1861-10-02Camp Courtin
Camp Courtin Oct the 2nd 1861

Dear Parents,

It is with pleasure that I now improve the present opportunity of writing to you to let you know that we are all well (that is, the boys from Elk Run) and enjoying ourselves well. Camp Courtin is far different from what I expected to find it. Our fare is good enough for anybody and enough of it. I have found different society here from what I expected to find. There are all classes of men to be found here and there is good society as well as bad.

Last evening being the first spent in camp I think was spent profitably. I attended religious services in two different places. Elder Hascai from Mixtown spoke to us the fore part of the evening from the 2d ch of Revelation and 20th verse. He spoke very well. In the latter part of the evening we attended prayer meeting in the headquarters of the Quartermaster. Many of the soldiers seemed to enjoy themselves very well while others were anxiously enquiring what they must do to be saved. There are meetings held in different quarters of the camp. Chene Pemberton and Seth Baxter are in our Company. We have just been sworn into service this afternoon and the surgeon says we are the best lot of boys he has examined yet as a company. We have not the conveniences here that we have at home. I am writing this letter with a sachel and account book as table. I have not time to write much more at present. I do not know as you can read this but you will excuse me for not writing a very long letter and I will try and write more next time as supper is nearly ready I shall have to close soon. The companies are out on dress parade and they make quite a nice appearance. We have drilled but very little. We have been rigging up our tents. We have not got our uniforms yet, shall probably get them in a very few days at most. Give my love to all enquiring friends and tell them I will write to them soon so goodnight.

The orderly gave me a piece of candle so I thought I would finish writing to you tonight. Fifes are playing and drums are beating. Everything is life and animation. The drums are beating enough to deafen one. Some of the boys heard Thomas say that he saw a man direct from Washington. He stated that they were fighting the rebels and were driving them back on Manasas. How true it is I do not know. It is nearly meeting time so I shall not write more tonight. I will give you a description of Camp life in my next. You must write to me as soon as you can, for I should like to hear from home. Tell all of the folks up there that I will write when I can and they must to me and I will answer them when I have time. Write to me as soon as you can get this. Direct to

Camp Courtin
Harrisburg, Pa.
Care of F. M. Hills

Good night from your Affectionate Son,
J. D. Strait