1862-07-13Ice House - Hilton Head SC
Ice House

Hilton Head SC

July 13th 1862

Dear Parents

This Sabbath evening finds me engaged once more in writing to you. You may think it strange my heading this letter at the ice house, but I am now on detached duty from the Regt. I was detailed to take charge of the Government ice. I am now stopping with the Suttler who has the horse and store in which the ice is stored. I have been here this makes the 4th day and how long I shall remain here is uncertain. I may stay all summer that is if the ice should last that long which I presume it will. I have been very busy since I came here. When I am not busy with the ice I am helping in the store. I do not like working Sunday but today I have been busy all the time, part of the time dealing out the ice and part of the time helping unload ice that came in on a Schooner, but when nothing of the kind is on hand we are only open from 8 until 10 pm. The government furnish ice for the sick at the Hospital. The greater share of the sick and wonded at the Hospital here have been sent North and those that were at Beaufort have been brought back to this place and are I suppose to be sent North as soon as they can conveniently, it being much healthier there than it is in this warm climate. All the troops that can be spared from here since the evacuation of James Island are being sent North to Fortress Monroe to reenforce McClellan. All of Stephens Brigade are going, a good many already gone and a good many are waiting for transportation. Our Regt is not going that I know of. They are now encarnped out at the Ellnetts Plantation. I have not been out there yet for I have not had time. I have received no mail for the past week though there may be mail for me at the camp. It has not been sent down yet. We have not had any late papers in some time but in the late news we had from Richmond our force had been fighting for the last 4 or 5 days and had been driven back I5 miles but I think that can hardly be as McClellan is strongly fortified , but if that is the case we shall have a hard time to get Richmond. At last accounts Genl Burnside was still advancing into the enemys country and I think if all our head Officers were as true to the Union we should get home much sooner than we shall as it is. I think the Officers in command of this department too much in favor of Seceshion for the good of our country yet I may be mistaken but why do they make so many foolish moves and take the men where the Rebels have a chance to slaughter us as they would sheep but a private has no rights to complain, but I think if I stay here all summer, I shall fare well for a Soldier. I shall be entitled to extra pay, how much I do not know. We have not received our two months back pay yet which we expected to have got long before now when we were payed off before. Well I hardly know what more that will interest you. I suppose you are now at your haying or harvesting and I would like to be up there to help you but what is the use of wishing when it is of no account so I guess I will close for it is now about midnight and I have to be up early in the morning to attend to the ice for the Hospital. Please write often and good long letters. This is rather short but as Mother says better than none. Give my respects to all enquiring friends and reserve the best for yourself, so good night.

This from your ever Affectionate Son

J .D. Strait

Ethan Strait