1861-12-07Fortress Monroe, Va.
Fortress Monroe
Sabbath Dec. 7th 1861

Dear Parents

It is with pleasure that I now attempt to write to you. It has been a but few days since I wrote to you, but I thought perhaps another would not be amiss. I have written several letters since receiving any from you. Your letters do not reach me or else you do not write to me. I have received just one letter from you since I left home or since I left Camp Curtin. I should not write to you this time, but in all probability we shall not stay here long. Our officers say that our destination is South Carolina. The adjutant thinks we shll land first at Beaufort and proceed from there to Florida without any doubt we shall go to Florida when we leave this place, but I do not know how soon we shall leave. I had rather not leave here only if we are on the move when the war is ended we shall be discharged. If we go into a fort we shall have to stay one year, but if we go to Florida we shall not see as much fighting as though we remained in Va., but we shall doubtless have a chance to see a considerable share of the south. I have had the pleasure of visiting the village of Hampton that was burned down by the rebels last spring. It looks as though it might have been a very nice little town, about the size of Wellsboro. There are a few buildings that are not destroyed. These are mostly occupied by colored people, They say their massas have run away and left all of them. Among the number of the buildings left are two very nice mansions, the residence of the Vice-President John Tyler who is now in the rebel ranks the other was some noted personage. His name I have forgotten. He is also in the rebel ranks. I was through both of the buildings. The are very nice but considerably damaged since the owner left. I plucked a flower and a sprig of rose bush on the first day of Dec. as green as in the month of June. I will inclose them in this letter to you and you can keep them as a relick from the garden of the Vice-President Tyler from Va. They may be withered but you will keep them as relicks plucked by your son from the garden of a traitor! The Chesapeake female college is another splendid edifice fronting the bay and situated on the beach presenting a very imposing appearance in that desolate looking country. From the dome of the seminary with a glass one can see Newport News and Sewells Point, two strong rebel batteries, l saw a company of picket guards going out to Newport News to see if the telegraph was all right. They sometimes have a brush with the rebels but nothing serious.

I shall not write much more this time but you must write to me oftener than you do. I do not think I shll write to you until I receive one from you. You must direct to Fortress Monroe or to Company I 45 Regt Col. Welsh Pa. V. Fortress Monroe, Va.

It will be roll call soon and I must close for tonight. Time passes swiftly and I am afraid I shall not be at home to take supper Christmas Eve, but never mind we will have the better time when I get home but good night from your Affectionate Son.

(To his parents) J.D. Strait
P.S. The boys are all getting along very fine. Those that were sick are gaining fast. Your letters will follow the Regt wherever we go if directed to

Company I
45th Reg't Col. Welsh Pa. V.
Fortress Monroe, Va.