Posts Tagged ‘Coast Artiller from Eugene’

My great uncle must have been one patient man, what with all the draftees heading out to war, and his unit hasn’t even called him up yet! The 20th of July came and went, and he’s no wiser about when he’ll go as he was when he enlisted.


The photo is not of Dale or anyone he know, but is from the US Archives of a soldier saying farewell, circa 1917.

Eugene, Ore. July 30, ’17

Dear Mother and Dad,

       Well, I expect your letter will be coming this afternoon but I will begin this letter now anyway. I will finish it after yours comes.

      I am going out to some logging camp next week I guess. I have picked up quite a bit of French and I can’t do any more with military work and First Aid until I have something to work with. I am confident that I am capable of passing any examination they may give for non coms. I know as much or more about this work than any of the other sergeants. I think I will make it in a month or so at camp anyway.

      The two companies of Coast Artillery left here yesterday for Fort Stevens near Astoria, where they will train. Bob Case and lots of University men were in it. In fact, one whole company was University men. The whole town went down to the train to see them leave, and all of the kissing of sweethearts and mothers, weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that went on I never saw the like. Some of the boys were badly cut up. I tried to joke with them and get them out of the dumps but they would laugh hysterically and then put on a face a yard long. Some of the boys had been in my German class and I knew them pretty well. I suppose we have been in the class room together for the last time though now. Sometimes I think Sherman owes an apology to Hell for saying that war was the same thing. It is worse.

      I must go down to the student store and see if I can get a French dictionary. The French professor here, who is an Irishman is getting me a book with all the military language in it. We are treated fine for sure. We are given a;; kinds of dinners, dances, picnics, etc. –

     Well, I couldn’t get one. I guess I’ll wait till I get east and then I can get one. I guess we’ll go before long. I heard tonight that 1000 men have left Allentown and that we will probably be there by the 10th or 15th of August. I hope it is true.

     I must go to bed now. This letter is a little late this week but I waited to get your. So – long.

Your son

Dale D.


<sigh> Times were different then, and the use of racial slurs too common. But, I am looking back through history and cannot put this letter in context of what I know and believe in there here and now. Dale is wrong about a lot of things, including how vicious the war is and when it will end.

Eugene, Ore. Aug 10, ’17

Dear Mother and Dad,

      Scotty and I have been working on a paving job for the past three days but it is finished now for a while. We got $3.00 for 8 hours, and the work wasn’t bad. We shoveled the “hot stuff”. There was a Coon on the job that I worked with in Newberg when the paving was put in there. Mrs. Sparks boarded the coons here as she did in Newberg.

      The boss of the job said that he would let us know by the first of the week whether he gets his job on the road or not, and if he does, he wants Scotty and I to work till we are called. I think we will do that if we don’t get something else.

      Three more weeks ought to see some development in things concerning this Corps. If nothing happens by that time, I’ll try to get a transfer. I am sick of this fooling around.

     I think Montrose is not far from Edinburgh on the east coast of Scotland.

    I wonder where Hall Wallace gets all of his information about the war. There is nothing to make the war stop before 1920. I don’t think it will either. Of course it is to be hoped that it will end before then but not to be expected.

    I got me a French dictionary today from the professor of French and Italian here. He is an absent minded old Irishman!

     I got a letter from Andy a day or two ago. He and his brother Ray were called into training last Wednesday. He is in the Naval Militia and his bunch is training on the U. of W. campus in Seattle. He was hoping that this Ambulance Unit would go to American Lake for a while so that we would get a chance to say “Hello” before we leave for parts unknown. Andy will have it pretty good as far as an easy time is concerned but he won’t be able to tell yarns about France, etc. that I will. I wouldn’t care a snap about enlisting unless I figured on getting something out of it.

     Was Frankie taken in the first drawing? The Army would do him a lot of good, wouldn’t it? How about Chet and Harry? Uncle Harry says he is going to try to make a visit down at Meridian and Rock Falls when he gets back to Minneapolis.

     Well, I guess I’ll close now. Maybe I’ll be able to report some news next time.

Au revoir!



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