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

Joplin Goes to War: 1898 – Letters Home

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 first of three letters from those men.  The first comes from Fred Hinkley, who wrote from Camp Thomas, Chickamauga, Georgia, dated June 19, 1898 to the Joplin News Herald:

“As this is Sunday and all drills are dispensed with I will inform the Joplin people of the doings of the Second Missouri, at Chickamauga.  We had the most rigid inspection by Major-General Slocum Monday that the Second has undergone.  It was for the purpose of determining if the Second should go to the front or stay here; also to condemn guns.  We will receive our new guns tomorrow and our ordinance supplies in a few days.

The Major in conversation with Col. Caffee said that out of nine regiments inspected there were two very good, the Second being one of them, and further, that if his word went for anything, the Second should be the first regiment out after the South Carolina men which will go first as Gen. Lee asked the War Department to have that regiment assigned to his command.

The new recruits are arriving now in squads of twenty-five, the first to reach here being the detail from Springfield which arrived Friday morning.  The next detail to arrive was from Sedalia with 22 men, and the Joplin recruits arrived this morning 32 in number.

The men are distributed among the companies.  Company G now having seven recruits, but none from Joplin.  The recruits are taken charge of by the First Sergeant, shown the rules and regulations of a regular, then turned over to the cooks who have them carry a little water and wood just to get used to it.

One of the new men assigned to Company G fell in for mess call and when the cooks gave him black coffee and bread without butter he turned to the boys and said, “Boys, I wasn’t raised in a castle, but I cannot drink coffee without milk or eat bread without butter,” and he handed his dinner to one of the men, but this morning he was noticed going back the second time for more “bare-footed” coffee.

The health of the regiment and especially of Company G, is fine, they not having a man for the hospital this morning.

Men of Company G


Sergeant Watson and Kid got leave of absence this morning for six hours, and went blackberrying.  About 2 hours later they returned with a tomato can about half full and said they would take an oath that they had to walk 10 miles for them, but later the boys found out that they had got lost and gave a farmer 20 cents to haul them back to camp.

Sergeant Tschappler is one of the busiest men in camp and when not on duty he is very busy writing a book.  He writes about 40  pages, puts it in an envelope, sends it to Carthage, and it doesn’t go to the book bindery either.

The Joplin recruits brought Private McCullough’s pet coon with them.  It has been in camp about 9 hours and has bitten only 9 of the boys.

On account of the fracas at Lytle last Sunday no one is allowed to go to Lytle without a written permit signed by the colonel.

Lytle Depot

Sergeant Sansom has been on the sick list for several days but is a great deal better tday.

The boys were all pleased to see “Cholly” Burnham but were greatly disappointed when he was assigned to Company A of Carthage.

Private Dunwoody and Eckhart are two of the sickest (love-sick) men we have in camp.

Corporal Kelley is now one of the proudest men in camp.  He has a beard of the strawberry variety that would make a New York policeman leave his beat in disgust.

One of the men in our company concluded that it was too warm to drill Saturday morning so he hied himself to the Y.M.C.A. tent about drill time but Sergeant Tschappler happened to call the roll and he was hunted up and given 12 hours in the guard house and six day’s extra duty.

A Chicago corporal got himself in the guard house by getting gay when Gen. Brooke approached.  The corporal had a vague idea that when so distinguished an officer approached he should be complimented by a general salutation of the guard.  His order should have been, “Turn out the guard for the commanding officer,” but he became disconcerted and just as the general reached his tent, the corporal bawled out, “Turn out de push and duck: here comes de main guy.”

You can tell the Joplin people to look out for soldier’s letters, as everyone is broke and stamps are at a premium.

Fred T. Hinckley”

Source: History of the Second Regiment, Joplin News Herald