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Indiana State Library

Library > Collections > Rare Books & Manuscripts > Finding Aid Index > HAROLD W. SCOTT HAROLD W. SCOTT

HAROLD W. SCOTT
L553
1917-1919
1 mss box, 9 folders
Manuscripts & Rare Books Division
Indiana State Library

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Processed by: Grant Gerard, October 2008

Biographical Note:

2nd Lieutenant Harold Wilson Scott was born in Jefferson County Indiana on May 9, 1894 to parents David Wilson Scott and Mary Keel Scott.  Harold spent time at Purdue University as an ROTC student and subsequently commissioned at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in August 1917.  After three months of training he was sent to France.  He spent time in the 5th division of the famed “Rainbow Division.”  Following the Armistice, he continued to serve in Europe, largely in France.  Eventually returning to the U.S., Harold finished school at Purdue, got married, and moved to Chicago where he became a chief chemist for a paint company.  His date of death was not provided by the donor.    

Sources: Scott, Dale W.  “Letters from a Lieutenant in the Great War.”  August, 2008.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection consists of 75 World War I letters, correspondence with parents describing situation where he is stationed in Europe and duties performed as well as plans for work following discharge.  Content includes original documents and one photograph.

Photocopying Policy:

Manuscript materials CANNOT be photocopied or digitized in their entirety. Photocopies and/or digital images cannot exceed 25% of a collection or a folder within a collection. In some cases, photocopying may not be permitted due to the condition of the item. Check with a Manuscript Librarian for other options.

Box and Folder Listing:

Item Listing

Box 1, Folder 1. Sept 5, 1917-Nov 17, 1917

Sept 5, 1917
Harold to Parents In New York, preparing to board a ship to London.  Mentions an unspecified plan against the Germans.  Warns his parents not to write anything about his missions, fearing future censorship of mail. 
Sept 8, 1917
Harold to Parents:   Describes leisure activities, the hotel where he is staying that is run by German immigrants.  Expresses excitement about leaving for Europe.
 
Sept 8, 1917
Harold to Parents Confirms receipt of money from parents.  Tells parents not to worry if they don’t hear from him for a month or longer.  Vows to bring honor to family name.
Sept 10, 1917
Harold to Parents Boarded ship SS Mongolia that accompanies a submarine.  He’s very excited.
Sept 13, 1917
Harold to Parents Ship has left New York, will probably take three weeks to reach European destination.  Conditions on ship are sufficient, 250 officers aboard.
Sept 26, 1917
Harold to Parents Tells parents how to reach him via mail; says letters are now censored.  Describes contentment/excitement.
Oct 6, 1917
Harold to Parents Says it’s amazing where he is, but can’t tell them due to censorship.  Says weather is good.

Oct 11, 1917
Harold to Parents France is wonderful, beautiful, and strange.  He’s not been paid yet.  Weather is like fall in Arkansas.
Nov 9, 1917
Harold to Parents
 He’s getting a good education at AEF (American Expeditionary Force) School of Instruction.  The French people are grateful for American presence.
Nov 17, 1917
Harold to Parents Received first letter from parents and a letter from a neighbor.  He’s never felt better; gained 15lbs.  Visiting chateaus and castles; enjoying historic sites.  School is difficult.

Box 1, Folder 2.  Nov 18, 1917-Dec 25, 1917

Nov 18, 1917
Harold to Parents Enjoying French concerts and learning to ride horses.  Describes French culture.  He’s now in heavy artillery training, mechanical and civil engineering
Dec 2, 1917
Harold to Parents Describes his Thanksgiving vacation.  He’s participating in firing practice.

Dec 10, 1917
Harold to Parents Received several letters, studying a lot, lost his trunk 
Dec 16, 1917
Harold to parents Doing fine in school, good morale, good weather
Dec 17, 1917
Harold to Parents 

Describes photographs he’s sending home, taking out second Liberty Loan
Dec 17, 1917
Harold to Parents Describes weather, scenery, buildings, and food
Dec 21 (?), 1917
Harold to Parents Located lost trunk, had custom shoes made
Dec 23, 1917
Harold to Parents Christmas vacation, says it’s getting cold.  Watched slide show of troop pictures
Dec 24, 1917
Harold to Parents Thanks parents for long underwear, says accommodations are satisfactory
Dec 25, 1917
Harold to Parents Describes Christmas dinner, visited a French barracks
 

