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WWI letter to Emily Gladys Bartlett
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Edward Wirt was conscripted into the army in May of 1918. He was sent to Camp Devens in Ayers, Massachusetts, one of the sixteen training camps set up to instruct "National Army" troops and the only one in New England. (The National Army was the terminology used to designate units composed mostly of draftees.) There, he was assigned to the 76th Infantry Division, known as the "Liberty Bell" division for its unit symbol. The 76th had been forming at Camp Devens since September, 1917, but it had not yet gotten up to strength because of regular borrowings of troops by other, better trained, and equipped units. It was made up almost entirely of troops from New England. Apparently one of the first things that happened to Wirt was that he injured his ankle and he wrote this letter from the hospital. Edward Wirt was a native of Lowell, Massachusetts. His fiancée, Emily Gladys Bartlett, was born in Holyoke, Mass.
<BR>There are ninety letters from Mr. Wirt to Miss Bartlett in the PVMA collection; twelve of them are reproduced here.
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