1862-06-20James Island, S.C.
James Island, S.C.

June 20th 1862

Dear Parents

Friday and I am again once more engaged in writing to you. This is a very warm and pleasant afternoon, the most quiet afternoon that I have witnessed in a long time. It is so still and quiet that it almost seems like a quiet Sabbath day. It is so seldome that we see a Sabbath here in the army that when we do get a day of rest we know how to appreciate it. I should not have been permitted to enjoy this rest but I came off guard duty yesterday afternoon and the Co are out on picket and there are only 4 of us left in our tent Henry and Charley Hart and Ellsworth and myself. Henry is also engaged in writing. He is unwell or would not be in camp. The rest of the boys are all well as usual and as for myself I feel ready for anything in the shape of duty. Since I wrote you a week ago tomorrow we have had another battle. Last Monday morning the force here was got together and an advance made upon the enemy's line and fortification which I am sorry to say resulted in our having to fall back to our old camp with the loss of between 750 and 1100 men out of parts of 2 divisions Wrights and Stephens but how many the Rebels lost we have no way of ascertaining though it is supposed by many that they lost a good many as well as ourselves for when we fell back they did not see fit to follow us. The attack began just at daybreak and lasted until about 10 o'clock when our men saw that they were gaining nothing but getting their men badly cut to pieces they ordered a retreat. Our Regt was held in reserve about 1/2 mile from the battery they were trying to take and then grape and canister and shell flew over our heads rather more than we cared for but fortunately they did no harm. None of us were injured. Our Agitant had his horse shot within a fiew feet of where we were lying. We were ordered to ly down flat upon the ground to avoid the fire of the enemy which we did by so doing. When the order to retreat was given, we had to remain in our position until all of the other Regts had passed us on their retreat. The retreat was made in good order and in Comon time. The position we occupied would have been full as dangerous if not more so if the enemy had followed up, as any place in the field and as a general thing the best Regt is put in reserve and I believe ours is considered to be as good as they have in this division though there are but 6 cos of us here and at the time of the battle 2 of the 6 were on picket, only leaving 4 of them to cover the retreat of an army. Our men made a gallant charge upon the fortifications and drove the Rebels beyond their fort but the ground being so swampy that our men could not get to the marked batteries, it is not considered quite a Bull Run affair but rather a bad affair at the least. Some say it was only intended as a reconnaisance in force to find out the position of the Rebels and their batteries but it was a dear one and cost many lives. The blame is laid upon the Generals Wright and Stephens but I do not know how it is, but I hope there will not be another such affair or move made here, but I must stop writing for I have to go and help get some wood.

Well I am seated once more and while I am penning these lines I hear a band playing a funeral dirge. It sounds solemn indeed for we know that one of our fellow Soldiers have gone to try the realities of another world, but this is an everyday occurrence since the battle. We have lost one of our Sergeants since we left Edisto (I have become so used to calling Camp home) and since died. I presume Father knew him when he lived at the Boro. His name was Solon Dart from Dart Settlement. He was a Christian I think if we have one in the army and was beloved by all the Co but I trust he has gone home now where wars and rumors of wars, pain and sickness are known and feared no more. It will be sad news for his wife and little ones at home but such is the fate of men. I shall not send this out today so I guess I will wait before finishing it until some other day and perhaps I shall have something more to write. Good by for the present


Dear Parents

I am again writing you though I do not feel as well as when I commenced this letter, though I think nothing serious is the matter. Nothing worthy of note has occurred since I commenced this letter. I read a letter from home the 20th and was glad to hear from you, glad to hear that you were not owing any more. We have signed the pay roll and expect to get our pay soon, but I can not send much home for I sent this months pay home before. On the first of July we have 4 months pay due, then I can send some home, but I shall be under the necessity of sending for some stamps for we cannot get any short of Hilton Head and have no chance of sending there. If you will send me one dollars worth of stamps I will send you the money as soon as we get our pay. Today I read a letter from Sabin. Uncle Wills people were all well when he wrote and a letter from Cousin Ella and Uncle Inn. The people were all well out there when they wrote. I should like to be up there to help you do your harvesting but I presume that is out of the question but perhaps I shall be there to help eat those buckwheat cakes you spoke of . I think some would not go bad now for we get nothing but hard crackers and coffee though we are used to that and they go first rate, but my head pains me very bad and I must close this letter. If you can read this you will do well for my hand writing now and I will try to do better next time. Give my respects all enquiring friends and my best wishes for yourselves. You did not write whether you had commenced building your house this summer, but I must bid you good by once more.

This from your Affectionate Son.

J.D. Strait

Ethan Strait

Direct as usual