Earle E. Wright Papers, Feb. - Apr. 1918
| Manuscripts Gifts 2009 | Front Page 2009 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2009
Sixteen letters, 27 February - 10 April 1918, addressed by Earle W. Wright from Camp Jackson, just outside Columbia, S.C., to his family in Cortland, New York, reveal something of this soldier’s experiences while stationed in South Carolina during World War I.
| Manuscripts Gifts 2009 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
Wright was assigned to the Provisional Ordnance Depot, Regiment Seven, American Ordnance Base Depot in France. This department of the military, he explained on 8 March 1918, was responsible for "mess kits guns ammunition side arms cannon and those things" and also had to "repair them & keep things in working order." However, as reflected in the letters, much of Wright’s time at Jackson was spent with post infirmary duty.
Based upon what others were telling him, he reported on 28 February 1918, "Columbia is not much of a place," and from firsthand observation Wright noted that Camp Jackson was "one of these disorganized camps that has got to be built yet." A few days later, after having visited the city, he wrote on 5 March 1918 describing Columbia as small but "a very pretty place" and "Southern through & through [with] many of those quaint old homesteads you so often see pictured in pictures."
On at least two other occasions, Earle Wright visited Columbia, S.C., spending the night, going to vaudeville shows and movies, attending the Methodist church, and enjoying time at church sponsored socials and dances. On 19 March 1918 he wrote of having been to one of the parties. "There was about 60 or 75 soldiers there and about 25 young ladies and we played games & they served ice cream cones & we had a fine time we all were tagged & were free to speak to any one," he reported. He stayed the night at a Columbia hotel and recorded that while he was there the ceiling in the hallway collapsed. Again, on 7 April 1918, he told of having stayed at the Colonial Hotel, "one of those old Southern hotel[s] out in the Residential section," and of having met a local girl at the church social and escorting her home. His disappointment over the timing was palpable, coming as it did on right the eve of his departure from Camp Jackson.