World War I Letters
Hanover students from His336 "The Search for Order, 1877-1945"
(Fall 2017) , taught by Sarah
McNair Vosmeier, transcribed these letters, which are a sampling
of letters exchanged among the Rogers family during World War I.
The Rogers family includes Hanover College alumni, and their home,
Bird Haven, is in Hanover, Indiana. The originals are available at the
Duggan Library Archives,
Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Additional letters (a sampling of letters from female
correspondents) have also been transcribed.
Irene Rogers, letter to
Alma Rogers, 7 Aug. 1918, Folder 1, Box 6, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan
Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Eric Woodruff, HC 2020.
Note: This letter was written on
University of Michigan memo paper. At the bottom of each sheet is
"As a war measure of economy, this inexpensive standard letter head is
provided and its use suggested for all intra-university correspondence."
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Aug. 7, 1918
My dear Mother: If you forgive my "business" paper, I'll try to write a
bit to you all; you know I take turns in my letter-writing and it is your
turn now. With Speed and Brother and friends and you folks to write to, I
do not find the time to write as often as I would like or as often as I
think of you. I try to get a letter to Speed every [strikeout: week] day
but once in awhile skip a day; he is in Camp with nothing to do and the
time passes slowly for him. And I try to write to Harris often because he
is in the trenches now and letters mean so much to him. So you see if you
do not get very many letters, you will know where my efforts are being
I keep thinking of your home and the splendid spirit that I found there
and I get lonesome, sometimes, for you all; each of you fills a particular
place in my heart, I am loving you all for different things but I am
loving you all. Mother and I, alone do not furnish the comradeship there
was amongst so many and I am remembering my few days there with you in a
very happy way; they seem to be an incentive and an inspiration for me to
be 'up-and-doing'. You maybe noticed that I was not very demonstrative and
I have tho't since I left you that such a reserve on my part might be
taken by you as disappointment? I feel sure you understand that reserve
and know that there is a great big love in my heart for each one of you
and as a family I am certainly proud to be made to feel so much one of you
and it is my desire to be worthy of the place you have given me in your
hearts and family.
Our weather-man is favoring us with some fine warm weather; today is quite
bearable because of the wind but the last two nights have been
"unsleepable". The breeze today is very welcome; as I sit here on the
fourth floor of the museum there is such a strong breeze, I have to keep a
weight on every paper in the room -- if it gets much stronger I'll have to
weight myself down.
The elevation of Hanover and your splendid location seem quite enviable,
now. Don't work too hard but just enjoy your summer comforts.
We had five letters from my Brother one day; I went home at noon to find
Mother and Florence (Harris' best-girl) in tears over these letters; he
has done two tricks in the trenches of two weeks each, with a two weeks
interval and has of course endured the hardships of the infantry soldier
-- on whom falls all the hardships. He writes of his troubles in a very
humourous way but is so tired of war & longs for home so much, that
the funniness doesn't cover it all up. The last dug-out they were in
accommodated five hundred; when they wanted to go from one place to
another, they jumped on a rat and rode -- there were about 40 waiting
beside their "beds" for use. I try to keep Mother
cheered up -- I tell her it is a good thing the Lord gave me a heart of
rock because he gave her one of ice cream and she needs me to offset her.
There does seem to be lots of wisdom in the way folks are put together.
I suppose you have received the picture by this time; I never was so
disappointed in a picture. I have mine sitting on the piano and every time
I go to the piano I look at it and say -- "My Speed -- you don't look like
that"! I'm going to remove it -- I prefer the picture I have of him in my
mind & heart to that one. I am very sorry about it.
I enjoyed your good letter and Sallie's, which came along later and I am
hoping for more of theirs; I can realize you are busy tho' & if it is
between writing to me and Speed -- why -- write to him.
Give my love to Aunt Spencer and Aunt Curraleen and Frances and Jane and
Sallie and Father and here's a lot for your self.
From your new-daughter,
Byers Burlingame, letter to Alma
Rogers, 10 Aug. 1918, folder 7, box 5, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan
Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Morgan Livinghouse, HC 2018, and Caroline Brunner, HC
Note: This letter was written on
YMCA stationery. At the top of each sheet is an American flag, the
YMCA symbol, and "Army and Navy Young Men's Christian Association, 'With
the Colors.'" At the bottom of each sheet is "To the writer: Save
by writing on both sides of this paper. To the folks at home: Save
food, buy Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps."
