“Believe me we got some fine looking nurses here. One looks just like Cleo. I wouldn’t mind staying here for awhile…”
In his sixteenth 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, writes, on base hospital stationary, that he’s in the hospital with the German measles, but is doing fine. He plans to come home as soon as he’s out. He wants to make sure his girlfriend Cleo is there when he arrives. Like Dutch [Scott’s brother-in-law and our second letter writer Charles Riggle] had noted in a previous letter, Lester has read that the farm boys would get to come home for the spring to get the crops planted. Lester would just as soon stay in the army. There’s a soldier next to him from White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County, West Virginia. He’s a hunter with deerhounds and promised to send Jim [Minnie’s husband James Riggle] a pup. Lester thinks the nurses are good looking at the base camp hospital. One looks just like Cleo. He wouldn’t mind staying for a while.
Elsewhere on the same day, German raids near Mericourt on the Western Front failed, the French held back a raid at Verdun, the Austrians bombed Venice Italy, and the Mare Island US Marine Corp football team defeated the Camp Lewis US Army team 19-7 in the 4th Rose Bowl, which featured squads from military bases in 1918 and 1919.
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 sixteenth letter from Camp Lee, dated 100 years ago today, January 1, 1918.
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January 1, 1918 Letter – Lester Scott to his sister, Minnie Riggle
Jan 1 1918
I will try to ans your letter which I rec’d yesturday. how are you all by this time? I am feeling fine although I am in the hospital with German measles. You may think I am sick but I feel fine. my tempature is normal and I have a good appetite and also get plenty to eat. there is another fellow out of Co. here too. we have been here since saturday. I will be home next Sunday if I get out of here. I am most sure I will. I will leave here Sat at noon and if I make good connections I will get to wheeling at ten o clock sun. I got a letter from Cleo yesturday. she said she would go but when I come up you call her up and go to the Grove after her so she can be their when I come out. if I should not get to come Sat I will their sure next week. I did not hear any thing about the flag being seen. I saw by the paper that they are going to scend the farm boys back in spring if they were far enough advanced in their training. just until the crops were in and harvested. I do not think there is any thing to it. you can think what you want to for my part I would just as soon stay in the army. believe me we are having some cold weather here. I dont get a bit lonesome in here. there is a fellow here right beside me from white sulphor springs green Brier County. he is an old hunter. he hunts bear deer wild cats all kinds of game. he has two deer hounds. I gave him jims address. he said when goes home next week he would scend him a pup. he will have a hunting dog then. he says they will hunt any thing. I know jim will glad to get one. he says he will let him know if he scends it. it will not cost anything. Believe me we got some fine looking nurses here. one looks just like Cleo. I wouldn’t mind staying here for awhile. I havnt saw walter for good while. I never think of him any more. dont you get to thinking that I am sick for I feel fine. if I didn’t feel good I would tell you so. the nurse just told me I could get up tomorrow so you know I will soon be out.
Well I will close. there is no use for you to write for I will see you soon. Be sure and have Cleo their. good Bye.
Listen to Episode 22 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 for January 1, 1918 episode: “True to the Flag March,” United States Marine Band, 1922, https://www.loc.gov/item/00694039/]
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.