My Dear Sister . . .
World War I soldiers from Wheeling, West Virginia, Lester Scott and Charles “Dutch” Riggle were drafted in 1917 and trained at Camp Lee, Virginia, where so many Wheeling draftees and volunteers were trained. Lester Scott served as a Wagoner (mule team driver) in the 314th Field Artillery Supply Company, Battery “A,” 80th (Blue Ridge) Division in France. Dutch Riggle was a PFC with the same unit.
Over the next fourteen months, we will share their letters home, in chronological order, 100 years to the day they were written. To listen to the podcast, visit our SoundCloud page, or subscribe through your favorite podcast app.
Letter 00: August 7, 1917
The first letter in the series, Lester wrote to his sister, Minnie Riggle, following his examination in Bridgeport. Minnie married James, the brother of Charles Riggle. The majority of the letters in this series were written by Lester Scott to his sister Minnie or by Charles Riggle to his brother James. This first letter, more of a short note, precedes both men’s time at Camp Lee.
Aug 7, 1917
I will drop you a few lines to let you know I passed a good examination. I was over at Bridgeport today. I am feeling fine. I will be over one day this week. so long.
Letter 01: September 24, 1917
Lester sent his first letter home to Minnie from Camp Lee was sent almost seven weeks later on September 24, 1917. Scans of the letter, a transcription, and the “From Camp Lee to the Great War” podcast follow below.
Sept 24 1917
My Dear sister
How are you by this time. I am just fine and hope you are the same. we landed here sun at 1-5. we are having a good time and get plenty to eat. the first thing we got was a shower bath. we will not get our uniforms for a few days. I think the most of us will be used as guards. we will get to come home about Christmas for a month I think. Walter and I are together. there are about 3 of us together. the climate here is just about the same as out their and there are no high hills here. the camp is four or five miles long and mabe more. I have not seen no Marshall Co. Boys yet. we get Sundays off I guess and afterwe get our suits we will get to go to petersburg which is 4 miles from here. we hant got our examination yet. you could not get lonesome here if you want to. ther are people passing through all the time and lots of things to see. there is a Y.M.C.A. here and we get any thing we want. we had for our breakfast this morning bread and butter fried potatoes bacon and oats and coffee. tell Jim when he comes to bring his shot gun for there are lots of turkey buzzards here. How is Cleo. Be sure and take good care of her. I am going to write to her now so ans real soon and tell me all the news. My address is 25th Co. 7th Battalion
I will tell you more about the place next time I write so good Bye. good luck.
Listen to Episode 1 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 for September 24, 1917 episode: “Hail Columbia ; Star Spangled Banner,” 1914, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.100010368/]
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.