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 10 Letter Home - Re-Visited (Read 362 times)
Knute1
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Letter Home - Re-Visited
Sep 22nd, 2018 at 2:29am
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About 4 years ago I posted a letter my Great Grandfather wrote home from Pekin during the Boxer Rebellion. I had typed it into the post at that time. Since that time I had done much research of his military career and have written a 32 page history for family. There was much history to be found on the internet as most of those books from that era are available online. He was with the 14th Infantry Regiment and I have found a book from that era on this regiment. This book included field reports from his captain. I have also found the 1900 US Census of his company and have the names of every soldier that he fought with. This Census was taken just months before they went to China. The first man on the list is 2nd Lieutenant Louis McLane Hamilton. He is the Great Grandson of Alexander Hamilton, and we all know him.

I have found a Thomas Edison film of him online (though I can't find him due to poor film quality) as his company was in a funeral cortege of President William McKinley.

He carried the Krag Jorgensen US Magazine Rifle. General Arthur MacArthur (father of General Douglas MacArthur) required that the 2,500 soldiers going to China carry new rifles, so I am guessing they carried the Model 1898.

This should explain some of my zeal of late. Below is a photo copy of his letter home from China. It is written on "Young Men's Christian Associations" stationary. This organization was actually in China and helped the soldiers write there letters home. The letter is in his hand. Bear in mind that he dropped out of high school.

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butlersrangers
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #1 - Sep 22nd, 2018 at 4:08am
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Knute - Thanks for sharing!
  
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olderthansome
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #2 - Sep 22nd, 2018 at 8:35am
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What a treasure!!  For a high school dropout, he writes better than many college graduates do today.  And in cursive, no less, that is also far better than many now - probably since cursive is not even readable to many of our "educated" children today.

He mentions that he is "in the best of health" and "far better than most of the soldiers".  You also mentioned that his Lieutenant was Louis McLane Hamilton a great grandson of Alexander Hamilton.  As illustrative of the intertwining threads of our life, it is ironic to note that Lt. Hamilton, was only 35 when he died in Paris in 1911 "after a lengthy illness".  It makes you wonder if perhaps your great grandfather was witness to the onset of the Lieutenant's decline.  And it gives pause to consider that the Lieutenant was named after his uncle, Louis McLane Hamilton who was killed on the Washita when a captain in the 7th Cavalry under Custer.  When you read about the Hamiltons of the turn of the 20th Century, you see names like Teddy Roosevelt (who pardoned the Lieutenant - twice} and the Astors of New York.

I can't say enough about your letter.  It is such a special example of how our lives are so often just a touch apart.

  
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Kerz
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #3 - Sep 22nd, 2018 at 9:23am
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Great story and a wonderful piece of family history!
Vic
  

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Knute1
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #4 - Sep 22nd, 2018 at 2:20pm
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You guys will have to humor me. Below is part of my write up of my Great Grandfather and this page is his day in Yang-Tsun. He spelled it Young Son in his letter. He probably never saw the name in writing before and he likely pronounced it with words he was familiar with, as the other soldiers would have. Notice the title of the page. I got a little artsy fartsy with it.

It was this letter that compelled me to write his story in China, a little known piece of American history. I know the Army transports he was on along with several dates with where he was.

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Kerz
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #5 - Oct 4th, 2018 at 9:38am
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very nice write up!
  

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Knute1
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #6 - Oct 6th, 2018 at 4:10am
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Kerz, thanks for the comment.

Olderthansome, here is some more "intertwining". I don't have my word document of this write-up due to a lightning strike. This is from a pdf of a draft. Where it says "followed by" it should say "led by". My Great Grandfather is in the moving picture with the first set of soldiers if you go to the website.

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butlersrangers
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #7 - Oct 6th, 2018 at 4:55am
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Neat chronicle of events. The World of those times seems relatively modern in some areas, yet so primitive in others.

A lot of people from the Midwest attended the Exposition in Buffalo.
  
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olderthansome
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #8 - Oct 6th, 2018 at 11:15am
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"Where else, indeed" …. per Walter Cronkite:  What kind of day was it?  It was a day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times.  And (to paraphrase)…"he was there".

  
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butlersrangers
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #9 - Oct 6th, 2018 at 12:58pm
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Walter probably knocked over that first stack of cannon balls!
  
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Knute1
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #10 - Oct 6th, 2018 at 5:32pm
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It baffles me at times that this was not a big event in my family and passed on. But there was no television at the time and it is likely that nobody in my family knew about this footage, let alone seen it. Charley may have only noticed somebody cranking on a moving picture camera, then again maybe not. So it was well over a hundred years that I came across the footage on the internet as I was trying to find anything about his regiment. I believe I was the first in the family to have discovered it and watched it. At the time I was not sure if Charley was with Company I. I later found the 1900 U.S. Census of his company with him in it and found out that his discharge papers from 1902 still had him with Company I. This closed the loop for me that he was very likely to be in this film. It was an emotional moment for me to find this little gem and share with family. This was my Mother's paternal Grandfather. She has some memory of him, but she was a young girl when he passed.
  
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Knute1
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #11 - Oct 14th, 2018 at 3:18pm
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Just watched the 1977 movie "MacArthur" this morning with Gregory Peck as General Douglas MacArthur. Great movie, great general, great actor. Made me think of the father of the general, Brigadier General Arthur MacArthur. He was the general when my Great Grandfather was serving.
Below pretty much wraps up my write-up of my Great Grandfather with a page of those that were of his time. A time not paid very much attention to anymore. The last page is of those that were significant to his life in the Army. (Note that Charley's first letter home after joining started with "I suppose you know by now that I am in the Army".)

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olderthansome
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Re: Letter Home - Re-Visited
Reply #12 - Oct 15th, 2018 at 5:21pm
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The citation that MacArthurs father received was the Medal of Honor.  But remember that, at the time of the Civil War and even through the Indian Wars, the only medal available for awarding bravery was the Medal of Honor.  The standards for issue were lower then than now.  It's not to belittle the recipients as the deeds performed were, indeed, heroic….Tom Custer, and I imagine several, if not many, others received two or more of the honor.  There was nothing else to bestow, when something was truly needed.  When other medals became available for presentation, the saddest part was that there were reviews of the Medals previously issued and some were actually revoked by the Army.  I haven't looked into details to see if any were replaced with some other honor, but, to me, there should have been no  reviews begun and previous honors cherished and maintained as presented.
  
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