I received your letter of the 17th about four days ago but have been so busy on camp fatigues, guards and picquets that I really have not had time to answer it. I was very glad to hear from you under your own handwriting as I was anxious for your health and was afraid that perhaps you were not well and that father would not tell me. I am very sorry to hear such bad news about Bill but as you say in your letter. It will perhaps be better if he is dismissed and goes away for good. He is a nice sort of a brother to have, he might as well be in China so far as I am concerned he has never even dropped me a line since I left home. In your letter you say beware of the licence of a military camp. Now dear Mother allow me to assure you that as a matter of fact I live a much quieter life in every way here than I would at home. Beyond grumbling and kicking among ourselves and a little swearing not much they are the best lot of boys I ever was cast amongst for such a length of time. I have not been to see the priest here yet but will do so shortly. I can assure you it is not as easy to get shrived here as in Ottawa as perhaps when the priest is ready I would not be able to get away.
However there will be more chance now as we moved across the [river?] for good the day before yesterday we are now camped right under the walls of Fort Battleford and are safer in every way and I do not think that there will be so much Brigade fatigues. I hope Father has been able to straighten up my affairs. I would like you to let me know a thing I have asked you a couple of times already, and have never yet received any satisfactory answer to, Am I still in the employ of the Union Bank or am I dismissed with two months salary?
An answer to the above would relieve me of very much anxiety, as I would like to know if I have anything to depend upon when I get back, if God spares me. You complain about want of news, well I am in the same box, nothing new up here. I am glad you ex’plained about the [Bold?] affair. I had a letter from Gerald to night about half an hour ago, he says that the both Katies are sending me their love.
His letter is dated the 2nd of May, I do not think that he was aware at the time he was writing it that I was pounding away at old Poundmaker at the Cutknife Hills. I have written to you all some days ago about the battle. I had some very narrow shaves. You will save yourself a great deal of anxiety in future if you will pay particular attention to one fact, and that is, That I am with Col. Otter and not with Gen. Middleton in fact am a hundred miles from him and that the Column that I am with is called “The Battleford Column – Do not mind sensational reports, the boys here are very much annoyed at the headings in some of the Eastern newspapers. They are positively blood curdling. The fact is that apart from the battle which is no doubt the most desperate which will take place in the whole campaign, everything here is now just as quiet as at home. We will not do anything until we receive large reinforcements and then we will try and get a dead sure thing. I felt a little unwell yesterday and reported sick thus getting off all work. I was all OK. this morning, it was only a little biliousness. It is hard to escape this as the food is very greasy I think I told you before that we were getting better food, we are now giving a cook from the Fort $46 a month and have bread or buns every day.
The only thing that I miss is fresh meat of which I have tasted none since I left Ottawa, with the exception of what I got at Winnipeg and Port Arthur. I am glad that our friends in Ottawa are not forgetting us as Capt. Todd read us a telegram from Fred White saying that there was $300. at his disposal for our benefit. I suppose that when we get home, we will be little tin Moses on wheels as the boys say. I have just remembered that to morrow is Sunday and that perhaps I will be able to go to church that is “if it keeps”. I have nothing more to add except love to Father and a kiss for you and Charlie and Alice and the rest of the family.
Your affec Son