Private Loren Adams wrote to his uncle, Cecil Reasor, about his duties in camp and about taking care of his parents and grandfather with the money he would send his uncle. Adams was captured during the Korean War in December 1950 and died that month, but his uncle continued to hope that he was alive and a prisoner, and sent mail to him addressed through the Chinese government.
Second Lieutenant Arlen Richard Baldridge wrote his mother of a flight training accident that caused him to bail out of his plane in Massachusetts. He also wrote about the thrill of flying in a letter which was published in the newspaper. Baldridge was captured and murdered after his plane crashed in Germany in 1944. His parents received several letters concerning his disappearance and death.
Family members still remember and honor those they lost in wartime. This note was attached to a floral arrangement left at the West Virginia Veterans Memorial in tribute to Kenneth Monroe Barker, killed in Vietnam, from his aunt.
Private Fred Cavin provided a first-hand account of some of the bloodiest fighting during World War I with his description of the Argonne Woods. Written to his sister almost a month after the end of the fighting, he looked forward to coming home and mentioned how sick he had been with the Spanish Influenza, which killed millions worldwide.
Private William Roscoe Everett wrote his sister from England two months before being killed during the Normandy Invasion in World War II as a glider infantryman.
Arthur B. Greenlee left his Mason County home and enlisted in the Marine Corps during World War I. After training at Quantico, VA, he sailed for France, where he exchanged letters with his family in October 1918. His letter revealed his belief that the Germans would soon be defeated, while his father sent news of home and mentioned the flu epidemic, which killed nearly 3000 in West Virginia in 1918-1919. Greenlee was wounded at the battle of Bayonville on November 2, 1918 but returned to his family after an extensive hospital stay and rehabilitation.
Marine Private Raymond H. Jones wrote his father from Okinawa, hoping that his brother Dale would not be drafted. Ray was killed May 10, 1945 while Dale was captured and died as a prisoner of war during the Korean War.
Thomas Dale "Dewey" Jones wrote home during the Korean War from his New Jersey training camp and discussed his next trip to Brooke County. Jones was captured during the Korean War and died a prisoner of war. His brother Raymond had died during World War II.
Joseph A. J. Lightburn commanded Union forces in the Kanawha Valley before being promoted to general and transferred to the Army of the Tennessee, where he participated in the Vicksburg campaign. In this letter to a family friend named George, he recounts some of the action seen by the 4th WV Infantry, his former unit. After the attack of May 22, 1863, five members of the 4th WV Infantry were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Staff Sergeant Jessie Carrington McGhee served with the army in the Pacific theater during World War II, eventually dying in the Philippines October 22, 1944. In a letter home to his sister-in-law Garnette, he mentioned some of the fighting and what they did in their free time, as well as his happiness that his brother Lester had his mine foreman's papers, which would probably prevent him from being drafted.
Lieutenant Ballard McWhorter, stationed in India during World War II, wrote this letter home with his observations. He was killed November 9, 1950, during the Korean War.
Confederate Colonel George S. Patton of the 22nd VA Infantry wrote to Lieutenant James Welch about activities on and near the Kanawha River prior to the Battle of Scary Creek, which occurred July 17, 1861. Welch was killed at this battle, while Patton was mortally wounded at Winchester, VA on September 19, 1864.Camp Tompkins was located near the former site of the Valley Drive-In near St. Albans and is now occupied by a lumber yard.
During the Confederate retreat following the Battle of Gettysburg, George W. Peterkin of the 21st VA Infantry found a few moments to write his father about the battle and the losses suffered by the army. In 1878, Peterkin became the first Episcopal bishop in the new Diocese of West Virginia.
During the Civil War, 2nd Lieutenant John Price of the 7th WV Cavalry wrote to another officer in the regiment, Captain Jacob M. Rife, admitting his past problems with alcohol and promising to avoid drinking in the future. He hopes that Captain Rife can withdraw the charges he faces as a consequence of his drinking.
Sergeant Ralph Romine's letter to his mother and family sought information about people and events back home in Ritchie County, a common request of those overseas. He was killed in Italy on July 18, 1944, while another brother, Glendale, died the year before in North Africa.
Staff Sergeant William Smith received a letter from his mother in Logan, apologizing for not having any exciting news to send him but keeping him informed on family and friends back home. Smith was killed January 4, 1944 when his bomber was shot down over Germany.
The parents of Ray William Stotler received this letter of condolence from the parents of one of his buddies, Monte Pierce, who had been with him when he was mortally wounded in Vietnam on August 2, 1967.
Shirley Webb received this letter from his older brother Bruce during World War II while still a student back home. During the Korean War, Shirley Webb served in the Army and was killed in Korea.
Seaman 3rd Class George A. Wehrle witnessed the aerial support and invasion of Normandy from aboard the heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa. His diary recounted the artillery support provided by the ship for ground troops landing June 6, 1944 during D-Day.