At Quantico

September 24

AR Appenheimer leaves Paris Island in the morning with 24 other newly-graduated Marines, all assigned as teamsters ~~ 6 of the 25, including Appenheimer, are from the Paris Island 86th Company. They will not arrive at Quantico until the following morning.

September 25

AR Appenheimer arrives at Quantico at 8 a.m. He writes to his mother:

"Dear Ma,. I arrived here at 8 oclock this morning. I go before the Commanding Officer tomorrow morning to see about a furlow. They are issuing a new uniform now, a dark Olive Drab, and no one can't leave without wearing them, and the Sergant said he was sure we could get a furlow if I could get our uniforms. I am in the HeadQuarters Dept now. That means about 10 dollars a month more money. This camp here makes the Paris Isle camp look like a toy. I think if I get a furlow it will be in the next 10 days or less. Address me ~~ Pvt Alpheus R. Appenheimer, H.D. 1st Machinegun Battalion, Quantico Vir.

With Love, Al."

September 26

AR Appenheimer begins training with the recently organized 1st Machine Gun Battalion at Quantico, Virginia. Training will consist of bayonet fighting, hand grenade use, trench & dugout construction, attacking trenches, barbed wire laying & cutting, Morse code, signaling, sending & recieving messages, dismantling, rebuilding & firing of Lewis machine guns, & guard duty.

September 27

Sometime between this date and the first days of October, AR Appenheimer receives a furlough and travels by train to his home in Toulon, Illinois.

September 28

Sometime between Sept 27 and the first days of October, AR Appenheimer receives a furlough and travels by train to his home in Toulon, Illinois.

September 29

Sometime between Sept 27 and the first days of October, AR Appenheimer receives a furlough and travels by train to his home in Toulon, Illinois.

September 30

Sometime between Sept 27 and the first days of October, AR Appenheimer receives a furlough and travels by train to his home in Toulon, Illinois.

1 October

By this date, AR Appenheimer probably on furlough at his home in Toulon, Illinois.

October 2

1917: AR Appenheimer on furlough at his home in Toulon, Illinois.

October 3

1917: AR Appenheimer on furlough at his home in Toulon, Illinois.

October 4

1917: Describing events on this date, a front page article appearing the following Wednesday in the Stark County News, will read:

"Miss America Swango and Alpheus Appenheimer, both of Toulon, were united in marriage at the home of Mrs. Ida Egbert Thursday morning, October 4, 1917. The ceremony was performed at 8 o'clock and Rev. C. C. Colby, pastor of the Baptist church of Toulon, was the officiating minister. The wedding march was played by Miss Lucille ull, who is numbered among the Grade School faculty at Toulon. During the ceremony Miss Hull played the Flower Girl. The guests included Mrs. A.W. Appenheimer, Clarence Appenheimer, Mrs. L.H. Hankins, Miss Lucille ull, Miss Iva Mae Randolph, Mrs. Ida Egbert, and Leslie Egbert. The Bride is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Swango, who live in the state of Montana. Miss Swango has been in this community for a number of years past and hasmade her home with Mrs. Fred Dexter and Mrs Ida Egbert. During her stay here she has made many friends. She is a young lady of pleasing address and sterling qualities. The groom is a son of Mrs. A.W. Appenheimer of Toulon. He has always lived here and is one of Toulon's finest young men. He recently enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and has been in Toulon several days on a furlough. He received a call to report for duty at Quantico, Va., and left for that place Thurday morning, being accompanied to Peoria by his bride. From Peoria Mrs. Appenheimer went to Kentucky where she will visit at different places with relatives. Congratulations and best wishes are extended these young people for a happy and prosperous life."

Newlyweds Alpheus & America Appenheimer
about to leave for the train station.

October 5

AR Appenheimer & his new bride, America, continue their train journey into Kentucky and one into Virginia. A long delay in Peoria on the previous day causes them to miss their connection in Louisville, where they must wait nine hours for the next train. They arrive at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky at 9 p.m., where Al says goodbye to America and leaves her with a man who takes her by horse & rig 13 miles to her grandmother's. Al continues on by train to the west.

October 6

1917: AR Appenheimer arrives by train at Quantico at 11:30 p.m.

October 7

AR Appenheimer writes to his mother:

"Arrived all OK last night at 11.30, had a long wait in Peoria till the evening train and missed connections in Louisville, Ky, an lay over there 9 hours, but the Segt Major just asked me a few questions about when I rec the recall and what time I started. He was sure nice about it, in fact all the officers are. One of the other boys got married too when he went home. The Sergt Major says he don't kow if married men's wives get anything or not, but I made an allotment to her of $25 dollars a month, as can't send anything home from France. The Government will send her each Pay Day $25 out of my wages. That leaves me $6.80 which is all I need for pin money. Some of the boys here say there is talk of the Government giving Marines' wives a sum equal to the allotment made them by their husbands. If that law is passed, America will get $50 each month. .... My allotment to America is good for 12 months. I wanted to make it for 24 months but the Segt Major said that none of the others had made it for any longer than 12 and that I could easily renew it, but that he thot I would be home with my wife before 12 months were up. We had a fine dinner today: beef steak, mashed potatoes, brown gravy, sweet corn, Lima beans, bread & butter, coffee and peaches and they were all well cooked and seasoned...."

