are marching the officer always says "Heads up and eyes off the ground". I tell you it is pretty hard to see when your head is up and a fellow is down in front of you but I put on my emergency brakes and had my head down. I have a little headache tonight but not very bad. I’ve been feeling pretty good lately so I guess I won't go to the hospital. As long as I feel this way it isn't necessary. I got a pretty good place here and it was a little warmer today but I suppose it will be cold before long and when it gets cold it gets cold. It rained like everything night before last and froze like a rock last night. I have to tend furnace tomorrow morning at 4:30 in the morning until 12:30 at noon but will have the afternoon off. It is Saturday tomorrow so won't have anything to do until Monday. Well I better quit before the lights go out. This is some letter. I am always in too much of a hurry. I am feeling pretty good now so don't worry. From Jack
Dear Sister, Camp Dodge, Iowa Oct. 25, 1917
Received your letter today. I did not get any mail for three days. Gee but it seemed a long time but I will have to get used to that so might as well now as later. I got the cookies day before yesterday. It is pretty good to get something like that. We had snow here on Monday but it is all gone now. It is raining to beat the band now. It started about 5:30. Everything looks white. It is standing everywhere as it has no place to run off. Well I got a sore arm. I don't know what is the matter but I can hardly write as it always wants to shake. It must be from handling those heavy rifles. They've got that blamed music going again and it is hard to know what I am writing. They are dancing too. I just heard them say, "Ladies choice." They cut loose every night until the lights go out and would like to keep going after that. But if they did they would have to work on a holiday or on a Wed. afternoon or Sunday. They wouldn't like that so they keep still. They have football games and all kinds of races and a little of everything. They had a football game here Wed. and everybody had to go whether they wanted to or not. The best of it is we had to walk about 5 miles but we are getting used to that now. We got a pair of overalls and a Jacket today. The other day we got two towels, a comb, toothbrush, soap and a hairbrush so we are getting fixed out pretty good. Only they gave them too late. We had bought all that stuff. I got everything now but an overcoat. Seems like I am not going to get any. I hope I will before it gets any colder. Well that fellow didn't fall down again but another one did. I did not laugh at him because he fell with his gun and hurt himself. He was on the side of me so I did not have to turn out for him. We were running at the time and the rest of them ran right over him. Everyday the whole bunch of us have to sing for about 15 minutes. When we are through singing the Major says, "Five miles for cigarettes." We sing "John Brown's Body" and "Poor old Belgian lies moulding in the grave" and then "We'll hang Kaiser William on a sour apple tree". We all have to sing or it will be trouble. Tell Liz I will send her some pictures as soon as she writes a letter. The sooner she writes the sooner she gets the pictures. That's the only way she will write. No I don't mean that but tell her anyway. I must say you are all doing fine but think of me - how many I have to answer. I must have 30 letters. I broke the crystal on my watch the other night. I was scuffling around with one of the fellows and must have hit it on the bed and it broke. They say it costs a lot to get another one so I might send it home. I guess I would sell it to you for $20.00 if that isn't too much. You see I paid $6.50 for it so I feel I should have a little profit on it. I believe I am writing all nonsense and I can't spell right but anyway - I didn't get at sending my suit home yet but I think I will Sat. if I haven't anything else to do. I wouldn't care if I could come home in them but guess they will have to find their way without me. I like my uniform all right only it takes a long time to dress in the morning. A fellow has to be outside in 15 minutes after he gets up and I tell you I have to do some pretty fast moves to get out. I always got there in time and hope I always will. I was just thinking how long I was here. As long as it is the time seems to go pretty fast. The faster the better until I get horne. I suppose if I can come borne for Christmas it will be faster then but I wouldn't care if it would stop then. But let it move along. I should worry. I take it the way it comes. That's the way I feel about it. I guess I wrote enough of this foolishness. Tell everyone hello and I am all here yet. From Jack
Dear Sister, Camp Dodge, Iowa Nov. 1, 1917
Well I'm going to try and write a letter now but only got about fifteen minutes left before we go out so can't finish but will start anyway. I don't know when I wrote to you last but guess it was a couple of days ago. Monday I was hauling hay for the mules and Tuesday I was working in the kitchen. Started about 6:30 in the morning and didn't get through until 10 o'clock at night. That was a day and a half I tell you and I didn't get a minutes rest. Wed. we all had to go to the football game that was in the afternoon. Go if we want to or not and I sure didn't want to go. When we were eating dinner the captain came and asked who wanted to go. There was only a couple of them but after dinner he said we all had to go. Oh yes that was the first time that we were turned loose since we came here and that was when we came home from the game. We split up and were scattered all over the field for once. It made us feel like we were free once again. Hope they will turn us loose for good pretty soon but slim chance. We must go and drill now . Am going to try and write more tonight. Night carne at last and am over to the YMCA now. It is a little better to write here than over in the barracks. I suppose you know that is what the buildings around here are called. I can write with music now. They got a phonograph here and it is always saying something or else singing. I got that box of candy Susie sent me and also got a letter from her today. She said she was there to see you the other day. Oh yes I got the candy from Luella too and they were fine. Susies were too but yours were the best so far. Well I don't want none of you to send me so much. It isn't worthwhile. They sure are good but don't go to the bother. The weather is pretty good here again but just after I wrote Liz it snowed again and was cold like everything. It was real red in the west this evening so I don't know what it will be tomorrow. We don't drill much now days but what we do is harder than drilling. We drill in the forenoon and in the afternoon we have to learn how to fight with bayonets. I was over and visited John W. last night again. We always find something to talk about and don't get lonesome when we are together. Oh yes Elza is only about 35 miles north from here. He said he is going to take a trip down here after shucking corn. That will satisfy me alright. And you still may be discharged. change your mind. good. Do like I got hopes that I I advise you to I am feeling do. I feel satisfied where I am. wink of sleep yet. Never lost a It is going to cost 3¢ hereafter to send a letter so I may get poor writing. I will quit writing before I am broke. Ha Ha. I'm a pretty wise boy since Uncle Sam got a hold of me. Did Paul get home yet and how did he get along with the horses. How many has he got? He sure will have a barn full this winter. I wi 11 tell Uncle Sam that I got to come home to help take care of them horses. I suppose he will say there are enough mules here to take care of if I want a job. From Jack
P.S. Did you get the suveneer I sent you - a machine gun.
Dear Sister, Camp Dodge, Iowa Nov. 4, 1917
I got your letter yesterday and it was a dandy only wasn't long enough. No it was long enough but I just as soon it had been longer. What do you think of this paper? It is alright but is too thin and I can't go straight when I haven't any lines. I got the five dollars and it carne in pretty handy. Didn't get any pay yet but when I get it it will be $30.00 so I will have enriugh then. Don't send me any money unless I write for it. It is too much bother for you. And Paul got back at last and got his horses along and they look good. Herb said they are fat like pigs and Floss knew her old place. That's pretty good. Maybe she just happened to strike it right. You better ask her if she remembered it. Ha Ha. Heard again that we are to leave the 16th of this month but don't know where. Maybe France for all I know but you can't go by what you hear in this camp. Don't know as much as you do about it. But I should worry . I feel just as good about it as I ever did. I had a boil on my leg again . It wasn't very big but hurt all right. I couldn't have my legging very tight. It is better now. I know I wouldn't go to them doctors here for anything. I'll tell you what they done with one fellow here. He had something wrong with his toe nails. Four fellows held him down on the floor and the Dr. took a pliers and pulled his toe nails off. Pretty rough I think but this is the Army. Guess I'll quit. Have to wash my shirt. I'd have to do some work if I got a dirty shirt. From Jack
P.S. Well I'm writing again. It is 4:30. There is a bunch of N.D. fellows corning in here tonight. I am thinking of going to the depot and see if I know any of them. I went roller skating last night and had a lot of fun. I fell down twice and it was a big crowd but I didn't care. Once I fell down and another fellow fell right over me. Another time a girl fell down in front of me. I was going to catch her but I nearly fell myself so I had to let her go. Pretty soon supper time so I will have to go.
Dear Sister, Camp Dodge, Iowa Nov. 10, 1917
It rained here a little last night but it is pretty good now. Only a little cloudy but sure had fine weather this last week. They told us we could come home Thanksgiving or Christmas hut I don't know when I will come. Think I will wait until Christmas. If I knew we would be here then I sure would but we may be South about 700 miles by that time but think I will run chances on it. Or what do you think? I am a little puzzled. Don't know what I will do yet. Well dinner is ready so will have to go and eat. Maybe it will be a little easier for me to write after dinner. I had my dinner now and I really feel worse but not too bad. I sure can eat. I haven't anything to do this afternoon or nothing until Mon. morning that I know of. Don't take long to get a job here. Get one when a fellow isn't looking for it. So Herb is going to work in the Bank. Well it may be a good place for him. Only he ought to had a little more school. If he had a job like I got he wouldn't need any but a fellow can't get too much. And Paul needs a man. Does he need one in place of Herb? I was wondering if the horses need an extra man. If they do why not call on me. Ha Ha. Adolph H. must be back by this time. He was discharged and I tell you he was a happy boy. I saw him the day he left but only had time to say good bye. He could hardly talk he was so excited. He was tickled all right and I don't blame him a bit. I think Henry is coming home for Thanksgiving but don't know for sure. He wants me to go when he does. I think Wells is coming too for Thanksgiving but what I should do I don't know. Henry is going to Des Moines today. I guess I'll stay here. I don't like town very good anymore. Rather stay here on Sat. and Sun. than go to town. Well I guess I'll ring off for this time. I want you to tell me what to do come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I may not do what you say but which do you think is best. From Jack
Message On A Postcard Mailed November 12 , 1917
Hello Elsie, I wrote you a letter Sat . I think and today is Sunday . Well I asked you what you thought about coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas but see no chance now. I guess we are going South sometime this week. Think about Friday. They got a telegram today so I guess it is pretty sure this time. I saw Lofgren today. Didn't know him before but it sure was nice to see someone from back there even if I didn't know him. He said Pa told him to look me up and he did. We go to Arkansas. Sent my clothes today. From Jack
had a quick trip home for the nex t letter tells about his return to camp.) Will write to Jerome next time if I don't forget. From Jack
P.S. I thought of something else to tell you. When I wrote to Luella the last time I also wrote to Edna and put the two letters in one envelope. I guess I wrote a little more to Edna as I wrote about Elza being here. Well when I got back here I had a letter from Luella and she said she felt so good to think she had such a fat letter from me. When she opened it she saw over half was for Edna and she was very disappointed. Well it kind of made me laugh but I feel a little sorry that I couldn't see her. I hardly dare to write to her and tell her I was home. Don't tell her about this or she might come here just to puil my hair. I'll write to her and tell her I won't send two letter in one anymore. I just had to tell you about it but don't let her know. Note: Luella and Edna were sisters.
