Transcription of the Soldiers' Newsletter, 19 September 1917
SOLDIERS’ NEWS LETTER
September 19, 1917
Dear friends: After a lapse of several weeks another news budget is starting on its way. It goes out with a considerably reduced mailing list, due to the number of old subscribers who have “moved and left no forwarding address” – a common failing among lawyers, as evidenced by constantly changing alumni records. We have delayed getting out the bulletin, expecting that as soon as the new officers were settled in their training quarters, they would write and tell us about it. In the last few days we have heard from several, and hope this will stir up some more.
We were very glad to hear from Serg. Lodwick, as he set sail early in August for “port unknown”. He reports from Cuba: “We don’t know what we’re here for, and most of us don’t care. We are quite well fed and housed; work very hard – what more should one want in war time? Succeeded in getting lost in a tropical forest last week, and have the nicest collection of cacti in and around my anatomy. My idea of zero in athletics is being lost in a tropical forest at night.”
We are filled with pride and delight at the prospect of having our Major with us again next week. We only wish that he might come marching at the head of the stalwart sons of Northwestern, now in service the world over! It will be a glad and proud day for all of us when Johnnie does come marching home.
The Major has a message for us: “On the Sept. 4 parade of the Drafted Men in Washington, Major Wigmore was in the ranks with the war Department contingent. In the first line, led by the Secretary of War and General Scott, Chief of Staff, came the chiefs of bureaus, then came the General Staff, then the Provost Marshal General’s staff, to which Major Wigmore belongs for the time. The parade started at the Capitol, went up Pennsylvania Ave., and was reviewed by the President in front of the White House grounds. Next day, the rumor went round the Provost Marshal General’s office that the Major might be a German spy. An explanation of this baseless slander being promptly demanded by him (at the point of the pen), he was told by a Major friend that its origin was this: It was notorious that he had had no prior service in our army; and yet his military carriage and demeanor in the march was striking and unmistakeable; hence it must have been gained in some other army, therefore possibly the German army! The Major successfully explained away this superficial and weak inference (on logical principles well known to veterans of Evidence I) by disclosing that he had ample marching experience, viz. in successfully leading six hundred stalwart Northwestern rooters over the State Street cobblestones, to welcome Marshal Joffre, away back in April last. This was deemed conclusive. (By the way, doesn’t that Joffre day seem away back in the past? Well, there will be another Northwestern parade, for sure, when we all get back).”
Much interest centers around every bit of news we can glean from our Hospital Unit. We give you here a large part of a letter just received from Comrade Bovard: “Your little news letters are as welcome as a pardon on a scaffold or a good cigarette in France. It certainly pute “pep” into us to know that you are backing us up. My work as ward orderly involves too many brooms and mops and not enough bayonets and battle axes to suit my taste. But perhaps this is a good training for my first year in a law office. I am also getting “fed up” with petty orders from pettycoats, but I find relief in heated arguments with the offending skirts. Rauhoff works in the cook house with several of the English boys, and is also keen for debates. The other day one of his garbage can assistants was scoffingly pointing out the futility of America’s hopes to do the job quickly when England -had fought so long without the desired result. Rauhoff finished him off with this: Rauhoff – “Well we licked the Germans once and we can do it again.” English Potato peeler: “When was that?” M.A.R. “When you hired them to fight us in ‘76.” E.P. batteries silenced.
Strickler is King of the Bathhouse, and has entered the realm of Politics with marked success. After exhibiting his prowess at track and baseball he has been elected president of the athletic council. Frank Clauson’s mustache with its waxed tips, is the envy of the whole camp, but especially of ”hoot” Myers , whose attempt resembles a crop of bayenets on “no man’s land”. McKenzie is corporal in the QQM. Dept. and to uphold the dignity of his position he feels it necessary to shine his shoes three times a. day with my polish and brush. However, he hasn’t forgotten that he was in the ranks once himself.”
The W.G.N. of yesterday prints a picture the ambulance drivers of Section 65, and gives the title of the valient leader of the Class of ’16 as “Sous(e) Chef”. We always knew our Louie was versatile, and could accomplish whatever he set out to do; but just that field of endeavor we never dreamed of for him. But whatever they may call him, we are most enthusuastically proud of the record he is making as subchief of the section which has been awarded the Croix de Guerre, of which it has been written “they have acted with perfect selfcontrol and with a courage which has drawn the admiration of every one.—On the night of August 31 twenty-six of these boys spent the night in a mushroom cellar on the aide of a hill half a kilometer from the fierce German attack, carrying the wounded under the direction of Chief Thompson and Subchief Caldwell.”
We learn, also through the public press, that Messrs. Hightower, Davies and James are anxious to get into more active branches of service. They expect to have to come home to enlist. Mr. Sherwood as already returned and is taking the aviation tests.
As to the present location of men who received commissions in the 1st T.C., we have very hazy notions. 2nd Lieut. C.W.Johnson writes from Columbus, N M.: “Only three days in Columbus and am longing for a busy and muddy trench in France. But one should not (dis)cuss the country as Harold Bell Wright said it was God’s country. It is. God made it and couldn’t get rid of it, so it is still his. I like the work and am glad to be with a Regular outfit. Am officer of the Guard to-day, and we have with us 700 I.W.W.’s. As yet I have not seen any other N.W. men on the range.” Mr. Johnson is Lieut. 12th Cav. U.S.A.
2nd Lieuts. Rose, White and E.N. Maher, we note, were transferred from Camp Grant to Camp Bowie, Fort Worth, Texas. We have not heard from them. Lieut. Larimer paid us a call on his way east to join the other heavy artillerymen. (This does not refer to the scales). He “looked the part” as a real soldier. 2nd Lieuts. Marshall, Golding, Groth and Thorsness are located at Camp Grant, Rockford. The whereabouts of the rest are unknown to us.
Our knowledge of the Law School men in the 2nd T.C. is also inaccurate. Those we know to be there are Messrs. Brewer, Hiebsch, West Kuflewski and Hutchins. Mr. Hutchins has written of his interest in the life and work up there.
Mr. A.B. Chipman has joined the military; is with the Sanitary Deployment 4th Ind. Inf. Has been appointed 2nd Serg. of the detachment and is located at Fort Benj. Harrison.
Mr. Smokiewicz is with the U.S. American Ambulance Co, at Allen-[Rowan?] Pa. He reports that one contingent has already left for France, and she rest are hopeful of getting away shortly. He says “Every section has a mascot. They vary from several species of dogs to a [cub?] bear, a monkey, angora goat, parrot and cats, but the most affectionate of all the animals here are the mosquitoes.”
Copies of the lllinois Law Review have been sent to all of our students now in service abroad. If they have not be en received, we hope you will so notify us.
Harry S. Norton has gone to Houston with the 2nd Ills. F.A. Summer breezes had been blowing so briskly along the lake front that the boys were glad to go even to the land of centipedes and rattlesnakes.
It is reported that Mr, Henderson has left the Ambulance Corps and has joined the Aviation corps, Mr. Wohl has started his training in that service, and Mr. Wade has been accepted for training.
Jos. H. Wagner (also Fritz Seifred) is one of the shining lights in the Rainbow Division of the N.G., in the much praised 149th Art., now located on Long Island.
It is our desire to follow you up in your travels with this little news letter, but the patience of Uncle Sam is none too long these days, with all his extra worries, and we cannot promise to do it, unless you are willing to do your share by sending us your own address and that of any other N.W.L.S. man you may know.