From Camp Lee to the Great War: Episode 45 [April 22, 1918]


Manage episode 203890391 series 1652658
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"This surely is going to be the longest war we ever had. It surely has been some bloody fighting but I think the Germans is getting licked every day..." In his thirteenth letter home from Camp Lee, Virginia, dated April 22, 1918, PFC Charles “Dutch” Riggle, a WWI soldier from Wheeling, WV, tells his brother James “Abe” Riggle that he's been at Camp Lee for seven months yesterday, and it feels like he might never leave. He thought sure he'd be in France by now. He was at the supply company with Tib Meriner to see Les [Lester Scott] and hear some music. Les had a borrowed fiddle that Tib could play some. He saw Bill Wallace, who is in the infantry. Dutch wants to know if Chas Gellings has been called yet. He saw where Chas Milliken was. The camp is full of rookies. They walk the fifteen miles to Dutch Gap, rain or shine. It rained so hard last time the fellows' shoes were full of water. Yes, Dutch knew Jesse Bond Hewitt [a Marshall County boy who died of pneumonia at sea on March 19, 1918 after training at Camp Lee]. He was "a pretty good fellow" and Dutch's good old friend. The people of Marshall County sent down a powerful bunch of tobacco. Dutch got twenty packs. There are about 100 Marshall County boys in the regiment. Dutch wants to know if James has broken the colts and started farming this spring. Dutch sent home a shell so James could see how those guns jar a fellow. Dutch thinks this will be the longest war we ever had, even though the Germans are getting licked. Elsewhere on the same day Baron Goto was appointed Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic (ethnic Armenians, Georgians and Azerbaijanis) declared independence and went to war with the Ottoman Empire. Future Major League Baseball star Mickey Vernon was born. 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 Battery F of 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 thirteenth letter from Camp Lee, dated 100 years ago today, April 22, 1918. Digital scans and a transcript of Charles Riggle's April 22, 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: "Hail Columbia ; Star Spangled Banner," 1914, 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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