Camp Paul Jones
Aug. 10, 1918
Dear Mother Rogers,
I received your letter about a week ago and was
certainly glad to hear from you. I saw Carter the Sunday afternoon after
he came and we had a nice chat for about an hour or two. I haven't seen
him since then as each of us I think have liberty only once a week and we
never happen to see each other.
Wens, afternoon I had some visitors from home,
Lula Catt, Edna Bell and Mrs. Willhiatt are on a two weeks trip so they
stoped off to see me.
I have been here nine weeks tonight but it
don't seem near that long to me. Almost every day since detention has been
a busy one and have failed to do a great deal of writing but from now on
will do better for you. You must know it is rather hard since detention to
find time to write or if we do have time it sometimes happens am to tired
to do so.
After spending my 3 weeks detention in Decatur
I moved to Dewey for another week. These two have been sure good camps but
since then the others I have been in are entirely different. From Dewey I
went to New Aviation 1 wk then to Out Going Detention for 10 days and now
nearly three wks in Camp Paul Jones. During this time we have worked seven
days a week and instead of 12 hrs liberty a week and getting 12 noon sat.
they made us work sat. afternoon's till 4:00 and then we could clean up
and go on liberty. We all sure thot it was the limit the first wk, but
each week we became more used to it and although our company should have
gone to school some time ago we haven't given up but are sticking. The
only reason we have been put here is to help make the new camps and a big
athletic field and coming out of detention at the right time they took us.
Others have gone to school ahead of us because after getting used to the
labor they kept us rather than let us go to school and break in another
bunch. I have quit working in the field (on the firing line we call it)
the last week as have been appointed a regimental guard and guard nights.
There are now 11 camps on the station holding
68,000 men and work will be started at once on 4 more. Their aim is to
have this a training camp of 100, 000 in a short time. I like the place
fine and I surely will get to school in the next week as their are only
160 radio men outside of the school left. One way this camp is different
from army is because [by?] volunteer men are always coming and going while
in the army camp for the most part one bunch is in training together. They
have been receiving recruits on this station nearly all summer at the rate
of 2,000 a day which means they send out nearly as large a bunch each day.
Although it is so large and handles the men so rapidly it is the most
sanitary camp in the U.S. but everything that is done here is with the one
purpose of making it the largest and best station army or navy.
We jacks are now posing before the movie camera each morning until all
the flags of the allied nations have been formed. It certainly will be
some wonderful pictures and I will be anxious to see them but they are to
be shown in England and France before being shown in the U.S. The other
morning, 40,000 posed for "America's Answer" 8,000 in white forming the
letters and 32,000 in blue making the field. In the morning another
is to be formed (I don't know which yet) and our bunch will be in whites
but there won't be nearly so many as in the one big one.
Every Wens. [Wednesday] afternoon is review day and 21 Battalions pass in
review. After review they have drill exercise under arms and also sing for
visitors in battalion square formation. We have 16 complete bands of about
70 pieces each besides one complete band battalion of over 300 pieces.
They all are usually playing from early until late so we have plenty of
good music. Another feature for the visitors is to watch the hydroplanes
in practice flight. The people here surely deserve credit for they [do]
everything in the world for us and never tire in it. On Wens. [Wednesday]
reviews from 20,000 on up to 50,000 people attend and instead of
decreasing the crowds increase so you can well imagine the intrest of the
The YMCA has some really fine buildings here and is establishing more and
it is easily taking care of the men and doing fine work. Especially so in
the detention camps where the fellows must get used to camp life. They
have entertainments every night and usually it is the cleanest and best.
Even people in nearbye towns try to come to some because great actors come
here for practically nothing to entertain us which civilians would pay pay
$5 dollars and up for same things.
If I ever get through school will get a 10 day leave and if I do I want to
get back to Hanover and see you all. I would like to be back with you all
again and go to school this winter but as that cannot be I will live in
hopes I can in a very few winters. I like it very well the life, but am
anxious to get to radio school so can leave for sea, and do something
active in the war for up here so far and in some forms of work we feel
like it isn't helping very much to end the war. Everything is so different
in our new life that I feel even now that it will have a tendency to
change us all.
