Spanish American War

June 23, 1898

Camp Alger, Falls Church, Virginia



Friend Mamie,

Arrived at camp all OK Saturday. Camp life is a hard one. I have just come off a detail. I was detailed to work in the kitchen washing dishes.

Camp Alger perhaps in your estimation is a grand place, well it is no such thing. Camp Alger contains about 20,000 soldiers, 106 men…….in Co. I-3rd Reg. NY Volunteer Infantry. We are all crazy to go to Cuba…..all I want now is to see one good battle and return home.

I get lonesome sometimes, here we see nothing but men. Once in a while we see a few ladies. I have only seen 8 ladies since I’ve been here.

We have to be up at 5:25 in the morning and answer roll call, then we go to mess, rest till 7, then drill for an hour, then we police the streets and see that they’re clean and everything in order and then we drill again from half past nine until 10:30, then we grub again (grub means dinner). Then we rest unti 3:15 in the afternoon. Then we can do what we like til 9:30 in the evening. And so on day in and day out.

We have a YMCA tent here. We men can go up there and read and play games. 

I have a little bible that the secretary of the YMCA gave me and I read a chapter each so that when I come home, if I ever do, I will be a better man.

I will be nearly 22 years old before I’ll see home again. Just think of that. May God will it that may come sooner.

If I ever come home again you will all be surprised at me. This life has changed my career for the better. It has made a man of me. Yet I must not think of coming home yet. I must wait till this cruel war is over.

For breakfast this morning I had mush and hardtack, and for dinner I had bean soup and meat and coffee. I don’t know what I’ll have for supper. I suppose the same.

You see a soldier’s life isn't what its cracked up to be.

You have to get used to everything. We have no spoons or knives. We have tin plates.

Dust is about a foot thick. We have no rain but when it does come, look out. It comes in earnest then.

I slept out in the wood the first two nights and now I’m sleeping in my canvas home. Well, I will close. From your friend, Paul Skinner I fight for you and my country.

-- Paul Skinner to Mamie Dalton Richardson, donated by her granddaughter Janice Beutner

June 23, 1898
Camp Alger, Falls Church, Virginia


Friend Mamie,

Arrived at camp all OK Saturday. Camp life is a hard one. I have just come off a detail. I was detailed to work in the kitchen washing dishes.
Camp Alger perhaps in your estimation is a grand place, well it is no such thing. Camp Alger contains about 20,000 soldiers, 106 men…….in Co. I-3rd Reg. NY Volunteer Infantry. We are all crazy to go to Cuba…..all I want now is to see one good battle and return home.

I get lonesome sometimes, here we see nothing but men. Once in a while we see a few ladies. I have only seen 8 ladies since I’ve been here.
We have to be up at 5:25 in the morning and answer roll call, then we go to mess, rest till 7, then drill for an hour, then we police the streets and see that they’re clean and everything in order and then we drill again from half past nine until 10:30, then we grub again (grub means dinner). Then we rest unti 3:15 in the afternoon. Then we can do what we like til 9:30 in the evening. And so on day in and day out.

We have a YMCA tent here. We men can go up there and read and play games. 

I have a little bible that the secretary of the YMCA gave me and I read a chapter each so that when I come home, if I ever do, I will be a better man.

I will be nearly 22 years old before I’ll see home again. Just think of that. May God will it that may come sooner.
If I ever come home again you will all be surprised at me. This life has changed my career for the better. It has made a man of me. Yet I must not think of coming home yet. I must wait till this cruel war is over.

For breakfast this morning I had mush and hardtack, and for dinner I had bean soup and meat and coffee. I don’t know what I’ll have for supper. I suppose the same.

You see a soldier’s life isn't what its cracked up to be.
You have to get used to everything. We have no spoons or knives. We have tin plates.
Dust is about a foot thick. We have no rain but when it does come, look out. It comes in earnest then.

I slept out in the wood the first two nights and now I’m sleeping in my canvas home. Well, I will close. From your friend, Paul Skinner I fight for you and my country.

-- Paul Skinner to Mamie Dalton Richardson, donated by her granddaughter Janice Beutner

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