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SBButler Letters, May 1918

May 4, 1918, Lucinthia to Carrie
May 4, 1918, Ralph to Carrie
May 6,1918
May 7, 1918 Ralph to Carrie
May 8, 1918
May 23, 1918
May 26, 1918

Letters between Sylvester and Eva

A motor cycle accident in the last days of April brings an abrupt change in the letters included. First a short letter from Sylvester's sister Lucinthia, followed by a longer one by his brother Ralph who was attached to the 301sr Supply train as well.

20 Pomeroy Hall, Wellesley, Mass.,
May 4, 1918

Dear Mother -

You certainly are having your hands full allright but we certainly can be thankful it was no worse than it is. I am so glad I got your letter before I saw anything about it in the paper for it would have been a pretty bad shock, I imagine. Just what is the nature of the injury? Is he hurt anywhere else than on the head? How long is it likely to be? If he can't go back to the Train will he be able to go back into the army somewhere else? Probably you're sick of answering all sorts of questions about him but this is what I'd like to know.

I'm glad you all liked Eva so well and trust it will continue. Captain June certainly was fine to let Ralph off to do so much for Sylvester. I hope Ralph had a chance to rest up from his travels when
he got back to Devens.

Much love, Lucinthia

301st Supply Train
May 4, 1918

Dear Mother. -

Here we are safely back at camp after a fine trip. We landed in about 10 PM last night. There was no reveille this morning so had a chance to sleep as long as we wanted to. I slept till a little after nine then got up and had a good shower bath and shave and got into some clean clothes. I am still a little tired as I was just figuring it out now that in the past week I have had less than 30 hrs sleep. That's going some for me.

I drove nearly all the way up altho I was changed from chauffeur to assistant chauffeur and put in No.6 truck. Very few of the assistants were given a chance at all but my driver gave me a try out and decided I could handle it O.K.

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to come home Thurs. night but we never would have made camp, Fri, if we had not gone thru. We landed in Springfield about 1:00 A.M. and I washed off the thickest of the dirt and turned in without any supper. I had had quite a bit in Hartford so sleep looked better to me than eats. I nearly fell asleep driving to Springfield and my driver was sound asleep side of me. Now when a man goes to sleep on a truck going just as fast as they can travel over rough roads I'll say he's some tired.

Now that its all over I think I can say I really enjoyed the trip and I sure had a chance to try myself out and see just about how much I could stand.

We stopt a few miles out of Worcester yesterday noon so I called up Raymond and he came out with the company photographer to take a few pictures. He took one of Farrell & myself on the truck and some others. He found me stretched out on the seat dead to the world and I guess they had quite a time waking me. I guess I'll have one or two good pictures of the trip anyway. I was planning on getting my camera when I got home Thurs night but I didn't get home.

We made fine connections on our trip back to Phila[delphia] and this morning I had a letter from Eva saying she had gotten safely home and that Miss Tolbert was alright about her staying over and at the office they had nothing to say at all, altho the whole town is gossiping about my sudden appearance there, a special delivery letter for Eva and then her absence for a couple of days, so I imagine she is having considerable explaining to do. I got back to Bridgeport a little after six Thurs morning and out to the park quite awhile before the bunch started. I will tell you more about the trip when I see you as there is a lot to tell.

I hope you will have had a chance to go to Bridgeport again before you get this and that you can send me some word about Syl. I think I will stay here till about Thurs when I will try to get a pass till Sunday so as to see Syl and have a real weekend at home. I think the Captain will grant it under the circumstances unless he wants me to go before then so he can get some word from him.

Winnie is coming out tomorrow so expect to enjoy my Sunday this week. I talked with her on the phone and she said she had been talking to you a day or so ago.

This will be all for this week, dear, and I hope I'll see you next week.
Lots of Love

Tuesday [undated,but must be May 6,1918]

Dear Mother,

There isn't much definite I can write you as to getting out time. Dr. Ellis was in yesterday, didn't stay half long enough for me to ask all I wanted to, but made an indefinite promise of last of this week or first of next. He also prescribed a daily massage for my shoulder which is I think beneficial. I sat up in bed most all day yesterday without ill effects & am duplicating today. The days don't seem so bad, and the day nurse I like, but I hate the nights also our night nurse. It seems as though if the Doc would let me get out of the bed daytimes I would sleep better nights.

Uncle Ed was in again last evening. Dr. Garlick & his son were here this morning, and Capt. June & Lt.Taylor surprised me with a visit yesterday morning. Lou is taking my adjutants duties, also helping out with the company; they couldn't be in better hands. They brought down my uniform.

I read the Life & Death of the Kaiser to Mr. Tatlow yesterday afternoon & it served as a good tonic to both of us. He is an original old duffer & considerably lessens the tediousness of bed-equestrianism.

I started to read Innocents Abroad this morning, but only a little at a time. [note - this is one of my favorite Mark Twain books] Aunt Lucy has sent me down a little bunch of Arbutus which add to the fragrance of the room.

I shaved the royal fizz yesterday and now look somewhat more like a human & less a first cousin of the orang-utang or Weary Willie.

If you are writing Lucinthia tell her I have received all her letters & appreciate them very much. But I don't feel able to write more than I am doing now..

I hope before I write again this sphinx-like medico will commit himself far enough to opine that I can sit up in a chair without sitting on a tack.

[Envelope postmarked Bridgeport, CT, May 8, 1918]

Dear Mother,

Just a line to let you know Dr. Ellis came in last night, let me sit up an hour then, and I'm sitting up all day to-day without ill effects. I'm wearing my shoulder in a sling as it is slipping & unruly when hanging; probably shall have to have it strapped for awhile. I have hopes of the end of the week.

[note - We next hear from Gramp on 5/24/18 when he is back at Devens, but one of Uncle Ralph's letters mentions that he hopes Gramp had a good time on his trip to Pleasantville while recuperating. --Sue]
[Also there are photos of Gram and Gramp in Cromwell dated May 19th 1918. One of them is seen in the gallery section of our Web site. Gram is holding a cat -- who by the way is not named Sewall (at least I don't think so). This is also the date on the picture of Gram that Gramp carried with him to France. --David]

[I love this letter as it shows that men have always not wanted to stop and ask directions]

May 7, 1918

Dear Mother. -

Just a line to say I got yours and Aunt Sarahs letters today, also the papers. Glad to get a report on Syl. I had a short note from him myself today and had a few words with the Capt about him. He had just returned from Bridgeport where he had seen him.

Glad you were able to knock a little of the worry and miserableness out of him and from his letter written yesterday he is feeling quite a bit better. I guess Sunday's break did him good. I have written him tonight putting the "kibosh" on any train movement before he gets well, with an official memo corroborating it. Also I told him that Johnson's bill was up to Uncle Sam and he need not worry about it. I believe he will have to pay his own bills but I am not sure.

I hope I can be home Sunday to go after him in the machine. I am going to try to get off Thurs night and have a real weekend as this may be my last chance. If all goes well next week will see me at the [Officers'] Training School and then there will be no special week end passes for "yours truly". Make the most of Capt June while I have him.

Johnson sure did have a poor time of it but I hope Syl didn't get wind of it as he would have had more to worry about.

I hope you can get down again this week to see him. I can see you exploring Bridgeport with Dad so cock sure where the hospital was and you itching to ask a question or two of the first policeman you saw. You sure must have done some exploring if you traveled 6 miles trying to find it.

I don't know whether it is the weather or the after effects of the trip but I am finding it hard to settle back to work and seem to be sleepy most of the time. I hope I'll get over it before I get home.

Don't look for me at any particular time this weekend but I'll just drop in when I get there. If I get off Thurs night I might wire Dad to wait for me in Hartford.

The lights just went out and I am writing in the dark, their[sic] on again now.

Hope to see you in a few days
Lots of love

P.S. Winnie & Miss Deming were out Sunday.


Camp Devens
May 23, 1918

[There is no place or date on this letter, but the postmark is Fitchburg, Mass., Devens Branch, May 24, 1918, so was probably written on the evening of the 23rd, and the return address is from CAPT. S. B. Butler, so he must have gotten a promotion while he was on sick leave]

Dear Mother,

I got here at 5:00, after having to come from Worster by trolley. Everybody had a hearty greeting for me. The place looks somewhat different with some improvements I'll write you about later. I've been shoveling dust out of [my] room and talking to Capt. June & some of the rest during the evening. Moody has had my company the past week or so & seems to have done allright with it. Pop wants me to keep up the Adjutant job & is going to give me a lieutenant right away for the company. I'll just keep oversight of what he does. Whether I'll relinquish the company altogether or not is a matter we'll leave till later. Capt. June kind of wants me to do it, but we'll leave discussion of it until things are straightened out from my month's absence anyway. Ralph called up to-night when I was out for a little while, and I was unable to get him later. [Uncle Ralph had gone to Officers' Training School at this point.]

Reveille is at 5:30, first call 5:15 but Pop says I needn't bother to get up for the formation yet. Must get to bed.
Lots of love

Camp Devens
Sun. eve. May 26, 1918

Dear Mother,

This has been a most quiet day in camp, for no visitors have been allowed here at all, except if brought in by a Lieutenant-Colonel or better. There have been only 4 or 5 officers around the Supply Train, and with the liveliest of those, old Andy, sick in bed & miserable all over with vaccination, there has been no close resemblance to anything like a Mardi Gras festival here.

I have written quite a few letters, read the papers, done a little work, talked some little time to Moody, and with Sgt. Coughlan as to men & matters in the company. I feel there is alot of melding to be done there, lots of little spots to be touched up to make a smoother running organization, in fact lots of little things around the organization as a whole, which I wish I could jump into & work on. But I am taking things easy, having a reveille all my own about two hours after the regular one, and taking on just what I can during the day. All according to orders of Capt. June.

The doctor who is with us ripped off my tape last evening and is leaving it off for two or three days. He rubbed it [note - the left shoulder is probably what he is speaking of] up & gave it a few exercises. I find I can raise it higher than before, and the medico thinks it's coming along in good shape.

My vaccination at Plattsburg had an unknown result according to a card I got from there for myself & all the officers a couple a couple of months ago, so that, inasmuch as all officers must show vaccination records at point of embarkation, we are taking it now. The medico gave it to Moody and me to-night. I took it in my right arm as my left one has got enough for the present, I'm thinking.

Things look to me as though they are moving towards a move before many moons; that is, just judging from exterior events. We got 74 new men this week which brings us up to full strength. Now we can work for our permanent organization, a thing which has been impossible before with a shortage of men, and a great many on special duty around the cantonment. There are some of those yet to be drawn in, and I'm in favor of fighting to draw them in right quick.

Ralph dropped in yesterday noon on his way to Boston. He looks fine and seems to be getting along allright.

We have a brand new front porch, a fine long one, in front of our quarters, which make them look like a summer bungalow. Screens in all the windows, the beginning of a front lawn & two flower beds make this look quite a different place.
Good-night & lots of love,

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