Letters Home: Ray Cook

From page 8 of the Skidmore News, January 9, 1919:

From Ray Cook

The News is indebted for the privilege of printing the following good letter from J. Ray Cook, a son of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Cook, who has at different times lived on the Cook farm southeast of town, to Alfred Walton who brought it in the first of the week.

New Cumberland, Pa., Dec. 27, 1918.

Dear Alfred, Blanch and Lois:

My only reason for not writing sooner is procrastination.

I guess you knew that I was transferred from Washington.  I have a good position now, but am very anxious to get out of service.

I am assistant to the finance officer here.  I work on the soldiers and civilian payrolls and keep time for all civilian employees.

I have a flat desk, swivel chair, stenographer near at hand and other conveniences.  I have charge of six clerks and they do most of the work.

We have about a thousand negro soldiers in the labor battalions besides 250 civilian employees and our own headquarters company of about 250 men.  In addition there is a limited service company (250) that does guard duty and kitchen police work.  We paid a bunch of soldiers last week.  There was $16,000 in the vault and a guard was on duty continuously.

They have real ware houses here about 200 feet wide and a quarter of a mile long.  They unload about 100 cars a day now. Everything is being stored, canned goods, wagons, harness, tanks, wire, etc.

The material was intended for over sea shipment.  There are 800 acres in the camp.

We are only 3 miles from Harrisburg and 30 miles from the old Gettysburg and 30 miles from the Susquehanna River.  We cross the Mongehelia River going to the city.

I go to work about 9 and quit about 4:30.  Well it is about chow time so will finish this after dinner.

Well it is now 1:40 so will resume my letter.  There will be work here for six months at least, but I don’t intend to stay that long.  I would like to get a furlough about the 13th of next month and breeze back there a few days.  They kept about all the office force busy up to Xmas and now we can’t get a furlough until the 10th of January.

I had a fine Xmas dinner in a private home in Harrisburg.  The people here are exceptionally nice and do everything possible for our comfort.

We had our first snow the day after Xmas.  It did not stay on the ground long.  We are between two ranges of mountains here and it sure gets cold of a night.

Big steel mills are just across the river.  The light from the mills is so bright we can read here at camp several miles from one of the mills.  Well I could write a book on the points of interest I have seen, but think it about time to ring off.

Give my regards to the community.

Sincerely,

Ray Cook.