Vladivostok: 1919. Unbound. This two-page letter, dated 26 July 1919, on YMCA stationery was written by Irving A. Dexter, a musician in the 31st Infantry Regiment’s band, to his mother in Rhode Island. The unfranked letter bears a small Siberia “1” duplex postmark dated 28 July 1919 and a type C-1 censor handstamp. Both the letter and envelope are in nice shape.
In Dexter’s newsy letter, he recounts that “the big orchestra has had a lot of playing this week and tonight a dance at the A.R.C. for No.2 and I am in No. 1 so don’t have to go. We play concerts now at the hospital a five mile trip one way.” (Dexter’s comment suggests that perhaps bands of the two infantry regiments serving in Siberia were combined into one large orchestra.)
And he addresses problems with the economy: “One of the boys just asked me for a good 5 ruble bill . . . small change is very short. I went yesterday to a place for 15 rubles where they couldn’t make change last week. 25 and 50 bills a plenty, but this ruble business is an awful mess.”
He also reports on the weather (“very hot at 4.30 in the shade . . . 100 F. a thunder shower afterwards”), training (“the boys in the company are on the range every day”), meeting a family friend (“a A.R.C. nurse”), the mail (“we are still looking . . . maybe in a few days”, and his return (“I am thinking I might hear from Theodore being on his way home soon . . . think in a few days I will have in two years”). Very good. Item #008952
Two U.S. infantry regiments and supporting troops were deployed to Siberia in 1918 following the Bolshevik revolution and Russia’s subsequent peace treaty with Germany in order to protect stocks of Allied war materials that had previously been sent to Russia via the Pacific Ocean. For more information see "Wolfhounds and Polar Bears in Siberia" by John M. House.