I feel like I have strung out quite a lot in this letter so had better
stop. Give my love to all, Jane, Sallie, Francis (likely she doesn't
remember me) Mr. Rogers and yourself.
Will be more than glad to hear from any of you quite often.
Byers A Burlingame
USN RF LER
Co 27 7 Batt 12 Reg
Camp Paul Jones
Great Lakes, Ill
Speed Rogers, letter to "Family," 12
August 1918, folder 8, box 6, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library,
Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Katie Koopman, HC 2019.
Note: This letter was written on YMCA
stationery. At the top of each sheet is an American flag, the YMCA
symbol, and "Army and Navy Young Men's Christian Association, 'With the
Colors.'" At the bottom of each sheet is "To the writer: Save by
writing on both sides of this paper. To the folks at home: Save
food, buy Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps."
Camp Upton, NY
In the Barracks
August 12, 1918
Dearest Family, --
Chances to write are, I find, rather few & far between. Now I am
located for a day or so or perhaps a week -- I know nothing of how long --
and am well rested from the trip.
We left the MC Friday at about 1: PM -- Hope you got the card I sent from
there Friday. Looked an acquaintance in another unit to mail it for me. We
had Pullman coaches & our meals were cooked by our own cooks in a
freight car that was part of our train. Our meals were exceptionally good
& carried to us on picnic paper plates. Their too numerous canteens
conducted by the women of the Red Cross -- gave us refreshments along the
We spent from Friday until about Sunday noon on the train -- when we got to
Jersey City. There we took a ferry across N.Y. harbor, past the Statue of
Liberty & the Sky Line -- to Long Island and from there we came
about fifty miles east into Long Island by rail so that now we are almost at
the opposite end of the Island from N.Y. City.
Our trip was fairly cool & pleasant all the way and here it has been
very agreeable. Had a whole seat & berth all the way & no
duties -- so I enjoyed the country & rested. Part of the time especially
[north?] of Richmond we traveled thru the rain but one could easily
see that ther had been a bad drouth.
It is now morning after breakfast and again I have a few minutes. We
complete our gas drill today by going into the gas chamber. There we are
warned gas & 6 seconds later gas is turned on, full force. I can get my
mask on in a little less than 6 seconds & can hold my breath 90 seconds
if necessary. After that we get some more clothes.
Today has dawned with the sum coming up into a clear sky. Haven't seen the
sun since Friday so it is quite a welcomed sight.
This camp is a huge affair. It used to be a national army camp but now it
seems to be a sort of assemblying place for various units from which they go
to the port of Embarkation. It holds 100,000 men and its extent is
tremendous. Some of the men walked five miles last night & said at five
miles away it looked just as it does on the next street -- no end to it.
Did I write to you about the Captain who I am to be under in the lab? He is
one of the finest kind of men, and when I took him a couple of books to take
across for me in the official luggage. He opened one & saw James Speed
Rogers written on the fly leaf. He asked where I was from and I told
him and he asked if I had ever lived in Ky. I told him my mother was a
Kentuckian and he told me his mother was a Miss Speed from Louisville
-- so is the Captain whose name is Bullitt -- don't know how he spells it.
He says we are counsins of some sort. but I guess it would take Aunt
Spencer to work it out.
[Torn: It?] is almost time for formation now & ever so [far?] to the
Post Office so don't mind if I have to stop now.
Don't worry about me a bit. I am well & happy & loving you all &
very much interested and concerned in all that goes on at Bird Haven &
with my Dear Ones. Your faith in Gods protection and belief in this
cause helps me very much more than you could know. Keep well & happy
& don't work too hard and I will be happy all the while I am away.
Don't know when I will get any more letters but the last one from you &
from Irene brot good news. Write to her please Mother & help
her. Your faith does help her and your love -- the love of all of you.
Your devoted son & brother,
Speed Rogers, letter to “family,”
20 Aug. 1918, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College
Transcription by Mikayla Rehor, HC 2021.
Note: This letter was written on YWCA
stationery. At the top is "National Young Women's Christian
Associations, Headquarters, 600 Lexington Avenue, New York," followed in
larger letters by "Hostess House, Camp Upton, New York."
Aug. 20, 1918
Times for writing are becoming fewer all the time. This week we have a new
schedule and from 6:00 AM to 5:20 PM we have no time to call our own. Drill,
classes and other duties keep us on the jump.
