Letters Home: Emmett Littler, September 1917

From the September 13, 1917 Skidmore News:

Charlestown, S. C., Sept. 6, 1917.

Skidmore News, Skidmore, Mo.

To my friends of Skidmore: — I am taking this method of writing to those who asked me to write them. It would be too great a task to write each one a separate letter.

My Company was in Norfolk Training Station from August 12th to September 4th, during that time we were transformed from a bunch of green recruits into a company of well drilled soldiers. On labor day we marched through the streets of Norfolk, the parade lasted about three hours.

The accomodations at Norfolk are not as good as one would desire and we were glad to be transferred to Charlestown, S. C. Left Camp at Norfolk about four o’clock, marched to the docks and took a boat across the Elizabeth river to the railroad station, 450 soldiers all dressed in white uniforms. Our train left the depot, Tuesday at six-thirty p.m. and arrived in Charlestown Wednesday evening at one o’clock. This is a beautiful country through the Carolinas. There were fields of cotton, corn and sweet potatoes then miles and miles of lovely pine forests through the swamps then more corn and cotton fields. Most of the corn crop is light, in this section, although I saw a few fields that looked to be exceptionally good. The soil is a sandy formation.

This camp, though small, is a fine place, it is three miles from the city in the midst of a pine forest. The government is enlarging the camp and intend making a training station some time next spring. It is used now for a receiving camp. There are only about 1200 men here now. I hear there will be 400 more brought in to-day. We are not crowded here have our own tables at the mess hall and get three real meals a day, have practically nothing to do and all day to do it in.

Guess I will get liberty from four this evening until eight in the morning. We have ice water to drink, keep a bucket in our bungalow all the time. Have coffee for breakfast, ice tea for dinner and supper.

There is no “grinder” at this camp so there isn’t any field drill. I thought at first that I woudn’t like navy life but the more I see of it the better I like it.

Our living quarters are built to house twenty-five men. Sleep in hammocks swung eight feet from the floor.

Well I must get ready to make a dash for liberty, will close for this time. I am, Yours respectfully,
Emmett R. Littler.
Co. 2, Section 1, 4th Regiment, U. S. N. Training Camp, Charlestown, South Carolina