The following letters were written by Julius Bitter, who served in Company B of the 8th
Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The letter was written to Sarah Jahant, a
family friend. Sarah eventually married Harry Quine who also served in Company B.
The letter was printed in the newspaper, and this account is from the Akron newspaper article. The article is undated and the name of the newspaper is not given.
Julius Bitter married Miss Ida Gerstner in late 1899. Bitter was bery active in the International Order of Odd Fellows and the United Spanish War Veterans organization.
A photo of
"…Interesting and jolly letter has been received by an Akron young lady from Julius Bitter, of Company B, a friend of the young lady's family.
SANTIAGO, DE CUBA, July 26, '98
Dear Friend Sarah:
I received your contribution last night at 9 p. m., in the first bag of mail that we received since landing in Cuba, and was tickled to death to hear from you. This is the third camp we have put up in two weeks. We are now on a high mountain overlooking Santiago. This is the healthiest place we have struck so far, as the country is as a rule, very low and swampy, and in the first two places we struck we had to sleep in three and four inches of water, as it rains almost every day.
We have got used to it now. We landed here on Monday, the 10th, and marched until dark when we camped for the night with orders to move to the front the next morning. Every-body cleaned their guns and tried to look fierce, when a messenger from headquarters brought the news that a flag of truce was up and three days later the city surrendered. I guess they lost heart when they heard that the famous J. B. was coming. All we have to do now is guard duty and cook our own meals, which are better than we had in Camp Alger. I am the hottest cook that ever happened, and the boys in my mess always fast the day I cook. Coming over on the boat no provision been made for us for meals, etc., as we came in such a hurry, and if it had not been for the good hearted sailors there wouldn’t be any Company B.
We have seen so much and been trough so many scrapes etc., that it is too much to write, but will tell all about it when we reach Akron again. The only thing the boys are afraid of is sickness. The army is full of invalids, and the existence of the soldier when taken is generally short and sweet. There is only one sick in Co. B, with mountain fever. We are taking the best of care of ourselves, and I have actually taken a bath since I came here. While writing this I am seated on a hard tack box, patiently waiting for my shirt to dry. As far as “hollering’ is concerned, we had a kind of a quartette and used to sing nights, but the dew is as heavy as rain here, and the evenings are cold, and it fixed our voices in great style. None of ---- could even peddle potatoes now. --- where I am anchored here I can see --- grave where 40 U.S. soldiers are "planted," while at the bottom of the hill are 12,000 Spanish prisoners, and I don't pitty them a bit. We have received information this morning that we would be taken off the island and sent to Maine for a month, and then home, but this is as yet merely a rumor. At any rate, I hope to hear you play that *funny little piece'" again. You must excuse this outfit, as there are no stamps, and I stole paper, pencil and envelope and –re is a standing reward of $1000 --- & pen aud ink. The boys all send their best to their Akron friends, and I hope to hear from you soon again. Give my best to Vin and Dunnie also your sister and the rest, and if I get another chance to write will try and “fake” a better outfit of writing material. Hoping that you are all well and that you will be able to make this out, I remain your friend,
patriotic envelope in which the letter was sent. Sarah's name can be
seen on the envelope.
Letter, from newspaper article provided by Mary Auerbach
"Lodges," Akron Beacon Journal. March 28, 1917, 6.