Letters Home: Michael Freece, Camp Alger

Another perspective on life at Camp Alger, printed in the Skidmore Standard, August 12, 1898, page 1:

Another Letter
Camp Alger, VA. – August 7, 1898
Editor Standard:
Camp life is a pleasant one, and a soldier’s is a little tough at times, but it averages up pretty well.

Camp Alger is deserted.  Out of all the regiments that were in camp here, the 4th Missouri is all that remains.  The most of them have moved camp to Manassas Juction, and the 4th Missouri has received official orders to leave for Porto Rico, but I don’t know when we will start.  There is quite a lot of sickness in camp now.  The main diseases are measles and typhoid fever, but since the camp has been thinned out it has ceased to rage so much.  The 4th Missouri had a sham battle the other day.  They divided up and made a fine showing.

We have a fine cook in U.S. Totton and John Heglock.  They get up a fine meal when they have anything to cook, but they have had to put the little pot in the big one, and boil them for soup the last week or two.  Pies are quite a delicacy here.  They come high and are hard to get; we don’t think anything of paying 25 cents for a little bit of pie not much bigger than the ones we used to pay five cents for in Skidmore, and they are of a very poor quality to boot.  When we get down to Porto Rico we can live on fruit as they grow there in abundance.  Lemons, bananas and some kind of berries that are more delicious than either of the above mentioned.

Our water supply has about given out here but I don’t think we will remain very much longer, at least I hope we will not.

We were to march to Washington the 13th and be reviewed by President McKinley and Secretary Russell A. Alger, but I don’t think we will, although we may.

Some of us have fine houses to live in .  They are A tents, six feet long, six feet wide and four feet high in the middle.  I have built mine up on stilts and haven’t room enough to turn around in.  I have to get up and go outside to turn around and crawl back in.

Taking everything into consideration, we are having a fine time.

Yours respectfully,
Michael Freece