“I don’t know what time I will get to Wheeling. The trains have been so late…”
In his seventeenth 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 that he’s just gotten out of the hospital after his bout with measles. He’s feeling better and is eager to get to Wheeling for a two-day visit. The weather has been “fierce” in Virginia, so he assumes it’s worse in Wheeling, and he’s not sure a “machine” [automobile] will be able to make it the train station to pick him up.
Elsewhere on the same day, France and Germany recognized Finland’s independence (the latter after Bolshevik Russia, with whom the German Empire was negotiating peace, had done so) and the Italian army had some success in Albania.
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 seventeenth letter from Camp Lee, dated 100 years ago today, January 6, 1918.
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January 6, 1918 Letter – Lester Scott to his sister, Minnie Riggle
Sun Jan 6 1918
how you was? I am just fine. I came back from the hospital yesturday. well I will be out next thursday some time sure if something doesn’t turn up again. I had a chance for the mumps but I cant remember if I had them or not. I dont have anything to do for a few days until I get in a little better shape. I am abble to be out although I am a little weak yet and I am not in as good of order as I was. I dont know when dutch is coming home. I haven’t seen him for a few days. I dont know wether to have some of you to come after me or not. I dont know what time I will get to wheeling. the trains have been so late. if the roads are not bad I expect I could get a car to fetch me out. if you think a machine could not get their let dad or jim come to hands livery stable and wait for me. do not start until noon. it may be late in the evening when I get their. I will leave here wedenesday at noon. dont start if the roads are drifted. I know you have been having bad weather out their for it has been fierce here. if dad wishes to come after me you can let him come if Jim should be busy. I am sorrow I cant stay any longer. two days and two nights will be the limit. I will haft to stay one night in wheeling to get the train back as it leaves some time near six o clock in the morning.
will close for this time so good Bye
Listen to Episode 24 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 6, 1918 episode: “Junk Man Rag,” Roberts, [Luckyeth] (composer), Victor Military Band (performer), 1913, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.100010646/ ]
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.