This letter is marked as the first from 12 January, because there is another to follow with the same date. But this letter also marks the first letter to be correctly postmarked, which leads me to believe that the previous three letters should have been marked February 3, 4, and 5—matching their postmarks. In addition, the 12 January letter is from Columbus, Ohio, which makes sense as a beginning stop for Ohio registrants, then moving later to Fort Riley, Kansas. Don’t be surprised when letters move around on the site, without warning. I used to think I would like working in a library with historical documents, tracking down information and making neat discoveries. I guess I’m getting my chance. I’ll be paying attention to postmarks and letter contents, and then one day, letters will be rearranged.
For those and for some of this letter’s contents, I would recommend reading it as the first letter he sent.
Walt compares Ruth to his Aunt Ruth, his mother’s sister, but he also has a sister Ruth—that’s one bit to keep in mind throughout the letters so you don’t become confused.
A transcript follows the letter images.
Dear Ruth:— Sun. Morn,
How’s my Honey? Well, we arrived here about (
E) 8:25—and was it cold. We had a quiet trip with one stopover and a transfer at ( Ack) Akron. On the way the bus officials recieved orders to let no one off the bus, for any reason whatsoever. About 5 of us did anyway—ha—ha.—or else.
They (illegible cross-out) gave us our suppers and we went to bed at 11:00. This morning they (
awakened) got us up at 6:00—ate at 7:00—came back to the Barracks [arrow pointing to Barracks][note between lines: I don’t know how to spell it] and had to clean up. and now I’m ( writ) sitting on my bed writing—So far its okay but I don’t know what they will spring on us next.
Tell your Mother and Father + rest of family “Howdy”—I appreciated her coming to the Arcade.
As near as I can find out they have been keeping the fellows here about 10 da. more or less. We recieve our uniforms here providing we pass examinations (which will start tomorrow. Mon.) and then they ship us out.
We cannot leave the building as we are subject to call for examination today if necessary—this pen won’t write very good as I think you can see.
I think I will write continuous letters and mail them every other day or so as I don’t know how busy we will be, (illegible cross-out) and it will be like writing every day. Unh?—Flash—some of the fellows are leaving now, they don’t know where.
You can call Aunt Ruth and tell her I arrived safe and (
I) that I will write them.—You two Ruths are pretty near alike in some ways, Yes?
As I write [
i] I keep thinking of one thing and then another—I have every thing out of order—tsk, tsk.
I sure hated to leave yesterday—but maybe I will be a better man when I come out then when I went in.
Did you go to Church? Write and tell me everything you can think of—If I could type I could write a book right now. This probably seems like a short letter to you.
– – – , – – – -, – – -, (
Space reserved for telepathy. ha. ha. [arrow pointing to parenthetical X]
Well I will write [illegible cross-out] later.
I’ll be see’in you
turn to back page,
P.S. They just told us not to give a return address.—So don’t write till I say so.—as we might be shipped out and I wouldn’t recieve it.
Heck:— I wanted to here from you.
I see you