Letters Home: Forrest Weddle

The Skidmore News published this letter from Forrest Weddle in its November 15, 1917 edition:

With the Colors

Charleston, SC, Nov. 5
To the News and Friends:
Thought I would write a few lines.  I am in good spirits now as this is pay day.

There are thirteen of us in the quarantine section.  Our meals were carried to us a few days, but now we are eating in the mess hall.  We will be out of quarantine Nov. 8.

I was in the machinists mates school as instructor in tool making and tempering for three weeks.  I am expecting to go back sometime soon.  I took the blacksmith examination on entering the school.  I passed the examination and was recommended for change of rating by the head of the school.  I expect to get my rate by the time quarantine is up.

I will agree with Francis Jenkins that profane language is commonly spoken here, yet there are quite a few that don’t use it.

We have religious services here in camp.  I am a member of the 4th regiment Bible class which at present has 19 members, the largest of any regiment in camp.  The Y.M.C.A.s have a spacious building at this camp.  They have some sort of entertainment almost every night, besides regular services Sunday and prayer meeting Wednesday evening.  They also have classes in French and penmanship.  Everything is free for all who care to go.  The attendance is always good. The Y.M.C.A. people say it costs $17,000 per year to supply the Southern training camps with writing material.  It’s a great institution and needs every cent that will be contributed.  They are going to make a nation wide campaign from Nov. 11 to 19 to raise $35,000,000, enough to last until July.  I don’t believe anyone outside the service fully realizes the greatness and goodness of the Y.M.C.A.  I never knew until I came into the service.

The enlisted men in the navy purchased $10,000,000 of Liberty bonds.  I purchased a $100 bond.  I judge from the Honor Roll in the News the old home town must be rather quiet.  It seems most of the young fellows are gone, but we will liven things up when we come back after the war.

I have had two chances to go to sea.  Could have gone with Emmett Littler, but as I was in the school at the time I decided to stay.

Charleston is an ancient, antiquated city, but the most interesting place I have ever seen.  I have seen Ft. Sumpter and Moultrie and a great many historic places and things.  Many of the buildings are cracked and out of plumb caused by an earthquake a good many years ago.  Wood blocks are used most for paving in the city.  Sea shells are used in the suburbs quite extensively, they make fine roads.

Taking everything into consideration, I am well satisfied here.  We are having fine weather.  It isn’t cool enough tonight to have fire in the bungalow, altho the mornings are somewhat cool.

I am sure glad to get the News every week.  I enjoy the letters from the boys, the local items, news of new babies, etc.

I am well.  Will close for this time,
Yours truly,
Forrest J. Weddle, U.S.N. Training Camp, Charleston, S.C. Co. 5 Sec. 2 4th Reg.