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Charles P. Amos Letters, 1942-1945: Finding Aid

Published in 1990

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 258
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Charles P. Amos Letters
  • Dates: 1942-1945
  • Size: 0.63 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 manuscript box, 1 half-manuscript box
  • Creator: Amos, Charles P.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: The Charles P. Amos Letters consist of letter written by Amos to his fiancée, Dorothy Fretz, while Amos was serving with the 18th Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) during World War II. The letters include descriptions of training, recreation, rations and supplies, camp life, and several of Amos' posts, such as Guadalcanal, New Zealand, Tinian, and Hawaii.

Biography of Charles P. Amos

Charles Powell Amos (born 1900) was a Lieutenant with the U.S. Naval Reserve assigned to the Navy Construction Battalions (Seabees) during World War II. While Amos was attached to the 18th Battalion, the Battalion served at Noumea, Guadalcanal, New Zealand, Tarawa, Hawaii, Saipan, and Tinian, before returning to the United States to be transferred to inactive status in 1945. The Battalion earned a Presidential Unit Citation for its efforts on Tarawa. Although the 18th, like all Construction Battalions, was organized to function as a self-sufficient unit, it was assigned for a time to the Marines under the title 3rd Battalion, 18th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. For a time, the 18th Battalion was also a part of the Fifth Amphibious Group.

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Description of Contents

The Charles P. Amos Letters are a collection of World War II letters written by Charles "Chick" Powell Amos to his fiancee, Dorothy Fretz of Doylestown, PA. The letters cover the time period of July 1942 through March 1945, a period when Amos was serving with the U.S. Navy Construction Battalions (a.k.a. the Seabees).

The letters begin with Amos's Seabee training at the U.S. Naval Construction Training Center, Camp Allen, Norfolk, VA and include his troop transport journeys across the Pacific and within the Pacific region. The manuscripts primarily chronicle Amos's life and activities as a member of the 18th Naval Construction Battalion serving in the Pacific. The letters conclude with the Lieutenant's plans for his imminent return to the United States.

Although written under the constraints of wartime censorship, Amos's letters provide a picture of everyday Seabee life, from training through assignments in the Pacific. The letters include information on camp life, work, recreation, leave, and the local environs of Amos's Pacific posts, especially Guadalcanal, New Zealand, Tinian, and Hawaii.

Amos's letters are enhanced with details concerning pets and mascots, liquor and food rations, diseases and medical care, equipment and supplies, military uniforms worn, scarcities, and weather. Travel aboard the troop transports is also described. Much of the content of Amos's letters is also of a romantic personal nature.

The collection consists largely of holographic letters, as well as occasional V-Mail letters, photographs, newspaper clippings, and an event program.

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The Charles P. Amos Letters are arranged chronologically.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Charles P. Amos Letters are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Books and Collections in December 1989. Accession No. 89-42.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

There are no other known collections of papers of Charles P. Amos.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Charles P. Amos Letters, MS 258

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1990. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1990 and revised by David D'Onofrio in October 2013.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Amos, Charles P.
  • Sailors -- United States -- Correspondence
  • United States. Navy. Construction Battalion, 18th
  • United States. Navy. Construction Battalions
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Northern Mariana Islands -- Tinian
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Engineering and construction
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Hawaii
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations, American
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- New Zealand
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Pacific Ocean
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Solomon Islands -- Guadalcanal Island

Genre Terms

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1942 July-August

Letters 1-10. Includes descriptions of training and camp life routines at the U.S. Naval Construction Training Center in Norfolk.

Box 1 Folder 2

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1942 August-October

Letters 11-20. Journey to assignment location and description of troop transport life.

Box 1 Folder 3

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1942 October-1943 January

Letters 21-30. Description of wartime Crossing-the-Line ceremonies and International Dateline crossing, arrival and description of ports, arrival and life at Guadalcanal, "Washing Machine Charlie," Henderson Airfield, and Japanese nighttime air attacks. Also includes a V-Mail Christmas card satirizing Japan.

Box 1 Folder 4

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1943 January-February

Letters 31-40. Includes discussions of the bartering system.

Box 1 Folder 5

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1943 March

Letters 41-50. Includes discussions of color and sound signals, visiting the front lines, and remarks on flyers.

Box 1 Folder 6

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1943 April-May

Letters 51-60. Includes descriptions of problems of leaving on a transport compounded by an air raid, the effect of air raids on morale, transport life, and camp life.

Box 1 Folder 7

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1943 May-July

Letters 61-70. Includes praise of the Red Cross, discussion of unloading supplies to shore, and the salvaging of ships. Also includes newspaper clippings regarding the Kinugawa Maru and supply operations, and a dedication program for the Second Marine Division recreation hall.

Box 1 Folder 8

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1943 July-August

Letters 71-80. Includes four photographs of Amos, Lt. Smith, and associates.

Box 1 Folder 9

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1943 August-October

Letters 81-90. Discussions of hospitalization and treatment for malaria.

Box 1 Folder 10

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1943 October-December

Letters 91-100.

Box 1 Folder 11

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1943 December-1944 February

Letters 101-110. Includes discussion of Christmas leave.

Box 1 Folder 12

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1944 February-March

Letters 111-120. Includes discussions of camp, camp life, and criticism of the Marines.

Box 1 Folder 13

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1944 March-May

Letters 121-130. Includes discussion of the construction of a "fighter strip," and the assignment of the 18th Naval Construction Battalion to the Fifth Amphibious Corps.

Box 2 Folder 1

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1944 May-July

Letters 131-140. Includes discussions of shipboard life aboard a transport.

Box 2 Folder 2

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1944 July-September

Letters 141-150. Includes descriptions of camp life and activities at Saipan, Hawaii, and Tinian, food rations, prisoners of war, and problems with the new campsite on Tinian (such as water, transportation, equipment, and flies).

Box 2 Folder 3

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1944 September-November

Letters 151-160. Includes two photographs of Amos, Rosenberger, and Rankin.

Box 2 Folder 4

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1944 November-1945 January

Letters 161-170. Includes discussion of the Commanding Officer's request that the 18th Battalion return home as a unit rather than by increments.

Box 2 Folder 5

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1945 January-February

Letters 171-180. Includes discussion of the arrival of Army and Navy nurses.

Box 2 Folder 6

Charles P. Amos Letters, 1945 February-March

Letters 181-192. Includes discussions of a show put on the Japanese, and the social standing of natives Okinawa within Japan. Also included is a photograph, possibly of Amos's fiancee, Dorothy Fretz.

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