There is little or no news. Each day has but little to separate it
from the others, except the letters that come. I do not mean it is hard or
bad or even so very monotonous. Sometimes we do cuss the drill that we
do over & over again & it does [backes?] one to make the men
do over & over again formations in the sand that is everywhere here. But
the exercise & the regular hours & weeks keep me feeling fit and
time does not drag so very badly.
One evening since I have been here, I took some of the fellows over to
the beach & we had a good swim. It was quite a novelty for me and
a very pleasant time.
There are a number of pleasant places around here - the camp I mean -- where
one can spend a few minutes now and then. This Hostess House on whose
stationary, I am writing is one - and I am now writing in a little
alcove in the camp Library where all sorts of books may be found. Have even
found some really good & unusual geological things.
My hay fever is touching me just a bit, but it is quite cool here
& close to the ocean & I do not fear much of an attack. It
seems to be getting better these last few summers anyhow.
I am anxiously waiting your letter about all the new improvements about Bird
Haven, and about you all. Dont want to worry you all too much about writing,
but news does sound good to me.
No news at all as to how long we shall be here, we have had one or two false
alarms about going but nothing has come from them. We are all ready but that
doesn't mean to very much. Hope we can get on & get settled before
cold weather. Cold weather - the last few nights here have had most of
the boys shivering but so far I have enjoyed them splendidly.
Will have to stop now but hope to write again in a day or so. Give my love
to Julia, Mortyn, & Bro Henry -- and you all know how much love my
heart holds for all of you. Tell Sallie & Jane not to stop writing
because I do not write to them individually. I am thinking of you all &
loving you all in these letters & all of the time.
Your devoted son & brother,
Irene Rogers, letter to Alma
Rogers, 25 Aug. 1918, folder 1, box 6, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan
Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Nick Vaughn, HC 2020.
Ann Arbor, Mich.,
August 25, 1918.
My dear Mother:
This is a beautiful Sunday morning and if I could go to church without
crying all over everything, I would surely go. I have thought of you
all in your preparations for the morning. We are very depressed and
anxious over Brother; an official telegram came yesterday, telling of his
being wounded severely. That happened August 3 and [strikeout: we're] we are
only now being notified -- it is hard to explain the delay. At times we
think he is in the Base Hospital and out of danger and then again we fear he
is not getting along well or they would not notify us now. Several others
were hurt -- one Lt. lost his foot, another Corporal his hand -- but we do
not know the nature of Harris' wound. We are still hopeful and trusting, and
Mother is particularly brave.
I received two letters from Speed yesterday -- none, the day before, so that
accounts for the two -- He is very restless because of the delay and absence
from work but he realizes how much worse off he could be and doesn't
Your letter for me came last week with the card enclosed. You see every
soldier is compelled to make an allotment to some of his people; if he
doesn't do it the government takes some of his pay and keeps it until the
war is over. The privates who get $30 a month, allot $15 to their wives or
mothers or others; if to a wife, the government puts an additional $15 with
it and sends it all to the wife. As a soldier's pay increases he can make
larger allotments. This card that came to me merely explains the delay in
the payment of this money; the draft should come along soon & it will
also be send to Hanover. Speed gave my address as Hanover, as my own address
at the time was not steady. I will write to the Treas. Dept. to have
the address changed as you do not want the bother of fowarded that letter to
me every month. Speed and I are planning on saving this money.
i.e. I will save and it will be a start toward our home, when he comes
back. I can live very nicely on what I receive fro the University and
all of this gov't money can be kept. Speed has probably told you who
will get some of it. We think some of it goes to you.
Aug. 22 -- my fourth anniversary of Apr. 22 -- I received a lovely gift from
Aunt Bessie -- Aunt Beet I believe you all call her -- and her daughter,
Sara Goodloe. She said she wanted to give me something I wouldn't get
for myself and she certainly did -- a flower basket of silver is about the
last thing I would get for myself but it is so acceptable as a gift. I
love to look at it and think of the message which preceded it -- "that as I
filled it with flowers to remember it was already filled to overflowing with
love. You have all been so kind to me, I would have to love you, even
if I hadn't before I knew you.
