Letters from World War I

Sergeant Clyde Eoff, to his sister Josephine Eoff, May 30, 1919

Refer to caption
Sgt. Clyde Eoff
Courtesy Center for American War Letters Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, CA


Courtesy Center for American War Letters Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, CA

Sergeant Clyde Eoff served in several major battles, but he missed out on a promotion when the army began to draw down after the war. Eoff wrote his sister about his outlook on the future. The homecoming speeches from politicians and community leaders sounded disappointing—they did not ensure job prospects for the military. The government made some occupational and rehabilitation provisions for disabled veterans, but the majority of the four million service members faced the transition to civilian life without assistance.

one page of a handwritten letter


Camp Upton L. I May - 30 - 19 Dear Sister: The sun is just dropping behind the western horizon and the evening shadows are stealing across the sky. From across the way there drifts the refrain of the old song “Nearer my God to Thee” sung by some of the boys in the “Y” Huts. The day has been hot but not unpleasant. There was numerous celebrations in New York today being “Memorial Day.” Sgt. Bick and I went to New York yesterday and celebrated our home coming. In the evening we went to Coney Island and had a wonderful time. It looks much the same as when we were there a year ago. Everything is going full blast and it is a sure cure for the blues. The girls all put on “bloomers” and the men

[p. 2] wear “overalls”. These are to protect the clothing when sliding down the chutes and any other devices for the purpose of furnishing excitement. The bloomers just reach the knee and about half the girls wear “half hose” so you can imagine the sights. Bare legs “an eva-thing.” But some day we will come to the old town together and I’ll show you this famous resort.

Dick and I took two beautiful women home last night from the frolic and when we reached the hotel it was three oclock A.M. Consequently we slept till 900 [underlined zeros] oclock this morning and then came back to camp.

We landed here just one week ago tomorrow, which is Saturday. We are schedualed to leave here Sunday - June 1st. This evening we had a farewell party, consisting of “ice cream”, pie, cake, oranges, and candy.

[p. 3] Some feed and there was more cream than we could eat. Of course we enjoy these things more than you would for we have had no such feast for a year. I expect some of us will be sick tonight. Anyway it will be worth it.

I should tell you about the Army of “flees” and “mosquitos” in this camp. The camp is located on a desserted part of the island and the soil is all sand. It is about 70 miles from N.Y. It would ‘nt make a good graveyard.

The governors of the middle western States including Neb. came East and gave us a hearty welcome in the form of a long line of S.O.S. you know the brand they carry. “Boys we are proud of you,

[p. 4] But don’t come back and expect to get as much wages as you got before you left, take anything you can get. The war is over now we stayed home and made a fortune off the war time profits, now you boys come on home live from hand to mouth and give us your vote. Also we will spend your money for “booze-hounds”, and other worthless political jobs. We also took away all your liberties and freedom but it is all for your good.

When I think of the present state of affairs in our country today, I sometimes wonder if it would’nt be a good plan to go to South America where a man can have a few opportunities.

The more I read of this “Peace” (?) conference [not sure], it makes me sick, to think of what the world suffered from the dirty Hun, and

[p. 5] then the way the Allies play with them. I will give you a very interesting story when I see you.

I noticed in the paper today that the Salvation Army went over the top in there $13,000,000 drive. Good work, I did my bit and helped them out while in New York. They will never have any more difficulty getting funds when the boys from across the pond all get back and tell there story.

I trust you will excuse the poor writing as I am sitting on my bunk writing on a magazine in my lap Rather an uncomfortable position.

Well Sis, I expect to see you before long if I have good luck. I am going to be mustered out at Camp Taylor.

[p. 6] This is at Louisville, Kentucky. I am going to see all the world I can while I am moving. I am going to St Louis, from there. Then to Kans. City and then home, where I will rest in peace. “Maybe?”

I want you to set right down when you get this and write a long letter telling me all the news from home. It will reach St Louis about the time I do. However I will only be there about two days. After I get discharged I will keep in touch with you by wire.

“No; I am not going to get married in St Louis!” !!??x.:.++! -

Love to all the family - Your brother - Clyde -

Address me - (care of) 2842 “A” Victor Street. St Louis Missouri -

My Fellow Soldiers