Wisconsin Veterans Museum Logo

July 23, 1917 – The Life and Letters of World War I Aerial Observer Lt. Mortimer M. Lawrence

Fort Snelling,

July 23, 1917.

Dear Folks:-

Well we are settled here for a week or ten days and then we move again. As soon as the quarantine is raised, which may be tomorrow or not for two weeks, we will be assigned to companies and start work in earnest. At present we have no drills, nothing except a five mile hike each morning and nothing more to do unless detailed to help the cook or guard camp.

We are living here in tents, large square tents which hold eight men. We have eighteen tents on our company street and we are not allowed off the company street. On account of the fellows receiving typhoid inoculations and having sore arms from vaccinations we will have very little drilling during quarantine but after that work will start in regular order. I expect I will be in the 42nd Infantry when I finally get set.

We left Jefferson Barracks Saturday afternoon about 4 o’clock. There were 520 of us and we had a train of a baggage car, for eats, and 12 pullmans and tourist sleepers. We were assigned between 30 and 45 to a car according to size there being 3 men to a section, 2 men in the lower and one in the upper. Each section had a table and we were fed right on the train, not luxuriously, you understand, but plenty of it.

We came via Iron Mountain to St. Louis, CB & L to Burlington, Ia. and CRI & P to Minneapolis, the most direct route possible. Sunday morning we stopped for an hour at Albert Lea, Minn. And everybody got lots of exercise. We arrived here about 4 P.M.

If you can’t find any of my bandanas buy me two more blue ones and send them. I have about a dozen white ones but they take too much washing. Also you might put in one of those hand towels I had at Ft. Sheridan and that small bottle of “DDD” which I think is in the left hand drawer of my bureau.

“Chow time” at Fort Snelling

“Chow time” at Fort Snelling

I don’t need a new housewife because Uncle Sam gave me a perfectly good one but I am going to try to find some kind of a roll for toilet articles when I get into Minneapolis. If you have any thing around the house that I haven’t read and that you aren’t particular in what condition it is returned please send it because we are cut off from any source of supply now.

The weather has been rather warm but the nights have been good both here and at Jefferson Barracks.

Hope you are well. I am fine and eating like a horse. My vaccination worked only a little and didn’t make my arm sore. I hope it took enough so that I don’t get another.

Love to all. Remember me to all who inquire and tell them I like the army fine. I really think it will do me lots of good physically.

Love to all,



Address mail to

5th Recruit Co.

41st Infantry,

Fort Snelling,



There is no need for a “Mr” or any prefix whatever.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
Comment moderation is in use. Please do not submit your comment twice as it will appear shortly.

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is an educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.

Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs