Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cavendish Civil War and WWII Writings (Adams/Baxendale)

It interesting to read the writings from Cavendish enlisted personal who served in the Civil War and WWII. Jesse Adams was born in Cavendish and joined as a private in Co. “F:, 3rd Reg’t Vermont Volunteers, also known as the Hartford, VT Company. Under 18 years old when he enlisted, his father had to provide written permission. His first experience outside of his hometown, was being sent to Camp Baxter, a union training camp near St. Johnsbury. Ultimately, he died of disease at Camp Griffith, VA at the age of 19. His letters home were kept by his mother and some are available on-line.

Dear Father: I now take my pen in hand to let you know I get along. I arrived here safe and sound. We had not gone more than five miles before there was a row started by a fellow by the name of Miles, a member of our company. It began in fun in the first place. Miles and Jim Welch got to sparing and Jim gave him the worst of it and he quit and pitched on to Dick Abbott and they were clipping away smartly when the Capt. stepped between them and Miles pitched on to Capt. Tom [Seaver] and there was some smart work for about a minute when the Capt. caught him by the throat and brought him into a seat in a great hurry. ... When Ayers our drill master came up and tried to quiet him, it could not be done. He [Miles] told Ayers to kiss his damned ass, but instead he hit him in the eye and it stilled him for a minute.

Imogene Baxendale, born Imogene Demarius Morse, entered the war for a very different reason than Adams. As she writes in her diary, “I had wanted to serve Armed Forces from the first, but knowing Bob [her husband Robert Baxendale] could never get in, and Mother in failing health, I felt I was needed at home. But after our unexpected break [she and Baxendale divorced] came and I had tried every way I knew to bring us back together, loneliness drove me to it. “

Baxendale became a Red Cross Nurse, Nov 1, 1944 at Headquarters Mass Ave. Boston. She was sent to the Pacific theater in places such as Manilla, Okinawa, Nagasaki, Okazki, and Toyoko. As she writes in her diary, Nov.15-17, 1945-Went through final separation channels and at 6 pm on eve of my 38 birthday I saw last of duty for Uncle Sam and Al & I started for 208 W. Wilson Ave. Bellmore. I arrive home Thanksgiving eve by way of Boston. And Dec. 3 my Terminal Leave was over and I once more became a civilian with some Hard Knocks to show for my experience but something I wouldn’t missed for world.” Her arrival back in Cavendish must have created quite a stir. She writes, Said goodbye to folks Boston & returned to my own little nest in VT hills on Thanksgiving eve. Mother God bless her not knowing what day or what train I was coming on met every train. Erminie Pollard was on same train so took me home so mother didn’t know I had arrived so I put my bags on porch & went up street to meet her. I thought she was going to collapse on me when I walked up to her in dark & took her in my arms.

My next few weeks were spent not far from the fire side or Mother’s sight. My trunks & baggage finally all arrived and Dec 3 my terminal leave was over & I once more became and every day civilian. Never realized has so many friends. The Wallace McNulty Hoyle Legion Post # 4 have all ready made me a member before I returned.

She had a very interesting footnote to the diary, “I suppose anyone reading these pages will notice I have mentioned very little about and of it. Well we have actually done very little of it since leaving the States. As there were nurses to care for wounded & we were sent over to take care of the capagnes which never came to pass because unconditional surrender of the Japs.

So as it turned out we have sight seeing tour at Uncle Sam’s expense. But we were ready and willing. And because we wasn’t called on was beyond our control. So comes to close my Army days C many new friends made, a lot experiences only Army could give & a lot fond memories, but don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t a bed of roses. We have our battle scars to show for it for the rest of our lives.

Baxendale lived to be 84, dying from complications of pneumonia and heart failure at the Springfield Convalescent Center in Springfield, VT on 3 Nov., 1992. Her diary is now at the Cavendish Historical Society Museum, along with a transcript of the text completed by Sandra Stearns

In Baxendale’s diary, she included “Mother’s Favorite Poem,” which probably had as much meaning for Jesse Adam’s mother as it did for Mrs. Morse, and for all those today whose sons and daughters serve in the military.

Lonesome for Someone
The days have been dreary,
As I sit by the window alone,
I’m blue and so sad, in my heart there’s no song-
For there’s someone gone from our home.
Since she went away, it seems ages ago
That she left and told us goodbye,
Now all we have left
Is a picture or so;
In our hearts there’s a longing to cry.
Though she is far away, we feel she is still near;
It seems we can see her dear face,
The smile that we loved has left us here,
With heartache we cannot erase.
The sound of her footsteps each night on the stairs,
As she softly slipped up to our room.
When God sent us her we got more than our share;
We hope we can have her back soon.
The days se was with us are memories so dear.
There’s no one can take them away.
To see her again would fill us with cheer;
We patiently waiting that day.
Each morning and evening
We sent off a prayer;
Please God guide her safe back home.
Send her back to the ones who waiting here-we’ve grown tired and weary alone.

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