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Letter From Ed C Lammers, Fairfax Standard, 9-12-1918

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August 27, 1918

Dear Uncle;

Well we are ready for a trip across. We started from Camp Grant Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and arrived at Camp Mills, Long Island, Monday at 9:00 p.m. but lost quite a lot of time waiting for a train at Long Island City. We had a very pleasant trip, the weather was so nice, and the main thing is to feel good.

From Chicago we went north through the Niles and Kalamazoo and then into Canada on the New York Central, crossed the Niagra river, then across the state of New York. At Niagra Falls the whole train load of troops got off to see the Falls; they are very pretty, and I would like to have stayed a day.

At Rochester we again detrained and had a cool bath at the headquarters of the Red Cross, 200 men at a time. At Utica also had a swim, and the privilege of running about town for about 35 minutes, so we had a chance to supply ourselves with sweets and tobacco.

At every large place we stopped we were treated by the Red Cross, especially after we landed in New York. It was night when we went through the Allegheny Mountains, but the moon was bright so I lay awake nearly all night in a lower berth taking in the views. Along the Hudson we saw rock enough to build another temple. The track is built right on the side of a solid bed of rock. We also saw West Point.

Finally we reached the place where orders were to detrain. Here we marched right onto the steamer Catskill for an hours’ ride up the Hudson River into East river. We passed through Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island Bridge. I had often heard about the structures and the engineering of the bridges and it is not over-stated. The Statue of Liberty is still there ready to see us off.

I always had an idea that Long Island was not so large but that I could throw a stone across it, but I found out different, because we had an hour’s ride by rail and then there was no sign of an end. I saw some of the prettiest flowers on the Island that I ever laid eyes on – whole acres of them. The soil is almost as rich as Minnesota’s I believe. Our tents were pitched right in a potato patch and they were dandies. It looks different by this time: one could not find enough ground to make a bird’s nest and the potatoes have gone to the kitchen.

We expected to find barracks here at Mills, but were a little disappointed – nothing but tents. That is better than sleeping on the ground as we did at times on the rifle range.

After all this is a great life, if we don’t weaken. I have not seen a sad face yet. I don’t care for the bacon, but will take a piece of Rhine.

Remaining as ever Your nephew, Ed. C Lammers