1863-08-30Crab Orchard, Ky.
Crab Orchard, Ky.

Aug. 30th 1863

Dear Parents

This pleasant afternoon finds me trying to write to you. The last letter I wrote was commenced at the Hospital and finished at Camp. I am now enjoying excellent health and hope I shall continue to enjoy the same while in the service at least, when one gets sick here it makes me at least think of home but if nothing happens 12 months more will see the end of our Soldiering. A great many of our boys are sick. We have 6 privates for duty in the Company. The rest are all sick and laid back. We have only 23 noncommissioned officers and all with the Company but we expect to get conscripts to fill up the Co. before long. There is a squad of noncommissioned officers going to Camp Curtin for conscripts before long, at least their names have been sent in to get transportation. I suppose Walter is having a fine time. I was sick when he left the Regt. I wish I could have seen him when he started but could not. I would enjoy a trip home but it is useless for me to try for a furlow while there are so many that the Officers are of the opinion that they need a furlow on account of having families, but I think I want to see my people as well as those that have wives and children. Perhaps I am ungenerous but I think my affections for my parents are as great as anyone elses but enough of this. I presume ere this you have heard of the death of General Welsch. He died at Cincinnati. When I heard of his death we were in Louisville, Ky. on the hospital boat. The moment I heard the report I was sick of Soldiering. We miss him already on the first march. We don't have him to cheer us along when he thinks we are tired. I do not believe there is another such man in the whole army. Some do not like him but there are those that never wish to obey orders.

I do not know that I have any news to write. Burnside has gone on to Tennessee with the 23rd AC. Some think we will join them but I think it will be altogether owing to the success of those that are in front. I understand that they have already taken Cumberland Gap. If that is the case they will hardly meet with any great obstacle until they get to Knoxville. I hope we shall not leave this state this fall or winter if we are to remain in service. I would like to remain in some good place but that does not seem to be our fortune.

The weather here is getting quite cool. This morning we found the ground covered with frost. I presume you have had a great many hard frosts before this for it is farther North, consequently colder. We have had a very pleasant Camp now that it is cleaned up but we have had to work all yesterday afternoon and this forenoon to get it polished. I think another year would pretty well clean Kentucky and make her look like a new house for every camp we have to sweep as clean as any floor. That book I told you about I sent by mail a few days ago. I only put two stamps on it for I had not got the stamps and it is all I can do to get stamps to pay my postage. They are scarce. We send off to get our supplies when we can. 1 will send you money enough to pay the rest of the postage. You spoke of my sending you some money and I will send $15.00 in the letter. Tomorrow is muster and the paymaster promised to pay us again by the 18th of Sept. then I will send $15.00 more if nothing happens. I should have sent more along back but we had been living upon hardtack so long that when we got where we could afford to live better I did not know when to stop eating so I spent most of my last 6 months pay but I will send what I can spare home for I do not want you to work too hard to pay your debts. I do not know that I have any more to write at present. Please write as often as convenient and give my respects to all enquiring friends.

I see by the Agitator that O.A. Smith is drafted. I hope he will go like a man and not slink out like a coward. If he asks you what I think of the service tell him I would much rather be here than branded as a coward at home but one thing that does me good he will have to pay $300.00 to aid our government that is but a mite compared to the cost of each days work of US boys but I must bid you good bye for the present. Yours Affectionately

J .D. Strait

$15.00 Enclosed

You will find the above amount and when we get pay I will send as much as I can spare.