June 3rd 1898
Dear Sister Hannah.
It is a good job your verry interesting letter came this PM for I said tomyself that if I did not hear from you today I would quit writing I think one of your letters must of got astray, but since we have been granted free postage I will write at every oppertunity this is the first day I have been able to put my shoe on and hop without crutches ( they are taking the lights so I will have to quit for the night) I started this in Ohio Y.M.C.A. and finish in the Perm they took the lights away to have an open air meeting and heard Major Whittle of Chicago speak he was a Major in the Civil War and a verry earnest man, He looks like Rev Wilson of Dul, This Ohio Reg seems to be the most Christianized of any here We are Brigaded with the 2nd Ohio and 1st Penn and are camped close together. We have no Y.M.C.A. and have a priest for a chaplin. The majority of Regimental Chaplin's are Catholic and Episcipalians. Yesterday the 3rd I hopped to the river about 1~ miles away and had a swim, this is a beautiful place and I saw wild black rasberries that will be ripe in a few days and the peaches also there are a lot of beach trees on the park I am going to try to see it all the platform they landed us on two weeks ago is now a flourishing young City with an express office with five wagons and a P.O. with about 40 clerks. We can see Lookout Mt from places in the park a distance of 12 miles it is 1800 feet high and 2800 above sea level Dan Stocking was to the top of it the other day he said the sight was the finest he ever saw it costs 50~ from Chattannoga and return they have an incline car like the one at West Dul and the natives think it is the largest feat of engineering ever accomplished, I think that I am the only one of our regiment that has not been taken with cramps and disentary but I will not crow it comes on in 1 minute I attribute my good health to the carefulness of my diet there are so many venders of different kinds of viands on the park that rather than eat the army grub they go and the other trash and slop in beer I think when we get where they can not be got you will hear a good roar on the grub, but I never felt in better health The ther registers from 95 to 105 in the shade every day but there is always a nice cool breeze blowing There was a fellow around selling milk the other day and I bought a quart and he charged 10~ for it and when I tasted it it was sour and skimmed at that and when I told him about it he got indignant and said that was the price of it in Chattenooga so I just threw it in his face there is the finest of grazing land around here. there must be a fortune in the dairy business. We have nearly all of our requirements now and soon as we get them all we go to we no not where but the supposition is that it is Porto Rico they are not dressing us in the ducking clothes like the rest and we are getting the springfield rifle I think we will make good targets for the Mowser rifle the Spanish are equipped with they have a magazine gun that will shoot 7 times while we shoot once.
They Celebrated Decoration Day in our Brigade by the usual drill they have sham battle every day and they become very excitable and they come in close proximity of each other some time one of the officer lost the sight of both eyes the other day I am sorry I did not enlist in the regular army now if the officers are stricter they are well drilled drilled in tactics and there would not be much danger of killing one another which I am afraid we would do if we got into actual service Right close to where we are camped there is an iron slab marking the place where two Union troops meet after fighting all day and they thought each other the enemy and started battle it was in the dusk of one evening and they fought for 1 hour before they knew they were killing each other. I see by the Dul papers that Aunt Della has left for the east We get both the Herald and Morning Liar here it takes 2 days for us to get them Those pictures I sent to Dan by Dr Harris I did not care who got them as they were no good I told the Dr that they were for the house but he could leave them at the the Office. I think that Tom Archer will be sent home with a disonarble discharge he Claims now that he was ruptured two years ago and can not drill some say that he can collect a pension for being received in that condition but I think when the novilty of army life wore off he got tired and wants to go back. Dave Kemp of GA was on guard last night and fell asleep at his post and the Major found him your know that is punished by death in the Army now Ido not know how the poor fellow will come out but You will not mention it till we see how he comes out there is 4 cases of Measles in our Regiment There is a Rhode Island Regiment on the grounds I wonder if my Cousins are in it. Do you know a Rhuben Smith that went to Jackson School and I think he stopped at Gressers I think he is a brother of that woman lives in Mallitors house - well he is our 2nd Lieutenant, George Gibson our 1st Sargt. has gone back to recuit more men for our regiment. Give my regards to all who ask about me. With love to Mother I am Billy