1862-08-06Acquia Creek, Va.
Acquia Creek, Va.

August 6th 1862

Dear Parents,

Once more I am seated under the depot with an old door for a table or writing desk. We are on the railroad at the mouth of Acquia Creek. We left Newport News on Monday morning and steamed down the James River to Fort Monroe where the steamer halted for a few moments then commenced powling her way up the old Chesspeake to our great joy. We supposed we were to go in the direction of Washington but about noon Tuesday we made for the dock at the mouth of this Stream but the boat ran aground and we lay here some time before they could get her off but about 4 oclock we got up to the dock and just before dark we got ashore and staked arms and made preparations for spending the night. We found very comfortable places for sleeping and the night passed very pleasant and I enjoyed the night's rest for it was so warm on the boat that it was uncomfortable sleeping. Until we landed we supposed we were in Genl Burnsides division but this takes in more than that. We are to relieve the 95 NJ Regt and guard some l0 or 12 miles of this railroad running through to Fredericksburg. I suppose the cause of our being split up again our guns have been condemned three times and we have a large number of sick, unfit for duty and a good many of our Officers have resigned and gone home leaving our Regt minus some 13 commissioned officers. Altogether we are in no fit condition for going into action so we have to be split up and scattered all over creation again but probably it is all for the best. We shall not stand as good a chance for getting into battle but we are no better than anyone else. Our guns do good execution, at least at James Island and I think would again if we were called upon to use them again, which I don't care of doing very much. The rest of the Regt are just leaving and only two companies are staying here. There is our Co and Co K. The other part of the Regt are to go out on the railroad to guard stations between here and Fredericksburg. We are some 60 mi. below Washington City. I do not like our present situation exactly for it looks like a fever and ague hole but out on the RR among the mountains the weather is fine and cold and then it is much like our own mountain home. The country along the old Potomac reminds me very much of the old Susquehanna River. It is only about half a mile from our Camp to the Rebel batteries or where they had them. For my part I do not see what the Rebels thought of in leaving such strong fortifications or where there might have been such strong fortifications erected. Nature has done her share toward making the place strong. I never saw better places for planting batteries than there are here, high bluffs all along the streams. They are so high that the gun boats could not get an accurate enough range from the River but the Rebels did not have any formidable works that I have seen yet.

I like the looks of this state far better than S.C. The air is so much more like our own free mountains. The scenery here is very pleasant but the pleasantest camp we have ever occupied was at Newport News. The ground was so scenic for a Camp and then the water and scenery was indeed beautiful. The far famed James River spread out to view before us and then the beautiful sunsets all combined to make it lovely beyond comparison with our former Camps but when we get our Camp rigged up here I presume we shall arrange it so as to be comfortable. We have to go nearly 1/2 mile after good water to drink but for other purposes the river is handy. The weather is nearly as warm here as it used to be in S.C. though the air is not as oppressive as it was there and the water is a great deal better than it was down there. Everything is more to the health of men than it was in S.C.

Well I do not know that I have much more to write that will interest you. I wish you would send me the Agitator and Rural if you take them this year for I miss the Rural very much. You wished me to tell you who the correspondent was that wrote for the Agitator and send his name. Charley it is, Edson but in the last paper I saw there were several correspondents for the 45. Just as we got on board the Ellson City the boat came up with the Port Royal mail. I read two from home. One contained those stamps. There sure were 2 dollars worth of them. They were very acceptable but I guess I shall have to wait until next pay day before I send you though you probably have got it before this if nothing has happened to it.

Well I do not know as I have much more to write this time. I like the length of your last letters that I read. They were very interesting. I like long letters especially when they come from home. I read a letter from Aunt Sallie and one from Hat and one from H.N. Wright. The folks were all right except Grandfather and Grandmother. They were not quite as well as usual. Grandfather Strait was usually well the last they heard from Loran. He was in the Hospital insensible. I have written to him but have read no answer. I do not know whether he is alive or not. I would like to find him. I did not know but he might be in the Hospital at Newport News but I could not find anything of him. Well it is dinner time and I guess I shall have to close my letter. We get or should get mail every day from the City and I presume it will not take as long as it did at Port Royal, S.C. There we only got mail once in two or three weeks but I am tired and must bid you good by once more. Please write often as you can. Give my respect to all enquiring friends if any there be and reserve the greater share for yourself.

This from your Affectionate Son.

J.D. Strait