|1862-07-04||Port Royal Harbor S.C.|
|Port Royal Harbor S.C.|
Hilton Head Island
July 4th 1862
This fourth of July the great Anniversary of our National Independence finds me far away in the land of Dixie trying to scribble a few lines to you. Having a few liesure moments I thought perhaps I could find no better employment than to write a letter to you though I shall not finish this letter now. Our Co have not arrived here yet. I do not know what keeps them so long. This is about as full as a fourth as I ever saw, nothing going on, not a gun was fired, this morning at 12 they fired a salute. I suppose that in such a military place there would be something going on of intrest but they seem to all be dead or no life about them. We can't get anything to eat that one wants or that one can relish. I have had some roast corn today for 5 cents an ear. This comes of nigger Labor but I do not know but it is all right but if I were at home I do not think I should come to fight to help the lazy scamps. If you want them to do anything you have to pay them twice what it is worth and then you cant get them without they choose them. Maybe you will have to do it yourself after bothering with them for half a day but my hand trembles so that I can scarcely write so that you can hardly read this so I will stop for the present so good by untill next time.
Sabbath July 6th 1862
This pleasant day finds me once more engaged in penned a few broken sentences to you. The fourth ended as it began with the exception of a heavy drenching rain and about 9 oclock our Co came in about time it was raining the hardest. They were drowning wet but we soon rigged up good warm and dry beds for them. They were not molested by the Rebels after we left the Island, though they were stationed on picket under cover of one of the enemy's batteries and when they were called into camp down at Stephens Bridge they had to double quick through the hot sun. The distance from the line of the picket to Stephens Camp is about 4 miles, but they did not double quick all the way. The expedition against James Island did not amount to much in our favor. We lost in all about 1000 men while we were there. Genl Benam was taken North under guard and the report came back that he committed suicide while on his way to Fortress Monroe but how true it is I do not know. He was arrested for taking his troop into such a fight against orders from the War Department. I do not write this as fact because I know it but from report, but I think he deserves some punishment about as bad an arch traitor for when our men were making the charge against the Rebels battery the gun boats threw shells over toward the battery but the shells fell short and did more damage to our men, killing a good many and the Genl sent back word that they were doing good execution and told them to keep on throwing shells when they were killing our own men. I think this has the appearance of a traitor more than anything else. I think if some of the Rebels in our own army were hung the war would end before long and probably would have ended long ago but I may be mistaken. We are now settled down in Camp where we can look out upon the Bay and see the vessels as they come proudly into port. It could be very pleasant camp if we had good shade but there is not a shade tree in the camp, but we have a cool refreshing sea breeze nearly all the time. I do not know how long we shall remain here but I do not think long for the Maj and Col are anxious to get into summer quarters and I hope we shall have a chance to lay still for a spell for we have had a rather hard time of it for the last month. I think it is time we lay still. The troops that have been laying still for the last six months have a chance to get into the field and show their valor. We have not done much fighting but we have done guard duty enough to make up for all the fighting we have not done, but we have done all we have had a chance to do, but I guess I have written enough of this sort. We have plenty of green corn and melons and tomatoes ripe. I had a good dish for breakfast, but we don't eat much green trash for fear of sickness. We get a piece of chees and butter occasionally by paying 20 cts per lb for chees and 50 cts per lb for butter, other things according, but I suppose you have or will have garden sauce plenty soon and I wish that I was at home to help eat it with you and help do the harvesting and haying but you need not look for me under one year unless I get a furlow and that I shall do this fall if there is any such a thing possible, but I presume it will be hard matter for one to get leave of absence, but I do not think we shall do much more in this state this summer for the weather is becoming very warm and the sickly season is approaching when those living in the South have to look for summer quarters. Some have gone to Beaufort, that being a very healthy place. Many of our sick are taken there, those that are not able to go North. If I had time I would like to give you the particulars in detail of this last month but you will probably see it in the Agitator from some of the boys in our Co for some of them are writing pieces for the paper in the next tent of July 2nd. I have not seen it therefore do not know what the news is but some of the boys say that it states that Richmond is not taken yet. Well my sheet is nearly full and I must close soon. There is a boat just came into port today and I hope there is a mail for us for I would like to hear from home but I must bid you good by for the present. This leaves me well and I hope this will find you the same. Please write as often and as long letters as you can and I will do the same.
This from your Affectionate Son.
J .D. Strait
Direct as same
Yours Affectionatelly JDS