“Think it is a false about the Germans doing so much…”
In his sixth letter home from Camp Lee, Virginia, to his sister Minnie Riggle, US Army Wagoner (mule team driver) Lester Scott, a World War I soldier from Wheeling, West Virginia, informs his sister that rumors of his illness and hospitalization are “a bad mistake.” In fact, he feels better than he ever has in his life. He discusses a recreational trip away from camp during which many games were played and how all the mule drivers have been moved to the same barracks. He promises to have a picture taken to send home. He doesn’t think he’ll be in any danger hauling supplies but believes the American troops will “scatter” the Germans. He mentions Dutch Riggle, the brother of his sister’s husband, and our second letter writer, who is also at Camp Lee.
Lester Scott was drafted in 1917 and trained at Camp Lee, where so many Wheeling soldiers were trained. And, like so many of his Ohio Valley comrades, he served in the 314th Field Artillery Supply Company, Battery “A,” 80th (Blue Ridge) Division in France. This is his fifth letter from Camp Lee, dated 100 years ago today, November 2, 1917.
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November 2, 1917 Letter – Lester Scott to his sister, Minnie Riggle
Nov 2 1917
recd your letter today and was glad to hear from you. it is a bad mistake about me being sick or in the hospital. I feel better than I ever felt in my life. I wigh 180lbs. we took a trip today out of camp and sure had some time. we played all kind of games. Silven Merriner told me that his brother wrote and told him that I was coming home that I could not stand the walking. we do not have to do much walking. when ever I do come back there will be some more. tib said he would ask his brother who told him. I have not been sick since I came here. dont you believe any thing you hear for I am just fine and certainly do have some time. we moved this evening in a different barracks. the mule drivers are all together now. there are 20 coming in monday. I will drive study then. walter applied for job but dont know wither he will get it or not. they tried him out and he did not prove very good but dont tell any one he doesnt know I know it. some of the boys are arguing now about driving. guss sacks just said that currying was half of the feed. tell jim that and he will save some feed. I guess you did not get the last letter I wrote but you have got it before this. dont you ans this and I will ans the last one you scend. got a letter from cleo this evening. tell jim to write and tell me what he knows about cleo. tell dad the picture was fine. I have never got mine yet. will get some more taken tomorrow. will scend one soon. Believe me dutch is looking good. seems to like it fine. I would like to have some of the pig. we get lots of beef here. it is right warm here now to. I guess we wont have to leave Camp Lee. am not sure. think it is a false about the germans doing so much. wait untill we get their. we will soon scatter them. I dont think I will haft to do any thing. nothing but haul supplys. Will not be very dangerous I dont think. well I haven’t much more to say now. I want to take a bath and shave for inspection tomorrow. will write more next time.
So good Bye
Listen to Episode 8 of “From Camp Lee to the Great War: The Letters of Lester Scott and Charles Riggle”
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From Camp Lee to the Great War: The letters of Lester Scott and Charles Riggle” is brought to you by Archiving Wheeling in partnership with the Ohio County Public Library (Wheeling, WV) and the Wheeling Academy of Law & Science (WALS) Foundation.
Jeremy Richter is the voice of Lester Scott. The letters of Lester Scott and Charles Riggle were transcribed by Jon-Erik Gilot. This podcast was edited and written by Sean Duffy, audio edited by Erin Rothenbuehler with music courtesy the Library of Congress.
[Music in November 2, 1917 episode: “Porcupine Rag,” Johnson, Chas. J. (composer), New York Military Band, 1915, courtesy Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200035782/]
Many thanks to Marjorie Richey for sharing family letters and the stories of her uncles, Lester Scott and Charles “Dutch” Riggle, WWI soldiers from West Virginia.