DEAR CHRISTINE: You must be at home now and enjoying golf, bicycling, and the theatre. The amusements are limited here, and the only entertainment (if it can be called so) is the music from the bands in town and the buglers practising close by our house. A detachment of the Fourth Cavalry came into town last night, and the road to their camp leads through our yard to a field behind, so that we hear them going and coming nearly all day. The ponies are just being taken to be watered, having returned this afternoon from a scout upon which they went early this morning. The Thirty-second Volunteers came last night and are camped near the railroad station. The Twelfth Infantry, or part of it, went out early this morning, and we were ordered to hold ourselves in readiness to reënforce them, so we had breakfast about six in the morning and have been waiting ever since to be called out. Bull-carts are passing to and fro nearly all the time and there is some noise all the time. Yesterday afternoon I called on Captain Andrews of Light Battery E, First Artillery, and had a pleasant call. This battery came over on the Hancock with us, leaving their guns behind in San Francisco to be brought over by another boat. I seem to be meeting men all the time who know father or have heard of him. Captain Brewster says that he knew Lieutenant Woods, U.S.N., and that he himself is descended from the Brewster family, although he lives in South Carolina. All the troops were issued (free) these enclosed badges which I send you and mother. They are to be worn on the front of the soldier’s campaign hats, just above the hatband, with letter of company above and number of regiment on top like this. We wear them on the left breast, above the heart. It is the badge of the Second Division, 1st Brigade, 8th Army Corps. The First Division is red, the Second, white, and the Third, blue.
Christmas is approaching, and I find that I need a penwiper and writing case, one with two big pockets which fold over on each other, having a slit for blotting paper, with catch clasp to hold paper at the top of the outside fold, and the under fold or pocket having stiffening in it of some sort to make a good rest to write on. I should also like a fountain pen with filler. Writing case to be a foot wide and sixteen inches long.
With love and a heart overflowing with thankfulness to God that you are all so well and happy, I pray for you all every night whether on outpost or in camp, and send you all a Merry, Merry Christmas.
P.S. Kiss father for me and tell him that I would not be his son if I did not keep my grip. His cablegram came to me while I was on outpost, there being a field telegraph and telephone in the trench there. You can kiss mother and the kids also. ED.