1862-11-07Camped on the White Oak River a branch of the old Rappahannock
November 1862

Dear Parents

This cold morning finds me sitting in our little tent just room enough for two comfortable with a fire of coals in front. Nothing to do so I will spend a few moments in writing to you. How differently situated from what l used to be on most days at home. There we could enjoy the comforts of a home but here we have to content ourselves with what camp life affords which are few at best. We have been on the march every day for the past two weeks either marching or on other duty such as picketing. Yesterday we had a hard days march but the enemy are just as far off as they were when we first set out in pursuit of them. I do not know where we shall be likely to meet them. We are now on our way to Mannassas Gap or that is the rumor around Camp. We are now about 10 miles from the Gap and as near as I can find out there is a considerable force somewhere about this range of mountains but exactly where their forces lay is uncertain but I presume we shall meet them full soon enough for our own comfort. McClellan and Burnsides armies are both in the valley. I do not know what our forces are but they must be very large for the quartermaster only issues us 6 days rations to last l0 days. The rest we have to forage the other 4 days. We get enough meat but not much bread. Once in awhile we come across a place where we can buy some bread but very seldom such a chance occurs.

Camped on the White Oak River a branch of the old Rappahannock

Sabbath Nov. 7 I862

Dear Parents

This afternoon finds us encamped on the White Oak River a branch of the old Rapahanoc. We have been encamped here this is the second day and how much longer we shall remain in this Camp is uncertain. We thought they would not let us rest longer than one day but yesterday and the most part of Monday has passed and still we see no signs of moving but the day I commenced this better our orders came very sudden. It was snowing and cold but that could not stop us. Some say we are only 15 miles from Culpepper Court House but I am lost and do not know where we are. We have travelled so many different directions and no sleep that l am completely tumed around. We get no news now and I have not seen a paper since we left Watterford and know nothing of what is going on only what little comes within my own observation and that is but little for we do not get out of our division. You probably get the news and know what is going on in most parts of the field. I do not anticipate much fighting around here. I think the Rebs are moving into a warmer climate. Their troops are thinly clad and cannot stand the inclement weather as well as our troops that are used to the cold. I do not know as I have anything to write that will interest you at present. One of the boys in our Co wants to send his money what he can spare where it will be drawing interest and where he can have it safe. I told him I would take it and send it to you if I could arrange it so he could get it if I should be killed or so that his folks could get it if he should not live to get home. He don't want to send any more home but wants it so that he can have something when he is discharged. If you can buy some sheep for me I will take what he has to spare when we get our pay and you may lay it out for young stock or anything that will pay the interest. I think it would pay or more than pay the interest in sheep or young stock so that we could save ourselves and a little to spare by the time we get out of the service. When you write again please let me know what you think of it and if and whether you can arrange it so as to make him satisfied. I think it would be great appreciation for us but you know best what to do. If it will do I can put what he has to spare along at six percent but I must close for my hand is unsteady. Please write as often as you can and I will do the same. Give my respects to all. This from your Affectionate Son.

J .D. Strait

Direct as usual