1863-07-05Camp of the 45th Regt PV
Camp of the 45th Regt PV

July 5th 1863

Dear Parents

Your most welcome letter of the 7th June came to hand this morning. It is needless for me to say that I was glad to hear from you. We are lying in camp where we stopped last night. Yesterday the Rebels surrendered Vicksburg at 6 o'clock with 22,000 prisoners, 17,000 available men, the rest were sick and wounded. There was a large amount of artilery but the particulars of the surrender we have not yet learned. Soon after the surrender Genl Grant started what troops he could spare after Johnson. We are now within 1 1/2 miles of the Big Black but where we shall cross is uncertain. The enemy's batteries can be seen from this side of the river. It is probably Genl Grants intention to keep Johnson from enforcing Bragg. It is reported that our advance captured some 1800 of Johnson's troops yesterday but I hardly think that true. Too many victories in one day do not sound well. I think if we had somebody to take care of Lee and his army we should soon end the war. What do you think now about Hooker being whipped at Fredericksburg. It seems it is now capable of keeping him from invading our own beloved State. I think if Little Mac had command of the army and those men like Halleck would let him alone, the Rebels would soon be glad to flee to there fortifications at Richmond. I have not the least confidence in Genl Hooker. I can't see the first place where he has displayed any generalship. We only followed up Burnsides old plan of crossing the Rappahannock and when he had crossed it and was just on the point of achieving a splendid victory, he lost himself and could go no further, consequently the Rebels whipped him severely but I hope the war will soon end and peace can be restored to the nation.

July 5 '63

This is one of the most miserable states we have ever been in. Mother spoke about how we get our washing done. Why, do it ourselves or get some of the boys to do it for us but here there is hardly watter enough to drink and cook with, let alone washing but I hope we will be called back soon now that Vicksburg is taken and I think we shall be sent back to Kentucky soon. The Rebels have been in there since we left but we will soon rout them if we go back. I have written about all the news that will interest you. The boys are all well as usual. We get plenty of blackberrys now and green corn is about large enough. The boys are fetching some into camp. I have not been after any yet for I do not think it very healthy in this climate. I have enjoyed exceeding good health since I have been down here and hope to continue to do so. We are in hopes of getting through safe now. We have only 14 months to stay in the service. That, if we have good health will soon pass away. My respects to all enquiring friends, yourselves the greater share. Please write often as convenient and I will do the same. your ever Affectionate Son

J .D. Strait

Direct as usual