My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part A)

Time to Pack

I don’t remember the time I woke up this morning, but I remember I went and had a cold shower just about day break.

The previous evening I had had my arm with the boils on it looked at by a doctor. He told me to go on sick report in the morning. So I went. There were so many there before me. The doctor just put iodine on my arm and bandaged it up again. It must have been nearly 8:30 when I got out. I hustled for the mess hall and arrived just in time. I nearly missed my breakfast.

After morning mess we were told we would be shipped out to some camp soon so be ready at any time. I don’t know whether I was glad or sorry to hear that. We packed our blanket and stuff into our barrack bags. They showed us how to pack them so the blankets, shoe strings, and mess kits were on top. I read my Bible a while.

Then, about eleven we were ordered to bring our bags and line up outside the barracks. We lined up four abreast and were marched up around and to the main road on the parade ground. Here, we were halted and they had a roll call. Each man was asked if he had any of the papers they had given him. One or two had, and they were ordered out of the line and told to wait over because their papers should have been turned in. The rest of us were marched on past the parade ground to a kind of terrace above the train station. Here, we were ordered to set down our bags in a row. We were informed that we were going to be sent out some time that P.M. Our corporal told us where the canteen was and if we wished to buy anything – cigarettes, candy, or such, we should go right away – and to be sure to be at the barrack at noon for he would be there to take us to mess hall. It was about half past eleven then but some of the men went over to the canteen. I did not. We got back to the barrack and very soon it was dinner (lunch) time. We had dinner and then back to the barrack briefly.

Under the Hot Sun

About one thirty we were ordered out again and were marched up the hill and around to where our bags were left. We were told to get our blankets, shoe laces, and mess kits out and fold the blanket, place the laces and mess kit on top of the bags for an inspection. We were held in line under the hot sun during inspection, but allowed to fall out and lie in the shade a while. We were first cautioned to know our places and bags. So when we were ordered to fall in again, we could get to our places quickly.

We were glad of the opportunity to fall out. My uniform seemed so hot. I stretched out flat on my back under a tree. We were left to rest about an hour, before being ordered into line again. We were to be inspected by the commanding officer of Jefferson Barracks. We were ordered to button our coats and to see that every button was in place on our clothing. We stood very still and waited. It seemed like an awful long time till he came. I looked around for Gilbert, but did not find him in the line. Some way in all the confusion I had lost track of him. (I found out later that he was not needed to fill the quota and so was left behind. He got a two month furlough to go home and help his father run his farm and get the crops in.)

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