From Camp Lee to the Great War: Episode 38 [March 10, 1918]


Manage episode 200248733 series 1652658
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"I want to come home either well, or if I get killed, I would just as soon be planted in France..." In his tenth letter home from Camp Lee, Virginia, dated March 10, 1918, PFC Charles “Dutch” Riggle, a WWI soldier from Wheeling, WV, tells his brother James “Abe” Riggle that they are losing their captain, probably because he is being sent overseas. Just as Les Scott reported the day before (see podcast 37), Dutch believes they will keep the mules and not be motorized (with trucks). They'll be heading to the artillery range on the James River. Dutch is looking forward to it. His battery beat the rest in firing practice, shooting 5,000 yards. He has a little chat with Les almost every day. The weather is warm and "dandy," and more concrete roads are being built. Dutch thinks if the war isn't over by July, "we will go over and try the Germans a crack." He's going to send a shell home for "old Boss" [possibly his sister, Minnie Riggle] to keep as an ornament. Elsewhere on the same day, Günther Rall, who would become a prolific fighter ace for Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe in WWII (credited with 275 wins), was born, and the British hospital ship "Guildford Castle" with 450 wounded soldiers on board, was torpedoed by a German submarine in Bristol Channel, but made it to port. Charles “Dutch” Riggle was drafted into the US Army in 1917 and trained at Camp Lee, Virginia, where so many Wheeling draftees and volunteers—including his sister-in-law Minnie Riggle’s brother, Lester Scott—were trained. Dutch Riggle was a Private First Class in the 314th Field Artillery Supply Company, in France. Riggle was a farm boy with little formal education who grew up in the hills of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He spelled many of his words phonetically. His letters have been transcribed exactly as they were written. This is his tenth letter from Camp Lee, dated 100 years ago today, March 10, 1918. Digital scans and a transcript of Charles Riggle's March 10, 1918 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 ( Vince Marshall is the voice of Charles Riggle. 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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