1899, February 17 – Letter from George Hesse to brother Lewis Hesse

George writes from Cuba where he is stationed with the Navy during the Spanish American War.  He recounts his lonliness & homesickness, as well as a hunting & fishing trip a couple of them took in country during a 36 hour leave.  Read a transcript of the letter below (original misspellings & all) or click on the image links to view the actual letter. As you read the transcript of the letter click on the links to view information & images about what they are discussing.


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Envelope Front     Envelope Back      Letter Page 1      Letter Page 2-3      Letter Page 4-5     Letter Page 6-7     Letter Page 8     Letter Page 9-10


Transcript of letter:

Holgiun Cuba Feb 17/99

Dear Bro: –

It has been quite a long time since I wrote to you & I have received no answer yet, please write & let me know how thing are getting along in St L. How are all of the folks, and did you see May before she left for the Springs again or has she left yet?  how is her bbay getting along & Gus How is he, do you know?  Have you ever gone up to the Ufuldnero (??) since your last letter, if so how are all of them getting along?  Say Lewis do you ever see anything in the papers about the 2nd U.S.N.S if you do please sent the paper that you see it in, to me, will you?  & say while you are at it – please send me 2 or 3 late papers for everybody is anxious to see a paper here as it is very seldom we ever get a paper of any kind to see what the outside world is doing, for we are stuck away here in one of the most outlandish places you can imagine fully 20 miles from anywhere except Holguin, where no one lives, except a few who are unable to go anywhere else that is the kind of place we are in now, although there is talk about our going to Santiago, to relieve the 5th Volunteers, who are expected to be sent home & mustered out.  Oh!  how I wish we were in there places for it is something terrible to be so far away from home & to have every-body to whom you write give you the cold shoulder for at least 3 or 4 weeks before they do write & as it takes at least 3 weeks for a letter to reach here from the states it makes a man feel as though he were neglected & he feels corrispondingly low & homesick & altogether out of sorts & he is not in the least contented with remaining here, but always wants to go home or else keep on the move, to occupy his thoughts with somethings else, so as not to be homesick as lots o fthe men here are now.  Today is Friday & 3 of us have gotten permission to go on a hunting & fishing trip, to start at 6AM Saturday & return at 6PM Sunday, 36 hours.  Well we expect to have a good time & no mistake for there are lots of deer in this section of the country, and as we take along our rifles we expect to get a shot or two, & probably bring home a deer or two, & as there is a pretty good sized stram about 2 miles from camp we expect to have some pretty good fishing as the natives seldom go fishing & so the fish will bite all the better for us.  Well as it is about 8.30 P.M. I will stop writing & finish this letter Sunday evening after I get home from the excursion, so Good Bye until Sunday evening, I will then see you again So ta.ta. so long

Yours Geo

Sunday Evening 8 P.M.  Hello Lew: – Now I am going to tell you all about our trip so here goes.  We left the camp about 6:30 A.M. & took across country to the river where we made a pretty good camp first of all When we got to the river we came across a surveyor’s camp, part of which belonged to our regiment.  Well we stayed there until toward 2:00P.M., & started out to fish;  well the fish would not bite worth a cent, so we went back to camp & got our rifles & went out again down the river to shoot something & all we could find was a few birds & when we shot a few we found that no matter how careful we took aim we always shot them to pieces & so we thought that it was time to stop that kind of hunting, so we went back to the river & started to shoot fish, well we got a pretty good mess of them & went back to camp & stayed there & drank punches, all the evening.  well next morning we got up at 4:00AM & started down the river to see if we could get a few more fish, but the fish were out of sight & so we could not get any, so we started out across the country & stayed out about 3 or 4 hours to try & find a deer but we could not find one & so we went back toward camp, & struck the river about 3/4 of a mile below the camp & started up the river toward the camp when we came to a bend in the river & I saw a deer, it was a small one & a doe but it was a deer & that was all I wanted so I took carful aim & pulled the trigger & Oh h–l!  the d-m gun was not loaded & before I could load her I heard a sharp crack of a rifle & down came the deer shot through the neck just behind the head; where the bullet went in it was a very small hole & where it came out there was a hole as big as your fist.  Well both of us who were in the river (we walked up the river latter) jumped plumb into the water clear up to our middle & started to wade to the deer which was laying just where it was shot & we took it to camp & dressed it & it weighed 38 lbs dressed, which we consumed at camp where there were 9 other men in a very short time.  Well I am going to quit so Good Bye Your Bro Geo.


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