One year ago next week I began my school in Owasso; it is good not to think
of leaving my happy home again this year especially when conditions are so
uncertain with our loved ones. I like my new work so well & it
keeps me in touch with Speed & his work -- it seems the working out of
Divine Will that I can be hired. And soon things will be better for
the war cannot last many years longer and then our boys will be back.
Did I understand you to say that Carter was to go? He sent a card to
me to tell me he would write later so maybe I will hear directly from
him. His summer training is almost over, now and you can have him with
you for a while anyway. You will enjoy having just your own family
= It is 8:30 Sunday evening now and I have only a few minutes before the
mail goes out. We have had company all day but I have been very
lonesome -- the more company the "lonesome-er" I am because when so many are
talking I can't keep with those I want to be with.
No further word has been received from Brother but when we do hear from him
I will write to you. It is a great comfort for me to think of you and your
faith and you all are a help in this time of anxiety even tho you, perhaps,
do not realize it. We do not need to worry about Speed just yet and I do
hope he can be spared the suffering that some experience. He is a very
brave, noble man and will do his best, I am sure; it is hard to think of
your loved ones suffering -- that's why we at home must keep brave and well
in order not to add to the worries of the boys --
Goodnight to all with all love from
Aug 27 -- 1918
Dear Alma, All those letters came today. Mr Lawson will bring you from
Lexington for $2.00
Rained again today [Heavy?]
Speed Rogers, letter to Alma
Rogers, 19 Sept. 1918, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover
College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Antoine Baldon, 2018.
Dearest Mother, Father and Kids
It is really a shame that I have not written before this but writing has had
for some time some almost unsurmountable obsticles. I have written to
the Lady and you will hear from her if that letter reaches the States before
We are now located and are in luck. I cannot now tell you where of
course -- but it may be that later I can write you the location. However it
is a pleasant country side about here and the hospital & our quarters
are in new buildings that Uncle Sam is just getting finished. At
present it is somewhat rainy season but we have had some five days, and soon
[illegible] the Indian Summer will be here with quite a chance for us
[illegible] acclimated and used to the absence of heated buildings.
Getting a bath has been a problem but one can have a long [illegible]
of water for a sponge bath & now we all look fairly presentable. On the
boat -- when we were for some [several words marked out] [illegible]
bathing facilities & we were not permitted to even remove our shoes.
However that is all over & coming back we will have more freedom.
I met another Hanover, Beta coming over on the ship, Doering now an M.D. and
a first Lieutenant in the Medical Corps. [torn] a junior in my freshman
year. You may remember that he was out at Beechwood for dinner one day
We are within about six miles of a large town or small city, [and?] I am
told we can get any personal things we may need -- once we get [torn] I
wrote to the Lady about some knitting for me -- and you might fix me socks
you have time for. I can certainly use them. More about this later.
My address is:
J. Speed Rogers,
Sgt. First Class,
Base Hospital 65,
Base Section #5
American Ex Forces, France
More in a day or so -- am well and happy -- and sending a heart full
of love to you all.
Your devoted boy and brother,
[inside a box drawn on the letter:]
Capt. H. O. Linehergen
Base Hospital 65
J. Speed Rogers, letter "Mother
and Father," 24 September 1918, Duggan Library, Hanover
Transcription by Logan Kunselman, HC 2019.
September 24, 1918
Dearest Mother and Father,
These little letters are far from what I want to write to you but just now
paper is scarce, leisure is not plentiful and as for a place to write --
just now I am reclining on my bed as you may guess from the scrawl.
This is a stunt I learned from the Lady.
I believe I wrote you that we are most pleasantly and presumably permanently
located. I cannot tell you where, as yet, nor am I allowed to describe
the beautiful scenery all about us, even if I could. We are near a
chateau and there are a number of villas in the neighborhood. These
have some very pleasant gardens we may see from over the walls & the
whole country side is a really wonderful landscape.
We are fast getting comfortable and at home here. The buildings are
not all finished but promise to be by cold weather. Our meals are very
good indeed and our appetites splendid. For instance yesterday for
dinner (at noon) we had steak, gravy, whole browned potatoes, bread
& coffee. Several mornings we have had hot biscuits, scrap
[scrapple?], bacon & coffee & I haven't missed a meal since we came
here -- even tho breakfast is before sunup. When I get back & we
come to visit you, you wont know your son because now he is as sleepy as a
chicken at nine & wake's automatically at about five. Still I long
often enough for another morning and a lot of them at home and the
priviledge of rising to have breakfast at ten or eleven.
