Letter from Cornelius Kollock to Mary regarding his military training, 25 June 1917

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Document Description:

Housed at the South Caroliniana Library, the Cornelius Kollock papers describe the experience of Cornelius Kollock, a young soldier preparing for and fighting in World War I.  In this letter dated 25 June 1917 to Mary, an unidentified woman, Kollock tells Mary about his training experience in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He describes bayonet fighting and the use of dummies as practice targets.  He expresses concern for the well-being of his mother while he is away.  Additionally, he describes the locals and the activities for the soldiers.  He states, “the people are nice to us as they can be.”  In closing, he articulates a desire to be discharged.


Kollock, Cornelius, to Mary from Chattanooga, TN, 25 June 1917.  Cornelius Kollock Papers, folder 10.  South Caroliniana Library, Columbia, South Carolina.


[Chattanooga]     [25 June 1917]





The Association Follows the Flag on Land and Sea

Public Correspondence Table at _____________Sunday _________

_________________________________    19                                     


Dear Mary,

            This is an awful pen but it is th only one I can find so I hope you can make it out   This is our one day of rest here and tomorrow we start at it again.  We dug trenches all this week, we are digging the kind that are in use in Europe now, on a smaller scale.  We are going to use them for bayonet fighting later on.  They put dummies in the trench and we charge them and see if we can get the dummies in some given spot.  We are learning all the latest tricks right from the front.  We are to have some experience later on with hand grenades.  I only think we will use dummies grenades as the others are too dangerous for inexperienced men.

            We go to the Rifel Range about Saturday or Sunday and stay about a week.  We have been here half of our time now and I expect from now on the time will pass quickly.  We dont know yet where we will be sent but Col. Slocum said that all of us would stay in the Southern Department and that he thought that all the men from South Carolina would be sent back there, I certainly hope so.

            I hope Mama is not making her self sick by working too hard.

This place will certainly be full of soldiers soon.  They have already built about six camps about twice the size of this one and they will soon be full it will ruin the city and it is going to ruin Columbia.  in a good many ways.  The people here are as nice to us as they can be.  The ladies come out every Sunday evening and sing and play in the Y.M.C.A.  And they have dances for us every Saturday night at the different hotels and clubs.

            An order has come out now that the furlough was sufficient for us to get our pay.  I wish it had come by sooner and I would not have had all the trouble of getting my discharge.

                        With love for all



This is a very disconnected letter but I had to write in a hurry as the lights go out in a few minutes.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 5-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of major domestic and foreign developments that contributed to the United States’ becoming a world power.

Indicator 5-3.6 Summarize actions by the United States that contributed to the rise of this nation as a world power, including the annexation of new territory following the Spanish-American War and the role played by the United States in the building of the Panama Canal and in World War I.

Lessons Using This Document:

Lines from Behind the Lines


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