Date Original

1918 January 6


Letter from J. Harrell Burke at Jefferson Barracks in Lemay, Missouri to his family in Arkansas. Burke writes part of this letter on route to Washington, D.C.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jasper Harrell Burke served as a clerk for the Army Mechanical Repair Shops, American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I from January 1918 to June 1919. He enlisted as a private and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant by May 1919.


Jefferson Brks.
Jan 6, 1918
Dearest Mama & All
Well I am up
for shipment. Will go to
Camp Meigs, Washington
D.C. I do not know just
what time we will
leave tonight. Yesterday
morning I was transferred
to the 16th Co. and yesterday
evening I was called for
shipment and I also got
my second shot in the
arm and was vaccinated
I got two letters
day before yesterday and
the bag also en route
to Camp Megis [sic]. But I
did not get to use it
very long[.] packed it up
yesterday afternoon right after
dinner. Just as soon I went
up to roll call in the 16th
my name was called for
shipment and last night after
supper the office men came
down and made a sure
thing ofit[.] he recalled the
names and told us to
repart to the upper Barracks
imediately [sic] after Breakfast
so we did and Sargent [sic]
took us over and had us
to draw on ordinance or
a tin pie pan aluminum
cup and tin knife & Fork
or spoon. So tht is what we
are going to hone to eat with
from now on. I am now
using the pan for a prop to
write on. And say by the
way we are riding on a
Pullman too.
Lee is sick and I suppose
he is in the hospital today. I was down to his bunk
house yesterday afternoon and
he was over to the hospital
then he had fever 102 degrees[.] I waited
for him to get back[.] that
is the reason I knew he was
sick. They didn't do any
thing for him except give
him a little bottle of cough
medicine and told him
that was all when he ought
to have been taken care of
right there. I took him
some quinine Pills and
told him not to get up
this morning and they
would have to take him
over to the hospitl.
I think the other
Boy Matkins is on
this train but o my it
would be some job
to find him for there
is some length to it.
It snowed in J.B. all
day long and a good hard
one too. It is some cold. I
got a short overcoat when
they issued me mine
sure wish it had have been
a long one.
You all said something
about sending a note and
certified check[.] I have gotten
neither. I do not need any
money[.] have $20.00 now
When I was talking about
those certified checks that
that [sic] I was going to get
a furlow home.
I guess you all think
it funny for me to send
a package home and let you
all pay the express but they
would not let me pay
the express[.] said they did
not collection express on pkgs
at J.B. Station so I just
let it come collect.
I have sure been coughing
some for the last two days
am going to take a pill
and some quinine tonight
I am [illegible] either for it is packed
in my "go way bag."
Well it is the morning
Well it is the morning
of the 7th. I got a find night
rest. There was three of us to
too [sic] berths in the top and
two in the lower. we had
pullman Blankets and
two of our army blankets
so we slept good and
warm. We had a pretty
good breakfast this morning
had some "Dog" English
peas. Butter and an
apple and two big sticks
of bread.
Our train has
thirteen coaches of
Soldiers, Baggage car
and a caboose. 4 cars
are Or M. Co. (?) and the
rest are artilery [sic].
I started out and found
Matkins. He said that
they did not carry Lee to
the Hospital and that
he was feeling pretty good
able to get up and go
to breakfast with him.
Lee sure hates that he
did not get out with us
and so do we.
Olga & Mrs. McConaho
were out to see me
yesterday afternoon and
brought me out a nice
box. I have opened it
yet. I only got to talk
to them about 3 mins.
and then we had to go
up for inspection.
our inspection consisted
of one man coming around
and looking our mouth over
and then Colonel Murry
came around and made
examination of our
clothing that was to see
that all of our clothes was
buttoned and that we
were shaven and our
general appearance. After
that was all over the
Colonel made us a
little speech. Then we
were marched to the
depot and there we boarded
our train[.] we got out
of J.B. about 10 o'clock.
Lots of the boys are
sure glad to get out of J.B.
but some of them are
like myself[.] sorry that
we are going north[.] they
would have rather have
gone to Florida like my
self. I droped [sic] the
mail clerk of the 18th Co.
a note last night to
hold all mail for me
untill [sic] I [illegible] him
to forward it. I gave
a train master a telegram
to send you this morning.
If you all have
not sent that note and
certified check yet
just keep them right
there can [sic] take care of
that note a great deal
better than I.
All of the country
we have passed over yet
is literally covered with snow
We three boys here
on this seat struck it
pretty lucky[.] we have a
little writing table here.
and we are all making good
use of it. All writting. [sic]
Guess I had better close
now as I think we will be
to a town pretty soon where
we can get some one [sic] to
mail them for us.
Will write again
just as soon as I get to
my past. I expect it will
be Wednesday before we get
there. I will answer
Papa & Lucille letters next
go around also.
With Love to all

Physical Description

Letter, 9 pages, 6.25" x 9"


World War I; War; Soldiers; Military mobilizations; Military personnel


Harrell Burke

Geographical Area

Lemay, St. Louis County (Mo.)




MS.000074, Box 1, Folder 2, Item 3

Resource Type



J. Harrell Burke papers, MS.000074


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter, Harrel Burke to his family, 1918 January 1, J. Harrell Burke papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


Use and reproduction of images held by the Arkansas State Archives without prior written permission is prohibited. For information on reproducing images held by the Arkansas State Archives, please call 501-682-6900 or email at


Military History | United States History


image preview

Additional Content

Finding aid for J. Harrell Burke Papers



Download Full Text (4.9 MB)

Letter, Harrel Burke to his family, 1918 January 1