At any rate I am fast regaining the flesh I lost coming over and am happy
and well. Since we have been here, I have done [strikeout: but] no
work in the lab -- but then it isn't yet. Before more than a few days tho, I
will be hard at it. I mustn't forgot to tell you about our quarters -- they
are in new buildings, well ventilated and I have an iron bed, matress, two
blankets, and pillow that in default of a better use -- I put at the
foot of my bed to put my feet under. One blanket I have is really a
luxurious one -- as [warm as?] the old blue blankets on the bed in my room
You will understand from a lot that I do not write that the [illegible]
rules prevent. It won't be any the worse for the telling -- so just
[illegible] I am longing for news from you all -- but I know it
is too soon to hope for that, and I know too that some where I have
heaps of letters on the way.
We are not allowed to receive packages from home save by special
permission. So don't kill your rest times knitting. Really, they
say we can get things here as cheap as you can get the yarn at home -- still
it would be nice -- mighty nice -- to have some you have knit -- and maybe I
can find a way. When you receive this letter, send me the girls &
your glove measures. I saw some really beautiful gloves in a
shop window in the city -- and they were quite modestly priced.
As soon as we can get some thing, besides sponge baths -- we will be
in clover and when it comes to that we are better off here than about
95 % of the boys over here.
I will try to keep letters going -- so that you or Irene one will alway have
a letter on each mail ship.
Give my love to the kids -- and keep a lot for yourselves, and I know you
are always sure that I am ever
Your devoted boy,
J. Speed Rogers -- Sgt first Class,
Base Hospital 65,
Base Section #5
Am. Ex. Forces France.
[Inside a box marked in the corner:]
Capt. H.O. Linehergen
[remaining text not transcribed]
H.C. Rogers, letter to Alma
Rogers, 12 Oct. 1918, folder 3, box 11, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan
Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind).
Transcription by Ian English, HC 2019.
Company Office Sat PM 1918
Am fairly well settled now except for quarters, we are being moved around a
little but hope to be settled soon. Am now in the office or a little corner
set aside in the barracks for the use of the officers. Am not very busy now
as quite a few of our men have the "Flu". Fifteen are in the hospital and
several in bed here in the barracks. About fifty are on detail of various
sorts and the rest for the most part are not in the best of shape so we are
not drilling them now. I have drafted men under me and most of them are much
older than I and half probably married. It seems strange for me to be
ordering men around who are from twenty five to thirty and having them pay
me all kinds of respect. And when this morning I went thru the quarters with
the other two officers (2nd Lts) I couldn't get very fierce especially when
so many of the fellows were sick. It hasn't been long enough since I was in
their place. I never smiled nor even looked friendly but I couldn't "cuss
'em out". It will come I reckon though with a little experience.
All the officers mess to-gether at a little cottage called the officers Club
but the mess is all there is to it. We get good grub and all the sugar
we can eat. I ate bread and sugar last night for the first time since the
I might as well tell you that they have the "Flu" here pretty badly amonng
the men though I [strike out: only] know of only one officer who has it. You
need have no fear for me though for it is so warm here we have everything
open, clean quarters and sulphor water to drink, and use. It is so warm here
I go around in my shirt sleeves even at night. The trees and cotton fields
are green and birds sing so sweetly out on the campus. It rained quite hard
yesterday but today has been beautiful.
I went over to Bryan or Brien last night for an hour or so. It is the
nearest town boasts 4,500 and they call it a city here. Most everything in
Texas is closed to soldiers but we found the drug store open though they
couldn't sell us sodas or anything of the kind. In fact had I not been an
officer I could not have gotten out of camp but quarrentine of soldiers
doesn't effect officers, except as pertains to attendance upon public
gathering. The City of Bryan is about five miles distant and one reaches it
by a trolley in about fifteen minutes for so many cents. It has several drug
stores three or four picture shows one or two hotel and the other stores
that go to make up such a town. I couldn't see much of the town last night.
Well I must not tell to much about the place or I won't have anything to
tell next time.