Camp Dodge, Iowa Nov. 27, 1917
Dear Sister, I haven't any news but thought I w6uld write anyway for the last time at Camp Dodge. I will remember my last time here. We had a swell supper. Had apples, oranges and pie, cake, turkey, ham, radishes, celery, ice cream. Oh I can't think of it ~11 and the Band was playing all the time we were eating and after supper they passed around cigars and cigarettes. It was fine and now they are going to have a little program and after that we are going to have another lunch. Oh Army life is great. The only thing was I had a headache and did not feel very good. Still don't feel any to good now. The weather was a fright Sun. night and Mon. It snowed all night and rained all day. The snow is all gone again but still muddy. Wonder how it will be down South. We will soon find out. We are going to leave here at 7 o'clock in the morning so that means get up early. Will close for this will write when I get to stopping place. Will all about that part country. From Jack
time and my other tell you of the
Dear Sister, Camp Pike, Ark. Dec. 1, 1917
I am way down South now where the sun shines night and day. Well no it don't shine in the night but it sure is fine in the day time but the nights are a little chilly. We left Camp Dodge Wed. about 8 o'clock and did not get here until Thurs. night about 10 o'clock. Did not get to bed until 3 o'clock so was pretty tired. If anyone would have told me last Thanksgiving that I would be in Ark. in a year I would have laughed at him but here I am. We were riding on the train all the time and didn't have much of a Thanksgiving dinner or not like I am used to. We didn't get any dinner until 4 o'clock so it tasted pretty good. We only had canned beef and bread and coffee. That supper we had before we left Camp Dodge was from our company fund so we paid for it. We went through Oklahoma and Kansas and saw some country but none can beat Minnesota. It looks good enough but didn't see any buildings fit to live in. We saw cotton fields but they had all the cotton picked. This camp looks something like Camp Dodge but there are more trees here. I guess it is in the woods. There are trees where ever you look and it isn't as clean as Camp Dodge. We can't leave the Barracks for ten days so I didn't get to see very much. I would like to go to the YMCA but no chance. We are quarantined. There is some kind of sickness in one of the Barracks. I don't know what you call it but we have to be careful or we may get sick. I guess Henry and the other bunch must have come last night . Did not see any of them yet and don't figure I will for 10 days anyway. Wells and Larson come the same time as I did but didn't see Wells yet. I saw Larson today. He is in the Barracks across from here. We can talk to each other but cannot go any closer than about ten feet. They got guards all over to see that we don't go too far away. Well I must close for this time. May have more news next time. From Jack
Co. M. 348 Inf. Camp Pike, Ark.
Dear Sister, Camp Pike, Ark. Dec . 10, 1917
Received your letter today and was looldng for it for the last couple of days. It takes a 1 it tle longer for it to come here than it did to Camp Dodge. You say it is cold but not much snow. Well I thought I was in the sunny South but I changed my mind. It is cold and about four inches of snow. It started snowing· Friday and snowed all day Sat. Part of the time it rained but the sun is shining now as it does pretty near every day but it don't thaw that much. I'll take Minnesota anytime. We haven't had very much drilling yet but I guess we will be digging trenches soon and have some long marches to get us toughened up a little . It is Tues. noon now and will try to finish this letter. It is snowing again today and pretty cold. We don't have much drilling. Just go out for a hike two or three times a day . Go about two miles and have a lot of fun on the way. There were about seven fellows who fell down today. First one falls and then the others on top of him. I would hate to be the first. The roads are like ice. I got a letter from Susie yesterday. She said it was so cold there and wondered if I could send some of this warm weather . . I guess we haven't any to spare. It was summer when we came here but they say this is the coldest winter they have had since 1897 and the most snow. I haven't got Henry to chum with any more but there is a fellow from Twin Valley here and we are always together. He is a good fellow. Aamoth is his name. He sleeps next to me and it seems wherever he goes I go and wherever I go he goes. But he is playing in the Band now so I guess we will be parted before long. Is Elza home or is he South yet. I wrote him a letter the other day and sent it to Iowa but I guess he will get it anyway. I don't know if I will get up town before Christmas or not but hope I can so I can buy a couple of presents. I can hardly believe it is pretty near Christmas. I would like to come home then. So Herb is working himself up real fast. Well if that keeps up they better build the Bank higher or he will be working on the roof. Tell all Borup pals hello. Jack
P.S. They just told us tonight about furloughs for Christmas. Only 20% of each Co. could have one but only from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2. We couldn't even get there for Christmas or couldn't be there for New Years so I guess I will stay here and wait for another chance.
Dear Sister: Camp Pike, Ark. Dec. 2 3, 1917
The box which you sent me arrived all O.K. Must thank you and ask you to extend my thanks to the rest of them. Everything was just fine. When I opened the box the flash light was wrapped in a paper. When I unwrapped it , it was open and the snake jumped out. You should have seen me. I don't know if I yelled but I sure jumped. Next time you want to remember that I am afraid of snakes. Today I got your letter and the check. Thanks for that but you are sending me too much stuff. Not that I don't like them but I don't think I am worth all that trouble. The Torske girls sure sent me a dandy present. I suppose you saw it. I must say it comes in pretty handy. And another one - that sweater the Farmer's Club sent me. I never expected them to remember me but guess they did all right. That was a good present for them to think of. And Kittleson sent me a check of two dollars. I think that was pretty good of him. I believe they all think of me once in a while. Now I have all kinds of letters to write. It is the limit here now as we got paid the other day. You ought to see the poker players. I believe they are all crazy. I know I shouldn't call them that but I can't help it. When they play they sit on my bed and throw my blankets on the floor and don't care what they do . I told them to get off three times. They did two times but the third time they just stayed there. All they have done all day today is play poker. That box of candy for Hank. I don't know how I will get to him. I haven't seen him since we left Camp Dodge . I saw Wells for a few minutes the other day. We are under quarentine ever since we came here and can't go anyplace . The measles are going around here pretty fast but I am not scared of them. This is all the news so must close. With greetings and best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. From Jack
Dear Sister: Camp Pike, Ark. Dec. 31, 1917
Received your letter today and it was a good one. I got it just before dinner and didn't know if I wanted to start reading it before or wait until after but read it before and sure took me a while. But write more like it. I won't kick. I haven't much to write tonight but thought I would write just so I could say it would be the last letter for this year. Tomorrow is New Years but don't seem at all like it. I guess this Christmas is the first one that I was not at home and the first that didn't seem like Christmas. I am in hopes the next one will be better than this past Christmas. I never thought I would spend this Christmas in Arkansas but hope the next one will be in Minnesota. Where I spend the rest no one knows. So Elza and my girl are good friends again or I mean his girl. Well that sounds good to me. I am going to turn over a new leaf tomorrow and that is quit writing to everybody but home and Susie. May write to some boys but to no girls. I got a letter from Edna today. Guess you know it because you wrote the address. Oh I can tell your writing where ever it i~. You got a picture of her but she didn't even send me one. Said I had to write first. Well I don't think I'm going to write to any of my sweethearts any more. I guess you get sick of this kind of writing but I have to write something. I have to quit for tonight. The lights are going out pretty soon. Will write more tomorrow in 1918
Happy New Year. Jan. 1, 1918
Well tomorrow came all right but it don't seem like New Year. It's the same thing only the sun is a little warmer and we are not drilling today. I didn't get out for reveille this morning so I don't know what they will do with me. I suppose they will put me in the wood pile for about a day. I started out the New Year pretty good. But it is the first time it happened I saw Henry today but not very long. He came here before I had breakfast so didn't get to talk very much. He is the same as ever and I forgot to give him his candy. Now I don't know when I will see him again. I guess they are quarantined too but he happened to get out like we do once in a while. Don't get to see Wells very much but he isn't very far from here. If I should happen to see him outside some time we could talk to each other. I see Larson every once in a while. We have to do our talking across the road but that is better than not at all. I got the pictures I took on our way here from Camp Dodge and they are good. The one I think more of than all the rest is of the train just going around a curve. On one side is a hill and on the other is a river. Talk about a pretty picture. I don't think there is a prettier one. I can't send you any now until I get more. Well tomorrow I go in the wood pile but not that I was late this morning. I just as soon cut wood as drill. There are some fellows out cutting today and I can sit on my bed and watch them out the window. Suppose tomorrow they will watch me. Ha Ha. It is Wed. too and ought to have a half day off but work goes first. Well I can't think of anymore to write about and don't blame you if you get tired of this letter before you get through reading it. I'm just writing to fill up space. This writing paper is a Christmas present from Susie. Soon time for retreat and I'm going to see that I get out there in time. Tell Borup hello from me. From Jack
Camp Pike, Ark. Jan. 6, 1918
