Dated May 23, 1918

Co. B 1st Btn, 1st Repl. Reg. Eng.
Washington Barracks
Washington, DC

Dear Parents:

Will write you a few lines this (Thur) evening. We had parade day today. The band played Indiana while we marched past the Major. I had to write a letter for one of the Ky. dudes last night so I didn't get to write you any.

We drill about 8 hours a day now and we practiced pitching tents this PM. We put our packs on our backs and marched out of camp to a field and put up our tents, then took them down and packed them up and marched back. Each man carries half a tent, three blankets, his mess kit and canteen, cartridge belt, first aid package, bayonet and rifle, toilet articles, overcoat and slicker. I like that part of it better than anything else, to put on our packs and go out to pitch tents. We each carry about 50 lbs but it doesn't seem like that much when you have it strapped to your shoulders. As I sit here tonight writing within 50 feet of me is the Potomac river with a steamboat going by every little while (time is 6:45 PM) and aeroplanes go tearing past. It puts me in the mind of Ft. Madison, only the river is not so wide. We only have a small camp here. The time here is one hour ahead of your time. Some of the boys had some trouble with their watches after we got here. Ha! Ha!

Am sending you a pennant under separate cover to show in your window where your representative is in this army.

We burn real wood cut out of the woods here in cook tents and pump station and everything. They detailed a squad of our Co. today to cut wood, and the First Sergeant says this morning, "Whenever I command attention I want to see every man snap into it or he will find himself up here on the wood pile with a good sharp axe from Retreat till it get so dark he can't see the poles. ATTENTION!" Ha! Ha! Say, you'd ought to hear their heels pop. I had a hard time to keep down a smile but the heat of the sun and the look of that pole pile helped out some. Ha! Ha!

The officers certainly say what they think and mean it, too. But they don't bother me any. I always try to do what is right and the jabs and slurs of the officers aren't meant for a fellow who tries. It's the fellow who doesn't try that gets it. Some fellows just simply can't learn anything, looks like, and some who have been in the Army over a month doesn't know his right from his left. They are the fellows who you hear kicking about hard times in the Army and they are the ones who have them, too.

Well, I must hurry this up. I've wrote in such a hurry now I doubt if you can read it. I've had practice enough till I'd ought to be able to write a regular Spencerian hand. Now these fellows who can't write or read certainly keep you busy, and say, I've read some awful sweet little letters for them, believe me.

Well, the sun is about down and this camp is lit up with tallow candles and they flicker so much you can't write, so answer real soon and write every time you get a chance. Tell me all about the cows and chickens and crops. So hoping to hear from you soon, I am as ever your son,

Lawrence Mc