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WW1 1917 A soldier's Xmas, Fort Meade Maryland

December 19, 2020

WW1 1917 A soldier's Xmas, Fort Meade Maryland

Letter written by Elwood Deysher to his parents in Oley Berks Co.  PA

My Dear Parents,

…inform you how I celebrated Xmas. On Monday we did no drilling, but we were detailed to prepare the barracks and mess hall with holiday trimmings. We went out in the woods and brought in evergreen trees, pine trees, and holly in big heaps. This was used to decorate our quarters. Owing to our quarantine, our officers arranged a social for us in the mess hall on Monday evening. The hall was beautifully decorated and holly wreathed. The program consisted of vocal and instrumental music, songs, speeches, recitations, dancing and boxing. It was all company talent and for the amusement of the 9th Company only.

After the entertainment, refreshments were served to each fellow, which consisted of lemonade, hot coffee, cigarettes, candies, cakes (iced) and apples. This was all provided for us by our officers. So you see how kindly we are treated. After the “setout” the boys went at dancing again and danced until late. At 11:30 PM I went to bed and never got awake until the next morning at 7am.  But in the meanwhile Santa Claus had been busy in camp.

In the foreroom every soldier in camp was given a Xmas present by the Red Cross Society. My gift, which was one of the best, was a beautiful ling gray knitted woollen muffler.

At 1PM we had our big dinner. It consisted of roast turkey, filling, dressing, fried sweet potatoes, red beets, celery, cranberry sauce, bread, coffee, oranges, and mixed nuts.

Although I am a small eater(?) I managed to eat an extra large meal. We had all we could eat and to spare. I had 3 servings of turkey which was delicious. We also had hot mince pies (with rum) and a barrel of sweet cider.  So you see we had quite a merry making.  Parcel post packages came in for the boys in huge quantities, also my package of clothes. In spite of of the fact that the boys were unable to go home for Xmas, due to the kind treatment in camp, and the many remembrances from home, they seemed real happy...


P.S. On Monday evening at midnight the colored fellows went thru camp singing carols and songs. Along towards morning I was roused by their singing outside our barracks the old familiar hymn 'Will there be any stars in my Crown' and several others.

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