Morgan James Lewis was born on December 6, 1868 in Defiance, Ohio. During the Spanish American War, he served on Company F, of the 22nd U.S. Infantry, and also served in the unit's band. In the following letter, he describes his situation after returning the U.S. from Cuba. His story is typical of many who returned but who were haunted by the diseases they captured while serving in the tropics. Unlike many, he seemed to have made a full recovery. After the war, in the 1920's, he moved to Fort Myers, Florida. He passed away in 1948.
One written on an opened envelope, Aug 27, 1898, from Montauk Point, Long Island:
"Dear Parents and sisters,
I just got in this morning Aug 27th and I am held in quarantine for 5 days and then I will come home on furlough(.) I had the yellow fever and was left behind when the regiment left 2 weeks ago(.) I have not seen or heard from them since(.) I am well, only very weak and hungry so I will expect some of those yellow legged chickens (.) ha ha. This is a very nice place and we are well taken care of(.) The nurses are women of the red cross and treat us very nice. Hope this may find you all well. I remain your son and Brother
(On back:) I don't know anything about Glen Roy or Billie
they were sick the last I saw of them
Ft. Crook Neb Mon Nov 28th 98
Well I suppose you are anxious about my well fare. I wrote
you in Chicago and I was quite well but on arriving in Omaha I was
sick and came near being sent to St. Josephus hospital but I was taken
by the police patrol to the depot and on arriving at Crook, the U.S.
was waiting for me. I am feeling much better now but I think in a
month or so I will get a discharge for disability. It is a pretty
tough sight here, they are bringing in the poor fellows on stretchers
every way. They are all more or less knocked out. Ray
is on furlough, he is at Wausean (?). I saw Shoup last night, he
looks pretty well(.) Well everything looks natural only there is
so terrible many new recruits when I got off the train out of 75 or so
soldiers(,) I only knew 3 it seems to be a new regiment entirely I
feel at home all seems strange well goodbye.
Write soon your Son and brother
Ft. Crook Neb Dec 6/98
Dear Parents and Sisters(,) I will try to answer you kind letter which I recd a few days ago(.) Well I have not heard from my discharge lately a few days ago the Surgeon said he would let me go as soon as I could would be able to be moved I feel well now and have been only a few days when I first came(.) My fever was 104 but I have felt well ever since I got out every day now I go down to the barracks every day they are all strange faces only a few of the old ones remain(.) Roy is at Wausean(?) on furlough but he is sick I don’t believe any one who went through the Santiago Campaign will ever be a man again I will have two claims one for organic heart trouble and the other for piles(.) I don’t know what Uncle Sam will say when I produce my claim at Ha.. Rebm(?) says(.) I have not heard from R.B. Cameron yet but I suppose I will before long. I signed the pay rolls for $115.00 I owe Huf $5.00 and Cameron my doctor bill and that is all but I will have to buy a trunk. And I will send the rest home I cannot tell how soon I will be discharged he might keep me till spring he is going to discharge several fellows and he told them they had better stay till spring as their pay would go on just the same and they would get their brand clothes and doctor bills he may do the same with me for all I know if I get home in the spring or winter I will sell wall paper for a while, ok(?) I will tell you what I eat before I go to bed every night 25 row oysters and a big bowl of bread and milk then I sleep like a long till 6:30 in the morning I got a pull in this American Army(.) Well I will close write soon.
The snow is 8 or ten inches deep and has been cold as blazes but
is warmer now.
Ft Crook Neb Dec 10/98
Dear Parents and Sister
I will drop you a few lines to let you know I am still on………..down(.) Well I wxpect to get my discharge any day now. I think I will get it Monday I saw it in the Co day before yesterday I am getting a very bad discharge but I am glad to get out at any rate I thin I can get redress from them when I get out if I cannot I will never get a … pension. Capt Getty is not here and there is a little Lieutenant in command of the the Company and the Major doctor seems to have no use for me don’t mention this to anybody but I will see what I can do when I get out I expect to be home next week. Oh yes I got a letter from R B Cameron $14.00 is the bill he has against me well I expect to see you next week
Your son and Brother Morg"