October 8

With the 1st Machine Gun Battalion at Quantico, AR Appenheimer writes to his mother:

"Well I am settled down to camp life again. We are sure busy now packing supplies and arms and aquipment. I think we leave here Thurs for Philadelphia: don't know how long we will stay there. Maybe an hour or maybe a week. Am sending some souviners, the tray and salt & pepper & pick holder are for you, and the pencils are for Fred, Hellen, Bessie, Olive, Edie and Chink too. My address will be after I leave here:

Pvt Alpheus R. Appenheimer
Headquarters Detachment
1st Machinegun Battalion
Overseas Expeditionary forces
c/o Postmaster, New York.

When I went down to H.D's to sign up for my allotment to America, they said it was too late and that they wouldn't have time to get it thru now, and that I would have to wait till we got across, but that I could have it fixed up over there just as good as I could here. The rest fixed theirs up while I and 7 or 8 others were on home furlows. The boys got red cross sweaters, caps and ristlets while I was away, but guess I'll get mine later. We draw clothes again tomorrow. I may send a suit case full of my summer clothes home. I found some rice in my pockets today. America had about a quart in the top of her hat and spilled it on the car floor. The conductor took our tickets and stuck a slip in my hat and said "I guess one will do for you both now." I look for a letter from America tomorrow, as I am anxious to know how she made out getting out to her Grandmother's Fri Night. With love, your roving Son, Al."

October 9 through November 4

1917: AR Appenheimer in training with 1st Machine Gun Battalion at Quantico, Virginia. He makes no diary entries during this period, and no letters survive.

AR Appenheimer in "heavy marching order",
Quantico, late 1917.

November 5

1917: AR Appenheimer in training with 1st Machine Gun Battalion at Quantico, Virginia. In response to a request from the editor of his hometown newspaper, Al Appenheimer writes a detailed letter describing the training & daily life at Quantico. He sends the letter to his mother on this date. The article will appear in the November 14th issue of The Stark County News.

Quantico, VA. Nov 5th, 1917

Dear Mother:

I am well and happy, hope you are the same. You and Will said that Nolan (editor of The Stark County News) wanted a letter from me to put in the News. So here goes.

* * * * *

The U.S. Marine Camp at Quantico.

Quantico is an Indian name meaning slippery mud, and the old Red skin who named it had some head. In the camp you will find men who have served their country for years, in the Phillipines, and other outlying possessions. You will find ex Army and Navy men who have joined the Marines in hopes of seeing action, for the Corps has the name of taking a hand in every scrap that Uncle Sam sees fit to enter. But the men who will interest you most are the young fellows from lumber camps in Maine to Oregon, farmers from New York to California, Mississippians and Georgians from their cotton fields, and all more than anxious to fight for Old Glory.

Perched upon the bank of the Potomac about thirty miles from the Capitol, set in the beautiful Virginia hills, nothing could look more peaceful than this great group of shacks that hold about 14,000 of America's best.

But as you pull into the town on the train you notice that the store houses that line the tracks are a veritable bunch of beehives, where men in uniform hurry about their business, and if you care to walk up the street that runs the length of the camp, you'll see an infantry company swinging along, going out or coming in from its hike to the surrounding hills, or here and there a machine gun company trails along with their little handcarts carrying their little quiet looking tubes of death, that will stop the best-trained men in the world.

Across the railway and right beside the Potomac lays the Artillery Cantonment and the great hospital grounds where expert physicians do every thing from pulling a tooth to delicate abdominal operations, for Uncle Sam sees to the health of his boys. Quantico is the healthiest camp of its kind in the world and would be an ideal haven if it wasn't for:

Mud, mud, Mud.
Hop, slip, and thud.
Unadulterated mud.

The food called "chow" in Marine dialect is well cooked and plentiful and although we may not fare so good in France we are well fed here. A daily bill of fare would read about like this:

Oat Meal, Ham and eggs, Coffee.

Roast beef, sweet potatoes baked., Fruit salad, Cake and Cofee.

Sliced Tomatoes, Potato salad, Sliced beef (cold), cheese, coffee, & plenty of bread and buuter always.

