SOLDIER LIFE [Cont.]
April 11, 1901
Corporal Woody Writes an Interesting Letter from New York.
FT. COLUMBUS, N.Y.H.,}
April 5, 1901. }
EDITOR PRESS: In my last letter I anticipated the great pleasures which we would have here in summer time, but inserted the clause, "unless our Commander-in-chief say No, your next trip will be to the Philippines." Well it is only a few days ago he has said so, and in a few more days we will leave all behind us to depart for the Philippines.
How do we feel about it? many of your readers will ask. How does a man feel when for the first time he leaves his father's home to go out into the world? He is not afraid of the dangers ahead of him, but feels sad at leaving his home. The dangers that we are facing may be many, but it is not the thought of them but the thought of leaving the dear ones at home, a good many of us not being able to say farewell to them, which makes us feel sad. We are kept busy now in packing up the company goods, cleaning the equipments and gathering up our private things, that keeps us employed from early morning until sundown.
Companies A, B, C and D of the Eleventh Infantry will leave Fort Columbus, N. Y. Harbor April 8, 1901, and embark at San Francisco on the transport Logan for Manila on the 15th of April. It will be a trip of about 40 days, with 2 stops, at Honolulu and Nagasaki, Japan. The transport we are to sail on, the Logan, is the old Manitoba, purchased by the government during the Spanish-American war, and one of the largest vessels in the American transport service. There will be on board about 1700 troops, and it will be a crowded boat.
What our life will be in the Philippines my readers can easily imagine from the reports of the warfare in the islands so frequently read in the daily papers--bushwhacking, marching through rice fields knee deep in mud, and accasionally [sic] encountering a band of insurgents.
At present a detachment of the troops of the island is giving an exhibition of drills and maneuvers at the Madison Square Garden in New York city. Whoever has been in New York city surely knows Madison Square Garden, which occupies a whole block, and where all the athletic exhibitions are always held. The annual military tournament is now in progress at that place and most of the organizations of the regular army in the vicinity of New York, and also the New York State militia, are represented. Thousands of visitors throng the Garden every day, and for a short time the boys in blue will be to the fore. But soon all this glory of war in peace will end in real war; play will begin with us in the tropics.
Being one of the boys who are not able to go home to say goodby [sic] to the loved ones and to all the friends, I take this method to bid a kind farewell to all my friends, and promise to let them know as much as I shall be able to find out of the condition of these islands in the far Pacific.
Bert E. Woody,
Corporal Co. [C.] 11th Infantry.
Source: Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, April 11, 1901, Image 1 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.
[My comments are in brackets.]