Washington [D. C.]
May 2, 1861
I again seat myself to write you a few lines. I wrote you last Sunday but as I had nothing else to do, I thought I would write to you again today. I was on guard last night and so I have this day to myself and I know I can not spend the time any more pleasant than in writing to you. And besides, I thought it might be interesting to you to know how a military life is led. In the first place, we are called out at 5 o’clock in the morning by the beating of drums when we all have to turn out. At 6 o’clock the sergeant calls—that is done by the drum—and all the sick or anyone that wants anything in the line of phisic goes to the doctor. At 7 o’clock we all have breakfast. At 8 o’clock we have what is called a squad drill. We drill about 1½ or 2 hours in the forenoon and at 1 o’clock we are called to dinner.
In the afternoon, the first thing is a squad [drill] and then what is called the battalion drill which takes up most of the time in the afternoon and at 6½ o’clock, we have to go to supper which is not a very unpleasant duty, I can assure you. We then have our duties for the day performed. At 10 o’clock we all have to turn in. Everything is done in true military style which is by the roll of the drum. We all have to sleep on the floor with nothing under us but our blankets. We are kept very strict. We are not allowed to go out of the building without a pass and we cannot get one more than once a week.
I have not been out on the street but once since we have been here without I was on guard or to drill and that was last Sunday. There is about 1200 men in the [Treasury] building where we are quartered and you know where there is so many together they have to be very strict and it would not do to be any other way. I do not think much of our living in the way of grub. It is bread and meat and hard bread. But then I think I can get along very well in that respect.
We have nothing to do Sunday except them that stand guard and every man has to stand guard about once in 10 days.
Lydia, I am very sorry that I cannot send you your papers but I will send you something to read if I can get out to get it this week and if I cannot, I will the first time that I get a chance. Lydia, I should have like to have seen you before I came here but it was impossible. I went away in a hurry, I can tell you. I did [not] even go back to my boarding house to pack up my clothes but then I shall not be gone long. It is not as though I was out for five years. I must close now but I will write again soon. So goobye.
Yours most truly, — S. M. Bragdon
P. S. To direct your letter: S. M. Bragdon, Washington D. C., Co. E, 5th Reg. M. Vols. In care of Capt. John Hutchins