1862-01-18Port Royal Hilton Head Stony Plantation
Jan 18th 1862

Port Royal Hilton Head

Stony Plantation

Sabbath Afternoon

Dear Parents

Sabbath afternoon finds me writing to you. It has been some time since I have written to you. Having written a good many and not rec'd any answers I thought I would wait awhile. I am once more with the reg't. We left Fortress Monroe a week ago today.

We took shipping about 5 o'clock in the afternoon and was on the boat until Thursday noon when we landed at Fort Walker, then had to march about 5 miles to get to the Co. We found the reg't divided into several different parts. Our Com. is stationed upon an island about 12 miles long by 8 wide. It is a very pleasant place. We are quartered in the mansion belonging to Stony Plantation. We have a very pleasant room. From the window by which I am writing one can look out upon the stream that passes through the place and down Scull Creek into Broad River.

5 o'clock and I am trying to write a little more to you. Since I commenced writing this I have taken a walk down to Pope's lower plantations where I saw one of the most splendid orange groves on the island. We have plenty of orange trees and lemon, fig, and various other kinds of fruit. Our garden here is as nice as they are up there in June. Lettuce, plenty of it, and peas full bloom and they are getting our cabbage and strawberry plants in blossom. I have picked one very nice rose and another flower. The name of which I do not know. The weather here is warm as it is up there in June.

Evening. You will perceive that I have to write this letter piece meal. The boys are making so much noise that I can scarcely collect my thoughts enough to write. I found the boys all in good health and fleshier than I have even seen them in a long time. They are well except Jehiel. He has two sore toes. From all appearances the place is very healthy, and it is decidedly the most pleasant situation we have occupied since we have been in the service. The house which we occupy was owned by a widow lady by the name of Stone. It has been a splendid place but sadly injured by the soldiers. The buildings were all well furnished, but the furniture has been despoiled by the troops. Our boys have four different posts to guard. From the picket post at the ferry the boys have exchanged shots with the rebels. I have been where I could see the rebels but have not had a chance to shoot at them.

But as to the trip from Fort Monroe. We had a very pleasant voyage, everything taken into consideration. Monday at one o'clock we anchored at Hatress Inlet to unload some cargo and land some soldiers of the 9th Reg't N.Y. While here the sea was pretty high, the wind blowing quite a gale. Gen'l Burnside's expedition came in and filled up the channel so that the Capt. of the boat thought it unsafe to lay there until morning so we put out at sea. Tuesday morning found us in a dense fog and the pilot and capt were lost from the course. During the night before we lay adrift and then a heavy head wind we were drifted back some ways out of our course. Wednesday we sailed in a south west and west of SW direction until about 3 o'clock when the long wished for land appeared in view. We landed at Port Royal about 5 o'clock and lay on the boat until Thursday noon. I did not get sea sick enough to cast up accounts, but a good many of the boys were sick for two days, but we all arrived safe and sound. I was glad enough to get with the boys once more, but I shall have to close soon for it is getting late. I have attended prayer meeting and we had a very good meeting. I have received quite a number of letters from you, 4 or 5 from you and quite a number beside, 15 in all I think.

My letters from Washington came after a long time, or a part of them at least. I rec'd 8 stamps from you but the 3 cent piece I did not find nor the 25 cents Henry sent me you spoke of, but perhaps that may come along after awhile. I rec'd six papers, one letter, and two papers the Major brought, but expect some of my letters are at Fort Monroe yet, and the other two papers may be there yet.

I should have written to you before this time, but I had written so many and not received any that I was tired of writing, but I will make up for lost lime now. My health is not nearly as good as before I got the measles, but I am not as fleshy as to quite a number of pounds, but we have plenty to eat and I shall soon be fat as a bear. There is plenty of corn and cattle on the island, but the cattle and sheep are hard to catch on account of their being so wild. They have been chased so much they are as bad as deer to catch.

But as the country, I think S.C. one of the most pleasant places I ever saw, as far as I have been. It may well be called the Palmetto State. This tree is one of the most beautiful shade trees I know of. I cannot give you a description so as to give you any idea how it looks. And oysters, there is no end to them. There are acres of them to be seen when the tide is out, but they are not as good as the Delaware oyster.

I am very glad you have bought a pair of colts, and I hope to be back to take care of them one of these days. You did not say whether you had sold or disposed of any one of the teams, and as to that money I sent home you may do what you think best with it. We have not rec'd our pay yet. When we get our pay I shall send home some more. If nothing happens. It is late and I must bid you good night once more. Please write as soon as you get this. Give my respects to all enquiring friends. This from your Affectionate Son.

J.D. Strait

Address Company I

45th Reg't Col. Welsh Pa. V.

Port Royal, S.C.