Camp Chase, Sept 18
I did not expect to write you again soon but I want to keep you posted up on all the changes.
We left Capital Hill yesterday morning and arrived at this place after a four hour march at 12 o’clock. We had no dinner or supper except what we bought. Some of the boys thought it mighty tough but I stood it like a horse, though I am a little lame this morning1.
I got my baggage at Capital Hill but lost the bundle that had my shirt and drawers in moving over here. I trusted it with Mark2 because I did not like to carry it and he gave it to another wagoneer to bring. That is the last I have heard from it. Though I have in hopes to find it yet, we are to be cut down to one shirt and one towel besides what we wear on our backs, so that if I should find it I could not take much of it with me when I move from here, which I suppose will be soon.
I have not much of interest to write but I want to hear from you. You had better send your letters to Washington in care of Capt. Dickerman, Co. I, 20th Regt., CV. In that way they will be sent on to the Regt when we leave and you know we have no abiding place.
When we move from here I shall try to send you another line. I will write you the particulars of what I see every Sunday if I have opportunity and shall not write oftener unless we move and something turns up worth a letter. All of our boys are well - except Brainard, who seems to feel pretty bad today but I hope it is nothing serious. I find that filter3 you gave me quite useful for all of the water about here is a little roily. There is so many to use it that they keep it stirred up.
I have heard from you since I sit here Ezra has just got a letter from Ed. I hope to from you direct tomorrow. Give my love to mother and all my friends, kiss the baby for me two times and a thousand for yourself,
PS over the leaf - Ed Dowight promised me the last I saw of him that he would hand over to you fifty dollars and I want you to put him my mind of it in a few days if he don’t come to him.
This letter highlights just how green these soldiers were at this point, and how little they knew of what they were getting into. A four-hour march would be at most 6-8 miles long, and before long these men would be marching upwards of 25 miles in a day. ↩
Mark was the wagoneer of the company that Cecil belonged to. ↩
With the small amount of detail Cecil has given of the water filter, it is impossible to speak on how it worked or what it looked like. John Billings, in his book Hardtack and Coffee, spoke of two variations of water filters:
I still have in my possession the remnants of a water-filterer in which I invested after enlistment. There was a metallic mouth-piece at one end of a small gutta-percha tube, which latter was about fifteen inches long. At the other end of the tube was a suction-chamber, an inch long by a half-inch in diameter, with the end perforated, and containing a piece of bocking as a filter. Midway of the tubing was an air-chamber. The tubing long since dried and crumbled away from the metal. It is possible that I used this instrument half a dozen times, though I do not recall a single instance, and on breaking camp just before the Gettysburg Campaign, I sent it, with some other effects, northward.
I remember another filterer, somewhat simpler. It consisted of the same kind of mouth-piece, with rubber tubing attached to a small conical piece of pumice stone, through which the water was filtered. Neither of these was ever of any practical value.