1862-07-31New Port News, Va. Camp Lincoln
New Port News, Va.

Camp Lincoln

July 31st 1862

Dear Parents

This afternoon finds me once more trying to pen a fiew lines to you. This is the 3rd letter that I have written to you and have received no answer from any of them but I shall look for one tonight. Here we have a daily mail to and from New York but I have received one letter since I have been here and that was from Cousin Sabin. Uncle Will's folks were all well when he wrote. They talk of moving back to the East again. Sabe says their crops are very poor there this year except grass. That is very good but he thinks it would be very tough living to eat prairie grass and I think he will not go to war until he is obliged and I think him half right and wise in one thing at least. I have not heard from home since a week before we left Port Royal, S.C. and I am getting very anxious to hear from old Tioga once more. I begin to think all my friends have forgotten me already but I may be mistaken. I will not judge to hardly until I know for certain. I suppose you are very busy at your haying now and have but little time to write and when you have time you knead rest. You can not imagine how many times I wished myself at home in the hayfields mowing or raking or pitching hay but there is no use of wishing when it does no good but one must have something to kill time so far from home and Dear friends but never mind this war will end some day and then those that are living will again meet those that often look with longing eyes for those that are striving to serve their Country in crushing this accursed rebellion. But the prospects are very dull at present for the closing of this war. The papers state that the Rebels are driving our troops back in the Western part of Va and Tennessee but how true it is I do not know. I think it time our men became alive to the fact that the Rebels are not as meek as the most of our leaders supposed them to be at first when they told us that the war would end in three months after we enlisted. In every brush or battle we have beat the Rebels hard 3 and 4 to one and in all the late skirmishing the Rebels have been victorious. In one instance in Tennessee if I am not mistaken our men lost 2 whole Regts at once. It seems they were off by themselves and a party of Rebels came across them and captured the whole of them. We have not more than half the number of men we should but probably our men know best that have the command of the army. I suppose we have a new man at the head of the army Genl Halleck and I hope he will crowd this thing through faster than McCellan has. Well it is evening and I have just returned from the Hospital. I went down to get a poltice put onto my arm. I have a very large boil rite in the hollow under my arm and it does make it feel more pleasant for me but not much. Well I have just read your letter of the 21st and 23rd and you may imagine how glad I am to hear from home once more but I see by the writing that you have written letters that I have never read but they are probably at Fort Royal, SC and it may be some time before we get them so you see I know nothing of this silver fever or the location of the mines and in regard to the idea of raising nigger Regts it is all a humbug and a disgrace to the noble people of the North. They might fight if they were cornered like some cowardly cur. They are quartered upon the Denton Plantation at Hilton Head Island. They are clothed and fed by the government. They get the same pay we do and they do not the least good. They are only a needless expense to our government and when you know as much about Genl Hunter you will not think so much of him as a general. Give me back such men as Genl Burnside. He has done more than any other person we have in the field. We are now in his division or rather under his command and in the first division. When he makes another advance we will be in the advance toward Richmond if he goes that way. We are now under marching orders and may leave before three days elapse but it is bed time and I must bid you good night and will try to finish in the morning.

August lst

Dear Parents

I am again writing to you. There is nothing of importance going on at present along our lines. We are on the James River some 17 miles below Harrison Landing where McClellan's main army is and that is about 17 miles from Richmond but how long this inaction will last we know not. Day before yesterday we read orders to start packing and be ready at a moments warning. The officers can carry but 80 lbs baggage and all we can carry is what we can get along with in our knapsacks which will be but little. Well breakfast is ready and I shall have to close. You must write often and just such long letters as the last one and I don't care if they are as long again. Write how you get along with your work and how Mother's health is now. Give my respects to all enquiring friends and reserve the greater share for yourself. Direct to New Port News, Va. But I must bid you good by. The boys are all well as usual at present and seem to enjoy themselves well. Please write soon.

This from your Affectionate Son.

J.D. Strait

Ethan Strait