State Historic Site
(From In the World War)
TWENTY-TWO YEAR old Lelius Chester Zander was working as a brakeman for the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad in 1917 when he registered for the draft. A previous member of the Wyoming National Guard (in which he served as a bugler), Zander re-enlisted in that same organization in September of that year.
That same month, the Wyoming National Guard was nationalized - it became part of the United States Army - and broken into several groups, including the 148th Field Artillery and 116th Ammunition Train. Both served overseas with great distinction.
In late September, Sergeant Zander wrote from the 148th Field Artillery's training camp near Charlotte, North Carolina, about the Wyoming boys' impact on Camp Greene and the surrounding community. His letter was published in The Sheridan Daily Enterprise under the headline "Girls All Warned To Hide When Wyoming Boys Reached N. C., But Now They Darn and Dance and Life Is Pretty Soft."
You will no doubt be surprised to learn that we have transferred into artillery now. We moved our quarters to a different place in order to have all artillery together. The headquarters company still exists, only it has one hundred and sixty-six men instead of twenty-two men. Instead of being the Wyoming Regiment, we are now the 148th Artillery.
The Wyoming boys certainly have made quite a hit here. The first two nights we were here we didn't see any girls down town, not many of them at least. We were wondering why that was; so at a dance last Friday night one of the girls explained that the papers told every mother to keep their daughter at home when we came. They expected us to jump on our horses, ride through town and shout all the windows out. It is a fact that they actually published that. You can see what the South thought of us. Now, any of them will tell you that we are as polite or more so than their own home boys. Several of the boys, while walking down the street, have been asked in to dinner by the residents. One day of each week some of the girls from town come up and do our mending. What do you think of that? Pretty soft, I claim!
Day before yesterday I saddled a bronc with my stock saddle and rode down town. You ought to have seen the people stop and look. You could see heads come out of the office windows and workmen stop their work. John Jensen held my horse while I went into a store. On returning there were people of all descriptions standing around looking, first at the horse and then at the saddle. Some of the funniest questions you ever heard of were asked. For instance, one man about forty years old wanted to know if the horse was trained to prance around. Imagine it! The horse had only been ridden three times. The men standing around took us into a nearby soda fountain and bought us drinks. They treat us now like we were the "Royal Family" instead of "good old Wyoming."
There is no Wyoming Regiment now. It is all split up into artillery and ammunition trains. We feel quite proud of the fact that a remark came from Washington that the Wyoming men were the biggest, strongest and most reliable men in the United States. Of course, we all hated to see the Wyoming regiment broken up just because it was Wyoming.