Cape Breton Island
Wed. Oct 18 - 16
B. Co. 184th Batt.
Dear Mother, Father & Dorothy:
I believe that the last place that I wrote you from was some where in Nova Scotia, before we reached Truro. We had a short march in Moncton on Monday P.M. & about 6. P.M. got into Truro. We found a big crowd to meet us in Truro, and went for a march. Up till this time we did not know where we were going but expected to go to Halifax Monday night. However while in Truro, a wire came that we were not to go to Halifax, but were to go to Broughton on C. B. Island.
We left Truro at 12 P.M. & went along the International R.R. down to Mulgrave, N.S. arriving there early Tuesday morning. The train was taken across the strait in sections, by ferry, and then we went on across the island to Sydney, arriving there about noon. It drizzled rain all the way across the island, & was raining hard at Sydney.
However we got off & marched thro' the mud about a mile to the skating rink. The ladies of the city were there to receive us and barrels & barrels of apples were passed around. Every one was very friendly & gave us quite a reception. We enjoyed ourselves for a couple of hours & then marched back to the train for supper. We came on to Broughton that night - about 15 miles & this morning got off the train in Broughton. Now you will want to know about B. We do not know why we are here, what there is to do, or how long we will be here
B is a deserted coal mining town, a mile from the coast, - I do not know which way from Sydney. The mines here gave promise of a good thing, [deleted word “but a ? goodsized”] and a town of considerable size was built up. The mines however petered out, and Broughton was deserted. I do not know any more of the town history than this. The houses are all new, well built & comfortable, and in these we are quartered. Our house has 9 rooms, is all plastered and has electric lights. It is very comfortable & warm with four coal heaters. Argyle, Ezra & I have a dandy clean upstairs room to ourselves Everybody has a wooden, home made cot, with straw mattress & pillow & four blankets. We have lots of room, lots of heat, & electric light. Nothing could be more comfortable in the army.
We are right in the middle of a spruce & maple bush. The scenery all around is most beautiful, and the village, made up of pretty little houses in scattered all around thro' the bush. The streets are laid off in rows of uniformly built houses. We are only a short distance from the ocean but cannot see it because of the heavy bush which surrounds us on every side
There are large coal mines on one side of the town, although they are almost completely closed down now. There is also a large power house which lights up the whole town power being cheap with so much coal available. There is coal, coal everywhere.
The railway is ballasted with better coal than some that you pay $6.00 a ton for, and there are piles of it around all the houses for the soldiers use. Downtown there is a huge hotel in which one of our coy's is quartered, a store & a Presbyterian Church – hurrah! Of course outside of the battalion there is nothing excepting the store & the church no one living in the town. There has been a batt. here ever since the commencement of the war. Last summer the 185th Sydney Batt. were out here, but they have now gone overseas. I do not know what object they have in keeping a batt. here. It is not a stragetic point, and there is nothing to guard except the mines The only thing is the splendid accomadation
The ladies of Sydney have taken us under their care and altho' we seem to be in such an out-of-the-way place, Sydney is a good large city & I suppose we can get in once in a while.
We found N.B and N.S. very very pretty, although we passed through a great deal of bush country that was uncivilized. We got several good looks at the old Ocean as you will see if you follow up the Intercolonial R.R. on the map.
We saw Sydney at a disadvantage because of the rain, but I believe it is a pretty decent city. There are great iron smelting works on all sides of the city, and at night the whole sky is is lit up with the fires.
I tell you the eastern towns altho' very quiet & slow, are beautiful, & the churches all look so nice. I think you should try to come down. I am too tired tonight to write a word more. The mail does not go out until tomorrow P.M. so if I have time, I may write a little more before then
I have a little spare time this A.M. & will finish up my letter, although I do not know of much else to tell you. This is a beautiful morning. The people in Sydney assured us that they have the most perfect climate in the world, especially in the fall, till Xmas.
There has been no parade yet this morning, except for breakfast. The sea air down here gives you a great appetite. I have never been so hungry in my life
We enjoyed the long train trip very much, despite cramped colonist car quarters. Every thing was kept clean and the meals were fine. I felt good all the way down.
I never imagined that any thing could be so beautiful as the maple trees are around here, with the fall [deleted word “covering”] coloring. I will send Dorothy a few of the leaves.
Now be sure to write as often as possible. I hope that you got all the mail I sent along the road
With love to all