Sunday today and haven't anything to do so will write you a letter to pass the time away. It gets pretty lonesome when we got to stay nere all the time and can't get any place. We sure had some weather here. It rained and thundered and lightening to beat the band and about 6:30 last night the lights went out all over the camp so we had to sit in the dark. Oh this is some camp I can say. I guess it's quite a while since I wrote home so I thought I better write today or you may think I got sick or something. To tell the truth I haven't a thing to write about but suppose I will have to try to fill up some space. I got a letter from Susie the other day and she said she was home for Christmas and was to Borup and read the letter I wrote to you. Well that is all right but don't let everybody read them or I may not write anymore. Ha Ha. Susie is pretty good to \Hi te. I got the letter Albert sent me. I had it a long time but never thought of saying anything about it in the other letters I wrote. Got the picture too and it sure is a good one. LaVerne and Muriel sure look pretty cute. This sure is some Camp. They can't send us out of here any too soon. Like I used to say - wish I was horne and my dog was here - but not anymore. I believe if my dog was here he would die for sure. But I can stand it. They can do with me what they want. You said you got a letter from Aunt Lizzie and she said that Ed wants to enlist. Well let him go but I think if he had any sense he would stay where he is. I don't care what I say about a fellow like that. Being he is only a kid he don't know any better but he got a lot to learn yet. I am satisfied. I am here and that is all there is to it but I had to be. One thing I hope is that Elza won't be drafted. I don't know why but I feel sorry for him if he has to go. How about Bill
? Did he get one of them questionnaires? I don't know if I told you or not but I think we will get them too. I didn't get a letter from any of you since last year. It is not very long but it seems as if it is. Well I must go and eat dinner and will try to write more this afternoon if I can think of anything worth writing. Well I have a little more to write now. The mail came in and I got three letters. One from you, one from Herb and Liz and the other one you can't guess. I couldn't guess and when I opened it and saw who it was from I was so surprised I near l y fell down. Who was it from but that dear little school marm. It was a long one and that isn't all she sent me some candy t oo but I didn't get them yet. So John Wecker is on his way across the pond. It seems like all of us will have to go anyway so what is the difference. Sooner or later - I think. Th i s all must come to pass as they say. About the well I didn't Walter Aamoth letter to Kittleson write it. I got to write it and he also wrote the one to the Farmer's Club. I sure wouldn't care if I could write like that but he is a school teacher. He sure is a fine fellow. He is from Twin Valley. So you think Fettings adopted Bill
. Well I wouldn't think they did but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Alice did. I had a cold about a week or two ago and it was a bad one. For a couple of nights I couldn't sleep hardly. One night I was up till three o'clock in the morning. As soon as I would lay down I had to cough but am all over it now and am feeling fine. I guess I am too slow to catch the measles. Herb said he was home alone to do the chores and he was a little scared of the broncos and thought he would play it safe around them. Well it's nothing like playing it safe but in this game I guess there is no place to play safe. I just don't have much to write. I don't think you would have much news if you had to stay in the store all the time with the same people. That is the way it is here. See the same ones every day so you can imagine how much we enjoy it and we are here nearly five weeks now. It gets pretty tiresome. And tell them all hello From Jack
Dear Sister - Camp Pike, Ark. Jan. 13, 1918
Received your letter yesterday. Did not hear from you for almost a week. It seemed longer. I know it keeps you pretty busy at the store so I will excuse you. The weather is colder than the duce here now. It rained Thursday and Friday. It was a regular Minnesota snow storm so the south isn't as warm as I thought it would be. I got a letter from Liz and she sent the films but there was only one that I wanted. Don't bother with the rest of them . I got the ones I took on the way up here. I'm going to send you a couple. I ordered 130 pictures. Everybody wanted some and of the train alone I got 54. I could have gotten again that many. One fellow offered me 25¢ for only one picture but I wouldn't sell him any. I was kind of cruel to him but I only have five for myself so I better keep them so I have some to send. I believe I could get 100 of the train alone and sell them all but I guess I won't send for any more because I don't know how long we are going to stay here. You say Art and Aunt Barbara were there . What is going to happen that they got her to go that far. Thought they wouldn't get her to go anywhere this time of year but such things can happen hey. I was on guard last night again and am on today. I will get off at one o'clock this afternoon so it isn't so bad. It lS 9 o'clock in the morning now and will go on at 11 and then through at 1. I got a letter from Art and he said Anton went to Wisconsin. Told me all the news around his way. I also got a letter from Elza. How does he feel about going? And the rest of them Bill
, Anton and Art F. are in first class too the way Liz wrote. Well I think they will be all right. I don't think they will have to cross the pond. I think it will be all over with before they have to go. I have to quit for awhile. My fingers are getting pretty stiff. Will write some more if I get around to it. 1:30 and am through with the guard but tomorrow I am in the kitchen again. Was there day before yesterday too but just as soon be there as out drilling. Have to quit for this time. Will write soon if I have anything to write about. From Jack
Camp Pike, Ark. Jan. 20,1918
Dear Sister Sunday night so may not couple of today or will write get around days. rather Sunday a letter or I to it for a It snowed yesterday again and we have about a foot of snow now. Wouldn't be surprised if it would snow tomorrow again. This sure is some country. I got a letter from Liz and Herb the other day. They said it was pretty cold there now. Well it wouldn't be right if it wouldn't be cold but I never thought that Arkansas ·was this cold. Anyway I thought it would be a little warmer. You say they saw in the paper that Wells was discharged. Well I guess he is. I saw him the other day but he didn't know for sure. Don't know when he will leave but may be almost any day now. We didn't all have an examination and don't think we will. They just happened to pick him out I guess. We got out of the pen Friday. I mean they lifted the quarantine so we are a little more free now. Makes it about 50% better. Not so lonesome now. That is how it happened that I saw Wells. They are short of coal here now so we have to cut wood. We were at it yesterday afternoon and the cutting alone wouldn't be bad but we have to carry it about a half mile. There are some big logs I tell you. Takes as many as sixteen to carry one. I don't know why they don't haul them over. They got enough mules and wagons here but suppose they think men are more plentiful. Yesterday we got new bed ticks and new straw in them. Believe me we didn't go very easy on the straw pile. We sure filled our ticks. Some look like they are about ready to roll off the bunks. Wed. Jan. 23 - Well I started writing this letter Sun. night and the lights went out before I got through. Monday night I went to the Y so couldn't write and last night I was sick or really all day yesterday. Am not feeling any to good now but guess by tomorrow I'll be all right. Hope so anyway. The weather is just fine out today. Just like spring but tomorrow it may be a snowstorm. You say it is too bad Liz can't print the pictures for me so I could make a little on them. Well the first bunch I got I charged 60¢ a do z. so ma de abou t 15¢ on a doz. but I didn't know I was making that much on them. I told them I wouldn't do it any cheaper so they can suit themselves about that . Now I ordered 233 more prints and 13 doz . of the train alone. I am room orderly today so I have it pretty easy. I slept most of the time today. Don't know what I will be doing tomorrow. Drilling I suppose. You say Clara Aarhus was staying in Borup now and you think that I used to like her. Not only used to but do yet. Ha Ha. Is Anton back yet? I got a letter from him when he was in Wisconsin. Guess he thought he saw some pretty big hills. We haven't heard anymore when we are going to leave or where but look for it almost any time now. This is some letter but it's the best I can do today. I can't see straight. I can't walk straight or nothing but hope I feel better tomorrow. I better quit or you may go to sleep before you get through reading this . Tell everybody hello from me. From Jack
Dear Sister, Camp Pike, Ark. Jan . 27, 1918
Sunday evening and guess I will try and write a letter . Ought to write aboui a half dozen today but nothing doing. We got our new rifles so we had to clean them a nd it is some job. I cleaned pretty near all day and haven't got it clean yet. I'm not going to clean it any better now for a day or two unless they make me. It rained nearly all day and -is still raining yet but suppose it will be a snow storm tomorrow. Well I don't care what it is but I can say this is some country but I'm getting used to it now. We are quarantined again. Was out only for about a weeK. That week just about all went uptown but me . I thought I would wait a couple of days longer and then go but I waited a 1 it tle too long . I guess it isn't much of a town anyway but I would like to go and have my picture taken. You say Johnnie and Albert Hamre were drafted and none passed. Well I . was thinking about them all the time. I was going to write to you and see if you could find out anything about them. I think they are lucky boys. Good for them. Didn't Elmer w. want to enlist last spring? I believe he did and what does he think about it now? What do the rest of them think? I mean Bill
and Elza and the rest of them. think of it you know order you sent me and Kittleson sent. I them cashed yet and long as we are so I think I will send and you can cash them. money what you want to have all I need for a While I that money that check haven't got can't as quarantined them home Do with the because I long time as much as yet. Don't spend quite I did at Camp Dodge. Well I am feeling pretty good now again but I sure was sick for a couple of days. How is everybody there? Does Jerome go to school? I bet he thinks it is pretty cold some mornings. Does he like to go? I suppose he would rather stay home. I didn't get to see Wells lately but he may be home for all I know. Believe me he is a happy boy and don't blame him a bit. I'd be the same. Haven't any more new so better quit for this time. From Jack
Dear Sister, Camp Pike, Ark. Jan. 30, 1918
