1862-05-25North Edisto, S.C.
North Edisto, S.C.

May 25th 1862


Dear Parents

Sabbath finds me again writing to you after a long time. I say long because I have not been in the habit of letting it run so long after receiving a letter from home without answering it but on the present occasion I think it excusable for we have been on the move. When I rec'd your last letter I was writing to you and barely acknowledged the receipt of it. We were under marching orders and packing up when we got our last mail. I was not very well when I last wrote to you but I have nearly recovered now though not quite as well as usual. It is the first sick spell I have had since I have been in South Carolina, and this in nothing serious, change of water and change of situation operates upon most of thc boys to make them a little unwell at first but we soon become acclimated. The water we get here is not as good as the water we get in Old Tioga County. It is of a more sulphurous character. Coming as the most of it does from the ocean it is brackish and unhealthy. We left Otter last Wednesday and landed here on Thursday morning. On the morning we left Otter Island I was detailed to go with some other boys to Funswick (some 3 miles from the landing) after Capt. Shefiin of Co H and part of his Co. and had to row an old launch against the tide up there and when we got back our Co had gone on board the steamer and three of us boys were left behind. So there was no way left for us but to go back the way we came. The boat could only carry their Co. and there were their Co. to go across with large low boats called launches or lighters. It was in such boats as these that the other three Co. were to go, and you can imagine that it was no easy job for us to row a boat loaded with some 60 or 70 men and their guns and knapsacks, and against the tide too, but we set out with good cheer glad to get out of the flea hole, go where we would, but as good fortune would have it we had a favorable wind a good share of the way, which with the help of the oars we made very good headway and after rowing some 30 or 35 miles we landed upon Edisto Island about 8 o'clock at night, then we were told that after we had lain still long enough for us all to get what coffee we wanted for our suppers we had to march some 10 miles that night before we slept that night unless we chose to sleep while coffee was getting ready which I improved to the best of my advantage by unrolling my blankets and spreading my guns upon the ground and the woolen one over myself and one of my comrades and in less time than it takes me to write it we were wraped in the armes of morpheous, but before we lay down to sleep we went to a spring a short way from the campfire to fill our canteens and when returning my companion and myself picked my quart pail full of blackberys. This may seem strange to you that we could pick berys after dark but they were so thick that by getting down you could see them against the white sand. It was the first time I ever saw berys so thick that you could pick them after night, but the vines run on the ground low and the thickest I ever saw berys of any kind black or white.

But after we got our coffee we were ordered to fall in and be off for camp, it being dark and having no guide that was acquainted with the ground, it was some time before we got onto the right road, but after we got into the road we soon left again and were some five miles out of our way and how much farther we should have gone had it not been for some pickets we run across who put us on our rite road, so we faced about and went back about 1/2 mile and lay down for a few hours and just as daylight made its appearance we were called up and on we went. A few hours walk soon brought us to Genl Wrights headquarters the Seabrook Plantation, one of the most beautiful places I ever beheld. I thought Stony House and Popes were nice places but they never could hold anything like a comparison. Everything about the grounds was in such nice taste. The shrubbery is trimmed in every shape to make it beautiful and pleasing to the eye but it is useless for me to try to give you any kind of an idea of its splendor and beauty. But it is my private opinion publickly and present that a man who would leave such a pleasant home as that deserves to be shot unless he had more cause for leaving than these southern planters have or would have if they were honest men. I think if I had my pick in the plantations I could find in South Carolina I could be content to live upon them, through the winter season at least.

We have a very pleasant camp here. We are not troubled by the fleas here quite as bad as they were at Otter Island. But Jehiel has just been growling about one biting him. We are under marching orders and under constant expectations of leaving. Some think for Charleston but where no one knows. It is very uncertain when we will leave this camp. We may be called in a fiew hours and we may remain here several weeks or months, but l hope if we make another move it will be toward Charleston City. We are now about 12 miles from the city. There are some 12,000 or 18,000 troops upon this island and every day more coming. They are concentrating a large force here ready for action. It is thought by some we are to take possession of the railroad running from Charleston to Savannah to cut off the retreat of the rebels and so capture them as they retreat before our troops advancing from the North, but l guess I have written about enough for once. Our letters are not changed as our address you will direct as usual to Port Royal, S.C. All of our mail comes there as before. I have heard that the governor has forbidden to let any more boxes come through for he expects to see us all come home by the first of July or in 60 days at least. Give my respects to all enquiring friends and the greater share for yourselves. I close hoping to hear from you soon so goodby for the present.

This from your Affectionate Son.

J.D. Strait

Direct as usual

Ethan Strait Esq.