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Letter from Louis Klemenhagen, Olivia Times, 11-14-1918

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Louis W. Klemenhagen
April 15, 1897 – November 12, 1944

Camp Cody, New Mexico, November 3rd, 1918

We left Olivia at 5:30, Oct 25th at Glencoe we had picked up another bunch of boys so that made four bunches, the others being from Montevideo, Granite Falls and Olivia.

Leaving Minneapolis we followed the Mississippi river to Farmington, where we got a hearty cheer. At Faribault we picked up two more cars of boys and gave them a cheer. We also gave them a cheer. We also picked up boys at Owatonna, and Austin, Minnesota, making a train of thirteen cars in all.

At. Calmar, Iowa we had time to parade the town, yelling “Hurrah for Minnesota.” You can imagine when three hundred and seventy-four men and boys shout what a noise it makes. Sometimes I could not hear myself think.

We got to North McGregor at dark so far the country looked good but from there on it looked forsaken. I wouldn’t trade a hundred and sixty of Minnesota for all of New Mexico. We took breakfast at Davenport, Iowa, a good sized city. At Mastic, Iowa we saw some coal mines.

All we saw in Missouri were mines and hills. Tell Herman it would be fine hunting squirrels and raccoon in Missouri, where they also raise the four legged mule. We certainly saw plenty of them.

We got to Kansas City at 2:15 p.m., received more post cards from the Red Cross.

Here they took off the dining cars as we went from there on the Rock Island road. We had dinner just before we got to Kansas City, and got supper that night at McFarland, Kan., in the Inter-State House, at 10:30 p.m.

We got to Pratt, Kansas in the morning behind time, so our breakfast was ahead quite, so we had time to go into a hotel and lunch room, and clean them out of everything and some more.

At Liberal, Kansas the ground was covered with sleet, there we got breakfast and dinner. The country was so level you could see for miles and see straw piles as high as hog cochs or shocks. It was mostly grazing land, where the grass was short in the pasture we could see prairie dogs galore, one colony after another. We got to Goodmill at dark, that was Monday the 28th, we got a meal at 9:20 p.m.

At Carrizozo, New Mexico, the country was picturesque, high mountain and buttes on all sides, covered with sage brush. The ground was of a fine sand. Here we saw a big black eagle with wings which must have measured six or seven feet. It looked like an air-plane sailing around.

Got to El Paso, the end of the snow country, at 1:30, when we had dinner, at the Y.M.C.A. building. Had a fine feed only it was 12 hours behind time. Here some of the weak were taken off, that had gotten sick from cigarette smoke.

We left El Paso at 3 p.m. arrived at Camp Cody at 7:35 a.m.

Our leader from Olivia was Bert Flagsted, a fine young fellow, who at the present time is in my tent.

We were met by Lieut. Peterson, and 2nd Lieut. Homan, both fine fellows, you could not find better officers anywhere.

We walked about one mile to our headquarters where we were checked up and got a ribbon and card on our necks with our names on, we also received sweaters from the Red Cross.

Then we marched to Casval Camp, 15th Co. were given our tents and after that got supper.

I got to my tent at 11 p.m. that night to roll in, and got up at 7 a.m. Tuesday the 29th. Had mess and then started to clean up the street of Co. 15.

Wednesday, we were measured for clothing Thursday we got our suits, now we look like full-fledged soldiers.

Friday was out on drill, learned to salute correctly, and the following commands, such as right face, left face, about face, squad right, squad left, etc.

Saturday at 1 p.m. we went up to the Reformatory for examination which I passed, then got a shot in the arm, or vaccinated for pneumonia, from which my arm is a little stiff today, but will be all right in the morning.

After mess Saturday night the whole of 15th Company went to the Y.M.C.A. building to see a motion picture show, and boxing matches, in which a boxer from Minnesota put it over everything. You ought to have heard the up roar of two hundred and fifty men of 15th co. being that we have a full company now. The cry was “Wake up, Okla., Neb., or New York, for Minnesota has the goods,” or “Minnesota can deliver the goods.”

Got to bed at 9:00 p.m. Saturday night and Sunday, morning was called out for insurance, so are all thru taking out insurance; I happened to be the first to be called out to go in, so got back to my tent where I commenced writing this letter, and had to stop for mess; then we got orders to move, so we got trucks and now are in barracks. Before we were in canopy tents, now we have board sides with canvas tops, must close now for mess again.

As ever, Louis W. Klemenhagen