(Addressed to Mr. James McCoy, Trevlac, Ind., Brown County, Postmark July 1, 1918)

Co. B. 1st Repl. Reg. Engrs.
Ft Foote, Washington Barracks, D.C.

Dear Father:

Will write you a few lines tonight as we go on another hike Thursday and will be gone two days. Them hikes are getting to be an old issue. I can outwalk a quail anymore.

I was in Washington DC Sunday and walked all over town. Saw the Capitol, Congressional Library, Whitehouse and the Washington monument and the whole thing. Had someone to go along and show me the things; he knew the whole biz from a to z. That town is a hard one to learn. I was 3 hours finding where Florence lived and finally found another girl who knew where she was so we started out and met her on the street. I left her about 11 PM and took a street car within 6 blocks of the place, then I caught the interurban and just got there in time to get a car from Alexandria VA. Got to Alexandria just as boat was about to leave for the Fort and was in bed by 12:30 AM.

The bubble busted in Camp this AM. A lot of awkward cusses here have been just taking their own time and way of doing things, so the whole company got a red hot speech this AM. Everyone who moves a finger when standing at attention, he takes his name and puts him on the pick and shovel after supper till dark and the same treatment for anyone who makes a mistake in rifle drill or any other little bobble. So the Captain made all the Corporals and Sergeants sore and they tried to put it on down. One of the men they had in my squad, that because he had been in the Army 3 or 4 months longer than I had, would do the bossing of the carpenter work. I had to show him where to head in at so he got sore but he didn't dare sass me any for it's after supper duty for anyone who sasses or talks back to squad leader. So he took a handsaw and plane we had been using to put up doors with and tried to get away with them. I would have had to pay for them. The Supply Sergeant climbed my frame because they were gone. I finally found them and turned them in. This A.M. I strapped my belt on and took my old gun and fell out with the drill platoon. They tried to locate me and made several calls for the carpenters but I stayed in ranks; and if I go out on the carpenter job any more, they will have to make a special and personal call.

We had bayonet drill and, of course, I couldn't do just as well as some who had drilled ever since they had been in the Army. The Sergeant put me in the awkward squad so I soon got it all down pat again. I was in a class who were regular logger heads and they were giving them after supper work and tried to shove me off with them this evening, but you see I didn't go or else I wouldn't be writing. That isn't all. I am not going to fall out in any fool squad any more. I'm going out with the crack platoon again tomorrow and hold the game down. You see, there is no excuse for anything done wrong. Every fellow has got to see to it that he gets fair treatment or he doesn't get it, that's all. I'm just beginning to see how a fellow has to do to get by. It's simply a game of work out your own salvation or take all the B.S. they are in mind to hand you.

If brothers Harley and Bill would write to me I could tell them a lot of stuff that would do them a lot of good in case they ever have to go. A fellow would have a brighter idea while he is just learning it. I hope if they ever do have to go, they will get a chance to come to Ft. Foote. We certainly have an ideal camp here and the boats are always handy to get to Alexandria and Washington. They are two of the best towns in the U.S. for spending Sat. and Sunday and I never have failed to get a pass to be off those two days. If a fellow keeps clean and on the good side of the Captain, he can get a pass any Saturday to be gone until Monday morning reveille. In Washington DC, they are as strict as old nick himself. You don't dare make a crooked step there or some cop or military policeman will take you for an auto ride. Every bridge and government building, and suspicious place, fairly bristles with bayonets. Even the railroad yards is a regular calamus patch of bayonets and the country around D.C. is one big armed camp. Forts you people never heard of representing every branch of the Army, Navy, Marines Coast artillery is just 6 miles from here. Sometimes they practice until away in the night. It's a continual crack-crack boom. The rifle range is here at Ft. Foote and sometimes it's all day such cracking you have to talk to each other like you were in a sawmill. Those old guns kick like a shotgun.

Oh yes, maybe you would like to know something about the length of our rifles. They are just a few inches longer than the old shotguns at home. With bayonet fixed, the point just comes to the corner of my mouth. The point is sharp on both edges for 5 or 6 inches, then there is a back to it about 3/16 inch thick and in the sides of the blade is grooves like in an iron wedge, only the groove is flat bottomed and wider than that in an iron wedge. The whole blade and handle has to be kept just like nickleplate.

Well, I must close. I don't know if this is interesting for you folks or not but I always wanted to know these things in civil life and imagine nearly everyone else does. Well, these dudes are assembled here to play poker so I am going to vacate. There is about half of this camp comes to this tent every night to run off at the mouth and sometimes we have a regular racket shop here singing, telling tales, etc. It's the hub of the company here. Well, answer soon. As ever,

Lawrence Mc

PS. I went into the Potomac for a swim last evening. There were two or three hundred of us in and I was high diving off the dock and went too deep. You ought to see my left horn and black eye this P.M. Ha! Ha! Say, I didn't get to send this last night and I am glad I didn't for something happened today. By the gosh if we didn't have pie for dinner! I'll be forever and ever bamboozled! I pretty near dropped my messkit when the cook dropped that piece of pie into it. Ha! Ha! Oh yes, we are going to have a pretty nice bunch here some of these days. They picked out about 40 out of each of the 4 companies stationed here and sent them away somewhere. Just the slow and unruly dirty ones. They picked two out of my squad. They got me back on the carpenter job again today so I suppose I'll have to stay awhile longer. They took my trouble maker out, sent him away, so I guess it won't be so bad from now on.

Well I got a letter from sister Bertha today and will have to answer it so must cut this short. Harley has to go to camp soon. He says he hope he likes it and I believe he will for he is the sort who likes to see things and he is always pretty neat and clean. That goes a long way towards keeping up his name with the officers. He is a quick action dude, too, and that counts. Everything is done by the count from getting up to going to bed. It is "one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four" all day. Well, I must close. As ever,

Lawrence Mc