Washington [D. C.]
December 20, 1861
Dear Sister Myra,
Yours of the 18th has been received and read with much pleasure. It was the first time I had heard from York State. We have moved 6 miles since I got yours. We are not a great ways from the Potomac [river] and on the ground where the rebels lived in peace and plenty last spring and now it is tore up and cut to pieces. This morning I saw the remains of a nice brick house that was burned last spring and the owner now is in the rebel army. They say we are going into winter quarters and if we do, I shall try and get so I can write easier than I can now. My desk today is the head of an old drum and it goes well considering the place.
Tell Father I was in the shop last night [in my dreams] and he had a nice pair of boots for me. There were made of calf, lined nice, double souls and sewed. But I came away in a hurry and forgot them, But they were not quite done. I did not see any of the folks but Father. Tell the girls to go to school and be good girls and tell Willie he had ought to hurry and get ready to go to school.
But the drum sounds for dress parade and I must away.
Parade is over and now I am writing by candle light and there is such a noise I hardly know what to write. But I must write something and you must excuse me if I make any mistakes. You said if you could you would send me some ink. I have ink and the reason that my other was not wrote with ink was I could not — or dared not — sit down my ink for fear it would get turned over. But I can hardly get any stamps. If you could send me $1 worth or so, you might look for letters [from me]. There is a poor chance to get any such things.
We have plenty to eat and are quite comfortable but the weather is rather queer weather. The days are warm and pleasant and the nights are foggy and it makes the tents so wet that you can see the steam from when the sun comes up. We could stand it better if it was dry and cold. We are not a great ways from where the boys from Manchester are encamped and have seen some of them. They are all well and fat as hogs and so are we. I am as stout as a new cart and twice as swift.
Has Willie told Nate Mason and Bill A. where to write? If he has not, tell him to be about it or I will be after him with my old rifle. I have not shot it yet and want the chance of shooting at some rebel but I hardly think I shall have the chance. I think we shall be home for good in 6 months but I do not know what makes me think so. Have you done anything about tombstones? If you have not, I think you had better.
But this sheet is most full and I must close. Write as soon as received and remember the contents and tell Father to remember my dream. The directions are as before:
A. H. B., Co. B, 85th N. Y. S. V., Washington D. C., care of Col. Davis