From Camp Cody (9/13/1917)
The following though written as a personal letter from one of our boys serves as a news letter from Deming, N. M.:
Camp Cody, Deming, N.M.
Sept. 7, 1917.
Dear Friend Frank:
I had your letter some time ago and tonight will write you a few lines. We left Fort Crook in three sections, the first section left Aug. 25 at 3 p.m., the second at 11:45 p.m. the same day, and my section, or the third, left at 12:15 midnight.
Yes, I was lonesome then and so homesick I hardly knew what to do, I even walked to the end of the car and blew my nose, for there was no one to tell me good bye or wish me well.
My section was the best, at least I think so; we had 656 men and 20 officers, a train of 26 cars, standard sleepers and baggage cars, the companies had stores in the baggage cars and fed their men while the train was going. My section came through with no sickness or drunks. One place up in Texas I saw the porter going thru the train suspiciously and I went to him and took two quarts of whiskey from him. There was a large crowd at the depot and it amused some and disgusted others to see me smash those bottles along with several other the officers took on the platform. Some of the boys said I lost every friend in the regiment when I broke them. The porter was under arrest and confined to the train the rest of the way.
We arrived here Aug. 29 and came through some of the finest country I ever saw in Texas, it is so level we could see the headlight of a train coming toward us 60 miles away.
In Oklahoma we went thru some fine land too, but most of the way it was bad, a great change from what it was 17 years ago when I was there; and New Mexico.—just now I don’t like to tell you what I think of it; but for miles and miles of the way there is just sage brush and cactus some 40 feet high. I don’t see how stock can live at all, but there is some pretty scenery along the Rio Grande. We can see the mountains from here, they are about 17 miles south. I have an invitation to go out there some day bear hunting, the contractor here tells me there are lots of them.
We have had the worst sand and dust storm tonight I ever saw, and if I had my way, speaking in general, we would whip the whole darn Mexican outfit within the next three days, if they didn’t take New Mexico back. We have had lovely evenings before this tho.
Camp Cody is about two miles from Deming which is a very nice little town of about 3000 I guess. The camp is only about half finished. We have only a part of the electric lights and the road in front of our camp is macadamized, just being finished today. We have everything as nice as can be and my boys are all brave, good fellows. The Vitanola Phonograph company sent me a nice phonograph for the boys, and Frank, if anyone would like to contribute a record or two for a good cause, just send them to me. Will you?
My duties here are to care for sick of the regiment. September 1st, I was appointed assistant surgeon for the regiment. Our new hospital will be ready to occupy about the middle of next week, we will be so glad to get into it.
I got the Echo last week and was sure glad to get it. Thank you for remembering me.
The Fourth Neb. is perhaps the best trained and equipped regiment here, we have all our equipment for over sea service and are planning on having Thanksgiving dinner in France.
Do I hate to go? Yes, I can hardly stand it to think of leaving wife and Richard, but on the other hand, the awfulness of the war astounds one. Did you ever stop to think—An American soldier was never killed in conquest alone, there has always been a principle back of it. It has always been for others we have fought and died; so with this struggle, it is to free a people whom we are actually fighting.
Remember me to all friends,
Alfred E. Reeves