Box 1, Folder 3.  Jan 12, 1928-May 7, 1918

Jan 12, 1918
Harold to Parents Changed location in France (not specified), says he may not be there long
Jan 21, 1918
Harold to Parents Still in new French locale, includes a diagram of a theatre and his lodging
Feb 7, 1918
Harold to Parents Still in same area, but staying at a new station due to his exceptional performance; now in Observer’s school
Feb 14, 1918
Harold to Parents Describes weather, wonderful education; includes diagram of a French wagon
Feb 19 1918
Harold to Parents Sick with the Grippe, but the medical care is good.  He likes the work in this regiment; they took a 200-mile road trip along the river.  Tells parents not to worry – he feels he’s in no danger
Feb 21, 1918
Harold to Parents Learning some French language, leave of absence coming soon.  Describes the weather, French cakes, and believes the French are very honest people
Mar 20, 1918
Harold to Parents Mentions he hasn’t received letters from parents in quite some time.  He’s enjoying reading U.S. newspapers; saw some friends from Ft. Harrison.  He believes he merits a promotion, but hasn’t heard any rumors.  Now getting by without a French interpreter.
 
April 2, 1918
Harold to Parents (written during war in Libreville)  Been very busy, preparing for inspection by General Pershing.  He’s in Nice, describes changes in troop levels, and changes in officer’s pay.  Says he’d like to stay in the Army, but only if he sees a real future for himself.
April 15, 1918
Harold to Parents Enjoying himself on leave, not paid on time again.  Borrowed  $100 from First National Bank.  Can’t wait to return to normal duties
May 4, 1918
Harold to Parents Working in mechanical engineering, French were frightened as artillery blasts began, but noise has quieted.  Discusses Russian and German plans.
May 7, 1918
Harold to Parents Sending money back to parents to repay the loan he received in the mail, took out $200 in Liberty Bonds

Box 1, Folder 4  May 12, 1918 – July 21, 1918

May 12, 1918
Harold to Mother The YMCA is doing good work and giving lectures.  They assigned every soldier to write to their mothers.  His locale was previously occupied by Germans at the beginning of the war. It’s largely  farming area and soldiers are assisting locals with gardening and small farms.
May 21, 1918
Harold to Parents Working at battalion headquarters in the Indiana Regiment of the Rainbow Division, which captured prisoners not long ago.  He can hear gunfire but hasn’t seen any gunmen.  Comments on France’s poor sanitation and is expecting flies “as thick as fleas” as the weather warms.
May ? 1918 (between 21st and 29th)
Harold to Parents Working with Intelligence and Ammunition in the battalion.  German propaganda floating around; German plane shot down nearby.  He got souvenirs off the bodies and the plane itself.
May 29, 1918
Harold to Parents Describes some uneventful days.  Nearby minefield covered in manure,  flies are thick.  Says U.S. succeeding in battle.
June 6, 1918
Harold to Parents Same work, daily life slow.  Heard gas alarm from a distance, not for his regiment-describes gas mask.  Mentions need for more troops, says they’re on the way.
June 14, 1918
Harold to Parents Battalion too far back to much action.  A German observation plane flew over and avoided ground fire.  Describes front line trench dangers.  Air units working with artillery to coordinate attacks.
June 27, 1918
Harold to Parents Resting after duty near warfront, likes his Major who studied in Germany and France.
July 5, 1918
Harold to Parents Pleasant 4th of July in Paris; he’s traveling around sightseeing.  Sending Liberty Bonds to parents to compensate loans.
 
July 9, 1918
Harold to Parents Moving to new post – arriving in several days and will send new mailing address. Sending $50 more back to parents.
July 21, 1918
Harold to Parents POSTCARD:  gives parents new mailing address and says it’s the most beautiful place he’s ever seen.
 

Box 1, Folder 5, July 24, 1918 – Oct 1918

July 24, 1918
Harold to Parents Been recommended for a new training camp, good news from the frontline, cannot divulge location.
Aug 4, 1918
Harold to Parents Is the only officer working with the firing battery, and they’re working with a French battery as well.  Seen only a few enemy shells, but none too close to his troops.  Notes the French troops only drink wine, no water at all.
Aug 6(?) 1918
Harold to Parents Hears allied artillery and occasionally hears planes; predicts trouble with German by Fall or Spring.
Aug 8, 1918
Harold to Parents Spending time figuring firing data, grateful for working artillery and out of the infantry.
Aug 10, 1918
Harold to Parents Sleeping in tents in wilderness, allies making great progress.

