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Record 107/160
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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Admin/Biog History The letter was probably written by Private John E. "Jack" Harney, Company B, 2nd Wisconsin National Guard. John is listed in the Oshkosh City Directory in 1898 as a laborer, living at 228 Jefferson Street.
Collection Spanish American War Small Collections
Dates of Accumulation May 28, 1898
Abstract Letter to Frederick F. Arnold from "John H.", Company B, 2nd Wisconsin National Guard, while at Camp George H. Thomas, Chicamauga, GA. This is probably written by Private John E. "Jack" Harney, the only John H. in the company. He discusses: sickness in camp; rations (hardtack and bacon); heat; bad water; swimming; bad officers and sergeants; and drilling.

Camp George H. Thomas
Battlefield Station May 28th/98
Dear Friend Fred

I am ashamed of my self for not writing to you before. And hope that you will excuse me. But you know how it is. It is harder for me to write a letter than to go to a funeral. I have been sick ever since we left Milwaukee up to a couple of days ago. But I am all right now. There is a good deal of sickness in camp, on account of the food, Hardtack and Sowbelly and the heat. It is hot in the daytime, and colder than --- in the night. Our quarters are not as pleasant here, as they was in Milwaukee. For we haven't any straw under us. And the ground is pretty ---------- hard. And we have a ----- of a time getting water. We have to walk about a mile to a pump, and then it is nothing but dish-water. We have a pretty good place to go in swimming, about two miles [Chicamauga Creek]. It is a creek about four feet deep. And it is full of men all the time.
Fred, our company is gone all to pieces. They have appointed Sanders [Second Lieutenant, George O. Sanders] over to Brigade Headquarters [as] Assistant [to the] Brigadier General. And I understand they are going to take Swellnutz too [First Sergeant, Charles A. Wellnitz]. And Ellers gets his place [Quartermaster Sergeant, Charles Ellers]. It goes from bad to worse. Ellers can't count Fours. He is a ----- ---- bullhead. He never has a pleasant smile for any one. I would like to have him tell me to stand at attention, and stand like a soldier. I would ask him to show me how. Then I would try to imitate him.
The boys are just about crazy, because you didn't come along. If you had, you would have got it, I am sure. I'll tell you Fred, we don't enjoy this as much as we thought we would. But we didn't come here for fun, we came to do our duty. But we miss our dances and being with the ladies. The boys send their regards. Please give kindest regards to Gust, and all my friends that you know. And take good care of them, any way the girls, Ida and Ella and Minnie Young. Well I will have to close on account of drill. Please excuse poor writing and lead pencil. It is impossible to write a clean letter. Good by (Answer soon)

With Love
John H.
Camp George H. Tomas
Battlefield Station
Co. B 2nd. Wis. Vol. Ga.
Event Spanish American War
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Object ID SC411.7.7
Object Name Letter
People Arnold, Frederick F.
Sanders, George
Wellnitz, Charles
Ellers, John
Arnold, Frederick F.
Harney, John E. "Jack"
Subjects Spanish American War
2nd Wisconsin National Guard
Military rations
Drill teams
Title Letter
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009