We took the prescribed picture at Julia's. She surely did things up in style
for me. Cousin Nell and Catherine were there to dinner which was a swell
one. Martyn drove us all over the city and though only there for a few hours
I saw the whole works. Gee but [strikeout: It] it was great though the
parting was most unpleasant. Will send the pictures when I get the prints.
Will have a good picture taken when I can find time.
Nothing was said to me about being late. I just explained and no questions
were asked. Officer's words good you see.
Must close now.
Byers Burlingame, letter to Alma
Rogers, 19 Oct. 1918, folder 7, box 5, Rogers Family Papers Collection,
Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Will Werner-Wilson, HC 2019.
Oct. 19, 1918.
Dear Mother Rogers,
I have recoverd from the Flu and am now home trying to rest up and gain back
all I lost. I was in the hospital three weeks and I have lost about 25 lbs
although I still weigh about 15 lbs more than when I left last year. Of
course I don't look like it because my face is so hollow and I have lost my
tan and I guess I can't get that back till next summer. I think the second
week was my worst as was out of my head most of the time and the second wire
they sent grandmother said no expected to live, but I wasn't ready to die so
it seems. I said I kind of hated to come home a sketeton but at the rate
[strikeout: I] I eat if I came when well would have to have an extra cook.
I had wanted to come back to Hanover a few days about the 24th but I have
only 12 days so am going to stay home and rest up and try and gain back a
little weigh and then if I get extension will try and come down a day or so
if you can have me.
Grandmother this evening said she didn't think I had been writing you or if
had you hadn't received them but I have written you about 4 or 5 times
Carter a long letter a month ago and Sallie a letter and a card while in
hospital. Grandmother hadn't received pictures I have sent 3 different times
so some of my letter to you may have been lost.
This is my fourth day out of hospital and am feeling fine so am sure will
get along alright. Give my love to all.
H.C. Rogers, letter to H.M.
Rogers and Alma Rogers, , folder 3, box 11, Rogers Family Papers,
Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Emma Boomershine, HC 2020, and Baylee Roach, HC 2018.
On the Post
You write to be about not writing and I haven't missed a week while! You did
miss one week writing to me. You never have told me whether or not you
received the seventy five dollars for the bank. I know it's a trivial sum
but one must watch the little things to get along in this world.
Quite a sad thing happened here on Thanksgiving day. Lieut. Rollwage
(the fellow whom you all took to be me in the company picture) died. He had
not been the least bit sick but simply went over to the hospital to have his
tonsils removed. The second injection of cocaine affected his heart before
the operation was ever begun and he died in spite of the attention of three
or four doctors. Quite sad in that it was so sudden, so uncalled for. I saw
the major shortly after Rollwage died and he said when he went over to look
at the body, he thought it was I. Such things make one a little more
We had a military funeral Fri. afternoon which was very impressive. I shall
never forget the occasion [sic], the march down to the station where the
body was to be shipped. Down the military road (see picture)(The two out
side lines) stood the soldiers of the post, in two
batallion[sic]-front formations facing each other, at present arms,
the salute for such an occassion. In front walked the band playing a
military funeral march. (I made a mistake on the picture and got the dot in
front of the band) after the band came the chaplin on foot followy [sic] by
an army truck with the body (four soldiers standing in the truck to steady
the coffin) Next the officers of the post followed in a column of two in
order of rank. We marched from the building "A" to the Depot.
We were told the other day that we would begin mustering us officers out on
the tenth of Dec. However I don't hope to get out before Jan. or Feb. for I
have applied for the officers reserve and they will be kept in the army some
longer than the ones who asked for immediate discharge. I wanted to stay in
the army long enough to pay off my debt is the main reason why I asked for a
place in the reserve. Of course asking for it doesnt mean I'll get it. If I
don't I want to get a job some place until next fall for it wont pay me to
start in school this year and I want to get that debt off my mind.
I spent a very quiet Thanksgiving here on the post. I didn't accept any of
my three invitations to Colvert for various reasons. We had quite a good
turkey dinner at the officers mess. To-day Lieut B.C Rogers and I ate dinner
with Mr. & Mrs. Firtle (with whom we are rooming) we had a regular
Thanksgiving dinner, turkey 'n everything.
Wednesday I received the candy. Thanks so much, it was fine. Also on that
mail I got a box of candy from Dorothy and yesterday some from my girl
friend at Calvert. All my good luck comes at once.
