Copy of smuggled communication




Copy of smuggled communication




account of C.O.s at Ft. Leavenworth deluged by water


WWI conscientious objection / objectors


Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas


Thomas, Norman (??)


Swarthmore College Peace Collection


Swarthmore College Peace Collection


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This is a copy of a communication smuggled out to me by a prisoner whom I know well. N.M.T.

All political objectors who refuse to work in Guard House including men from cantonment.

Last night (April 3) Wednesday the following happened:

Whispering occurred after lights were out. Quite usual. No attempt to disturb has happened ever since men are here, nothing said.

“O.D” came, said nothing, shortly after a garden hose was played on men still up without warning. Everyone went at once to bed (even with clothes on). Playing of hose continued, soaking beds in which men were lying. Some protested – getting out of soaked beds. At that the O.D. had small house taken away – everything quiet. In a few minutes a fire house #” was brought – carefully arranged – every one perfectly quiet – and turned full force on everything in cell. Order “Give them plenty!” Result. Everything soaked thro [sic] beds, mattresses, clothes, blankets, books – deluged, Bernstein – knocked from upper berth by force of water on to lower berth adjoining bed. Became at once hysterical (stream had been turned on back of neck). After he was hysterical – still continued!! All bedding soaked thro [sic]. Clothing drenched. Nothing dry. Water 3” high. Soldiers (from fire-department wore badges) had on boots. Officer retreated to stairs – directing. No escape for us inside barred cage: helpless. Had to sleep (?) pass the night in dripping beds – soaked thro [sic] chilled – no possible relief. In morning – no relief.

Some days ago we were informed that Major Smith, executive, told – that he had authority to resort to “Hydro Therapeutic Treatment” – meaning “hose work”. Do not know whether this is a result of that – or more local --. Only political humanitarian objector here, no religious. 26 men in one cell (water) 26 in other not molested. Water turn on all men alike. This morning everything still drenched – men walking to keep warm. Place like a flood.

After affair O.D. heard to rehearse affairs with sentries for “Unanimity.”

[page 2]

When said he expected to be called “on the carpet” – perhaps this means interview with superior. Officer during “sceance” [sic] asked one sentry or – fire department man if he were “overseas” man. Apparently felt himself in charge of a machine gun.

Do not exaggerate. This is an absolute statement of fact. Rumors that we are going to Alcatraz to be put in solitary there. Believe further attacks imminent.

Will write this in our daily letters – watch if these come.


Thomas, Norman (??), “Copy of smuggled communication,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed September 21, 2021,

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