Well I guess I will write a few lines this evening. Haven't much news but will just kill a little time. I was looking for a letter from you today but none came so I'll get it tomorrow if you wrote Sunday. The weather changed here now. It is getting pretty good. Just like spring only a little chilly in the night. Saw Larson the other day and he has to have an operation. I don't know what is the matter with him. We only had a few minutes at the hospital. He didn't like to go but guess he had to. Didn't see Wells since about a week or two ago. He may be home by this time. I took out insurance the other day. Took out $10,000 the limit and it costs a little over $6. a month. So I am more than alive. Ha Ha. Oh no I don't figure it that way but then I think it's better than not to be worth anything. What do you think? I have to work in the kitchen tomorrow again but I sooner do that than drill. Tomorrow we have muster. Have that the last of every month. We have to have our guns clean and our shoes shined. Its like inspection only a little more particular so I guess there will be a few in the wood pile Sat. afternoon. I got another sweater so I can save the one I got from the Farmer's Club. We all got one. I don't know if this letter is worth three cents but it will let you know that I am all O.K. But I was sick again yesterday. Went to the hospital and the Dr. marked me duty. But believe me I stayed inside. Didn't care what they would say. I guess they thought I was out drilling. Slipped one over on them again. Ha Ha. Must close. From Jack
Feb. 3, 1.918 Dear Sister, Sunday today so will write you a letter. Just wrote one to you the other day but will write one anyway. How is everybody down that way? Did you hear anymore when the next draft has to leave? So Elza is out of the first. Good for him. Wish none of them had. to go but suppose their time will come just the same as mine did. You say so many heard that I was coming home. Well you don't want to go by all you hear. I don't think anyone saw my name in the paper. I saw Wells name but mine wasn't there. There was a John Bertness from Elbow Lake and from this Co. I know him. He was a good fellow. That must be the name they saw. Wish it would be mine but no danger. I think I'll stay here till the finish but I'm not saying I'm not coming back. I think I am going over if we must and coming back too. The weather is just splendid here today. Just 1 ike spring. I guess the snow will be pretty near all gone or most of it anyway. I took out insurance the other day. I believe I told you about it. I put it in Ma's name. I didn't know so I thought I'd put it in her name first. I didn't see Gordon yet. He is a first class private. I wouldn't want the job. It is not very hard to get. There is one fellow here got it and he don't know any more than the rest of us. Only when a fellow gets that job he got the say over us. Then is when they get in bad. Everybody has it in for them first class privates and corporals. We are still quarantined but our time to get out is about the 14th if they don't find any more cases of measles or mumps. I guess they just want to keep us in so we can't go uptown but they don't bother me any. I don't care to go uptown. Yes I do. I want to get there once anyway. I'd like to buy a few things film for one. Can't get them any place in Camp. Had a letter from Sam Haaland the other day. He said he was in Class A-1 so I suppose he will have to go with the first bunch. I don't think he will have to stay any longer than he did the last but wish I could have as long a vacation as he had. Wouldn't care if I would have to go again then. I was at this letter since noon and now it is after supper. I don't know but I got the hardest time to write a letter since we came here than I ever had. Can't think of anything but write any old thing and call it a letter. You say Clara dreamed about me. Oh that makes me feel a lot better. I always knew she was a pretty nice girl. And you think the same. I knew you would if you would ever get to know her. Ha Ha. Well I guess I'll have to wash clothes either tonight or tomorrow night. Say if you have any of them pictures left of you and me and any to spare send me one. There is a fellow here wants one and guess I have to give him one if you have any left. He wanted the one I have but that is the only one so I didn't give it to him. I have a picture of three of us and will sent it. The one sitting on our shoulders is the one wants the picture. Will close for this time. From Jack
Feb. 7, 1918
Dear Sister, Received your letter today and also . the one from Liz. So Bill
went to Ada to be examined. Did he pass? · I hope not but suppose he will or know he will. I saw Gordon last · night. He was over here about a half hour so we had quite a talk. He said he hears from you and Liz quite often. He said he writes more regular then he did at Camp Dodge. And you still hear about me coming home. I'd like to find out where that got started because I didn't hear a thing about it. Didn't even have an examination so don't go by what you hear. I know it isn't true so don't look for me. You ask what you should send me. I'll tell you what you can do. You can send me some film if you can get any. I didn't have any since I got here only what I had along. The quarantine was to be lifted today but another fellow got sick so we will be in for another 14 days. I'm going to send a dollar so you can buy film if you ever get to Ada . You were talking about buying that piano. Well if you want to go ahead. I can help you out with some money if that is whats stopping you. I don't know how much but will be some anyway. Well I am feeling pretty good now again but there for about two weeks I wasn't feeling very good but had to drill just the same. I fooled them twice. I didn't go out at all for two days. I made up my mind I wouldn't go out. Didn't care what they would do with me but they never said anything. Guess they didn't know that I stayed in. Saw Wells the other night but not to talk to but know he is here yet. Soon time for the lights to go out. Write some more letters like the last one. It was so good. Oh they all are as far as that goes. Must close. From Jack
Camp Pike Feb. 14, 1918
Dear Sister. Am room orderly again today so have all kinds of time. We mop up the floor but that don't take but a half hour. Then only sweep after dinner and then we are done for all day. I guess we got summer here now. It makes me feel like I ought to be there. I was uptown last night but it isn't much of a town. Oh it is more than Ada or Borup but that don't take much. I had my picture taken. Don't know if it will be any good or not but then you can't expect very much of me. I suppose you heard ahout Larson by this time. We heard here that he died but we can't believe all we hear. If he did you surely would have heard by this time. I saw him at the hospital the same day that he was going to have his operation. He looked just as good then as he ever did only he didn't want to have that operation. If you didn't hear anything about him don't tell anyone that the Larsons will get ahold of it. Can only believe half of what you hear. I IlO\·l. can They get film for the camera got some over at the Y.M.C.A. so if you didn't send any yet you don't have to bother. I heard yesterday that a couple of us were going to be transferred or maybe ten of us. I am one of them I guess. Don't know wheie we are going but suppose we will know when we get there. I just had a little nap. Slept about an hour so you see a room orderly hasn't got it very hard. We are quarantined again. Was out just five days. That beats everything. I was going to tell you not to write till you hear from me again but I guess we will be in this camp for about ten days anyway. How is everybody at home and in Borup? Suppose the weather is pretty cold there yet but spring will be coming pretty quick. Tell everybody hello. From Jack
I guess I can write a few lines more. We are transferred for sure. There are ten of us. Each one of us got three pair of shoes and all kinds of other junk but we don't know for sure where we are going. Have an idea but am not sure so won't say any more about it.
Dear Sister, Camp Pike, Ark. Feb. 23, 1918
Received your letter yesterday and also two others - one from Liz and one from Fan. I will answer yours first. That picture of Herb is pretty good. I sure like to get pictures so don't be afraid you will send too many. Even if they are · not very good send them anyway. I had mine taken uptown about a week and a half ago but haven't got them yet. I saw Wells today and he is going uptown this afternoon so I told him to get them. I got the Index today and read about all there is in it only I didn't see if Bill
bought any license or not but suppose he didn't have any then yet. Say you know I feel proud of my brother Bill
and also of my sister-in-law, don't you? You tell them they better have their picture taken and I want one. If they don't I won't give them any of my wedding pictures. Ha Ha. Sat. afternoon so don't have to do anything now. Yesterday we didn't do anything either as it was Washington's birthday. Well we are still here and haven't heard any more about going where or when so I don't know any more. When we got our shoes and the other things we didn't get all we should have had so the Lieutenant said we would get the rest before we would go across. Maybe in N.Y. he said. Then we asked him where we were going and he said we are booked out for overseas service. Later we found out that he don't know any more about it then we do. So don't worry. I don't think we are going now but I suppose if the war isn't over in a year or so we will have to go over and finish it. I think it will be peace before that. When the Lieutenant told us that we were to go across well it didn't bother me a bit. It seemed like I felt better. They couldn't scare me if they told me I had to go tomorrow. If or when the time comes don't you worry about me. I am going over if I must and I am corning back again. I know I am so I'll be horne when the war is over or before so don't worry about me. I feel just as happy as I ever did and I can hardly wait till they send us out of here. I feel like we are going to strike it lucky and can't help but think that. I don't want you to worry. Just feel happy like I do because I am all right. I am here to take care of myself and I sure am doing that. Uncle Sam looks after me once in a while. I can't forget that. I will write you a letter again when I hear more about it. You must have had some nice weather there if the snow is all off the ground. Suppose it will be spring there soon. We are sure having summer here. Couldn't be beat only the last two days it was a little chilly. The other day it rained and we were on guard. Believe me we got wet too and then in the evening it was pretty cold so we didn't have a very nice time but that's nothing in the Army . So Uncle Paul is going to make a house out of the barber shop or pool hall or whatever they call it. You say Fan and Albert are going to live there. That will be a pretty good place right on Broadway in such a big town. Well we are quarantined yet but I figure on going out in the woods and take some pictures if the sun comes out. Oh yes I said I was going to send some money home. Well we can't go over to the Y.M.C.A. so can't send it now. When you said about buying the piano I know you didn't want me to pay anything on it but just the same I have some to spare now so you can make a little use of it. Just as good invested in a piano as in my pocket or in the bank don't you think so? Well how is everybody down there? How is Ma? Is her cold getting any better? I am feeling fine. Tell everybody hello from me. I ought to write to Susie too. Must close now and hope to hear from you soon. From Jack
P.S. Tell Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Ambuehl I congragulate them. Don't know if I spelled that word right but guess you know what I mean. Dear Sister, Camp Pike, Ar1-::.
