June 20, 2024

Letter from Manford E. Cox to his wife, Harriet Patton Cox (Sept. 21, 1918)

Camp Hancock, Ga.

Sept. 21, 1918

My Dear Girl:- It seems as though I would never get time to write you, although my mind has been on it all day.  We had the usual Saturday morning inspection, and then drilled for a couple of hours, since which our time has been our own, but at 1.30 I had to line up and be relieved from the Guard duty of last Saturday, and then I hustled up in order to get a chance at the wash bench.  I thought I would never get through.  I washed my O.D. Shirt, pants, two pr. socks, 2 suits underwear, five handkerchiefs, towel, leggings, and some old rags that a fellow gave me when I first came here which I use to clean gun and dry my eating utensils, although knife, fork and spoon is all I have to look after now, as we eat from plates etc. in mess hall now.  It rained yesterday evening and last night and this morning was as cold as thunder.  The boys were jumping and running to get warmed up.  I am still O.K.  Rather got in the dumps Thursday, no particular reason, just got them, but I rallied quickly and am now as chipper as ever.  Had another exam yesterday afternoon don’t know how I made it.  I missed the seventh question I know.  I enclose it so you can see how they run.  The exams are not hard, if you had any time to get ready for them, but they pull an exam on you sometimes without any previous instruction to amount to anything.  We have had four, two of them I wrote you the results.  Will advise you when I get returns.  Friday was a comparatively easy day, but the rest of the week was awfully hard, besides it was hot.  I was a lather of sweat, but it does not seem to hurt me.  I have never been galled since I came.  I guess everybody has forgotten me, as outside of a letter from Merle on Monday and yours of Wednesday I have drawn blanks every mail.  Saw the Argus this morning and see where some cuss is taking a shot at me.  If you haven’t read it, get hold of the Argus.  It is anonymous and I am not mentioned, but the inference is obvious.  If you can find out who wrote it, I would like to know.  Evidently it is some cuss whom my articles hit and hit hard.  I didn’t get to write a letter for the Constitution but will try tomorrow.  I will get the paper tonight I hope.  I see the campaign is on for Liberty Loan and a parable for the 26th.  Suppose you will get in on the job before it is over.  Got through inspection this morning without getting any black marks.  Some of the boys were denied passes and not allowed to go to town because they were not in shape, shoes not shined, handkerchief  hanging out of pocket, dirty rifles, etc.  Suppose I will get caught before long, as everytime you breathe, there is a regulation that may be broken.  Have just brought in part of my washing.  The underwear and shirt and pants are not dry and I am afraid they will not make it this evening as it is now 6.30.  We had fifty men added to our company this week.  They came from other camps and are men who have had the drill experience.  We had to move again on this account, and worked it pretty neat to keep our bunch together.  There were five of us in the tent, the sixth me.  A boy named Cammon, from Cleveland, Ohio, having been discharged as physically unfit.  They arrange us in squads of 8 men each by height, so we all agreed to step forward when they called 5 ft. 8 in.  We did and got in line together and all got together but two of us.  We traded them with the fellows in the adjoining tent and made it O.K.  We are now down the Company street and Stoy is nearly to the end of it.  There is a hill or grade to go up every time we fall in, but a small matter like that as ceased to bother us.  Next week I do not believe will be so hard.  The time will be taken up as fully but the physical part will not be so strenuous.  I do not know what I weigh, but I do not seem to be getting much lighter now and I still have some fat on my short ribs.  I don’t mind anything except bayonet drill and it is h- with big letters.  I don’t show in it as well as I might, as I hold back a little and save myself.  The officers, or some of them, in this practice, are absolutely heartless, and it is up to you to defend yourself.  I wish some time, some of those bayonet fellows would fall into my hands.  I would sure give them a full and complete dose of their own medicine.  I haven’t seen the program yet, but the dope has it, that we have grenade throwing and horseback riding this week.  Won’t I shine astride a prancing stud.  I see by the Argus that Green was licked.  I’ll bet he is sore on Wood and I.  When he read my last in the Constitution, I’ll bet he cussed mighty “Campbellite” oaths.  Let er rip.

The local paper says that it is going to be cold again to night and that last night was the coldest for this time of year since 1889.  It was 48 degrees.  I see where I sleep in my shirt tonight.  Today has been lovely and when the hard drills are on some weather like this would be mighty welcome.

Next week  we start in toward half the time here, and it will soon be over.  We came the 20th and if we get through we will get out Dec. 15th.  So while it seems in advance a long way off, it will soon pass for me, but you, poor kid, I would do a lot of thinking if I would allow myself too.  If Carroll likes a cat so much, get him another one.  I imagine the little soul is lonesome, because he was always at my heels, especially during the outdoor season.  I had banked strongly on our beans and hope you will get some.  If the rain lets up the late ones may do you some good.  Keep up your spirits my beloved one, and you and I will pass many, many happy days together ere God’s will separates us.  Get your coal in from some source.  I don’t know when our pay roll will be ready, but we ought to know something about it in early October.  I will advise you when, and then if allotment does not show up, get Arnold to go right after it through Washington, or get Wood to get Senator Lewis after it.  That would probably be the best, as he could get quicker results.

With love, Manford.

There is a drawing at the bottom, entitled Buck shooting birds.  It shows a boy shooting a shotgun at three birds.

There are no envelopes with these letters.  The enclosure Manford mentions, of a question from one of his exams, is missing.

The Original Letter: