8 April 1862

Camp Casey, Virginia
April 8th [1862]

Dear Sister,

In accordance with your wishes for me to write when we crossed the [Potomac] River, I will take this opportunity to let you know that I am well and in camp about 7 miles beyond Fortress Monroe in the pine woods. We started for here last Monday on board the Elm City steamer. We were about 24 hours in coming at about the rate of 7 miles per hour and arrived on the same waters that were the scene of the Merrimac’s exploits and saw the steamer that she sank and the one that was burned to the waters edge. And the little Monitor was puffing about as large as a Broadway dandy and looked rakish as could be and ready for anything. And the harbor was full of all sorts of vessels loaded with munitions of war. And over all looked the old fortress — the largest in the United States — the Lord of the Chesapeake, or Hampton Roads.

Tuesday in the afternoon we disembarked and marched over here. On our way we went through Hampton — the town that the rebels burned down some time ago. You have heard of it in the papers. The place covered about one square mile and was a very nice place but built in the old style. But it is well burned and there is but 2 or 3 houses left standing and these not worth burning.

I will send you some leaves and a small lilly. The green leaf came from there and is holly. The ivy-shaped one I do not know the name of. They came from Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington. The peaches are in bloom here and we have fine showers and some thunder.

Has Dave started yet? And if he has not, I guess you had not better send them for he is a poor egg and will hardly come back here again. But if he is honest enough to leave them in Washington, direct the same as ever — only put on the Third Brigade, Casey’s Division. Write as soon as you get this. I do not know when you will get this, but write and let me know which you ch[oose?] — keep them or send them as you think best and remember your soldier brother, — A. H. B.

This pine is from my feather bed here.