Mar. 3, 1918
Receivd your letter yesterday and the flashlight. It sure is a dandy. I got a letter from you the other day so I didn't expect one yesterday. I got the film too. We were pretty busy last week and will be this week too. We were on the rifle range. We have to get up at 4:45 in the morning and don't come in until 6 or 6:30 in the evening. Don't feel much like writing then. Bed feels better. It is about five miles out there so walking the two ways makes a fellow a little tired. Jt is a lot of fun to shoot and I am doing better than J thought J would. The first day I got 8 bullseyes out of ten shots. The next day I got five out of five but we had all kinds of time to shoot. Yesterday we had to shoot ten shots a minute. On the 200 yd. range I got 6 out of ten but on the 300 yd. range I didn't get any. Pretty good. Ha Ha. I think I can do better next time. Gee the weather is fine. Can't be beat. I got a letter from Art today and the way he says they must be using their car already so the roads must be pretty good. Saw Wells the other night. He will be sent home pretty soon. He don't do any drilling anymore. Just does a little work in the kitchen. I guess he was on the rifle range one day. Guess they don ' t want him there anymore. Got my pictures but didn't get at sending any yet. They are pretty good only I didn't have my hair cut for a long time so it looks pretty bushy. It is too late now to change that. We didn't hear any more about being transferred. Maybe they changed their minds. I should worry. I don't think about it but if we should happen to leave from . here I will write and let you know right away. We are still quarantined but we are getting used to it now. I have a picture of the rifle range I will send one of these days. It isn't very plain. That is you can't see the targets very good but you can see the numbers. The numbers are just below the targets so we each have a different one to shoot. Sometimes we shoot the wrong one so that don't count us anything. This is the best I can do for today so will have to close. From Jack
Camp Pike, Ar1c Mar. 9, 1918
Got your letter the other day and also the Index. I just about read it all. I got the pictures sent at last. I sent one big one and four small ones. The big one is for Ma, and one for you, one for Fan, one for Liz, and one to give to Torskes. Haven't enough to give each one so will give it to the house. Ha Ha. Where is Susie? Is she is Fargo yet? I have to send her a picture too and then I'll have one picture left for me. If I can think of someone else to send it to I guess I'll send it. If you know of anyone that wants one tell me about it and I'll send them one. (I know whoever sees it will want one. Just look who I am. Ha Ha.) Sun. today and I just got back. Was out for a walk. Went all over . the Camp and figure on taking another walk this afternoon. Will take the camera along. Had my dinner now and when I came back the fellows had hidden my writing stuff. Didn't find my good pencil so this will have to do. Don't know how long I can write until they come around and bother me a gain. They think it is a lot of fun. I guess it is for them but isn't very much for me. There is a whole bunch out playing ball. The weather is just fine for that . Heard that a whole bunch left this Camp today but don't know where they went. They didn't even know but thought they were going to N.C . Camp Green I think. I suppose that will be where we go too. Haven't heard anything about it. I saw Gordon the o t her night but didn't have very much time to talk to him. I was working in the kitchen so was pretty busy when he came by. Last night I washed clothes till 11 o'clock so that takes some of my time. I wash about twice a week but last night I washed some for a couple of other fellows so I am getting to be quite a wash woman. Woman - listen to that. Time to close. Did Jerome get that postcard I sent him. How is everybody there? Tell them all hello . From Jack
Camp Pike, Ark. Mar. 14, 1918
Dear Sister, I also got the your letter today and Index. Saw that 65 more were going to be examined soon. All those in Class I. Is Bill
in Class I? I suppose if he is he will have to go too. Saw in the papers too that the farm boys were going to be sent home for the summer but guess we aren't figured farmers any more but it sure would be nice. Saw Gordon one night and he said he was going to stay here but I heard he left. Saw Wells day before yesterday and he figured on going home that day but saw him again last night. He was up to the hospital and they told him as soon as they got his papers he could go. Well I am not doing anything today. I'm not feeling very good. Was over to the hospital this morning. I don't know what's the matter but think I'm getting the mumps. Ha Ha. So if I have them I'll be in the hospital for 10 or 15 days. I am writing with a blanket over me to keep warm. It's quite windy today and that wind gives me the chills. I suppose you will have the pictures by this time. They would be all right only I ought to have had my hair cut. Well I didn't write very much but I don't feel very good so I guess I will quit for this time. Will write again in a few days. From Jack
Dear Sister : Camp Pi lee 1 Ark . Mar. 16 1 1918
Must let you know that I am getting along fine with the mumps. I didn't go to t h e Hospital for fear we would be quarantined for another 14 or 20 days so are trying to keep it to ourselves and not let the Dr. ' s know about it. I sure am getting fat or look that way now. I guess I didn't do anything since Wed. afternoon and can't eat very much either because my jaws are rather sore. Guess I'll be over it in a few days. Oh yes and the best of it all was the other day. I was pretty hungry by dinner time. I was going down to eat and one fellow wanted to be good and said he would bring my dinner up to me so I should stay on my bed so I did. (He sure is a good fellow in that way and will do whatever a fellow tells him to and even a little more.) Dinner time passed and he never showed up so I told one fellow to look him up. He did and asked him what he had done with my dinner and just li k e the good fellow he was he forgot all a bout it. Pretty good. Ha Ha. ~o I didn't get anything un t il supper . But then without me knowing anything about it he went down in the kitchen and asked the mess Sergeant to fry me an egg and pretty soon he came up here with my supper. Two eggs and sauce so I had a pretty good supper anyway. Gee them eggs tasted so good. Well I guess that is enough about the mumps. Can't feel that I got them only see that my cheeks are swollen. Last night John C., Gordon, Wells and Stark were over here to see me. The first time the five of us were together since we were in the Army. I asked them what was going to happen that we were all together. It seemed so good to see them all and we had quite a talk. Saw Wells today. They sure are slow about sending him home but he don't care. He don't have to drill or do anything. You say the camp looks to be a nice place. Well to tell the truth it doesn't look so bad. I don't know if it is much worse than any other place as far as the looks is concerned. The climate sure don't seem to agree with us very good but then it could be worse. Can't expect it to be like Camp Dodge because I believe that is the best Camp on the map. You say if you weren't so tied up in the store you would come down to see me. That is very nice of you but before I would ask you to do that I'll run chances on getting a furlough. I haven't tried it yet but if I ever do I don't know how long I would get. What is the matter with Susie? She didn't write for about a month and I think I wrote to her last. Don't know for sure. Suppose she is waiting for me to write and I'm waiting for her. It's pretty hard for me to write now the way I feel. How is the weather there? Is it a sign of spring yet or do you have snowstorms yet? We sure are having summer here. Haven't any more to write about so will close for this time. Tell Jerome he better write to me or I'll quit writing to him. Ha Ha. From Jack
Camp Pike, 1918
Mar . 2 0 , 1 9 1 8 Will write you a letter tonight . Haven't any news tho. Wrote it all in the other letter I guess but I don't do anything now days so its a little lonesome. Didn't do anything since a week ago today. The First Sergeant had me on the list to work tomorrow so I asked him about it. I told him I thought it was too soon so he took me off. Guess I don't have to do anything this week yet and it just suits me fine. We had a Divisional Parade here a week ago Mon. There was about 25,000 soldiers in it and talk about all the spectators that were there to watch us. I bet there were about 50,000 of them. I never seen such a crowd in all my life. I got a picture of our Co. in the parade while we were marching by. It isn't a very good one. Its too small but I can find myself on it. I saw John C. last night. He was over here for a while and I guess Wells is here yet. I don't believe they will ever send him home. You said I should keep 'that picture I have left. Well I haven't any place to keep it and don't know what to do with it. I got a letter from Susie and she thought that picture was just fine. I'll say myself it wouldn't be so bad if I'd had my hair cut. That is about the longest it was since I am in the Army. Today it is just six months since I left. I guess tomorrow they are going to lift the quarantine. We don't get quarantined for mumps any more so we may get loose after all. Did you go to that surprise on Bill
and Alice? Suppose you had a good time or hope so anyway. I figured on going myself but thought I better not go while I have the mumps. Ha Ha. Oh yes it was too far anyway. I had to quit writing when the mail came in. I asked one fellow if there was any majl for me and he said yes there is about 25 letters. I thought he was just fooling so I went down and looked. So I got one, two and three and still kept on getting them so I had to start counting. When I got all I had sixteen. Oh joy. And then to read them. Well I got through before dinner and figured on writing more of this letter but I was so tickled over them I laid on my bunk and went to sleep. Slept pretty near all afternoon. So now I have to write this evening and haven't a very good light but will have to do. Well I started this letter yesterday and today is my birthday. I don't believe I will get it finished tonight either. It's about time for the lights to be turned out so I better ring off for now and write more tomorrow. So good night.
Mar. 22 Friday today, in the morning. It is raining and thundering. It let up a little now tho'. Well where did I leave off last night. We're out again. I mean we aren't quarantined anymore. How good that sounds. That letter Jerome wrote is pretty good. I believe I think more of that letter than any of them. Tell him that anyway. And Ma always said she couldn't write but she done just fine and am glad to hear she feels better about my going. That is what I want. Don't worry about me. I'm all right. Oh yes the cake is just fine I'll tell the world. Only the more I eat the more I want. Ha Ha. I never thought that I had a Brother that was married and a little Sister in law so I guess I'll have to send them the picture I have left. I wrote them a letter last week but never thought about the picture. I won't have drilling this week I'll go out Mon. I sick now but stay in to do any but I guess am not a bit anyway. You asked what the mailman said about me getting so many letters. Well he didn't say much but he guessed it right away. He said I must have a birthday and I told him thats what it is and he laughed. This is about all I have to write now so must close. Started raining again to beat the band. From Jack
P.S. Did they trade the Buick off for a Dodge or didn't they make a bargain yet? It took me three days to write this letter so if it takes that long to answer all the rest of them I am afraid the last ones will have to wait a long long time.
