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Letter from Claude Smith published in the Morton Enterprise June 28, 1918

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Claude Smith

Hampton Roads, VA

Dear Sister,

Well, I guess it’s about time to answer your welcome letter I received some time ago. I thought I would tell you about the trip down here. Some change from the Great Lakes to Virginia, believe me.

We left the Great Lakes at 3:30 Friday. There were eleven coaches of sailors, four hundred and seventy-five men in all. We had fine cars with berths and we ate on the train too. After leaving the lakes we stopped in Chicago for an hour or so, so we just merely got started Friday. Saturday morning I woke up in Covington, KY, Just across the river from Cincinnati, OH. There was a train load of solders standing alongside of us. They were headed for some place in Virginia too but I didn’t learn the place. They had come from Ft. Riley, Kansas. We left Covington about 5:30, followed the Ohio River a long way. West Virginia was the rough country. We went thru the Allegheny mountains—some twisty track, believe me. We went thru twenty-five tunnels the longest one being a mile and a quarter. When we went thru the first tunnel I was standing guard between I didn’t realize what was the matter for a little while. They have a guard at the end of each coach so you have to stay in your own coach. We saw all kinds of coal mines and a place where they make coke, while w were in that rough country. We went a route where there weren’t many large towns and it’s a good thing for there was some hollering and waving, believe me.

About 8:30 we hit Richmond, VA, and the next large town was Newport News, there we left the train and boarded the “clid” which took us across the Bay to Hampton Roads.

It’s awful sandy here and warm—102 in the shade yesterday and the negroes say we haven’t had any hot weather yet. We have to sleep in hammocks here—six feet from the floor. One fellow in our bungalow fell out last night and landed on his back.

Well, I don’t seem so far from home even if I am 1200 miles away. I’ve done got to go to chow so think I’ll close for this time.

Your brother,
Claude Smith
Co. 127, Unit B-15-2
Hampton Roads, VA