Offered for sale by: Richard Ford

Edward C. Olds, US Army Volunteer in the Philippines, 1898-1900: Series of 17 (seventeen) Autograph Letters Signed "E C Olds" and "Ed" (mainly), mainly to his sister and parents, about Training Camp and later action in the Philippines. , Various locations from Camp St George H. Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Lytle, Ga. to "Camp" to Presidio,San Francisco, to the Island of Panay, to Ilo[i]lo, to Fort Atkinson, 7 June 1898-3 Oct. 1900.

39pp., 1-6pp., 8vo and 4to, one in pencil, minor defects in some, mainly good condition. 39pp., 8vo and 4to, one in pencil, minor defects in some, mainly good condition. A fine series of 17 letters written by Edward E. Olds, a U.S. Army Volunteer, semi-literate but providing interesting content. Some are addressed to his sister, Mrs. O. Sandford Vosberg at Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, nickname "Tom[y]", but also to his parents who are farming folk in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Edward was divorced but did not have the money required to complete the arrangement. He had 2 young sons. In 1898 the revolution broke out in the Philippines, which arose from the struggle for independence following American assumption of sovereignty. The U. S. Army called for volunteers and it would appear that Edward enlisted in order to get away from his marital difficulties. His initial letters are from the Training Camp' of George H. Thomas at Chickamauga Park from where he proceeds to Presidio, San Francisco where he awaits shipment in April 1899. From his letters it appears that he spent his service on the island of Panay, writing about the country, its natives and activity during the war: Subjects: (7 June 1898) Family news and questions throughout the correspondence; a dull life; duties as "kitchen Police", washing dishes with old acquaintance also in Army; leave due; (18 June 1898) writing to "boys" [sons?] and others; found some "reb" bullets from 1863; he has a "best girl"; good country, interesting monuments of Civil War and other vestiges; anticipates going to Cuba; (26 June) "good grub to[o] for the army"; looking forward to pay day; (15 July) "target practice"; (n.d.) describes his girl in St Paul's; talk of divorce from wife, Eva; (1 April 1899) journey and arrival in Presidio; he's "drilling some of the new recruits"; (25 April 1899) In 18th Reg., but he won't know which company until they reach "Man[i]la"; to be paid on boat at Honolulu; (1 Oct. 1899) description of women with "long straight [sic] black hair like our squaws at home", people small; (Jaro Panay I.) Good climate; [see quote (1) below about "preasts" - priests]; talk of their General trying to make peace; "they make poor soldiers"; doing the company laundry; saving money and thinking of a business there when finished; he employs native boys; (Capiz, 1 Jan.1900) Special duty in hospital; [see quote (2) re losses and "wounded" below]; trouble with girlfriend; (Capiz, 23 Jan. 1900) "pretty hot fighting"; few casualties for US; good description of encounter [including quote (3) "nigs" and quote (4)]; now "head nurse" in the hospital; "our regiment is scattered all over the island"; (1 Feb. 1900) work in hospital; some with typhoid; one survived because of his attentions; (13 Feb. 1900) advantages of living in the Philippines; talks money and the confirmation of transfer to Hospital Corps; (28 March 1900) in charge of "four wounded nigs", giving him practice dressing; plenty of work in the hospital; (30 March 1900) expresses preference for hospital work over "soldiering in the ranks"; (3 Oct. 1900) suffering from dysentery;he's "a general prisoner here at the Fort"; sentenced to a year and a half hard labour and a dishonourable discharge, refusing to salute, obey, his commanding officer; he plans to write to General Hughes to get remission.Quotations:(1) "this people would be all right if it was not for the preasts if uncle Sam would kill them of fighting would end" (2) "we done some hard fighting we lost 7 men and 18 wounded of wich one has died since that is out of 8 company[.] My company did not lose any nor get any hurt & we was on the right flank ... we killed about 300 [kakaes?] - we buried about 180 of them and they carried of a good many" (3) "the steel jackets were coming prettie thick and a little to close for good comfort I have got four of the nigs that I am sure of and I got one of them out,of a coconut tree" (4) "our Co. was on the right flank there was five Co on the firing line deployed as skirmishers and we drove them out of three of the finest trenches I ever saw" Edward transfers to the hospital and reports on his care of soldiers and revolutionaries. His last letter reports that he has been dishonourably discharged, sentenced to 18 months hard labour and forfeited all pay and allowances for refusing to salute the doctor and refusing to obey his superior officer.The letters from within the U. S. are on coloured illustrated letterheads and most letters are accompanied by their stamped envelopes with interesting postal markings, some being defective. NOTE:- Letters from ordinary servicemen in this Campaign are extremely scarce. The only comparable batch I've found are Alonso F. Woodside's letters in the collections of the Massachusetts Hist. Soc. ("Collection consists primarily of correspondence sent by Alonzo F. Woodside to his sister Ella, while stationed on Panay Island in the Philippines, Oct. 25, 1899- Dec. 26, 1900. Woodside was a soldier in Company D, 26th Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Philippine Insurrection. He describes his arrival in Manila in the U.S. transport Grant; reaction to being under fire for the first time, and other military battles; the landscape, weather, and other aspects of life in the Philippines; an assignment in Iloilo to act as a witness in a court-martial case; and requests for goods such as razors and soap. Also includes a handwritten transcript of the interrogation of Albert L. Cross, October 13, 1902, regarding the torture and death of a priest; and an accompanying letter describing the transcript and outcome of the court-martial, 1953.") (Book ref. 10763 )  £ 1250.00

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Offered for sale by: Richard Ford
Contact: Richard Ford
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