Co. B , 1st Btn, 1st Rpl. Reg. Eng.
Will drop you a few lines tonight. I have just been down to the Potomac and took a swim. We had some fun. There was between 6 and 7 hundred of us. I and a fellow by the name of Colba Day of Brown County hang together. We were over at Alexandria, VA Sat. night from 7 PM to 1:30 AM. We had a fine time. We went over in a gasoline launch. Alexandria is an odd old town with the streets paved with round stones laid in concrete. Yesterday (Sunday) we were out in the country all day. We went to Broad Creek to church about 5 miles out of Ft. Foote and it was the same old church George Washington used to go to. His old pew is still there. They have a gold plate on it with his name on it. It is never used. There is a cemetery there with some of the oldest tombstones in the country, one dated 1750 and one 1740. We were the first two there. Day and I had a good long talk with the preacher and his wife. They were a very pleasant and friendly old couple. After church we came back to about a mile of camp and met a little negro boy who entertained us for awhile. We took another hike about six miles. Run on to a couple of little girls playing ball and stayed with them till dark.
We don't drill but very little here. They have had me on the carpenter gang for two or three days. We are building a barn for the army mules now. Friday, the Sergeant called me out and gave me a blueprint of a supply house, or room rather, about 20 foot square. He gave me three other men, two of them city fellows and a railroader and told me to go up to the tent where they keep their tools and get whatever I needed, then go to the lumber pile and cut out the pieces. So over we went. I did all the marking and showed each man how to cut his pieces by the mark and by the time I taught each one I had the whole shebang sawed out! Ha! I don't know how it went up but I know it must have fit for they don't miss that good a chance to correct you if you get anything wrong. I never heard a word from it. This A.M. they called me out to work on the barn so I put in one door frame and cut the pieces to side up one gable. That's all I did this PM. They don't work a fellow so hard all the time. About the hardest worked fellows are the ones they are drilling. Some of those guys fell in their tracks this evening and a couple fell out at retreat this evening. We got in a new bunch today, about 160. Some of them came from Camp Grant, Illinois and some from civil life.
The people here in Maryland and Virginia can't talk plain, or don't do it. The "you-all" is here, same as KY, and for "out" (I don't know if I can spell it the way they say it or not but it sounds like "aout" and for "been" it is just plain "bean" and there are others.
No farms of any size here, just gardens and them rundown, too poor for anything but red sorrell and tick grass.
Say, you ought to see us Camp Taylor guys now. We thought we had it hot in KY but, say fellows, it's hotter here. Every dude of us is as red as an Indian. I worked all evening with my shirt off and then was too hot for comfort.
Well, it is so dark I can't see the lines anymore. I am sitting on the edge of the bluff overlooking the Potomac writing on an old magazine. The Y is full up, those new fellows writing home. I haven't told you near all I had in mind. There are so many new and interesting things. Will send you my picture soon. Did you get your pennant? Well, I am writing by guess now, so good-bye and write soon. As ever, your son,
A boat is passing with 5 train tank cars on it. That's the way they transfer freight here. Just take cars and all on the barges.