Lester Scott to his sister, Minnie Riggle: “This is the best bunch of boys I ever was with…”
In his fifth 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, discusses his first five weeks at Camp Lee. Topics include how much he enjoys driving mules (he’s been given a steady job hauling supplies for $3 per month), how taking care of the mules reminds him of caring for his colts back home, an early snowfall in the Valley, Lester’s painful boxing match with Charles Lewis from Elm Grove, the postcards he sent home, and the “moving pictures” he’s looking forward to seeing. The letter is signed “Scotty.”
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, October 29, 1917.
To listen to the podcast, visit our SoundCloud page, or subscribe through your favorite podcast app.
Letter 07: October 29, 1917
Oct 29 – 1917
I recd your letter today and was glad to hear you are all well. I am well and getting fatter every day. I was hauling suplys [sic] today and I sure do like the job. All I have to do is drive and take care of my mules. it made me feel like I was at home when I went out this evening to feed and bed them. I will get a study job soon. I get $3 per month from now on. there are not many can drive in our cupany [sic]. tell jim if he would drive these mules here, for a while, he wouldn’t be afraid to plow his colts. glad to hear bill is getting along alright. ask jim if that pastern joint bothers him any if it does tell him to sell him. if he does not get lame on it let me know and I will send some money to get a blanket for him. I suppose you will be moving soon. I think it will be a good place. I got letter from Cleo saturday night. was surprised to hear of the snow up their. we have had just a little here. you could just mere notice it but is so hot here now you could roast an egg. you wanted to know if I get any soup here. I certainly do, talk about an appetite mabe [sic] I havent got one. I have got a very sore arm which I received saturday evening from a boxing match but is getting alright now. Charles Lewis and I boxed three rounds. he went all in the last round. he had to fall out of line when we had retreat, he could not eat no supper. he has a very sore wrist to. he is from elm grove. this is the best bunch of boys I ever was with. they all seem like brothers. have you heard from brantley lately, tell dad if wants a nice looking glass gal to keep house for him I can find him one here. these cards I am sending just looks like things are here. these are kind of harness the coons use but they are not like we use. we all have overhalls [sic] to wear now. well we have been here five weeks now. I think I will see you all in eight more. I like it better every day here. well I don’t know much more to say. there is moving pictures here tonight and I want to see them. saw dutch today. he is well and hearty.
Listen to Episode 7 of “From Camp Lee to the Great War: The Letters of Lester Scott and Charles Riggle”
To subscribe to this podcast, go to iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app, search for “From Camp Lee to the Great War,” and click “subscribe.”
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 October 29, 1917 episode: “Hot Time in the Old Town,” Metz, Theo (composer), Victor Military Band (performer), 1917, courtesy Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.100010764/]
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.