Otto CW Kappelmann to Anna-Marie Bubendey


Otto CW Kappelmann to Anna-Marie Bubendey


Kappelmann, Otto Carl Wilhelm, 1888-1960




1918 April 11


Daniel Metraux


World War, 1914-1918




Camp Wadsworth, So. C.

My dear Anna-Marie,

Your long, interesting letter of the April 4th arrived two days ago and I want to thank you ever so much for same. Needless to say, I was very much interested in everything you wrote about.

Yesterday I wrote to father telling him about everything down here which, however, did not amount to much as things are still the same and nothing unusual has occurred. No doubt you have read the letter.

The chilly weather is still continuing, however minus the rains of a few days ago. The most practical and useful thing I possess down here is the sweater you gave me; it certainly comes in handy. Am wearing it everyday under the OD shirt, another order having been passed prohibiting the wearing of sweaters in view. This, of course, is to obtain more uniformity of dress. In fact, things in general are getting very much stricter nearly daily; spiral leggins are prohibited, and no more than two passes a week are now issued to a man. However, those orders do not affect me as I have always worn the canvas leggins and never cared to go on pass more than twice a week, but it goes to show how strict the service is getting to be.

There is, of course, a good deal of speculation as to when the 27th Division will leave; everyone seems to think that that time cannot be far off anymore. Orders concerning that Division, however, do not affect us any more as we are now attached to the Pioneer Division. It is still quite impossible to say just what the plans are concerning the Quartermaster Corps. There will, of course, always be a QMC at this camp in order to take care of supplying whatever training troops are stationed here, but whether we will be replaced by other men or whether we are destined to remain forever is unknown. At any rate, I do not think it very probable that I will leave at an early date.

Was very glad to hear that you and the children had such a nice Easter and also that you had a good time out in Montclair.

I wrote that John Riedel has left for France. Of course, we have to expect such things now and certainly will hear about other familiar names in the ‘Over There’ news in the future. The other day I read about the wounding of a former comrade of mine in France. This is the first time I saw a familiar name in the casualty list. Fortunately he is reported as being only slightly wounded; he was one of the finest boys we had in our company down on the Border.

In regard to the support of the wash woman, I am quite certain that her son cannot be forced to allot any money to her. Compulsory allotments are only in cases of wives or children of soldiers. Of course, her son could allot money to her if he desired to do so and he is certainly very foolish if he doesn’t do it for this reason: If a soldier allots $15.00 to any one truly dependent upon him, the that is any relative at all, the government will add $10.00 extra to such allotment. In other words, if her son allots $15 00 to her out of his monthly pay, she will receive $25 00 monthly from the government. However, as already stated, I am quite certain that he cannot be compelled to support his mother. In case he goes to France or any other place outside the U.S. (he will) the government will deduct $15.00 from his pay every month and will save such money for him and will pay same to him upon his discharge from the service, or if he should get killed, his mother (if the son is not married) will get such money. I would strongly advise the washwoman to write to the Commanding Officer of her son’s company, stating her case fully and if the CO is the right sort of man he will might be able to persuade the son to allot some money to her. I personally have handled a few very similar cases while I was in the infantry and generally succeeded in inducing the soldier to take care of his folks and I guess they won’t regret it either. It wasn’t, of course, a very pleasant thing for me, but the Captain always left such matters to me. It might also be a good plan for the washwoman to speak to some Red Cross Society; they may be able to give her very good advice and might even write to the CO themselves about the case. Just call up the Information Bureau of the Eagle and I am sure they will be glad to give you the nearest Red Cross address. I now see from your letter that her son is not married. Well he certainly does not tell the truth when he states that he needs all his pay. He gets just as much food, clothing, medical attention, etc. as I do and I am very able to save even more than $15.00 a month &, in fact, am doing so right along. The pay a soldier gets is certainly not a necessity for him, he really doesn’t need a cent except for a hair cut or some toilet articles once in a while. Most of the average soldier’s money goes for candy, cigarettes, cheap soft drinks, etc. anyway, or for gambling.

Glad to hear that Paul is back in school and that, I believe, is very much better than a private teacher. Your further information about Mr Little’s school rather changes my ideas about it on account of being Co-Ed. and having mostly women teachers. As stated before, Paul ought to have a male teacher pretty soon.

I am very much pleased with the present you selected for Morris’ and am rather glad that father bought a separate present from me. I wanted to do this especially because they were so very thoughtful of me last Xmas.

No doubt that summer problem is a hard one again. I do not know of any particular place around Pleasantville. The country all around there is beautiful as you will have noticed when you were out there. If father could only take a longer summer vacation I would say that the Lake George Place would be the ideal plan, but as things are I should think that some place like Thiells where you could spend the time with Etta would be more pleasant for you. Of course, as you know yourself, there are good & bad factors in everything: if you keep house yourself you can have more suitable food, and if you board you have less work. However, if I were in your place I would try my best to rent a small house in a pretty place not too far from the city with Etta and then you could ask a friend out once in a while for variety. There surely is some suitable plain country place to be had somewheres. Pleasantville territory, I believe, is pretty fashionable & consequently expensive but I’m not sure.

It surely is too bad that Pearl Point is no more and I wonder where father will decide to go. Hasn’t he got some friends out at Lake Hopatcong? Possibly you could get a place in that locality? It doesn’t have to be right at the lake. However, in case Etta cannot make plans with you, I certainly would not keep house alone as it’s too much work. You need a rest, too, in the summer and in such case I should think boarding would be the only thing. Possibly Friessens know of a good boarding place.

The show “You Know Me, Al” has gone to New York and will play, with original caste, at The Lexington Grand Opera House (B’way & 51st Str.?) from April 11th to 20th. I wish you could see it, it is extremely amusing, especially the fellows in the girls’ parts. When you see Uncle Gus you might tell him that Mr. Kramer is now in New York, he belongs to the Orchestra of the show.

In regard to sending me things, well dear, I appreciate your thoughts very much, but there is really nothing that I need at present. You may rest assured, however, that if ever I should need anything I will surely let you know. The government supplies us with all necessary things except cigars, and father is very good in keeping me supplied with these. During this chilly spell I generally make some hot bouillon in the morning which certainly is fine. Our canteen keeps the bouillon cubes and I have a little heater for the hot water. This bouillon also comes in handy when I oversleep and miss breakfast, which happens occasionally. It is just as well that you did not send the chicken. I would have liked it if I were in the infantry, but here the meals are generally very good. This is proven by the fact that in the infantry everyone was always very anxious to get packages containing food, but here such things are not appreciated as much; in fact, I think we sometimes get too much to eat. It is very good of you to think of making me a pair of socks and I appreciate this very much. However, I have about 6 pair of woolen socks, nearly all brand new but when they wear out I will surely let you know. You must not think, dear, that I don’t want you to send me anything, I appreciate your good intentions very much, but then you will agree that it would be wasteful to send things with which I am supplied.

Yes, it certainly is a long time that I’ve been away from home. Yesterday a year ago we left the city for Pleasantville! However, I am not so much surprised at the long time and, without wanting to be pessimistic, can’t believe that this thing will be over within another year. However, the sooner the better and then no more of khaki and army life for me. Not that I’m not satisfied, I’ve certainly got a snap compared to most other fellows!

I was awfully glad to hear that you all are quite well at home and hope you will remain so.

With lots of love to you, father & the children,

Your brother,

Original Format



Bubendey, Anna-Marie Kappelmann, 1887-1986





Kappelmann, Otto Carl Wilhelm, 1888-1960, “Otto CW Kappelmann to Anna-Marie Bubendey,” 1918 April 11, WWP18915, Otto Kappelmann Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.