1862-08-11Acquia Creek, Va.
Acquia Creek, Va.

August ll th 1862

Dear Parents

It is with pleasure and with feelings of regret that I now improve the present opportunity of writing to you, pleasurable feelings that I am situated under circumstances that gives me the privilege of addressing a few broken sentences to you and with feelings of regret to hear that father harbors the least thought of entering the army under the present circumstances. I think it the most absurd idea that ever entered your mind though you may not deem me capable of advising a parent but do not think me out of my head when I tell you that if you harbor any such thought to drop it for you can never stand the hardships of the Soldier's life. I have been in the service long enough to have learnt that it is no easy job to march from 20 to 30 miles and carry a knapsack weighing from 42 to 60 lbs. Besides your arms and then how are you going to leave the farm without any one to take care of what little you have to keep you in your old age. I do not know that your have ever thought of going into the army but I have heard by the by that there were 8 to go from Gaines and that Ethan Strait was going to make one of that number but do not think of any such thing for if for other reason your health is poor and your constitution is broken down. I am young and in the vigor of life and can stand as much as most any one and it is all that I can stand with a good constitution. I do not know but you will think me foolish or out of my head but I guess I have given a long enough lecture for this time on that score, but another thing I will talk with you about. the rest of the boys are getting letters from home most every mail. We have a daily mail and I have not read any news from home since we have been here but probably it is not your fault so I will not murmur if you will not go to war until after I get home at any rate. Well we have been here a week tomorrow night since we landed here and quite a pleasant Camp it is too. It is the most busy place we have been in since we are encamped close to the wharf and troops are landing every day. The whole of Genl Burnside's division passed this way at the same time we came here. Since then one battalion of artillery of new recruits enlisted for six months and there has quite a number of other batteries from Genl McClellan's army and other places have gone to reenforce Burnside and the report is that a good many more are to pass this way. There is not much news of interest to write just now. Nothing of importance is going on. There has been some little skirmishes out along the lines but no battle of account has taken place that we have heard of and we have a good chance to know for we have the telegraph office and our Col is commander of the post here. There are only 2 Co's of us here. The other 8 are stationed some 5 miles up the RR but the orderly is calling fall in for roll call and I must bid you good night.

Tuesday morning

Dear Parents

I am again seated to finish this letter. This is a very warm day, full as hot as it used to be in S.C., but the air is of a different feeling. It is not quite so oppressive as it is down there. Still it is much more comfortable than it is further South. The watter is very good here but up to the other part of the Regt. the boys say that it is excelant watter and a very pleasant place. I think if I can get a pass I shall go up before many days. I have no news of importance to communicate at this time. All is quiet as far as I know. There are no Rebels around here except a few citizens and they rather shy except the women. They are not at all afraid of talking Secesh of the darkest dye but the men are more reserved. there are a few who are bold enough to refuse to take the oath of allegiance and I think they should be taken into custody and delt with as traitors to our Country for they could do a great amount of injury to our cause by acting as spies which I have no doubt they do almost every day. Since we left S.C. I have heard that those noble patriots of whom Genl Hunter speaks so highly had boldness to kill two of our soldiers. One they split his head open with an ax and the other they hammered to death for this they were only slightly punished when if on the other hand one of our Soldiers that had killed or even given one of the miserable niggers a good whipping he would have either been shot or sent to the Devil's Half Acre with chain and ball attached to his feet for a period of not less than six months or a year. When we were there if a white man dared to speak or look cross to a nigger he was put into the guard house for a week on bread and water. Now I think when things come to such a pass as this, it is high time they put the niggers into the army not as soldiers but as fatigue men to do the heavy work the soldiers have to do now, such as cleaning roads for the army and building fortifications and digging trenches. Ranking them with a good white soldier is one of the greatest pieces of imposition ever imposed upon the American citizen though l may differ with a great many in oppinion.

I find by the papers and letters from the North a great many blame McClellan for that defeat in the seven day fight. l do not know but he was the blame but from what I can learn he was not in the least to blame. He kept asking for reenforcement but Secretary Stanton did not see fit to send him the forces required, thereby forcing McClellan into the fight against unequal numbers, causing that bad loss of life when we have to endure, and all the letters written by the boys from his division speak in the highest terms of commendation of their leader and would spill the last drop of blood that flows in their veins if led into the field by their Noble McClellan. Still for all that he might not have to be a truehearted patriot though I presume Halleck will push the war through with more vigor than McClellan did. I hope if there is any such thing this war will end before another winter sets in for I'm getting tired of the service in one sense of the word and in another I am perfectly satisfied to remain until the war is over if my life is spared until that time. But I guess I have written enough for once so I'll close hoping to hear from you soon. Please write as often as you can.

This from your Affectionate Son.

.I.D. Strait

Ethan and Julania

Direct to Acquia Creek, Va.

Co I 45 Regt Pa Vol