Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Danford, Robert M., 1879-1974; Bonheur, Rosa, 1822-1899.; Klemm, Karl D., b. 1880; Miles, John L., 1878-1961; Berry, Lucien Grant, 1863-1937; Elliot, Arthur J., born 1882; Wright, Chandler P., 1895-1918

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, March 11, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Lawton, Okla. [Mar. 11, 1918]

Dear Bess:

This is Sunday morning and a magnificent one but we all have the blues. They have taken Colonel Danford away from us, sent him to Washington to report to the artillery commander-in-chief. I don't know what for, unless it is to be a general or something because he knows more artillery than Napoleon Bonaparte himself. The whole regiment is feeling badly over it. Captain McGee told his first sergeant about it as they were walking to the stable. The sergeant stopped and said "The H—l?" The captain told the colonel about it and it nearly pleased him to death. He sent for me yesterday and practically gave me his horse, a fine Kentucky-bred saddle animal, pretty as a picture and gentle as a dog. He's a very dark sorrel with a dark sorrel mane and tail and a pretty, little intelligent head like Rosa Bonheur puts on her horses. I got him for one hundred dollars. He'd be cheap at three hundred dollars. Colonel Klemm and Major Miles were both peeved because they didn't get him. Colonel Klemm said to me the first thing when he found I had the horse, "You lucky Jew you get all the plums that fall, don't you?" I told him I took them when they were thrown at me. I don't know why the colonel picked me for the bargain, but he did. I am going to ship the horse home along with Colonel Elliott's and Colonel Klemm's and keep him. He's too fine to take to war.

I have made Masons out of both Colonel Klemm and Colonel Danford since we've been here, so I guess maybe that helps my drag [influence] somewhat, although it's not supposed to. General Berry is one and I am going to help make General Wright one next Wednesday if he shows up as expected and I'm still here. That's the one thing I've studied in the last years that has done me more good than anything, except artillery study. This letter doesn't seem very nice to me. I haven't been able to talk of anything but myself and then have said nothing. I sold Lizzie to a poor sucker yesterday for two hundred dollars, which I consider as a find in the road, because I'd already charged her off to profit and loss, less the profit end. My former Jew clerk in the canteen watched me make the sale and then told me that he still had something to learn in salesmanship. The canteen declared another three-thousand-dollar dividend the first and paid back the investment besides. That is only earning at the rate of 621 percent a year. Sounds like Standard Oil. Colonel Danford told me I had made a reputation in the devilish thing that I'd have a hard time living down. I am going to horseback ride over the Medicine Park this afternoon and look at it because I don't ever expect to come back to this place again if I live to be a thousand.

I am very glad that Chandler Wright thinks well of me. I always try to treat all the men in the Battery just as I'd like them to treat me if our places were reversed, and it seems to work very well.

Write as often as you can because I may stay here another month. Dinner is ready and I must run.

Yours always, Harry