The men are quartered in bunk houses holding fifty men each. As you step in the door at either end there is a row of 25 cots on either side of the central isle. On the foot of each cot is hung the occupants pack carrier, which when he is out for duty carries his mess kit, blanket, poncho, change of clothes and toilet articles, for the U.S. Marines are a neat organization and are prepared for inspection at all times.

Beside the wirespring cots, at the man's head and against the side of the building, is his Seabag which holds all his personal effects,~ his wash pail, for Marines are all their own launderers ~ is under his bunk and his extra shoes are neatly shined and lay at the foot, his rifle is suspended by two cords on the right hand side of his cot, two coal stoves keep the quarters warm in the coldest weather.

On and for a few days after the boys are paid, the town which now has about fifty shops, does a thriving business, selling every thing from candy to cameras. Before the Marine camp was built, the town had one general store such as will be found in any one horse town. About fifty grafters now take twice their usual price for their wares from the happy-go-lucky thriftless scrappers.

The week end following pay day see about 99% of the boys in Washington, Fredericksburg, or Baltimore, having a good time until they rid themselves of their months pay.

Every night the Y.M.C.A. has an entertainment. On Wednesdays some friends in Washington furnish us with talented singers, musicians and comedians and they manage to get some of the best in the coutry. Thursday is atheletic Night and the camp furnishes some good boxing and wrestling matches. Other evenings we have moving pictures and some of the camps own talent and it surely has some talent among its thousands of young Americans. A huge building which will seat +3000 men and also holds an indoor swimming pool is now under construction and if things are made much more comfortable the fellows will hate to leave even though they know that there is a chance to lick dutch men.

This Detachment to which I am attached consists of 40 teamsters commonly known as "Muleskinners". Many of them never saw a mule before or certainly never drove one. They came from a recruit Depot called a boot camp, at Paris Island. Now these boot camps are places where discipline is drilled into men by an unpleasant process known as "rowdy dowdy" and when one day a request for volunteers was made for teamsters for the expeditionary force, to go to France at once, the 40 skinners suddenly took a liking to our long eared frinds and quickly came forward. These 40 men represent nearly every nationality in their ancestory, and hail from nearly 40 different states.

In the evening it is a common thing to hear an Illinois farmer and Florida Cracker arguing the merits of their respective states but it is a friendly rivalry which serves to bind the sons of the men in grey and those that wore the blue who fought each other so terribly in years gone by. Now these boys are found together as they never were before to face a common foe, and they know that their trench mates are of the best fighting stock the world has ever known.

The Marine Corps has the honor of being a branch of the service made up entirely of volunteers. And the only wish at present of the H.D. 1st Machine Gun Battalion is for orders to go to France.

Al Appenheimer
Headquarters Detachment
U.S. Marine Corps
1st Machine Gun Battalion
Quantico, Va.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

If Nolan don't get tired of this before he gets it all read maybe he will print part of it at last.

Your son,

P.S. If he don't chuck it in the scrap basket. But he wanted me to write him a piece and I surely did my best.

November 6 through December 5

AR Appenheimer in training with 1st Machine Gun Battalion at Quantico, Virginia. No letters or diary entries during this period.

December 6

AR Appenheimer in training with 1st Machine Gun Battalion at Quantico, Virginia. Orders are received that the battalion will hold itself in readiness to leave on December 8th for overseas expeditionary duty. Preparation for departure starts immediately. Al writes to his mother:

Quantico, Va.
Dec. 6

Dear Mother:

I expect when you get this that I will be on my way. We have every thing packed and have had our last inspection. I think we leave some time tomorrow night.

Its now after chow, and the order was read for us to turn in our sheets and pillow cases, the first thing in the morning, and to pack our Sea bags.

America is going to come and stay with you, as soon as she finishes her visit. She is now at Buchanan's, the people who kept her till Doc was married.

We each wrote a postal card and they will be kept at the HeadQuarters in Wash. and as soon as we land in France or where ever we go, they will cablegram back, and then our postal cards will be mailed. That way you will get news that I am safe across 3 or 4 weeks quicker than if I wrote from the other side. The card is addressed to:

Mrs A.R. Appenheimer
Toulon Ill.

and it says on it:

I have arrived safe in France.
Alpheus R. Appenheimer

That is all we could put on it, no more and no less ~ and just about one card each. When you get it or America, if she is there then, and I expect she will be, you can know that I am in France or some other foreign Port. Ill drop you some cards on the way if I can, as it may be two or three weeks before we start across. Sometimes they lay in the harbor with the men aboard for a week or 10 days.

Good bye, Your Loving Son,

My Address:

American Expeditionary Forces
U.S. Marine Corp
H.D. 1st Machine Gun Batt.
c/o Post Master: New York, N.Y.

December 7

AR Appenheimer with 1st Machine Gun Battalion at Quantico, Virginia, preparing for departure the next day for overseas expeditionary duty

Return to
Muleskinner with the 6th MGB

main menu page.