June 24, 1918
Arrived at Atlanta at 6.30 a.m. (5.30 central time)
Both nights on the train were very comfortable.
Hot again this morning.
Left Atlanta at 7.50 arriving at Macon at 11.10, and at camp at 11.45.
Surprised to meet Mr. Sawyer of Brookline on this train.
Weight 198 pounds – a gain of 16 pounds during the leave.
Arriving at camp I found the men in the dumps.
Col. Tucker had returned and thought we would remain where we were until the first of Sept.
The heat was terricis (sic.) after the pleasant weather I had been having.
The mess had been moved to the Officers building and was very much improved. McLean had been made mess Officer.
I was much impressed with my leave.
I had been away from civilization for about four months.
I was getting accustomed to the change and the petty things that are bound to occur when few persons are brought in constant close contact.
The outside world seemed pleasant but from two points of view. It was a great pleasure to find out how much my friends thought of me, how they put themselves out in every conceivable way to make my stay a pleasant one. It was a pleasure to be c ol (sic.) once more.
The rest of the outside world was amusing –
All of the stations were crowded with soldiers and civilians. The stations were dirty, there were long lines of people standing in line at the ticket windows. They were not waited upon promptly. The ticket agents were careless. Repeatedly I heard complaints about mistakes. In N.Y. on my way back the agent had sold me a Southern Ry. ticket and a Seaboard sleeper. This made it necessary for me to change in Washington.
The sleepers were dirty. Frequently there was no running water. Once there was no drinking water.
The food was very good or at least in comparisson with what we had been having in Macon.
One day I sat across the isle from a table that was occupied by a portly gentleman with a very large stomach. There was a large diamond pin in his tie and several diamond rings on his fingers. He constantly complained about the food and about the service. Finally the waiter spilled some water on him and in his rage he addressed the Officer opposite him. The Officer replied “If you were in camp with me you would appreciate the food you are getting, you would appreciate the service, you would soon lose your large stomach. I know of no reason why I should be giving my services any more than you should be giving yours. If you continue this objectionable behavior I shall be obliged to leave the table.”
A woman of evident luxury and about 50 seasons was heard to remark to a friend “We shall stay in New York this year until the 25th of June if we can stand it.” (this was on the way up and in the early part of June. A summer in Macon would help that family tolerate New York a little better.)
One day in the smoker an automobile salesman was talking with a Corporal. The salesman asked the soldier how he could avoid the draft (and I frequently had this question asked of me and have overheard it being asked of others.) The Corporal replied “It is the easiest thing in the world to avoid the draft, all you have to do is enlist.”
While I was on leave the rule was made the soldiers on leave etc. could travel at the rate of one cent a mile.
In order to take advantage of this reduction it was necessary to obtain a certification from the Quartermaster. This often took the better part of a morning or afternoon and one might have to go to the Quartermaster two or three times, certainly until he found him. Once having a certificate it often happened that the service at the ticket window was so slow that the soldier did not reach his turn before it was time for the train to leave.
When I was getting my tickets at N.Y. for Atlanta a private presented his certificate (it was then about midnight). The agent said he could not accept it as the form had been changed. It was impossible for the man to see the quartermaster until the next morning, and even then would not know where to find him. If I had not given him $5.00 he would have missed his train and been A.W.O.L.
Many other things of a similar nature happened.
On the other hand many kind things were done for the privates.
Have seen people buying candy and papers for them.
Have seen boys asking for directions and the man or woman ask them to get into their car and they would take them to their destination.
From MS-397, Box 1, Folder 7. To read the diary in its entirety, visit Rauner Special Collections Library and ask to see the Harry Goodall papers (MS-397).
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