Detach. 19th & 35th Engineers
July Replacements Overseas Casuals
Washington Barracks, Camp Merritt, N.J.
Will drop you a few lines today. The YMCA was over here and said our address was not right. You see how I have it above. I guess they replace the casualties of the 19th and 35th once a month so that's why the "July Replacements" part has to be added. We have a lot of mail here now but it is all mixed up, and the Captain is gone now with the register to pick it out for us, so just write the address as I have above.
The "Washington Barracks" is to show where the Replacements are from for there are other barracks here with Repl. Troops for the 19th and 35th Engineers but they came from other camps. The Washington Barracks part would tell which bunch we were in. The 35th Regiment is in France and we go to it. We will be in Co. B there, too. They say on this side they have the training 35th Regiment which is just a Replacement Regiment for the 35th in France. We will be in the same No. of Battalion and Company there that we are here. At Ft. Foote was the 1st Battalion, A.B.C.&D. Co's. At Washington DC was the 2nd Batt., E.F.G. & H Co's. The B Battalion is at Ft. Foote now. Co's I.J.K & L, I don't know where the rest of the Regiment is but Wesley is in Co. M over at Camp Humphreys so the rest must be there for that is a big camp. Wesley said there were 65 thousand there but the companys don't all belong to the 35th Regiment so you can easily see why a letter has to be addressed exactly right if it ever gets through. Well, he isn't gone yet and there is no indication that we will go tonight. Something is askew gee somewhere.
The boys had to report this AM that we would have a midnight breakfast but that's more news from the gazette, I think. Must close.
Well, they called me out before I got this done. I tried to fix it so I could mail it but I couldn't and am glad of it now for I found out when we leave. It is tonight at one o'clock that will be August 2, 1:00 AM. We are all set and ready to go, put up in squad formation so we can find our places in the dark but we have to be still. No singing or cheering allowed and you can't imagine how glad they all are to be started; everybody is simply boiling over. One thing sure, America don't need to be a bit ashamed of her conscripted army!
The YMCA secretary gave us a talk and he said we were the best bunch of men that had ever been in his section of the camp. Said he had been here a long time and had seen several detachments leave but no one had showed up as clean and gentlemanly as us. He said he didn't say it because he was talking to us but because he knew it to be the truth. Also because Capt. Dominez said we were o.k.
We know, of course, how much of such stuff to let soak in but we know that we can show up pretty well in drilling and everybody knows his business and goes to it. We've had enough work and marching till we're what the newspapers term "hard as nails", and everyone of us has a new uniform and everything new from the hide out. The only thing we have to regret is that we can't take Capt. Dominez along.
There is a bunch of aviators leaving tonight, too. Also a lot of infantrymen. There is every branch of the Army that is here, and it keeps a fellow busy looking at every man one meets to see what branch of the service he is in. It's the same way with every body for I've noticed nearly everyone looks at my cap for the sign. The Engineers are easy told because their sign is the big castle forming an E. The Infantry and Artillery men are hard to tell apart. Their sign is crossed rifles and crossed cannon and the signs look pretty nearly alike when they are on a little black button about an inch and a quarter in diameter. We used to tell what each other belonged to by the color of their hat cords, but we don't wear hats across the pond. We all get little caps about as big as a dime. Ha! With the crown crushed like Sparks always has his.
Well, I am doing more writing than I have time to do, so I must close and play hookey to mail this. If we are as slow getting to the front as we have been getting started over, the war will be over before we get there. As ever your son,
Lawrence McPut A.E.F. in the lower left hand corner of the envelope like I have in the address on the other page. It stands for American Expeditionary Forces. The same address is OK. It will come across after me.