1863-02-07Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va.

Feb 7th 1863

Dear Parents

Your most welcome letter of the 27th Jan. came to hand last evening and it is needless for me to tell you that I was glad to hear from you for I am always glad to hear from home. I am glad that Aunt Bet and the children are with you this winter for Mother will not be so lonely. By the way tell Ella that if I mistake not she is not very punctual of late in answering letters. It has been a long while since I have heard from her. Tell her she will have nothing else to do now but write and I shall expect some long letters from her. Tell her I would like to be up there to enjoy a visit with all of you. There was talk of some of our boys getting furlows. Our Capt has gone home and one of the Corporals expected to have gone but before his papers were made out we were ordered to be ready at any moment to march though we do not much expect to go before Monday. The report is that we are going to Fortress Monroe but if we go there I think it will only be to form the flat for North Carolina probably to Newbern for I understand it is only the old 9th Corps that is going so it seems that the project of taking Richmond by way of Fredericksburg has been altogether abandoned for this winter and it is my opinion if we are ever to take the Rebel Capital at all it will be by some other way besides the last one tried. I see by the papers that vigorous measures are being adopted for the capture of Vicksburg and I hope they will be successful on capturing the Rebel force but our men will not find the Rebel General Lee asleep or idle. The Rebel soldiers may be seen round Fredericksburg throwing up earthworks and fortifying the place as strongly as possible. They now have rifle pits all through the town and along the river. They do not intend to let us cross over to their side again without some obstacles in our way but they will have their labors for their pains for our officers do not intend to cross in front at present. In your letter you spoke of sending that express receipt but I did not find it. Your probably forgot and did not send it with the letter. I am glad you did not send the other box though. We were not across the river but were ordered to cross and the storm prevented our going. Our first Lieut. went to the Borough and got a box of boots so I got a pair from him and shall not want you to get any at present but instead of the boots you may send me four good colored cotton shirts either checked or streaked shirts and care not which and two pairs of sox and one dozen pair of suspenders if convenient and what else you wish, but you need not start the box until I let you know when there is a good chance of getting it. I think we shall get the other before long if we do not go to North Carolina. If we go there it will probably be some time before we get it. You spoke of sending me paper, I have plenty of that but stamps will come acceptable any time for it is hard to get them here in the Army. In got the others you sent. There is not much prospect of our getting pay again probably not until April though part of our Brigade were paid yesterday but they did not get paid before when we did on account of being a new Regt. We have now almost four months pay due us. I see that times are getting a little tighter with Uncle Sam for he is raising his clothing nearly 50 percent so we shall have to be a little more saving or else $42 will not last us year but if he raises our clothes he ought to allow us enough more to make up the advance in price. If he don't there will be some growling in the Army. Last year I drew more than my allowance by $3.20 on account of shoes being so poor they would not wear more than a month before they would all drop to pieces not being half made so this year I think of trying boots and when this pair I have got are worn out I will send home and get a pair. I don't know that I have any more to Write at present but I thought I would fill up this sheet as well as I could though it rather poorly written, poorer composition. The boys are all well that are here. Maynard and Beach are at Washington. Johns is at the Convalescent Center, Alexandria to work upon the barracks a good job for him. too. He gets 40 cents extra per day for his carpenter work. John can do well at that. I rec'd a letter from Sabin a short time ago. They were well when he wrote. He is at Uncle Calvins at Columbus I think Uncle Wills folks are getting sick of the west. Sabin wrote they talked of going east again. Crops were very poor where they were last season. I think the west is not as rich as it was 3 or 4 years ago not that some of the rest seem inclined to go there but I think I shall have to go there to locate my land warrant if we ever get any but I presume the old man will be so poor by the time this war is ended that his land will all be sold under mortgage for debt but I think if I get out of his employ alive and sound I shall not care much about the land warrant but I have already written more than I intended. I have not heard from Uncle Norman since we crossed the river on our retreat before Fredericksburg last fall. I have not had a chance to go see him. We have so much picket duty to do but I must close hoping to hear from you soon. My respects to all. Tell Aunt Bet and Ella to write as often as they can. Write sort to your Ever Affectionate Son

J .D. Strait

Direct as usual