1863-01-30Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
No 1

Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va.

Jan. 30th 1863

Dear Parents

Your most welcome letter of the 20th inst came to hand last evening and I hasten to answer today. I was glad to hear from you and should be pleased if I could hear from you every day and I should like to write that often but my stock of composition would soon run out at that rate as it is of the poor class now that I write only once or sometimes twice a week. I am sorry that you do not get my letters oftener for I write to you every week but our mails are very irregular. I think it would be a good plan to number our letters and then we can tell whether all our letters reach their destination. I will number this for the first and you do yours the same after getting this. I got those stamps and they came good though I was not entirely out. It is hard getting stamps here for there are no regular post offices nearer than Washington that I know of. I am in hopes that we shall get our pay soon again though it is uncertain whether we'll get it before spring. I understand the paymasters have the money to pay all the troops up to the first of Jan. and I wish they would pay up and I would send home a little. It will be but a little but every little helps.

I do not know that I have any news of importance to communicate at present. I presume you know ere this that Genl Burnside has been relieved of the command of the Army of the Potomac. He is superseded by Genl Hooker who is called a good fighting man but I think the idea of changing commanders so often is a poor plan. For my part give me McClellan yet. Let Little Mack as he is sometimes called have command and then give him what men he wants and Richmond is ours but as long as Congress has their way and say about things so long shall we be held in the field liable to be led into the slaughter pen any day. I know that the majority of the people of the North are down on McClellan and for what reason. Who merely because Horace Greeley that miserable bragadocio of an editor of the NY Tribune. I wish he with his paper was sunk deeper into the sea than ever Jonah was in the whale's belly. What can people of the North say against McClelland as an officer. They can say nothing only that he is a Democrat. Some may say that he is too slow. Such an army as we have now cannot be moved in one day or even one month in some parts and have the ammunition and the whole supply train move up with them. Had Congress sent him what reinforcement he called for when on the peninsula he could have taken Richmond and had he known the game the Rebels were playing at Anteitam last Sept. he might have captured their whole army but what could any other Genl have done under like circumstances. You may converse with most of the soldiers and ask them what Genl they think most capable of commanding such an army as the Anny of the Potomac and nearly all will tell you McClellan. I am a Republican in principle but at such a time as this political feelings should all be thrown aside and until all such feeling are thrown aside and the North united as one man shall never conquer the South and I am doubtful whether he can whip them or not but I guess I have written enough of this sort for the present. I should like to be at home to enjoy the sleighing and more than all the rest to the society of friends and comforts of home. I think if a Soldier gets home he will be a brute that will under rate the blessings of a good home though it be poor. The storm you spoke of must have been general for it rained here and frustrated the grand move then under way. It has been stormy ever since. Yesterday morning there was about 10 inches of snow on the ground but it has a good share melted away now which makes it very bad under foot. I hope you will get a good price for your butter. I shall be glad when you get out of debt. You have not said anything about how your wheat did last year whether you had enough or not for your own use. I like to hear about home. There is nothing about home but what is interesting to me and I am in hopes I shall be home one of these days to help you work the farm. I should like to break the colts but I fear they will be old colts when I get home if that long wished for day ever comes but I must close hoping to hear from you soon. My respects to all who are entitled to them. Please write as often as you can to your ever Affectionate Son.

J.D. Strait