Letter October 8, 1918 from [unidentified] to "Father"


1917-1920 circa


Letter October 8, 1918 from [unidentified] to "Father"


1917-1920 circa


WWI conscientious objection / objectors




Swarthmore College Peace Collection


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.










(COPY 1)

My dear Father:

This is the fourth letter I sent you today. Things have happened through the afternoon. At 8:30 we had our first cold shower by force. At 10:30, after a forced walk of two hours, another bath was administered. The shock caused one man to get hysterical and unconscience [sic] for quite some time. He was without medical attendance. We rested till dinner-time. At dinner-time, as a result of this forced bathing, (four men took it with their clothes on, and shivered strongly as a result) ten men resorted to hunger-strike, as they feel conditions are intolerable.

This is all caused by our refusal to work, as we cannot work in prison when we do not accept work outside.

Three men were forcibly dressed, and, with the rest, were forced to walk. Because we did not walk as desired, one man was put in such condition that he fainted. His heel may be dislocated or broken, we do not know.

Another man, whose fiancee is Miss F., was so upset by conditions, that he was temporarily insane, or hysterical, crying out loud that he dropped in a faint. He was quiet for a while, then began again. He is better now.

Another man, who could not walk any more, was dragged and shoved around, then after very rough treatment, shoved in. About six men continued walking, including myself. About three, including the man with the damaged heel, are now in solitary confinement on bread and water, which they will not accept. In fact, I do not think any of us will accept bread and water, again.

You must do something, and do it quick!

[mimeograph or photocopy of handwritten letter, written at Camp Funston on October 8, 1918, from which this was transcribed for the NYBLA, is in Subject File #1: Conscientious Objection/Objectors (folder of material removed from DG 117 reference material); note that this transcription has errors; the handwritten copy is also available on this website]


unidentified, “Letter October 8, 1918 from [unidentified] to "Father",” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed July 9, 2020, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/411.

Transcribe This Item

  1. http://wwi-co-dev.swarthmore.edu/plugins/Dropbox/files/140LtrToFatherFromUnknown.jpg