My dear Papa1–
Both of the Footes2 thought it useless for me to attempt to claim exemption and thought my idea of joining some command at once the wisest plan to adopt and both of them, separately, advised me to join the artillery as the life in this was less irksome and hard than the infantry. They also advised that I join some new unit where my chance of promotion was better. I considered these things and thought of this battery which is a part of the newly organized 1st NC Field Artillery3 commanded by Col. Albert Cox4 of Raleigh5. I thought particularly of the New Bern6 outfit as Rodman Guion7 one of my last friends at Chapel Hill was 1st lieutenant of it. So I came here direct from Norfolk8 last night reaching here this morning at seven o’clock. Rodman and Capt. Weddell9 offered me a sergeant’s place so I have joined. The capt. said that if I had reached here yesterday he would have been glad to have given me the first sergeant’s position but that I had good chance to work to it as every man of the 200 in the battery is a green one. And he has given out the first sergeant’s place last night. The men met for the first time today for a little drilling. The New Bern boys are still living at their homes as the battery has received no tents or in fact any uniforms or anything else. The out of town recruits are sleeping in a warehouse serving as an armory. Every man is allowed 75¢ per day for food until we go into some [camp?] I have been at the hotel10 today but tomorrow will go to a good boarding house paying the small difference myself. It is thought that we will go into training in about 10 days or two weeks at Greenville, S.C.11 The first two months, I understand, will be devoted to learning the infantry drilling tactics and then cannon and horses issued for the real fighting training. Rodman has been very nice to me and I really have spent most of the day with him, right much of the time at his home. Took supper with them tonight. I had no trouble in passing the physical examination tonight. I was waiting on this before writing you definitely. The uniforms are expected in 4 or 5 days and then the battery will present a much better appearance. I find the tactics so changed since I was in the militia several years ago that I will have to begin studying at once as the capt. wants me to assist in drilling the men and I don’t want to be unfamiliar at the start. I anticipate no trouble in being able to get home for 2 or 3 days before we leave here and will do this.
I hate more than I can tell you how sorry I am that it was necessary for me to leave you but I believe I have taken the next step to get into some new command with chance for promotion rather than be sent into the regular army later as a private.
Speaking for myself, however, I do not object to the hard training and hardships and the only thing that I do not care for is not being an officer.
I have been thinking about you every since I left and do hope that you are not feeling so badly.
I am not very anxious for everyone in Edenton12 to learn of my movements so I am not writing anyone outside of the family.
Please ask Mack13 to send my mail directed just to New Bern and I will get in at the general delivery.
I hope that you will feel well enough to write to me and please ask Mary14 and Mack to write me they can.
Minton Hughes Dixon, Sr., “Papa” or “Judge” (1849-1923)
Father of Richard Dillard, George Brownrigg, MacDonald, Mary Elizabeth, and Elizabeth MacDonald Dixon. Prominent merchant in Edenton, North Carolina. Served as a Justice of the Peace, Recorder’s Court Judge, and city councilman. Married Sallie Dillard (1860-1910) in 1886.
Gaston Simmons Foote (1883-1957) and George Anderson Foote (1880-1962)
Business associates of Richard Dillard Dixon. Born in Warrenton, North Carolina, Gaston Simmons Foote graduated from Wake Forest College in 1904 and also attended Columbia University. Moved to Portsmouth, Virginia around 1907 and opened a merchandise brokerage, Foote Brothers & Company, with his brother George Anderson Foote.
1st NC Field Artillery3
National Guard unit that Richard Dillard Dixon initially joined upon entering the military. Dixon’s New Bern battery became the nucleus of the 113th Field Artillery.
Albert Lyman Cox, (1883-1965)
Commanding officer of the 113th Field Artillery. Also served as a state legislator and judge. Biography included in the North Carolina Dictionary of Biography, link: http://www.ncpedia.org/biography/cox-albert-lyman.
Nighttime view of Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, 1917. link: http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p16062coll28/id/5351. State Archives
View of Front Street, New Bern, 1907. link: http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/186. Joyner Library, Special Collections ECU.
Rodman Guion or Rodman7
William Blount Rodman Guion, “Rodman” or “Guion” (1889-1959)
A member of the extended Rodman Family, his grandfather was North Carolina Supreme Court Justice William Blount Rodman, Guion earned a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1910 and practiced in New Bern, North Carolina. Inducted into federal service from the North Carolina National Guard, entered the army as a 1st Lieutenant. Promoted to captain on September 24, 1918. Served mostly as an artillery instructor. After the war, returned to practice with his brother, John Amos Guion.
Nighttime view of Granby Street, Norfolk, 1910. Museum of the Albemarle
John Henry Weddell, “Capt. Weddell” (1875-1921)
Originally from Martinsburg, West Virginia, Weddell served as a 1st Lieutenant in the 1st West Virginia Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish-American War. The war ended before the regiment completed training in Georgia. Around 1903, Weddell moved to North Carolina to serve as a superintendent for the Blades Hosiery Mill. He also worked for a time as a life insurance agent before becoming a manager for Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company in 1911. A member of the National Guard, Weddell entered federal service as a captain. However, age forced his resignation on February 1, 1918. Pepsi-Cola transferred Weddell to their plant in Memphis, Tennessee, where he lived until his death.
View of the Gaston Hotel, where Richard Dillard Dixon stayed, dated October 1884. link: http://newbern.cpclib.org/digital/reed/xxv014.htm. New Bern-Craven County Public Library.
View of the 113th Field Artillery at Camp Sevier, near Greenville, SC. From the History of the 113th Field Artillery. link: https://archive.org/details/historyof113thfi00flet.
View of Church Street, Edenton, circa 1900. Museum of the Albemarle
MacDonald Dixon, “Mack” or “MCD” or “Mac” (1897-1984)
Younger brother of Richard Dillard Dixon. Attended UNC-Chapel Hill from 1915 to 1916. Returned to Edenton, where he worked for his father. Did not serve in World War I. After his marriage in 1939, moved to Elizabeth City, North Carolina where he worked as a fuel oil dealer for Sinclair Oil Company until his retirement to Nags Head, North Carolina in the mid-1960s.
Mary Beverly Dixon, “Mary Beverly” or “Mary B.” or “Mary” (1886-1959)
Elder sister of Richard Dillard Dixon. Never married, and lived her entire life in Edenton, North Carolina.