Still Personal but not as much as before.
You have probably noticed that in the past two or three weeks. I have been hinting and hinting (or at least my tone was such that you knew my letter was guarded as to context) at some probable movement of troops. Now it can be told.
On the memorable night of eighteenth I had a queer sensation of the ominous. There were too many officers buzzing in and out of regimental, too many of the big shots were down, and there were too many telephone calls. Then the first report came in that Company F had been put on the alert. Or so it was rumored. I immediately sat down to a typewriter and composed a letter to you of about three sentences to the effect that the doors were beginning to close and that perhaps in the future weeks my writing would be restricted. I sealed the envelope and was prepared to mail it. Alas and alack, as I went out of Headquarters I was informed that Company A had just had a company meeting and certain Articles of War had been read to them and some vital military information had been disclosed. Company H & S was just then assembling to hear the identical announcement from its Company Commander so I went in with them into their mess hail.
It was in a hushed, tense and dramatic atmosphere that we were told by Captain Terry that the 353rd Engineers was on the alert for a troop movement. Where our destination was to be and when we were to move was indefinite but certain. Any disclosure of this information was subject to punishment under the Articles of War and the sentence given as the Courts-Martial may direct (perhaps death if necessary). We were told that we may be sent overseas but that was just one of the possibilities.
Since that day the activities in all phases of work have been stepped up to a faster and faster tempo. As you have read from my letters, night work became an everyday occurrence. It is a job this preparing to move a regiment lock stock and barrel all according to G. I. standards and specifications.
Weeks ago when I mentioned to one of the fellows that I knew of several who had already written home this information he informed me that this secrecy was a lot of boloney and that the Japanese Consul (undercover) of Espionage out here on the coast knew more about the movement than did Colonel Trower himself. However, at this writing every box in the regiment (including our field desks and typewriter case) are marked with complete instructions for their transportation. Civilians are constantly entering here and there in and around our regimental area and they know full well what is happening. Moreover, next week our PX closes down and that is just another of the open and evident signs of our pulling up the stakes.
And everyman in the regiment has been informed of our new address, I have typed up cards which will be sent out on the day we leave Camp White. You will receive one of them so I will not advance that news at this time. Incidentally, since I had charge of all the cards, I managed to get a few more than the allowance and will therefore be able to notify several other of my numerous correspondents.
I also can tell you that we are not going to Louisiana and that there is a little matter of a port of embarkation connected with this deal. It is no secret that this port of embarkation is San Francisco because that too, has been plastered on every box in the place.