officers of enough education for the purpose). We are under Major Myer of the Regular Army.
I do not know how I shall like it yet, but that will not make much difference, as I cannot help myself.
We have to go through a pretty severe examination before we are admitted.
There were four officers examined from our regiment, and Howard and myself were admitted.
The examination was mainly in spelling and etymology, neither of which are particularly my forte, as you know, but somehow or other I slipped in. Every one says it is a good thing for us; and then, if we do well, we shall perhaps be admitted into the Regular Army.
We each have a horse and two men, besides a servant, and shall very probably get the pay of a cavalry officer.
We are in camp at Georgetown, and study six hours a day. As soon as we know enough, we shall be sent out, two together, all over the country, in every direction.
We have to take an oath not to reveal anything we learn, and as soon as we have all learned the code perfectly, it is to be destroyed.
It will be a very independent life, and we shall feel ourselves pretty important, as we shall know everything that is going on.
On October 6th he writes:—
This work that I am at is very trying to the eyes, as you have to sit all day long looking through a glass; but I have had no trouble as yet, and do not believe I shall.
I was in hopes I should get off on one of the naval expeditions, but I do not believe now that I shall, as probably those that have already gone are all.
He was commissioned First Lieutenant
, November 30, 1861, and was detailed on December 23d, with two other signal officers, to go with General Burnside
's expedition, and joined General Burnside
's command at Annapolis
Here he found a good deal of work and responsibility.
He and his two associates, Lieutenants Fricker
, had to instruct twenty other officers from the different regiments in the signal system,