Soldier and Civilian Voices
Somewhere in Tennessee, July 4, 1943 Letter written by a soldier to his family when he was on Tennessee Maneuvers in July 1943. I expect to be in Tennessee till sometime in September. These maneuvers are pretty tough. It’s about the toughest thing I ever had in the Army. Yesterday we were camping in some woods and got an idea to go to one of the farmhouses and ask them if they could fry us some chickens. The lady said she would. We told her to fry six. We came back at night and had a sumptuous feed. Better than I’ve had in a long time.
Fried chicken, hot biscuits, milk and raspberry pie. The whole works cost us $8.00 but it was sure worth it. If we ever come back, we are going to have her roast us some ducks. The way they live in the shacks around here is a crime. They are nothing but rough boards with clay pasted between the boards. I wouldn’t live here for anything. But the people here seem to be very accommodating.
Local: Most residents were enjoying Independence Day festivities, such as parades and picnics. The second phase of the Tennessee Maneuvers was set to commence the following day. In the movies, Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara starred in "Immortal Sergeant". In the evening, WSM radio listeners tuned in to hear the drama, “One Man’s Family”, which was followed by “One Man’s Fly” and “Merry Go Round”. Regional: All forms of transportation were jammed packed as civilians and soldiers sought a bit of holiday rest and relaxation amid continual rationing of gas and rubber. While many stores closed for the day, war plants were still producing war related goods. Global: Prime Minister General Wladyshaw Raczkiewicz, of the Polish government in exile was killed in a plane crash. Nazi General Herman Goering denies rumors of a nervous breakdown. Sixty percent of Americans indicate they have been able to purchase war bonds or stamps since January 1, 1943.
Somewhere in Tennessee, August 19, 1943 Letter written by a soldier to his family when he was on Tennessee Maneuvers in August 1943. It’s the same old stuff around here, rumors and more rumors. Now we are going to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. Looks like they want to make a hillbilly out of me the way they keep shoving me from one hill to another hill. That’s about all these states around here are hills + more hills. I’m still counting the days, and they seem to be rolling much faster now that this is coming to an end. Boy, it sure will be good to sleep in a bed again.
Then, too, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll have to put rocks in the mattress to make me feel at home, I’m so used to sleeping on the ground. We got a day off here today to celebrate the 1st year of the 83rd Division’s organization. I would like you to see what a sight it is to see tents lined up by the thousands out there, just like a gypsy camp.
Local: Homemakers become more creative in meal preparation and home decorating as rationing continues unabated. WSM radio listeners tuned in for the latest music and news on Music Hall and March of Time. America’s singing cowboy, Roy Rogers delighted moviegoers with thrills, action, songs, and romance in "Idaho". Regional: German Prisoners of War began to learn more about the Nazi Party, Hitler, and democracies via the German language newspapers distributed throughout US POW camps, such as Camp Forrest. Lt. General Lesley J. McNair, commander of the Army Ground Forces, and 14 additional high-ranking officers flew into the Middle Tennessee area from Washington to review the Second Army troops maneuver in war games. Global: FDR congratulates General Eisenhower on the Sicilian Campaign victory. In Quebec dignitaries, such as Churchill, FDR and Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King gather to discuss the Allied Invasion of Italy and France.
Somewhere in Tennessee, August 26, 1943 Letter written by a soldier to his family when he was on Tennessee Maneuvers (3 miles from Shelbyville) in August 1943.There are so many rumors around here that I just don’t know what to write about. After this letter reaches you, I will no longer be in Tennessee. I may go to Camp Breckinridge and then I may go back to dear old Atterbury. Then too, I may go somewhere else. We will run our last problem this coming week, and it looks like after it’s over, we will go to Camp Forrest and catch training from one of the two camps I mentioned before. Right now, we are in Shelbyville, about 16 miles from Camp Forrest.
Last night we were at Statesville, about 60 miles from here. At Statesville, we had the swellest time after we captured it from the reds. The company commander told us we could go to a church. Right now it’s getting dark and the southern Tennessee moon is coming up over these darn hills.