"I got a gold inlay put in my front tooth. Cost me $5.00. I am going to get the rest fixed in town. The dentists [at Camp Lee] don’t suit me..."
In his twenty-fifth 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 it's "warm as summer." He took a trip in the country with four other soldiers on some mules. Two "got throwed off" but were uninjured. He paid $5.00 for a gold inlay in his front tooth. He'll get the rest fixed in town, away from the army dentists. He says he can't figure out why his teeth keep decaying. He takes good care of them. He's also going bald and getting fat eating veal and pork. He hasn't heard from his girlfriend Cleo lately. The men shaved off half of a new man's mustache, forcing him to shave the rest. The fellows in the other squads call Les and his boys "hard boiled mule skinners." They have a new Victrola, a football, and boxing gloves. Les doesn't want to leave the army now.
Elsewhere on the same day, Russia accepted Germany's peace terms (they would sign on March 3), and the German cruiser "Wolf" returned to port after having sunk 11 ships.
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-fifth letter from Camp Lee, dated 100 years ago today, February 24, 1918.
Digital scans and a transcript of Lester Scott's February 23, 1918 letter can be viewed at: http://www.archivingwheeling.org/blog/from-camp-lee-to-the-great-war-february-24-1918-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: "At the Ball," Hill, J. Leubrie (composer), Prince's Band (performer), 1914, courtesy Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.100010713/
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.