1862-02-02Port Royal S.C.
Feb. 2nd 1862

Dear Parents,

Sabbath afternoon finds me engaged in writing to you. I thought perhaps you would like to read a few lines from me as I have some spare time I could not enjoy it more pleasantly than by talking with you a little while. Though we cannot be permitted to converse with each other face to face, it affords some consolation to be permitted to converse with each other through the agency of pen, ink and paper. I am well and enjoying very good health. I hope the few broken sentences find you both enjoying the same blessing. I have enjoyed better health down here than since I left home. While up around Washington I was not sick or well, but felt as though it would be a very easy thing to get sick, but since we left Camp Casey I have been gaining in health. I do not think I should have been sick any of the time if I had not caught the measles. The land Dixie, or rather the climate seems to agree with me very well, not only with me but with all the boys. They are all getting very fleshy. There is but very few sick ones in the reg. As far as I know there is only part of the reg. here on this island. We are all broken up. Our Col. is homesick, and the Co. is scattered all over. Our Co. is divided into 4 different squads. I am stationed about 1 mi. from the Co. quarters. There are 14 of us. We do not have very hard times. Down here we have to stand guard 3 hours out of every 24, 1 in the day and 2 in the night. Henry, Thomas, Jehiel and John Beach are about 1 1/2 mi. above here. They are on picket duty. They are in sight of the rebel picket. It is about 2 mi. across the channel to where the rebels are from Buckingham Ferry.

Where Henry is, he has six men besides himself. There is a point of land about 1 mi. from here where C, A and D pickets are, that you can talk with the rebels and understand each other very well. The boys often exchange shots with them, but their shots fall short. One week ago today the fleet left Port Royal harbor. Six of their boats passed up this channel, the rest of the expedition went around the other hannel. We did not know where they were bound but supposed they were bound for Savannah. Monday proved our uppositions correct as the cannons were heard retty plain for three days. There was some pretty heavy cannonading. The last news we had they were within 2 mi of Savannah and had ordered them to surrender and gave them three days to make up their minds. When the time was up they would commence firing upon them if they did not lay down their arms, but how it turned out I do not know. I find it much more pleasant doing the duty of soldier down here than. it was up around Washington. It is true we are in more danger here than there, but that is what we expect and what we want. I should like to see a com. of rebels try to make an advance upon us. We would show them that the Mud Sills, as they call us, were not so easily trodden under foot as might be supposed at first sight, but I do not think there is any danger of the 45th going into action, for it seems we are destined to be kept policing and guard duty, but I am in hopes this war will soon end and we can all be permitted to return to our respective homes, not but what I like the life of a soldier well enough. If I did not think duty called me home more, I should think something about joining the regular service, but I think duty calls me home when this war is ended and our National independence restored once more. Till then I am content to stay where I am though we have to suffer many privations which if we were at home would not think could be endured with any degree of patience, but as it is we do not think of omplaining in the least. We fare much better than our Fore Fathers fared in the Revolution. We have better fare and quarters than is generally found in the routine of a soldier's life. We have plenty to eat and drink and I have a good feather bed to sleep upon. A.E. Ellsworth bought a bed at Big Point and we share a room together so he shares his bed with me. We expect to get our pay soon. When we get it I shall send you all the money I can spare. I shall send it by Jimmy Cole if he goes to Boro. He is going on recruiting service. If he does not go home, I shall send it by express to the Boro to Jas. Watrous or Calvin Keller so you can get it. But I do not know of anything more that will interest you. Please answer as soon as you can. I wrote to you once since I came down here besides this. I have made a practice of writing home once a week all the time until the first of this month when I missed two weeks, but I will make up lost time in long letters. Give my respects to all enquiring friends. So good by for the present from your son.

J .D. Strait

Address Co I 45 Reg't

Col Welsh Pa V

Port Royal S.C.