"I have arrived safely overseas..."
In what is essentially his thirty-seventh letter home, US Army Wagoner (mule team driver) Lester Scott, a World War I soldier from Wheeling, West Virginia, writes, this time courtesy a signed, Red Cross form postcard announcing his safe arrival in France addressed to his brother-in-law (his sister Minnie's husband Jame Riggle), "I have arrived safely overseas." The postcard was sent from Newport News, Virginia, but refers to Lester's arrival in France as a part of the American Expeditionary Force.
On the same day that Lester Scott arrived on French soil, the French army repulsed a German attack on the Reims front and the Russian battleship Svobodnaya Rossiya was scuttled in the Black Sea to avoid being captured by the Germans. Meanwhile, the German submarine U-151 fired torpedoes at the British flagged merchant ship, SS Dwinsk near Bermuda, badly damaging her. The U-151 then fired two torpedoes at the USS Von Steuben, which was attempting a rescue. The Von Steuben was able to outmaneuver the torpedoes and avoid being hit.
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 thirty-seventh letter home, dated 100 years ago today, June 18, 1918.
Digital scans and a transcript of Lester Scott's June 18, 1918 postcard can be viewed at: http://www.archivingwheeling.org/blog/from-camp-lee-to-the-great-war-june-18-1918-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: "Over There," Cohan, George M. (composer), Murray, Billy (performer), 1917, courtesy Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.100010567/
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.