Camp Cuba Libre (Jacksonville, Florida) to Toledo, Iowa: 1898. Envelope or Cover. A four-page letter on attractive patriotic stationery featuring crossed U.S. and Cuban flags under a legend that reads, “Camp Cuba Libre.” Its accompanying patriotic envelope features an unusual variation of the crossed flags design with a red, white, and blue USV (United States Volunteers) wreath and stars token. The illustration includes the text, “Remember the Maine”. The cover is franked with a two-cent copper-red Trans-Mississippi stamp (Scott #286) cancelled with a Jacksonville, Florida machine postmark dated 13 July 1898. In nice shape. (A transcript will be included.)
In this correspondence, Deal replies to a letter from Miss Davidson:
"I . . . greatly enjoyed your letter. . .. Your Iowa flowers were wilted when they reached here, but I will put them in my bible where they are sure not to get lost. See? To be sure I had my picture taken but they are all gone now. But I’ll tell you what I will do. I will have some more taken and make a trade with you. One of mine for one of yours. What say you? I belong to the Hospital Corps, and am not with Co K and can not keep away the Lizzards from Will (May’s brother, a Sergeant in Company K, 49th Iowa Volunteers). But that story is a fake. The lizzards do not bother us. In fact, I have not seen one since I came to Florida. Thirteen in a bunk is not very pleasant, especially where there is only room for eight or ten. Where I sleep now there are only two of us in a tent eight-foot square. We are having lovely weather here at present. It simply rains all the time. I have not seen any of Co K boys for several days but as none of them are in the hospital they are certainly all right. . .. We are all anxiously awaiting that day of days called “pay day”. I have not been broke very long, but still I am looking forward to Ice cream and pie in the future. Well, if you find the time and are so disposed, please write to me again." Very good. Item #009502
Deal was assigned to the Fourth Corps’ Second Division Hospital that was located at Camp Cuba Libre in Jacksonville, Florida. Living conditions were crowded, and the bunks he mentions in his letter were low canvas-covered sleeping platforms that took up less space than individual cots. The Second Division hospital could initially care for 85 patients and was eventually increased to 150 beds. It was well-equipped with enameled-steel folding operating tables, steam sterilizers, water heaters, and other necessary appliances. The facility had six tent pavilion wards of five tents each formed in a semi-circle around the headquarters, dispensary, and ancillary services. Patients from the same volunteer regiments were generally kept together. Although typhoid fever, from unsanitary living conditions, was the scourge of most of the crowded, temporary, pre-deployment state-side camps in the south, that was not the case a Camp Cuba Libre. There, epidemics of measles and mumps required the hospital to erect extension isolation wards. The Second Division did not enter combat during the war, but it did deploy to Cuba and perform occupation duties after the fighting ended.
A nice letter from a military hospital using a seldom-seen “U. S. Volunteer” variation of patriotic stationery.