From Camp Lee to the Great War: Episode 16 [December 4, 1917]


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"Well I will see you Christmas for sure...I would not of come but I knew you would have a conniption fit if I didn’t." In his twelfth 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 he expects to be home for Christmas for three or four days. He wants the visit to be a surprise but he wants to make sure that his best girl, Minnie's friend Cleo, will be there. He's glad he's not one of the boys who won't get to go home because they were caught playing poker. As usual, Les mentions his mules as well as his brother-in-law Dutch Riggle. Elsewhere on the same day, British psychiatrist W.H. Rivers presented his report titled, "The Repression of War Experience," to the Royal School of Medicine. The report focused on the phenomenon dubbed "shell shock," the disturbing psychological and physical effects on soldiers subjected to the horrors of long term combat in the trenches during the Great War. We now refer to similar effects as "post traumatic stress disorder." 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 twelfth letter from Camp Lee, dated 100 years ago today, December 4, 1917. Digital scans and a transcript of Lester Scott's December 4, 1917 letter can be viewed at: Credits: "From Camp Lee to the Great War: The letters of Lester Scott and Charles Riggle" is brought to you by in partnership with the Ohio County Public Library ( and the WALS Foundation ( 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: "Medley of Southern airs," Fred J. Bacon, banjo, 1920, courtesy Library of Congress: 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.

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