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CARSON W. DIETRICH - letter home
Source: Waveland Independent, Sept 28, 1917 - Guy Marshall, Fred Priebe and Carson Dietrich left on Friday for Camp Taylor near Louisville where they a re now being made into soldiers Waveland Independent -- Camp Taylor, Ky Sept 30, 1917 - transcribed by kbz
Dear Folks: We have been here a week now and yesterday afternoon was the first chance we've had to look around and to say that we were amazed would be putting it much too mildly. I wish it were possible for everyone to visit, study and learn what a wonderful place this camp really is. Our train was due he re at 6:40 p.m. but it was 9:30 before we detrained in the rain a tired but cheerful bunch and by the way, i never saw better spirit in my life than has been shown from the start. Everybody is anxious and willing to do all they can and if I'm any judge at all, this new army is going to make more than a record, as armies go; it's going to raise the scale of "citizenry" high and firm along man's idea of what men should be; be cause I never saw a better bunch of clean-cut, aggressive men than is he re at Camp Taylor. Old regular army officers are amazed at the speed and points of perfection being gained in a remarkably short time and when a ll those people next see their boys, they are also going to be amazed at t he change brought about in their health, manners, ability and manliness. Our barracks are well ventilated electric lighted and kept as clean as the constant use of brooms and mops can keep them for we are liable for inspection at any time. They are not mere shacks or barns by any means but at that they are not like home.
Each barrack has a well constructed separate building for the shower bath, wash stands and toilets. There are very few organization sin the country that can boast of bath houses as good as ours. These bath house (a good cool shower after 8 hours drilling, the dust 3-4 " deep) are the brightest spots on the reservation and it's some reservation. It is, in reality, a large city, covering many square miles of rolling country, with miles of wide roadways, some cement, some crushed stone, street lights, fire hydrants, telephones, soldiers on duty as traffic cops on visiting days (wed and Sat p.m. and Sunday) using flags for "stop and go" posts. We have YMCA buildings, our auditorium, our exchanges for buying ice cream, candies, tobacco, soft drinks and lunches, and nobody ever gets sick but if he does he will be well car ed for. Uncle Sam has provided hospitals, dentists and all kinds of sanitation inspectors. The base hospital is composed of something like 80 buildings and covers close to 20 acres besides the field hospital, that is one building for every batallion. Later I hope that all or some of you c an come and see this wonderful place, and go away impressed with the magnitude of the thing the job before everybody and realize that everybody mu st do his part. Just as we are having to do doubly hard work to master t he drills, and go out prepared to win this fight for the sake of humanity, just so must everyone get interested, take up his extra duty and stand back of us.
The only trouble I have and the one thing that a person shouldn't crab about when he stops to think what an enormous job the government has on hands to supply all the men is not sleeping warm enough. Of course I've always slept with all windows open but the nights are so cool and temporarily we have only one blanket over us. Any day we may have mo re issued but naturally everything is so "balled up" right at the start with 20,000 here and more coming in every day that you can't tell just when you are going to get what you want; but in another week or so everything will be organized and running just like clock work. I must close now as "tattoo" is just now sounding and we have just 30 minutes to turn in and get all lights out. Give everybody my regards and tell them to write. Love to all Carson. 31st Co 8th Battalion 159th Depot Brigade, Camp Taylor, KY
Note: This is Carson W. Dietrich 22 Feb 1896 - 10 June 1970 buried Maple Ridge Cemetery, Waveland, Indiana
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