Joplin Goes to War: 1898 – Letters Home III

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 third of three letters from those men. The third comes from Robert E. Jones (Jones’ other letter was a previous post here), who wrote from Camp Thomas, Chickamauga, Georgia, dated around June 20, 1898 to the Joplin News Herald:

“The regular drill, drill, drill is the only thing that disturbs the monotony of our camp life now.  The boys are all in good health, and hardly any of them are absent from drill now on account of sickness.  Lieut. Shepard, on account of his health, has been forced to sever his connections with the commissary department, but is rapidly improving under the rest and quiet of outdoor life which is granted him by the activity of Lieut. Duckett, who although not very large in stature, is full of energy and takes the drilling of the company entirely in his own hands.

Lieutenants Shepard (left) & Duckett (right)

The boys never report on the sick list on Sunday morning unless feeling very bad, for there are no drills to dodge on that day by so doing, and they want to have liberty to go where they please, as they are expected to stay in their quarters when ill and excused from drills.

The Second today received about 600 Springfield rifles to go towards arming the regiment.  It is understood that the remainder of the new guns apportioned to us will be received in a day or two.  They are of the 1898 model, almost like those we have now, only brand new.  Companies I and M, the newly organized, unequipped companies will be fitted out first and the older companies will receive what is coming to them later.

New recruits for the regiment have arrived to the number of nearly 100.  Thirty-two came in Sunday morning, of whom eight were Joplin boys.  The new victims have to undergo a great deal of good natured chanting when they first arrive, but all take it in good humor and they are a willing lot of fellows.  Co. G has received seven new recruits so far.  they are being drilled as rapidly as possible by non-coms, and seem to “catch on” readily.

The Y.M.C.A. is doing a rushing business in every way.  Sunday morning and afternoon services were held in the big tent and were attended by good-sized audiences of young men from the neighboring camps.

The boys of Co. G are going in for solid comfort in the way of sleeping accommodations.  Some of them have snug little cots made from the canes that grow here along the creek, to which several have added the luxury of ticks full of straw or twigs from pine cedar or willow trees.

Sergeant Means has received his wheel from Joplin and now pedals his way to and from the points of interest instead of walking as heretofore.

Lieut. Duckett was heard to remark this afternoon that photo buttons were getting to be quite the thing in Co. G now.  He was doubtless referring to Fred Hinkley’s “Coon” Riseling, and several others who were wearing their sweetheart’s pictures pinned onto their uniforms.

Girls are few and far between here and are made much of when they do visit or even stop at our camp.  Yesterday morning a party of young ladies from Chattanooga, in a large carriage, stopped for some information at our camp, and had quite a time getting away from the gallant boys of the Second, who insisted on their stopping awhile with a result that it was an hour before they could proceed on their way.  They took the situation in good humor and promised to come again, but whether they will or not we do not know.  But come on, girls, you’ll always be welcome at the Second Missouri’s camp.

Men of Company G

We are looking for the return of Capt. Spears in a week or two, and are endeavoring  to keep up our good record while he is away.

Robt. E. Jones ”

Sources: History of the Second Regiment, Joplin News Herald

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