|1862-09-25||Camp near Brookville, MD|
|Sept. 25th 1862|
Just one year ago today I left that loved home on the mountain side for the service of our country. How swift to me the time has ?ed though to you it may seem to have been an age almost and how much longer we shall have to remain is unknown to us but I hope not long until this accursed Rebellion will be ended and a war which is causing brother to meet against brother in this deadly strife and to cause each their blood to flow from kindred hearts, how cruel to look upon but when we are engaged in the deadly conflict little do we think that we are causing many fond hearts to bleed for the loss of some dear friend that has fallen. Since I wrote to you a week ago yesterday we have been engaged in one of the hardest battles fought since this war began.
It was fought on Wednesday the 17th inst just after the battle on Sunday. We followed the enemy up to and overtook the main army on Tuesday and or rather on Monday night in the night. The artillery engaged each other through the day on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning the infantry engaged each other in the right wing first and as the battle raged and grew more desperate it extended to the left. Our division were held in reserve having been engaged on Sunday but about 4 oclock we were ordered forward to the support of the left wing. In the forenoon the Rebels held possession of the bridge over Antietam Creek running through a deep hollow and on the right bank bordered by a high bluff giving their men the advantage by odds besides but our men finally succeeded in driving them from their stronghold but they still held the height of land beyond still keeping the advantage on their own side. We crossed the bridge and were ordered to charge over a steep hill over several bridges that were laying upon the side of the hill and we have since been told that they refused to move forward upon the enemy but our old Col who is acting as Brigadier Genl came to the top of the hill and ordered the 45th forward and not a man could flinch when we saw our gallant commander in front of us asking his men to follow. We moved to the top of the rise of ground in front of us where we were immediately under range of the enemys batteries that were throwing grape and cannister into our ranks but fortunately they did us no harm and it seems almost like a miracul that so few of our Regt were killed but we moved so quick and fast that the grey backs could not get a good range on our lines but about 40 or 50 of the boys were killed and wounded. We lost but one and another slightly wounded. None of the boys from our place have rec'd a scratch yet but it may be our turn next. I believe I have given you a description of both battles in other letters so I will not say any more about it only that we drove off the greybacks and they have now crossed the Potomac. We have been in our present camp for the last three days but we are now under orders to be ready at a moments warning and we may have to leave in a few moments and we may lay here for several days longer. It is hard telling when or which way an army may move. In the Wednesday fight, Capt James Carle was wounded but how badly I have not been able to learn. It has been reported that Richmond and Fort Sumter have both been taken but I hardly credit this report. Little Harpers Ferry was taken by Jackson or rather our troops that were in possession of the place at the time Jackson went down there were sold to the Rebels by our officers. Col. Miles he would not let the men fire a gun but as soon as he thought that the grey backs were near enough our men would not have time to resist hoisted the white flag and was immediately shot by his own men but it was to late to save the place and they had to give it up. But Leigh was so close at hand that Jackson had to skedaddle and had not time to parole all of the men but parolled the officers and they were sworn to parole the men but the boys swore they will never take the oath. They tore their colors from their staffs and went into Washington. One Cavalry Regt lost their way through Jacksons army and captured 5 of his ammunition trains and came off with them so old Stonewall did not make a great deal after all in the opperation. It hardly seems possible that this war could hold out much longer. They say that the Rebels cannot get anything more out of VA to live on and where are they going to get subsistance for their army. I do not know that I have anything more of interest to write so I will not write now so good by for the present.
As there is no prospect of our moving soon the order yesterday being countermanded I thought I would finish this letter and send it off. The order yesterday was to reenforce Leigh but he found that he has men enough without our help and sent word that he had driven the enemy so we have nothing this morning only the boys are well as usual. I have a slight cold but that will soon work off if I give it no addition but I will close this little scribbling and ask you to write soon and long letters.
This from your ever true and Affectionate Sou.
Ethan and Julania Strait
Direct To Washington, D.C.` Dear Parents
I will merely state that before I got this letter sealed I rec'd a letter from you of Sept. 3rd and was glad to hear from you. I also rec'd a letter from Cousin Sabin. He says that wheat this year is a total falieur only turning 3 bushels to the acre and that weighs 40 lbs per bushel. Theirs they never cut. Crops are a total falieur but not so all through the state but I must close so good by.