William Harrison Barber papers  1861-1883
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of 10 letters that brothers Edward P. and Homer J. Oliver wrote about their experiences in the United States Marine Corps and Canadian Expeditionary Force during the mid- to late 1910s. Edward P. Oliver wrote 5 letters to his mother from August 31, 1915-July 16, 1917, while serving on the USS Wyoming . Homer J. Oliver wrote 4 letters to his mother and 1 letter to Edward from January 24, 1918-November 20, 1918, while serving in France and Belgium.

Edward P. Oliver's letters to his mother pertain to his service on the USS Wyoming at Hampton Roads, Virginia; the New York Navy Yard; and an undisclosed location. He commented on the ship's movements and anticipated assignments, drilling and adapting to new equipment, and his brother's enlistment. In his letter of June 20, 1916, he discussed the worsening situation in Mexico, including the USS Hancock 's efforts to transfer marines from Haiti to Mexico and the possibility of a large-scale evacuation of Americans from Mexico City.

Homer J. Oliver wrote to his mother and brother about his experiences in western Europe during the final years of the war. He assured his mother that he had a savings account in an Ottawa bank and told her that he enjoyed visits to Paris and southern France. In three letters, Oliver discussed his recuperation from a gas attack that damaged his eyesight, his sense of taste, and his neck. Despite feeling that he might be, "in a way, crippled for life" (October 7, 1918), he anticipated a relatively quick recovery. He also commented on the positive effect of United States troops on the Allied war effort, particularly after the Battle of Saint-Mihiel. After the end of the war, he expected to join his new unit, an intelligence outfit, as part of the army of occupation. He wrote 3 of his letters on stationery from the Canadian YMCA and the Canadian service chaplain.

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