1861-10-24Camp Welsh
Camp Welsh Oct. 24,/61

Dear Parents,

It is with pleasure that I now attempt to write to you. We are pleasantly situated within sight of the Capitol and the East Branch of the Potomac. Last Monday morning we commenced packing up our duds and striking our tents and making preparations for moving to parts then unknown to us. Some said we were going west and some said we were going east but Tuesday just before night we found ourselves in the vicinity of Washington. We remained overnight at a building called the Soldiers' Rest Building made on purpose for regiments coming into the city to stop and stay overnight till they have their orders to go farther. We are encamped within two miles of the city. We have a very pleasant situation. We can look down on two encampments within a mile of ours. One can see nothing but soldiers in the streets around here.

Evening. I had intended to have finished this letter before but Lieutenant called us out on drill so I could not finish it. You requested me not to write anymore with a pencil but pen and ink have not been handy. You will have to excuse me this time and I will try to find pen in the future. Tom is holding a candle and the rest of the boys are singing. But I purpose to give you a description of the life we live in camp. In the first place we do not have much order here yet. Our Captain and Orderly are both at home. The second Lieutenant has not been with us but notwithstanding we do not make any more mistakes than some that have all their officers and have drilled twice as long but to the camp life.

In the first place we have bread and coffee and meat we should have but we have not fairly settled yet but we shall have things different. In Camp Curtin we had plenty to eat; that is, I did, but we have not had as much here yet but notwithstanding we are very comfortable. The boys all feel first rate. I have given you but a poor description of camp life. Somehow my mind is not on my writing. We had a very pleasant trip from Harrisburg to the Capitol but I never was so much disappointed in anything as I was when we passed through Maryland. I had always supposed it to be one of the most pleasant situated countries and smooth undulated surfaces of any of the states but unless the railroad runs through one of the roughest districts of the state it is rougher than our own state. For miles together there is nothing but rocks and small ( ) It continues to be rough until you get within a few miles of Washington when the face of the country is rather smoother. There are some very nice dwellings. They are very costly and pleasantly situated but the country everywhere looks desolate and drear. The fences are old and torn down, the effects of slave labor. I thought I had seen niggers looking as comical as they well could but coming along on the cars I saw slaves in their full dress. They are enough to make a dog laugh if he ever saw one. The next morning we got into Washington. I visited the Capitol but it was too short a stay for me to give you a description of its grandeur. It is the most splendid and magnificent piece of workmanship of art that I have ever beheld. The building is yet unfinished but it would take a week to go through the whole building and take a fair view of the whole but I saw the most beautiful sculpture. We would not think that life could be made to look so natural out of stone, but I had not time to finish this tonight though. I shall have to send this out early in the morning by the Major but I shall have to break off of a sudden and give you the rest of it the next time. I will give you the address on the slip of paper.