Dear Sister, Camp Pike, Ark . Mar. 27, 1918
Well I didn't write to you since Fri. so guess I better get busy. First I'll tell you the reason I didn't write sooner. Well I was flat on my back since Sat. Found out that me and the mumps didn't agree very good after all. I feel some better today but am not able to walk around very much yet. Don't feel very strong either. Guess you can see it on the scribbling I am doing. I wasn't to see a Dr. either and was sick two weeks now. Was better off here than in the Hospital. The Clerk was up here yesterday to see if I wanted to go to the Hospital and I told him no. This is enough about the mumps and I had enough of them too I'll tell the world. Well that bunch that was transferred here about a month or two ago are going to leave tomorrow. I would have went too but being I was sick they took me off the list. I wish I wouldn't be sick and I could go too but no chance for me to go now. It seems every time I write I say something about moving but this time I'll say we will be out of here by next Christmas. Ha Ha. I don't feel like writing any more so will have to quit for this time. I am all played out already. I will send the check and money order with this letter because I never get a chance to get them cashed and they are beginning to look pretty shabby. Excuse the poor scribbling. From Jack
Dear Sister: Camp Pike, Ark. April 2, 1918
Received your letter yesterday and also the box of candy and must thank you for it . Well I don't do any drilling yet but guess I'll go out tomorrow . It is three weeks since I did any drilling so I am rested up pretty good now. Was room orderly two days now. So Pa, Ma, and Jerome are going to Canada. When did they make up their minds to go and how long do they figure on staying or don't they know yet? And the Buick don't work. I think Paul better head it for the river and see if it will run then. Tell him not to get a Ford or he won't have room on the road for it because there are so many of them. Wonder if they have any over in France. I guess I'll have to go and find out. The weather is just fine here only a little too warm. Everything is green now. Things look better than they did at first. Wells left after all. He went yesterday morning. (Good for him . ) I and him was together the night before and pretty near all Sunday afternoon. In the forenoon I was over to the Y to Sunday School. gay we got a good Chaplain. I like to hear him. He is signed to this regiment and I'll say we sure got a good one. When we were quarantined he used to come over here and preach a little in the evening and sing a couple of songs. I suppose everybody is busy in the field now. I wouldn't say nothing if I could be there for springs work but no chance. I saw John c. last night and he said if he had the money he would get a furlough. I don't know if I could get one or not but I know I have the money. I feel like this. I don't want to come home until I am free but I may change my mind. What do you . think about it? I guess we can't get more than 15 days and that isn't very much being it is so far. There are some getting them but for my part I am puzzled. If I could get longer I would take it. I just happened to think of Carl and Oscar Gysler or whatever their names are. Are any of them Dear Sister: Camp Pike, Ark. April 8, 19 ~B Received your letter today and am going to answer it this evening. What do you think of my paper? If I only could write better. So Paul got a new Buick. Say he got a car now. I was afraid he might trade it for a Ford. Saw Gordon last night. He was over here and I was gone so when I came back and they said he wanted to see me I went over there. Then we went for a walk. The six rolls of film I sent you when you get them finished send me the film too. I have some that I want to give to the fellows that are on the pictures. Send them as soon as you can. The other film I send you can keep but take good care of them. I wouldn't sell them for ten dollars. The weather is pretty good again but nights are chilly. We sure had a rain here the other day. It started raining Fri. noon and just poured down until Sat. noon so we had enough water. It don't stay long. On our drill grounds it is dry in about an hour after the rain. I was out in the woods the other day and took some more pictures. I tell you it is just lovely in the woods since everything got green. Will ring off and write soon again. Tell everybody hello from me. From Jack
Dear Sister: Camp Pike, Ark. April 12, 1918
Was expecting a letter from you today but nothing doing. Well I guess I'll be saying good-bye to Camp Pike in the morning. Got everything packed up and all ready to board the train. Don't know for sure where we are going but will write as soon as I get there. If you didn't send the films yet don't send them here. I guess you know that without me telling you. Ha Ha. I sent some junk home this evening. A blanket and that Red Cross sweater and other articles too numerous to mention. Also sent two pictures but I forgot to look where I was on it. I think I am the 24th man (Man listen to that) from the left or somewhere in that neighborhood. It is pretty hard to find me. They aren't very plain. They were taken at the 87th Divisional parade where there were about 25,000 in it. Some parade I can say. Saw Gordon today but only talked about five minutes. We were hauling rock and happened to run across him. Didn't have time to see him this evening. I ha~e a couple of pictures here I took that day we were out in the woods but they did a poor job of finishing them. I am feeling pretty good over this move but to tell the truth I liked this Camp pretty good since the trees began to get green. I guess I'll have to quit. Am in a hurry. Have to get up about 5 o'clock in the morning . So good-night. Tell everybody hello. From Jack
Camp Greene, N.C. April 15, 1918
Dear Sister: Well where am I? Way down in N. Carolina. We left Camp Pike Sat. morning about 9 o'clock and got here this morning about 3 or 4. It sure was some ride and talk about the country we went through. It sure was nice. This Camp is pretty good. We in tents. Eight in each and there are 300 in this Its the Casual Co. No.1 but sleep tent Co. don't write me any letters because we will be moved almost any day. That is just in some other Co. so I can't give you my address for maybe a week or two. We are quarantined for 4 days or a week now and if any of us get sick we may be quarantined for a week or more. I guess I will finish this letter today. I was too tired to write more last night. It's raining today. Not very fast yet but guess it will get to high speed pretty soon. Did you from Camp get that box I sent Pike. The blanket wasn't very clean but it was too good to throw away so I thought I would send it home. I was working in the kitchen yesterday and it sure is a snap compared to Camp Pike's kitchens. We went through 7 or 8 states coming down here. Ark. Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Miss. S. Carolina and here. They all looked about alike. We haven't done any drilling yet and don't think we will until we get out of quarantine. We can go to the canteen but not any farther. As long as we can go that far its all right. Haven't any more to write about for this time. Will write as soon as I get settled down. From Jack
Postcard mailed April 23,1918
. Postmarked Newark, N.J.
Dear Sister: We noon Got left Camp Greene yesterday and just went through Phil. this card from the Red Cross so guess I'll write a few lines and mail it along the line somewhere. This is about all I have to write this time and don't know when I can write again. I am in the Machine Gun Co. B. lOth Battalion. Am feeling fine. Hope you all are the same. So Good-bye. Jack
Camp Mills, N. Y. April 25, 1918
Dear Sister and all, Guess I'll write this letter to you all. Maybe won't get a chance to write you another for a long time. I am at Long Island, N.Y. now. Got here Tue. about 5 P.M. and the reason I didn't write at Camp Greene was that I couldn't. Will try to get this letter mailed anyway and that is all I can do. I sent my suit case home from Camp Greene because we couldn't take any along. I also sent $35.00 in a letter. This part of the country is a little colder than where we carne from. I reckon it is something like Minn. I now am and since I having Tomorrow kitchen. in the Machine Gun Co. didn't do any drilling left Camp Pike so we are it pretty easy now. I have to work in th e Don't know if you can read this or not but it is the best I can do. I have only a box to write on and its only about 6 inches wide and ten long sci it isn't getting haven't have to more. very big. Well it is pretty dark and we any lights so guess I'll close. Wish I could write One thing I want to say is don't you worry about me. I am all right and take everything the way it comes. Always will and always did. And I am not alone. Who is with me? Oh the Lord is with me so I should worry when I have Him. Can't tell all I want to but I sure feel safe. Will write again as soon as I can. Must close for this time. Its so dark I can't see the lines. So be good to your self and tell them all to do the same. So will I so good-night. From Jack
The airplanes are as common here as Ford cars there. 7 or 8 in the air at one time. Didn't get this mailed yesterday but hope I'll get a chance today. Haven't any more news so bie-bye. Camp Mills, L.I.N.Y. May 1, 1918
Dear Sister, Will write you another letter. Wrote one Sun. but suppose you don't care if I'd write every day if I could. News is rather scarce but will do the best I can. I haven't a very good place to write so I wouldn't be surprised if you couldn't read it. How is everything around there and at home? Hope it is all right. How does the Buick work? Fine I bet. Say isn't Jerome's birthday the 8th? I just happened to think of that today. If I can get a pass to go to town this evening I am going to send him something. Not sure I'll get a pass. Well we are drilling again and it's pretty hard because I didn't drill any for about three weeks but will be broke in again before long. I am in the regular army now. No more N.A. Most of them here are enlisted men so they call it the Regular Army but they can't drill any better than we did. The weather is pretty good here only it gets cold at night. Suppose it's about like there or maybe a little colder here being it is so close Only 14 miles to they tell me. to the water. the Atlantic Saw quite a few of the fellows from Co. M. Sun. and they are scattered all around too. I had a pass Sun. so I went all over before I found them. It's soon time to go out and drill so guess I have to close. I'll write more this evening if I have time. If you want to write my address is lOth M.G. Bt. Co B. Camp Mills, L.I.N.Y. From Jack
P.S. I can't get a pass this evening so I won't get to town but will send this letter with someone else to mail it. Don't know how long we will be here. We are here longer already than we expected to be. I sent my camera home too. They said we couldn't take anything along but I sure miss it.
