1863-02-23Camp near Newport News, Va.
Camp near Newport News, Va.

Feb. 23rd 1863

Dear Parents

Your most welcome letter came to hand this afternoon and it is with pleasure that I now hasten to answer. I have rec'd two letters since we came to this camp and this is the third I have written. I have plenty of butter and apples left yet. There are six of us in the tent. Esq. Emery has been. with us for the last few days. He is going home or starts from here tomorrow. I sent a small package by him my last years diary and a book that I got at Fredericksburg at the time of the battle. I thought probably Mother would like it as it is one of Milton's works and is interesting. My old diary you can put in some corner of the old house and keep it until I get home. It is written with a pencil and is partly ruled out. If you could read what is written you would find where I have spent each day during the past year but as it is I guess you will have to wait until I get home to tell you its contents. You spoke of taking a peep into our camp. I should enjoy a visit from you very much but as you are situated it would be useless for you to try to come here though it would do you a great deal of good to visit the army. I am very glady we are once more out of the Army of the Potomac. There is little prospect of seeing better times. There is some talk of our going into Fort Monroe to do garrison duty but it may only be a camp rumor.

I spoke of the box in the two last letters I wrote. We have now nearly 4 months pay due us. I hope we will get 4 months when we are paid and we probably shall for it is but a few days till muster again. Emery thinks there will be another draft in the spring. If there is I hope it will bring 0. A. Smith to the rack for I like to see all those cowards like Smith do something for their country, not that I like the service any too well but he is of the kind that stays at home and are continually asking why the army don't move. I understand that Hawks has been advocating secessions principles. If that is so he must keep clear or he will find himself in the army again before he is swore out of it. I would like to be up home to read the Rural. Does Mother take the Repostory. If not would you tell her to take money enough from what I send home next and get it if she wishes it. She will not enjoy the money any better than in reading the Repository if it is as good as it used to be. I must stop writing for this time. Enclosed in this letter you will find the Photograph of our Colonel Thomas Welch.

Please write as often as convenient and send me some stamps. I don't know but I am asking a good deal just now but I will try and make it up some time.

This from your ever Affeetionate Son.

Direct to Newport News.

J.D. Strait