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|Size||0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 180 items)|
|Abstract||Letters from Robert E. Daniels, an Indiana native and surgeon with the 8th Medical Battalion, U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II, to his wife Marie G. Daniels and young daughter Lorabel. Letters in 1941 are from Robert, then a student officer at Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, Pa., from which he complained of the compressed nature of his studies. By September, Robert had been transferred to Fort Jackson, S.C., from which he wrote about camp life. By July 1944, Robert, promoted to lieutenant colonel, was writing letters from "Somewhere in France" containing a fair amount of description of camp life, bombing and strafing, his interest in the French language and food, and the plunder he was collecting and sending home. By January 1945, he wrote from "Somewhere in Germany," chiefly about camp life, but, occasionally about his activities in the field and in camp hospitals. By May, the war in Europe had ended, and Robert was able to tell Marie about his movements since his arrival in Europe. Also in May, he described a brief leave he took to visit Paris. Letters from Europe end in June; by July, Robert was home on leave. In August, he was assigned to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., from which he complained of feeling like he was preparing for another war. In the last letter, dated 6 September, Robert speculated on when he would be released from service. There are also a few routine letters from friends and relatives.|
|Creator||Daniels, Robert E., 1904-|
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Letters of Robert E. Daniels, an Indiana native and surgeon with the 8th Medical Battalion of the United States Army Medical Corps during World War II, to his wife, Marie G. Daniels and young daughter Lorabel. Most letters describe Robert's activities and discuss family news.
Letters in 1941 are from Robert, then a student officer at Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, Pa., to Marie and Lorabel, who apparently were staying with relatives in Indiana. Letters describe Robert's course of studies, which he complained were a five-month course crowded into one month. By September, Robert had been transferred to Fort Jackson, S.C., from which he wrote about camp life. In October, he was promoted to captain.
Letters show that, by June 1942, Robert had been placed in charge of the 8th Medical Battalion and promoted to major. Marie and Lorabel had moved to Columbia, S.C., while Robert was involved in practice maneuvers in Tennessee. There are no letters for 1943.
By 1944, Robert had been promoted to lieutenant colonel. In May, he shipped out for Northern Ireland, which he describes in scant detail, probably due to Army censorship and to the fact that he spent little time there. By July 1944, his letters originate from "Somewhere in France." Letters from France contain a fair amount of description, always with an eye to the power of the censor.
Robert was impressed with the French; in a letter dated 10 August, he told Marie that "they are centuries ahead of us in the art of living." In other letters, he described camp life, bombing and strafing, his interest in the French language and food, and the plunder he was collecting and sending home. He also took care to affirm repeatedly his loyalty to Marie in the face of the temptations placed before him. In a rare philosophical moment, Robert wrote, on 6 August 1944: "War won't change me, Baby. I look at it and calculate. To an M.O. [medical officer] it means torn tissues, blood vessels, broken bone, etc. All of which we must fix. The process of easing pain is the same here or elsewhere--it is just more wholesale. I believe war generally softens men. Makes them less hard. Certainly more understanding of fellow man. It makes them acutely aware of the mortality of flesh. About the immortality of the soul I can't say--definitely they do not snub the idea. My views on the idea are unchanged and probably will remain so. Preachers and rituals mean little. These matters are settled in other ways. Manifested in manners. Now how did I get on this subject, I wonder."
Meanwhile, Marie and Lorabel, who had relocated to Murfreesboro, Tenn., in early 1944, moved again, this time to Asheville, N.C. Robert mentioned the benefits of living in Asheville in a few letters written around August and September, but it is unclear why Marie chose that town or what she thought of it.
In late 1944, Robert wrote from "Somewhere in Luxembourg," where he continued to study French and collect German memorabilia. In January 1945, he wrote from "Somewhere in Germany," chiefly about camp life, the snacks he received from home, and his interest in the activities of family members and friends. There are a few letters in which he described his own activities in the field and in camp hospitals. Some of these descriptions are a bit grisly.
In February 1945, Robert told Marie of a brief leave in England he had taken. By May, the war in Europe had ended, and Robert was able to tell Marie exactly where he was and where he had been. A letter dated 28 May summarizes his movements since his arrival in Germany, ending with his current location at Schwerin, a resort town east of Hamburg. Also in May, he described a leave he took in Paris.
Letters from Europe end in June; by July, Robert was home on leave. In August, he was assigned to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., from which he complained of feeling like he was preparing for another war. In the last letter, dated 6 September, Robert speculated on when he would be released from service.
Also included are a few letters from other soldiers to Robert and, in mid-1945, from relatives and friends to Robert and Marie.Back to Top
Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, with assistance from Matt Powell, March 1993
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008Back to Top