"I have been saying all the time that this summer will end it for the working class over their and the socialists are raising the devil now. Anyone would know they are nearly starving to death..."
In his twenty-second letter home from Camp Lee, Virginia, to his sister Minnie Riggle, US Army Wagoner (mule team driver) Lester Scott, a World War I soldier from Wheeling, West Virginia, writes that his mumps are gone and he's feeling fine. He's gotten a letter from his girlfriend, Cleo, and it seems they've had a falling out of sorts. Cleo is apparently also upset with her friend Minnie. Les wants Minnie to see Cleo's letter. He thinks the war is almost over, but fears he will have to go over seas anyway. As Charles Riggle wrote a couple of days earlier, Les talks about how the German people are starving and says the "socialists are raising the devil." He says the war will be four years old in August, making it as long as any war. He says when he is sent over, he won't have time to write. Minnie will receive a cablegram. He closes with, "Watch Cleo don't pull your hair..."
Elsewhere on the same day, the Central Powers recognized the Ukraine Republic as an independent state and the labor strikes in Germany began to collapse.
Lester Scott was drafted in 1917 and trained at Camp Lee, where so many Wheeling soldiers were trained. And, like so many of his Ohio Valley comrades, he served in the 314th Field Artillery Supply Company, Battery “A,” 80th (Blue Ridge) Division in France. This is his twenty-second letter from Camp Lee, dated 100 years ago today, February 1, 1918.
Digital scans and a transcript of Lester Scott's February 1, 1918 letter can be viewed at: http://www.archivingwheeling.org/blog/from-camp-lee-to-the-great-war-february-1-1918-podcast
"From Camp Lee to the Great War: The letters of Lester Scott and Charles Riggle" is brought to you by http://archivingwheeling.org in partnership with the Ohio County Public Library (http://www.ohiocountylibrary.org) and the WALS Foundation (http://walswheeling.com).
Jeremy Richter is the voice of Lester Scott. The letters of Lester Scott and Charles Riggle were transcribed by Jon-Erik Gilot. This podcast was edited and written by Sean Duffy, audio edited by Erin Rothenbuehler.
Music: "Hungarian Rag," New York Military Band (performer), 1914, courtesy Library of Congress: www.loc.gov/item/00694028/
Many thanks to Marjorie Richey for sharing family letters and the stories of her uncles, Lester Scott and Charles “Dutch” Riggle, WWI soldiers from West Virginia.