“Maybe I didn’t have some fun at Petersburg today hallowing at the girls…”
In his eighth 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 about how he hopes to be home for Christmas, how he is driving two pairs of mules, a fellow mule driver from West Liberty named Calvin Davis, how fine the weather has been, and a few other odds and ends about everyday life at camp.
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 eighth letter from Camp Lee, dated 100 years ago today, November 16, 1917.
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November 16, 1917 Letter – Lester Scott to his sister, Minnie Riggle
Nov 16 1917
I recd your letter all right and was glad to hear from you. I am just fine and hope you are the same. well I guess our company is going to be busted up. there are 27 going to leave tomorrow. walter is one of them. I dont haft to leave. they are not going out of this camp. well I am going to get to come home Christmas I guess. I am driving mules now. haft to drive two pair. I was at petersburg two times today and once yesturday. tell jim I will show him how to drive when I come back. this fellow that got his picture taken with me is a mule driver to. believe me he is a fine fellow. he leaves tomorrow to. he is from west liberty. his name is calvin davis. he knows lots of people around dallas. I think the boys are going back to the infantry where we first was. I weigh 180lbs just the way I had my picture taken. I have been writing to Cleo and she has not been getting my letters but I get hers all right. she said she was going home saturday. you let me know if she does. let me know and I will scend her my picture. jess Hewitt was over to see me the other day. he seems like a fine fellow. we are having dandy weather here now. the roads are duty. the kids are still barefooted yet. mabe I didnt have some fun at petersburg today hallowing at the girls. I went after a piano and some more things but the officers club. our top sergant told one of the fellows the other day that I was good fellow and a good worker and tended to my own business. I thought that was a good scend off. excuse this dirty paper it is off of the pencil. tell dad I said hello. well I will close for this time. I want to box for a while. will write more next time. ans soon.
Photographs mentioned in November 16, 1917 letter
Listen to Episode 11 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 November 16, 1917 episode: “Castle’s Half and Half,” James Reese(composer), 1916, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.100010715/]
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.