This short letter is the first in the series written from William Beebe. He seems anxious to write to his parents and family because he, and brother Chester, just received their letter 15 minutes earlier.
The letter is written January 16, 1862 and the camp, particularly the Michigan men, is quite upset. They have heard rumors that they are about to be mustered into the Union army as members of the Illinois infantry, and they have vowed not to do so. All had enlisted to serve in a unit of mechanics and engineers. They are willing to serve as infantry but only in a Michigan unit.
William tells his parents not to worry as there is nothing they can do. He promises to keep them informed. He has also taken the temperance pledge, that is, he will not drink alcoholic beverages.
to father M. Wm R Beebe
Camp Douglas Chicago
Chicago Ill Jan the 16
Dear Father and Mother Sister and Brothers
we received your letter about 15 moments ago we was glade[sic] to hear from you and to hear that you was well we are both well I have been sick but I am all wright[sic] we are still in trouble here but it will be settled this week the Col of the post is coming around to tell us our destiny to day I wont write anymore about that till after he comes around he has been here and we dont know any more about it than we did before he has received orders to muster in as ILL troops but this company that we are in has voted that we will not muster in if they keep us here 45 years it keeps up a grate[sic] hubub all of the time. you must not truble[sic] yourself about us you cant help it any if you do I got a letter from uncle A R Allen they were all well every company that he has been to has taken the same oath that they will not muster in I cant think of any more I signed the temperance pledge last night