France June 17, 1918
Dear Folks, Received your two letters today and sure was glad to hear from you. It seemed almost like a year since I heard from you last. I suppose it seems that way to you too. I am glad to hear you got that junk I sent home from Came Greene and also the money. Are you making any use of the camera yet? You say Ma, Pa, and Jerome are going to Canada. I suppose they are there by this time. And Bill
and Alice are working at Mattisons. How does he like it? Is he up town as often as I was? I suppose he isn't being he is married. You say Philip is over here too and he saw Victor. Well he had better luck than I did. I haven't seen any of my old friends yet but never can tell when I might run across one. I like it here pretty good. Always feel happy and hope you feel the same. So you have a piano now. I bet it plays a little different than the old organ. Don't you worry. I'm going to be there to play it. Does Paul use his Buick very much? How did he like getting it in the mud ? anymore to write about .for this . time. Don't worry about me. I am feeling fine. Couldn't feel any better. So take care of yourself and tell everyone else to do the same. So will I. With Best Love to you all from Jack
W. G.M. John P. Ambuehl lOth M.G. Bn. Co. B A. E. F. July 26, 1918
Dear Sister and all: Will drop you a few lines to let you know I am well. I got the two letters you sent me. I also got the pictures. They sure are good. You notice the picture of me and that little goat. I got a pretty big jaw. I had the mumps when that picture was taken. And too. heard Bill
is Gee I was t hat. I in in the Army now surprised when I never thought he would be that soon. And Art Fetting isn't left there. is in too. I bet there very many young fellows around there anymore is If you think of it when you write again send me Bill
's address and all the boys addresses you know. You say there are some of them over here already. Gee I would like to see them. When I sent my suit case home I sent all my pictures. I never thought how much I'd miss them but I had to do it in a hurry. You say the folks went to Canada and thought about corning horne already and they weren't horne when Bill
left. I haven't anymore to write about for th i s . time. Don't worry about me. I am feeling fine. Couldn't feel any better. So take care of yourse l f and tell everyone else to do the same. So will I . With Best Love to you all from Jack
W.G.M. John P. Ambuehl lOth M.G. Bn. Co. B A. E. F. France, A.E.F. Aug. 17, 1918
Dear Sister and all - Received your letter the other day. Was glad to hear from you and hear you are all well. You say you haven't heard from me yet. I have written several letters and know you should have got them by this time but expect they got delayed somewhere. Yesterday I got that Cablegram and didn't know what to think when I saw it but was glad that was all that was in it~ Nevertheless I hope you received my letter by this time. I just about know how you feel but don't worry you've got them coming. Well we have been up to the front for the last four weeks and it was pretty lively up there. We are back for a rest now and we sure appreciate it. The weather is fine here and everybody is busy harvesting. The fields look pretty good to me. When I see all those shocks I feel just like going and setting up a few. Are they all through harvesting over there? Maybe will be when you get this letter. Will write again in a few days. Hello to everybody. With Love to all from Jack
O.K. S.A.R. France Aug. 2 5, 1918
Dear Sister and all - Will write you just a few lines to let you know I am well and hope you all are the same. I wrote a letter to Lizzie today and wrote all the news to her so I won't have very much to say in this one. How is everything over there. Expect they are all through harvesting now. I had a letter from Art Fetting and he said he sees Bill
about every day. Said they expected to leave there almost any day now. I suppose you hear from him quite often. Well I haven't any more to write for this time. Hope these few lines will find you all well. With Best Love to you all, From Jack
Pvt. John P. Ambuehl Co. B. lOth M. G. Bn. A.E.F. c.c. Morgan 2nd Lt. lOth MG Bn.
THE REST OF THE STORY This was learned through other correspondence.
LETTERS FROM BILL
Camp Lewis, Wash. June 10, 1918
Dear Sister, Guess I better answer your letter. Got it yesterday and one from Alice . Have not much to write about. The same old story every day. We don't get out much as we are quarantined yet for another week or two. We were vaccinated and didn't know it until the other day. The first day we got here they gave us two scratches on the left arm and a shot in the right. We call it a shot. Anyway they ran a needle in our arm about an inch and shot some kind of medicine in our arm. They get kind of sore and stiff. Don't bother to amount to anything. Some fellows get sick and some faint before they get it. Got another shot day before yesterday. There were all kinds of sick men around here. Two of them were sick again today. Didn't bother Art and me very much. We will get another next week. There are four fellows here that know Uncle Martin real well and Joseph J. who worked for Martin H. the winter I was up in the woods. He used to go rabbit hunting with us. There is always something 9oing on here. We are at the Y. M. C.A. building. Will be here for some time yet. There are about three hundred men in here. Well we are getting . along fine. Get enough to eat and have good beds . Sleep on cots. We played ball today . I played one inning and then I umpired the rest. We were all poor players on account of our arms. I took some pictures on the way out here and they are pretty good. Will send you some as soon as I get them. Just had one printed of each. I sold pictures for $8.20 the other day and today I took a dozen. They all want some taken. I send them to Tacoma to have them finished. Just takes a couple of days. I am sure I can sell pictures for another $10. _ when I get the rest of them. I charge ten cents each. It cost me five cents each to have them printed . May not cost so much if I take so many - And you didn't hear from Jack yet. There can't be anything wrong or you would of heard. They keep good track of the men . Anyway they do here . The fellows aren't allowed to play cards for money here at the Y. M.C. A. but do it on the sly. Art and I didn't touch a card and aren't going to. Guess I will quit for this time. Wrote to Alice last night. Guess I will just write to her after this. It is too hard work for me to write so much. She can write to you or tell you the news when she sees you. Suppose she will stay with you when the folks go. If you can't read this let me know and I will write better next time. I am getting to be quite a letter writer. I take paper and pencil and scribble just as fast as I can. Hate to write so I hurry. There are a bunch of fellows singing again tonight. There are some pretty good singers in this bunch. There were twenty five men from Tacoma here last night to sing for us. Answer soon. From Bill
Co. 18 5th Btn. 166 Depot Brig. Camp Lewis, Wash.
P.S. Alice sent me the pictures we took at Crookston. Pretty good for the first ones. Guess it is a good camera and I'm glad I got a good one .
Camp Kearney, Calif. July 4, 1918
Dear Sister Well here goes for a letter to you. Have not much to write about. They keep us pretty busy now days. This is the first Fourth of July I ever spent like this and hope it will be the last one. Just had dinner and Art is here again. Was here all forenoon. Guess we will take some pictures for pass time. Most of the fellows are up town. They have quite a town about a half mile from here. I suppose you heard from Jack by this time. There are train loads of men corning and going almost every day. I suppose the folks are horne. Write and tell me all the news. I bought another pillow top. Would like to give it to Alice but should give it to Ma. I sent two to Alice already. Guess I will send this one to her too and if she wants the three I will send Ma another one. Wish Alice would stay at Borup. Well guess I better quit. The fellows got back and are talking so much I can't think. As long as Alice is there she can tell you the news. Wish someone would go to the bank and get Alice about $15 or $20. She will get $60 from here. I think in a month or so. From Bill
Dear Sister Camp Kea rny July 16, 1918
Just got through reading your letter and will answer it now. Just got back from the range. We are learning how to shoot in a hurry. Was out to the range every day for a week and shot 60 or 70 shots every day. Today we only shot 20. Went out early this morning. It sure is tiresome to lay around all day but is better than drilling. It isn't as hot out here as I thought it would be. I don't think it is as hot as right there in Minnesota. There is always a cool breeze. I didn't get an application for a furlough yet. Art got his a long time ago. Don't know if it will do any good. There are so many getting them but it is always a chance. We don't get our mail regular. I got three letters from Alice yesterday. Didn't get any from her today. May get them in bunches again. You ought to see the men that are here now. There are eighty more in our Co. There are about 250 in all. There are train loads corning every day. The way they talk around here we will be moving soon but don't know where. I have heard so much different talk that I don't go by anything I hear any more. I hope you heard from Jack by this time. There can't be anything wrong or you would of heard. They keep awful good track of the men. There is a fellow here got a letter from his brother in France. The way he writes they can hardly write unless they get to a Y.M.C.A. and it is pretty hard to get there sometimes. I suppose Jack wouldn't write very often and mail gets lost pretty easy some times coming across. Well I insured for $10,000. Did that already at Camp Lewis. I signed it all to Alice. I didn't know just how to do it so I thought I could figure it out later. Can always change it. Now when it comes to figure it out I am stuck again. You better write and tell me what you think about it. I just don't know how I should do it and have nobody to talk it over with. If anything would happen to me whatever Alice would get would be paid in payments at about $55. a month. I guess the other all at one time. I haven't been thinking about this very much. I don't expect anybody to get any of this insurance but a fellow can never tell. Well I will have to quit. It is eight o'clock and I got to clean my rifle and clean up around here a little and write a few lines to Alice. Answer soon. From Bill
Dear Sister Camp Kearney Jul y 21, 1918
As it is Sunday and I have nothing to do will write you a few lines. This army life is getting so old to me that I hate t e -r i t a-eo ut- i t-.- I t - i s---:j-u s t th-e same thing over all the time. They used to be right after us but have a snap now days. Some days we hardly do anything. They have so many new men here now so they are busy with them. That gives us a rest. There are about 265 men in our Co. now. One hundred and twenty came last week from Camp Lewis. They have all the companies filled up now and that means we won't be here long. We don't know when, where, or how we are going. You know we are pretty close to the ocean here. We had quite a bit of practice with our rifles. Was out to the range every day for about a week and shot from si x ty to eighty shots a day. That was pretty hard on a fellow's shoulder but didn't bother me very much. There is one fellow in this tent got a black and blue shoulder. Was pretty bad too for a few days. He is ready for another round pretty soon. I guess the rest of us all qualified. They think we are ON ACTIVE SERVICE with the AMERICAN EXPIDITIONARY FORCE
Oct. 5, 1918
Dear Sister, Well I guess I had better write a few lines to you this evening. I would have written before if I would have had a chance. We have been moving from one place to another for the last month and writing paper has been pretty scarce. It is almost a month now since Art and I got parted. I got put into another company and have been moving ever since. Landed in the hospital about a week ago and that's where I am now . Only have the flu and am almost well again. Don't know how long I will be here. We are in quarantine so I suppose we will be here a few days more. This would be all right but it is so lonesome. There are about 50 fellows in the building but they are all strangers to me. I don't know if I will get back to my company or not. I am so far from them now but I hope I do. Some fellows I know got put in that company when I did. Four of them were in the same tent I was 1n Camp Kearney so they seem like old timers. I haven't had any mail for a month and it is hard to tell when I will get it now. I am sure there is mail at my company for me but they keep on moving. That is what we were doing when I left. The hike was too much for me when I had the flu. I wrote a letter to Alice the 15th of Sept. and about the 23rd they handed it back to me. It got damp and sealed so they wouldn't send it. I sure was disappointed as it was about a month since I had written to anyone. Then I didn't have any paper to write. It is pretty hard to write anyway when we moved from one place to another. I didn't see a Y.M.C.A. for a long time. I suppose you have heard from Jack by this time. Art wrote to him but about the time we would have had an answer we started moving so I don't know any more than before. I have been wondering a whole lot about him lately. We get newspapers every day now and the news looks pretty good. This war can't end any too soon for us. The weather is just fine here in the daytime but the nights are kind of cool. If I stay here another few days I will write again. From Bill