Aug 13, 1918
Harold to Parents Content, been overseas for almost one year.  May give some shells to the trenches due to artillery’s lack of action; has heard no German shells in quite some time.
Aug 25, 1918
Harold to Parents He may be moved from the battery back to Observer camp.
Aug 28, 1918
Harold to Parents Changing address again, quiet in new camp.
Oct 3, 1918
Harold to Parents Heading back to war front with heavy artillery.
Oct ?, 1918
Harold to Parents Back with the artillery battery, they’ve captured a German position with great provisions including nice furniture.  Met an officer from Terre Haute, Indiana

Box 1, Folder 6, Nov 1918 – Dec 16, 1918

 

Nov (?), 1918
Harold to Parents Changing position and address again, helping out with the same regiment.
Nov 11, 1918
Harold to Parents “The Armistice Letter”  Heavy firing stopped abruptly at 11:00am.  He’s eager to reinforce his superior officer’s confidence in his abilities.  (No Original Envelope)
Nov 17, 1918
Harold to Parents Dull and quiet after noises in previous days.  Now at battalion headquarters. (stops writing, completes in next correspondence)
Nov 17, 1918
Harold to Parents (continued from previous letter) Glad to be back with “regular” army and away from the National Guard politics.  On the edge of the Rhine River acting as liaison to an Infantry regiment; hasn’t seen civilian in long time.
Nov 24, 1918
Harold o Parents Describes excitement about the Armistice; many officers leaving.
Nov 25, 1918
Harold to Parents Soon to move again.  Discusses post-war work in France; he wants to help the French people.  Says he’ll probably need to learn German and continue learning French.
Dec 7, 1918
Stephen Sears to Mrs. D.W. Scott Sears explains that he received this letter Harold meant for her, so he enclosed it and forwarded it to her.  NOTE:  Her letter was not enclosed
Dec 9, 1918
Harold to Parents Now out of war zone, in Luxembourg on move to Germany as part of the Army of Occupation.  Mentions American prisoners.
Dec 16, 1918
Harold to Parents Complains of mail taking too long to send and receive.  Crossing a Creek to get to a town of 300, expecting to spend winter here.  Describes the interesting customs of the people in this small town in Luxembourg.
Dec 16, 1918
Harold to Parents CHRISTMAS CARD:  YMCA giving free cards to the whole battery.  Harold simply says “Happy Xmas and New Years”


Box1, Folder 7  Dec 16, 1918 – Jan 25, 1919


Dec 16, 1918
Harold to Parents Still in small town of Bivange in southern Luxembourg, contemplating extending his service in the Army.

 

Dec 18, 1918
Harold to Parents Lengthy description of initial arrival and travel in France because he couldn’t give the details in censored mail before the Armistice
Jan 2, 1919
Harold to Parents Now with 9th Brigade Infantry, he’s free to explore Luxembourg, Belgium, and parts of Germany.  Says the German people dance around like a “bunch of grasshoppers.”  Says he may return to U.S. in two months.
Jan 13, 1919
Harold to Parents On vacation, traveling through Belgium, France, and Germany, he compares currency values with the American Dollar.  Says food in France is extremely expensive.
Jan 14, 1919
Harold to Parents (NO ENVELOPE)  Complains he’s not getting letters from home.  He’s going back to his old outfit, leaving infantry.  More officers in old unit; seven now, only two during war.
Jan 16, 1919
Harold to Parents Examined ammunition cache and took some German fuses.  Partying daily with civilians.  Needs interpreter again due to use of both French and Dutch in Belgium.  Oversaw disassembly of 200 artillery shells for use on aircraft.  May be moving to Germany.

Jan ?, 1919
Harold to Parents Now in Belgium, a small town near Virton where the Germans first met the French.  He’s working with about two million rounds of various types of ammunition. The town was razed by the Germans; 66,000 civilians were killed in Belgium.  Harold saw Germans kill civilians by smashing their heads against walls.
Jan 25, 1919
Harold to Parents Postcard with photo of Entrée de la ville par le Pond du Chateau in Luxembourg.  No prose on back of postcard.
Feb 16, 1919
Harold to Parents Received several letters from parents.  Working on same job, expecting to return to the regiment soon.  Sent a Dutch helmet, two canteens, a gas mask, and an iron cross to parents.  More soldiers leaving for U.S., first out are those with dependents.  Moving to small town south of Luxembourg.
Feb 21, 1919
Harold to Parents Back with original outfit, he was invited to dine with a General, representing an infantry brigade at a conference in Toul, France.  Wonders when he’ll be out of the service and go home.

Box 1, Folder 8, May 2, 1919  – July 26, 1919

May 2, 1919
Harold to Parents Harold sent to Brest, on the SW German border, to work on another ammunitions cache and take responsibility over an entire regiment.  States that the Germans started “something,” so he may not stay in Brest too long.


