Camp Pierpont, Va.
October 14, 1861
My dear Sisters,
I wrote Ellie a few days ago while on duty in Washington City, after reaching there from Ft. Monroe at which place I received orders countermanding those for Hatteras. I am now with Gen'l McCall comd'g the 1st Brigade of his division. The Wednesday night last we crossed over into Virginia, taking position on the extreme right of the advanced position which our troops took up after the evacuation of Munson's Hill by the enemy, and now ready to give battle to them in a tolerably open country and a fair field if they choose to advance. If they do not, I am unable to say what will be our next move; at all events, should they advance upon us here posted as we are in front of our lines of works and if we cannot whip them we may as well give it up as a bad job. We have a good position considering the country and ought to make a good fight. I begin to agree with somebody who, writing in one of the papers, said "you can not make soldiers out of volunteers." I thought in Mexico that I never would have anything to do with them under any circumstances, and nothing but this state of things in the country would have induced me to take command of any body of them. In coming over here they proceeded at once to plunder and destroy everything in the houses left by the people, in fact, they are no better than those that went forward at Bull Run and if they go backwards as they did—we can hope for nothing from them in this war. They are under no discipline and with the officers they have can never be disciplined or drilled. I almost despair from what I have seen of them since I have been here, of our ever making an attack upon any of the positions the enemy may take up.
I was very much surprised today to see Mrs. MacGraw once past my tent in the Leesburg road. I thought it was her when she passed and as she came back I spoke to her for a few minutes. She told me that you had not rec’d any of my letters. I am not surprised at it tho’ some that 1 mailed at the same time reached their destination. I may get yours and I may not. I gave her (Mrs. M.) my direction for you. “McCall’s Division” is the only thing really necessary as the mails go to Div. Hdqtrs. from the Washington P.0. Give my love to all and let me hear from you.
John F. Reynolds
Sam Reynolds and Mr. Hooper were in Camp at Tenally town and dined with us Thanksgiving Day.