Nov. 5 , 19 18
Dear Sister, Will write just a few lines to let you know that I am well and getting along all right. I am at a replacement camp now. Have been here over a week and expect to leave for my company any time. I didn't get any mail for over two months and don't know when I will get it but expect a whole bunch when I do get it. Hope the news will all be good. I am awful anxious to hear from Jack. Everybody has been strange to me since I left my company until yesterday. Alfred Voje came here. He was in my squad when we left Ada. His home is four miles north of Johnson's Mill not very far from our place but I never knew him before. We are awful anxious to get the newspapers now days. The news looks good. I hope this war will end soon . I haven't seen any of the real fight yet but was in reserve and that is close enough for me. I am satisfied if they quit now. There are got sick. We quite a few fellows had kind of bad lveather. We just sleep in That is Guess I try and It was cold and rainy. had our small tents to and on the wet ground. where I caught my cold. was lucky at that: Wi l l write again before long. From Bill
Co. G 128 Inf. A.P.O. 734 American Ex. Force
LETTER TO JACK
Written by Elsie THE DAY THE ARMISTICE WAS SIGNED, Borup, Minn. Nov. 11, 1918
Is it really true we have "Peace" at last? How good it sounds! We heard rumors a few days ago and today we got the news. All the business places are closed this afternoon and they are celebrating at Ada. I wonder what you boys are doing. We didn't hear from you since you carne back from the front the first time. Perhaps you couldn't write but hope we hear from you soon. Being it is "Peace" now 1-1i 11 expect to see you again. But don't suppose you will all get back for some time. What a happy day it will be when y ou do come horne! Alice heard from Bill again. He was at the hospital 18 days but expected to leave soon. Perhaps he didn't have to go to the front. I had a letter from Henry on Saturday. He is busy cutting down trees and building barracks. While in the woods, he met Art Rolle and Ben Olson from Felton. He wished he would meet you. His address is Co. H 347 Inf. A.E.F. Ma is out home since Thursday morning so Jerome ano I are . alone. We get along pretty good. The folks are threshing across the river. Had a day and a half threshing left but it rained the day they started. We also had some snow. The weather is so cloudy nothing dries so Paul didn't know if they could thresh today. Ma ana Pa are coming to town as soon as they are through so Paul and Herb will have to batch unless one of them gets married. Herb thinks that is left up to him to do. Hope Paul does first . All of us are well again. But the Flu is surely awful. So many people died from it around Hendrum and Halstad. I can't mail this tonight as the post office is closed so may write more tomorrow if I have any news. Had a letter from Liz today. She intends to stay at Kosts all winter. Well Jack I hope "Peace" and that you will soon be home . with you and take until we meet again. it really is are well and May God be care of you With love, Elsie LETTERS from Clarence Rohlfing Bellflower, Illinois March 1 0, 1 91 9 Dear Mrs. Ambuehl, I thought I would write you a few lines today. I have been over to France and just got home the 1st of March. I knew your son John P. Ambuehl. He was the gunner of the squad that I was corporal of. He and I were wounded on the same day and went to the field hospital on the same day in the same ambulance. From there we went in different ambulances to different hospitals. I don't think he was wounded very bad but I have never heard from him since. I suppose he has written to you. He and I were very good friends so if he has gotten home, I would like to hear from him. If he hasn't gotten home and you would like to learn more of our life while we were in France I would be glad to write to you about it.
Yours very truly,
Clarence J. Rohlfing
Bellflower, Illinois Bellflower, Illinois
March 17, 1919 John L. Ambuehl Borup, Min.n.
Dear Sir: Received your letter Saturday and was sure surprised and grieved to learn of John's death. We were quite good friends and were together most of the time while in France. I will give you an outline of our time over there. We landed in France the 17th of May; went from there up to the Northern part; stayed there for about a week; then carne back to a place close to Etaples. There we stayed for a few weeks and drilled with the British. We were put in the same squad. At that time I was the gunner and he was the number 2 man for the gun or loader as it is called. We were considered one of the best gun teams of the company. From there we left for a small place down by Paris by the name of Chang is. (It is on the Harne River.) There we had some good times and of course some blue times but we were almost always together. We stayed there until the night of the 17th of July when we started for the front . . (All the traveling we had done up until now was on the train.) We were to be a motorized outfit so from the 17th on we went in trucks as we got ours a day or two before. We got to our destination along about daylight and of course we all dug in the bank of the road as the shells are not so apt to hit you if you are below ground. We didn't have much to do for a few days as we were an outfit that didn't go into action unless absolutely necessary. But in a few days we went on up a little farther and that was the first barrage we were ever in. We lost several men out of our company but John and I came out all right. Along about the 1st of August the Corporal of our squad got wounded. Then I was made Corporal and John was gunner. About the 12th of August we were relieved and went back for a rest. We went down to a small place called St. Blin close to St. Dezier. We stayed there until sometime before the St. Mehiel drive when we moved up there in reserve. We didn't have to go into real action there as the drive didn't take as many men as they thought it would. We watched several airplane battles while there in reserve. We stayed there until about the 22nd of September then went back several miles as we thought we were going back for a few weeks rest. Although we hadn't had any real action, we had been under shell fire almost all the time for about three weeks. Of course, it was just shells from a long range gun that carne over us. Then on the 25th of September we got word we were to go up to the Verdun sector. We traveled most of the night (in our vehicles as we had the Ford trucks then) and in the morning before daylight we were to the trenches. Just about daylight we got over a barrage of machine gun bullets besides the artillery barrage. We advanced almost all that day and I never saw but 2 or 3 wounded men but there were a lot of prisoners taken by our men. From then on we had a pretty hard time until the 4th of October as were under shell fire that was pretty heavy. We were having all sorts of rumors of getting relieved but on the 3rd we got word we had to put over another barrage. We were up all . night getting to our position. Then we set our gun and of course dug in for protection. When the barrage was over we stayed by the gun as it was as good a place there was. It is pretty hard to keep track of the time in a place like that. I know it was quite a while after daylight that we were lying by our gun - I on one side and John 6n the other - when he raised up and said he was hit. He turned over and we saw he was hit by a piece of shell fragment but we couldn't see it. We bandaged him up as well as we could with his first aid package. Then he was taken to the first aid station by four men of our squad. The squad was broken up and put in others after the . gunner was wounded. Well we got orders about noon to make an advance and while going forward I was wounded slightly on the left hand. I went - back to the first aid of the 47th Infrantry and was attended to. I was there for about a half hour when they told me an ambulance was ready and that I could go in to field hospital. I got in and was sitting there talking to some other fellows when a fellow that was on a stretcher spoke up and asked if that wasn't Rohlfing. Then I recognized the voice as John's. He told me he had been taken to our Battalion First Aid, then was taken to this ambulance. He said they tried to find the piece that had hit him but as they didn't have the instruments they couldn't find it. We rode in the same ambulance until we got to the Field Hospital. He didn't seem to be in very much pain - only when the car would hit a bad place in the road. Then he would have some pain. When we got to the Field Hospital all of us walking patients were taken out and went to the other hospitals in a large supply truck. They put other lying patients in the ambulance with John and from there I never knew to what hospital he went. You can rest assured that he had as good treatment as coul d be given under the circumstances because I know they had good treatment in the hospital I was in. You can always be proud of your boy because I had been with him for some time and he always took things as they came and when he was called on to do anything he was ready. I have been in some pretty dangerous places with him and he never act ed as if he was afraid as of course some are. He was always ready to undertake the . job. While in those kind of places we were always together. Now there are a lot of things that could be told if I was asked. Of course I can't tell everything on paper as I could if talking but this is a fairly good outline of our life over there. I would like awful well to come and visit you but at the present time it is impossible as I have been trying to make arrangements for this vocational training that the government is giving the disabled soldiers. I was pronounced 15% disabled when I was discharged so at present you see how I am placed. If any of you folks should come you would surely be welcome by all here at home. I have just read this letter over and I have let one of the most important things out and that is to tell how John was wounded. He was wounded in the stomach just about the waist line and right in the front. I never thought it was serious at the time but of course in a place like that you can never tell. Now I think this is about all I can think of at this time so will close. If anyone comes down here they will be welcome. If you write and ask any questions, I will be glad to answer them or if I can come up there later and you want me to I will do that. I will close with my best wishes to you all and very best regards. Clarence Rohlfing Bellflower, Ill.
(A letter from Bill) Dear Sister Dierdorf, Germany April 7, 1919 Well I haven't written to you for a long time. The last letter I got from you was an old one but newsy anyway. I got one letter from Art Saturday and one Sunday. He addressed one to the Fifth Division and one here. He said he thought if he did that I would be sure to get one of them. I also got two letters from Alice. One Saturday and one Sunday and one from Pa on Sunday so I felt pretty good getting so much mail. I hope the Flu has stopped. I suppose it won't be so bad now when the weather gets warm. It sure is good you heard from someone that knew Jack over here. It is so much better to know of someone that was with him. It is hard to think of Jack being dead but this is a hard world anyway. Pa asked if there were any boys here from Norman County. There are a few. I only know of one in the Fifth Division and that is Alfred Voje. I wrote to you about him and I meeting at a replacement camp on our way hack to the front from the hospital short l y hefore the Armistice was . signed . We were together all the time until about two weeks before I carne back to the 32nd. He went to the hospital. Had the mumps but is he~e now. I am getting along fine. We have good Billets and get treated good. We will be on our way horne soon but guess I will be much too late for spring work unless that ·application goes through in a hurry and they send me straight horne. Well I can't think of any more to write but will have a whole lot to talk about when I get there. Best Regards to all. Pvt. W. D. Ambuehl Co G. 128 Inf. A.P.O. 734 Am. Ex. Forces