7 December 1861

Washington [D. C.]
December 7th 1861

Dear Sister Myra,

I now take my pencil in hand to let you know how I was and where. I am as well as usual and in the land of Dixie but I will start at Elmira. We had our knapsacks all ready Tuesday morning and at night we started. 2 nights and 1 day found us here. The second night found us in the City of Baltimore but they were civil and we were greeted with joy. Flags were waved, the girls huzzahed for the Union, and went through and the station. The folks fed all of us bread and bacon and coffee and took the cars for here and we were on the cars till sunrise and got our breakfast in the city. And now we are under tents and quite comfortable.

We are in sight of the Potomac [river] and hope soon to cross it. There are thousands of tents in sight. All the men are busy training — artillery — cavalry — and militia are all busy practicing. The roar of cannon and small arms is now heard and everything seems like war. We rode over the place on the road where the rebels tore the railroad up and burned the cars but it is well guarded now and we went safe. Some of the boys are afraid of poison but I guess there is no danger here this side of the river.

But you will want to know about the climate. The days are pleasant and warm and the nights are foggy and rather cold after the warm days. But this [is] a slave state and we rode through large plantations — mostly corn — and we could see the darkies’ quarters, most of them white, but nothing going on nor they do not show much thrift, They show the effects of war — lawless war — but it is their own work and now anywhere you turn or look, you see tents, cannon, men, horses, and all of Uncle Sam’s other things. He has lots of boys this year and they ain’t babies. As things look now, we shall be at home in the spring and until then, we will hope.

You will not get this until next week sometime and you must answer it as soon as received and direct to Washington D. C., Co. B, 85th Regt., care of W. W. Clark, N.Y. S.V. and they will come all right.

But I have lots of business to attend to for I have not got to keeping house quite yet. The old woman and children are all well and send [their love].

I got your last in Elmira and thought I would not answer it until we or I had something new to write and now I hardly know which to write. Hurrah for the Union!

Much love to all of you as well as myself and tell Willie to tell Nate and Bill A. where to send letters for they owe me one and I will send the last of my pictures to some of you and you can send it East if you choose. Excuse this writing and remember A. H. B.