April 16th 1885
North West Field Force
I received your letter this morning, the first mail which has reached us since we left Winnipeg. I was very glad to get it as I have not heard from anybody belonging to me since Katie gave me the letter from mother in Winnipeg. I am surprised at not hearing from as I have written several letters and have rec’d none. however there are lots of fellows here who say that there should be letters for them and yet they have not received them I suppose there is a great deal of confusion in the mail service as regards the military corespondence. We are still in camp in the same place as Tuesday and are likely to be here a couple of days yet as the wind is blowing a hurricane and the work of crossing the river is going on very slowly.
You can tell your wife that the little pot of Jam is holding out well I have half of it left and am hanging on to it as it is very nice to be able to take a little now and then as the grub is very poor, in fact with the exception of what I eat at your house and at Port Arthur I have not had any fresh meat since I left Ottawa nothing but Corned beef shanty pork and hard tack.
The Government are much to be blamed for not serving out grog and lime juice as the salt food is enough to bring on some disease.
We will be able to send letters back with the dispatches every few days. If Katie has not done so already tell her to send me the Winnipeg papers whenever she can do so as they are eagerly looked for in the camp.
The boys are all right with the exception of Wiggins a brother of the False Prophet’s who has been laid up for a few days with a bilious attack, so the doctor says.
I am glad you sent my letter to mother you had better send them all as I am sure she will be glad to get as many as she can.
I am in good trim myself but long for bread and fresh meat but must take it out in longing. The Queens Own have a regular kick every meal and it is rumored that they will refuse to go any further unless they get better food, as they say in the North West which is so much boasted of by the Govt at home their should be lots of good fresh beef. My opinion of the North West so far is not very favorable to the country and I would not take a free pass and come out here again. In the 30 miles between here and Swift Current we did not see a single house or an inch of ground which had ever been cultivated.
On the march across the prairie our men that is our company, suffered a great deal from want of water, we being the only corps not supplied with water bottles, however I managed to do pretty well as I had the flask I got in Winnipeg and before we started made a mixture of lemon, rye and water which enabled me to [hang?] out very well. On the march the second day Col. Otter wished to push on to the river without a halt for dinner but Col. Miller of the Q.O.R. absolutely refused to allow his regiment to go on without a halt. so they did halt. It is all very well to say we are regulars now, but it will not do to force the men to do too much as they are willing to do as much as possible, but say they will not be marched to death by anybody. [Vash?] May has already made a few dollars in the camp by drawing out Powers of Atty for some of the brigade to draw salaries and c. The common opinion expressed by the men is that when next they go on active service it will be in the capacity of staff officer or something higher. Ned McCaul a brother of Jims arrived here this afternoon from Regina, to act as a scout. the camp is swarming with men in buckskin shirts. Capt Todd is now swelling around the camp in a complete Indian outfit he says it is very comfortable. We had an open air concert given by the Queens Own last night and I was waited on by them to give them a piccolo solo, although in my opinion the piccolo is a poor instrument to give a solo on it was very well received. I am much obliged to you for stamps. Give love to Katie and your wife.
Your Aff. brother
P.S. Excuse writing as a folded blanket not the steadiest thing to [write on?]