Writes Home from Camp Thomas
Contributed by Thomas Bohn
This letter was written from Camp Thomas on the Civil War battlefield of Chickamauga by a member of the 1st Vermont Volunteer Infantry. The letter was written after the surrender of Santiago on July 17, but prior the amristice between the U.S. and Spain on August 12, 1898.
Camp Thomas, by late July was getting quite disease-ridden from the huge population of men housed there, approximately 30,000, and poor facilities. In August and September many of the men in the camp were relocated to new camps.
The transcription is as faithful to the original as the writer's penmanship would allow. The last name of the author appears to be Meaker, but could be Menaker or perhaps Meraker.
The letter was in an "Army of the United States" envelope with a
two cent Washington stamp. The letter is dated July 31, 1898 and it is
postmarked as arriving in Barre, Vermont August 4, 1898 at 7:00am.
The letter is adressed to "Mr. O. J. Hodge"
July 31, 1898
Friend Onamel I hope that you will excuse the long delay in my writing
to you as I promised to write when we left Barre. perhaps the five-year
of Co. G. think they are Old-Veterans as I did myself years ago. but we have not one recruit in the Co. now but could tell them good points about
Veterans. at first we had many hard things to learn and trials and hardships of all kinds. but we have endured them all so far. the Boys are
all very anxious to go into active service. but the rumors of Peace make them feel that they will not have a chance to get at them. but I think
there is a chance for us to see more active service. We came in last night from eight days of Out Post Guard duty on the South end of the Park. We
all enjoyed that very much for a change from Camp life. We pitched our camp in a pleasant grove and used the shelter tents(or dog houses) it was
very rainy and we got wet every day. but the boys all came back feeling very well and quite happy. and we have just had another hard shower at
noon today. We are in the rainy season here now until the middle of August. We have not had very much sickness in our Company. there is three
sick now and two away on sick-leave of absence, I have an appetite that is hard to satisfy and feel well all the time and have kept my weight all
summer. think I will be back home to eat Turkey with you this fall. We get some nice fruit here . When we were on out-post duty, there was a Peach
Orchard near by that we attended to very close, and was careful not to let any spoil. and seen sweet-potatoes and Peanuts growing. Which were all
quite a sight for a Vermonter. I think that this Old Battle-field is a fine place for a large camp. We have quite a city here all of troops.
there has been over fifty-thousand here nearly all summer. last week there were several Regiments moved here. but we hardly notice so few going away. I think Col. Chuck is going home for a short stay, hope that we shall not be moved to Porto-Rico until he returns.
the Boys act different now than they used to at Muster but some-times there is a hot-time in the Old-camp at night. We were a long time in getting our Equipments, but are fairly well fitted now. to day being the last of the month we had a short service this morning of answering to our names for our months pay, and we had a very well attended meeting and all answered here very promptly. think by the way that Barre is growing that we will need a guide to take us about the City. hoping that you are very well, I am yours very Truly.
Lieut. C. S. Meaker
Co. G Ist Vt. Vol.
(P.S. remember me to all
old comrades and friends)
and hope to hear from you.