1862-06-29James Island, S.C.
James Island, S.C.

June 29th 1862

Dear Parents

This Sabbath afternoon finds me once more engaged in writing to you. It is a very pleasant day but it would be far better if we had a chance to go to church and sit beneath the sound of the Gospel, but still we have the privilege of worshipping our Creator at all times and places. There is a report afloat through camp that we are to leave this Island, and I think without a doubt we shall leave this place soon. Some say to Western Virginia and some to Fortress Monroe and some to old Camp Curtin, but we shall know when we get to our destination and no sooner. It is very unhealthy here and we are not doing the Government any good, but we are ruining our health by working upon these batteries and laying out on pickets in these heavy dews. They are sending all the wounded and sick men that are not able for duty off to Philadelphia to the Hospital, it being much healthier there in that northern climate than here. Governor Curtin is calling all his sick and wounded home. I think he is doing well. by the boys. Our Col. is now acting as Brigadier Genl, and we expect he will be promoted before long. I think he would make a good Genl, and we know he is a good Col., there are only 6 Cos of us here and it makes hard work for us to do the duty of 10 Cos and the others enjoying themselves as well as they would at home or nearly so as they have nothing to do of any amount, just guard the upper end of Hilton Head Island while we are out on picket and working upon the batteries every fiew nights.

I did not commence this letter to send off today so I will lay it aside and fix for dress parade. We have to come out tonight for tomorrow is our Genl muster when everything has to look as neat as can be, guns all bright and clean and clothes all clean and neatly packed in our knap sacks. All this show for nothing, just to tire a man to death lugging our humps of misery around (or knapsacks). I think the first name the most appropriate but I must bid you good by for the present. This day finds me well and enjoying good health in your old age but l must go to work and clean up my clothes and brasses.

Monday afternoon

Dear Parents

I am again writing to you. We have been out on inspection and a hot time we had of it. Some of the boys had to leave the ranks on account of the heat. This afternoon it has been so far very wet and rainy. I have to go on guard tonight and a sweet time I expect of it too. The work on the batteries has been suspended for the present so it is very evident that there is something to be done very soon but what and where it is I do not know but I hope we shall go North of here. It is possible we may go to reenforce McClellan or Banks and we may not leave South Carolina. We hear so many different reports that we do not know what to believe. I would like to believe the whole but cannot. I do not know what to write that will interest you and I guess I have written enough but the drum is rolling so I will have to leave it untill some other time so good by for the present.

July 3rd

Dear Parents

We are again at Port Royal near Hilton Head, S.C. and I again trying to write a fiew lines to you. I wrote to you that I expected to leave James Island soon and here we are upon Hilton Head but how long we will remain here is uncertain. There is only part of our Co here. We left part of them on picket. I should have been with them but as I told you in the beginning of this letter I was called out on guard and the night the Co were the order came for us to go on board the steamer, the Co had not come into camp yet but we expect them here soon. All the troops are ordered to leave that island so all the work laid out on those fortifications did not amount to anything. The benefit of that expedition and the evacuation is more than I can see, though it might have amounted to a good deal in drawing the force from some other places, but the last news we had from Richmond, McClellan had not got possession of the City. We first hear that our army is in Richmond, then that they are defeated and so it goes and we hardly know what to believe but I think if McClellan destroyed the Southern army there that this war will not be very long lived but there is no telling how long it may last. I do not think we shall remain here long, for they are sending troops away from here every day. I do not know which way we shall go from here. We may go to Beaufort and we may go to Fort Monroe. When we lay down at night it is uncertain whether we shall wake up in the same camp or not. The movements of an army are very misterious but such is the state of the Soldiers, not of the men or Citizens, but I must bring my letter to a final end for we have to pitch our camp and a fiew of us have to set the tents for the whole Co. Please write as often as you can for let ters from home are very cheering. You must excuse the poor penman ship for I have to sit half bent under my blanket to keep out of the hot sun. Please give my regards to all enquiring friends, yourselves includ ed.

This from your Affectionate Son

J.D. Strait

Ethan Strait

Direct as usual