To-day is perfectly beautiful, warm and sunshining brightly. The last few
days have been so cold. A few nights ago we had such a heavy frost it killed
the sweet potato vines though the irish potatoes are still green. Will
enclose a few pictures I printed. Fri. night I got my printing outfit fixed
up as good as new.
From now on will be very busy helping demobilize the men here. Our orders
are to have it done by the 20th Dec. It's quite a job and will keep us all
pretty busy .
My board is real good for an army boarding place. You see I board at the
officers mess, run by a sergeant and room about a square away at Mr. Firths;
a might nice place. It won't be necessary to send the down comfort as it
doesn't get so very cold here. Julia did not send me a sweater but I hardly
think I'll need any more for one of my girl friends is knitting one for me.
P.S. Why not send some of Speeds letters or does he still write by hand?
Henry Carter Rogers, letter to
Henry Martin and Alma Rogers, n.d. [Dec. 1918?], folder 3, box 11,
Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by David Jung, HC 2020.
Note: This letter is writing on "U S
Army" stationery, decorated with an image of soldier in gold.
In my room
Dearest Mother and All,
For the first time in all my short life I sit me down to write a Christmas
letter home. How often of late I have pictured you all back home sitting
around the table Christmas day or untieing your presents at the little table
in the front room. And again I see you sitting around the open fire telling
tales and cracking nuts thinking sometimes of Speed over in France
somewhere, and sometimes you think of me, somewhere in Texas. Speed away
serving his country and I - - - - willing, but never had the chance. And as
you think of me, I'll think of you and wish that I might be one of that
circle. But don't think of me as lost in Texas with no friends in a thousand
miles for though I will have more of my kin to feast with and enjoy yet I
have some very good friends here. I am going up to Calvert for Christmas as
we won't get our discharges in time for me to get to Oklahoma City. I may be
here until the first of Jan. or I may get out Tuesday. Nobody knows all the
enlisted men (privates and non coms) have been discharged and we have
nothing to do but wait. We report to headquarters here twice daily so that
they will know where we are, at all times but aside from that there is
nothing to do.
This morning I went to church and this afternoon I reserved for writing
letters. Tonight I am going to church with Nettie Edge in Bryan. She is a
real sweet girl, one of the few Southern girls who won't kiss you
good-night! However, she only likes me because of my uniform as all the
other girls do besides "Tiny". That is, in the South.
Mother, did Prof. Lawrence die? In one of your letters you said he was very
sick and someone else told me that Jim had taken all his classes out at
college but that's all I have ever been told. The trouble with my ever
hearing any news of Hanover is that every one thinks some one else's has
told me everything and I have to depend on passing remarks and my ability to
draw conclusions for most of my news.
I keep changing my plans as I am more or less have had a wonderful time, I
long to get back again where my influences are Christian. Like the children
of Israel were sent to Babylon to be cured of idolatry so I in a strange
land have been cured of the only thing I have ever done that is generally
considered not to be right -- dancing. I still have been dancing at the home
of one of my girl friends but have decided that I shall go to no more
dances. I don't yet think that I was ever hurt by dancing, but the costumes
or lack of costumes of the girls, the way they let the boys hold them, the
late hours they keep as well as the conversations of the fellows after the
dance, have caused me to come to this conclussion. I can honestly say that
these things have not hurt me but if my sanction of dancing by my attendance
on these dances will cause my brother to offend, "I will eat no flesh while
the world standeth lest I make my brother to offend." As for drinking and
gambling, drinking is no temptation for Texas is truely dry but there are
very few officers on the post who do not gamble. The fellows I associate
with gamble, at the mess they gamble, in their rooms the gamble, at times
they sit until reveille in the morning, gambling. However, it has never been
much of a temptation to me and I have never once tried my hand at it. I have
seen Babylon and have longed to get farther away, back to Jerusalem.
Hoping this will reach you by Christmas and that you will all have a very
bright and happy yule-tide, --
Your loving son and brother,
P.S. Oh yes, I nearly forgot to tell you that I have a little present for
the family but as it is rather bulky, I couldn't send it by mail and it
might get lost by express or at best be a month late so I should bring it as
a part of my baggage when I come home. For Jane's benefit, I'll say that it
is something to go in the parlor, no more can I tell untill I come home.
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