OCR Interpretation


The Rio Grande rattler. ([McAllen], Hidalgo County, Tex.) 1916-1917, January 12, 1918, Image 7

Image and text provided by New York State Military History Museum

Persistent link: http://www.nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn87030234/1918-01-12/ed-1/seq-7/


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THE WADSWORTH GAS ATTACK a n d RIO GRANDE RATTLER 5 M n e r a b r , A SOLDIER’S LETTER TO HIS SWEETHEART, M on A m i : Sounds like a scouring powder, doesn’t it, Mable? As a m a tter of fact th a t’s the way a French lady talks to a fello she’s awful fond of. I’m not an officer any more. Jelly see, Ma­ ble! I was just go in’ to resine anyways so it didn’t m a tter. The captains been w a tchin’ my rapid rise and he didn’t like it. He knew I knew more than him. ju s t as well as me and you. Always askin’ me questions. I’d always tell him, cause I knew he had a wife and children back in Jersey City, and so I was sorry for them. Sentim e n t before pleasure. T h a t’s me all over. But the other day when I was on guard he says, “Corporal, w h a t’s the General O rders?” and I says, “Captain, if you don’t know them now you never will and I w ouldn’t be doin’ no serv­ ice to my country if I told you.” Cold but civil, Mable. You know how I can be. Well he ju s t felt cheap and walked away. I felt kind of sorry for him, I alm o st told him so once .or twice. Then I w ent on guard again, I go on guard a lot. The men like me to be corporal of the guard because when the relief goes out I take all their blankets and go righ t to sleep instead of standing outside and w a tc h ing them freeze. Men hate to be watched when their freezing. But I happened to be outside for some rea­ son, going to dinner I guess, and I saw the Colonel coming. I says, “T u rn out the G u ard.” (No one really turns ’em out, Ma­ ble. They come out them selves.) The •Colonel sees who it is and waves and says, “Never m ind the guard, Corporal,” so I th a n k s him and goes back to the company and goes to bed. A s . soon as the Captain sees th a t the Colonel was saving me up for over there he lost his tem per. H is plan has been to kill me before we leave Sparkings burg. He said he was goin’ to reduce me. (T h a t’s not the same way th a t your father gets reduced when he sits in a T u rkish all the afternoon and cuts out beer w ith his lunch. It’s a m ilitary term . Very technic- kle.) 1 never said you will or y o u ' won’t, Mable. Ju s t waited till he’d got outside and thum b ed my nose a t him. High spirited. T h a t’s me all over. I was th in k in ’ the other day w h eter I thanked you for all the C h ristm as presents you sent me. I got so much stuff from dif­ feren t girls and the like th a t it is hard to rem ember. If I forgot anything please let me know and I’ll thank you in my next let­ ter. It’s turned cold again. B u t I guess I for­ got to tell you th a t it stopped freezing one day for two or three hours. As soon as it begins to get cold all the taxis lay off. A fello told me th a t the Southerners didn’t like to w o rk in the cold w eather. I said th a t there was no danger of their overw o rking then. You have to be big and strong to ride in a Ford nowdays. You go out in the mid­ dle of the street and when one comes along you tackle it. If you throw it, it’s yours, otherwise it goes home and goes to bed. These fellos have got so th a t they get sorer when we ride in their cars than we do our­ selves. An English officer came over the other day and told us all about the war. He didn’t have quite tim e to finish it cause he only had three-quarters of an hour but he told most of it. They was quite a few things I didn’t know even at that. He said th a t the heavy artillery was commanded by the C. C. O. D. A. and the light artillery by the C. O. A. And th a t there was a special N. C. O. who had nothing to do but look after the S. A. A. Ju s t im agine, Mable. I wished I’d studied chem istry more when I was in school. It would m ake things a lot easier for me now. And then he said th a t a man always got into his O. O. to observe the action of the 75s. Doesn’t th a t bring the war home, Mable? These E n g lish are always great for dress and form al stuff. I’m glad their telling us this before we go over. It would have been aw ful em b a rrassing to have tried to observe the 75s from my B. Y. D.’s. I asked him if they had any trouble a t all w ith the B. P. O. E.’s. W hen he left he said, “Cheero.” W ithout w inkin’ a hair I said, “Bevo.” Same old Bill, eh Mable? They told me the other day th a t I was going to school to learn all about liason so’s I could assist the regim ental liason officer. I said there w a sn’t much use in my going to school as I was pretty well up on th a t stuff and at home I had a reputation for a devil w ith the women. Knowbody noes better than you, eh Mable? I guess th a t ’s a little over your head though. I try to be as sim ­ ple as I can. If I’m not, ju s t tell me. I’m w riting this letter w ith my shoes off Mable. I hope yoii’ll excuse me bein’ so in­ formal, but I been havin’ some more of my old trouble w ith my feet. They’ve never been the same since the tim e I taught you to dance. I w e n t to the doctor w ith them and he said to keep offen them as much as I could. So they put me to w o rk scrubbing the mess shack on my hands and knees. I bet if a fello had both legs shot off they’d prop him up against the side of the mess shack and put him peeling onions. I got to quit now. They got a thing they call retreat they have every night at five. I always like to be there ju s t to show the captain th a t I am behind him regardless. A fter all my country is my first duty. T h a t’s w h a t I say. I’m sending you my picture in a uniform pointing to an A m erican flag. It’s kind of sym bolical the m an said, if you know w h a t th a t is. I thought you’d like to put it on the m antle in a conspikuus place so as to have som e thing to be proud of when your girl friends come in to talk. I’d ask you for your picture only I havn’t got much room for th a t kind of thing down here. Yours ’till my W a te rm a n freezes, BILL. Per E. S'. A fter reading over the recent letter re ­ garding w h a t officers shall take to France, we subm it the following for the benefit of indulgent parents so th a t they m ay have ample tim e to m ortgage the old farm or sell the hired m a n : 1. No officer shall take more than 250 pounds of baggage. 2. This m u st include— A folding chair; A folding house; A folding table; A horse (it is optional w h e ther the horse shall be folding or n o t ) ; A dozen pairs of boots capable of contain­ ing six pairs of sox and one foot each; A good overcoat, several other overcoats, a fu r coat and a slicker capable of being worn as an overcoat; A portable bath tub w ith hot and cold ru n ­ ning w ater. If porcelain it may be worn in the city a t all times. If tin it may only be worn in the city during inclem ent w eather. A coal stove w ith a W inter supply of coal; A fountain pen, a piece of paper and a cou­ ple of three cent stam p s ; H alf a dozen dress sh irts; A pair of snowshoes; A clean collar; A uniform (this item is op tion a l); A pair of arctic overshoes and two pairs of shoes to be w o rn inside them (presum ­ ably these shoes will nest one inside the other like a camp cooking o u tf it); A fancy vest; An Irish setter; Six blankets; A box of m atches, and A Gorgonzola cheese. L e t the folks know we are in good spirits. Send home the N u t Number. Off the tree, January 26th.

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