NEGenWeb Project
Merrick County

Merrick County News

 

Scrapbook of Mrs. C. J. (Elizabeth) Dittmer

SOLDIERS' LETTERS

Assumption - that all these were published in the Clark's Enterprise ...
or the newspaper of Shelby, IOWA
None of the articles bear a publication date or name of newspaper.


Scrapbook page 5

Camp Stewart, Va., Mar. 3, '18

Dear Cousin:

Hello Herman how are all you folks? I am fine and dandy. We got to our new camp last night at twelve o'clock. Some trip believe me. Take it from me this is some swell place, the camp is not so large as Funston, but about a hundred yards east is the Chesapeake Bay. I could set out there all day and watch all the big ships coming and going, and any size you wish to see. This also is a great place for flying machines, you can hear and see a hundred of them almost any time. It certainly looks great to see them soar around up in the air, and all of a sudden they sail down in the bay and swim along on the water like a boat.

The officers here all seem to be of a good sort for they talk and joke with us all the time.

The people talk kind of funny here they talk like colored people and the soldiers from this part of the country are all little shavers, they stand and look at us big fellow from the west and dont know what to make of us for being so much bigger than they are.

Newport is our closest town, it is about a mile at the farthest. We will be under quarantine for two weeks so our officers tell us that is we can not leave the camp, we can go out to the bay or enjoy ourself all we please they say this is the healthiest camp in the U. S.

I wonder how John is getting along at Camp Funston. I must write and tell him about our new location.

We went down to the dock and there were a lot of oyster fishers, I tried a few of them raw, they were pretty good.

Our officers were telling us that they did not know how long we would stay here, we may be here five days or perhaps five months, so you see I couldn't tell you any more, well that is the army game.

Of all the states we came through Arkansas takes the cake, for there they are just about a century behind time from Nebraska any way there they all work with the oxen yet and in Mississippi they plow with one mule, while in North and South Carolina and here, they use two mules alright but they have one mule in front of the other, they don't know enough to hitch them side by each. All the farm land on this side of Arkansas are from 1 acre patches to one foot square field, and a big tree or a stump in the middle of that with a cat on it to rest on. All the farmers seem to be pretty easy going and their farm building show it too.

Well Herman I cant think of any more news so I'll close hoping to hear from you soon, I remain

As ever your cousin,
H. H. Dittmer,
Co. F 4th Inf.

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Scrapbook page 5

Soldiers' Letters

Camp Stuart
March 16, 1918

Dear cousin Herman:

How is the world using you these fine days? I suppose you are about ready to start spring work: at least the weather is surely fit for that here. Today is Saturday, and a good time for me to answer my letters, and do my week's washing. This forenoon we had gun inspection and then we took a hike overland. Its quite a job with a 75 pound pack strapped to your back, but as I am getting used to it I can stand it fairly well.

We have a hard time keeping our rifle barrels bright here. We can shine them up as good as you please at night, but, in the morning they are all rusty again. The difference in the climate must be the cause of it, for we never had that trouble at Funston. Three of the old company E Boys are in the camp hospital down here, but the rest of us are in the best of spirits.

I did have a funny sick spell Wedneeday (sic) morning. I got up feeling good, but when I went out to take my morning was about done, everything turned black and I fell to the floor. When I came to, I was lying on my bed. Some of the boys carried me in, and I was unconscious for a half hour.

We do quite a bit of rifle shooting here. We go out and shoot a few rounds every day. Two colored regiments are here from Camp Travis, Texas. We have lots of colored soldiers here.

A big troop ship stopped in with a load of New Zealand soldiers Thursday. They had been on their way for five weeks and stopped here to rest up. They didn't get much rest though while they were in sight for the boys would get one or two of them cornered up and keep them busy answering questions.

We spend a few hours on the bay every night, hunting sea shells and oysters. Some days we go boat riding. The water is very low and we can walk out for a half mile on sand. The other night we were out there when the tide came in, and it hurried us to get back to the bank. Some of the boys brought out their shoes full of water. It seems impossible for the water to come up so quick, but when it does, it is all at once. It also goes down as quick as it raises.

Today makes two weeks of this camp for me. I will close, hoping to hear from you soon,

Hans H. Dittmer

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NOTES:
The letters were published Clarks Enterprise. "Cousin Herman" - probably the son of C. J. & Elizabeth Dittmer, who had an older brother named John. John was about the same age as Hans Hugo Dittmer. Both items are from single page of scrapbook. (Henry was brother of C. J. Dittmer)


Hans "Hugo" Dittmer

Born 5 Mar 1893 at Minden, IA
Parents: Henry Dittmer and Marguerite Kohl Dittmer
1897: Moved to Clarks, Merrick, NE
Died 21 Jul 1918, KIA France, age 24 years.
Hans is buried in the Clarks Cemetery.

     "Hans was buried in the American Cem. at Epieds, France. A member of Co. F, 4th US. Inf., 3rd Division, and was killed after 3 days of action".
     After remembering his gravestone at the Clarks Cem., I read on ... the next article told of him being brought home... "The body, accompanied by 6 sailors and led by the Clarks Band. Buried Aug. 18, 1918, in the Clarks Cem." The funeral ceremony was held at the school campus. "It was estimated that 3000 people were present to express their sympathy to the Dittmer family."

     Believe all the clippings in the scrapbook came from the Clarks Enterprise (newspaper). - Lois

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Sources:

History of Merrick County, NE Vol I, p 175

1900 Federal Census, Merrick Co, NE - ED134 p8a D151 F152 (w/father & step mother, siblings)

Scan of scrapbook page - Letters home from 1918 newspapers, donated by Lois Fairfield.


Scrapbook, page 5

From Joe Spires

how things are going on. There is a lot of peace talk going on but we do not take any stock in it. What President Wilson says goes with every American soldier. We are willing to see it to a finish, and the rate we have been going you can tell about how long they will be able to hold out. The prisoners sure are glad to get over here. I sure have seen a raft of them.
     Well Dad, I have not heard from Uncle Thos. yet but look for a letter most any day. I have written him two letters and the last time I had a visit with Bob he said that he had written you two letters and a card and had written to Uncle Thos. and to Cousin Mary. He has already learned by a card from him last wee. I received five letters from Ellen yesterday and three from home.
     Well as there is not a great deal more that I can write about will draw my letter to a close, hoping that this finds you all well. Write me when ever you can. I hope to be back in the States before many more months. I heard some time ago about Tom Shonsey and Hans Dittmer.
     Well Dad be good and take good care of yourself.
     Yours with the best of luck,

           Ag't. Joseph Spires.

Dear Dad,
     Your letter of the 15th received to-day, I sure was glad to hear from you, was also glad that you was getting along alright. I am getting along good as Uncle Sam is giving us all we can eat, and you know that is where I shine. I am at the same work. We are feeding two hundred and five men now and some days we have a few more.
     We sure have been lucky as we have seen considerable service and every man is well and getting along fine. We have been well supplied with food and it seems to be getting better all the time. We now have all the fresh beef, white bread, bacon, beans, sugar, canned milk, coffee, potatoes, onions and many other things that we can use. So you can very readily see what you folks in the States are doing for us.
     We do not see a great deal of other soldiers where we are now, but there are French on one side and British on the other and we are going like a prairie fire.
     I suppose that he papers in the States have trouble in getting type large enough for their headlines. We get the news every day and know



DITTMER Scrapbook TOC

© 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Lois Dittmer Fairfield, T&C Miller