1862-10-19Pleasant Hall Md
Pleasant Valley Md

Oct. 19th 1862

Dear Parents,

This pleasant afternoon finds me again trying to write a fiew more lines to let you know that I am still enjoying good health. I rec'd your letter of the 12th inst and it is needless for me to tell you that it came very acceptable and these stamps too they will let me write to you, until we get our pay which I expect will be soon for it will be but a few days before we will have 4 months pay due us and I hope we shall get it all together and if you are cramped for money I will borrow $20.00 to send with it when we get our pay if it will come any better than to wait. It will be just as well for me. l have no news of importance to communicate at present. There is but little going on around our camp except drilling. There is a considerable number of new troops encamped around here. They are drilling most of the time. We have to drill some on Co Drill but no battalion drills now and I am glad of it for we are all getting tired of drilling. We can fight no better by drilling all the time than we can now. We have a very pleasant camp with a little shelter tent which we carry upon our backs upon the march like the snail with his house. We travel through the country but not quite so slow for the other day when we came back from Nolens Ferry we marched 15 miles after 2 oclock in the afternoon and got into Camp about 8 oclock but a tired lot of boys we were too and the old Camp looked very pleasant to our weary bodies. I do not know how long we shall stay here. May lay here a month, we may move before night. Our stay in one place is uncertain. We are like the wandering Jew pitch our tents only for the night and resume our journey the next day but I hope this mode of life for us will soon end and though the prospects are very good for its close soon, the Rebels seem to be determined to fight as long as there is a man left but they must certainly give up in the end unless foreign powers interfere before long which I think is no danger for England has all she can tend to at home and I don't think France will interfere with us. Still she may, merely to get a claim upon the South for the sake of her cotton.

This war is affecting other Nations as bad if not more than it is ours but I think it best not to borrow trouble for we have enough now. I hardly know what to write that will interest you. As to my writing for the Agitator, as Mother spoke of this is out of the question for it is as much as I can do to do what writing I have now and that not half done. I was never cut out for an author so I could not possibly comply with her request in this respect. My composition is for you but I will write home as often as I can and make my letters as interesting as possible for me to which at best is but poor. I have not yet (seen) Uncle Norm though I was within 1 mile of his Camp a week ago today and had he been there I could not have seen him for we were not allowed to go out of sight of the Regt but his Regt had gone to Sharpsburg.

Oh how I wish I could but step into that old log house if only for 2 hours today. What good it would do me you cannot imagine but possibly the day is not far distant when that time will come, not probable for it to come this winter.

When I commenced this I thought l could fill it but I find it will be poorly filled for I dont know what to write next. I rec'd a letter from Cousin Ella last night. The folks are all well out there. Uncle Inn is still going to school. I think he ought to have a good education by and by if he keeps on but I only wish myself there with him climbing the hights of scenes instead of tramping through the hills of Maryland but I have been lamenting and murmuring enough over my situation so I will stop. One thing I can say in favour of our Lieutenant Col or something as can anybody else for on the late marches we have had we have formed the best we ever did since we entered the service. On a march we have had plenty of pork and hard tack, a thing we never had before on the march until lately. Our officers are cutting us down on clothing only allowing us to carry a change of under clothing and the pants we have on our backs. This is for the good of the Soldier though when we stop in camps any length of time we get a good many little articles of clothing and the like which come handy but we are not allowed to fall out by the way and we are obliged to go on every march if we are not actually sick and flat on our backs when the Regt leaves so you see there is but little chance of playing off as there is at home when one feels a little unwell. It is a good thing for some that are in the habit of playing off. All of the boys from Elk Run are with me and well and hearty. Steph Strait was taken sick coming out from Washington and is back sick yet but is I think getting along now. We have not heard from the boys that went in Sofields Co lately but I presume they are at Washington yet, but I guess I have written enough for the present. My respects to all enquiring friends and my love to you all. This from your Affectionate Son.

J .D. Strait

Ethan and Julania Strait

Direct as usual