1862-10-23Pleasant Valley MD
Pleasant Valley MD

Oct. 23rd 1862

Dear Parents

Your most welcome letter of the l4th inst came to hand last evening and I hasten to answer. A squad of us went out after wood this morning and by this means got off drill so I thought it a good time to write. I have no news to write this morning. Everything is quiet along this part of the Potomac. There is some talk of our wintering in this valley though nothing decided yet. It is getting quite cool weather, at least it seems so to us who have not seen any cold winter weather since we left home though with our little shelter tents well banked up we manage to keep very comfortable so far but when the cold winter winds and snows come we shall have to have different quarters which we shall probably get in due season. It is the opinion of some that we shall winter South but l think it doubtful still I should be glad to go back to Hilton Head. providing we could. get our old position there until the war closed for while there our duty was light in comparison to what we were then like Uncle Norm. We had not seen the hardships that await a Soldier upon the field, but I have no reason to complain for l can stand more heavy marching than when we first came out, but we could not stand the hard labour that we could. then until after we become used to it again which I presume would take quite a spell, but I only want to get a chance to try it again and be free from the service, but as you say it is discouraging to think how the war is prolonged when it might have been closed long before this time if we had had the right kind of officers at the head of Government. Our Congress are filling their pockets while us poor miserable privates have to stand the blunt of the battle, but never mind the time is coming when our present officers will be no higher than the lowest private. if all the officers were as good as Burnside and MeClellan, I think this war would soon be settled, at the start. They are now strengthening their force in the west and have already fought several heavy battles but the reports here are that our armies have been victorious as at first. Gent Bewel. seems to be enough for them. Still I dont think there will be any more general engagements in this section before Spring but there is nothing certain about the force the Rebels have in these parts. if they have any considerable force we may have all gone back to Richmond. If so they are probably reenforcing the western armies but one thing certain the army will soon have to go into winter quarters here for as soon as the heavy rains come the baggage trains will. have to stop so we cannot get supplies to keep up the army moving from place to place but I suppose we shall find out soon enough what is to be done. Those stamps I rec'd and they will do me until we get pay if we get it in any kind of season. I have been thinking of sending for those boots you got last summer for others are getting boxes all along and this winter the boots will come good to me if I can get them here and some of the other boys want some things and Jehiel talks of sending for his folks to send him a pair and they can be sent together. If the box does not weigh too much it can be sent. I would like to come home and get some things but that is out of the question and if you can send some of them to me I shall be a thousand times glad and obliged to you, that is if they can be sent by express. We get butter here by paying 40 cts per lb and cheese at 25 cts per lb and other things accordingly. I wish I had one or two of your firkins of butter. They would sell very quick at 40 or 50 cts per lb but the freight if one could bring them would not be granted to a well man and hardly to one that is sick but I guess I have written enough for the present but if you can send me a box you may send it as soon as possible, for by the time it goes here I shall want the boots and if anyone else wants to send anything to the boys it would be cheaper all together. If you send one direct as a letter and I think it will come. If you have not got the money to spare to pay the express if you cannot send it without paying the charges let it go until I get payd off and I will send the money home so you will not have to discommode yourself any for I presume it is hard getting money there now but I have written enough unless it (is) more interesting than this. Please write soon as convenient. My respects to all enquiring friends so goodby. This from your Ever Affectionate Son.

J.D. Strait

Ethan and Julania Strait