This letter is the property of the Monroe County Historical Museum and is presented here with their permission.
11th September 1861
Thinking you would like to hear from us and as I have a leisure hour, I thought I would spend it in penning a few lines to you. You will not find anything of importance in the news line as I know of none to write for we have been having a very monotonous life for the last four weeks fortifying ourselves against an attack from the enemy. We are now situated on the Virginia side of the Potomac about 2 miles west of Georgetown where we (our brigade) have built quite a large fort where we have 4 large 32-pound siege guns and one mortar mounted ready to give the rebels the Military salute should they approach our line. From where we are camped we can see 7 large forts. I think if they should attack us, they will meet a much heartier reception than they are aware of.
The 7th Reg. arrived in Washington Sunday and our Co. was favored by a visit from Major Fifield on Monday, much to the gratification of the boys for there was a grand rush to shake him by the hand.
I suppose you have seen some of the hardships of a soldiers life and formed your opinion accordingly. But if you could have seen us through our marchings and how we have worked it to make our bed, etc., the opinion you have formed would be as chaff before the wind. But now we have got used to it and are tough. As for me, I never have written nor never shall write home any complaints. I calculate when I “make my bed to lie down in it.” I calculated when I enlisted to see hard times and have had to endure hardships and now I am going to see the Elephant and not back [down] until the rebellion is dead.
Oscar Stoddard and his pets must feel grand. I have not heard from Westley K. or Sam C- lately. As it is now dinner time I must stop and partake of a soldier’s repast. If you will answer this it will be thankfully received at anytime. My compliments to your Mother and Mrs. Winans.
Your friend, — W. H. Eaton