Joplin Goes to War: 1898 – Letters Home II

The Post Office for the camp.

Previously, we told you about the men of Joplin who marched off to war as Company G of the 2nd Missouri Volunteer Infantry. Today we bring you the second of three letters from those men. The second comes from Robert E. Jones, who wrote from Camp Thomas, Chickamauga, Georgia, dated around June 21, 1898 to the Joplin News Herald:

“Editor Herald – Co. G. has just come in from company and battalion drill, and the boys are lying around cleaning up guns for inspection tomorrow, washing clothes, and doing other necessary camp work.  Some of the Joplin people would smile at the sight of their sons bending over tubs full of hot water, scrubbing away like regular “Bridgets,” but the boys are getting “onto the hang of it” pretty well, and take to washing almost as kindly as they did at first to drilling.

We are happy over the prospect of receiving new guns, for at inspection Monday a number of the guns of the company were condemned and new ones will be issued to us, although it is thought hardly probable that the entire company will get new ones.

We are enjoying very good mail facilities now.  Mail comes twice a day now, at noon and 6 o’clock in the evening.  The boys rush for it as eagerly, however, as when we received it once a day.  When the trumpeter at headquarters blows his call for first sergeants at mail hours, the boys congregate at the head of the company street, and when sergeant Tschappler comes with the precious packages he is surrounded by a crowd of boys anxious to know “if there is one for me.”  The papers usually come at noon, and the boys thus have a chance to read them before afternoon drill, which comes at 3:30.

The work of the recruiting officers at home is already evident, for 24 men from Springfield and vicinity arrived this morning and were distributed two to each company in the regiment.  They are all healthy, strong looking fellows, and will be valuable additions to the companies.  The two apportioned company G are from Springfield, and seem to be very nice fellows.

The sick list of Company G is gratifyingly small just now.  there was only one man in the company excused from drill yesterday because of illness.  A good many of the boys have very sore arms, but they drill all the same.

The Y.M.C.A. is a hustling success in every way.  Bible classes are held every day at 1 o’clock and are usually very well attended.  The song services at night are also very much enjoyed by the boys, and every night religious and patriotic hymns may be heard at the tent.  “Home, Sweet Home” for some reason is very popular.

Men of Company G

Lient. Duckett handles the company on battalion drills and regimental drills like an old veteran.  Lient. Shepard’s duties at the commissary department, preventing him from very much drilling.

The boys are excellently settled in camp now, and should we be compelled to stay here all summer, they are fixed for it.  Nearly all of them have made beds out of timer from along the creek, and covered with hay, straw, boughs, etc.  In some of the tents there are huge beds big enough for six or eight men.

Robt. E. Jones ”

Source: History of the Second Regiment