 
 

June 15, 1919
Harold to Parents Waited two weeks, regiment never showed up in Brest.  Contemplated staying in France following his tour of duty to work with a wealthy French farmer fixing heavy machinery.  He would earn 15 francs/day plus room and board.  Still wants a promotion, believes another six months in France studying language may help.
June 19, 1919
Harold to Mr. & Mrs. S.E. Smith (friends) Acknowledges receipt of their letter, describes work with abandoned German ammunition.  Describes experiences in Brest, Belgium, and Luxembourg.  He’s waiting for further orders to go back to Germany or go home and spend his last week in Paris.
June 20, 1919
Harold to Parents Awaiting next assignment.  Running through drill exercises, playing games, enjoying life in general, weighing options about future after his tour is over.  French Major from Besancon trying to convince him to stay and stud in France.   
July 3, 1919
D.W. Scott (father) to Harold Tells Harold that jobs are good and plentiful in U.S.  Says he should think about just coming home.  They’re busy cutting wheat and preparing to thrash before long.
July 6, 1919
Harold to Parents Back in Brest to act as advanced officer for the regiment which was supposed to arrive weeks ago; now he’s told they will arrive within two days.  Considering being discharged in France and working for the Pittsburg Des Moines Steel Co. at St Croix de Hins after reading earlier letter from parents warning of rising unemployment is the U.S.  Describes Brittany and its people.
July 26, 1919
Harold to Parents Coming home soon on leave of absence; missed first boat.  Now a Casual Officer for the first time, his pay is good.

Box 1, Folder 9, Military Documents, Special Orders, Photograph

 

July 19, 1918
D.W. Scott to Harold Wilson Scott Transmittal envelope from Harold’s Father.  Notation on envelope indicates Harold was in France at time of composition.  No letter accompanies this envelope.
1918
2nd Lieutenant Harold W. Scott, AEF Photograph of Harold W. Scott
Mar 30, 1918
Harold W. Scott to Commanding Officer, 2nd Aviation Instruction Center Official request for leave of absence for seven days to visit Nice, beginning April 5, 1918.  Leave of absence approved for thirteen days, by order of Lieutenant Colonel Rubottom.
April 8, 1919
Captain, Chief ad interim S.P.R. Duquesne (?) to the General commanding the 5th American Army, ESCH.   Translated document from an officer in Luxembourg to an American Officer, listing projectiles and explosives abandoned by the Germans, discovered along state roads in an American occupied zone in Belgium.  Requests that Americans have the munitions removed or destroyed.   
Aug 28, 1919
Special Orders:  Colonel G.H. White to Camp Dix Headquarters  Lists seven officers to be re-assigned to new regiments, including four officers currently on leave of absence.  Harold W. Scott, on leave of absence in Richmond, Indiana, is ordered to the 19th Field Artillery at Camp Bragg, North Carolina.  Also assigns three men (rank unidentified) to Motor Transport Corps for delivery of subsistence supplies to Camp Merritt, New jersey.
Aug 30, 1919
Captain Fred W. Miller to  Casual Officers’ Department, Camp Dix, NJ. Formal request by 2nd Lieutenant Harold W. Scott for re-classification from class 3 to class 1 for immediate discharge.  Request returned “Approved.”   
Sept 2, 1919
Special Orders: Colonel G.H. White to  Headquarters at Camp Dix, NJ. Special Orders No. 245 (Extract), official honorable discharge notification for 2nd LT. Harold Wilson Scott, F.A.
 
Sept 2, 1919
Commanding Major General, U.S. Army, presented to Harold Wilson Scott Official Army of the United States of America certificate of honorable discharge for Harold Wilson Scott, 2nd Lieutenant Field Artillery.  Presented at Camp Dix, New Jersey. 
(Form No. 525-2, A.G.O.)
Mar 17, 1921
Government Record Short form with brief record of Harold Wilson Scott’s Army service including demographic information, promotions, principal stations, overseas service, and discharge status.
(Form No. 84c-1, A.G.O.)
Date Unknown
Rating Officer: Official Rating Form for Harold W. Scott Partially completed form with demographic information, education record, rating of abilities, special experience and training, etc.
Date Unknown
Author Unknown Record of munitions discovered in specific towns in Belgium, France, Germany, and Luxembourg.

 

 

Collection Information

Size of Collection: 1 mss box, 9 folders
Collection Dates: 1917-1919
Provenance: Col. Dale W. Scott, July 18, 2008
Access : The collection is open for research use
Restrictions: none
Reproduction Rights: Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript Section, Indiana State Library.
Language: Materials are entirely in English
Alternate Formats: n/a
Related Holdings: none
Notes: