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Letter October 1, 1918 from David Eichel to Anna ____
Letter October 1, 1918 from David Eichel to Anna ____
Letters reporting on conditions at Camp Funston, Kansas
WWI conscientious objection / objectors
Camp Funston, Kansas
DG 131: Eichel Family Papers
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
CAMP FUNSTON, KANSAS, OCTOBER 1, 1918
Returned to me on grounds too long – [illegible word] must write on one side of paper.
I had written a rather lengthy letter to you, but I was a bit unwise and was compelled to rewrite it.
I received your letter of the 20 th Sept, and from it I glean that my last letter to you apparently went astray since you state that you were at a loss to explain my failure to write.
Since the 17 th of Sept. I have assumed the status of a prisoner. Assumed is hardly the word since I was absolutely passive in the matter. My offense is not of a sensational character. I merely could not comply with Col. Waterman’s order to shovel some rubbish and tin cans into a truck. Hence with a majestic wave of his hand, I was ordered to the guard house. This procedure was continued every subsequent day so that now every CO – almost 100 in all, is a prisoner. Previous to my transfer from the Riley guard house to my present quarters, we were interviewed by Maj. Kellog who has replaced Maj. Stoddard on the Inquiry Board and again asked to accept some alternative service. At Riley we were under the tender mercies of a second lieut. Whenever he felt indisposed he would take it out of some CO. But at no time did I find conditions absolutely intolerable. Our treatment here however except for one or two isolated occasions has been uniformly excellent and beyond reproach. We are given ample opportunity for fresh air and sunshine and outdoor exercise, and inse – and that helps some.
the light of the present Influenza epidemic this is certainly invaluable in aiding us to fight it off.
Julius is now at the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth where he has been assured of good treatment. You might write him, P.O. Box 64 Disciplinary Barracks, Ft. Leavenworth Kans. I doubt if he is able to write you, but I do know that he is permitted to receive letters and I am sure it would please him intensely to hear a word of good cheer from you.
Thank you heartily for wishing to aid me financially. I have absolutely no use for money since I can buy nothing. But apparently there is no objection to my receiving things from outside. Anything you send will be appreciated. I will ask you to please send me some stamps since I find it inconvenient to buy any from here. I have already asked someone to call upon Sam Y. for an additional supply of paper and envelopes. My old stock is almost exhausted.
I am still in excellent spirits and fine physical condition. I am not in the least dismayed at my incarceration and I hope none of my friends will be.
My kindest regards to my friends and comrades.
Camp Funston, Kasas
M.P. Guard House
CAMP FUNSTON, KANS., OCTOBER 1, 1918
(This was not deleted by the censor.)
Compelled to rewrite by the censor.
Received your letter of the 20 th Sept. Your letter leads me to conclude that my last note to you never reached its destination. You see, my last letter to you remained unanswered.
I am now a prisoner, as a result of my inability to comply with an order from Col. Waterman, Commander of Fort Riley, to shovel some tin cans and rubbish into a truck. The same perfunctory procedure was gone thru with all the other men at the tents so that I am not alone. [sentence blackened out]
My confinement at Fort Riley guard house began on Sept. 17 and ended with the 27 th when we were transfered here to Camp Funston. Previous to our transfer we were again interviewed by a member of the Inquiry Board in connection with accepting some kind of furlough or service.
At Riley we were completely under the tender mercies of a second lieut. Whenever he felt so disposed he imposed some petty hardship upon us. But at no time did I find conditions absolutely intolerable. We did receive some rough handling when I first reached this place, but since then our treatment has been splendid and beyond reproach. We are given ample opportunity for outdoor exercise – and that helps some.
I might tell you something startling, but I must first ask you not to speek about it to anyone who is likely to come in contact with my folks, and so impart this news to them. A short time previous to my arrest some twenty of us refused to cook our own food. We felt that since the Gov’t chose to keep us here it was the Gov’t’s duty to feed us. As a result we went without food 13 days. Most of the boys wound up in the hospital. I was one of the very few who lasted thru the whole
affair without hospital treatment. On the 13 th day other Cos stepped in and assumed the Gov’t’s responsibility to feed us. It may be that this starvation was directly responsible for our arrest and confinement. All the men have fully recovered from this prolonged fast.
Julius is now at the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. I suppose you know he received most inhuman treatment at Fort Jay. Hon. F.P. Keppel has assured my folks that his treatment at Leavenworth will be far better. You might write him % of D.B’s Ft. Leavenworth. I doubt if he is permitted to write but I know he is able to receive letters, and I am sure it would please him intensely to hear a word of good cheer from you.
Thank you heartily for your kindness in wishing to aid me financially. I have absolutely no use for money since I can buy nothing. But apparently I am permitted to receive things from the outside. Anything you send will be appreciated. I might ask you to send me some stamps, since I may have some difficulty in getting them from here. I have already asked someone to call upon Sam Y. for an additional supply of paper and envelopes. My old stock is almost exhausted.
I am still in excellent spirits and fine physical condition. I am not a bit dismayed at my incarceration and I hope none of my friends will be. My kindest regards to all my friends and comrades.
Camp Funston, Kans.
% Military Police Guard House
Eichel, David, “Letter October 1, 1918 from David Eichel to Anna ____,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed November 25, 2020, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/20.