1863-05-17Camp near Hustonville, Ky.
Camp near Hustonville, Ky.

May I7, 1863

Dear Parents,

This pleasant Sabbath afternoon finds me trying to answer your most welcome letter of the 6th inst which came to hand on the 4th. I should have answered before today but I was on picket yesterday and the day before I did not feel like writing nor do I feel much like it today but I will do the best can to interest you for a few moment. We left Middlebury on Green River Tuesday and came back to this place with the General. He concluded to establish his headquarters here. There have been reports for several days hack that Morgan was in this vicinity with 12,000 Cavalry. The report was the occasion of our having considerable more picket duty to do but as he has now moved his men I think the excitement will give way and leave us to our usual quiet again.

We have a splendid camping ground located near a beautiful stream of watter and in a grove of maple and oak. The surrounding country is very nice rich fields covered with grain, corn has mostly been hoed for the first time. Clover in is blossom with come early pieces of what is heading rye in blossom. Everything looks fine. I presume you have hardly got through planting yet. Oh how I wish I was at home to help along the work. It would be much more pleasant than camp life but we will make the best of the next 16 months to come. We can for then I hope to be free again, if not before, though some seem to think we will be obliged to stay until the war ends but I cannot see it in that light for I do not think we will be needed longer, though the last news we had from Hooker does not cheer us very much. He was so confident of his ability to drive the Rebels from their stronghold but from the reports in the papers he got a worse whipping than we did last winter under General Burnside. They will probably remove Hooker now and give some other man a chance to try his military powers and when they have tried all and got little Mack back he will rout the Rebels. When they condemned General McClellan and removed him from command, we lost the best general we have in the field. McClellan was slow but sure. He generally was ready. When he moved, he made it count but writing about failures and successes will never end the war so I will stop. I do not know what I will do to fill up this large sheet for I am very absentminded today. I have written all the news of these parts so guess I will wait until after dress parade before finishing this so goodbye until this evening.

Well it is after supper and I am again seated with my portfolio upon my knee trying to finish this letter but I fear it will form a vain attempt to interest those who peruse it. We had a splendid parade and plenty of spectators. The people here are quite taken with our mode of drill. We drill the manual of arms by the tap of the drum without the word of command. I guess it is the only Reg't that understands the drill well enough to go through the manual of arms in that stile. Whenever we stop near a town, the people all flock to see us on parade consequently we get many admirers.

I hardly know what to write more. When you write again let me know how your work gets along and who helps you or if you are trying to get along alone. You spoke of giving up building your house. I don't see how you will stand it another winter. I have not heard from Uncle Norman since we left Fredericksburg last winter. He has not kept his promise very well.

Give my respects to all enquiring friends and tell Susan I would write to her but that I would rather take a whipping any time than to write a letter but when I feel like writing I will try to write some to her. Please write as often as convenient to your ever Affectionate Son

J .D. Strait